Appreciationand Wisdom

Appreciation and Wisdom

Appreciation for a friend, for nature, for a group…all these give an NPC depth as well.

Let's see an example of this in connection with another technique, Wisdom.

Here's the game scenario: You've been fighting slimy beasts on an alien outpost. The last one almost did you in. Your "health points" are just about down to zero.

You reenter the base. The Medic (male) looks you over, sizes up your beat-up condition, and digs a key out of a drawer. He hands it to you and says sincerely, "Want some privacy for a while? Here's the key to my quarters. Whatever you were doing out there, thanks."[2]

[2] In a game, this scenario makes sense only if there is something in that room that factors into gameplay. For instance, there could be a weapon in there, or a secret underground passage out of the base that could be used later. Or this could be a hiding place if the base was later overrun. Perhaps, in that room, you'd learn a new piece of information that changes the entire direction of the plot.

In a small way, the Medic has exhibited insight (he's noticed your condition and deduced you were doing something heroic for the benefit of the group, which includes him). Insight is one of many forms of wisdom. It gives him depth. His statement also includes appreciation, another NPC Deepening Technique.

In more than one game, I've seen wisdom is dispensed by a "wise old man," usually a Gandalf type.

But having a "wise old man" who gives advice to the player can be a cliché. Thus, hopefully, if you do have someone old and wise, and they're a major and recurring NPC, you'll construct an original Diamond for them.

A perfect example was done a number of years ago in the first installment of The Matrix. The wise Oracle was spellbinding, because she had a great Diamond. In the movie, she is:

  1. Secretive. She likes to tease a bit with the knowledge she's holding back. And of course the biggest secret of all is, how'd she become the Oracle?

  2. Mystical. She's endowed with prophetic powers, and we don't know how she got them.

  3. Calmly Powerful. She seems untouchable by the agents of the Matrix, or they would have gotten her long ago.

  4. Maternal in a Mildly Cheerful, Amused Way. She bakes cookies and, in some ways, treats Neo and the apprentices in her living room as if they are her own kids. Going to see her is a bit like visiting "Auntie Oracle."

  5. Profoundly Committed to a Noble Cause. She's got a cause: overthrowing the Matrix.

We see that she actually has four NPC Deepening Techniques placed among her five Traits:

  1. Secretive (hiding secrets)

  2. Mystical

  3. Profoundly Committed to a Noble Cause[3]

    [3] The Oracle from The Matrix has a strong Character Diamond, with three Deepening Techniques layered in. Her character construction is a great example of Technique Stacking.

  4. She Takes Responsibility for Others. That is, part of being maternal is the extension of her sense of responsibility to encompass the well being over those toward whom she feels maternal.

Had she just been "deep" without having an interesting Diamond, she would have been a clichè and a bore. As mentioned before, "deep" is an option; "interesting" rarely is.

Although this book doesn't nearly have room for all the ways to give depth to an NPC, let's look at a few more.

Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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