Game Mechanics Adventure Game Design

BQubed

Member
I'm currently designing an adventure RPG system and I'm coming up a bit blank on a certain aspect of the design. It's an adventure RPG where you have unique stats and traits and your choices matter a lot. There's no combat in this game, nor is there money. It's kind of point-n-clicky in the sense that you pick up items and give them to people or use them on stuff to solve puzzles. Yet I feel like many consequences will lose weight without some method of loss mechanic. I'm avoiding loss mechanics that just irritate players (like starting something all over). Just note that I am in the design phase right now so nothing is implemented and I'm not too attached to any idea. Also I did toy with the idea of a conflict resolution system (like a combat system) but ultimately scrapped it because I felt it would double the scope of the game. That's why I'm having this problem now.
 

Yal

šŸ§ *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
One idea could be to do what Darkwood and Pathologic does and have multiple side characters with ongoing stories as you progress: you need to interact with them in some aspect to progress, but depending on how you solved quests, their story can take a darker (and death-ier) turn. The characters being gone could make later puzzles easier or harder (depending on if they were mostly in your way or mostly helpful) and characters being dead or saved could impact your final ending. Players that don't care about the side stories can just blaze on and make everything worse, but ideally you should have solid enough writing that the players get invested, and then once you slap a "easy progress, but it makes things worse for this side character" choice in their face, it can get harder to choose.

(Darkwood's choices are presented in a way that the most obvious way to progress usually has the worst consequences, like destroying an eldritch abomination pig monster boss ending up starving the entire village to death because it was their only food supply; it's generally more interested in making you regret uninformed choices than it is making you think about consequences, but it's definitely making you feel the consequences of your actions)
 

BQubed

Member
I haven't played either of these games but they're both on my wishlist so I'm glad you brought them up. My game certainly is about making you feel the consequences of your actions. NPC death is something I'm experimenting with right now. Just planning out the best way to kill off an NPC without filling the whole game with crashes and bugs. I'll look into these games more to get more inspiration. Thanks!
 
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