Placebo Love
A lonely office worker is guided by a silent Muse to solve the mystery behind his two Doppelganger Soulmates.



Hymn to the Earless God

So excited!


This is BIG NEWS!

Day 1 "purchase"!

Balancing The Money

Replace money completely with a complex series of item bartering.

This is half joke. Scarlet SaGa: Ambitions did this, and I thought it was really neat. Enemies dropped things and you could basically use any of that to buy other stuff from a myriad of shops around the world. Maybe the scope is a bit too big for your solution, but I quite liked thinking in terms of trading all my Potions to get one Better Potion, or trading my Potions for Stinkweed and trading that for Waffles so I could trade the waffle guy for Waffle Spear +10.

EDIT: wait a minute what is up with the age of this am I a necromancer right now?

Dialogue choices in games

Merlandese, that solution is an interesting one, but it seems to me that it forces the main character to have some elements of their personality already defined. In your example, is the the food being too salty objective fact? Or is that just the main character's personal preference?

Yeah, in that example, the solution works specifically regarding characters that already exist as characters (think someone like Tidus in FFX). Not blank slates or mutes, but characters that already exist and yet you still want to control their dialogue options.

I do this in Placebo Love. The character has real inner truths (although those truths actually vary from player to player based on their choices, but that's a layer too complicated). You control the character and make their decisions, but there are things that are true no matter what about that character. If that character is from Sao Paulo, and a person asks "where are you from?", you then get to choose whether he tells the truth ("I am from Sao Paulo"), a half truth ("I'm not from around here.") or a full lie ("I was born here.").

You don't choose their reality, you choose how much of their reality they will reveal. And that is what branches the paths or affects others.

If each row in the assertive column is considered the "default" choices that could lead to different branches down the dialogue tree, coloring them with passive or aggressive tones would not change the ultimate outcome, but with more immediate feedback from whoever you are talking to.

This reminds me a little of what Christina Love does in her games. Check out Ladkiller in a Bind. Options are usually categorized into things like FLIRTY or DRAMATIC or RUTHLESS. They each have different tweaks and, more importantly, not every dialogue option utilzes every single possible style. They are catered per scene. I think this gives the dialogue a nice robustness without feeling overwhelming.

Dialogue choices in games

One of the solutions I had for this "problem" is framing the dialogue choice in terms of lying, telling the truth, or something in between.

It shows what my main character thinks. For example:


Then you choose how honest to be with that truth. The struggle then becomes more realistic. You want to be an honest person, but being honest has the consequence of offending people, or being awkward, or just being wrong about something. Or maybe they appreciate that honesty!

The result is that you have to learn more about the characters your MC is chatting with and decide for yourself how much the MC needs to hide their true thoughts. No black and white morality, and no off-the-wall options: just variations on the truth.

I hate white mages

I've been playing Etrian Odyssey Nexus, and I can point to the Arcanist class and say "Do this. This is cool!"

This is something I thought of while reading all these posts: it kinda feels like the Healer/White Mage HAS been solved into a more dynamic and interesting class many times over, like this Arcanist. The issue is more that games can't help but also include this dedicated White Mage, which lessens the viability of the more interesting versions simply through its inevitability.

I hate white mages

Paladin is a good point to bring up. If a Paladin is Warrior + Healer, there should be a Thief + Healer.

Reject Paladin and embrace the stealer/healer.

I hate white mages

To make the transition easier, maybe most healing spells could be replaced with a regen spell instead? That could free up the healer to do other things while healing is already being taken care of?

Yeah, in my never-going-to-happen spreadsheet-based dream RPG, I've basically done this, and for all the same reasons. All healing is either regen-based or happens with a delay. (All magic happens at the beginning of your next turn, instead of immediately like regular attacks do.) So the idea is that you are trying to set up periods of continued health regeneration which then frees you up to either do other stuff, or layer on more regen.

I think for a system like this, as long as you resist the urge to have a way to do a massive heal shot, it'll work in the balance. Even one immediate heal spell would create a dynamic where you optimize ways to only use that spell instead of any of the regen stuff.

But really, let's just kill two birds with one stone, eh?


How to fix thief

me, a genius, a month ago:
Out of battle usefulness is another area where I try to make Thieves appealing. While a typical RPG might not have a robust lockpick system or stealth, they could still have a passive bonus, like a chance of finding gold or extra treasure after a battle. DQ3 does that, too. FF5 Thieves could run (handy!) and find hidden paths. In Hellion, thieves have the best stat growth for out of battle skills.

It took all that time for the seed you planted to grow into a beautiful braintree in my head.

I like the alternate idea of having an asymmetrical function of battle for the thief. Like maybe they come in and do stuff randomly, almost like Interceptor in FF6, but you can still modify their rates and moves and stuff before battle starts.

But yeah, going toe-to-toe with othe job classes on the front line seems like it will always feel unworkable.

How to fix thief

I woke in a cold sweat at 4:58AM, also known as the Crazy Cat Hour. And it struck me. I know why we can't fix the thief.


We're trying to train a fish to fly here. It's futile! The thief has no business in a battle queue!

The best solution is to keep the thief doing things external to battles, like pickpocketing NPCs and unlocking doors. And if you MUST put the thief in battle, they should have their own parallel asymmetric plain of activity, similar to analyzer roles in Persona 3/4/5. Lining a squirrely little thief alongside R'othgar the Berserker and expecting them to have some sort of balanced routine is nonsense.

We're all fools, and should be pitied!