Crime & Witness mechanics and consequences of conversation

In regards to crime, consequences, quest conclusions and the lack of player skill based consistency

As the topic mentions there’s a few issues with the rogue play-style for dedicated players.
What do I mean by that?

Well, there’s the casual player stabbing a nobel in the face in broad daylight and then there’s the potion-popping stealth, lockpick, pickpocket and carefully planned criminal actions which, what I believe, is what this game is rewarding in all categories of progression. The fact that the carefully planned, isolated and remote murder can have devestating effects on your reputation and treatment in remote places while a mass-murder in the day could go completely unoticed is what I’m getting at in particular.

Just as a well rested, fed and geared, not to mentioned trained Henry do have tremendous success compared to the impulsive berserker approach when facing several enemies pays off emmedietly, I wish the same would be true for criminal undertakings.

Let me elaborate on a few issues I’ve noticed with regard to this:

Guards searching me:
there’s nothing bothering me in particular with random searches; What really grinds my gear is how easily and arbitrary the mechanic for suspicious guards and rude citizens are triggered.

Let me give a couple of telling examples:
Killing a civilian trough stealth and with no witnesses will in - what I can only conclude as completely random - some cases cause you to be treated harshly by traders and citizens, albeit only trough greetings, comments and guard searches.

In other cases I can rob and murder entire establishments or groups of on duty guards with no reaction what so ever.

I had to stealthily kill the madame in the quest from the miller to steal back a ring from the bathhouse chest and I did so with extreme caution and made absolutely sure there was no mechanic triggered or witnesses reactions outside of the dampened moaning from the murder. I even used the bathhouse services the very next day with no change in trade and service mechanics. However this did trigger the entire town with the citizens being the most aggressively rude and dismissive down to the guards searching me. This typically happens when I leave or visit trade shops, such as sharpening my weaponry in the arms dealer or buying goods in the trade store.

Furthermore and this really frustrated me;
In the quest to find Reeky, when you find him, dying and he desperately asks you to help him to the after-life (my interpretation seeing as these were a intensely Chatolic period in european times) where upon I do so without further delay and without leaving any statements about this encounter to the Tanner, nor any of the other NPC’s in Reeky’s home town but this didn’t stop the entire population from hating my guts.

again the exception is the aristocracy and law enforcement basically keeping neutral. And this is typical for these events; Most witnessless crimes seem to automatically cause people to judge me in an instant, ironically correctfully so, whilst not filing charges against me and this is quite illogical and frustrating.

While I understand the life choices of a rogue cut-throat should have consequences I fail to recognize any cultural, logical or even morally justified reason for these very dramatic and quite honestly damaging mechanics to the overall enjoyment of the game-play experience and while I am a coder myself and understand that this is part of extensive code and likely algorithms depending on global variables which probably are the basis of most progression and choice-based actions made by the player I still sincerely believe this system, as it works in 1.4.2 which is the version I am currently using, desperately needs an overhaul if the idea is to leave the choice of life-style to the player rather than morals and political correctness.

When I say morals and PC I am not insinuating the development team and coders purposfully coded KCD to punish morally undefensible actions, what I’m saying is that with the current crime/rep/quest-choice algo’s the experience is very much as if this would be the case and I don’t believe this to be a positive nor desired either by players and dev’s alike.

I hope this sheds some light on what I believe is where some of these issues stem and what they do to the experience. And I feel greasy quoting others in forum posts but when you develop software, there’s a few very well known, true and tried concepts;

The most important focus of any software development should always be, without exception, the end-user experience.

Why do I say that?

Because you’ve created a masterpiece with KCD and I would be ungrateful if I wouldn’t respectfully share any if not all all thoughts of, hands down:

possible improvements to what I already concider the greatest single-playerr experience for PC every created.


Post scriptum digitalis - Part II:
Miracula resurgendo occidendum victimarum.

(The following is unlikely to be directly related to mentioned above though indirectly could very well be considered to be)

What I’m about to mention now probably belong in another topic and/or new topic for it’s own sake I discovered a quite severe bug related to crime, specifically stealth-murders.

This appears to be connected to stealth murder victims:

Two NPC’s, both generic (no apparent role, both lacking in unique names) called “Townswoman” and “Guard” that I successfully stealth-murdered with no witnesses disappeared as expected a while after hiding their corpses.

That is until they both raised from the dead. This presented itself in a very bizarre way;
The deceased guard suddenly spawned where I had previously dumped his corpse and sprung at me in violent outrage, attacking me in front of other guards, whom just as surprisingly acted and forcefully hindered the guard from attacking me further.

I drew the conclusion that the guard was angry at me and acting in similar fashion as when attacked but should’ve been dead, e.g angry at me for killing him (yes that’s quite funny) !

This didn’t trigger any reputation, criminality or warrant mechanics either which is almost as weird as the fact that he raised from the dead, out of thin air on the spot I hid his corpse quite some time and several days after the fact.

Similarly this happened to the townswoman but rather than attacking me she simply runs for her life when she see’s me. She was well hidden and quite dead - I didn’t only stab a dagger trough her heart in stealth. Since I was quite bored I practiced a few arrows in her face and torso too and even though forensic investigations in the 15th century did not make use of DNA, fingerprints and serial-numbers I still made the effort to remove the arrows after and later used them for some poaching.

When approaching the woman I get a tool-tip stating “bad behavior will make people …” as with criminal activities or violence would do but every time I enter her vicinity.

I could see how this very well likely is part of needed mechanics, not least with characters that have a personality and is part of the game in such a capacity to be capable of being stopped but needed to keep the storyline intact.

Even though they lacked unique character names (which is historically and traditionally typical for disposable npc’s, items and such; whether they’re there to fill the streets as extras or to practice skills on) or any telling detail or unique features and belongs to future storyline events the issue with being instantly recognized by victims whom supposedly died from a sneak attack with a knife to the heart which causes instant loss of consciousness - as depicted in the game - not even being aware Henry were in the area or having the opportunity to see me before the thrust to the heart.

This is very, very frustrating and probably as damaging - if not more so - to intuition, logic and even mechanics in the manner they’re introduced and presented to the player.
thus ultimately the end-user experience.

I might sound more critical than a fan of KCD and while that is understandable it is not how I feel. I stand by my opinion that KCD is the best game made to date I have had the pleasure to enjoy and I began 25 years ago when my mother bought me an amiga (i’m 33).

Thanks for your time and hope this is of any use to the heroes behind this masterpiece!

Thanks. yours truly, Slimbo(dot)se

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I noticed some funky values for reputation after perfectly stealthy crimes, we need to know what mechanic is behind this since apparently, everyone in Bohemia can know that you mugged a traveler in the middle of a secluded forest, the system needs to be consistent at the very least. Regarding the guards searching you, I think it mostly has to do with your “conspicuousness” level, if you’re wearing a Cuman outfit for example, you’ll spend a lot of time being groped by guards…

3 Likes

+1
(10 chars)

No that is not it. I always use my legally obtained high charisma outfit when visiting the traders or entering a town and even if I would be wearing Cuman gear it wouldn’t be consistent with their behavior toward me on those occasions I have entered in full battle gear which, at the very least from a early point in the game, partially consist of cuman components such as helmet or shields.

For example:
I’ve been adressed as Sir and Knight with upmost respect and enthusiasm during those rare occasions mentioned above. A good example of this was when I finished the last camp in the Rattay quest-chain to kill bandit leaders, quite early in the game;
This even motivated the refugees to briefly treat me like royalty.

However all it took to be back to being treated like a criminal, or as one beggar called me: “Vagabond” was a duel with a wayfarer Knight whom challenged me to a duel and subsequently died from his injuries which led me to believe that stripping the deceased from his belongings in the dead of night after carrying his corpse at least far enough from the nearest travelpath to barely be able to pinpoint a watchman’s torch, should I for some reason spot one.

After successfully stripping the knight of his valuables, storing some in my crate while selling some of it to one of the millers before as much as fast-travel trough any town I went to bed - that is to save the game - and the following morning my 15 minutes of fame were over as vendors, guards and beggars alike spoke harshly, searched me and even raised prices; All of this without any reputation changes or explaination. At least not any I could find a logical explanation for. No tool-tip either. Not during the corpse looting, entering the city or any other time.

Yes, the crime and stealth system is a bit clunky as it stands. Given some of the specifics stats Henry has (in particular conspicuousness vs. visibility), I think they had something better in mind, but didn’t have the time and money to implement it properly.

Searches shouldn’t really be random, unless you’ve been caught doing shady things in the past. If a crime happens at night in Rattay, for the sake of argument, NPCs should note who’s around during that time - and guards especially. The more “conspic.” you have, I’d say the higher up you go on the list of questioning in terms of suspicion. If you’re not seen at all, there should be no reason to suspect you. Also, people just waking up shouldn’t immediately be able to identify you if you’ve run out the door while their head is still lifting up off the pillow. Whoever has a crime committed against them should report it to the nearest guard before any general alerts are raised. Dead witnesses in the middle of a forest road shouldn’t be able to harm your reputation - as long as nobody saw you anywhere near the victim.

To make it a bit more challenging, Henry really does need an overall criminality meter that doesn’t go away. Sure, he can get a good reputation after committing crimes, but people shouldn’t forget entirely that he caused said crimes, and to perhaps poke their nose into his affairs when things go awry.

Furthermore, at different suspicion levels, Henry should occasionally have his horse searched, or the Mill raided if bad enough. Higher suspicion levels might lead to interesting side quests, though, so save-scumming isn’t the automatic preferred method of thieves everywhere.

Would also change stealth mechanics a bit so that if you’re carrying around a ton of armor and weapons in your sack, it’s going to make a similar ton of noise, alerting people to the commotion if severe enough. Limit the range you can use the horse inventory as well, and have it inaccessible in buildings, because leaving your horse at the mill while you unload all the armor in the smithy shop in Rattay onto it is unrealistic and kind of a cheat.

1 Like

Yes, I agree. But unfortunately it’s far from as functional as I presume you explain how it should be but isn’t.

My best example of this is Talmberg.

I returned there after the horse race and had some fun with lockpicking and stealth.
I even picked the lock to the Lord of Talmberg himself and stole his high-end armor and misc. from the chest in his bedroom. I met several guards outside and even out of the door, leading to his bedroom with the stolen goods on me.

I spent the night, loaded the goods on to my steed and after some training I traveled back to one of my rented rooms in one of the inn’s. Safe to say I were seen by more or less the entire town, including the majority of the guards and spoke to the Lord prior to robbing him at night and my reputation did not change, nor am I searched upon visiting and from that you can safely draw the conclusion that if suspicion is based on circumstance, like you mentioned, I would without a doubt be the prime suspect or in the very least be searched.
I basically went on a spree in the town after looting the lord’s chest and even murdered a guard while training pickpocket. All this and Talmberg is none the wiser and that is why even larger towns like Rattay ought to be quite trusting of “Sir, Knight Henry”, greeting me at arrival with cheering praise.

Furthermore, since the town’s (Rattay) full of Skalitz refugees “causing trouble” as the guard mentioned (CBA to remember his name but the NPC mentoring newly recruited Henry on the guard-duty training and sight-seeing tour)
does it even make sense to collectively presume that the hired guard and loyal mercenary (Henry) really qualifies as the most likely candidate of far-away committed crimes or is there flaws in the foundation of the algorithms dictating mechanics?

I robbed and murdered a wayfarer in the woods, wandering between Uhsitz and… hmm, I really don’t know from where he came… However that particular murder caused an even stranger situation as that time the Tailor and only the tailor in Rattay (with a store located below the Bailiffs quarters in the middle of Rattay) simply knew and wouldn’t speak to me less I pay him in currency to allow me access to repairs and trade.
This would mean he followed me or scouted the woods in camo and that he didn’t approve of my actions but still wouldn’t share his testimony with the bailiff, which would be rather uncharacteristic for a rich nobleman and merchant.

Examples like that brings doubt that there’s any functionality beyond randomness involved in what I perceive as the intended witness/suspicion game mechanics.

Though the very basic concepts of punishment for witnessed crime actually work but once you dedicate Henry to excel in this line of work it becomes less rewarding the worse the system actually rewards/punishes success, or, failure.

I leave it to you to explain if there’s something I miss here because logic isn’t overwhelmingly clear to me at the moment, albeit still an overall superb experience to play.

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Charisma doesn’t influence how often guards will search you as far as I know. Personally, I always had consistent behavior regarding the search frequency, if I spent the night robbing blind all Rattay shops, the day after I can be sure to be searched at least once, if I attack or kill someone, I’ll be searched 2 or 3 times in a row especially with high conspicuousness and/or overburdened with stolen items, I had one time though when a guard knew I was in a building and started yelling at me while still outside Oblivion style. To summarize, 3 things to avoid if you don’t want to be searched:
Crimes in the town you’re in especially murders but also robbery.
Carrying/wearing stolen items.
High conspicuousness.
You also need to pay attention to witnesses even in the wilderness, carrying a corpse as you did is considered an offense, sometimes the game pops random travelers near you while committing a crime, there’s also what the game considers as being in the line of sight of someone, some NPCs can have X-ray vision or at least very sharp vision and can spot you when they normally humanly couldn’t.
We need a clear set of rules to know what to do and how to do it “the right way” which means without being caught by the game system.

It just takes one wayfarer or villager on Twitter to sell you out!:grin:

But if no one is around for a kilometer how the heck are you found out instantly. Just like a dead npc can alert help?
needs to be fixed.

1 Like

Yes, this is very much part of what currently though quite severely incentivize players to avoid a criminal career which as far as I’m concerned is limiting the choices players are faced with trough out your progress but for the wrong reasons.

If you’re punished by faulty mechanics rather than negligence it punishes not only the sense of realism otherwise vividly present in a masterfully designed open world filled with experiences that currently, with these issues never reach full potential until these issues will be addressed.

With that being said; Even though it’s far from a finished game I stick with my opinion that this game - by far - remains the best game ever made to date.

2 Likes

I don’t want to sound like an elitist but since I’m painfully aware of all these mechanics, such as witnesses spawning in remote locations to mention an example and to rule out the possibility of that being a unlikely but possible factor I made a few experiments:

I met a wayfarer knight requesting a duel in broad daylight and since he was positioned close to some NPC’s on a bench outside a farmhouse I stealth-murdered him, looted him and carried his corpse deliberately close to the farmers, although not close enough to trigger a greeting but apparently close enough for the NPC’s to be triggered and follow me with their eyes (based on their face and head movement as they tracked my movement quite keenly) and this did not cause any reaction.

I continued (reloaded my save before I assaulted the knight) a few trials and one time even waited for a wayfarer to make his way past us as I looted and lift the corpse just in time to bump into him.

The results were quite fascinating and contrary to your theory I can confidently report that this did not trigger a reaction, nor did it have any effect on either my reputation.

Thus the somewhat far fetched but plausible theory as stated by Ordinat can be dismissed and that is far from the results I wanted, nevertheless being truthful and as systematically practical in understanding possible reasons for these issues comes first because just like everyone else I simply want to enjoy this wonderful game to the fullest extent possible without faulty mechanics being a big factor in my options to progress in a manner of my own choosing.

Thank you

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We might can explain your example with the fact that it was the wayfarer knight that you suppose to fight. Maybe that npc has a special status (to prevent to give you a bad reputation when you do honestly fight him on his own request).

No, I ran the experiment until I had depleted all possible options . Furthermore I actually went further with experiments in different environment and exhausting all possible outcomes and in a majority of the time the system works.

However in a 5% - 35% of crime where crime against civilians contribute with the majority of issues surrounding the issue of crime in relationship with reputation and refusal of service or civilian fines.

I mostly get away with crime against traders, guards, noblemen - murdering guards being among crime I often get away with as long as I leave no witnesses. However, successfully stealing every item, chest, book and jewelry in the monastary with no witnesses went seemingly well.

Then something weird happened;
Upon visiting the surrounding area both guards and monks greeted me enthusiastically and reputation remained but civilians would growl at me and despite a successful operation where neither the victim (that’d be the monks and other clerics) nor guards so thoroughly patrolling the monastery were aware.

Thus the only logical conclusion I can reach is that despite nobody knowing about my crimes or even suspicious toward me, instantly and without any explanation civilians, as always, demanded currency to converse or answer questions. I’m not sure what explanation there is that would convince me that this is intended.

Interesting fact: The first civilian I met after clearing the monastery and leaving the immediate vicinity and while the monks were still sleeping, thus unlikely to have been able to spread suspicion.

With upmost sincerity: Aimed toward development team

Normally as a coder, pen-tester, and linux systems administrator I think twice before sharing suggestions since the crowd I’m used to either easily take offence or they insist on paying for it. I’m only telling you this because I hope it reaches the developers, too!

Suggestion regarding criminality:

  • Crime should be assigned the same class as righteous combat
    Meaning: The mechanic itself have no need to be seperate from ordinary combat unless a set of variables are checked.

Example
[
If KilledByPlayer = NeutralFactionNPC then
NeutralWitnessSeightRange => $Location(KilledByPlayer) else FinishCombatInstance {

NeutralFaction [ NoReputationChange(NeutralFaction) }

} else {

NeutralWitnessSightRange { NegativeReputationChange[ “$WitnessTheft” ++ “$DefileCorpse” =
NeutralFaction("$NeutralFaction" - “22”) && NeutralFaction(
if NeutralWitnessSightRange[$IdentifyPC] )] == true ;;

then

function(WarrantArrest[NeutralFaction($IdentifyPC)] }

]

**I know this isn’t directly helpful but it’s the kind of algorythm that would act as gatekeeper and if done hastily most likely result in oversimplification, though, done right and using static values to define (ofc you can easily add unique NPC sight and add or subtract based on playerStats and weather, etc) what a witness CAN’T do before they broaden further what they will be able to do since this won’t punish skilled, well-informed and dedicated players in a confusing and irrational manner, which is often presicely what I experience, less for ever update but still far from perfect **

On another note:
Victims of stealth-attacks (non-fatal), such as during burglery, early on should, perhaps in all cases (with exception to quest-based necessetis) have a half-life or direct player initiated remedy.

I still scare one of the bathhouse maids next to the Mill just down from Rattay for having to subdue her in one of the first quests associated with criminal objectives) and as soon as she sees me - she runs, I get the little “bad behavior, bla bla” but it never result in anything as she always just runs out into the woods and go back though it’s quite annoying and from a role-playing standpoint it’s devastating as it brings “sandbox-mod” feel to a otherwise masterpiece of a game!

That’s all, Don’t misinterpret this as me telling you what to do, I simply thought a baseline algo-routine blocking arbitrary reputation changes would solve some of the problems and the demo fake-code makes sense in terms of the essence of such a gatekeeper routine so you can make a kids drawing to the mona lisa that is KCD smile brighter :slight_smile:

Thank you for this game and keep it up!

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Haha so you subdued the bathouse wench and she don’t like you and runs off scared when she sees you. Sounds realistic :smiley:

Spoiler - If it the mission to rob the ring. There is no having to subdue her that was a choice you made.

I guess if it a case of nobody witnessed it. Then definitely needs ironing out. Or she never reported the crime and just fears you again needs ironing out, or does it haha. I don’t know if I dislike that or not.

You could kill her. See what plays out.

The “spoiler” you mentioned is far beside the point;
The options and mechanics available to the player should be maintained or removed to avoid causing undeliberate post-choice punishment due to flaws in the code.

Interesting note - Update
The issue was resolved along with a vast amount of similar issues when I progressed beyond the siege of Talmberg quest. It’s likely linked to an automated adjustment of reputations due to the quest-line following the siege. This was particularly pleasant considering I was unable to approach the Monastery without stealth or mass-murdering nameless henchmen (Austin Power ref).

Conclusion
If the reaction mentioned in the OP by the prostitute in the bathhouse is deliberate there should be an obvious or minimum one possibility and option available, in one or another form or shape to avoid spoiling the otherwise masssively realistic experience.

The “stop the thief” events in towns where player reputation is low is a perfect example of a perhaps random but available option to reduce reactions that causes major alerts such as the huge pop-up about behavior and/or npc behavior which perhaps feels uncharacteristic.

Paying off or even murder is also presumely acceptable options but in cases like the Rattay bathhouse where the guards are too far from the NPC to have an effect on the players choices is only cause for unconvenience and quite obviously not intended.

I hope this helps, thank you again for a great game
!

There is also another thing thats gamebreakingly overpowered for criminal players. The infamous perk, stacked with renegade band is extremely overpowered. I slaughtered the entire guard population of Rattay, due to resurrected guards i stealth killed prior respawning and attacking me on sight, i slaughtered them all then turned myself in to the immortal Bailif to restore my reputation and i only got 2 days in jail. TWO DAYS, for killing 40+ guards. Kill an entire town, get -100 reputation, serve 2 days in jail, then have it restored back to +30. Balanced.

That’d make Henry a blueblood then. Rich/powerful seem to do alright in the criminal justice system.

And lets face it; cleaning up all thise bodies gives the servant class something to do… they should praise you for creating job opportunities/labour…
Paying for the cleanup and offering to impregnate fourty women (kill a tree/plant a tree) should reduce that incarceration time and improve your rep-bathouse skills depending.

They borrowed the mechanic from Elder Scrolls Oblivion. Middle of nowhere, no one around. Steal a roll. Watch the tiny dot on the horizon grow into a guard. “Stop right there lawbreaker!”