How do I structure a moral choice between honesty, dishonesty and manipulation?


#1

I’ll try to explain this as best I can.
I’ve got the opposed pair honest and dishonest and I’ve got a percentage for manipulation. I tried having honesty and manipulation as opposed pairs, having them be about the honesty of your intentions rather than what you say but that didn’t really work out.
My problem is when i try to make choices that aren’t dumbed down and obvious.
my example here is you confronting a crying boy. some of my choices are

#“I’ve seen you train, you could probably beat me in a fight”
#Lie, "I’ve seen you train, you could probably beat me in a fight

#“You are absolutely worth training.”
#Lie, “You are absolutely worth training.”

The issue is the first set is a lie, he couldn’t beat you in a fight and you know this before hand.
so now how do i imply that you’re being dishonest with your intentions. I’ve been using the lie option to say that you’re manipulating someone. but with the first set you’re lying to try to make them feel better, not toy with their emotions.

I want some thought to go into the choices, I definitely don’t want to take you out of the story and say up front that you’re being manipulative, if that makes any sense. for clarification, the honesty stat is for whether or not you speak the truth, the manipulative stat is for whether or not you’re being honest with your intentions, lying or no.

I’ve even tried removing the honesty stat but it doesn’t feel right without it. I’d really love some ideas and suggestions, even if all you say is my best bet would be to just remove honesty.

Thanks


#2

You are assuming with your wording That manipulative is a shit person and the honest a super hero. Your choices lead to Honest = GOOD.

That’s a very very bad way of working with a Cog. that we lead to you assime a manipulative person is a liar and evil. I will give a example of how that is not have to be related.
John wants help himto train harder because it nows his friend really needed. John knows his friend is lazy and tend to abandon if is depressed.
So John lie Saying Your training is going well you have to continue and soon you will beat me easily.

In the example John is liying his friend, yes but because wants to help him. But is really manipulation in the sense of obtaining something from him or doing it for selfish reasons no.

You also could be Honest as a manipulation tactical. Is one I love to use. In this example

John doesn’t want his friend training because he wants to be stronger than his friend so He says the truth… You can’t defeating me in a million of years you need training a lot. But John says the truth to manipulate his friend to left the training.

SAY THE TRUTH DOESN’T MEAN BEING HONEST. THEY AREN’T THE SAME. THE TRUTH COULD BE A POWERFUL WAY OF MANIPULATION.

So maybe you should use a Deception hide stat . Certainly Honest shouldn’t be the word in my opinion. I would Use Straightforward


#3

If you don’t want to give obvious hints to the player, you’ll need to employ subtleties in your writing.
How’s this?

  • I’ve seen you train, you could probably beat me in a fight…

  • I’ve seen you train. Could you beat me in a fight?

  • You are absolutely worth training!

  • You are, absolutely, worth training.

With these sort of choices, the player must think very carefully about how the choices are constructed in relation to each other to figure out what stat(s), if any, will be affected by their choice.


#4

I think if you’re using it as a morality meter, I don’t think honest vs dishonest really works. Honesty is considered to be more moral, but really it depends a lot on the situation. For example, if you’re asked to expose a secret that would get someone else unjustly punished, it would be more immoral to tell the truth than to lie and say that you don’t know

Going with what Mara said, I think deception vs. straightforward would be interesting. I still don’t think it would really work as a moral vs immoral stat, but it gives you some more flexibility with your choices. Instead of having to choose between simply telling the whole truth and telling a complete lie, your choices could be something like telling the whole truth, telling mostly the truth but omitting some information, telling mostly a lie with some truth, and telling a lie, for example


#5

For myself, I think this could be really obscure and confusing…I’ve played a few games (not from CoG or HG, actually) where a lot of the nuance was lost, not in the translation of language, but in the translation of cultures.

It’s very frustrating, to take the above example, if I think I am choosing:

“You are, absolutely, worth training,” I say firmly, with a reassuring nod.

and instead I get:

“You are, absolutely, worth training,” I say, hoping the insincerity doesn’t seep into my voice or expression.

It might be worth considering writing the options so that the player chooses their intention in the choice, rather than having the player choose their actual words.

For instance:

  • I don’t think he’s really worth training, but I won’t say that because I don’t want to hurt his feelings.
    “You’re absolutely worth training!” you reassure him.

Then the dialogue could go in the text after the choice. That might work, especially if the main point isn’t necessarily what the PC is saying, but why the PC is saying it.


#6

Your ideas are impossible to get for a non native. The subtly wording of a comma of a determine exactly fourth meaning of the x word to determine whether choice mean sarcasm Humor or sympathy. Would make games only be played by people from exactly same country of author. If you are Aussie those small nit pick language hints would be different from a Londoner. And both are natives. I am from Spain and would look all questions with exactly same words except a comma… And say I had to throw a dice to choosing what is what or something?

Choices has to be clear as a day. If not is not a Choice it becomes A puzzle.

it was main error of Heroes Trilogy vol 2 Where you had to follow a role but no hints whatsoever what choice is from what role. To point even natives hadn’t clue in difference between ruthless and strategy. Or hero and team player.


#7

I wouldn’t say impossible. Difficult, perhaps.
It is the job of the person doing the localizing to make sure that the dialogue is understood by the target audience, after all…
Just to clarify, I intended my example as a starting point, and not as an actual solution. :slight_smile:

See, what @Fiogan did here looks far more like an actual solution.


#8

How about describing the action instead of the dialog.

If the first set is always a lie you can have choices like this:

Lie and say that [the opponent?] can me in a fight, even though I know they can’t. (dishonest)

Claim that the [opponent] can beat me in a fight to hide how good I am. (dishonest + manipulative)

Agree to train them, because they do need the training (honest)

_Agree to train them, because they need it and will owe me for it. (honest + manipulative)

The is not really a situation where you want to obscure the mechanics for the reader. The reader wants to know if their character is being honest or not. So don’t be afraid of it being obvious.


#9

In my opinion, personality stats should not be affected by dialogue choices. You could have many, many different reasons to say a certain thing. If you really want realistic and nuanced choices, don’t try to force everything into a category and respect the player’s ability to assign meaning to their own choices.

Personality stats, if you must include them, should be solely based on your actions, or even better, they could reflect what people think you’re like, not your internal thought process. A game trying to judge my personality is no more meaningful than an online personality test - obvious and useless information at best, plain wrong at worst.


#10

Yes, that is exactly my point, I just didn’t explain it well enough.

Honest/dishonest is NOT my morality meter, I’ve got other stats as well. you can be the most dishonest person out there and still be considered a good person. the manipulation stat is more an indicator of your personality. do you actually care about the person or do you just want to control them.

honest/dishonest is JUST whether or not you’re speaking the truth
That’s why I considered removing the honest/dishonest entirely.


#11

Straightforward vs political correctness something like that? Honest is confusing as people assume Honesty as said the truth and is not same .


#12

It’s very frustrating, to take the above example, if I think I am choosing:

"You are, absolutely, worth training," I say firmly, with a reassuring nod.

and instead I get:

"You are, absolutely, worth training," I say, hoping the insincerity doesn't seep into my voice or expression.

It might be worth considering writing the options so that the player chooses their intention in the choice, rather than having the player choose their actual words.

For instance:

    I don't think he's really worth training, but I won't say that because I don't want to hurt his feelings.
    "You're absolutely worth training!" you reassure him.

Then the dialogue could go in the text after the choice. That might work, especially if the main point isn’t necessarily what the PC is saying, but why the PC is saying it.

I didn’t know how to phrase them before but your examples make a lot of sense and would probably work beautifully.


#13

No no, honest is just that, being honest in what you say. or that’s what i was going for at least.


#14

Straightforward is far better word


#15

So I’ve changed my wording, I’m assuming this is far superior to what I had before?

-Having seen him train before you know this isn’t true but you want him to feel better about himself. “I’ve seen you train, you could probably beat me in a fight!” you say
-Having seen him train before you know this isn’t true but you want him to trust you and feel like he owes you. “I’ve seen you train, you could probably beat me in a fight!” you say

-You truly feel he has potential and needs to be shown that. “You are absolutely worth training.” you say
-He might have potential but what you want is for him to trust you and feel like he owes you. “You are absolutely worth training.” you say

the wording needs to be played with but I think it works a lot better.

I still don’t see how straightforward is a better word though. could you elaborate?


#16

Leave the stats as it is and when he is lying increase manipulative because he is toying with emotions but to get better output maybe add a good and evil stat.


#17

It’s not near that simple though. you can be dishonest and still be good. lying to make someone feel better for example. I’ve got other stats too that negate the need for a good/evil stat.
You can also be honest and manipulative, the truth doesn’t matter in this case but your intentions do.


#18

Honest means he always speaks the truth irrespective of the outcome.


#19

Well, I’ve got both a disdain and sadism stat. those work pretty well instead of evil I feel.
For good I’ve got Trustworthy/untrustworthy and and loyal/disloyal. i might need to add another one for something though, not sure

all my personality stats are so far
honest/dishonest- whether you’re speaking the truth
trustworthy/untrustworthy- how much you’re trusted by other people, how much they confide in you
loyal/disloyal- how loyal people think you are, related to trust as noone’s going to trust you if you’re disloyal
justice/revenge- whether you fight for justice or revenge
manipulative- how much you manipulate the feelings of others for your own goals. I think of it as pretty negative
disdain- the lack of concern for the feelings of others
sadism- if you enjoy causing emotional and physical pain to others
self sacrifice- pretty self explanatory


#22

Manipulation means making others believe / do what you want them to ( it is often seen as negative but it’s not so, at least not every time ). You can even use as charisma or something like that.