If things go badly enough, your goblin will die. It will be up to the next generation of diplomats to finish your mission.
But I don’t want every failed conversation to kill your goblin. At first, there was a planned “health” bar that could be damaged, but I’ve since decided to go with a set of negative status effects instead of a sliding-scale stat.
There are currently four planned status effects: Hurt, Hungry, Homesick, and Hunted. Each one has its own consequences, and a goblin can suffer from multiple status effects at once.
- A Hurt goblin will have thought bubbles of moans and groans drift across their mind. These will obscure the word web and make it trickier to hit the thought you’re aiming at. If you click on a moan (“oooaawwwww”), you will actually moan out-loud, to the consternation of the human you’re talking to. However, this will clear away the moans from your web temporarily.
- A Hungry goblin will often think of food rather than the subject at hand. Thoughts like “bread” and “bacon” will come from unrelated thoughts like “tree” or “night.”
- A Homesick goblin will have the names of the goblins back home appear in their word web. If you know your friends and family well, this isn’t necessarily a downside. For example, if your father Nikku likes books and winter, you’ll have a shortcut between those two concepts.
- A Hunted goblin has drawn the attention of the human guards. Now there is an additional time limit on your conversations: How long until the guards catch up to you. If the guards reach you, getting hurt or killed is very likely.
As much as possible, I want the challenges and boosts in Goblin Diplomat to be significant and describable. I’m trying to avoid extremely fine-grained mechanics (e.g. having 100 hunger-points, eating a bread crust adds +2.5). More on chunky vs fine-grained design next week!