I don’t know if this is going to turn out to be more of a long winded question or a statement, but I wanted to get everyone’s opinion on Games where you are forced to make a choice for the sake of the story and how best to go about it, if one should go about it at all.
I’ll just give you my example:
In the gamebook I am working on, tentatively called “The Enisine War”, I am starting with an important moment in the MC’s past. Because background stories are such good opportunities for character development, I wanted to allow the player to make decisions throughout this introduction. The MC, an officer in a military organization, needs to disobey orders and make a decision that ultimately ends in the death of a large number of those under their command. This decision will lead to a court-martial and ultimately exile from that Nation’s territories. My worry is that players might feel that the character they are building would have never made that choice or have disobeyed orders, and the last thing I want to do is make a player build a inconsistent character. Maybe I’m overthinking it.
I have two ideas on how to avoid this situation, but since you are all so brilliant, I thought maybe you could help me either narrow it down or come up with another solution.
- My first idea on how to solve this, was to give the player several decisions to make, all of which would have disastrous results. This way the MC’s intent could vary from choice to choice and allow for more consistent decisions. The problem once again, however, is if the player feels like their character wouldn’t have many any of the given choices.
The initial storypoint I made to try and counteract this, is that the MC’s learns that their mother was killed in a enemy raid just moments before the decision is made and that a need for revenge and/or basic rage might cloud the character’s judgement. In this case as well, someone who feels they have been building a disciplined character might feel short-changed.
- The second idea was to have the option for the MC to make the decision, but if they can’t than to have someone else make the decision for them, and ultimately get saddled with the blame. In this case, it would most likely be the MC’s second in command letting their anger get the best out of them and either try to convince the MC to act in a certain way or give false orders. The problem here is that I’m not sure if it would be believable enough for the MC to be court-martialed without any real evidence against them. Maybe the higher-ups in this instance are looking for a scapegoat?
The cool thing/difficult thing about this option is that depending on whether or not the MC made this decision themselves or if their second in command made it, it could lead to two different views on the past. While in one situation the MC might feel guilt, in another one might feel anger, etc.
So what do you guys think? Am I overthinking it? Is there an easier way to do this? Have a suggestion? Thanks in advance, I appreciate the help.