choice in "personal subplots"

galdon Posts: 259Member
I don't know if that is the right term, but its the best I can think of. So, I've been replaying Fallout 4, and trying this time to get the follower perks; usually I go lone wolf with dogmeat. 

During these quests, usually you get four choices several times, but they are almost exclusively "obviously fail/give up" and "proceed with plot" options. 

As my game is going to have backsories and goals of each support character, this makes me wonder what would be a better way to handle them. More choices don't help if all choices lead down the same road, in my mind. 

Even still, it also doesn't make sense for their problems to go away or backstory to change as a result of not helping them. Which leads me to wonder what might be a good way of making sure the consequences of not helping, or helping poorly are apparent without seeming like the game is punishing the player for not being good and doing the quest "as intended".


  • Brother_NerdBrother_Nerd Posts: 50Member
    edited April 5
    The biggest problem in this regard, I'd think, wouldn't even be in the writer's court, but the time constraints of producing the game and the programmer's ability to get everything the writer is suggesting done in time.

    As a Dungeon Master, I'll have a much easier time of fidling with a sliding scale of "Did [party] assist? How helpful was their assistance?" Than a game will. Let's take Neverwinter Nights 1, Chp 1 ending as an example.

    In the actual game, Fenthick has been tricked by Desther {Desther has been posing as the head of a Helmite temple} into giving him the keys to the wards of the palace, thereby allowing Desther to lower said wards enough to let himself a portal to escape through and teleport in more of his False Helmites to distract the hero. Fenthick is later found -despodant and incosolable- and there is nothing that the hero can do about it. Mind you, for all the power implied, Fenthick is unlikely to be more than a few levels ahead of the now level 8ish hero, which means there are technically several spells open to the hero to, at this very moment, save Fenthick from his fate.

    But there's more to this scenario. Before you jump through the portal to chase after Desther and Fenthick, you have the chance to not only overhear Fenthick pleading with Desther, but to speak with both Aribeth, Fenthick's lover, and Lord Nasher, your boss and the lord of Neverwinter. During this time, a character in one of my campaigns could have the chance to speak with Nasher and broker a deal to possibly spare Fenthick in some minor fashion.

    Additionally, the Hero is a grand total of 1-2 levels from a spell that LITERALLY RAISES THE DEAD. No, not merely animate their corpse, but actually shove their soul back into their body and revive it. This means that another Hero might take the opportunity to, under the cloak of night and more than enough magic, steal his corpse, stuff it in a Bag of Holding, and start devoting low-level spell slots to a spell that simply keeps things from rotting, in order to later call on the favor of their deity to restore life to Fenthick, then reunite him with the mourning Aribeth.

    But you get none of these options. None. Fenthick is found, hauled back, and executed for being naive, and Aribeth eventually Falls because of this, and there is a grand total of nothing you can do about it. As someone who has been on both sides of the DM screen it's infuriating to watch these kinds of scenarios play out in a game.

    So in short, yes, there are things that you could do, but you need to be willing and able to take the time to program them, because success/fail is a ton simpler than a sliding scale of success.
    Post edited by Brother_Nerd on
  • PyrianPyrian Posts: 295Member
    Consider Veronica in Fallout:New Vegas. There are different endings to her loyalty quest, and she gains different perks as a result. Furthermore, interactions with the Brotherhood of Steel affect her relationship with the main character, causing her to leave you if you piss her off enough by attacking them (which is fairly significant given that one possible end quest involves blowing them up altogether).
  • galdon Posts: 259Member
    @Brother_Nerd Yeah, DnD does have an advantage in that way, players can literally try anything and get a response from the DM. It is still sort of a problem on the writing side though, I believe. Once a player has suggested a solution to you that might work, you could, as a DM, then make up results for that action even if you had not anticipated it. When making a game, the only outcomes that would work would be ones that were anticipated ahead of time. 

    @Pyrian I haven't played New Vegas but that sounds better than the quests I've played through so far in Fallout 4. Especially Cait and her "My affinity goes down when you are nice; but my plot that only advances by increasing my affinity says I'm opening up to you about my past and problems because you are shockingly nice." quest line. Which ends with a binary choice of either curing her addictions, or never completing the quest and not being allowed to reach max affinity. 

Sign In or Register to comment.