Dialogue Options

What are some types of dialogue for the main character do you not see very often, or want to see more of? Specifically, what attitudes would you want your character to have the chance to convey?

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Honestly, i tend to see a lot of good/bad choices. But what i personally find lacking is the middle ground. Neutrality at the most.

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I always want extremes. If I can choose to be kind or compassionate in dialogue, I should also be able to be selfish and dismissive. Especially when speaking to characters the MC has just met. You can kinda smell a writer’s NPC biases when the dialogue options are limited to just things the NPC would be ok talking about or be happy to respond to.

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I think having a genuinely nervous/skittish/unsure of themselves MC would be a super interesting thing to play with. Bc while a lot of dialogue being charismatic or confident is wish fulfillment stuff, sometimes Im playing in a setting where I feel a perpetually bewildered character would work super well.

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To convey opinions about their previous choices and consequences- having an option of how you feel about your previous choices - either regret, pride, unsure, guilty, or dismissive. It’s your choice how your MC thinks about their previous choices.

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What would you consider to be neutrality? Would remaining silent be something along those veins?

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Being silent is certainly a true neutral, but nuancing it as a true neutral is not easy. There’s proverb here, which I think also applies anywhere, your silence is a yes.

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but nuancing it as a true neutral is not easy

Could you explain this further please? I’m not sure I understand.

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True. Usually writers need to keep things simple. A choice that bothers the person or makes them happy in conversation, usually by agreeing with them…or you could be sneaky. Disagreeing with them actually turns out to be a good option. Either their initial plan blows up in their face or it actually gets them thinking more on their life and what their doing with it. Don’t mention it or make tons of call backs. Just gradual deviance from how they normally act. Or it’s even possible to have situations where it’s the npc trying to befriend the emotionally stunted mc who doesn’t really get most of humanities problems and just views them as a means to an end. But overtime they may begin to value someone as more than a pawn…or decide they are just an ultimately useless piece. Not every dialogue choice needs to blatantly spell out what all the consequences are.

“So tell me, Bob, do you think she deserves the judgement?” says the village elder as he points to the witch, your employer, bound at stake.

  • Yes
  • Silent
  • No

Another thing to consider

“Alright, it’s all left to you, Bob. Do you think Zig should go fighting at the frontline?” says the Commander. Everyone else im the room stare at you, waiting for your decision.

You know someone has to be in the frontline, and sending the expendable prisoner out on a suicidal mission makes the most sense. But what do you say?

  • Yes, send him to the frontline
  • I don’t know
  • No, don’t send him to the frontline
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I believe @Szaal gave a very good description, about what i meant as neutrality.

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Ah, I understand. Thank you both =]

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Yes. Being forced to choose between acting like a paragon or a renegade becomes tiresome quickly, since how a player wants to respond to a situation depends almost entirely on their relation to it. The option to be neutrally polite is one I haven’t seen all that much, which is a pity! But true neutrality — feeling indifferent towards the outcome of events — is vanishingly scarce. In certain stories, you can get why that’s not an option, but is even just a little apathy to much to ask? People could totally do good things simply out of self-preservation and not care for what happens otherwise.

I feel this particularly applies to what @dontcallmekoko said. If you don’t know a person all that well, you could be polite, but you could just as easily not give a damn about them. And if they annoy you, it’s even more likely that you’ll react adversely to them, without necessarily being hostile. Dialogue options that reflect the full spectrum of affable to nasty would be great.

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I always like it when dialogue options sound like something you might actually say. Not necessarily with a load of ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ in, but emotion and force really draw me in.

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Jerk and nice makes sense from a narrative standpoint, but have a bigger problem in that you’re just about expected to always be a jerk or nice, 100% of the time. That’s why I don’t bother with basic morality systems in my things.

For an example of uncommon dialogue/personality choices, I don’t want to brag(my game is way too broken for that) I may very well literally be the only HG author who made a game where the player can be an airheaded bimbo. So, at least there’s that.

1 Like