Traitor Mechanics

Hello peeps,

So, for my game, I was planning on having a traitor between the support cast of npcs, but to put some replay value, I’d like that the game chooses one randomly, giving each one a secret reason to be a traitor.

To achieve this, a thought on using the *rand command to generate a value to a variable, and the game would co-relate the number with a person.
How it would work; very early in the game, I’m talking about the first choice here, alongside the normal shenanigans a secret *rand would define the number of the traitor, and later on when needed it would check the variable, lets suppose the player go looking for tips of a saboteur, for exemple;
If traitor = 1
Finds grey hair
Elseif traitor = 2
Finds earing
Finds id card

Anyway, what do you think? Its been done somewhere else? Any better ideias?
I’m still new here let me know if I did something wrong with this post please and thanks for your time.

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It could certainly be fun if you are willing to write lots of distinct material for each version of the story. But consider this: what if you made the identity of the traitor contingent on choices the player makes? That would give more power to the player and allow for more control when replaying.


Yeah, Gower’s suggestion is how Traitors usually work in these games. Your lowest Relationship among a group of characters ends up the traitor- or highest in some cases. Life of a Mobster & Lost Heir Trilogy show off the mechanics for it well IMO.


yeah, the content volume is the principal question for me right now,

You brought an interesting question, I surely can do that, someone who don’t approve the character ways of doing things or wasn’t favored in a “crossroad choice” could betray to see the outcomes more to his/her liking :thinking:


The games I mentioned both make it interesting.

Life of a Mobster, your highest Relationship out of 3 characters is the traitor and they die when revealed. Of the other 2 characters, maxing out Relationship on one of them lets you get their help taking over the mob later, so you have a strategic component to setting up a betrayer here.

In Lost Heir the traitor is your lowest Relationship among 2 characters but you have some more strategic elements. You choose which 2 characters might betray you, first one picked gets a Relationship bonus and second a penalty, and you can even pick a love interest but they are never the traitor if you’re in an active Romance (exes are another story…). In addition you have to fight the traitor later and reminding them of high Relationship you once had or using Skills they taught you can play a part in winning the fight. Losing it is also desirable because that way the traitor doesn’t die. I can’t say more due to spoilers.

There’s another traitor twist in an upcoming game by the same author. You can be a traitor and your lowest Relationship among five characters tries to stop you. Then your highest Relationship intervenes. Continue your betrayal- or save your friend?

Good luck, whatever you end up doing. I hope for an interesting twist.


I think it is possible and @achtungnight provides examples.

My concern is in execution. Character development is hard enough as it is with a set of stable motives and agendas. When you start adding breadth within a character, it means you need to develop them that much more. If you have the skill, more power to you.

Another concern others would have is that a character they attach themselves to might become a character that betrays them. That might cause pushback - something that may or may not be a concern of yours.


@achtungnight Sorry I didn’t address you in my early response, thanks for you help. I didn’t read those two yet but I’ll put them higher on my list now. Thanks for taking the time to give me this insight, you gave me a lot of new points to take into consideration.

@Eiwynn Hey thanks for your help, and yes I agree on your points, but on the pushback matter, well, to me the problem is not the player feeling betrayed, actually it’s a win to me if I made someone feel anything, my concern are that it don’t feel cheap, you know? As gower, achtungnight and yourself pointed the big question is the delivery, and now I see that I’ll need to give way more attention to the “what to do after the big reveal” than planned, since people may want the traitor on their side again.

No problem, glad I could help.

Advice on delivery- Make sure the betrayal means something, and that it’s not just thrown in. It needs to surprise the first time player and for veterans make them quote Firefly in a good way (“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”).

Either way it also needs to make sense with the story. Why is the person a traitor? Disagreement with the hero, disagreement with the hero’s employers, bribery, blackmail, mind control, hostages on the other side forcing the issue, the bad guy’s his long lost relative… there are many reasons. Make sure you show off the reason and it makes sense. Foreshadowing is good too.

If there are different possibilities for traitor, be sure to make each play out differently somehow. In Lost Heir, for example, we get a different fight depending on whether the traitor is the party Priest, Wizard, Warrior, Archer, or Assassin. Each fight takes different skills to win- there’s also several ways to win any fight. As I said before, there are reasons to win or lose. If you lose, the traitor can survive and maybe help you later. If you win, other characters survive instead- at the cost of the traitor. Some characters may be more helpful than others after the fight.

Also consider all the ways a traitor can be helpful to either side. What if they’re a false defector playing both sides? What if they have secret bonuses or information you can get later if you spare them after discovery (Paradigm City has a good example of this)? And of course they can be total slime and need to die too. That in and of itself can be very satisfying if done right. Good luck.

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