Problem-Solving Characters

version 2 by Ron Newcomb

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  • Section: Expressed in Language
    The bookkeeping can serve a secondary purpose to make our NPCs seem a little more alive. A chain of actions have a why/how relationship. Why are you trying to find that key? To unlock that door. How are you going to unlock that door? By finding the key, or, bashing it down. If we can parse a player's questions, there's many phrases that can answer them using the bookkeeping. The example Motive and Method shows the basics with a minimum of parser work.
    All of these phrases are optional to learn. They exist only for convenience.
    First, since it is easier to work OPENING THE MICROWAVE into prose than BOB OPENING THE MICROWAVE, this phrase does just that.
        subjectless (stored action)
    Second, these phrases answer questions about when the attempt happens.
        if (attempt) is in the past
        if (attempt) is in the present
        if (attempt) is in the future
        if (attempt) is a could've been
        if confused about timing is (true/false)
    These phrases explore the agenda and decide on an attempt, except the can/could phrases which decide on a list of attempts.
        why (person) did/accomplished (attempt)
        why (person) will do/accomplish/-- (attempt)
        why (person) is/are doing/accomplishing (attempt)
        how (person) did/accomplished (attempt)
        how (person) will do/accomplish/-- (attempt)
        how (person) can do/accomplish (attempt)
        how (person) could do/accomplish (attempt)
        how (person) could have done/accomplished (attempt)
        what (person) is/are trying to do/accomplish now/--
        what (person) will do next
        (stored action) from the agenda of (person)
    If the player asks why on a "top-level" attempt, the author must provide the answer. Similar if a How phrase returns nothing.
    Finally, the truth state "confused about timing" is true if you use a did/will phrase, but the attempt isn't in the past/future that the question assumed. The extension doesn't use this information, but it provides it in case it's wanted.