Persuasion does not mean lying

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by sam12six, Jan 29, 2011.

Remove all ads!
Support Terra-Arcanum:

GOG.com

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
  1. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Am I the only one who finds the persuasion skill sucks if you're RPing a good guy?

    I mean persuasion is supposed to mean using your charisma to convince people to change their minds and see things your way, not pretending you represent the Tarant development authority or whatever (though that should also be an option).

    I just can't make myself play a good guy diplomat type because pretty much every opportunity to persuade your way out of a fight or spending lots of cash means lying to whomever your talking to.
     
  2. Grindstone82

    Grindstone82 New Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Lying to people vs. shooting them in the face

    not much of a moral dilemma there IMO


    Of course you could break persuasion down into diplomacy, bluff and intimidate like in D&D. That would also imply that diplomacy is not always applicable though. IMO it just wouldn't be realistic that your character can always convince the other side of giving up, especially if the odds are against you. Take the example of Schuyler's that you mentioned; you want access to someone else's house while the guards are patrolling outside, and the servant knows that the Schuyler's are powerful necromancers. Intimidation is not an option here, nor is diplomacy very realistic if he doesn't have any qualms about what's going on.
     
  3. Arthur_Vaapeli

    Arthur_Vaapeli New Member

    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    The Steampunk universe is a world full of dangers, you either lie to them, cut their arms of with a hatchet, or shoot them.
     
  4. magikot

    magikot Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2003
  5. Arthur_Vaapeli

    Arthur_Vaapeli New Member

    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Or even Quench their lives :cool:_
     
  6. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    I get what you're saying and don't have a problem with it when I'm playing a con-man type character.

    I just from a role-playing perspective can't bring myself to accept that lying is what persuasion is all about. Diplomacy is not always an option (and shouldn't be), but they missed a lot of opportunity to actually implement persuasion (like it seems if you were a very persuasive person, you'd be able to convince Bessie's son to show you where Dernholm is so you could get his sister's take on things (remember, he wants the mine to no longer be haunted - a persuasive person might be able to convince him that talking to his sister might help)).

    As a game-play mechanic, it doesn't matter either way. Just from a RP POV, a persuasive guy could convince a thief that blocking this bridge could incur the wrath of the thieves guild without having to lie and imply that they sent me.
     
  7. Viktor_Berg

    Viktor_Berg New Member

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    It's called "Persuasion" for a reason, not "Charm" or "You always get the morally right dialogue lines".

    Persuasion can mean everything, from bluffing, to bootlicking, to threats. However, the "net morality gain" of the dialogue ultimately depends on the end result, not on the means, at least in this case. If you threaten a guy to run away rather than have to kill him, it is for the better.

    In any case, being the "morally right" character doesn't mean being the saint.
     
  8. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    You're right of course, but an inherently honest person does not start lying to people to get his or her way as a first resort.

    Obviously if someone convinces that character the only way to save lives is to trick someone, that person would do it. This is seldom the case though. It's almost always a dialogue choice between "Okay, I'll leave.", "Gilbert Bates told me to relieve you of duty (lie)", or "How's about I cut your heart out?!?"

    This is a problem I have with a lot of games, but usually it's the situation is that there's no truly evil way to proceed. Take KOTOR for example: I can give a woman money that will allow her a new start in life (good), add my own money to it (saintly), or keep the money for myself (what they consider evil. To me that's not being evil, just a dick - now allowing me to lead her to slavers and sell her ass - that's evil).

    Using the bridge thieves as an example again: a saintly choice would be using persuasion to make them see the error of their ways and convince them they should guard the bridge from monsters making them (and you) heroes in the eyes of Shrouded Hills. A simple honest choice would being able to persuade them that being thieves is a waste of their lives and that they should look into a line of work that wasn't sure to result in their deaths at either the hands of authorities, adventurers wanting to leave, or other thieves.

    Like I said, it's a minor, minor, minor gripe about a great game, something along the lines of "Why does using a tech weapon against an elemental give a huge disadvantage, but his magical ass trying to hit my 100TA self has no such issues?".

    It's just the way it is, but it always surprises me that writers create a great world miss a detail as big as "It's impossible to play an honest character who does not threaten people." (Since lying, threatening, and stealing are the only options to get past the Shuylers' gate-keeper)
     
  9. Viktor_Berg

    Viktor_Berg New Member

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    I believe you look at the world in shades of black and white too strong. This game isn't very much about good and evil. True, it has an alignment system, but with how it works, it might as well be "reputation" and not alignment. In any case, what you consider deterimental (a good character not always being honest/kind), I consider one of the strengths of the game.

    The path to Hell is padded with kind intentions, as they say...

    As for the thieves at Shrouded Hills, the idea of convincing an experienced, weathered thief to "abandon his ways", along with his two HUGE BRUTES of Half-Ogre friends is just silly. You'd need to have some real good reasoning as to why he should do that, and that would ultimately lead to unnecessarily huge walls of text about morality and stuff like that, which looks fine in Planescape Torment, but wouldn't fit in Arcanum. Imagine a Kerghan-length conversation every time you try to change someone's view on life.
     
  10. Grindstone82

    Grindstone82 New Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    I think it also depends on the setting.


    In the old (AD&D) Dark Sun setting there were no paladins. It was simply assumed that life on this world was so harsh that noone there developed any saintly aspirations. Arcanum seems pretty similar to me in that it has a lot of shades of grey. Necromancy is considered by most to be a normal part of magic for example, not some forbidden art as it is in other settings.
     
  11. Muro

    Muro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,179
    Likes Received:
    19
    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    I'm with Viktor on this one.

    I, too, had to change my approach while playing a diplomat from "A good diplomat never needs to lower himself to lies" to "They're just words, as long as blood isn't being shed thanks to them, the end justifies the means" in order to be satisfied with my character's decisions. Less idealistic, yes, but far more realistic.

    An educated gentleman may have enough patience and an open enough mind to listen to reason and change his point of view because of your well spoken logical arguments, but let's be honest, the only language some will ever be able to understand is manipulation and - if even that isn't an option - threat.
     
  12. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Y'all are right and I'm not saying, "This is why I hate the game."

    I bought it when it first came out and it's been on every computer I've owned since then.

    I just find it a weakness in games when you're allowed to play one extreme and not the other. As I said, usually it's evil that gets downgraded to asshole. In Arcanum's case, it's good that gets downgraded to pragmatic.
     
  13. Grindstone82

    Grindstone82 New Member

    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    ^ I see your point. In fact, Arcanum's morals are so fuzzy that you can easily kill several innocent NPCs and rob them blind without your alignment shifting into the negative :/ But I do think it's a predicament of the steam punk background.
     
  14. symban

    symban New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Actually unfortunately you are making a small mistake here.

    Persuasion skill =/= Power to persuade someone into your way of looking at things.

    Persuasion skill = Power to persuade someone believe what you are telling is truth.

    Your example of S.Hills bandits totally centers on persuading them about the wrong doing / dangers of criminal acts. You are suggesting that you should be able to change their minds to protect the town (they were initially neutral characters in a University remember? they decided that the fair payment of a hardworking day is not enough for them.) If you were able to change their personalities without the means of magic/technology, it would conflict with RP reality.

    Also what you said about game forcing you to lie is wrong. You can actually play a good persuasion character in Arcanum. It is YOU who chooses the option of lying, NOT the persuasion skill. The consequeces of the act may not be successful, but you are allowed NOT to lie.

    If your own personal morals value succession of achieving what you want / or avoid what you dread, is higher than your morals for honesty and avoiding lies at all costs; sir then it is the RP you have chosen. You may argue that "You may not succeed mostly if you dont lie using persuasion", which is a truth of both Arcanum reality and the real life itself.
     
  15. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    These saying the same thing (the second is just more specific)

    It's not always a person's base personality that determines major actions in his or her life. It's the level of knowledge.

    When I was in corporate sales, one of the things taught in training was that EVERY individual willing to talk to a sales person wants to be a customer. They just have a list of "cons" in their mind and a salesman's job is to present them with enough "pros" to feel comfortable making the decision to buy.

    In the case of the bridge thieves, there are many things they might not have factored into their decision to be where they are. They might not have considered how people might die not being able to get to Doc Roberts, or that the more successful their blockade is, the more reason powerful people have to either eliminate or replace them. I'm not saying there should be options for every conceivable thing you could think to say, just that the writers should have given you an honest approach to persuasion.

    Now, they might also just be completely opposed to being persuaded in an honest fashion (which they are, along with just about everyone else in the Arcanum world).


    You are NOT allowed to not lie if you want to use your persuasion to convince the person.

    We're not talking about real life. We're talking about a game where the designers specifically created a persuasion skill, then deliberately chose to make virtually every exercise of that skill an act of dishonesty.

    You're right about the RP aspect of what you choose to do. This is why I said I don't play good guy diplomats in the game since honesty and persuasiveness are diametrically opposed in Arcanum (and apparently in terra-arcanum).
     
  16. symban

    symban New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Actually no. Here is the example said to a person using drugs, both are based on the fear factor of law;

    1) "What you are doing is against the law, it may lead you being imprisoned, let alone all the damage you are doing to your own body"

    2) "I am a cop, lucky for you that I am not on duty now. I will check on you later or send someone, if we happen to find out you are still on drugs you will have a nice trip to state prison"

    both are trying to argue the same point and trying to persuade, but I am sure second would be much more successful then the first. Making someone believe in your truths and way of looking into life, is not the same thing making someone believe in what you are saying about some external facts is true.




    Now you carried the problem to the point of game success through a certain aproach via a certain skill. And I agree. Again it is only YOU who decides "whether being honest" or "succeeding via persuasion" is more important.

    You can have a good and honest character with high CH and persuasion skill. And you will have much more success in your conversations compared to a regular human(no racial prejudice) with average CH and low persuasion skill even if you totally stick to the truths. Yet someone who has no problem with lying would succeed more. Similar to someone using his melee weapon only to knock of his opoonents(passivist) VS killing them straight (moral example like your situation) or if you want to think about game mechanics melee weapon vs fist fighter(fists do not benefit Melee appr. training). And if that is the RP you have chosen you must also bear the consequences where honesty is not working.

    If you are believing "it should have worked that way", you are missing a very important aspect of the game. It is not designed to succeed in all fields. No matter what character you make it will fail in certain aspects, some more, some less. If you think game should have been designed to make successful outcomes for every possible character build, then my question would be;

    Why is there a dumb dialog option in the game? Designers put alot of afford into that option (journals, new NPC reactions, follower speechs) AND it makes the game hard like hell. Play with dumb dialogs one and you will break your prejudice against meaning of "success". You can stick to honesty with your persuasion master and enjoy the game as it is, you dont have to succeed every single encounter by it. Good luck with it.
     
  17. sam12six

    sam12six New Member

    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2011
    Um, yeah it pretty much is the same - it's being convincing. Yes, it's easier to convince someone of a lie that seems to benefit them, but it's also possible to convince to make a major change in lifestyle. It's all about your ability to frame it in such a way that it seems more appealing than the current choice (in other words, how persuasive you are).


    I think we're on the same page, but looking at different paragraphs. I'm not saying that every person you encounter should be an opportunity to change their minds about what they're doing. I'm saying the situations where the game designers chose to give you an option to use persuasion, it's pretty much always an option to lie to the other person.

    The bridge - lie, steal, kill (and pay, which is what I invariably do with honest characters who prefer to avoid violence).

    Getting by the Jewelers' doorman - lie, steal, kill (maybe you could pick the lock, I've never tried)

    Getting a ring for a lady named Gladys - Lie, steal, kill

    Getting a deed for a deceased lady's daughter - lie, steal, kill (or pay, which again is the way I roll with nonviolent honest characters).

    These are all situations in the early game where the designers chose to give you the option of exercising the persuasion skill. What do they all have in common? The fact that exercising the skill = lying.

    My saying you can't successfully use the persuade skill without lying is true in most cases (certainly it's overwhelmingly true in the early game). I'm not assigning my own definition of success - I'm using the game's definition (i.e. when I do it, the person changes his mind about something).

    Now you keep telling that it's MY CHOICE to RP how I will within the game's context and that's completely true, but it's also true that within Arcanum persuasion (as in using the skill) usually means lying whereas in real life (and other games that include a persuasion skill) it means simply "changing someone's mind".


    EDIT:

    I wanted to add that my issue with it is that there's a ghost in a cave early on that you have the option to lie to - no persuasion skill necessary.

    I believe this is how Arcanum should have handled all the quests mentioned above - You can come up with a convincing lie without any skill at all (maybe require a certain intelligence), but since it's a situation the designers deemed worthy of adding a dialogue option that can only succeed with a certain level of persuasion they should have made the persuasion option an honest exercise of the skill. As you mentioned above, lying is far easier. Changing someone's mind in a truthful manner is something that will almost always require more skill.
     
  18. symban

    symban New Member

    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Totally agree with you on the general ethics of Arcanum reality.

    If you want to do a good deed you need to either;

    -lie/intimidate
    -steal/sneak
    -pay from your own pocket

    first two may be considered not good enough or even evil. But considering the Paladin sort of chivalric honor is already dead in Arcanum realm (since firearms involved, what only matters is being powerful enough. Powerful ones are always rightful). Also when considering the possible other outcomes when lie/steal is not chosen, it may lead to much greater evils with unnecessary blood on hands. Probably problem is mostly originated on the time and overall condition of the world game is designed to be.

    I wish there was a sort of knock off before death like in gothic where we can drop them on the ground beaten and say "Now get the **** out of here!!"

    Sad we have to kill or dominate people here.
     
  19. Zanza

    Zanza Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,293
    Likes Received:
    61
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    As opposed to those pesky do-gooders who pay with other people's money.
     
  20. DarkFool

    DarkFool Nemesis of the Ancients

    Messages:
    4,003
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Man. I love nested quotes. Mainly because I think every time Philes reads one, his eye does this angry twitchy thing.

    Sam2six, Symbian's example may not be the best, but there is a distinction between the two. It is all convincing, but it's how/what you're trying to convince them that's the difference. It's a distinction between trying to convince someone ideologically (which is what his first example demonstrates) and convince someone realistically/literally (his second example). The distinction between the two is what's important in this situation... though for the life of me, I can't recall why, and am now going to go back to eating until I do remember. I'll edit this later. Probably.
     
Our Host!