Questions to get to know a character


#1

I am thinking of implementing a subroutine that allows the MC to ask questions to the characters in the game, in order to get to know them better.

Which questions would you normally like to ask a character you get to know for the first time? (I am planning to implement this for a number of characters, and each might be a little different, obviously. My question is basically what are the first things you want to know from somebody you meet…)


#2

I’m actually doing the same thing on my game and I’m interested in the ideas so I can come up with more possible questions.

For a start, in my game you can ask these questions for two people you recently met:

  • Ask about their family. Once that is answered it will open up further questions about the relatives they mentioned (father, mother, brother etc)
  • You can ask about one thing each of these characters like and they can explain why they like it so much (for one character it’s cooking and for the other it’s football)
  • One of them is a foreigner, so the player can ask how they are liking it here, if they miss home etc
  • Can ask them about what they work with
  • This conversation is set in the house of one of the NPCs, so the player can ask about some plants that are in the living room

This scene can take place with either each of them individually or both of them lunching together with the PC; the other NPC who isn’t the one you asked the question to will comment on the response of the NPC that was questioned, providing a bit more dialogue. After that the player can then comment on the response (as in another choice appears to say something). Overall it’s taking me a lot more than I expected but I think it’s turning out natural and fun.

So it depends on how much the MC already knows the specific character and things that would make sense for them to ask (like no need to have them ask about their family or whatever when they know them for a while). I thought of being able to ask about if they have like a partner or something but it didn’t felt appropriate since the MC doesn’t know them for long, but it’s something that I can use for a conversation later on.


#3

For me, that’s going to depend a lot on the situation and world I am in.

If I’m a rogue traveling the countryside who gets tangled up with someone and goes on the run with them, I’m not really going to care about family and hobbies. At least, not right away.

If I’m a random person in a store and meet someone and strike up a conversation, I’ll have other questions.

If I’m a traveler and arrive at a new place, I’m going to have different questions for a local I talk to.

I think it’s really situational to the story, characters, and setting.


#4

Well, I guess the two main things you need to know about a character in a game is what they do and why they do it. So… Let’s say the game is set on a newly established colony on Mars. First the MC is going to want to ask, “So, what do you do here?” So that they know what their skills are, and how that character might come in useful in the future. After that, “What made you want to leave Earth?” to give an idea of who the character is and what their motivations are.

Also, (and this is just personal preference) but I like being able to ask the characters what they think of all the other characters. Who’s friends, who’s enemies and rivals. Who respects each other and who finds each other unbearably annoying. Who’s got a secret crush on the guy across the hall. It just makes the characters seem a lot more fleshed out when their focus isn’t solely on the MC, and they have complex relationships with all the other characters.


#5

I want a choice to totally skip that. Because I hate when I get force to asking stuff I don’t care to characters I care even less.
Personality and relationships should be organic and grow naturally during the game. Not being a list of questions that make all feel like I am a police trying to frame them for something.

It also slow flow and make discovery the characters personality during game pointless. As you already know what they eat and what is their first pet name…

Edit Probably I get a childhood trauma with all those rpgs that starting Hi I am John a farmer… Then five hours of stupid dump text about a farmer tragic backstory when The farmer is about to die after the prologue same all the damn village so you waste 10 hours doing chores to people would die anyway.


#6

This is what I’m using for a scene I’m writing now:

  • How lucky are you? How do you know?
  • What is your least favourite thing about humanity?
  • How honest are you?
  • What’s the colour of money?
  • Describe a failure of yours.
  • What mundane ritual do you do every day when no one else is around?
  • What did you do to deserve that scar?

#7

For me there is not a generic set of questions; the things I want to know about a character will depend on the game.

Assuming this is for the superhero story:

  • POWERS! Not just “what is your power?” but the ability to probe for more specifics until I either have every detail that will ever be relevant, I decide to move on, or they decide they don’t want to tell me that their power doesn’t work on anything yellow
  • Why did you pick this costume?

Further questions would be dependent on the social and cultural context; basically any question my MC might think to ask that character at this exact moment, so I’d have to see a specific scene to get a list. It’d overlap very heavily across all scenes, though.

Always important; it’s critical to ensure one of the options is “no more questions” and if the conversation is purely informational it should be there right from the start, not appear later like when you’re making preparations for a big action and you need to have made at least one in order to even attempt it.


#8

Questions:
-So, do you come here often?
-Dogs or Cats?
-Pancakes or waffles?
-Do you snore when you sleep? Like…loud LOUD?
-At what age did you start questioning your importantance to the universe? Follow up question: did you have existential crisis, and if so, for how long?
-IHOP or Denny’s? If Denny’s, which one is better truck stop Denny’s or suburban Denny’s? There’s a difference, trust me.
(Sorry if you wanted actual good questions.)


#9

@poison_mara @James_Marsh

Agreed, the possibility to skip is very important (I already realised this from other comments). Basically, some people find some characters infuriating, and will get annoyed if forced to speak to them (so, need to minimize “reader anger”).

What I want to do is implement a subroutine that is essentially a dialogue.

So, you get a choice “Would you like to ask $$$$ something else?”

If yes, then you go to the subroutine, which allows you to ask 3 questions (together with reactions, so it feels like a dialogue). Then conversation finishes for whatever reason. Next time you meet them, you can ask other questions.

So, lets say I can have 4-5 “threads”

Thread 1, for example, might be:

Q1.1. Where are you from? (A. New Orleans) Q.1.2. Oh, I heard that the Mardi Gras was amazing over there, did you ever take part? (Yes, I loved it!) Q1.3. Would you take me there one day?..

Q2.1. Do you like cats or dogs? (A. Cats, I have one). Q2.2. What’s his/her name?

etc…

So, on the first time you talk to them you can explore “deeply” one question set, or just superficially 3 our of the 4-5 questions. Second time you can ask other things, etc.

Anyway, this is what I’m currently thinking…


#10

There’s that, but there’s also just a matter of pacing. I have a lot of tolerance for infodumping if done well (if you see my post about Tinkers, basically I could listen to Valkyrie exposit forever) but if the story has time pressure, then even if there’s no penalty for asking all the questions and I know that, I want to be able to skip asking most or all of the questions because “we’re in a hurry; let’s talk later”. Even interesting things can disrupt the story if misplaced and it’s hard to predict when a reader might want to ask every question or just the bare essentials:

“powers?” “I teleport things.” “Range and mass?” “Contact and/or myself, up to 70kg to location of my choice, minimum delay 0.1 seconds.” “What happens if you try to teleport a thing into an object?” “Forcibly displaces the affected mass.”

Then I move on:
“Okay, teleport over to that PO box and teleport it into the turret of the tank on the left that’s pinning down the SWAT team”

I would want many more questions and more detailed answers if we were chatting over lunch.


#11

If I’m understanding you correctly, the player would be able to ask Q1.1, Q2.1, and Q3.1 the first time, and then the second time go deeper into the topics and ask them Q1.2, Q2.2, and Q3.2 if they wanted to?

If that is the case, then I think in asking the second round of questions I would either word the question so it also repeats back the answer or have it time sensitive, so that it changes depending on when you are asking. You’ve probably already thought of this, but here’s what I mean anyway:

So like, when you ask them “Where are you from?” and they answer “New Orleans”, having the next question be “Oh, I heard that the Mardi Gras was amazing over there” is fine if I’m asking it during the same conversation, but starting with that later in the second conversation both sounds weird and would probably be confusing, at least to me, because I might forget what they said and where’s “there” again? Especially if I can hold off asking the second question after going through all the other questions available first.

But if you repeat back the answer like “So you’re from New Orleans. I heard that the Mardi Gras is amazing over there” then it works for the first and second conversation (or whenever you finally ask). But then constantly repeating back the answer may sound strange, too.

Or, you could have it time sensitive, so if you can ask “where are you from” and “oh, I heard that the Mardi Gras is amazing over there” in the same conversation, it appears as “oh, I heard that…” but if you wait to ask “oh, I heard that…” then in the next conversation the question becomes “so you’re from New Orleans. I heard that…”

I’m just basing this off games like Dragon Age, where I believe if you wait to ask certain questions it changes how you ask it. :thinking:


#12

Dragon Age and other games mix and match, actually, though not as much as Infinty Engine games.

This is most clear in the ones with dialogue wheels; if you go into the Investigate option 90% of the time you can ask the same question in any order and usually there’s at least some condition in which you can ask the same question twice and get identical responses. If you aren’t in the Investigate option then 90% of the time if you get to pick more than one of the non-investigate options at all the answer is dependent on the order.

That’s basically for the reason I mentioned above about percieved time pressure; it means the player is free to just ask questions because they want to learn things without worrying about consequences when they’re in the Investigate section, while the main dialogue section is reserved for choices that advance the plot. So if it were implemented in Mass Effect, my above teleporter dialogue would be like this:

  • Since this is a choice, obviously there’s multiple choices. Assuming it’s just the two of us sheltering behind an overturned armored truck under machine gun fire, probably no player will complain if all of the options are different ways of asking what her power is because obviously we’re going to have to make use of her power to get out of this. I’d make just “powers?” the neutral option and “Can you do anything useful?” the Renegade option and “I might be able to think of something if I know your power” the Paragon option. I think Paragon and Renegade are a bit limiting because they mean always needing a Paragon option and a Renegade option, but if you’ve got a binary opposed stat pair then make sure you cover it
  • Now we open up an Investigate option to go into the subchoices; the player can simply make a choice now or click on Investigate to visit the Investigate section and get “range and mass”, “time factor” and a paraphrased version of “telefrag or not?” and they can ask these in any order with no change. In most circumstances I’d recommend not removing choices after they’ve been taken (Shepard’s line would become “what did you say about X?” in actual Mass Effect; written it’s best to just go straight from the selection to the answer) but here the time pressure is so tight it would ruin the momentum to allow a lengthy conversation when theoretically you have maybe two minutes before someone throws a grenade and the teleporter slaps it and teleports it into the machine gun nest and the player realizes I’m actually referencing A Certain Scientific Railgun and they’re playing a bit part rather than a main character.
  • There will be multiple options for how to use teleportation to resolve this situation. I’d make it so none of them reference what questions the player asked in Investigate but the information they learn if they go into Investigate will be helpful in anticipating the outcome of these choices. That way the player can skip it if they’re already pretty sure about one of the plans when they hear “teleporter”

The distinction? Non-investigate questions are stuff the MC does not know and needs to know in order to make a decision. Investigate is in a sense not actually part of the story, it’s explaining things to the audience. This is why even Mass Effect itself sometimes has weird conversation flow if you play around in the Investigate options; it’s actually the Codex disguised as dialogue and it’s more important to make sure the player can learn what they’re interested in than to maintain the disguise.

Though hilariously the most memorable and quotable conversation in Mass Effect is asking a character questions to get to know them better and there is no option to skip doing it.

Sovereign: You are not Saren.

Squadmate: What is that? Some kind of VI interface?

Sovereign: Rudimentary creatures of blood and flesh. You touch my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of understanding.

Squadmate: I don’t think this is a VI…

Sovereign: There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond your comprehension. I am Sovereign!

Shepard: Sovereign isn’t just some Reaper ship Saren found, it’s an actual Reaper.

Sovereign: Reaper? A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they choose to call us is irrelevant. We simply are.

Squadmate: The Protheans vanished 50,000 years ago. You couldn’t have been there. It’s impossible!

Sovereign: Organic life is nothing but a genetic mutation, an accident. Your lives are measured in years and decades. You wither and die.

Sovereign: We are eternal. The pinnacle of evolution and existence. Before us, you are nothing. Your extinction is inevitable. We are the end of everything.

Seriously, while that’s flowing automatically because Shepard isn’t the one speaking in this part, look at it carefully:

Sovereign: [Greeting]
Squadmate:[Are you a VI?]
Sovereign:[No]
Squadmate:[What are you?]
Sovereign:[I am Sovereign]
Squadmate:[You’re not just a ship, you’re a Reaper?]
Sovereign:[That’s what the Protheans called us until we killed them]
Squadmate:[How are you still alive 50,000 years later?]
Sovereign:[I am immortal and will survive long after you are dead]

So the best conversation in Mass Effect 1 is an infodump where a character introduces himself. It is in contention with the Vigil conversation where… Vigil introduces himself and then you can ask Vigil a bunch of questions and then you leave.

Lesson? It’s all in the execution.

More specifically, the reason it flows is that in both cases it’s natural that the characters talk like that. Sovereign is basically just enjoying bragging for a while until he stops having fun and goes to do something else:

Sovereign: Your words are as empty as your future. I am the vanguard of your destruction. This exchange is over.

Sovereign:[No more questions]


#13

I respect you for trying to integrate something like that. I mean I will never used due I one of those totally against those type of info dump questions to npc. I normally end skip it all mode.

However i love read lore due is something I could do out character and doesn’t include breaking my character playing.

I think at least for romances and mayor rpgs it should be a mayor case of show don’t tell. Like If X loves puppies and is allergic to peanuts. Showing her worried about a menu in a restaurant or melt when see puppies.
Another advice is make questions sensitive character morality or at least neutral.
There is anything more infuriating that being role playing With X the Barbarian And find a part that is like John the scholar asking.

Wow @adrao sorry for the wall of text and the negativity lol. It is something i am very passionate about it rpgs lol.


#14

There is nothing more infuriating. However, if I were to bring in my fanfic character who is most my self-insert, that is Alexia the Infinite Librarian who will learn how an ancient artifact works by going into the Infinity Library and looking it up; since my fic isn’t about that process and she’s a secondary character she has a computer in her head to track these things so the way information is delivered to the reader is High Command basically says “Alexia, tell us what the Path Disruptor does.” and she tells them it distorts space so shots fired at ships it’s protecting move in straight lines through curved space, and it also cuts off the FTL they use but not Dalek FTL, and if you can make it do the first thing but not the second thing her researchers have not figured out how. She has additional character attributes, but basically they are that she is a very shy bookworm and High Command has ordered her to attend all their meetings and she’s very nervous.

Here’s a concrete example; due to various reasons the Doctor has proposed that they take a highly unstable magical artifact named a Jewel Seed and throw it straight into the Heart Of The TARDIS. Alexia says she doesn’t think this is a good idea because she knows literally anything whatsoever about either of those things. So…

“Oh come on, what’s the worst that could happen?”

“A self-sustaining feedback loop between the engines and the Jewel Seed,” Alexia replied instantly. “Resulting in a TARDIS engine overload simultaneous with a dimensional quake, releasing the energy at every point in time and space simultaneously and annihilating the entire history of this and every universe.”

“Remind me never to ask you rhetorical questions,” the Doctor muttered.

Now, if I were playing Conan the Barbarian I might not ask for details, but pretty often I would like to find out something I want to know by just asking. Particularly if it’d otherwise require me to make a blind choice based on information a friendly character I can talk to knows. The question here is only rhetorical because the original works have established that the Jewel Seeds and the TARDIS can both annihilate the entire universe if sufficently mishandled, so the audience basically knows that’s the worst thing that could happen. If I were playing such a game blind and I was presented with an option where I could throw a partially controllable dangerous thing into another partially controllable dangerous thing or alternately I could not and I was presently in a video call with someone who has memorized Wikipedia, hell yes I want to be able to ask her what will happen before I make my choice.

Hence the BioWare solution I described above; it lets people ask or not ask questions depending on whether their character would ask.

Also, it is critically important that the answer be the answer the character would give to that question. If the character’s thing is they’re nuts, have them answer a pertinant in the middle of a dire global meeting about who is going to deal with a Kaiju attack in a superhero setting like so:

“Nothing you want, Glaistig Uaine?”

The girl, Glaistig Uaine, responded, “ A hundred thousand corpses , each being one naturally gifted by the faerie.”

“We don’t have time to laugh about like this,” Turanta, the apparent spokesman of the cold capes said.

I am not joking, astrologer. I would like to see their lights dancing in the air. I have seen only glimmers, fragments of the performance. To see it all at once… yes.

No it does not make any more sense to the viewpoint character in context.


#15

then you have my personal approach to same Choice that will end in a catastrophic death. Have npc saying in character lol That’s you funeral. Or even then running in opposite direction . You don’t need asking questions to make that situation.

Showing not telling passively should be key in a game made of words.videogames could do info dump because have actually action and fighting to break the flow. gamebooks don’t. if not wil became the tedious the interrogate


#16

Except the downside of doing that is that then I can’t necessarily play a character who is an idiot. Admittedly, I don’t often play a character who is an idiot, but occasionally I think it would be funny.

This is partially contextual; if the all-knowing NPC is Alexia she will in fact warn you; if the all-knowing NPC is Glastig Ulaine she will babble nonsense about Faeries regardless but maybe instead of telling you that she’ll help with this Kaiju attack if you kill a hundred thousand people so she can watch them die she will tell you precisely how your power works and what its limitations are and why it’s varying in ways you don’t understand. Because she knows both of those things but she doesn’t care whether you live or die because you aren’t a Faerie but she might answer a question if you ask.

For additional context, killing a hundred thousand people so Glastig Ulaine can watch them die and then she’ll help out with this Kaiju problem is an offer worthy of serious consideration and when this chain of questions is done the character who asked the first question thinks for a couple minutes before deciding not to take her up on her offer because she’d rather kill five thousand people to strengthen one of the other people in the room instead.

Oh, also in my Alexia example that was the worst thing that could happen. What actually happened after further preparations was that they won the war instead of losing the war. And no one knew that in advance. The plan was pretty much that this thing is powerful and we don’t fully understand it and this other thing is powerful and we don’t fully understand it, so we will throw one into the other and hope this will work out.


#17

The danger of asking a series of questions is that it starts to sound like an interrogation. In real life, people tend to get to know each other over a prolonged period. Just walking up to someone and hitting them with a barrage of questions is likely to send them scurrying off in the opposite direction. You obviously don’t have that sort of time in a game but I think it’s still a good idea to drip-feed important information to the player.

As far as non-essential information goes, I often put it in then I’m torn between leaving it because it adds atmosphere and just leaving it on the cutting room floor where it probably belongs…


#18

well from playing mass effect and DAI games…

the question shouldnt be ‘What do you wanna ask?’’ . But what do you wanna hear .

For exemple in DAI there is this companion Qunari who unlike the previous Qunari companion (Sten)…Iron bull come off like a goddamn Library . Like a droid who just repeat stuff in a drone way . I was half goddamn asleep listening to him…

So while the question is important , the answer is MORE important .

I mean imagine :

  • So…where are you from ?
  • from Canada
  • Really ?
    -…

yeah thats Zzz materials right there lol

the 2nd trap and this one is from pretty much BW games…I dont remember seeing elsewhere . The trap is…saving some content from ‘normal chit chat , friendship path’ and hoard it to add it into the romance path . Giving you a lousy friendship if you are not interested into romance . And the character is lack luster…unless you drop your pants .

thats so true . Maybe a codex with biography would help instead ?

and the questions should be about…well…the situation at hand ?

like…‘damn that look bad , do you want me to get you a healing kit ? I learned how to bandage in school.so you wont die!’ "…humour :stuck_out_tongue:

‘do you know how to use that weapon ? Wow…just asking! I’m kinda not big on guns . On 1999 I went to a rally against weapon…remind me to tell you about it !’’ …

y’know…


#19

Ok, so using some of the suggestions above, I just got the first draft of one of my subroutines. This is for a character that previously didn’t have much detail. The idea is that the MC can talk to him, if he/she wants, or completely skip the conversation (like, it is not even necessary to enter this subroutine). The subroutine will be able to be accessed on two occasions, meaning that the MC can almost all all questions (each time he/she can ask 3 questions, though note that in some cases the character will ask back, so that hopefully the interaction is not so linear…)

Any thoughts welcome!

*comment C1_conversation_John

*temp questions_asked 0

*label main_conversation

*if (relationship_colleague <50)

${colleague_name} looks at ${colleague_his} watch, abruptly saying. "Oh… it's getting late. Better if we head back, right?"

With that the conversation is suddenly over, not giving you the chance to say anything else. 

*return

*elseif (questions_asked =3)

${colleague_name} looks at ${colleague_his} watch, opening ${colleague_his} eyes slightly. "Oh… it's getting late. Maybe time to leave?"

Looking at your own watch you realize that it has been a while that you've been talking. 

*return

*else
*goto ask_question

*label ask_question

*choice

*if (Q1_where_John = 0) #“So, ${colleague_name}, you’re from Sydney, right?”
*set Q1_where_John +1
*set questions_asked +1
*set relationship_colleague %+10
John smiles. “That’s right, mate! Beautiful city, I’d say we have some of the best beaches in the world! But then, I would say that, right?
I used to live in a place called Manley… one of the nicest suburbs if you ask me. To get to the city centre you have to catch a ferry…
it’s wonderful, you can sit and read the newspaper, while smelling the sea breeze! And Manly beach is just amazing…
I used to live with my mates in an apartment just overlooking it… we could see what the swell was like, put our wetsuits on,
grab our boards and go straight down!”

   *fake_choice
       #"Wow, it sounds wonderful... I'd really like to go there one day!"
           *set relationship_colleague %+20 
           *set kind %+10
           John opens his arms, in a welcoming gesture. "Sure mate! Next time I go back home you can hop along… 
           I'll take you to the best cafeteria in town, they just serve these superb breakfast!"
           
           *goto main_conversation
       
       #"Some people hate where they come from, but that is definetively not you..."
           *label MC_agrees_place_good
           John smiles, and winks slightly. "You can say that again, mate! I love it over there, but, you know, the world is kind of big. 
           But, one day I'll go back, buy myself a place next to the beach, and surf every day!"
           
           *goto main_conversation
       
       #"Seems like a great place. I'd love to go there some day myself".
           *set kind %+10
           *goto MC_agrees_place_good
           
       #"Bah, you lot are always exaggerating. I'm sure it's not as good as you say..."
           *set kind %-10
           *set relationship_colleague %-10
           
           *label MC_disagrees_place_good
           
           *set Q1_where_John 10
           
           John shrugs, somewhat taken aback by your tone. "Whatever you say, mate. You don't have to go there if you don't wanna go. 
           The world is a big place…"
           
           *goto main_conversation
           
       #"Really? Some of my friends went there and say it's a horrible city..."
           *set kind %-20
           *set relationship_colleague %-20
           
           *goto MC_disagrees_place_good

*if (Q1_where_John = 1) #“So, the surfing in Sydney is really good? Better than round here?”
*set Q1_where_John +1
*set relationship_colleague %+10
*set questions_asked +1
John smiles, clearly enjoying himself as he speaks. “That’s right mate! World class surf, some of the best ever. The weather is just brilliant all year around,
which obviously helps! Summer, winter, anytime you can be in the water. Not to say that the surf over here is bad… just, not as good as back home…”

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q2_family_John = 0) #“The rest of your family is still back in Sydney?”
*set Q2_family_John +1
*set relationship_colleague %+10
*set questions_asked +1

   John smiles, though his face then suddenly becomes slightly more sombre. "That's right mate… well, at least my mother is still there. 
   My dad passed away last year…"
   
   *fake_choice
       #"Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that..."
   
          *set relationship_colleague %+10
          *set kind %+10

          *label explanation_family_problem
          John shrugs. "Well, shit happens. You know, cancer and all that… he fought it for years. He was a fighter… 
          and he surfed till the end. Me and him, we used to go surfing at times. I just regret that I couldn't have one last surf with him…
          but, he was always happy that I traveled the world, and that I got to see more of it than him…"
          
          *goto main_conversation
      
      #"I had no idea..."
          *goto explanation_family_problem
      
      #"These things happen"
          *set relationship_colleague %-10
          *set kind %-10
          *goto explanation_family_problem
       
      #"You're sad about that? These things happen to everybody!"
          *set charismatic %-10
          *set kind %-20
          *set relationship_colleague %-30
           *goto explanation_family_problem 

*if (Q2_family_John = 1) #“You visit your mother often?”
*set Q2_family_John +1
*set relationship_colleague %+10
*set questions_asked +1
John nods, then turning his head sideways slightly. “Yes… well, not as much as I’d like. It’s just… home is far. But, she understands…
though she’d rather if I came home. You know, I’m the only child, so one day I’ll have to go back home. I’ll be close to her, and the beach!”

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q2_family_John = 1) #“You don’t have any brothers or sisters?”
*set Q2_family_John +1
*set relationship_colleague %+10
*set questions_asked +1
John shakes his head. “No, just me. Well… there was another one, but she died when she was still a baby. The doctors had no idea why.
My mother… she never recovered… went into depression for a while, drank too much, you know. Luckily she got out of it,
though they never tried again. So… one day I’ll have to go back home, look after my mother and all that…”

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q2_family_John = 2) #“Well, who knows. Maybe one day I’ll come home with you, and you can teach me to surf!”
*set Q2_family_John +1
*set relationship_colleague %+20
*set questions_asked +1
John smiles, winking at you. “That’d be great, mate. Go to the beach early, catch some waves, and then have breakfast by the beach.
You’d love it! Then, catch the ferry to go to work in town… not too early though!”

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q3_why_here_John =0) #“What brought you to the USA?”
*set Q3_why_here_John +1
Twisting his mouth, John looks away. “Well… as many stories, they start with a girl, right? I met her in Bondi beach, you know, the typical backpacker.
She stayed for a while, and then came back home. Stupid of me, I decided to follow her… it all ended in tears. We were just… not compatible.
I mean, surfing with her was great. But, on other levels we were not compatible. I guess I didn’t know myself so well back then”.

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q4_rival_John = 0) #"{rival_name} is especially annoying these days, don't you think so?" *set Q4_rival_John +1 *label explanation_rival_unhappy {colleague_name} nods. “Yeah. Not sure what the problem is there. There was a time when {rival_he} wasn't that bad. But ever since you joined {rival_he} has become more aggressive. Maybe {rival_he} is just jealous of you? I mean, {rival_he} used to be the star in the company…”

   *goto main_conversation

*if (Q4_rival_John = 0) #“I think that ${rival_name} has a problem with me…”
*set Q4_rival_John +1
*goto explanation_rival_unhappy

*if (Q5_boss_John = 0) #"{boss_name} doesn't seem to like me much, does {boss_he}"
*set Q5_boss_John +1

   *goto what_wrong_boss

*if (Q5_boss_John = 0) #"${boss_name} is really getting on my nerves these days…"
*set Q5_boss_John +1

   *label what_wrong_boss
   Laughing, ${colleague_name} points ${colleague_his} finger at you. "But, you only have yourself to blame. 
   Your work has really gone done. I mean, you used to be brilliant, but your mind just doesn't seem to be in it these days. 
   Is there something wrong? Anything I can do?"
   
   *fake_choice
       #"Yes, well. I've had a lot on my mind. I'll tell you some other time..."
           *label job_performance_reply
           Shrugging, ${colleague_name} nods. "Sure. Whenever you need to talk, just let me know. You know, 
           we're friends after all". 
           
           *goto main_conversation
       
       #"Nothing is wrong. Just, you know, sometimes you perform better than others". 
   
           *goto job_performance_reply
       
       #"None of your business. I'll let you know if I ever want to tell you!"
           
           *set relationship_colleague %-20
           
           *goto job_performance_reply
       
       #"Yeah, I've been a bit under the weather these days..."
           
           *goto job_performance_reply

*if (Q6_cats_dogs_John = 0) #“Cats or dogs?”
*set Q6_cats_dogs_John +1
Laughing out loud. “Neither! I’m really allergic to all that hair… but, I have a pet turtle, Ricky! I let him walk all around the house,
sometimes I even walk him around the block! How about you?”

   *fake_choice
       #"Cats, obviously". 
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Yeah, I should have guessed…"
       #"Dogs".
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Yeah, I should have guessed…"
       #"I like birds, actually".
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…"
       #"Hamsters".
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…"  
       #"I'm more into reptiles. Particularly, I love snakes..."
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…"  
       #"Rabits. They are just soooo cute!"
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…" 
       #"Horses".
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…"
       #"Spiders... the bigger ones!"
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Really? That is so interesting…"                
       #"Turtles. Love them also!"
          *set relationship_colleague %+40
          ${colleague_name} smiles. "Wow, we're practically soul mates! Not everyday you meat a turtle lover!"   
       #"I don't really like pets, actually".
          ${colleague_name} shrugs. "Yeah, I guess they are not for everyone…"
   *goto main_conversation

#“I think it is getting late… maybe it is better if we head back?”
{colleague_name} looks at {colleague_his} watch, before sasying. “Oh… you’re right. Let’s go!”

   *return

#20

The question as a player I get punished by skip content. Due approval depend on have to heard that info I don’t want at all I won’t read I will skip it annoyed. But knowledge that heard that info dump could in future be key because I need that character approval and one point more and less could mean a lot…
Exactly one of mayor flaws in many rpgs that you have to do question to people you hate just to fill a meter that will mean that npc doesn’t try to kill you. Because somehow asking your favourite color two years ago is the key to not being poisoned.

If info is just exposing data it should not give any advàntage so people like me don’t feel forced to skip info