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Religion after 1.4

Discussion in 'Rise from Erebus Modmod' started by Valkrionn, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I'm aware; Again, my point is that it is not the stereotypical fantasy.

    Also keep in mind, for every one example of good, you can come up with another 10 or 20 of evil. ;)
     
  2. Elder Methyl

    Elder Methyl Warlord

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    What got me posting was you saying that FfH was not for BvBPL. I lost my temper and decided to illustrate why FfH was for him. I made many tangents while doing so, and I'm sorry about that.
     
  3. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    Not an issue at all. ;)

    Probably shouldn't have said it wasn't for him; Just wanted to make it clear that I don't think FfH has ever been crystal clear on alignment, and never will be. At least not in RifE.
     
  4. Elder Methyl

    Elder Methyl Warlord

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    I've accepted that, as I've said.

    Edit: I forgot to ask you this, but what exactly are Damnos' failings? To me he seems like a true paragon of goodness. Will you add more flaws next revision?
     
  5. Morkonan

    Morkonan Warlord

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    Names are important. They define how something is perceived from the outset. I fully understand "Alignment", at least from the classic AD&D perspective. I also understand the social component and think that it's a "Good Fit" for the game.

    But, the game's "Sides" were not initially designed that way. Basium was brought up. Basium is a force of nature, a contradiction when it comes down to defining an Alignment. There is one moral force guiding Basium's actions - Defeating Demons. The social aspect is, generally chaotic, preferring to pursue the moral goal through war and destruction with no chance for Peace and the rule of Law.. But, neither apply, here. There is no Law that would effect Hell.

    The game conflict for the player is to win against several opponents in any number of ways. The setting, however, has a broader conflict of ultimately resisting or aiding the advances of Hell (Evil) on your way to victory. But, that isn't a victory condition, just a great backdrop for the setting. Consequently, the sides are designed with that setting in mind. Good vs Evil is an intrinsic part of the setting, if not the gameplay itself. And, the setting is something that has to be protected in order for the game's potential to be fully realized. That's all I'm saying, there.

    But, the setting is different. There isn't much of a noble story behind Hyborem and the clear lines between Good and Evil are intentionally blurred, by design, in order to present equally appearing factions for the players to choose from, each with a point of view of the broader conflict that is translated from their own race's perspective. Good and Evil are intentionally "Grey" amongst Sides. In WoW, back when I used to play for far too long, there really were only two factions that could be classed as "Evil" - Alliance Humans and The Forsaken. But, even the Forsaken could be excused, a little bit. Being dead can be a downer.. Human treachery, on the other hand, could not be excused! FOR THE HORDE! :D

    Be very careful that the new incarnation does NOT turn into an Alignment Game, where the actions of the player are completely dictated by their Alignment.. or desired Alignment. Any time you artificially constrict the actions of a player in a sandbox game, you put them on a rail just as bad as an invisible wall. Sure, a player can decide to do all sorts of things during the course of a game. But, a VERY limited number of them should dramatically change the foundation of "their game" during that play period. Balancing that with the need to predict the unexpected in a game is very difficult. ie:

    I have choice X to make between A & B. "A" will allow me to continue with the Alignment that I have been playing, reinforcing, building around, and enjoying for the past four hours. However, "B" will prevent my Civilization from being crushed by the SOD that is currently marching towards my Capitol. But, if I choose B, I don't get to play the game I've been enjoying and have to give up that enjoyment to find new enjoyment in this new Alignment and figure out how to proceed from there.

    To combat that problem, most games with fluid Alignments allow for only gradual change. IOW, it comes from a series of decision points given to the player, each decision ranked fairly equally, with a few large, but clearly evident, decision points presenting themselves so the "slow" player gets the gist of what it actually is that they're deciding they want to be and how the game is going to facilitate that. RiFE is a very dynamic game, with situations changing rapidly until the game "matures." (ie: Once the map is fully revealed and most settlements have been done, the game is generally "Mature" and late-game elements, like Basium and Hyborem along with the Armeggedon Counter, start to grow in importance or get introduced.)

    IOW, for what could be a six to eight to 12 hour game that is highly dynamic (much more so than any single-player RPG one could care to play, Oblivion included) setting up decision points for Alignment could be very difficult. The play may vary dramatically over the course of that game.

    I'm not a big fan of Stardock's games as having a lot of "depth." So, don't mistake that here. But, a good example of trying to set a player's Alignment in a long, dynamic game can be found in Galactic Civilization's 2. The player has a few decision points thrust at them which have relatively little impact on the gameplay, itself. Yet, in the broader scope, it somewhat effects the player's abilities with diplomacy and how other races supposedly "view" the player. In reality, in the game, it really doesn't mean much of anything... It's simply a "Roleplaying Element" with not a heck of a lot of weight to it as far as gameplay goes. In fact, in many games like that, Alignment has little effect. Or, far worse than having little effect, Alignment can railroad a player's choices that could have a dramatic impact on their game experience. (I remember one RPG long ago that ruined your shot at obtaining a nifty item if you had chosen one of the polarized responses in a decision point that took place in the very early game.)

    So, what some people do is give a player an "Oops Factor" by making decision points that are very heavily weighted have little impact on any present gameplay. So, you're never forced with the Ultimate Question when you are least free to make an honest choice. Other "Oops" factors are ways that one can push the odds in favor of a particularly desired Alignment, in case the Player chose.. poorly.. early in the game. So, making donations to a temple, building a particular shrine, visiting the same sick kid and bringing them medicine.. over and over and over.. etc.. Will count as weighting the odds in favor of whatever Alignment the player wishes to "roleplay", despite the in-game decisions that the player could have chosen by mistake or necessity.

    Oh, I didn't expect a turnaround, just an opportunity to blurp up my thoughts on the matter.

    In closing, because of the Setting in RiFE, I feel that Good, Evil and Neutral need to be very firmly rooted in the role-playing aspect of the Game. That includes Side choices as well as Win conditions and a very few, inconsequential, actions as "Decision Points" in the game. I also feel it is important to clearly define the Good and the Evil, as well as the Neutral, but still allow for sandbox play.

    The mechanics of the game are meaningless in Good vs Evil games. (At least, generally.) It's primarily a role-playing decision and it needs to be approached in that light. Because of the dynamic gameplay experience of the game, making them much more than that will be extremely difficult. Sometimes, the player's imagination is the tool that you must rely on the most. And, that can not be hardcoded.
     
  6. xalien

    xalien Prince

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    I understand that it's all about balance but I'd say that FoL, being a nature religion, should be chaotic. Besides, do we really need to have a neutral religion?
     
  7. Morkonan

    Morkonan Warlord

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    Perhaps I did not explain myself sufficiently, despite using up a lot of internet ink..

    It's the player's perceptions that are the most important. For instance, Valk brought up WoW. WoW is built around the idea that a player's perception means everything to how they view their character and play experience, from the role-playing perspective.

    From the Horde's perspective, the Alliance are backstabbing, double-crossing jerks. From the Alliance's perspective... I dunno, maybe the Horde are just stinky. Either way, what's actually on the box are Evil Orcs, Valiant Paladins and boobs.. often all mixed up together.

    That's the setting, on the box. But, inside is a more complex story of misunderstanding, passions ruling the day, honorable "Evil" and dishonest "Good." The player is gifted with the ultimate in rewards that any story-teller, like an RPG designer, can gift them with - The "Aha!" moment. That's the point where the player figures out the story from their own Race's (Side) point of view and redefines their role-play experience from that perspective.

    In D&D, an evil Drow Dark Elf could see the rest of the world as being "Evil" and promoting hurtful "weakness" and the disease of "charity." For that character, the outside world that promotes such things is truly evil in the most basic sense. It's evil because it directly conflicts with that character's value system. And, from a role-playing perspective, that is exactly the kind of gaming experience the player and DM are seeking to foster.

    Good and Evil are simply conflicting perceptions. If one wishes to construct a game world where good and evil are truly just conflicting perceptions, then one has to add a shared game "Win" element to the Sides, where each attempts to attain that Conflict Goal according to their chosen Mores.

    So, D'tesh seeks to save the world by placing it under his rule. Bannor seeks to bring Law to disorder in order to save everyone from themselves. The Scions seek to reintroduce the world of the past to save the world of the present. The Balseraphs.. just want to have a good time and don't care who pays the bar tab.

    All of those could be "Evil" or "Good" depending upon the player's perceptions. For the most part, this is clearly done in the game's original design. But, the player needs a starting point in the setting in order to place themselves within it, in regards to their perspective, in order to enjoy the setting. In RiFE, the only constancy is the Setting - Everything else changes. Change the setting too much by introducing ambiguity in key game-setting elements and you lose much of the foundation for the appeal of the setting.
     
  8. Morkonan

    Morkonan Warlord

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    Absolutely. Pure Good and Pure Evil are, in a word, boring.

    Each must have their fatal flaws, their "ambiguities" and each must always have a point-of-view than an observer can understand and relate to, in order to have the most engaging appeal.

    Frankenstein was not evil, but the good Dr. Frankenstein probably was. Lestat was definitely evil, from a certain point of view, but he wasn't always that way and desires change, from a unique perspective. Sauron was pure evil, but boring because as a character because we didn't ever get his take on things.. So, he became a Force of Nature that had to be defeated instead of an Actor of Change (Character) in the story. Meanwhile, Lord Foul the Despiser takes on the cloak of fairly ultimate evil, with only his will to persevere in his corruption as seen as remotely interesting and Elric becomes a classic anti-hero, driven to his tortured fate and, ultimately, succumbing to it.

    Good and Evil must have their own stories that a reader or player can identify with and, at times, even sympathize or empathize with, in order for them to be "interesting."
     
  9. Jheral

    Jheral Prince

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    There were a few reasons - most of the team wanted an even distribution of religions across the alignments (personally don't really care for that kind of logic, but never mind that - it's been settled and I support the decision), and we already had a chaos one, as we'd moved OO away from Evil.

    There is also the idea that nature does not have any alignment tendencies - which I do agree with, by the way - and that the concept of lawful and chaotic 'alignments' ultimately does not apply to non-sapient beings.

    Nature is, after all, neither static, in the sense that it constantly changes in accordance with it's environment, nor fickle and unpredictable, in that it is concerned only with it's own survival. There really is very little chaos in nature, to be honest.

    ...and I would agree. In fact, I don't think there should be an alignment system at all, no matter what it is meant to portray (in fact, this discussion is showing exactly why there shouldn't be one). At least not one based on such nebulous and arbitrary values as good or evil. But it seems we can't have fantasy these days without everything being about good vs evil, so whatever. Though I guess it's mostly that 'Nothing From FFH2 Can Ever Be Changed!' :rolleyes:

    Anyway, despite my misgivings about alignments in general, it is still better to have terms that actually mean something that people can understand rather than FFH2's method of using the terms for real-world concepts, but have them mean something completely different and unrelated (this way, at least we get rid of the need to reiterate constantly that 'Good' does not mean 'good').

    By the way, I am not sure I would support the actions of people who willingly enslave themselves to demons and then proceed to go kill more or less innocent people. Wouldn't blame the survivors for being bitter about it either, or for wanting to defend themselves if it should happen again. The Horde races are just a bunch of uncivilized brutes who like to kill people for fun. :mischief:
     
  10. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter Emperor

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    Cool! So Lawful Good will have a different mix of units available to it than Neutral Good or Lawful Neutral, etc.

    Alignment-specific units for the new axis (Loyalist, Renegade, etc.) would have been fun, I think, but I'm sure you and the team have your reasons.

    Since you mentioned Druids, are you going to remove the alignment restriction on Dwarven Druids, so that the Khazad and Luchuirp leaders don't have to contort their religious choices to be able to build their UU?
     
  11. Jheral

    Jheral Prince

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    Dwarven Druids will most likely be the same as their non-dwarven counterparts. So the same Alignment restrictions will probably apply.
     
  12. Trappisto

    Trappisto Chieftain

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    Glad thats all settled then. I'll look forward to downloading it via the SVN in the next couple of weeks.
     
  13. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter Emperor

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    D&D alone gives you plenty to choose from, to say nothing of mythology, fantasy literature, etc. I'll definitely look forward to seeing what you guys go with here.
     
  14. JEiK66

    JEiK66 Chieftain

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    Though it would be nice to have good and evil more or less mean what I think they mean, I have some problems with it.

    What you think is good is not always what i think is good. For example I always thought Basium and Order are Good, not in spite of what they do to fight demons, but because of what they do to fight demons. I think the ambiguity of dark fantasy is that the game's morality is not the same as real world morality.

    I think the new alignment/religion system might be to complex and confusing. Am I choosing a religion to get its benefits, to change my alignment, and/or because we share the same alignment? If I want an alignment that doesn't fit my religion will I have to make a lot of poor, out of character choices?
     
  15. Morkonan

    Morkonan Warlord

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    RiFE proved, at least to me, that FFH2 could be better than it was. RiFE successfully improved gameplay and depth to an extreme degree, much like FFH2 took the standard, somewhat boring, Civ IV game and stood it on it's ear and made it do magic tricks... :D

    Good and Evil aren't as arbitrary as people think they are... I'll tell you the absolute truth - When you're younger, and I was, once, Good and Evil do look arbitrary. They look entirely like matter of perspective. In a way, they are, when judging certain social behaviors. But, there are firm truths that underlie both Good and Evil and they become much easier to identify as you get a bit older and society starts to make sense. I don't mean it makes sense in a pleasant way or that such definitions are always clear. But, the old adage "I'll know it when I see it" is, largely correct, as bad as it sounds. Good and Evil may seem archaic, but they are really a part of every day social interaction.

    "Innocent" is a matter of interpretation, isn't it? Or, is that just the excuse someone embarking on genocide would use?

    One can indoctrinate.. anyone. I've said it elsewhere and I'll say it again: Give me sufficient capital to gain control of the media and I can get a dead cat elected as President of the United States. It may take a few years, but I guarantee I can get it accomplished.

    Why is that?

    Control perception and you effectively control someone's reality. Control that reality and you can insert whatever you want into it. That is, in part, what designing games is all about - You control the perceptions of willing players in order to forge a "reality" for them to experience. Usually, the intent is to make that an enjoyable experience. Sometimes, it's obviously not and another iteration of ET:The Extraterrestrial Atari video game is forced upon the screaming masses...

    In a game like RiFE/FFH2, the story is important to the setting. In Tetris, there is no backstory worth considering. But, it's one of the most popular games ever made, nonetheless. The setting, however, doesn't go beyond stacking blocks in a box for.. the simple pleasure of stacking them.

    In Wow, and in FFH2, to a certain extent, the Sides are defined by Good, Evil and Neutral, yet each have their own perspective that may challenge those first assumptions. Any good character in a story, as outlined above, must be interesting and, to do that, often the storyteller breeds empathy or, at the very least, makes the villains identifiably real with real-world problems and human faults or even human strengths. And, of course, making the heroes not quite so.. heroic is completely necessary. FFH2/RiFE is the same way.

    But, the words are still there and they have meaning. Whether or not the chosen Side actually lives up to the full expectations of those words or the religion itself fully expresses them should mostly be up to the perception of the player, with gentle hints for contrasting views liberally scattered about.. to make things more interesting.
     
  16. Elder Methyl

    Elder Methyl Warlord

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    As for the Invicta, why not have them revere the concept of Hope directly instead of a risen Agares?
     
  17. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    People tend not to revere concepts so much as they do figures which they believe embody those concepts.
     
  18. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    How do the religion and alignment changes affect the councils?
     
  19. Elder Methyl

    Elder Methyl Warlord

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    Good point, as people don't generally know about the Precepts. But if they did, somone might get it into their head that the Precept is different from the person that has it. I can see some members of the Invicta finidng out about them and making plans to detach Agares from his sphere and take control of it themselves, raising up a new god of hope in his place. That was one of the interpretations of the original Dawn Invictus.

    Hmm, a scenario in which the Invicta tries to procure the Godslayer and then stab Agares with it seems interesting.
     
  20. Jheral

    Jheral Prince

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    To my mind, there really isn't that much of a difference between the precept and the entity that holds it - the whole Mulcarn/Auric/Ice relationship makes me think that the person who assumes such a position essentially becomes the precept, with a few variations but with the same core concept being the core of their personality. So really, worshipping the Precept of Hope and worshipping Agares is, in the end, really the same thing, as I see it.

    Like Valkrionn said, though, people tend to worship representations (anthropomorphic or no), rather than the concepts themselves.
     

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