Personalities with Player Characters

Personalities with Player Characters


Concept image of Goals interface(repeated placeholder text)

Hello all! Lately the design team has been focusing on ways to imbue player made characters with personality, beyond their base stats and skills. Traditionally, most party based cRPG’s either allow players to create custom characters that are little more than walking stat sheets, or they provide the player with pre made characters with rich back stories at the cost of player agency.

7DS takes a hybrid approach, by allowing players to create a party of custom characters with unique personalities which participate in the game’s narrative elements by using our goals system.

During character creation, players answer a short series of questions, like the one above, to create a personality profile for the character along with their race, class, and specialization. Based on those answers, the character gains one of 13 goals.

A character’s goal awards bonus experience to that character when the player solves quests in a manner aligned with it. We also use goals to create conversations between characters. For example, a character with the Acclaim (seeking fame) goal, may chide a Compassion (helping others) focused character on how they try to help people, but always forget to trumpet the fact. The Compassion character could push back, about how being helpful is an end in itself, and worrying about what others think is stupid.

The game also tracks when events occur, and overall ratings of how the party solves issues. So, if the game recognizes that the player likes to slaughter his way out of problems, a character with the Sanctity goal (respect for all religions), might commiserate with the Compassion character on how their views are not being heard.

As the project progresses we’ll be adding more depth to this system to enhance the characters personalities and provide more feedback to the player including camp events and romance options.

Folks at the office have snapped up the new official D&D cRPG, Sword Coast Legends, and ploughed a few hours into it. Nice to see more official games coming out. What do others think of it?


David Shelley — Lead Designer


  1. Korgz

    Hi Dave,

    Long time fan here, ever since I played CountdownTDD and Silver Blades. Sounds like a great system but I do worry about how many nodes (conversation/event) this will result in with 13 goals. I guess this could be managed by not having too much depth per interaction that is a result of goal combinations.

    Is there going to be directly opposing goals? i.e. compassion vs cruelty.

  2. daveyd

    Haven’t bought / played Sword Coast Legends, but from watching some gameplay videos it looks incredibly bland and generic to me and from what I’ve read gameplay is incredibly linear / streamlined with very simplistic design… Basically it’s a mainstream “RPG” and probably a great example of everything TSI should avoid for SDS. Of course, I dislike RTwP combat and have thought adapting tabletop rules into a pseudo real-time system was a terrible idea ever since Baldur’s Gate. I can only hope that the toolset it came with allows modders to eventually make some decent campaigns (NWN 1 & 2 had some amazing player made modules that were some of the best CRPGs I ever played even with the clunky / awkward combat). However, from what I’ve heard the editor for SCL is extremely limited.

    Anyway, I’m so glad you guys are making a proper CRPG with turn-based combat. This sounds like a nice middle ground between the “walking stat sheet” and the completely predefined character. I love creating characters from scratch to create the perfect team but I also like when characters have their own personality / origin backstory. So this definitely has potential…

    But I wonder will one of the characters still be the main (player) character? That is, will the player take on the role of the leader? If so, I would hope that my character would have some dialogue options open to me and not simply be restricted to saying what his goal dictates. That is to say, I hope that this goals system doesn’t come at the expense of all player agency and narrative choice. After all, no real individuals are 100% compassionate all of the time so players shouldn’t be locked into rigid paths (i.e., your character does X because you have goal Y). Since you said characters get bonus exp. for solving a quest that aligns with their goal it sounds like we’ll have choice over how to complete quests, but I just wonder exactly how that will work…

    And if it is not out of scope it would be great if you could have some traits that affect a characters performance in combat similar to perks / quirks in Fallout, Arcanum, etc. Perhaps even make some of the traits only available to characters with certain goals. So for example, a character with Compassion might have access to a “healer” perk which gives them a small bonus to healing magic but a small penalty to offensive magic damage.

    I also think it might be cool if races had a few unique traits. For a silly / stereotypic example: perhaps dwarves could have a fear of being in open spaces giving that they grew up living in caverns. They could have a small bonus to fighting in buidlings / dungeons / caves and a small penalty to fighting out in the wilderness.

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