Pondering over my single player adventures in NWN over the years, I realized that this type of RPG has a very serious player choice problem.
One one hand, the beauty of the game (and the dnd rpg system as a whole) lies in the impressive depth and customization power that the player has as their disposal. Every alocated point/feat/spell can take the player in a new direction resulting in vastly differnt builds with very different stregths and weaknesses.
But in the vast customization power also lies the problem - which is that when making any of these choices, you don't really know what you are going to face in the module/campaign ahead. Thus, some choices will be vastly superior to others and with limited information there's no way you can make a real decision.
Let's put it in a few simple examples:
- I am a paladin putting skilpoints into Persuade, yet in the module I'm starting there will never be a persuade check to pass
- I am a fighter selecting weapon focus (bastard sword) at creation, but the module maker has not put any magical or useful bastard swords in the whole module
- I am a cleric, preparing lots of undead killing spells in my spellbook but the dungeon I am about to enter contains no undead.
The lack of information driving these choices is the problem. You can go deep on a path and none of the abilities that you choose will ever be useful to you and there's no way of knowing if you've made the right choice until you finally play the module from start to finish, like the undead-hunter cleric in a module with no undead.
Personally this has always driven a min/max-er like me totally crazy. I"ve always felt the need to read guides on the modules in question, just to get more information about what to expect before diving in, just to avoid the bad feeling of making choices which are useless or totally sub-optimal with my character.
I"m wondering if it wouldnt be possible to mitigate this effect, by allowing module makers to disable some aspects of the campaign which they know will never impact the resolution of the module, for example:
- at character creation, no persuade skill is available if persuade cannot be realistically used in the module.
- disabling some weapons from the menu if they do not appear in the module or
- disabling spells from the spellbooks of certain classes if the module maker decides to.
So please discuss:
- do you think this is a true issue or a symptom of exagerating min/maxing
- is a solution to this type of issue needed?