Pet Peeves or Please No More of These

True, I forgot to account for that, I should have added that guards that stand watch are okay so long as their placement is logical.

This is not okay though (from Kull O’tar’s Legacy), notice how they are not only generic looking, but four of them are facing the exact same direction and have questionable placement.

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1) I hate respawning monsters. If they respawn, there has to be a very good reason why this happens, and even then, there has to be a way to stop the respawning.

2) I dislike backtracking without being able to fast-travel to and from specific locations. NWN and NWN 2 are already slow as they are.

3) I dislike easy combat and underwhelming boss battles. Like when there is an organized group of intelligent enemies in some location, but for some reason they do not have the concept of security, and don’t have established watch routines (but have very dim vision and are pretty much deaf, apparently), so you just walk from a small group of enemies to a small of group enemies, picking them off one by one without the rest of the group reacting.

I want to have to prepare for fights, to look for enemy’s strenghs and weaknesses, and to mind the type of terrain, and the type of monster population, lest my party dies. I want enemies in the whole area to become aware of my presence when I make too much noise, so they group up, take defensive positions and have their spellcasters cast all buffs and summoning spells that they have before I even get near them.

4) I dislike how generous a lot of modules are with resting. Not being able to recharge your spells until you go back from a dungeon (and losing all progress if you leave the dungeon without clearing it) is the way to balance spellcasters (along with other PnP stuff like additional cost in time and money to prepare and cast spells). Without it, there is no reason to play mundane classes other than for some strange kind of a challenge.

5) I dislike when battles do not follow the obvious logic of power scaling. A textbook example of this is the Blackguard module, where you fight heroes and celestials and ancient evils, but then you face more challenging battles when you are sometimes attacked by a mob of townsfolk, who are wielding Pitchforks of Godslaying +6, apparently.

6) I dislike towns where nobody cares that you steal or break things. Unless you want to make a point that the location is a grim and lawless place, you should make the guards actually do their job, and the people to be more aware of the player’s dangerous behaviour.

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Funny how opinions are so split and one mans pet peeve is another mans request and vice versa.

My biggest pet peeve are unbelievable characters. As far as I’m concerned, ‘Fantasy’ means the existence (and relative mastery of) magic and the existence of deities with a high level of magical power taking direct action in the world of mortals: It does not mean everything else should be unrealistic as well.

I expect to see characters acting carefully because of fear. I expect to see them act irrationally because of panic.

In short I want to see psychological realism. This also means I can’t stand characters (whether PC in a roleplaying setting or NPC in any setting) who generally act impulsive and/or impatient despite being part of a race that lives for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Also since noone has brought it up: Spelling. Your module/server can’t have typos or spelling mistakes or broken grammar (except in the case of conversations with people who are written to speak like that). Neither can any websites, readmes, download descriptions or anything else that has anything to do with it. Get/beg/pay someone to do it for you if you don’t have the ability or time to do it yourself.

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This implies that people living in a fantasy world would have the same psychology as our contemporaries living in the real world. And this does not even go into the biological differences of fantasy setting races. It also implies that your judgement of a character’s psyche is infallible, true and complete. Or that the overall tone of the story suggests straight-faced and realistic behaviour.

That said, I do agree that characters’ behaviour should be made belieavable.

Tasty Bonkers dislike pet peeve.

Doh! Now brain hurt!

If people living in a fantasy world does not have the same psychology as our contemporaries living in the real world, unless you’ve been told of the specific differences, how can you possibly role-play one of them?

FR’s humans were jacked out of ancient Egypt 6000 years ago. They have 194.000 years of evolution in common with us.

And evolution applies everywhere. Magical powers can make up for deficiencies, but the general rules still apply: predators will generally be able to focus their eyes, herbivores will generally not (instead favoring peripheral vision allowing them to see predators coming from behind.)

Most world creators actually do a pretty good job of describing the various characteristics of their races and peoples: my pet peeve is when those who create things within those worlds don’t adhere to it.

Your statement about humans coming from ancient Egypt is incorrect. The Imaskari have written records according to the lore of FR going back -8350 DR. The Imaskari are human. Also according to Realms lore humans existed at least -35,000 DR they were primitive hunter gathers that lived in caves. Only the Mulan peoples of Chessenta, Mulhorand, Thay and Unther came from our world. They were brought here by the Imaskari Wizards about -4370 DR. Also they’re not all from Egypt some are from Sumer. These people brought their pantheons with them which is why Enlil was the leader of the Sumerian Pantheon originally. The Mulhorandi were from Egypt originally. This is why they worshiped the Egyptian Pantheon. This from Forgotten Realms Wiki since I lost my Forgotten Realms Lore book when the Military shipped my home goods to Germany almost 20 years ago and they never turned up again. I hope this clears up some of the misconceptions on Lore.

If you claim to support all races, classes, alignment, and gender then Test for all races/classes/alignment/gender and Ensure NPC convos recognize race, appearance, & gender.
Remember in the AD&D Players Handbook the chart that showed racial attitudes? Why not implement that? Dwarven smiths should charge triple prices to Elven and Half-Orc customers (or refuse to sell to them). Elven merchants should have the same bias. Why not have a gay NPC who flirts with male customers and a lesbian noblewoman who mistakes the female PC for a prostitute? Why not have Good temples refuse to treat evil characters and vice versa? Or maybe a Chaotic/Good temple captures evil characters and imprisons them until they convert? Maybe the Evil temples kill good characters on sight?

How do NPCs know the PC is a half-elf?
Humans and half-elves have the exact same appearance to the player. Unless your module uses different heads and/or phenotypes (and please tell us how you did that), don’t give your NPCs secret knowledge!

How do NPCs know the PC’s alignment?
Likewise, how does a merchant know my PC’s alignment? I could understand that a L/G merchants “smells” something wrong about the C/E PC and “smells” something right about the L/G PC. But the other alignments, I don’t buy it. On the other hand, I have no problem with temple priests fake-casting Know Alignment to figure out my PC’s alignment (see above).

If you punish sinners then provide for redemption
If you’re going to punish evil and/or chaotic acts by shifting alignment then you need to give PCs an opportunity to redeem themselves. Neutral characters will do both evil and good acts which is why they’re neutral.

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Refusing to treat the wounded doesn’t seem like something a Good character would do. Likewise, Evil would also treat anyone as long as they bring the $ (or it furthers their goals).

Good idea about capturing, though. IMO using factions instead of alignments should be better at blending the gameplay with the story (example: this is faction X’s turf and we know you work for Y - get lost). Choice & consequence. Like you also say, knowing alignment shouldn’t be easy, but if you show up in the Armor of Doom or have some ugly aura / curse / very low CHA, NPCs should freak out.

But since you mentioned the alignment, I’ll add something extra:

Item race/class/alignment restrictions for the heck of it
I don’t mind item restrictions when they make sense (i.e. a dwarven armor should fit dwarves alone, holy symbol is only operable by Clerics, etc), but anything else is usually a cheap fun killer. Like an “evil sword of evilness” dropped by some boss - why restrict it only to Chaotic Evil? Some ideas for better immersion:

  • Use vs Good bonuses to make the item non-junk only to Evil
  • Dynamically add/remove item properties depending on class/race/alignment
  • Make misaligned item become cursed when equipped (undroppable)
  • Make evil armor/shield damage a good PC on heartbeat or when it is hit
  • “Taint” the user when used too much (i.e. ADOM style)

Race/class/alignment-specific quests
Same as above: “you can’t take this quest because you aren’t class Y”. Multiple ways to solve quests is the hallmark of a good module, so why be so restrictive? I’m not replaying your module with all race and class combinations. I’ll probably never replay it anyway, so why prevent me from experiencing your work fully because of something my character was generated with? Make other classes pass [Persuade] checks, have harder time looking for the solution or be unable to reach the “gold” ending.

An idea
Since alignment can be adjusted ad hoc via scripting, a Fallout-like per-location alignment could be also implemented, turning it into a “reputation” factor that can be easily seen on character sheet. After all, city inhabitants don’t need to know what you did in the countryside or the location far far away you teleported from. Has any module ever done this?

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That’s more of a NWN2 problem than a module problem. The only way to make this work is to have full voice acting for all cutscene dialogue, and to use in-synch lip flaps in addition to this, and also to use custom animations for all participants. If this is not done, then the scene lands straight into the uncanny valley, where glassy-eyed realistic faces with petrified expressions constantly wobble back and forth on rubber necks and torsos, as if having difficulty standing, in a cyclical pattern. NWN1 does not have this, because the graphics do not look realistic enough for you to expect characters to behave realisticaly, and close-ups are never close enough to give a lot of attention to how flat characters’ faces are.

Hi Reinc,

Maybe I come from a different level of expectation, as I don’t think cutscene conversations need any voice acting or lip synching to look or play better compared to the non-cutscene style.

Admittedly, you do have the odd scene render incorrectly, but the overall effect, I personally much prefer. :slight_smile: I suppose that means it’s a matter of “horses for courses”, and what one expects.

One thing I would hastily add though, is that the cutscene conversations should not be annexed because of lack of multi-pc support, as I have shown that this style can support multiple PC input if coded correctly.

Thanks, Lance.

In the Forgotten Realms only one God requires you to treat everyone. Ilmater is the only God that requires all his priests to treat everybody.

Beggar: Water, please. // neutral
Priest of <not-Ilmater>: *collects tithe* // good ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That made me realize yet another pet peeve: modules that try too hard to fit into the FR setting. The engine is flexible enough for custom worlds to be built with it. Heck, even that stupid alignment level-up restriction can be circumvented from lvl 2 onward…

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I don’t like regular empty containers and permanently locked und unpickable doors to be shown as interactive. If something is interactive, I expect that it’s interactive for a reason, and that clicking on it (or at least checking its description) won’t be a waste of my time. What’s the use in allowing the PC to rattle on every single door in town, if they don’t lead anywhere? If something is just there as decoration, please don’t troll me by triggering my OCDs. :crazy_face:

Now, see, I would love to be able to comply with that request, and indeed I did what I could to avoid useless doors in my city area, but to my knowledge it’s not possible to make a door static, and CEP has only one model that fits the doorways existing in tilesets that you can use to block them realistically. (The vanilla game offers no such possibility at all.)
And there’s only so many tilesets, so if I were to completely eschew those with doorways, too, I’d be left with two or three buildings for the entire city.
(Edit: especially since I already limited myself to the reddish-brick tiles in the poor district and the white-walled tiles in the rich district, to set them apart)
And if I do make them all functional, then sooner or later I will have a lot of civilian houses with no plot in them, and someone higher up said they don’t want more of those…

Frankly, I think a lot of what you’re all listing here are very personal preferences that, personally, I wouldn’t dream of trying to meet, because I couldn’t do it anyway and it’d only make me fry my eyes on the laptop screen even longer than usual. I love restricted rest. I need a sensible spot to rest outdoors to feel I’m outdoors. I find backtracking to an inn to rest fun. I never play as halflings because they look like children and never play as gnomes because they are just plain weird, and I will usually not even remember they are a thing so I probably won’t test a module for them. I like backtracking through a wilderness area because that makes it feel like I’m actually travelling, and there’s no logical sense (someone wanted more of that , I think?) in a deep forest cave suddenly providing you with a teleport out. I don’t much care about balanced fights because the fights are only there for the feel, like “action” sequences in point&click adventure games.

So what I do is inform about these things beforehand. I only released one module so far, but I said outright that it involved backtracking, looking for safe places to rest, etc. And I will do the same for the next one, if it ever actually gets finished. Which means that anyone who is put off by any of those elements will probably never play the module, but it also means that I will make the module I actually want to make.

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Which is all good especially the part about being up front about what applies to your module. And that’s the point. It is your module, not somebody else’s. The original point of this thread was to point out some of the things that a large number of players find annoying especially when there is no warning that the module contains such things (but please no more kill the rats in the cellar! :grinning:).

TR

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“Rats in the cellar, eh? How cliche of you, love. But I’ll forgive you this time.”

  • The Bard, “Bard’s Tale IV”

It’s a bit tougher to state in the module description that “you may find the behaviour and thought process of my characters not logical enough and psychologically improbable” though.

I’d play a module where a rat gives you a quest to kill humans in its attic (and gives you a Creature Weapon as a reward).


@Olivier_Leroux some modules even auto-close (+auto-lock) open doors - good luck with those :expressionless:. I see two ways to handle it:

  1. Don’t place a door when there’s supposed to be nothing behind it. It should work well for wilderness areas and look not that bad for urban. Player seeing there is no transition trigger behind will accept it as a feature.
  2. Pick one or two types or doors and use them exclusively as permanent blockers (with a mandatory “nothing interesting behind”). Players will quickly learn to tell them apart from doors of interest.

There is nothing wrong in telling the player what to expect and where. It respects their time.

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Ah, that’s what I feared and it explains why almost every module has this issue. This should be something that the EE could rectify though, isn’t it? Has anyone put “static doors” or “more different door models that fit in city tilesets” on the request lists yet?

Well, that’s kind of the definiton of “pet peeves”, isn’t it? :slight_smile:
Of course, there is no recipe on how to please everyone.

In this regard and others I find it’s all about finding the right measure. I don’t think most players would like to constantly teleport around instead of actually traveling, but if the backtracking is overdone and the constant running to and fro across several maps that you’ve already explored to the fullest doesn’t really add anything to the game anymore, it can get tedious and annoying. Personally, I don’t mind backtracking in moderation, I just don’t like when I feel an author makes me jump through hoops for no reason and doesn’t respect my time. I played your module and IIRC backtracking wasn’t an issue with it.

I don’t mind fights being easy, unless there is so much combat that it gets repetitive and pointlessly boring without further challenges or surprises. But I do remember that the last fight in your module impacted very negatively what I had felt about the module before. It didn’t feel like it was just there for the atmosphere, to support the story-telling, but actually distracted me from the latter since it was such a frustrating slog. You probably don’t think it is that much of an obstacle, but then again, you designed it and were well prepared for it. :wink: If this combat would have been unbalanced in the way of too easy, I’d have enjoyed the module much more, because the rest of it was quite nice, but I found it unbalanced in the way of too hard, and that left me with a very sour aftertaste, because it got in the way of finishing the story.

The same often happens with point-and-click adventure games, too - if there are ‘action’ scenes in them, many players struggle with them and perceive them as frustrating obstacles, because they weren’t prepared for it or the developers didn’t really manage to make them fun, since it’s not their area of expertise.

Anyway, just speaking from my personal experience and not telling you to change anything; maybe other players were happy that they’d finally get a challenge or something. Like you said, you can’t please everyone. :upside_down_face:

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That’s actually a very fair point, I’ll definitely take that under advisement. Thanks!

Edit:

This reminds me of that M.A.S.H. episode where someone says rats have been seen in the hospital tents, and Hawkeye says “well, I’ve heard that the rats have been complaining about the people in their tents.”

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