Conventions Around NPC Conversation (Adv3Lite)

This is gonna be a weird question, but something I just want to have in my toolbox for the future.

What is the general expectation for how conversation with NPCs works, primarily from the player’s perspective, when playing a TADS game?

I noticed there’s a SAY command, but it seems rather taunting to try and figure out all possible ways for a player to type in a given message to the NPC.

If I choose to not allow the SAY command (in favor of choice-based dialogue), is there a better way to communicate to the player how conversation works in the game?

Are the majority of players expecting to be able to use the SAY command? Should I just get used to matching player input to conversation topics? What is the general expectation for how thorough the SAY command needs to be, as far as possible topics go?


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Speaking as someone who’s played TADS games but doesn’t have a lot of familiarity with the authoring system (including how Adv3Lite materially differs from the standard library on this score – I think I’ve heard it has Inform-style scenes but that’s about all I know) I’d very much expect to interact with an NPC by ASKING them ABOUT various topics, and using the TOPICS command to see which have been mentioned as yet. I would SAY something if that course of action were directly prompted – similar to how new topics are often prompted, like “you might want to ask PERSON about THING”) – but wouldn’t otherwise assume that’d be something that would be useful to try.

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Oh okay! I’m pretty accustomed to ASK/TELL topics, so if that’s more the standard expectation, then I probably won’t need to worry so much, lol

I’m more of a fan of choice-based conversation myself, but TADS 3’s hybrid approach with suggested topics and the like isn’t bad. It certainly eliminates “guess the topic” for the most part, which is my main problem with standard ask/tell.