All right, back to the dragon game thing.
One of the things that annoys me in many roleplaying games is the neutral attitude. Specifically, the attitude that the designers must assume that the main character’s personality is decided by the player. This leads the designers to make the characters as neutral as possible by default, and add personality with dialogue choices. But as voice acting is bloody expensive and irrevocable, they usually just add the good options and the evil options. The contrast between the options is usually quite staggering, and there is usually little reason to make an evil selection in one place and good in another. Therefore, the player tends to choose either good or evil from the start and then automatically choose the appropriate dialogue choices. At least if the player in question is me.
So I started to think up a new way to define dialogue options. And, for the record, character advancement.
Instead of picking from Figher/Rogue/Mage, or something similar, the player chooses his personality at the beginning of the game. I have always thought of dragons as arrogant, solitary and predatory. Since three is the magic number, I’ll have three emergent personality features: Arrogant, Cold and Manipulative, in the form of three different-coloured dragons. This will manifest in both dialogue options and combat.
Since our personality is set in stone, there is no reason to have a lot of different options. Which is bad, actually, since we want interaction. But, there is another way: Points of interest. Every time a dialogue starts, the conversation goes in the most obvious route; Biggest questions and statements and all that. But in some points, the player can direct the conversation to specific subjects. If he does not, the conversation takes default route. For example, when planning an attack on a village, the player can ask about archerers, magical defenses or why he should risk his neck. There are also points where the player can either agree or disagree with something. In every case the player character’s dialogue is based on the personality.
Then, combat. As I outlined, the combat happens in turns. On his turn, the player selects a target and an action. The targets might be flying things (griffins, other dragons), or ground-based units (footmen, knights). The actions are mostly either simple maneuvers, or different attacks. As we have three personalities, we have three preferred methods of fighting. Arrogant dragons revel in their might, enjoying the feeling of superiority that battle brings. Tough, strong, melee-based. Cold dragons keep their distance and perform hit-and-run-attacks. They have no qualms about retreating. Fast, sudden, breath-based. Manipulative dragons like to toy with their foes. They feint, throw ranks into disarray, use traps and break their opponents. Agile, reactive, use all available tools of destruction. Tools, which I will define later.