Best Use of Personality Stats?

I’m a bit new to all this so I’m not really sure how to start this but… here I go?

So, I’ve been playing Choice games for some time now, my first was “The Lost Heir: Fall of Daria”, and together with a friend of mine we’ve decided to try writing one based on an idea? Project? Fictional world? Uh… an idea we’ve been working on, slowly, for the past year-ish and that we’ve been wanting to do something with. We thought that trying our hand at writing (and coding I guess) a Choice game (Hosted game? Potentially? Hopefully?) would be a good (and fun) experience, to help use really get a feel for the world and such.

But, let me get onto the main topic. My question is how should we use personality type stats? The ones that exist on opposing sides of the same gage, for example shy and outspoken.

The way I currently have it planned out (which is barely) is to have multiple categories of stats. Personality stats that indicate, well, the MC’s general personality, Attributes that track things like strength, agility, and fortitude, and Skills that are the MC’s ability to preform certain actions like melee combat or persuasion.

While I think it is fairly obvious (for my purposes at least) how to use Attribute and Skill type stats, I’m not sure how to fully utilize the Personality type. Or at least, use them in a way that doesn’t take the freedom of choice out of the readers hands. Obviously, choices will affect the MC’s personality, but I’d prefer to avoid the personality dictating which choices they can make. I’m thinking of mainly using the personality stats to change small bits of the text to reflect the MC’s personality and how other characters react to it (kind of like in “Samurai of Hyuga”). However, then I start wondering if I really need to track personality if it won’t be affecting anything in a major way, exspecially since there are the other categories and I don’t want the stat screen to get too cluttered.

Thoughts?

(Also, sorry if this seems super rambly. I’m terrible at getting strait to the point.)

tldr: Should I include personality tracking stats if they won’t have a major effect on the actual choices the reader can make (They’d be mostly for character building)?

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I’m piecing over stats myself, but for personality I’m taking inspiration from the system used in Pillars of Eternity. Rather than personality you have reputation scores for different attributes, which will affect how some NPCs treat you. If you make a lot of compassionate choices, people will respond to you differently than if you tend towards ruthlessness.

I don’t intend to block out choices based on personality, but it is possible that it’ll make skill-checks easier. If you’re trying to convince someone of something that’s difficult to believe for example, a character with a reputation for honesty will have an easier time being believed than someone with a reputation for deceptiveness.

I’m not sure yet how I’m going to implement skills/attributes alongside this reputation system (or if I’m going to at all), but this will be how I’m handling personality. Also because I just remember you asked about stats screen, I will be displaying them but I probably won’t be using percentage bars. Keep in mind that these are things I’ve started working out over the past week so they are very liable to change, but I’m planning to have “levels” for these reputations, and display those. Either displayed as numerical value (from 1 to 3) or as brief descriptions based on those levels (“You are known for your honesty in most any situation”, or “When someone needs to lighten the mood, people know to look at you first”)

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My first question is: Do you need personality stat? If you can’t implement them, perhaps don’t. If you have a lot of attributes and skill check, you might not need personality checks as well.

I generally tend to use personality for flavour text. No matter how much freedom you give, you have to make some assumption about the MC, personality stat can be used to give the reader some control over that text:
A positive MC could for example focus on the opportunities and possibilities when describing a situation, while a pessimistic MC might focus on describing all the danger and things to look out for.

Whatever you do. DO NOT MIX personality and reputation. Decide on one or another. Either the stats track the inner works of the MC’s mind, or they track how other sees you. Do not do both, it becomes a mess when players decide to ascribe different motivations to the choices than the author.

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Personality usually affects the flavor texts. This means that you can’t lock the player out of a choice because of the lack of their skill.

Example
*choice
   #[Strength] Hit it very hard.
   #[Dexterity] Run away fast.
   #[Charisma] Sweet-talk and sugarcoat.

You can’t lock a shy player from a [Charisma] option, and so on. However, you can utilize their [Shy] stats to what happen next after they choose the option. Maybe a shy character will feel sorry when they choose the [Strength] option, an outspoken character may brag with a lot of purple prose sprinkled in.

To set up the different flavor text, you can create a series of individual *if commands on a single passage, and put each personality on it.

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I am not a big fan of opposed stats myself. I think they make games too simplistic and often box you in. In some games once you’ve specialised you’re trapped by necessity to always choose your specialty. That’s often very unfun.

I would suggest creating more stats than you think you’ll need at the outset. Any superfluous stats will become apparent fairly early on and you can easily delete them.

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That’s the major effect actually. Having personality stats effect the choices(especially when greyed out) is annoying. But changes in the plot is just a great way to make the reader feel attached to the protagonist or whoever’s personality they’re affecting with choices.

So, after reading over everyone’s thoughts and discussing it over with my friend we think we know how we’re going to handle personality. Instead of having just some choices influence personality all choices will.

For example:

Two people are fighting what at do you do?

  1. I stand back and watch. (Increase to Observation and Distant)
  2. Break up the fight. (Increase to Melee Combat and Brash)
  3. Get them to talk out the problem. (Increase to Persuasion and Kind)

And while the reader would be able to see the increase to the Skills, they (potentially) wouldn’t be able to see the changes to the Personality, with the hope being that if I did that there’d be less of a “I need to choose only in line with this Personality stat” mentality. From there the Personality would tweak certain parts of the story and maybe, as @Celtic_Rune mentioned, make certain stat checks easier.

Does that sound like it could work?

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It would work for personality but will cause another problem…

It might cause the reader to always pick alike options to increase their focused stats and it will end up one optioned game for them. It’s really hard to adjust stats, i know…

The best way i can think of right now to prevent this, is having down/upsides of the choices. For example if you stand and watch, someone might get killed so reader would have to pick between the consequences and the stat increase.

Also i suggest reading this Design Guideline for a better understanding of stats :slight_smile:
EDIT: And the discussion below that :grin:

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Personally, I kind of like the way personality stats are used in This wip
It’s not perfect but, it’s a slightly less common way that I feel works.

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I’d recommend against “action choice” to affects [Personality] stats at all. Instead, later down after picking the “action choice”, give the reader “reaction choice” where the MC can reflect on the situation and increase their [Personality] stats.

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No, I don’t think it does. Because you run into the same problem as your do when you mix reputation and personality. You don’t know why the reader pick a choice.

For example, tell them to talk out the problem could be chosen because the MC is goddamned annoyed with the two people fighting and they are grown up and should be able to handle it. - That’s not a kind person’s way of thinking.

There is also the other aspect and that is that you easily make the personality choice redundant. Are observation always going to increase distant? Why have the personality stat then?

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It’s been a while since I’ve played Tin Star but, if I remember correctly, that game didn’t actually have personality stats (or if it did, it didn’t really make a significant enough impact for me to care too much) and it was a damn good game ( I’d say one of the best CoG/HG has to offer)

I’ve also seen games where personality stats limit your choices so much that the entirety of the game is basically laid out within the first few chapters, if not the very first

So take everything with a grain of salt and only implement stats which you are absolutely sure will have a harmonious role within the story: significant enough to justify their existence but minor enough to allow the players to act as they wish( it is still a CYOA)

I tend to separate personality consequences and skill consequences, because the MC’s personality is immediately affected by his/her choice and the MC’s skill is later increased because of practise.

On the other hand, to keep balance in the complex decision tree of a CoG story, I recommend zero-sum personality consequences: each choice that increases a personality stat should decrease another personality stat.

In the case of skill stats, balance is more difficult, because players want to end the game having improved their skills.

For example:

While I see what you’re talking about I don’t think that will be as much of a problem in the game I’m currently working on. Perhaps it’s my fault for give such a rather bare-boned example, so let me try another one.

Example:

The king is standing before you. Do you bow to him?

  • Yes at once, I was so up caught in the moment that I forgot proper etiquette. (Increase to Kind)
  • Yes reluctantly, though I don’t want to bow it would be best not to bring the wrath of the king upon myself. (Increase to Thoughtful)
  • No, I will not. Why should I offer him respect when he has shown me none and tied me up? (Increase to Brash)

In this case the choices are written in first person and have a reason after them, so there’s no way to “misinterpret” them like you could with the other one.

For that situation I’d probably write the choice “Get them to talk out the problem.” as “I step in and try to get them to talk out their problem, violence won’t solve anything.”

As for why I would have both Distant and Observation, in this case Distant a Personality stat and the opposite of Kind and reflects how the MC treats people, while Observation in a Skill stat which would be used in actual stat checks.

With that in mind you could have something like,

Example:

You see the Demon Lord’s tower in the distance. That’s where he’s holding the princess. What do you do?

  • I look around and make sure it’s safe to approach the tower. (Increase to Observation and Thoughtful)
  • I rush towards the tower, sword in hand. (Increase Melee Combat and Brash)
  • I run away, this is more than I signed up for. (Increase Stealth and Wary)

So, uh… in short, no, not all Observation increasing choices increase Distant.

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It is certainly better, but people are still going to misunderstand. There is also the fact that it might lead to problems such as the fact that somebody might want to play a thoughtful melee warrior, but their skills lies with melee so feel like they have to pick the brash option.

That said. There is never a perfect way to do personality test, because in the end we are still trying to downsize something very complex into numbers. You do sound like you have a clear idea for the mechanic you want to try and that was the purpose of this thread.

What I am trying to say is: Try it. You are the one making the game, if you have a clear idea of the mechanics you are longer than most.

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Hello, while in the midst of writing, I was curious if anyone believes there is an effect on personality stats, or do people find dialogue options being the most effective?
For the latter, to explain my thoughts, let’s say you’re in a serious scene and you have your character set as an introvert or shy personality, and when seeing the options for the dialogue you aren’t able to make a threat or say something witty just for the hell of it. I was curious if anyone experienced this.
This will also help bring light to learning about the MC’s character if it should have one set part of a personality that then you as the player can fill in or build up. Any suggestions, opinions, experiences, and questions are accepted and welcomed.

I struggle so BAD to figure out personality stats. I want people to be able to have flavor text over hundreds of choices and no flavor text. Plus, letting some scenes play out differently depending on who you’ve shaped your MC to be sounds like it could be fun to write.

The problem is figuring out the actual stats and how they’re raised, how they’re used, and all that fun stuff.

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The actual stats?

How do your stats are defined? You start with blank slate, or you start with an archetypical personality, or you get to go through a short personality quiz session.

Should give you a starting point.

And how many types are you planning to include.

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