Traits for notables


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After departing the Battanian highlands to do some light Vlandian suppression work, and coming back to villages full of missing daughters and family feuds (again - we TALKED about that just a week ago, men!), in the ensuing multi-daughter-search fog I realized things could get much more interesting if notables also were assigned specific character traits. Since quests are being reworked and/or added, thought it would be a good time to drop this suggestion in the hat.

Why add traits to notables? Because it would allow expanding quest range and outcomes that don't just feel more natural, but reflect the personality of a specific character. In effective gameplay terms, some quests would only be given by specific trait-owning notable (say, a deceitful village elder looking to have some troublesome upstart quietly shanked), and the method a player took to resolve one would also impact relationship gain as well.

Consider the missing daughter quest. First of all, it would be nice if there were far more options for the confrontation than currently present. The duel choice, as an example, should take under consideration whether the player used lethal or non-lethal weapon. Before the fight starts due to failed persuasion, why not have an option to bribe the man to leave the girl alone, either? Better yet, have different persuasion choices available depending on whom you want to persuade (and the character traits of the NPCs) - the man, or the woman.

Getting back to notable traits, assuming success, their reaction to the method of success could also reflect their personality. So, that same "deceitful" notable might be more pleased (+rep gain) if you managed to bribe the "kidnapper," rather than persuade the daughter with appeals to honor or loyalty. A "cruel" notable might react all that much better to the player simply killing the "kidnapper," whereas a "merciful" one might balk enough at such an outcome to offer only minimal relationship gain.

On top of that, having traits for notables also opens up different ways they could influence the growth and prosperity of the settlement they reside in. As an example, a "greedy" notable might be better at fleecing other villagers for tax (so better income to the lord holding the fief), but cause a slower prosperity gain because of it. A "merciful" notable might increase loyalty of the settlement better, but also have a slight negative impact on its security (lets wrongdoers off easily, for better or for worse).

Traits on notables might also be useful to generate more varied quest choices from the noble owners of the fief. Basically have a bunch of quests related to "removal" of a particular notable that the fief owner does not like due to conflicting personality traits. Something that he might not be able to do openly due to kingdom's legal setup - this might actually mesh well with kingdom policies like Council of Commons or Citizenship Rights preventing open removal of "offending" notables - by both AI lords and the player.

Perhaps a "cruel deceitful" noble would not happy to have some "merciful honest" village elder, especially if you include ambient dialogue criticizing conflicting personalities to the dialogue options. This could trigger an "assassination" quest for the player (assuming they have decent enough relationship with the lord to be privy to such tasks). On the other hand, if you flip the roles, the "merciful honest" noble might simply request that the player persuade - or, worst case, pay off - the "cruel deceitful" notable if not to leave the village, than at least surrender their office.

I'd also would very much like to see the "gang leaders" affect settlements (and generate different quests) depending on their personality traits. They do not have to all be outright criminals - perhaps a "daring honest" gang leader simply organized the neighborhood poor to oppose a "cruel closefisted" merchant from overly exploiting local inhabitants after the local lord turned indifferent to the situation?

Self-organized "citizen's watch" groups were present as far back as among the classical-period Jews of Alexandria, and they certainly weren't operating within the legal framework that we are aware of. It was common during medieval period for local guilds or just neighborhoods to have their own "bouncers" around that, in case of lower classes, were absolutely not sanctioned by local law, but necessary for keeping peace within their small community. Especially if it was subject to frequent visits of outsiders, such as rural inhabitants arriving for the local market day, or travelers from wider afar participating in a yearly fair.

I think traits would really help flesh out distinctive personalities for various notables, turning them from largely forgettable elements into, hopefully, memorable individuals, simply through different ways they react with the rest of the world due to their personality traits. Different quests, different passive impact on settlement development, perhaps even different troops if more "mercenary" types are added into the game.

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GG Cannon

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I really like this idea... Personally I definitely support anything that gives more character, personality, variety and uniqueness to the game's world.