Talking to Scenery

So here’s a weird problem: I made a game which features a number of “walk-on extras” whose job is to show up in certain rooms and repeat cycling lines of dialogue. I made these extras as Scenery and not People, just cause it was easy to place them in multiple rooms to the desired effect. Upon play-testing, people got frustrated not being able to speak with the extras. Talking isn’t really something I want the player to do with them; that’s not what the game is about. So, my question is this: How do I make an Instead Rule for an Action that doesn’t exist in my game? I’ve tried creating Kinds and Values, but you can’t seem to apply what I need to Scenery. All I’m looking for is a one-sentence Instead rule, so when the player tries speaking with an extra, it says “You have a pleasant conversation.” Thanks for the help with this!

First of all: scenery isn’t a kind, it’s a value. This is a bit counterintuitive, because usually you say something like ‘the tree is scenery in the forest’, but really that’s just shorthand for ‘the tree is a scenery thing in the forest.’ There’s no reason that people can’t be scenery.

So what I’d do is make ‘extra’ a kind of person, add ‘an extra is usually scenery’.

As for new actions… well, it’s acceptable to create a new action just to forbid it, so you could totally make a ‘talking to’ action and give a refusal message when the player tries to talk to an extra, perhaps in an Instead rule.

Quicker - but a lot cruder, and probably a bad idea to use too broadly - is understanding as a mistake (see 16.20: Understanding mistakes.

Understand "talk to [an extra]" as a mistake ("You have no time for talking to random strangers.")

But then if the player tries TALK TO ME or TALK TO LAMP-POST then the game won’t understand it as an action at all, which will confuse them.

EDIT: The one shot fail solution works great actually. Thanks!

When you say scenery, do you mean a backdrop? (Backdrops can be placed in multiple rooms, scenery normally cannot.)

We’re talking about scenery the property. As maga said, any thing can be scenery.

I was wondering about this line:

I couldn’t see how scenery would make that easier, and the property could be easily applied to a person. But that phrase would make perfect sense in reference to a backdrop.