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Hello, everyone.

This is going to be one of my unusual views on RPG games.

Well, here it comes :

A few days ago I was fairly surprised to ee Arcanum in a Box for only almost 8 Euro. I bought it and took a look.

After a while, I read descriptions on their offifial homepage. It was about creatures.

What struck me was that all creatures described were more or less evil creatures.

I let my mind roam, remembering all RPG games I know, and came to a weird conclusion :

All creatures a hero meets in the wilderness are "evil" creatures.


I was surprised. None has ever had the idea of implementing something else than "evil" creatures - creatures which attack the hero or heroes.
Nothing else than cannonfodder, desingned to give the player experience points.


So here is what I suggest : The opposite. Some , maybe rare,creatures which are actually helpful.

Why not implement a world, where creatures - dragons, animals, Unicorns <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> - are able to give the player experience ? For example spells they know ?

Why not create a world where creatures - animals, for example - actually know and use magic, like we now it from Unicorns, and are able to give this knowledge in some kind of form to the player ? Or animals, for example wolves, knowing knowledge in the form of scrolls hidden in ruins, unable to speak but able to lure the hero into them, thus revealing scrolls of knowledge ?

Or Mummies - if defeated ("crumbled to dust") revealing some sort of protective magic inscripted on their bandages ?

Or birds - singing a song which can be used as a "magic song" ? Or simply as a song to attract other bird willing to help you in times of danger ?

Or a bear, once fed with honey, this animal is coming back when you needs it ?

I don't think an environment which does *only* consist of creatures designed to be the prey of the player is unnatural.

We have seen from the original Hobbit book by Tolkien, that eagles can be helpful creatures. I don't understand how wildlife can be reduced to this simple role - serving as a source of experience points.

Of course, animals in the wildernessess are dangerous; but not neccessarily. Wolves, for example, are rather shy animals, they rather flee than attack, except when really hungry, in stark contrast to their role in RPG gmes. (Except were-wolves.)

I wish the world of Divinity was more diverse; with creatures knowing bits of ancient knowledge, maybe as descendants of house-animals of long lost forgotten high cultures. Or Unicorns (my favourite creatures <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> ) , which are known to use magic in some kind of form (very difficult to describe).


I wish there were not only "evil" creatures attacking the hero, but also helpful creatures.


Alrik.


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Only one remark...
Why did you waste 8€?
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I was surprised. None has ever had the idea of implementing something else than "evil" creatures
Hey, I have! Unfortunately I never got further than "the idea" because I'm not making games (yet) <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" /> But it would definitely open the door to some orginal stories (read: sub quests), and I'm a sucker for original stories <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

So naturally, I agree this is a brilliant idea, Alrik! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" />


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Why did you waste 8&#8364;?
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Oh, what fascinated nmy was the whole setting. I have rarely seen games using this style - I mean this ... how should I call it ? feeling of the beginning of the last century of the last millennium. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />



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<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />

Dear Alrik,
I do not only join my voice to yours but go further to explain why RGP is inertially adopting a slash and hack activity for experience points rather than a well balanced role playing.

Cheap cost.

Yes, that is the answer, because designing a role playing game based on true experience is very difficult and costing.

The historical basis of role playing is somehow rooted in Sinbad the sailor’s myth.

Yes, absolutely and I am sure to be correct on this.

Sinbad is supposed to be an adventurer who returns with loot and treasures after facing incredible creatures and telling mind boggling stories of magic enchanted lands to promote his trade.

The stories of Sinbad were so fascinating for so many years that only the Arabian nights came out in parallel until Europe began to tell its own stories and myth.

The ancient Egyptian and Greek myth indeed was there but they had nothing to do with adventure and role playing as much as Sinbad did. The heroics were short stories of war and heroes but not adventure and loot.

Game design with true adventure in mind must consider a detailed story of quests based on tales and rumours about artefacts and treasures that reaches our adventurous hero’s ears. The rewards are great but a creature guards a treasure or a riddle is locking up an artefact in safe keep. While the hero journeys for his quest, he should encounter hints and side quests that aid him in his major quest. This was the original perfect plot of Sinbad and all the similar trend of tales that followed.

Designing riddles and interacting with wizards and owners of articles needed for the quest increases the graphical variety and the voices logarithmically. However, creating a race of Orcs that grunt, and hacking and slashing those green-skinned aliens is much easier to make through building a library and a well defined interaction that repeats and repeats and repeats endlessly.

An ideal RPG would have a world matrix of 5x5 scenes (25 locations), while the player could start at the centre or at a corner to explore this world. A variation of travel by sea, air and land is what Sinbad Stories did consider and that is why a giant bird (Rockh [sp!]) was introduced to carry Sinbad in flight.

This ensures that the story reader does not get bored. Role playing is similar to story reading but with active participation added because we become the hero and we have to solve the riddles and fight his battles, but in a safe environment of simulation.

Your contemplations are perfectly correct of course dear Alrik and it is very weird to have evil creatures in hundreds on your road from point A to point B whenever you move. But it is cheaper to make and easier to implement.

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Cool ideas! A complex Sinbad style world may be too difficult to implement completely, as was said..

although I think most of the ideas mentioned by alaric could be implemented as scripted events. Yet I do remember some things happening in RPGs, even divinity itself that are like some of the ones mention here.
Most boars try to kill you in divinity but theres that one that doesn't...
The whole thing comes off as a scripted event though, the boar as very 'seperate' and unique from other boars, like he's not really a boar but a robot introduced by the game..
Perhaps if the screen didn't pause and he wasn't a different color and you had the option to kill him as you kill other boars (outside of a script) it would feel more like an event rather than a scripted event, and more like the boar was actually a helpful creature or just 'in the same class as the other animals but different'..
But I don't see why developers couldn't put more creatures in the game that aren't your enemey and that give your charachter something.
I imagine events like that would be effective in creating an enjoyable sense that anything can happen and that there are mysteries in this world.

They would encourage the player to explore and perhaps they would truly suprise him and create excitement or a sense of attachment to the world.

But esp. when they happen outside of a script and are in real time.

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Why did you waste 8&#8364;?
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Oh, what fascinated nmy was the whole setting. I have rarely seen games using this style - I mean this ... how should I call it ? feeling of the beginning of the last century of the last millennium. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />
You know I would probebly do the same, right?
<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/winkwink.gif" alt="" />


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Dear Alrik,
I do not only join my voice to yours but go further to explain why RGP is inertially adopting a slash and hack activity for experience points rather than a well balanced role playing.

Cheap cost.

Yes, that is the answer, because designing a role playing game based on true experience is very difficult and costing.

The historical basis of role playing is somehow rooted in Sinbad the sailor&#8217;s myth.


<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wave.gif" alt="" />


Quite interesting..
And wouldn't that be awesome to play!

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Well, there are some more, for example the Oddyssey.


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obviously almost nobody thinks of mahabhrata & ramayana, the two indian epics. & what of the chinese journey to the west adventures? there are many inspiration that can be found in the eastern lores.

& yes, a lot of them have intelligent animals in it along with humans that need education. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" />



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obviously almost nobody thinks of mahabhrata & ramayana, the two indian epics. & what of the chinese journey to the west adventures? there are many inspiration that can be found in the eastern lores.

& yes, a lot of them have intelligent animals in it along with humans that need education. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" />


Hi Janggut

Taking ideas from Kalilah & Demnah, which is full of talking animals, is a good idea; ancient mythology is rich in ideas too; however Alrik originally indirectly complained about the unbalanced quantity/ number of evil characters in RPG while role playing games should be founded on adventure and gaining experience and lore rather than slashing and hacking symbols of evil.

I recalled the fact that Sinbad was the standard theme of adventure stories in which Sinbad the hero loots, robs, kills and trade across the seas and no other story had all what an RPG game has as much as Sinbad did.

My recall was for a reason, and that is to show why the trend is inertially infested by gore.
Sinbad stories were certainly more balanced than RPG games because it was a story and only a story.
RPG is not only technology and art but also a business that must make profits to survive.
It is at this point that cost effective decisions come in.
Slashing and hacking evil simply fills up game play time which if we took away the game may fall unless fantastically networked quests, riddles and learning facts were implemented with verbosity.

For now I sense that Larian Studios are our best hope for a decent RPG.
It is the future that I am more concerned with, because I do anticipate convergence of strategy games onto adventures and into role playing.

Of course this would make games become huge monstrous data chunks that today’s developers (excluding Microsoft) are far from ready to implement in terms of organisational size and financial resources.

Within five to ten years my anticipations shall come true.

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@janggut : Interesting ideas, but I don't know much about these epics. Developers must have some resources available, when they want to take ideas from different areas.

What I directly mean with this are translations. I don't know whether these epics are already translated into european languages, and something that is not translated is often not available.


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The natives of North America also have many stories involving animals that help (or confound <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/biggrin.gif" alt="" />) questing humans... agree it would be nice not to have to kill, or be killed by, every creature you come across in a game. Divinity gave us the old dragon in the wastelands, as well as the boar, which was a good start!

All of the lore mentioned, including the Ramayana and Mahabhrata, is readily available in English translation...

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Yes, but I had german translations in mind. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/delight.gif" alt="" /> I think I'll take a look around here ...


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Is this any help? Sections of Ramayana translated into other languages

Not all sections in German (or other languages, either, I suppose!) are complete...

More about the project (in English, however) here.

addendum: Alrik, you've probably already found this by now, but just in case: Ramayana summary in German.

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Thank you very much ! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/up.gif" alt="" />


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rincewind hits the spot!! i totally overlooked the rich lores that the american natives have & they're so rich with intelligent animals that are often shown as wise & teachers of infantile humankind.

alrik, hope u have the time to read those epics. they make illiad look like a short story.

talk of rewards for killing monsters & evil critters, the biggest problem is the unified reward system, which is the well-known experience points. any kill u've made, u got XP. any baddie u offed, u got XP. any NPC u don't like & therefore displayed your dislike physically, u got XP. so what's with killing that gives u XP? does it make any sense? if the game is about killing, the answer's YES. if the game's emphasis is on adventure & discovery, then the answer shouldn't be YES.

implementing an effective way to reward gamers will be more complicated & in some ways, the gameplay itself may get convoluted. one game has an interesting way 2 reward gamers, well at least in the killing department, is Dungeon Siege.

wait wait wait, before anyone flame me to ash, let's look at the system. by using melee weapons more often, u'll be rewarded with more XP(unified) & higher skill in melee fights. now if we use that & make a more rounded RPG that rewards players for being such intrepid adventurers & remarkable discoverers, maybe killing isn't the only way or maybe no longer the way to level up & make your characters develop.

ok, so i have no ideas yet on how to make this work but in time maybe i'll come up with something.

Last edited by janggut; 13/10/03 06:34 AM.


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This topic gave me some inspiration <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

like, wouldnt it be great if the orcs werent hostile from the begining of the game? Like for instance, you help those slasher searching orcs, and disobey them, and follow them, and like you got comfronted by orcs above, they like want to kill you, but the slasher orc comes, and says that you helped hem, and like orcs give you a chance to help them, or turn and leave. that would be cool, and like by working with orcs, you get into the black ring, and when you find out their plans, help them or expose them. We sedom see rpgs where you can bring both blessing or doom to a world. Come to think of it, the begining of the DD is great set up, it has great possibilites. And i think that the only reason why developers avoid non linearity, is that they wanna make sequels and expansion pack, thus making more money <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> but now i even have ideas how to make sequels to non-linear games <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> but i dont wanna bore you...

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In Divine Divinity you actually have some creatures that help you. Arhu for instance, or the Patriarch (the black dragon in the waste lands), but of course I see what you mean; an elaboration of these ideas. It would indeed be nice if in a RPG NPC wouldn't just stand for 'non playable character', but also for 'non playable creature'.


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I suppose we do have this in somewhat limited fashion in druids...althougth i hate the idea of an animal just appearing from no-where..which is why i say there should be loads of animal beast wandering rivellon so you can "recriut" them into working for you.

Well i suppose some quests could have you rescuing an animal who will then enable to to inlist their help afterwards.

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