The trouble with npcs (part 1) is that:
a) there doesn't seem to be a way to write persuasion rules to account for relations amongst actors unless one of the actors is the player, and b) even if such persuasion rules could be written, there doesn't seem to be a way to construct action rules that effect an npc asking another actor to try doing something.
If there is any way to do either of these things I certainly can’t figure it out, despite hours of trying.
For the purposes of discussion, let’s consider the following scenario:
[code]The Patio is a room. The description of the patio is “Your family has gathered on your backyard patio to have a barbecue on this fine sunny day.”.
A grill is a container in the patio. The grill is closed and openable. The description of the grill is “Your propane grill is fired up and ready to go.”.
A table is a supporter in the patio. The description of the table is “A flimsy aluminum card-table.”.
A platter is on the table. The description of the platter is “A large ceramic plate”.
A steak is a kind of thing. The description of a steak is usually “A juicy, well-marbled raw steak.”.
Five steaks are on the platter.
Marriage relates one person to another (called the spouse).
The verb to be married to implies the marriage relation.
Dominance relates various people to various people. The verb to dominate (he dominates, they dominate, he dominated, it is dominated, he is dominating) implies the dominance relation.
Joe is a man in the patio. The player is Joe. The description of Joe is “It’s you! You’ve had a few too many beers, and are having trouble concentrating on what needs to be done.”.
Helen is a woman in the patio. The description of helen is “It’s Helen, your lovely wife. Luckily she’s here to keep the household running smoothly.”.
Timmy is a man in the patio. The description of Timmy is “It’s your eight-year-old son, Timmy.”.
Sara is a woman in the patio. The description of Sara is “It’s your twelve-year-old daughter, Sara.”.
Eddie is a man in the patio. The description of Eddie is “It’s your sleazy brother-in-law, Eddie. He was here in a flash when Helen told him there would be free food.”.
When play begins:
now Joe is married to Helen;
now Joe dominates Timmy;
now Joe dominates Sara;
now Helen dominates Timmy;
now Helen dominates Sara;
say “Objectives: 1) have Helen successfully instruct a Sara to get the platter, resulting in compliance; 2) have Helen instruct Eddie to take a steak, which Eddie will refuse to do; 3) have Helen successfully instruct Joe to take a steak, resulting in compliance.”;
say paragraph break.[/code]
I’ve tried all sorts (literally dozens) of various ways of constructing and phrasing different rules to enact something that would be conceptually similar to the following:
[code]1) A persuasion rule:
if the “person asking” is the spouse of the person asked:
otherwise if the “person asking” dominates the person asked:
Before/check/instead of/carry out/after/report an actor asking another actor to try doing anything:…
Every turn/after X condition holds:
try actor #1 asking actor #2 to try doing something…[/code]
I can’t find a way to do any of these, and am starting to think it’s just not possible. I originally hit upon this problem while constructing a scenario with some soldiers, where everyone (including the player) would be obliged to follow orders from a superior officer, but that seems implausible unless I can work out the much simpler scenario posted here. Whether or not the general concept of npcs controlling other actors is undesirable is in my opinion a wholly separate matter from whether or not the idea is technically feasible–and if it can be done I’d like to know how.
Does anyone have any suggestions?