I'm aware that generally a good reaction comes from a well-structured character history. Also when you play a game, most of the time you don't have time or energy to check a table about response types for the sake of 'the fire' of the game. The thing is I am writing a computer RPG and what I'm trying to create is more than just the good - the bad - the ugly trio of choices. And I found myself struggling to find different kind of answers a character can give. Sometimes when I try to write the possible reactions of the character I realize that there could be also a lying option but I forgot to put it, so I get back and add it which creates another dialogue tree. Or sometimes I get stuck finding one more option to give the player and spend too much time which makes a long-term work even longer.

So I searched the web for creative writing, roleplay or psychology articles that can give me atleast a starting point to create a reaction table. There wasn't much, to my surprise, but I found something called 'Response Sets' in psychology. It actually has nothing to do with our specific case but it atleast gives some titles of types. My understanding is, in psychology it actually used to understand a person's response to a test. For example, you make a survey about cheating among the students, no one gives himself/herself a score above 3 in a scale from 1 (never) to 5 (more than twice in the past semester). Then you learn from administration that about 40% of the students caught cheating for an assignment. So you understand that the answer not only depends on the topic but also the used format or other situational variables. If you want more information you can check http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3045001063.html. I also used the linked content to name most of the types I wrote here.

There are also many, many books and articles about different human character types all around. The most basic, simple and comprehensive book, in my opinion, is Personality Plus by Florence Littauer. It is not just useful to understand your character in a game but also incredibly useful in real-life. Definitely worth atleast a look. There is also a blog I found while searching for this topic, http://characterchange.com/9-stages-of-a-compelling-character-arc/. It is really well-written and explanatory. I also give you 2 more links about character-creation. First one is from a screenwriting-focused website which contains really nice detail questions, http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character/creating-characters/23-character-questionnaire. The other one is a RP character creation questionnaire, http://roleplayingtips.com/articles/character_questionnaire.php. Use that second one only for games you plan to play for months to come, for it is painstakingly long.

All is good and well but why this sub is here? First of all, I need your ideas. If you have anything to add, please please please, write it here. Even if I couldn't answer you, be sure that I see and check any comment or idea made on this post. And my need for your ideas is not the only reason. I also think that this can be useful for a GM who created a NPC in a hurry and needs a response list to get some ideas, or a new player who couldn't understand completely his/her character and having troubles about the character's reactions. Even if there is any text-based RPG makers out there, this can be used as a reaction table to give more character options.

Another thing, if there is any post made before this about the same issue, please accept my sincere apologies. I will correct or remove this sub accordingly if you let me know about it.

So let me start with a list of types, then I will explain them in detail;

p: A response type dependent on personality
s: A response type dependent on situation
b: A response type dependent both on personality and situation
e: A response type that can be based on either personality or situation
  • Guess(s) / Gamble(b)
  • In-Hurry(s) / Panic(b)
  • Accurate(p) / Slow(e) / Deep-Thought(s)
  • Evasive(s)
  • Indifferent(e)
  • Indecisive(s) / Observing(b) / Confused(b)
  • Judgemental(p) / Confirming(s) / Punishing(b) / Criticizing(p)
  • Evil(p) / Will-breaker (b)
  • Physical (s)
  • Confident(p) / Almighty(p) / Humble(p) / Underestimating(p)
  • Inclusive(e) / Simple(p)
  • Deception(p)
  • Sad(s) / Angry(s) / Vengeful(e)
Queen Ensira sent you and your companions to the Red Forest which is the west border of Queen's lands. Red Forest is sacred and for that, no one dares to enter the forest as long as anyone remembers. However, the trees along the border are dying and peasants and soldiers reported lights and shrieks coming from the forest at night. So you have to get in and out the forest without being seen to prevent any offence against people's beliefs. One moonless night, you all get in the forest, scout the area and go back to the queen with haste. Now queen asks you what you have seen. What you saw was a mist, as high as your knees and brimming with bright blue and green lighting. You know its meaning; undeath...

Guess / Gamble Response

This is when your character make a guess to a question or maybe about a situation. It can be just to fill an answer like 'I don't know, 9 maybe?', or it might be a guess about an observed situation like 'I saw only two patrols but there is an artillery placement on the dark point so there is probably a third patrol too.'. Also this includes a Gamble Response, like guessing the password when the gate guard asks you, or acting like someone you are not. But you have to remember that a Gamble Response is about the character rather than the situation. If your character likes to take risks then a Gamble Response would be common.

Guess Response: 'We saw a mist of corruption and got back without going further. I think there are Necromancers in the forest.'

Gamble Response: 'I am aware we promised you a solid answer. (lie) Dead is walking in that forest, we saw necromancers...'

In-Hurry / Panic Response

This response type mostly relies on the situation, as in an event that you have to decide or act really quickly. Maybe the character is running to catch a thief and sees a guard, so alerting the guard by yelling or leaving the trace and going through that dark alley on your left (because guards are looking for you, you filthy murderer!) can be counted as In-Hurry Response. It can be a physical reaction or just a quick lie you think of in a dialogue. So the specific difference from other types is that it is always about a quick reaction. Panic response is also similar because if your character is not a quick thinker, it is highly probable that he/she may get into a panic mode. The character can freeze up in the middle of a battlefield because he/she saw the king's death, or maybe the character couldn't think of a lie quickly and started to panic. You should remember that the panic mode depends on both the situation and the character at the same time.

After seeing the mist, you continued to go deeper with much more caution. Suddenly you saw a figure, walking slowly with a faint sound.

In-Hurry Response: Your response was to stop and make a gesture with your left hand to your group, signing them to stop and hide...

Panic Response: You couldn't stop your scream for a brief second, and you noticed it was a zombie. Now it noticed you too...

Accurate / Slow / Deep-Thought Response

Your character is a keen observer and when the commander of the guards asks you how many trolls you've seen from the hill, you answer 'Thirteen. One of them is the largest I've ever seen and wears an armor.'. So you didn't guess that one was the leader or didn't say 'I saw only thirteen. There may be more, I don't know'. This is completely about accuracy and it doesn't depend on the situation. It is only about your character doesn't like to assume things. Always observes and thinks his/her answer thoroughly. It can be a slow reaction or a fast reaction as long as it is accurate. However if the character just focuses on doing or saying the right thing rather than accuracy of the answer, then it is a Slow Response. Slow Response is more about think-before-speak attitude rather than just reacting slowly, so it is a character trait. Although your character may exchange it with an In-Hurry Response or Panic Response under stress. There is also a Deep-Thought Response. It is mostly when your character starts to imagine the results of a thing said or done. Its difference from Observing Response is that Observing Response occur when your character decides to observe rather than intervene while Deep-Thought Response is when your character's mind gets stuck on a specific detail of the dialogue or action. So Deep-Thought Response is almost completely situational however some characters might be more keen to it because of their perfectionist, detailistic side.

Accurate Response: 'We saw exactly a mist with colors of green and blue glows. Green color means the corruption of undead, we have never seen or heard about the blue glow though. After that, it was too dangerous to go further.'

Slow Response: After careful consideration you answer: 'My queen, all evidence shows the existence of necromancers in the forest. We need a plan and need it quick.'

Deep-Thought Response: 'We saw the signs of corruption of undead but there was also something else...', your mind wanders into that blue glow, 'We need further investigation for a complete answer.'

Evasive Response

Evasive response shouldn't be confused with Deception Response. The character doesn't lie with an Evasive Response, but only changes the subject or simply evades from answering a question by saying something like 'I don't understand, why you are so curious about my past?'. It is a situational reaction and happens when you get a question you don't want to answer. In some games, it might require a dice-roll for a successful evasion of the topic.

Evasive Response: 'Queen Ensira, I cannot begin to tell you how absurd it is hide from people while investigating this issue. You must solve this problem, we need to do this properly.'

Indifferent Response

Great news, your character doesn't care! Not at all!!! :D This response can come from the character or the situation. It may be because your character have an important mission. You wouldn't stop chasing a thief who stole the Star of The North from you to help a poor guy harassed by a couple of drunks, would you? Your character also might not be a caring person in general, so when your companion tells you 'We have to help that boy!' because he saw a little boy being beaten by a guy twice his size, you simply say 'Let it go, I wanna find the inn and rest as soon as possible.'. The keyword here is 'indifference'.

Indecisive / Observing / Confused Response

When you can't decide the action to take, or you require more information to decide, you give an Indecisive Response. It is not a Panic Response that you just freeze or a slow response that it takes time to react. It is just you can't decide, or won't decide. Maybe it is not about you cannot decide but you want to let some other character to decide to improve his/her leadership skills or his/her status among a certain group. The word 'Indecisive' explains everything.

There is also an Observing Response where you choose to observe instead of react or intervene. Observing Response about listening rather than speaking, or watching rather than interacting. It shouldn't be confused with Deep-Thought Response as explained in that topic.

Another alternative is Confused Response which comes from the need to express confusion. However, if the confusion is a lie and only told to trick people, then it would be a Deception Response. Confused Response is only about the expression of confusion, not about not being able to decide or react. If your character is a talkative one, than Confused Response would occur a lot because a character being talkative comes from the need to express himself/herself. Observing Response is also about the character, his/her need to observe and calculate every possibility as opposite of Confused Response type character expressing himself/herself all the freakin' time! Indecisive Response is born from the situation, differing from other two.

Indecisive Response: 'My liege, I don't know what is going on. You may need to find a sorcerer.'

Observing Response: You decided to stay back and let your cleric explain it while you listen how he describes what you saw and connect it to the necromancers. Interesting enough, he didn't say anything about the blue light...

Confused Response: 'There is something foul in that forest! We saw blight, we smelled rot, we felt the cold of death! I just don't know what is going on...'

Judgemental / Confirming / Punishing / Rewarding / Criticizing Response

Judgemental Response covers every reaction where you make a judgement about the situation. It can be as simple as saying 'You are wrong about him.', it can be fulfilling of the word like 'Baelgon, you are deemed unworthy of your gift and you will be executed by the decree of Crimson Council.', or it can be making a comment about someone to explain what you think about him/her. Its base point is always either black or white. You either say someone or something is right or wrong, there are no gray areas. The judgement may come from an emotional foundation or its source can be a doctrine, a dogma even, however the response itself cannot contain any emotion, only logic and authority. If it contains emotion then it should be a Sad, Angry or Vengeful Response. Judgemental Response is all about the character. It may be because of the character's occupation, his/her past/background, or simply because of his/her character framework based on seeing the world from a black-and-white perspective. If the character doesn't belong to one of those conditions then the situation shouldn't make him respond in a judgemental way.

There is also Confirming Response which focuses on supporting someone EVEN THOUGH it would mean lying. Although it fits to Deception Response too with the intention of fooling someone and lying for that, it comes from the need of supporting an ally (or an enemy, who knows?) and the reason of the lie shifts so it surpasses the conditions of a Deception Response. Confirming Response completely depends on the situation, not the character, nevertheless there might be some characters avoiding this type of reaction just not to be seen as a supportive person.

Punishing/Rewarding Response dances with Judgemental Response but it is based on the application of the judgement instead of making of the judgement. So if you are not just making a judgement but also punishing/rewarding the judged person, than it is a Punishing/Rewarding Response. Let's go back to the Baelgon example in Judgemental Response. If you only state the judgement as in the example or you say something like 'Baelgon, you are deemed unworthy of your gift and you will be executed by the decree of Crimson Council. Do you have any last words you wish to be recorded?', then it is again a Judgemental Response. However, when your response is stating the judgement and attacking the guy to process that judgement all in one movement without waiting for a reaction, then it is a Punishing/Rewarding Response. A Punishing/Rewarding Response may follow a Judgemental Response. It is similar to difference between a Deception Response and a Confirming Response with a lie. The important thing to understand the difference is the focused goal, is it to deceive, to support, to judge or to punish?

One more response type that is close to Judgemental Response is Criticizing Response. The point here is to teach or to try to understand a statement by criticizing it. While Judgemental Response kills every other option and opinion, Criticizing Response is all about leaving room to alternatives or teaching/learning. It can be characteristic or situational.

Judgemental Response: 'You! You didn't guard the forest because it is 'sacred' and now it is full of necromancers. You don't deserve your title!'

Confirming Response: The cleric in your group spoke first; 'Walking corpses Ma'am. There is necromancy at work.' and you confirmed when the queen turned to you; 'Yes, there are necromancers in the forest.'

Punishing/Rewarding Response: 'You have let the necromancers to corrupt your lands. You don't deserve your throne and we are taking it back.' *Attack*

Criticizing Response: 'You didn't patrol the forest area just because it was sacred and now it is necromancer playground.'

Evil / Will-Breaker Response

Evil Response is - what else? - evil. Simple? Yes and no. Lying to deceive someone is considered evil, yes. Still, what we are talking about is not an aspect of an evil character but acting to state that your current status on Facebook is EVIL!!! It might be laughing maniacally to react someone's pain, for example. Emperor Palpatine's comment on electrocuting Luke, 'POWAH! UNLIMITED POWAH!!!', is also an illustration of simply evil. If a player's character is evil and a show-off at the same time, you should expect this response more than a couple times. The root of evil response is either from the need of expressing pleasure or pride on an evil act or the need to state that the character is evil. If the act has any other reason, than it is not an Evil Response.

Will-Breaker Response is in the orbit of Evil Response, on the other hand it doesn't need to be evil. The whole purpose here is to break the will of an enemy to push him/her over the edge or to subjugate him/her. It is mostly observed in universes like Star Wars, where the fights and struggles initiate and resolve by the willpower. Nonetheless, it can be used in any game in situations like an evil character trying to break a holy priestess and finding out a critical information about her past. It is situational AND character-dependent. A dice-roll is recommended to determine the success.

Evil Response: 'Your sacred forest belong to necromancers now, just like your corpses!' *attack*

Will-Breaker Response: 'There are powerful necromancers in the forest and the damage is already done. You cannot save the forest and you cannot save yourselves if you don't leave.'

Physical Response

Physical Response is not an actual type of response. Generally, It is just a side decision accompanying another response type. However, if the response is only a physical reaction, like attacking when your adversary refused to surrender, or fleeing when you realise you are outnumbered, and doesn't fit any other response type, it can be considered a Physical Response. Physical Response can be a character response if a character is more of an action person, or it can be situational like when time for words ends and swords clash.

Physical Response: You throw your knife to that poster with 3 words: NECROMANCY IS TREASON.

Confident / Almighty / Humble / Underestimating Response

Confident Response is not dependent on the statement's truthfulness, it comes from the ego of the character. He/she is so confident of himself/herself, believe so much that he/she knows the answer, he/she knows the truth, so the response becomes truth even if it is not. It is more of a character-based response, not situation-based because it is about how the character sees himself/herself in the aspect of the issue which he is responding to. It also shouldn't be confused with Almighty Response which is completely based on ego and is a response type of seeing oneself above everyone else. So if your answer is like 'Don't worry master. I will return shortly with the news of success', it is a Confident Response. If you answer like 'Oh, master. This task is beneath me, but I will do as you ask.', it is an Almighty Response. Main difference can be explained as while Confident Response shows a confidence on the statement made, Almighty Response shows an over-confidence on the self more than the statement.

There is also Humble Response, that shows hidden confidence on self or the statement. Not to be confused with underestimating the self though. The answer still carries a truthfulness like in Confident Response but shows it in a humble way. Rephrasing the example above as a Humble Response; 'Oh, master. Your confidence on my abilities touched my heart. I will honor your trust by accomplishing the task quickly.'. So there is still confidence. Humble Response is a reflection of character structure and for that, only should be used if your character carries that humble soul. Humble Response still comes from the ego but doesn't carry the need to show-off.

Underestimating Response means you are stating that your or someone else's abilities are not enough for something. You might say 'No, I'm not strong enough to lift that log all by myself.' and it might be completely true, it would be still an Underestimating Response. It is not exactly 'underestimating' per se, it just means you don't see your abilities to be enough for a task. So it is the opposite of Confident Response in a way. This response may be because of a character flaw, a character who always literally underestimating his/her own abilities or a pessimist character, or it may be situational where your character encounters an impossible task.

Confident Response: 'We saw a mist of corruption and got back without going further. There are Necromancers in the forest.'

Almighty Response: 'Obviously we returned successful. There are necromancers in the forest but no worries, they are just children playing with toys against us.'

Humble Response: 'You honored us with your trust on such an important mission, my queen, however we have bad news. There are signs of necromancy in the forest.'

Underestimating Response: 'We had to turn back quickly, necromancy is at play. I don't think we can handle this kind of thing.'

Inclusive / Simple Response

Some characters doesn't like to talk much, keeping their opinions to themselves or sometimes the situation makes them afraid to talk in detail. So their answer may come with only a head shake, or an eye signal, or even maybe they don't answer at all. They are inclusive. They simply doesn't prefer to explain themselves and it can either be because of their character or the situation they are in.

Simple Response is as the name suggests; simple. The difference between Inclusive Response and Simple Response is that Inclusive Response comes because the character doesn't want to explain but Simple Response comes because the character is direct. He/she doesn't need details, just says 'No.' or 'Yes.', not even an exclamation mark! It's not that they don't want to explain themselves, they just don't see a reason for it. It is obviously a character thing and shouldn't change with the situation. Another important point is, if you answer a question with a direct, simple response because you simply don't have time to explain, then it is an In-Hurry Response, not Simple Response. And you go simple because you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today, it is Inclusive Response since you don't 'feel' like explaining yourself today. If your character isn't direct, then you shouldn't use this at all.

Inclusive Response: 'There is necromancy in the forest.'

Simple Response: 'Necromancers.'

Deception Response

Lying can accompany almost any response type but when we talk about Deception Response, we talk about trying to deceive someone for a purpose. If you're lying to confirm someone, then it is a Confirming Response. If you are lying only because you are just that evil then you are out of character, just leave the game and wash your face with ice-cold water. No one lies without reason and it is only a Deception Response if you are lying to deliberately mislead. It is not just about lying ofcourse but almost all deception attempts are accompanied with a lie. There should be an example around here, right. You saw the princess last night, trying to get out of the city without being seen in the dark. She had a robe with its cap on but your elven eyes could have seen even a fly in spite of darkness. So the next day King Osil asks you if you've seen anything out of the ordinary, and you say 'No, my king.' because you want to observe the situation a little longer. You wanna know what was the princess doing in the middle of the night. So wouldn't it be Observing Response? No, because observing is the intention behind lying, it is not the act itself. You don't lie to continue observing a dialogue. Although the king wouldn't give you a long time to answer, you weren't in a hurry either. For it to be an In-Hurry Response, you need to feel the pressure of the need for quick-thinking. Maybe it was a Judgemental Response? You didn't deemed the king unworthy of the truth. Even if you did, you would tell him so in a Judgemental Response because it requires a statement of judgement. You wouldn't lie. So it is a Deception Response because you wanted to deceive, to get more time digging into the truth and only then you will make a judgement about the situation.

Deception Response: 'There is nothing in the forest, my queen. It must be natural. And now we should leave for Lake Valorie, after getting our payment ofcourse.'

Sad / Angry / Vengeful Response

'Emotional Response' title would be too general for this type because it focuses on expressed sadness or disappointment about a situation or action. Strong characters doesn't act this response except the times they break. This response type can be a powerful tool to support such a character twist but that's aside, this is a response type which gets its power from the expression of emotion. It can also be accompanied by tears or yelling not with an angered tone but a sad tone, a disappointed tone.

Angry and Vengeful Responses are siblings of Sad Response because all three of them get their roots from sad emotions pouring out as words or action or sometimes both. Angry Response gets apart from Sad response with an anger following the sadness. Its source is still the sadness inside, however it changes into anger as the character lash out with yelling, blaming and/or a physical act like punching.

So Sad Response can be expressed through words, Angry Response through words and/or actions and all the while Vengeful Response can only be expressed through action. It is the act of getting revenge (or atleast trying to). Shouldn't be confused with Judgemental Response or Punishing Response because while Judgemental and Punishing Responses rooted in logic and must be fair at some level, revenge doesn't need to be just or fair or logical. It comes from emotional distress. Vengeful Response can be of the character, through his/her background like finding the killer of parents, or it can be situational like instead of freezing when seeing the king's death in the battleground, you rain down on the enemy battalion that desecrated The King's Guard.

Sad Response: 'Your majesty, I have bad news. There are signs of necromancy in the forest. Nothing is sacred anymore...'

Angry Response: 'Your majesty, There are signs of necromancy in the forest. We cannot let them to befoul such a holy place! *raise your fist intimidatingly*

Vengeful Response: 'How could you let them to pollute the forest!' *Attack*
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