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View Full Version : DM Help Help designing an open world game based on Fallout without being too "video-gamey"



Harbinger
2015-12-21, 01:03 PM
In about a week or so I'm having the first session of a new campaign which will be based on the Fallout series of video games. I'm using the Star Wars Saga Edition system with some modifications to make it more like Fallout. I've homebrewed races and such for this. The game will be set in Northern Oregon. I don't know what their characters are yet.

Three out of my four players have played or are at least familiar with Fallout, but the last has voiced concerns that the game will be "limited to what you can do in Fallout". Basically, he thinks that I'm going to make decisions based on game mechanics which will make the world feel unreal. This seems absurd to me, except that I find myself struggling to justify the open world nature of what I'm trying to do. Like, in a game you have to suspend disbelief as to why a quest giver doesn't just send one of their more trusted agents out after something instead of the player. But I feel like I have to do that in this game, despite the fact that it would be exactly the sort of "video gamey" silliness the player is concerned about. But if I don't do it then the players will not really have anything to do.

So I guess my question here is how do I make an open world feel like a real place instead of something I created for the PCs to do stuff in, while stiff actually giving them stuff to do?

Cluedrew
2015-12-21, 02:20 PM
For the general case, ask exactly what he means by "video-gamey". Some things may be game/story conventions that are hard to get rid of, but others you should be able to adjust.

For this particular case I would say go slow, let the party build up to being the trusted agents who get the critical jobs. At first their quests are not particularly critical or secret. Dangerous jobs also work because by hiring out they reduce their losses if something goes wrong. As time goes on the jobs get more and more important. Dealing with bandits (raiders in Fallout) is a good source tasks to build up some trust. Raiders are generally already doing whatever they think they can get away with, so sending in some mercenaries in is not going to make the situation any worse.

The other variant is to drop the "quest giver" all together. Quest givers have problems and get the PCs to solve them. Cut out the middle man and give the PCs problems they have to solve. You will have to know the party better (both players and characters) to make this work, but it is probably the least gamey solution.

Douche
2015-12-21, 02:53 PM
That is a legitimate concern. Playing Fallout 4, all the factions immediately trust you for no reason - even if you do nothing but give the douchey, selfish responses. Within like 15 minutes of playtime, they ascend you to ranks that NPCs in the organization work for years to obtain. Don't make no sense, dawg.

That being said, Fallout: New Vegas is like the most immersive RPG in terms of roleplaying and decision-making that I've played since Arcanum. If you're going to emulate something, make it that. Don't give them quest-lines or quest-givers, give them scenarios that they can decide to impact as they wish.

Don't have Jimmy Joe tell them he needs you to go kill those Raiders in the ice cream factory over the hill. Have the players stroll into town in the aftermath of the Raider attack, and if they choose to talk to the townspeople, they'll obviously be talking about how they just got attacked and they'll be back in a week if the town doesn't have the necessary tribute of food and caps. Players could go to the ice cream factory and kill them all, they could help gather the tribute, convince the Raiders to take a lesser tribute, or even help the Raiders murderize the town.

I dunno, I feel like what I'm saying is too obvious, but I'm not really clear on the complaints of this player. It sounds like they want the setting to be less linear and allow them to do as they please... I don't see how you're going to totally avoid talking to "quest-givers" though. Someone has to explain the situation to them so they can decide what course of action they want to take

Knaight
2015-12-21, 03:08 PM
Generally what I do for an open world situation is make the setting, fill it with factions that are in conflict but are in a precarious equilibrium, then work the PCs in somewhere. Then, in the events immediately before session one, I give that already precarious equilibrium a nice hard shove in the form of an external event, and let things start getting messy. The PCs are just one more group in the mess to start with, but they could end up much more than that. They could also end up dead in a gutter.

The specifics of how this goes depends a lot on the campaign, and there are other models as well. However, that one I just listed should work great for Fallout. If you're committed to the quest line model, the obvious solution for the "why don't they just have a trusted agent go handle things" is "the PCs are all trusted agents". You could just have the players make people who have been with an organization for a good long time, already handled the sort of really boring grunt work that doesn't seem interesting in a game, and are now trusted enough to get real tasks.

BRC
2015-12-21, 03:09 PM
From the sounds of things, he's worried that you, the GM, will approach the game like a game designer, rather than like a Gm.
I have seen GM's take a "Video-Game" mindset when making their campaigns, and running into that trap of imagining that they're designing a video game level, rather than a table top RPG scenario.
I recall play-testing a game system some locals brought to my FLGS, their scenario included rolling on random encounter tables that included "You are attacked by some Bandits", in the middle of a disaster scenario. (Not Post-apocalyptic. The City is burning and on fire. Some heavily armed bandits, rather than running for their lives, decide that now is the time to rob you. Where did these Bandits come from? I don't know. But they are here now), which screamed to me that they were trying to re-create Final Fantasy on a tabletop.

I could see him being afraid that you are going to make Fallout on a tabletop. "What are we doing today?" "Fighting Raiders in an abandoned Building" "Oh...".

Which is a legitimate thing. If you asked me to make a post-apocalyptic game, I could have all sorts of ideas. If you asked me to make a Fallout Tabletop, (especially based on the recent games), you would be fighting a lot of Raiders in abandoned buildings.

But, just follow the stanard Good GMing rules, and you should be fine.

goto124
2015-12-22, 12:19 AM
Does a Fallout game have to include Lots of Loot to Loot so that the Players can Loot Everything? :smalltongue:

Harbinger
2015-12-22, 02:47 PM
That is a legitimate concern. Playing Fallout 4, all the factions immediately trust you for no reason - even if you do nothing but give the douchey, selfish responses. Within like 15 minutes of playtime, they ascend you to ranks that NPCs in the organization work for years to obtain. Don't make no sense, dawg.

That being said, Fallout: New Vegas is like the most immersive RPG in terms of roleplaying and decision-making that I've played since Arcanum. If you're going to emulate something, make it that. Don't give them quest-lines or quest-givers, give them scenarios that they can decide to impact as they wish.

New Vegas is my favorite game in the series so whatever I end up doing will likely end up being influenced by that more than anything else. That said there's only so often they can do the Nipton thing. I also need to avoid having people just do things around them.

As for what he means by "video-gamey" he gave the example of the monster that has the big red "weak spot" that you have to shoot.

BRC
2015-12-22, 02:51 PM
New Vegas is my favorite game in the series so whatever I end up doing will likely end up being influenced by that more than anything else. That said there's only so often they can do the Nipton thing. I also need to avoid having people just do things around them.

As for what he means by "video-gamey" he gave the example of the monster that has the big red "weak spot" that you have to shoot.

Ah, if that's his fear, then you don't have much to worry about. Those sorts of twitch-mechanics don't translate well into Tabletop anyway unless it's wrapped in a puzzle (The real challenge is learning about the weak spot). The only times DM's really do them is when they are deliberately trying to re-create video game mechanics on the tabletop, and even then it's really awkward.
DM: "The Robot's core is exposed as it starts venting heat'
Player: "Um...I shoot the robot in the core?"
DM: "You hit the core and deal extra damage!"
Player 2: "um...I also shoot the core?"

Those sorts of mechanics work well in a game, but don't translate into a tabletop.

Knaight
2015-12-22, 03:00 PM
Ah, if that's his fear, then you don't have much to worry about. Those sorts of twitch-mechanics don't translate well into Tabletop anyway unless it's wrapped in a puzzle (The real challenge is learning about the weak spot). The only times DM's really do them is when they are deliberately trying to re-create video game mechanics on the tabletop, and even then it's really awkward.
DM: "The Robot's core is exposed as it starts venting heat'
Player: "Um...I shoot the robot in the core?"
DM: "You hit the core and deal extra damage!"
Player 2: "um...I also shoot the core?"

Those sorts of mechanics work well in a game, but don't translate into a tabletop.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. To use an example of where they do work, the ORE system has damage on a per body part basis, and because of that things like shooting people in the head generally take them out faster than hitting them in the arm. However, if you want to specifically target the head (rather than hope for the best), there's a penalty. A skilled character in good conditions can do this reliably*, but for less skilled characters or less ideal conditions there's a tradeoff that may or may not be worth it.

*This would be something like a skilled sniper shooting at an unaware target, or a master swordsman fighting a total chump.

BRC
2015-12-22, 03:18 PM
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. To use an example of where they do work, the ORE system has damage on a per body part basis, and because of that things like shooting people in the head generally take them out faster than hitting them in the arm. However, if you want to specifically target the head (rather than hope for the best), there's a penalty. A skilled character in good conditions can do this reliably*, but for less skilled characters or less ideal conditions there's a tradeoff that may or may not be worth it.

*This would be something like a skilled sniper shooting at an unaware target, or a master swordsman fighting a total chump.
Some systems have called shot/body part mechanics built in, in which case "Shoot them in the weak point!" is just as much a part of the system as rolling dice.

But, in those games, the assumption is that the PCs will be spotting and shooting for weak points, so the encounter design does not treat "Hit them in the weak point" as a cunning mechanic that carries a fight.

The thing is, in a video game the challenge comes in execution. It's harder to hit a smaller target, so giving the player a small target to hit is more challenging, and therefore more fun. The player's skill directly impacts their ability to overcome the challenge.

In a tabletop game, hitting a smaller target just means declaring that you are aiming for the weak spot, and then rolling better. That's not the player's skill, that's luck. The SKILL comes in getting bonuses, minimizing risk, and using tactics to offset the fact that you're more likely to miss.

Adding the "Flashing Red Weak Spot" to the enemy basically means "I'm giving the PC's a penalty to hit!", which nobody really thinks makes an interesting encounter by itself.

veti
2015-12-22, 04:15 PM
Generally what I do for an open world situation is make the setting, fill it with factions that are in conflict but are in a precarious equilibrium, then work the PCs in somewhere. Then, in the events immediately before session one, I give that already precarious equilibrium a nice hard shove in the form of an external event, and let things start getting messy. The PCs are just one more group in the mess to start with, but they could end up much more than that. They could also end up dead in a gutter.

I think this is a good mental model. If the PCs spend their first session or two basically working as hard as they can just to stay alive - then by the end of that time, they'll (a) have bonded as a party, so what started as a random assortment of people who just happened to be in the same place at the same time now have a reason to stay together, and (b) have formed some relationships and reputation with some of the factions. Which ones - is pretty much up to them.

The trouble with the "quest" model is, getting started. What's a suitable quest for a low-level party? "Deliver a message" always makes me think "wait, why do you need four people to do this?" Combat or exploration quests run into the "are these random newbies really the best you can find to entrust with this job?" challenge. That's why I think, for the first few sessions, the party should be essentially working for themselves. They need to build some skills and reputation before it makes sense for anyone to hire them.

Harbinger
2015-12-22, 06:46 PM
The trouble with the "quest" model is, getting started. What's a suitable quest for a low-level party? "Deliver a message" always makes me think "wait, why do you need four people to do this?" Combat or exploration quests run into the "are these random newbies really the best you can find to entrust with this job?" challenge. That's why I think, for the first few sessions, the party should be essentially working for themselves. They need to build some skills and reputation before it makes sense for anyone to hire them.

I'm starting them out as guards on a caravan heading from California to Oregon, so it can be assumed they have experience with combat and outdoorsmanship and that sort of thing before the game begins. My problem is in having them choose what they want to do. Like, if four different people offer them jobs and they can agree to all four with no time limit or conflict that's "video gamey", but how do I give them options without doing that?

The Glyphstone
2015-12-23, 12:48 AM
...give them options with time limits and/or conflicts? Making their choices of 'quests' matter is about as un-video-gamey as you can get, though FNV and F4 toy with this via the faction reputation system.

goto124
2015-12-23, 01:32 AM
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. To use an example of where they do work, the ORE system has damage on a per body part basis, and because of that things like shooting people in the head generally take them out faster than hitting them in the arm. However, if you want to specifically target the head (rather than hope for the best), there's a penalty. A skilled character in good conditions can do this reliably*, but for less skilled characters or less ideal conditions there's a tradeoff that may or may not be worth it.

http://pad3.whstatic.com/images/thumb/f/ff/Use-V.A.T.S-in-Fallout-3-Step-1Bullet1.jpg/670px-Use-V.A.T.S-in-Fallout-3-Step-1Bullet1.jpg

Each body part has a certain % chance to hit. I'm not sure how the % is calculated, but the idea's there already.

NichG
2015-12-23, 02:56 AM
Random thought on this topic: the Fallout 4 settlement system is a good example of how the setting can work with player-driven goals rather than everything being quests and quest lines.

Consider if you had something where the PCs could gather a group of people around them. However, generally speaking, the group is not stable - just having the group work to farm or collect water or whatever would not produce enough resources for the group to survive. So the resource deficit will also get larger as the group gets larger, but the larger groups can accomplish more, more easily fend off raids, trade more widely, actually build things, etc. Maybe that percentage deficit depends on where the group is holed up - some place with high quality soil or water might even get close enough to break-even with the population size that the added benefits of being able to build and maintain permanent large structures could be enough to actually push it over and make a stable colony.

The idea would be that the PCs have to make up that deficit somehow, and must do it somewhat opportunistically - there isn't just a thing they can grind on to fill that gap, but rather they have to keep moving, looking for places they can steal, barter, or earn food. Or, the players could just set out on their own, but then they have much less in the way of support, and no one else is going to take them in (because no one has enough to go around). So there's a reason to want to have the group - if you have a bunch of camp followers, one of them might be able to patch up your wounds, someone else might know how to fit or modify armor, etc. I think this would be especially true if the camp followers directly provide some form of combat support, but that gets tedious to run unless you abstract it somehow (and that might feel 'too video-gamey'). Maybe a good middle ground is if groups of followers could provide covering fire or things like that - they won't advance the fight, but they'll provide penalties to the enemies or damage if the enemies violate certain conditions such as charging the line.

Spore
2015-12-23, 03:33 AM
Reasons to use outsiders more:

1) Intrigue: If everyone knows everyone else the chances are high that your next project can be sabotaged and you yourself killed if you show a (necessary) weakness to your agents.

2) Ability to carry items from A to B without gaining too much intel: If there's blackmailing going on and you get an important piece of info you cannot do anything with it without the help of someone 'inside'. Someone who would prefer to rip that item from your still warm hands.

3) Unparalleled skills and/or equipment: Your characters might be specialists. They might have skills, weapons or other equipment that qualifies them for the job ahead.

4) Plot hooks in the background: Why would Leia show her battle plans to Luke? Because he freed her from her prison. Why would Three Dog tell the Vault Dweller about the good fight and his father? Because he feels his father is trustworthy.

5) Miraculously be at the right/wrong time at the right/wrong spot: This one shouldn't be overdone. You just happen to walk in when x is murdered. You try to enter a building which is getting attacked by an unknown force at the time. Really don't overdo this. You can practically smell the gameyness in that. :smallsmile:

PersonMan
2015-12-23, 03:52 AM
Another aspect is manpower, especially if there's a lot of fighting going on. After a conflict, it's possible to press money/resources out of a beaten enemy, but pressing loyal recruits out of someone who just lost a bunch of people is not going to happen. So you have people who may want to expand their influence, or need things done, and have a bunch of money but no people. If they need all of their regulars to secure a city and protect the towns that are under their control, they just can't send someone more trusted to reopen communications with the outpost in the east (especially if they suspect the outpost is full of dead people and may turn whoever goes there into one as well), so they use money to acquire a more expendable form of help.

MrZJunior
2015-12-23, 06:44 AM
One of the biggest differences between tabletop and video games to me is choice. Even a very open game like Fallout is still highly restricted in what you can do, where as a tabletop is not nearly so restrained. Just be willing to play along with your players ideas and you'll start racking up differences from the games.

GloatingSwine
2015-12-23, 11:59 AM
http://pad3.whstatic.com/images/thumb/f/ff/Use-V.A.T.S-in-Fallout-3-Step-1Bullet1.jpg/670px-Use-V.A.T.S-in-Fallout-3-Step-1Bullet1.jpg

Each body part has a certain % chance to hit. I'm not sure how the % is calculated, but the idea's there already.

Called Shots were always a thing in Fallout.

Probably because they were a thing in GURPS, and Fallout was originally intended to use GURPS (they couldn't secure the license so they invented the SPECIAL system).

Harbinger
2015-12-23, 08:50 PM
I know called shots are a thing in Fallout, I've played all the games except Fallout 1 (I'm getting to it) and Tactics. I'm planning to integrate limb targeting with a system that is (hopefully) friendly to d20.

I think I'm going to have it so that targeting an arm or leg is a -5 penalty, but it cripples the limb upon exceeding the enemies damage threshold. Targeting the head is a -10 but deals double damage.

Crippling an arm means no 2 handed weapons. Crippling both means to weapons at all. Crippling a leg means halved movement. Crippling both means no movement at all.

goto124
2015-12-24, 04:22 AM
"Can I use the two-handed weapon with one arm at a penalty?"

"I hold the bat with my teeth!"
"You're better off trying to bite those raiders' eyes out."

neonchameleon
2015-12-24, 08:25 AM
I know called shots are a thing in Fallout, I've played all the games except Fallout 1 (I'm getting to it) and Tactics. I'm planning to integrate limb targeting with a system that is (hopefully) friendly to d20.

I think I'm going to have it so that targeting an arm or leg is a -5 penalty, but it cripples the limb upon exceeding the enemies damage threshold. Targeting the head is a -10 but deals double damage.

Crippling an arm means no 2 handed weapons. Crippling both means to weapons at all. Crippling a leg means halved movement. Crippling both means no movement at all.

OK. This is absolutely the wrong way to do things. It's a sensible idea - and one that was tried throughout the 80s and 90s.

Called Shots as a to hit penalty is a serious problem. Basically it gives everyone Power Attack - and crippling is largely irrelevant to NPCs (they won't survive the fight most of the time) and is, not to put too fine a point on it, crippling for PCs. There are very good reasons Gygax didn't even want crits in D&D.

But if you want to play open world games, I'd recommend picking yourself up a copy of Apocalypse World (http://apocalypse-world.com/) (which may be exactly the system you want), one of Vornheim (http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product_reviews.php?products_id=91110), and reading The Alexandrian on Caverns of Thracia (http://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/13085/roleplaying-games/jaquaying-the-dungeon). Oh, and possibly using one of the crowd-sourced hexcrawls (http://save.vs.totalpartykill.ca/grab-bag/) (as they tend to feel a lot more organic than single author hexcrawls).

Harbinger
2015-12-24, 10:46 AM
Called Shots as a to hit penalty is a serious problem. Basically it gives everyone Power Attack - and crippling is largely irrelevant to NPCs (they won't survive the fight most of the time) and is, not to put too fine a point on it, crippling for PCs. There are very good reasons Gygax didn't even want crits in D&D.

I wouldn't say it's irrelevant to NPCs at all. A big tough deathclaw isn't nearly so big and tough if it can't walk. And I'm assuming at least one of them will have First Aid skills and can fix the limbs after combat. That said it might just be an unnecessary drag after combat instead of doing what I intend it to do and making combat more visceral/intense. You probably know more about this stuff than I do.

As for the links, I'll definitely check out the Caverns, but I don't really have the money to spend on new game systems, and my players are notoriously difficult to teach game mechanics to. The crowd sourced hex crawls are really cool, but I'm not sure how I can make them work for a non-high fantasy game like Fallout without basically just writing my own. Thanks a ton btw. :)

Mark Hall
2015-12-29, 04:26 PM
I'd make sure that time passes, regardless of the player's choices, a thing.

So, the party is carrying a message from Nipton to 188 Trading Post. They probably to pass through Novac to get there. Novac just got hit by raiders, who will be back in a week. Now, if the party stops to deal with the raiders, they won't be able to deliver the message in time. If they don't deal with the raiders, they may come back to Novac being a smoking hole, or someone being kidnapped by raiders, or someone being dead, etc.

PersonMan
2015-12-30, 12:57 AM
Similarly, if Town X was occupied by raiders and everyone was hiding in a casino when the PCs arrived, the people won't necessarily all be in the casino, patrolling it with weapons out, when the PCs return three weeks after clearing out the raiders.

NichG
2015-12-30, 03:00 AM
This is just a pet peeve I guess, but I was really bothered by the density of hostiles in Fallout. That is, there were so many raiders that it felt like there were more raiders than settlers being raided. I think having time be an issue too often risks the same feeling - if it seems like you can't go through a settlement without it being one week away from being destroyed by something, you might start to ask 'why are there any settlements left at all then?'

So I think that has to be something done very judiciously. If every simple 'send a message quest' is getting its wires crossed with 'settlement under attack', there's a risk that at some point the players will just stop caring about it.

Harbinger
2015-12-31, 01:51 PM
This is just a pet peeve I guess, but I was really bothered by the density of hostiles in Fallout. That is, there were so many raiders that it felt like there were more raiders than settlers being raided. I think having time be an issue too often risks the same feeling - if it seems like you can't go through a settlement without it being one week away from being destroyed by something, you might start to ask 'why are there any settlements left at all then?'

That also frustrated me which is why I'm toning it down with the raiders in this. I prefer what New Vegas did with splitting up the raiders into actual distinct, compelling factions, rather than just having them as an undifferentiated mass of human fodder.

PersonMan
2015-12-31, 05:27 PM
New Vegas also has several trade routes going through the area - so it makes sense for raiders to be grouped up in the region, to take from the caravans passing through as they're likely to have valuables they can then go and sell/trade in the large settlements that exist nearby, rather than just going to take another three carrots from the two farmers up in a shack on the hill.

Cluedrew
2016-01-01, 09:01 AM
One think I don't think has been mentioned yet, which surprises me so much I think I may have missed it, is have enemies run away. Although it is not really a world building thing it is probably ... well I was watching someone play Fallout recently and when they got to the boss Raider I couldn't help but thinking "you are the last one, run away". People have survival instincts that many games characters don't have, and it shows.

StealthyRobot
2016-01-04, 01:05 PM
The biggest immersion ruining thing in open world video games for me is the highly limited dialogue options, especially in F4. I meet a random settler traveling on the road and try to talk to them, all they say is "Yes?" and keep walking. I want to stop them and ask where they're going, let them know that my settlement is just down the road, or maybe stick a gun to their head and take their stuff without killing them.
TTRPGs is unlimited in speech, which is what makes the biggest difference for me.

Taejang
2016-01-04, 03:45 PM
One of the biggest differences between tabletop and video games to me is choice. Even a very open game like Fallout is still highly restricted in what you can do, where as a tabletop is not nearly so restrained. Just be willing to play along with your players ideas and you'll start racking up differences from the games.
THIS. I was playing Fallout 3 last night, got the Wasteland Survival quest for the Arlington Library. "Oh, here it is on my map. I'll just go over there. Oh, there is rubble in the way. And I mysteriously cannot climb it. I guess I'll walk around. Oh, this building has glass windows! ...that I can't break through to get around the rubble. ...and the door doesn't open. ...and here is more rubble that I can't climb. Can't make a ladder, or use grenades to blow through the problem, can't hire poor settlers asking me for water to clear the rubble. Guess I'll just walk all the way around- oh look, super mutants. I died."

Table top games excel at adaptability, and allowing players to find their own solutions to problems will remove a huge "gamey" factor right away.


Similarly, if Town X was occupied by raiders and everyone was hiding in a casino when the PCs arrived, the people won't necessarily all be in the casino, patrolling it with weapons out, when the PCs return three weeks after clearing out the raiders.
Reactions. Believable reactions. Make the world living and independent of the players, and immersion will settle in. Give people problems, sometimes obvious, and have NPCs refuse help.
"You walk into town. There is a funeral going on. You glean from comments made that the deceased was killed by raiders."
"Ok, so Mr. NPC, you want us to kill those raiders for you?"
"Um, no. I hired Mr. T's security firm to do that. Who are you again?"

If the players chose to wipe out the raiders, that becomes their choice, not a quest. And that choice should have consequences (Mr NPC is grateful, but Mr T is angry and stealing his business).


That also frustrated me which is why I'm toning it down with the raiders in this. I prefer what New Vegas did with splitting up the raiders into actual distinct, compelling factions, rather than just having them as an undifferentiated mass of human fodder.
The close proximity of everything hostile to settlers is also a problem. Skyrim had it pretty bad, but the Fallout games sometimes did, too.
PC: "Hey man, I see undead by your town."
NPC: "Naw, only thing bothering us are those thieves I am paying you to get rid of."
PC: "Dude, the zombies are right there. In a little abandoned building, looking at me. Just turn your head and you'll see them."
NPC: "Did you get the thieves yet?"
PC: ...
PC: "How do you ever leave your town without getting eaten by zombies?"

goto124
2016-01-05, 01:31 AM
NPC: Those zombies are my dead family members! The small one over there is my little brother, the hunchbacked one is my grandma...

PersonMan
2016-01-05, 04:25 AM
But those thieves, the ones half an hour's walk away, they keep showing up to take our...corn, I guess, since that's all we got. They're after food, I guess.

Wait, you just took all our corn? Eh, don't care.

Cluedrew
2016-01-05, 07:44 AM
Since we are expressing things in quotes:

"Hey, have you see anyone around here? Half my stuff just disappeared but I didn't see anyone take it. Have you?"

Harbinger
2016-01-06, 01:20 AM
There's also the fact that common raiders will continue to attack no matter how terrifying you are.

"Hmmmm, this guy's wearing experimental X-1 power armor, carrying a grenade machine gun, single-handedly exterminated the three most powerful factions in the region before installing himself as dictator, and is travelling with a eight foot tall musclebound mutant as well as a talking deathclaw. Looks like an easy target! I'll just charge him with my pool cue."

:smallconfused:

Cluedrew
2016-01-06, 07:57 AM
That is also part of the "make enemies run away" thing. Enemies in a lot of video games have no AI (although 'I' is stretching it) beyond, attack that guy until dead. How often have you seen someone do so much as go for help or pull back to a defensible location? I don't think I have ever seen it in one of these open world games (strategy games I have).

Actually I would like to expand on the "make enemies run away" idea. Give hostile NPCs more personalities than "endlessly murderous psychopath with a death-wish."

Taejang
2016-01-06, 10:07 AM
There's also the fact that common raiders will continue to attack no matter how terrifying you are.
That's actually the single largest complaint I have with video games. AI is stupidly simple, and reputation is ignored in combat. Bandits will hear about the guy in daedric armor who's mere voice brings dragons crashing down. And even if they don't, they wouldn't attack the daedric armor dude, and even if they did, after I murder five of them, the rest would run away. So many points of failure.

Table top RPG enemies need not behave so irrationally. (Corollary: NPCs also don't need to be stupid, attacking super mutants or vampires or dragons with their fists.)

Actually I would like to expand on the "make enemies run away" idea. Give hostile NPCs more personalities than "endlessly murderous psychopath with a death-wish."
This. So much better if the villains have personalities.

GloatingSwine
2016-01-06, 10:17 AM
That's actually the single largest complaint I have with video games. AI is stupidly simple, and reputation is ignored in combat. Bandits will hear about the guy in daedric armor who's mere voice brings dragons crashing down. And even if they don't, they wouldn't attack the daedric armor dude, and even if they did, after I murder five of them, the rest would run away. So many points of failure.

Yeah, but then the player would get annoyed about having to chase the little bastards to get their XP and stuff.

Taejang
2016-01-06, 10:34 AM
Yeah, but then the player would get annoyed about having to chase the little bastards to get their XP and stuff.
In a game where the AI was built to that end, the player wouldn't need XP and stuff from every bandit. Low-level enemies rarely carry good loot and don't give much XP, especially when the player is a higher level. In Fallout 3, by 8th level or so the only thing I need from raiders is ammo, and by then they only give 5xp. Tweaking loot and XP from higher-level enemies (or enemies who can reasonably be assumed to attack the player anyway) would make up for any lack. Some players may struggle with the concept that they don't have to kill everything, but most players are adaptable enough to get over that hurdle eventually.

StealthyRobot
2016-01-06, 11:38 AM
*Shot in head with arrow*
"I think I heard something."
"must be my imagination."

PersonMan
2016-01-07, 12:29 PM
Yeah, but then the player would get annoyed about having to chase the little bastards to get their XP and stuff.

Which one can overcome by using a less-gamey 'XP is achieved by overcoming obstacles / making progress towards your goals' thing.

No incentive to randomly kill easily-avoided enemies for no IC reason? Check.
No incentive to refuse surrender or not let enemies flee? Check.

Itsjustsoup.com
2016-01-09, 03:16 AM
Resources.

Fallout is a game of Resource management.

Specifically, Limited Resource Management,

Specifically, Survival

You don't have to use plausible "video gamey" deniability.

Just remember - Limited Resources and Survival Resource management, and make ALL PEOPLE IN THAT WORLD OPERATE FROM THAT FRAME OF MIND.

Why doesn't quest giver A send his most trusted associate?

1) Because he does not want to LOSE his most trusted associate to the wastelands or a bad firefight. That would make him weak or vulnerable to the next wasteland monster or bad guy who wanted him for lunch.

2) Because he wants somebody to have his back when "Enemy X" comes knocking at his door. What good is an accomplished mission to a Questgiver who died due to lack of protection?

Enter the players, a way for questgiver X to give up a little cash or information, instead of losing people or protection, and the players can go quest and grow and destroy his enemies, and he grows stronger in safety. They are each others solutions.

PersonMan
2016-01-09, 05:27 AM
Speaking of resource management, a potentially interesting detail could be the difference between old and new weapons. New weapons, built from scratch, with ammunition widely available, for which spare parts and repairs are easy to find/make, versus old weapons of terrifying power but requiring careful maintenance and hoarding of resources like ammunition, spare parts, etc.

Taejang
2016-01-11, 09:51 AM
Speaking of resource management, a potentially interesting detail could be the difference between old and new weapons. New weapons, built from scratch, with ammunition widely available, for which spare parts and repairs are easy to find/make, versus old weapons of terrifying power but requiring careful maintenance and hoarding of resources like ammunition, spare parts, etc.
I personally like this idea. By way of example, mini nukes should be quite difficult to find, since nobody can make them anymore. Same for most energy cells- they may have been plentiful before the war, but nobody is making them now, so there is a finite supply.

But as we all know, energy weapons like plasma rifles or gatling lasers are some of the most powerful in the Fallout universe, and of course the Fat Man is the single most powerful (though not the most versatile). Therefore, acquisition of ammo takes its rightful place in player priorities.