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Author Topic: Suggestions for dwarf psychology  (Read 4239 times)

Marshall Burns

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Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« on: June 29, 2010, 03:11:39 pm »

I've got some ideas about dwarven psychology that you might be interested in, or that at least could job your mind into coming up with new ideas that you like. I've done plenty of this sort of thing; I design table-top roleplaying games, and I nearly always put *some* kind of psychological or emotional mechanics into it. One of them centers around psychology rather intensely, and got the glowing recommendation from a guy with a Master's in psych that it was "the most elegant model for human behavior I've ever seen in a roleplaying game." All of which is to say, y'know, just hear me out.

As you've said, the whole happy vs. unhappy thing is pretty weak sauce. It's also way too easy to control. Although I've had two unhappy dwarves, I've yet to see a tantrum. I'm not even trying to game the system, either; I just like having a lot of decorations and furniture around, and it only made sense to have a giant dining room with a huge table.

What you could do is have a few different classes of psychological "hits" that affect a dwarf, then check on his mental and personality traits to see how he reacts. He might be able to take it in stride or at least suppress a reaction, or else he reacts in some way. His reaction would be chosen from a list of possible reactions of varying severity, based on his personality and a random element. Successfully resisted "hits" could accumulate and make resisting future hits of the same class harder. Each hit would also be recorded in the dwarf's thoughts until he got over it. Getting over it could be accelerated by pleasant things of an opposite variety.

Here's some things that came to mind:

FRUSTRATION: a Frustration hit happens when a dwarf has to drink nasty water for too long, or when he has to sleep without a bed for too long, or when he has to do a kind of work he doesn't like, or, y'know, when somebody else has eaten all the goat cheese AGAIN.

Possible reactions include breaking/throwing things, violently lashing out at someone, cussing someone out, lodging a formal complaint with the mayor to make things better OR ELSE, refusing to work, or possibly some passive-aggressive stuff like hiding important things (which would lead to more Frustration for someone else: "Darnit, where did all my socks go?")

Frustration would be reduced by doing work that the dwarf enjoyed, or by various creature comforts (nice digs, partying, a good dining experience, or even just admiring nice things), or by getting to do some violence through soldiering or hunting. (Soldiers who are on duty for too long without getting to cut something would also be taking Frustration hits.)

GRIEF: a Grief hit happens when a dwarf loses someone he's got a relationship with. The closer the relationship, the lower the chance of successfully resisting it.

Grief could lead to temporary or long-term depression (both with a severity ranging from reduced effectiveness to total catatonia), or suicide, or could be sublimated into vengeance -- like, y'know, he grabs the nearest weapon and goes marching off after the alligator that ate his baby (even if he's no good at fighting). Or maybe the dwarf even goes all Medea, making the slide from grief to murderous spite.

Grief would be reduced by receiving comfort or consolation from relationships. If you get religions implemented, having regular temple services would be a good way to keep Grief in check, especially for loner dwarves that don't make any friends and don't have any pets.

GREED: Dwarves without greed just ain't dwarves, if'n you ask me. A dwarf takes a Greed hit when he sees something nice that belongs to someone else. The nicer the thing, the greater the intensity of the Greed.

Possible reactions could include stealing the item, or maybe just spitefully destroying it ("If I can't have Mindfulfinds, the Mule Leather Low Boot, then NO ONE CAN!"). Or maybe you just demand higher wages or a better dining room.

Greed would be reduced by admiring your own fine possessions, and by receiving your wages.

STRESS: Stress hits happen from being in danger or other stressful situations. Non-soldiers suffer Stress from being attacked. Even soldiers could suffer stress from being outnumbered or seeing their comrades go down in a heap of body parts. Parents suffer Stress if they lose track of their babies. And other stuff, like nearly getting caught in a flood or cave in.

Possible reactions include jarred nerves that impair your effectiveness for a while, or going into hysterics and doing something you'll regret, or having a nervous breakdown that leaves you bedridden for months.

I'm not sure what makes Stress go down. Probably just time, but at a faster rate than the other types.

HORROR: Horror hits happen when you see something horrifying, like an undead or a forgotten beast (titans should probably cause Stress though), or witnessing a dwarf murder another dwarf. Or even, maybe to a lesser extent, looking at a macabre artifact or seeing a type of vermin that you're particularly freaked out by.

Horror could produce panic (ranging from the run-screaming variety to the stand-and-drool variety), brief reactive psychosis, or long-term insanity.

Horror should almost certainly only go down over time, and *slowly*. It's not something you get over easily. Luckily, it shouldn't be common either, unless your site is haunted.


So, by this schema, you would check a dwarf's thoughts and see, "He has been frustrated about the lack of goat cheese lately. He has nightmares after being horrified by a zombie. He has sworn vengeance against Urist McMurder for murdering his wife." That would rock on toast. Especially if, like, Urist McMurder had already been arrested and put in the dungeon, and the vengeance dwarf came down there and stabbed him to death while he was caged.
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aepurniet

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2010, 07:18:26 pm »

this seems pretty cool, i bet there are some more 'rolls' you could make that would also improve social skill leveling (it seems like its just based on free time right now).  also it could allow dwarves personality traits to really affect their behavior.  i feel like traits are currently vastly underused.

self worth (doing good at jobs should improve this, also dwarves could have very different base line levels of this. social relationships should influence this too).

admiration (being admired helps you get elected mayor, dwarves without a certain level of admiration might get annoyed at people that dont admire them.  that level would be dictated by self worth and some multiplier based on traits) dwarves would admire masterful crafts, and nice kills by the military and hunters.

mabe i can add some more later, but i think this is a very interesting gameplay concept.
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thijser

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2010, 04:28:50 pm »

Well Stress could go down from talking to frends (who calm the dwarf) or general relaxing (breaks ext.).
But I do think this is a good system trough I think most things should have a double effect 1 short term horror for example could start by clear panic and than cause nightmares later.
I don't think grief should cause suicide because this brings in the risk of a group of dwarf who are all happy frends until one dies. Then 2 of his 70 frends commit suicide. This causes 4 more dwarfs to commit suicide. Then at a steady phase all 70 dwarfs die. This is not realsitic so grief should be effected by the amout of dwarfs this perticulair dwarf know to keep the effect somewhat in check (could count for more effects aswell).
Having some sort of dirrect "happiness system" working next to this one might be a good idea. This could be a creature comfort system that doesn't count all the stuff but things like food and reccent sleeping arrangement while this system keeps track of the less liniair systems (While poor food and a really good bed might cancel eachother out a lost baby should cause a dwarf to be unhappy no matter what.)
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2010, 09:18:09 pm »

This might go well with my suggestions for dwarven leisure time, at least, the stress part.
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Mckee

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2010, 11:10:09 pm »

With the stress for soldiers, could a counter to this be when they see the enemies die in droves, outnumber the enemy or get reinforcements? As in, these things all reduce combat stress, or atleast some of it.

With stress from injuries, successful medical treatment or even rescue could alleviate the worst levels of it, but not the longer term anxeity of being inured.
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Zalminen

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2010, 01:35:52 am »

HORROR: Horror hits happen when you see something horrifying, like an undead or a forgotten beast (titans should probably cause Stress though), or witnessing a dwarf murder another dwarf. Or even, maybe to a lesser extent, looking at a macabre artifact or seeing a type of vermin that you're particularly freaked out by.

Horror could produce panic (ranging from the run-screaming variety to the stand-and-drool variety), brief reactive psychosis, or long-term insanity.

Horror should almost certainly only go down over time, and *slowly*. It's not something you get over easily. Luckily, it shouldn't be common either, unless your site is haunted.
At some point more encounters with undead should only cause stress hits. If you've seen skeletal creatures every damn week, they won't really seem that horrible anymore...
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Lord Herman

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2010, 04:28:14 am »

I've been thinking about the same thing recently. Splitting up the happy-unhappy scale into different 'moods' (actual moods, not strange moods) would make the whole thing less gamey. Instead of dorfs that'd be simply miserable, they could be a bit frustrated and very stressed, for example.

One thing in particular I've been considering is dorfs blaming others for their unhappiness. Right now, tantrumming and berserk dorfs are pretty indiscriminate in their violence. It'd be nice to see a dwarf get frustrated over something, blame another dorf, and eventually decide to take it out on that dorf by punching him in the face.
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Medicine Man

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2010, 04:53:54 am »

This sounds good.
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existent

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2010, 05:50:32 am »

I've been thinking about the same thing recently. Splitting up the happy-unhappy scale into different 'moods' (actual moods, not strange moods) would make the whole thing less gamey. Instead of dorfs that'd be simply miserable, they could be a bit frustrated and very stressed, for example.

One thing in particular I've been considering is dorfs blaming others for their unhappiness. Right now, tantrumming and berserk dorfs are pretty indiscriminate in their violence. It'd be nice to see a dwarf get frustrated over something, blame another dorf, and eventually decide to take it out on that dorf by punching him in the face.

Listen to DF talk #8. All of this is already slated to be added in the future.
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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2010, 07:15:20 pm »

Sounds cool.
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hlavaczech

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2012, 03:43:30 am »

dwarfs should be more obsessed with different issues then they are now
- some might keep occupying different workshops and keep doing the same stuff: bone figurines, for example
- some might be obsessed with symmetry - they might need to have their rooms symmetrical (dwarfs could be as obsessed as are the players)
- some might have family issues: they might love to stick together or vice versa - they might hate to be near their relatives
- some might be obsessed with types of stones: everything in their possession simply MUST be marble, for example.
- some might be urged to steal stuff
- other might loose their stuff and blame someone for stealing it

the options are endless and in humble point of view it fits with the overall dwarven spirit :-)
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Marshall Burns

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2012, 04:02:35 am »

Oh, hey, I remember this. Somehow missed out on all the comments, though. For the record, I agree with pretty much everything that people have added here.
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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2012, 04:22:57 am »

I dunno, IMHO the current "Bummer, my whole family got family murdered :( - Ooh, a pimptastic +☼microcline table☼+! :D " approach has a strange charm to it in all of its unintentional surreality.
After all, one of the authoritative descriptions was that dwarves are "strange creatures who balance out at 'happy' because on one hand their wife was eaten by elephants and on the other they just ate in a REALLY NICE dining room."
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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2012, 05:13:49 am »

I could see your dwarves flogging to the local Dwarven-Zen Garden or Temple to relief from stress, also stress reduction could be related to their personalities. Like for instance if you have a calm introspective dwarf, he might prefer zen/religion, another dwarf who likes to eat would begin eating (possibly growing fat in the process) to reduce stress. This could lead to all sorts of !!FUN!!, as this dwarf who likes to eat out of stress empties your Silos, producing more stressed dwarves in the process, as they have no food.
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Gargomaxthalus

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Re: Suggestions for dwarf psychology
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 12:55:43 am »

Yes yes I realize that this topic is a year old, but one of the best ways to stop a topic from having multiple threads devoted to it is to keep it near the top. This is something that many people will be interested in and I see it as something that newcomers(like my self should have easy access to. To take some of the sting away, I'll add a little of my cynicism to it.

While a complex psychological system is desirable, you need to be careful to not have to many interconnected complex systems or else we'll run into to a simple set of realities: chaos is the predominate force in the universe and in the end everything returns to nothing. Any system that is added to the game needs to be kept to manageable levels of chaos that let people feel like they're in control. The current suggestions in the thread are not just a good starting point, they are also near the limit of what most people could handle giving all of the other existing and planned factors in the game. Of course, horror really needs to be more broadly setup as fear so that we can have a proper, easy to follow scale from "this creeps me out" to "Oh dear God, we're all going to die!!! Such a thing has of course been discussed and fear and morale systems are planned as well as better handling joy/sorrow.

One of the biggest issues with with the current model is of course, that insanity always results in suicide since the insane neither eat nor drink and we can't set up much needed psych wards. Insanity it self needs to be fairly broadly defined from emotionless psychopaths and narcissistic sociopaths to the delusional and those suffering from dementia. A particularly interesting aspect of mental degradation is schizophrenia, MPD, and PTSD which all carry huge ramifications. Different races should be more prone to certain psychological sates than others. Not only would this simply make perfect sense, but it would also limit the number of psychological syndromes that any one player will have to worry about at a given time.

Since "The Forgotten Realms" is my biggest source for reference material I'll give appropriate examples.

Goblinoids(Orcs/Goblins/Bugbears):
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Surface Elves:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Drow:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
 

Shallow Dwarves:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
         

Since our Gnomes are currently more akin to Gibberlings and we lack Halflings, mentioning them will just bog this little book I've written here down. As for humans they are exactly like us only they don't need to imagine the things that "go bump in the night" and so have the psychological issues that go along with constant threat of extreme bodily harm/death unadulterated !!FUN!!.

If that isn't enough of an addition to warrant some Necromancy then I don't know what is. These profiles are a mess and somewhat incomplete, feel free to add on.

Oh yeah I almost forgot. We's be needs'n da' real Gnomies so's we's can have some REAL havoc in the world. Oh and no thief is feared like a sticky fingered Halfling, especial if they have an enchanted ruby......
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