Punish the PC for telling too much
In many cRPGs talking is a good thing. The more you talk to people (NPCs) the higher your chances, they will tell you important things. There is very little decision making involved. You can go through the game by systematically talking to every NPC and trying all non-provocative dialog options.
IRL half of the art of talking is knowing which subjects to avoid, which information not to disclose and how to phrase things, so they will sound right to the listener, without being outright lies.
A multiple choice dialog system requires very little intelligence on the side of the player. Having to write your own answers (maybe linked to the journal, so you don't get confused about terminology) would be much more of a challenge.
In any case: The player should need to think twice before disclosing information to anyone. Even friendly looking NPCs. Any information he discloses about himself and his objectives can be used against him. It reveals weaknesses, where to find him, the things that he considers valuable and that are worth getting to before he does. And any NPC might have a hidden agenda, be chatty or just let information about the PC slip accidentally to the PC's enemies. Please punish the PC for disclosing too much to too many people or just the wrong person. Not every time, but if he has many or powerful enemies, punish him often and make it dangerous. Powerful enemies might even have their minions follow the PC around and ask anybody he talks to to tell them, what he said.
This probably would be used only little. Maybe there should be somekind of warning during dialog which tells about danger. Nothing like DANGER text, but NPC could act suspiciously, someone has warned about him or hopefully more delicate signs.
Purest Prodigy commented
Absolutely agree with this. In the beginning of Planescape you're warned repeatedly about acting too suspicious, but never really see the consequences of doing so in regards to asking too many out of place questions
Yes yes yes! Love this. But im sure its just going to be implemented there and there. I hope im wrong and the reactivity will be that good as they keep saying.
I like this idea.
The common WRPG approach to dialogue is just about letting the player broach every available topic in the dialogue menu. What the player may and should do then, is just click and skip through every line systematicly, starting from the top, which not very exciting.
NPCs would be much more interesting if they had limited patience and forbidden subjects. Combined with descriptions of facial expressions and other social cues, such an improvement to the old dialogue tree, is what could advance Torment as the successor of PS:T.
Ahm. I didn't play much cRPGs until now but in PST you certainly had NPC's where you had to pick your questions or answers carefully. Otherwise he may tell you a lie, won't tell you anything, doesn't speak with you at all anymore, sometimes you have to find an arguement from another person to convince him and such things. I don't know but in PST I always had the feeling that I have to chose my conversation carefully because it may very well cause a consequence.
I even saw that a couple times in Icewind Dale (and I'm only through the first chapter).
I think it would be better to have more dynamic NPCs who would come over to the PC to ask for directions, request for aid (which a lot of RPGs already do), ask where they got that glowing-sword-of-everlasting-anarchic-cacophony, ask where they came from, ask their identities and whatever that piques their curiosity.
If the PCs reveal anything to such NPCs, they will get some positive (the NPCs will be thankful for the PCs info and provide them with reward or rumors about artifacts/hidden caches)/negative consequences (like what Mythical Creature stated in his idea). Maybe even both (like the water caravan in Fallout 1).
So, it's a risk for us to take. Else, we will always lie or be too honest.
I like this idea for characters in the world, but I have found that I generally dislike the gameplay mechanics where you lose influence with your party members and have to constantly worry about an errant conversation option costing you the ability to do something cool with someone in your party.
Did see this in torment too: If the duskmen find out nameless is immortal they eject him from their faction.
Mythical Creature commented
@nstgc The player should be able to talk about nothing in particular as much as he likes -- unless he mentions said magical item, or that his green ring of power, needs a) to be loaded in a green lantern every once in a while and b) is perfectly helpless to touch or influence anything that is yellow.
Also if the PC does not carry the magical item, but is looking for him, there might be a villager that was looking for it, too, when he was young and tells the PC everything he knows. But the same villager might think "Oh, this is my last chance to gain that item! I need to lead that fool astray, so he does not get there before me. And I definitely need to gather my own group of adventurers, so we can get there before him!"
Mythical Creature, are you referring just to secrets or simply talking too much in general. If you are mean punish the player for telling every villager that s/he carries a magical item meant to destroy a dark lord, yeah, I'm okay with that triggering an event that brings out some black guard. If you mean just going around talking about nothing in particular, that's something else entirely.
Mythical Creature commented
@nstgc I, too, like to hear what people say. But the art of dialogue is about getting them talking without revealing anything that could be used against you. Otherwise it's just prompting anybody on any subject. Exclusive information is a resource that IRL you go out of your way to keep that way. You don't walk around and prompt people at a a party about your STD. You talk to your doctor about it, knowing that he will has strong incentives to hold his peace about it.
@MReed Giving the PC problems/secrets that can be used against him is part of the request here. Making the player aware, that one ambush is much harder than it would have been is another part. For example the leader of the attackers might mock him, that it was the PC's own reckless or naive stupidity that allowed his enemies to join forces with the local gang at this, making the local gang, that would have been a mere nuisance a serous threat, because now, they are better armed, well prepared, know the PC's strengths and weaknesses, or they are just greater in number. Such a force might close one path to the PC. He might not be able to win that fight and be forced to flee, looking for a secret passage out, that may be may not be there, trapping the PC until he dies of thirst. Or he might make it through the fight (loosing one or two companions) and find evidence in the loot, that it was his indiscriminate talking that made this fight so wicked and loose quite some standing with his companions (some might leave) and get a good thrashing from them, too. Of course sensible companions might warn him several times, before it's too late.
Adding to nstgc's comment: I've never seen a game where the PC /had/ any secrets that he/she might disclose that would cause problems -- at least, not problems that the /player/ would notice.
* "Any information he discloses about himself or his objectives...": The player expects to be ambushed, do fetch quests, pay off various parties, and the like to obtain his objectives. I doubt anyone would even /notice/ if these events came about because you told the wrong NPC the wrong thing.
* "...where to find him...": Even if the PC /has/ a permanent (or even temporary), the PC /expects/ to be attacked / robbed / etc. at that location -- it would be boring, after all, if nothing ever happened there. Also, I've never had a dialog in /any/ game where the PC was asked "where do you live / where can I find you" -- it is always the other way around (the NPC says "Meet me at X"). This rather defeats this possibility.
* "...considers valuable..." The PC generally considers the same things valuable as anyone else (gold, powerful equipment, and the like). It is marginally possible that revealing that you are looking for the "widget of doom" might motivate a NPC to get it before you, but... Again, this type of reversal is so typical in RPGs that I suspect that the player would never realize why this type of reversal happened. Even with this, if you can't talk about the "widget of doom" for fear that someone else will acquire it, it is going to be awfully hard to find, isn't it?
This is one of those things that simply can't be implemented because it is a /game/ and not real life. The *player's* goals (have lots of adventures) don't agree with the theoretical *PC's* goals (do what they need / want to do *with a minimum of risk*). The player knows that the PC will always achieve his goals (thanks to the power of "save and restore") and therefore has no need to be cautious -- and, in fact, being cautious is actually contraindicated as it reduces the amount of content the player will experience.
So... Not worth the effort to implement, I'm afraid. The only platform where I can see this type of mechanic as working is in a MMORPG with universal (no opt out) PvP combat, where it might be in the best interest of the player to hide the location of his/her house for fear of being robbed or killed.
I almost gave a vote for towards this, then stopped, merely because I like hearing what people have to say. I agree that it unrealistic, but carrying more than one set of armor on you is as well.