Your characters have emotions, and how your player responds can quickly change how your characters feel. Has your player just told your protagonist they look like they've been dragged backwards through a hedge during a hurricane? That's sure to make them at least a little bit sad.
In Charisma, emotions are made up of three parts:
- Feelings: these are short-term, lasting only a few nodes, and represent the inner emotion in your character's gut. For example, joy or anger!
- Moods: feelings impact the mood over the course of the whole story, slowly shifting and changing your character's mood depending upon which feelings are currently "active".
- Relationships: relationships represent how friendly or hostile a character is towards the player.
Emotions in Charisma can be affected using feeling, mood and relationship effects, which are configurable on each character node using the Emotions manager.
There are currently 12 basic feelings in Charisma: hope, fear, joy, distress, pride, shame, gratitude, anger, love, hate, interest and disgust.
Feeling effects make a certain selected feeling "active" for a specified duration. Whilst this feeling is active, the mood of your character will change.
In feeling effects, the duration and intensity can be configured. Duration represents the number of character nodes that this feeling effect should last for, and intensity represents how much this feeling will affect the character's mood. A very intense effect over a long duration will be sure to hugely change the character's mood over that period of time, whereas a low intensity effect over a short duration will barely change their mood.
A mood is made up of two dimensions: positivity and energy. Positivity represents how good or bad the character is emotion, and energy represents how fired up a character is: whether they're lethargic or energised.
Moods cannot be manually incrementally modified up or down (this is the job of feeling effects!), but you can reset a mood to a specific value using a mood effect.
Moods will decay over time, back to the character's initial mood.
A relationship is a single dimension: friendliness of the character towards the player. It can be modified up and down or reset to a specific value using a relationship effect.
Using gates with emotions
It's all very well using emotion effects to change the emotions of your characters, but how do you use those effects to drive change in your story? Enter: gates! You can use gates to determine pathways you would like your player to take depending on the character's emotions.
For example, imagine your player has completely freaked out your character by telling them about the big scary ghost they saw in the kitchen. Your character is unlikely to want to hang out in the kitchen, so you could use a gate with a condition stating that if your character is in a negative, lethargic mood, they will not go to the kitchen. The kitchen scene could then even be completely off-limits to the player, and they would have to re-play in order to access that scene.
Gates have three different conditions for emotions.
- A character is experiencing a certain feeling: This condition passes if the character has a certain feeling active at the point of checking the gate. For example, you could set an feeling effect, and a few nodes later, check to see if the character's still experiencing that feeling. Generally you want to only use these in a short time window from an authored effect.
- A character is in a certain mood: This condition passes if the character's mood (positivity and energy) are within a certain range. This is a great condition to author all over your story, because moods are cumulatively and slowly modified over the course of the whole story.
- A character has a certain relationship with the player: This condition passes if the character's relationship with the player is within a certain range.
When you create your character you can set a starting mood and relationship for each of your characters for the beginning of the story.
If the current mood of your character is ever different to the starting mood, Charisma will slowly decay the mood over time back to its initial values. You can control how quickly this happens with the mood decay slider: set it all the way to "very slowly" to disable mood decay, and set to "very quickly" to have super quick mood decay!
You can open the Emotions tracker at any time by sliding out the test chat window and pressing "current emotions" at the top of this window. This will display in a graph your characters' mood and relationship values over time, as well as which feelings are currently active.