It is time to talk about QUESTS!

By on December 13, 2009 6:51:14 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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For our brave and daring beta testers who are playing through the prototype betas (Beta 1 and the forthcoming Beta 2) it’s probably hard to imagine Elemental having role playing aspects. But the quest system is a big deal in the game.

You ever play D&D? Or maybe (as I did) Fantasy Hero? You are exploring a world, going into dungeons, and generally wreaking havoc in some poor guy’s kingdom.

Well, in Elemental, you’re that poor guy – the king of that kingdom.  There will be parties of adventurers running around the world.  Maybe next time you and your buddies get together and accidentally set free a Balor and run away from it that you’ll feel a pang of sorrow for the poor king who has to clean up after the mess you make.

 

image
This is what Beta testers see

image
This is what the same thing looks like in the actual game.

 

In this thread, we want to discuss specifics. What types of quests would you like to see in the game? Programmatically, we’re leaning towards using Python to create quest templates with XML to create derivative quests.

For example, the old “fetch me the gauntlet of Mordon and I will give you the ring of radiance” quest would have its details done in XML but the actual mechancis of the quest would be done in Python.  That way, modders and such can create additional quests later on and share with people. Non-coders can then use a built in editor to create quests using the existing templates.

So now…

What specifically would you like to see?

I.e. list some quests you would like to see in the game. Be as specific as possible and we’ll try to get them in.

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December 15, 2009 1:31:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with Climber in reply #87, that quests should be generated by players/dieties/NPCs with agendas. In this case, I would want to see something I believe was suggested before regarding mercenaries, that these quest-givers could give quests by proxy, and hide their identity from whoever takes the quest.

For example, mysterious wizard A asks you to bring him artifact B for a substantial reward. Little do you know that the wizard is actually working for your arch-rival, and that artifact is a key element in completing a nigh-invincible golem. 

If, however, you knew enough about your arch-rival (through prolonged diplomatic contact, espionage, etc), then you might know that this wizard is one of his/her lieutenants. Or, if your appropriate attribute were high enough, you might detect certain giveaways (accent, earing, tattoo, etc.) that would indicate this person were from your arch-rival's realm/in their service. You could also have no indication they are working for someone else, but you'd still have to consider the possibility.

Also, maybe you or one of your heroes has knowledge about pre-cataclysm artifacts and, upon hearing about or recovering the artifact in the above example, could identify and know its purpose. Then you'd have to decide whether to honor the quest, keep it for yourself, or maybe destroy it to prevent the golem from being created.

Adding this element of deception would make quests a lot more interesting. Knowing who's behind the quest and the quest's purpose could be just as important to you as the reward.

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December 15, 2009 1:51:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Pie-eating contest.

'nuff said.

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December 15, 2009 3:15:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I knew that "Trollish Heritage" pick would come in handy someday...

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December 15, 2009 3:57:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Someone on the internet asks for quest ideas. What do you do?

 

Do you:

1. Ignore the poor fellow (decreases relations)

2. Try and give him some ideas (new quests)

3. Buy him off (- gold)

4. Let someone else do it for you ( new quest on how you want to make that person come up with ideas (torture etc)

5. quote other people ( - relations)

6. say the quest system is TERRIBLE and then don't say how it could be made better ( - relations with all, you moron)

7. Say him the quest for quests is enough (nothing happens)

8.  say the quest system could be better, namely by (new quest on how it could be made better, positive outcome(good game) if good idea)

9. talk about something else that would be nice, such as being able to fuck up the quests of other players (- prestige )

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December 15, 2009 4:22:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Luckmann,
Pie-eating contest.

'nuff said.

Oh come on, Lucky, you know you want a Quest that involves Bear Cavalry

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December 15, 2009 4:50:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ok, before I will write the actual quests, here's a couple of general ideas about quests:

  • Balanced rewards
    Seems obvious, but I will start with it. When you can choose between "get 200 gold" and "some reputation", player should think TWICE before choosing one. If reputation will have little/none effect in the game, then just remove it from "quests' rewards box".

  • Delayed rewards
    I mentioned "balanced rewards", but apart from simple "+1000 gold" or "+10 prestige", there should be rewards that are not so great now, but in the long run they might be much better than alternatives. Think about something like this: you can choose either a young prince (a complete n00b) or a pile of some materials (good stuff). The n00b might (let's assume that he will) become a super strong hero ... in like 100 turns, but till then he will be worthless. Now the player has to decided (like after winning a lottery): you get only half of the prize now, or the whole price after a month.

  • Quest prerequisites
    All (or at least most) quests should have prerequisites. Here's a couple of them:
    • 'Race' prerequisite (it matters whether you are a king, or emperor).
    • Turn prerequisite (a quests to kill a dragon shouldn't come up in 10th turn).
    • Prestige prereq. (I think prestige needs MUCH more love (revamp maybe?) than it's now, so it would be good if some quests could only be present if you are noble enough).
    • Army prereq. (For some quest givers players w/o huge army are worthless...).
    • Gold prereq. (...while some favor a daily income).
    • Alliance prereq. ("If you have a friend, maybe you could help me...").
    • ...
      This way quests are much more random, as you might choose different paths in subsequent games. Also, some poor (or rarely chosen) ways to develop a kingdom should be rewarded by adding a possible quest.

  • Worthy quests + worthy loot = worthy system
    In my understanding a "quest" is something much more than ordinary task - it's a struggle against all odds. I believe there shouldn't be quests in the beginning of the game. Don't make quests some random encounters - make them special events; events that require much of your attention/money/resources/etc., but in return they provide you with something special.

  • Unique rewards (no numbers!)
    If the quests are to be unique, they have to have unique rewards, that's why I would like to suggest to either remove numeral rewards (+X, +Y%) or at least make them very, very big. Don't give a player 1000g - he will gain such amount in 10 days. Instead, give him 25000, which would really help him. "No numbers" - that means that the rewards should be like: "recruit a hero", "obtain some unique resource" (only available for your kingdom), "tame a dragon", "cast a deadly spell on enemy", etc.

  • Time requirement
    Seems kinda obvious. There's no sense in finishing a quest in 300 turns, as the progress of your kingdom (in comparison to that 300 turns before) is so huge that the quest is meaningless. Obviously, the timer shouldn't be set for a very small amount of time. Let's say 25 turns should be a maximum.

  • Global quests
    We are playing against several opponents, and there is nothing better than checking who will be the first to kill a dragon. Please, include as much global quests as possible. Who gets it the first - wins.

  • If you fail a quest... you fail hard
    If there are great rewards to receive, then why not to add a punishment system. Scenario 1: Kill a dragon. If you don't kill it, someone else will, so there is no penalty (even if the dragon will roam free, not killed by anyone). Scenario 2: Old witch tells you to capture a beautiful princess as she wants to drain her beauty. She wants it badly (who doesn't want to be beautiful) and she offers you an awesome spell, but she also tells you not to fail... which you actually do. After a set time, the which curses one of your cities so that it won't generate income. In other words, there should be two types of quests: with and w/o consequences. This way it's important to think whether or not you can complete a quests - no more accepting every possible quest you get.

  • Chain quests
    Some 'more sophisticated' quest should be of a chain type. Capture a princes. Bring her to the witch. Venture to the "Sacred Grove" and steal a "SACRED water" and of course bring it to the witch. Fetch the reward. It would be nice if those chain-quest-elements were random. For example, a typical quest consists of 3 elements: X, Y & Z (in this ). X1 = go to an isolated island and fetch a rare flower. X2 = venture to high mountains and get a special mineral. X3 = sacrifice your prince/princess for his/her blood. Y1 = none (quest ends here and the reward is relatively smaller). Y2 = spare some of your mana for the witch. Y3 = defeat an incoming (spawned army) of the king (whose princess you stole). Z1 = none (quest ends here, full reward). Z2 = by mistake, the witch turns into a daemon (it triggers a new chain quest from a "Guardian of earth"...). After every part, the player would get a reward (beforehand he should be informed of the prize).

  • Interlaced quests
    Some private quests (started and only available to one player) should trigger a counter-quest for opponent. So you were to kidnap a princess, eh? Unfortunately the princesses father (aka king) send a global quest for all your opponents and he asks for protection - should it happen the other player fails his quest, you will be given a reward.

  • Quest spliting
    Quests shouldn't be limited to "accept / reject" & "choose A, B or C as a reward". Let's say that if you choose not do a specific quest you might get a proposal from a John (who happens not to like a specific quest giver), as he believes that you would be willing to accept his quest (to kill the old quest giver).

Quests (only one, but quite sophisticated):

Worst Nightmare

"Woe to you on earth and see, for the fallen god has awaken from his slumber. Tremble..."

Somewhere on the map (far from the populated lands) a volcano is spawned. High above the volcano a fiery beast (demigod) floats. He will be sending waves of his minions in order to destroy all the nations (they will randomly spawned accross the whole continent), thus becoming the one and only ruler. All the players will receive a global quest to slay this demigod. In order to slay him, you have to reach his volcano and fight him. Of course, near his lair there will be several groups of defenders, which you also have to fight. A victor (can be a team, then the reward will be divided equally) will receive a super special spell (think of a spell "volcano" - awesomnes x 5), greater mana regeneration (you learned how to focus energy from the depths of the earth) and a few artifacts (wielded by the demigod and his generals). If you happen to be the player who didn't kill the demigod - nothing happens. Let's assume that you are closing in to his lair (you killed the first guardian), the Demigod feels threatened and he asks remaining players for help. If you (now your the opponent of yourself ) accept his proposal, your units won't be attacked by the spawned demons and every turn you will receive a bunch of demons (for you to control) to help your effort to fight against players who wish to destroy the demigod. If you manage to fight off the attackers (you kill the enemy armies present near the volcano) you will be rewarded with some bonuses from the demigod. However, if the demigod dies before you can assist him, he will throw a curse on you. Having defeated the attacking army you can continue to serve the demigod, or attack him (and possibly gain the same loot as the good side). One important note: if you fight the demigod, you lose all the bonuses of your contract, so you have to be careful if you won't be too weak after being striped from your army and powers.

 

I am too lazy to write more quest suggestions. I hope my general ideas give you enough knowledge what I have in mind. Although I described a global, big-scale, sophisticated quest, the smaller ones should be something similar - worse loot, bigger chains, time requirements, and this kind of stuff.

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December 15, 2009 5:54:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see one or two quests are in jokes in reference to (in)famous quests from other RPGs with an obvious example being the woman that wants you to kill rats in her basement in Baldur's Gate 1 (and I believe there's a similar quest in Morrowind).  Another good one would be the annoying elf guy that is right outside when you start in Morrowind that wants you to find his Gold Watch.  For added comedic value the rats could be very large and difficult to fight and the watch could be a powerful item.


Just some idears.

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December 15, 2009 6:10:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Word has come to your kingdom that an ancient enclave has survived the scourging of the world. Who knows what riches lie within its walls? Wanderers and merchants report that it may be guarded by fearsome beings of magic, however. Be on your guard!

---

Stepping past the last of the enclave's defenses, a grand hall opens up before you, filled with fearsome warriors of stone and iron. These golems lie dormant, but seem to be somehow connected to an orb that pulses with vital magical forces.

1. Attune yourself to the orb to take command of the golem troops.

2. Shatter the orb to absorb precious Essence.

3. Leave it alone for now.

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December 15, 2009 6:10:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For example, mysterious wizard A asks you to bring him artifact B for a substantial reward. Little do you know that the wizard is actually working for your arch-rival, and that artifact is a key element in completing a nigh-invincible golem.

If, however, you knew enough about your arch-rival (through prolonged diplomatic contact, espionage, etc), then you might know that this wizard is one of his/her lieutenants. Or, if your appropriate attribute were high enough, you might detect certain giveaways (accent, earing, tattoo, etc.) that would indicate this person were from your arch-rival's realm/in their service. You could also have no indication they are working for someone else, but you'd still have to consider the possibility.

Also, maybe you or one of your heroes has knowledge about pre-cataclysm artifacts and, upon hearing about or recovering the artifact in the above example, could identify and know its purpose. Then you'd have to decide whether to honor the quest, keep it for yourself, or maybe destroy it to prevent the golem from being created.

Throw me the idol and I'll throw you the whip!!!

Seriously, I dunno whether things like this are possible but if it was, this sort of interconnectedness would probably make Elemental the greatest game ever made. Great post man. I especially love the game theory paragraph, merciless economists everywhere would be proud, I guess the real trick would be balancing the potential reward...I love the idea that an epically weak opponent can't resist handing over the Wand of Eternal Catamism to the ubermensch because he's just aching for those lower class tax cuts.

All in all...no quest suggestions from me, but this thread rules. +1 for pie eating also.

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December 15, 2009 6:11:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Your worst nightmare quest sound very similar to my Titan's Sword/ Demon Spawn quest. Perhaps the two could be fused together?

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December 15, 2009 6:12:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Weird that I should write my thing without looking at the thread and then someone quotes a golem-related suggestion. Conspiracy.

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December 15, 2009 7:46:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Defeat Bogus the Troll and his band of marauders.

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December 15, 2009 8:16:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

This is what's confusing me.  I'd thought quests were something we would do, but the Journal implies that it would be NPCs doing these things.  But now Frogboy's latest post implies it would be us doing it.  So confused...

They are quests all players would be doing.

You, as the human player.  AI players. And NPCs.

 

Guys the AI has to be able to do these quests!

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December 15, 2009 8:37:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Amending one of my earlier posts...

1)  A witch takes up residence in a forest in your kingdom/forest, caliming it her own private property.  You then have several options.  You could (A) make an alliance with her, military aid for the occasional human to eat, (X)  hunt through the forest through randomly spawned traps and ambushes until you locate her, or (C) leave her alone until the nearest town decides to lynch her.  The results could be the following: (A) She will aid you, but riots may break out or she will betray you and must be hunted down. (X) You kill her and obtain a few of her spells, or she escapes if you take too long, leaving her traps and minions to harrass you.  (C) She could summon otherworldly creatures and launch a rebellion or the citizens of the town could lynch her.  The casualties for the lynching would vary greatly.

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December 16, 2009 5:29:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I had written in a previous thread from August that I would like to see (at least some) quests have an overarching storyline possibility. This could branch out further and further to include the master Quest as a victory condition. The narrative elements itself could be dynamically generated from a pool of possibilities based on what has happened in the game so far, so that the single elements of the following “story arc” should be able to be interchanged from a central pool governed in part by feedback from the current game world. The following is an example for a Master Quest Arc available to a member of either the Human faction or the Fallen faction. Other Quest Arcs could involve faction-specific stories (see below).

1. Sovereign hears a rumor from NPC Q regarding an ancient tower in land L, believed by the populace to have existed since before the Refounding of the world and believed to hold secrets regarding a dangerous plague.

2. Sovereign investigates, finds tower locked. He must either find key or otherwise gain access.

3. In tower, sovereign finds scroll regarding plague. Scroll indicates that magician M in land L has hidden a magic urn which will release the spirit of a demon who will grant its releaser any wish in the world. There is supposed to be a map where the general location of the urn is indicated hidden in a cave in L2. L2 should be a place far away from L, to be determined dynamically by the computer.

4. Cave in L2 is guarded by Protector P. Sovereign must somehow gain access, either by stealth, wits, guile or strength.

5. Map is found in L2, indicates location L3, which might even be required to be behind enemy lines. L3 should, when investigated, uncover a small neutral settlement where the location of the urn will soon be stumbled upon and uncovered by prospectors if the sovereign isn’t fast enough.

6. Sovereign should find urn guarded by a magical ward, requiring for its penetration 3 relatively rare items. Sovereign must find out where to obtain these items, then obtain them, then mix them together in a magical way so as to obtain the “key” in unlocking the urn.

7. Sovereign releases demon, who will grant sovereign victory – IF he is able to fetch the demon’s heart, which is buried in the guarded chamber C in location L4.

 

Not only should there be a large pool of different Story Types which can be told (e.g., Wish Urn, sketched above, or Plague, Rescue the Personage, Find the Needle in the Haystack, etc.), so that many games might transpire before a similar Story Type is unearthed, but each different Story Type should have a pool of Quest Elements that differ from game to game in those games in which they do take place.

 

For short games / very small maps, some of these steps can and should be removed, e.g. Quest 7 is easily removed by merely having the demon grant the wish after completion of 6. Quest 6 is also easily removed by having sovereign gain her wish at the end of Quest 5. Etc.

Each game should select each step from a large pool of possible choices, so that a narrative story in each game is recognizable but different.

 

Additionally, there should be substantial rewards for the completion of each Arc section, for balance reasons, namely: In amassing a large military force, for example, a player reaps immediate rewards for many aspects of her realm, but thereby also directly helps in obtaining a Conquest or Military victory; building up your armies is something a player will be wanting to do and doing anyway, even if the player is not consciously attempting a Conquest victory – building units and researching war tech is a “reward in itself”. Something similar can be said for research of the arcane arts – this is something probably every player will be doing to at least some degree, because it is a “reward in itself”, it helps on many levels – but is also the prerequisite of achieving a victory condition (whose current designation is not clear to me presently). I believe the same thing can be said about getting along well with neighbors and its relation to the Diplomatic Victory condition. The Master Quest victory condition may deviate from this pattern slightly, and hence it appears wise to me to have smaller rewards for completion of its components.

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December 16, 2009 9:47:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@red1939

 

Very detailed and thought out ideas.  I hope the majority of them are implemented.

 

On a side note, if "worst nightmare" doesn't get added as a quest, I would hope that "Summon a valcano with a demigod that spawns demons to attack your enemies" could be the high level Chaos spell on the tree, cause that sounds totally awesome.

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December 16, 2009 2:50:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Defeat Bogus the Troll and his band of marauders.

+1

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December 17, 2009 4:05:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting drrob,
@red1939

 

Very detailed and thought out ideas.  I hope the majority of them are implemented.

 

On a side note, if "worst nightmare" doesn't get added as a quest, I would hope that "Summon a valcano with a demigod that spawns demons to attack your enemies" could be the high level Chaos spell on the tree, cause that sounds totally awesome.

I cannot agree more. +1

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December 18, 2009 5:52:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

red1939: good post, but be careful with the limits. "Complete the mission in no more than <fixed number> turns!" is a bad thing. The time limit suffitient on a tiny map may not be suffitient in the case of huge maps. Even if you are strong enough, your units may simply not be fast enough to reach the target location, because on the small map it was six squares from you, but 200 squares on the big map.

The same reason there shall not be "turn limit" for start of the quest. You simply have no idea, how strong the players will be. There is supposed to be a number of sliders, that change the gameplay including speed (eg. research speed etc.). Imagine pregenerated scenario, where you are in the "midgame or even late game phase" on the very first turn (you already have preresearched technologies, and several cities at your disposal, because the author of the scenario has prepared the situation).

So the correct prerequisity would be: don't start the scenario, unless the complete power of the armies in the world is <xxx> (you can have the power, because you have high-level units in the late game, or zillions weak units in the beginning), or for example the player has at least <xxx> cities....

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December 18, 2009 7:12:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One more quest/event: ruler / hero / heir asassination. An asassin (or a group of asassins) sucessfully snaked around the army and attacks your hero/channeler/heir.  The battle will be fought. Only heroes and/or channeler and/or heir engage the combat even if it they are surrounded by an army. It may be nice, if you can  hire someone to do it to your enemy from time to time.

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December 19, 2009 9:04:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

with the Demon quest, I prefer for the demons to start immediately attacking the country-side, and nearby towns, cities, settlements, and barbarian strongholds. The longer you wait the larger the demon nation will be, which you will have to fight through to kill the big demon.

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December 19, 2009 8:27:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I 100% echo the various comments in this thread made about "daisy-chained" quests, where your choices in one quest affect downstream episodes.  And you'd need some kind of randomizer, so the same choices don't lead to the exact same results every time.

I love the notion of each quest having a couple options/outcomes, and you aren't even sure whether they're the end of a quest series or not.  Similar to what others have suggested:

  1. A town's mayor comes to you and complains of a bandit in the woods robbing merchant caravans. The bandit has some defining characteristics.
  2. Depending on how that quest goes, you may bribe him to go bother an enemy, or you may fight him and defeat his band, but he gets away.
  3. If you bribe him to go bother an enemy, he does it for a while, but comes back to you threatening more disruption (and now more powerful).
  4. If you defeat him, he swears a grudge against you and starts a plot to...

I think 3-5 "episodes" is the right length.  You don't need to turn it into a TV series.  But weaving those things in would be fantastic fun.  I still remember the episode updates from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri with great relish.

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December 20, 2009 10:21:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Don't know if this has been mentioned yet but we need to have a quest with space ponies

 

Or atleast a random event that doesn't do anything. Space ponies must be in every game stardock makes from now on!

 

I'm serious

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December 20, 2009 10:50:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental focus items as rewards could be very cool! i.e. there could be quests that give a single item as a reward that make you more effective with a certain class of spells. (Think ter'angreal in Wheel of Time) and there could also be multiple questline quests where you find pieces of a focus item and eventually get them recombined to be a more powerful focus item - maybe something that makes every earth spell you cast more powerful.

Quests to gain spells )especially if there are a few spells that can ONLY be obtained via quest) that would be pretty sweet.

As far as what to do to get these sweet rewards....I think the kill 10 of monster x works fine for low level introductory quests, but definitely the more quests that actually contribute or hint at the history of the game world - mkae the quest reveal glimpes and get that feeling of a world that really has been around for millenia - ah, that's really what you want are quests that at least at mid to high level feel important and give you a glimpse into the storyline.

Since we don't really know that histroy yet, it is hard to make specific requests

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December 21, 2009 3:14:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I saw several posts talking about linking quests to diplomacy. I think having some do that is a great idea.  I did not see this specific twist (might have missed it - lots of posts ):

You or characters under your banner must complete a "favor" / task for one of the other empires / kingdoms in the game.  Succeeding in the tasks (quest) might grant you a major diplomatic boost in relations with that group OR it might open a very special, very specific option that allows you to request something very, very useful (You owe me a favor, so I can call on you for x number of troops that will be temporarily added to my own OR you will "link" your magic with me one time when asked so I can complete a massive / special spell that would normally be beyond me or would drain me if tried alone, etc.)

This type of quest could run at various levels of complexity and impact.  The quest that provide bigger rewards from the other faction would be longer / more intricate than the ones that just give you some diplomatic boost, etc....

 

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