RMMV The other side of the RPG equation. Playing as the Item Shopkeeper

Ceres-Eris

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This is the general gist of how I've planned my project to work. I want to know what you guys think, does this seem fun, or any feedback.

The characters you play as are two Item Shopkeepers. As shopkeepers you have to deal with the kinds of things item shopkeeps in most RPGs deal with like people buying tons of Healing Potions or Holy Water (Repels, basically) Or Adventurers selling remains of the monsters they killed. (Vendor Trash)

In order to get items to sell, you must spend Elemental Shards to craft them. There are 7 types of shards. An example is 100 Light Shards and 100 Water Shards creates a Water Resist Potion. Crafting is very simple and there's no need to memorize anything. Everything you can make and its required combination of shards is already shown.

At the beginning of every week, the guild sends shopkeepers shards. And the vendor trash adventurers sell to you can be dismantled into shards. You may also go to the Guild and put up a quest for adventurers asking to get you more materials. The more money you put in, the more attractive the quest is to stronger higher ranked adventurers which may give you better vendor trash that you can dismantle for even more shards.

(My issue with crafting in some games is that it's too complicated or you need an outside guide to know how to make anything or there's way too many materials. That's why there are only 7 different materials used to craft anything)

Combat occurs at certain points in the story usually while the two are accompanied by different types people who can actually fight. They may be an Adventurer Party, Knights, the town guards etc (most of them are potential customers). These different parties all have different ways of fighting together and the player must learn of it during the battle. During battles, the two shopkeepers are still present but as non-combatants they are very weak and must be protected and can't even attack. What they can do is use items (the items that you were supposed to sell) if the need arises. My goal is for these characters to seem fleshed out and really feel like they could be the main characters of their own stories

Yes, I said story because there is a story. I've seen plenty of games where you play as an unimportant nobody. But my issue with those types of games is that the world those games take place in, nothing interesting happening. There's no conflict in the world because the player is playing as an unimportant nobody. The first and only game I've seen to remedy this is VA-11 HALL-A where
you're just a bartender but there's plenty of issues in the world that game takes place in. A riot occurs but you're not the one stopping it. You're just focusing on staying safe. One of your customers is part of that world's police. She's the one who has to deal with that riot.
This is the kind of thing I'm trying to achieve with being a Shopkeeper.

Certain items will be more popular than others. Health Potions, Magic Potions and Repels will almost always be in high demand. Items like Escape Rope won't be as sought after for example. Use your experience of playing RPGs to determine how much you should make of each item.

You're not confined to your store, every morning early in the day you can explore the town and see what's happening before opening your shop for the day. Every NPC will have new dialogue every day (Think, The Trails of series) Taking to the townsfolks and adventurers in your current town will also give hints on which items are currently high or low in demand or anecdotes of their life or recent adventure.

Events may occur that cause certain items to increase or decrease in demand. You may hear adventurers in the guild talking about discovering a new dungeon but finding that it's filled with Poison Traps. Prepare to sell tons of Antidotes.
You may hear that there might be an outbreak of powerful Fire Wolves. So now there will be an increased demand for Fire Resist and Water Enhance Potions

At the end of every month, shopkeepers are reassigned to a different shop in a different town so you're now in a different location with different NPCs, different nearby monsters and dungeons and therefore different items in high and low demand and different events that affect demand.


I wanted to make a game where you're on the other side of the RPG equation. You're not the one buying 99 Health Potions, you're the one selling them. You're not the one collecting 20 bear butts to complete a quest, you're the one who puts up quests asking for 20 bear butts (The TvTropes term for this uses a different word for butt that starts with A which I'm not sure if I can write here). You're not the one protecting and escorting civillians, you're the civillian being protected and escorted



Another thing I need help on, once I eventually get a playable demo done (I plan on releasing one once finish three ingame months) then that's when I can make a thread in games in development right? What I want to know is how can I describe this game in such a way that makes it seem interesting without spoiling how the entire gameplay loop works? Or is it perfectly fine for me to explain everything?
 

Failivrin

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To be brutally honest, I'm not sensing the appeal. Buying items is a chore in regular RPGs; it would take a lot of development to make selling them seem attractive. One possibility is to steer away from designing and marketing an RPG. Consider designing a sim game with RPG aesthetics.
The usual method for sim games is to focus heavily on social mechanics. The player should make choices that change the stories. I say stories because there is no overarching story arc, just an intersection of story arcs belonging to NPCs. A bartender is a good model for the protagonist because a bartender's job isn't really to sell liquor; the job is to facilitate positive interactions between the customers. Specifically, a bar is where people go for advice, or where they go to drown their troubles. In a game like this, I would want customers seeking advice and customers who are in trouble. I would want to see how both my advice and my item stock affects their story arc, including their interactions with other characters. The item sellers should have items with social value, not merely combat value. Love potions, poisons, formulas to prevent balding. The player would be frequently faced with choices about what to sell or who to sell it to. Should you really sell a love potion to a horny teenager? What if the person he's in love with is another customer, and the player knows they secretly like each other but are too shy to say so bluntly? Or to deal with traditional RPG items, should you sell bombs to a popular but potentially corrupt politician? Should you double-deal and sell bombs to a rebel faction at the same time? This might require more elaborate design than you had planned, or it might be way off base. I think you're moving in the right direction, but the concept needs a stronger hook.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Far as I know, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale was somewhat popular, so I imagine your game would have an audience out there. I'd also look to that game for inspiration, since you would be following its style.
 

NinjaKittyProductions

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Far as I know, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale was somewhat popular, so I imagine your game would have an audience out there. I'd also look to that game for inspiration since you would be following its style.
Recettear was charming and fun to play ^_^.

There are always going to be niche groups of people who play games differently and like different styles of games. On another note, would this game be procedural or would there be an end game? If an end game is available, what would said end game be? These would be a couple of questions to keep in mind when building a shopkeep or tavern keep style game.
 

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