Map Editor:  The Talk Editor

The Talk tab in the Monster Editor allows you to make your monster or NPC respond to different subjects.


Quick overview

  • subjects that the NPC can talk about are called "topics"
  • each topic can have multiple "keywords"
  • each topic has one or more "responses"
  • players talk to the NPC about topics by typing "talk <keyword>"

For example, let's say you're making the Seven Wandering Paladin Tribes Quest, and you have an NPC who wants to talk about it. You might have the following topics:

Topic/Keywords Response(s)
**nosubject what the NPC says if you just "say hi", or "chat", or "talk".
quest, paladin, tribes, wandering these keywords are all for the same subject ("quest", basically).
key perhaps a single-keyword topic for a quest key
**default the default response, for things the NPC doesn't know about

Quick Example

Taking the Paladin Tribes NPC above, a conversation might go like this:

player: talk
npc: Hello, Rhialto! What can I do for you?
player: talk quest
npc: Ah, so you're working on the Paladin Tribes quest! Veeeeeeeery difficult, or so I hear. What part are you interested in?
player: talk key
npc: Oooh, the Master Key, yes. Well, I know where it is, but you'll have to give me a bottle of wine before I'll tell you.
player: talk river
npc: I'm afraid I don't know anything about that. Sorry!

Here's what the topics and responses would look like for this NPC:

Topic/Keywords Response(s)
**nosubject Hello, %n! What can I do for you?
quest, paladin, tribes, wandering Ah, so you're working on the Paladin Tribes quest! Veeeeeeeery difficult, or so I hear. What part are you interested in?
key Oooh, the Master Key, yes. Well, I know where it is, but you'll have to give me a bottle of wine before I'll tell you.
**default I'm afraid I don't know anything about that. Sorry!

Notice a few things about this example:

  1. There's a **nosubject response. Every NPC should have one. It's the first thing they say to you.

  2. "%n" substitutes the player's name who's doing the talking.

  3. There's a **default response, for when the player asks about things the NPC doesn't know about.

How To Do It

The Talk tab of the Monster Editor looks like this when you first open it:

Pretty straightforward: the top is the topics, and the bottom is the responses for those topics.

Adding a Topic

The first thing you do is add a new topic. Click on the "Add Topic..." button to bring up this dialog box:

Remember: a topic is a list of keywords. All the keywords in the topic give the same response. You provide keywords so people can guess what the topic's about. So it's a good idea to provide multiple keywords for each topic.

Let's add a topic. The first one you should add is "**nosubject", since it's the first thing the NPC says to you. You can select it from the drop-down list on the right, by clicking on the little arrow on the right side:

Select "**nosubject" from the list, which puts it into the "Add Keyword" field. Then click the "Add" button to add it to the list:

You can't add extra keywords for **nosubject, **default, or **combat responses, so we're done. Press OK and it gets added to the topics list. Then it immediately pops up the Add Response dialog, because every topic has to have at least one response:

We typed in a response into the text field for this picture — we typed "Hi, %n. I'm so-and-so. How do you do? Blah blah blah.". You can put whatever you want in the response.

Notice that there's a checkbox that says: Don't put "(NPC) says:" at front. If you click this, then the game won't put "(NPC) says:" in front of the response. Let's say your NPC is named Fooster. You could create a response that says: "Fooster smiles evilly." You should check the box for this response, or the game will say "Fooster says: Fooster smiles evilly."

Let's add one more topic, with the keywords "quest", "paladin", and "tribes". Click on the "Add Topic..." button again to add this new topic:

We got to the picture above with the following steps:

  • open the dialog
  • type "quest" into the "Add Keyword" field
  • press "Add"
  • type "paladin" into the "Add Keyword" field
  • press "Add"
  • type "tribes" into the "Add Keyword" field.

We just need to press Add one more time, then OK, and we'll get this dialog:

Notice that it shows the keywords ("quest, paladin, tribes") at the top of the dialog, so you remember which topic you're writing about.

We typed in the "Ah, so you're working..." response, and we'll press Add to get to this screen:

Next, we'll learn how to add more responses for the "quest/paladin/tribes" topic.

Adding Responses

You can have more than one response for a topic. If you add more than one response, the NPC has 2 choices:

  • pick one randomly each time you chat about the topic
  • go through all the responses in order

Let's add a response and see how it works. Click on the "Add Response..." button again to bring up the dialog, and add in another response. Type in "Testing", add it, and you'll see:

Both of your responses are in the list now. The NPC will choose from one of them randomly when you "talk quest", "talk paladin", or "talk tribes". If you want the NPC to go through each response in order, then back to the first one, press "Cycle" in the Options section on the right side.

Editing Responses

Once you've added a response, you can go in and change it by clicking on the response, then choosing "Edit Response...". This will bring up a dialog very much like the "Add Response..." dialog. Make your changes, choose "Change", and it'll save your changes.

You can also remove responses by selecting the response and clicking on the "Remove Response" button. It won't let you remove the last response, though — you have to delete the whole topic to do that. See the next section for more details.

Editing Topics

You can add and remove keywords from any of your topics (except for **nosubject, **default, and **combat). Just select the topic from the list and click on the "Edit Topic..." button. This will bring up a dialog that lets you add or remove keywords — it works just like the Add Topic dialog, so we won't show it here.

You can remove an entire topic (and all its responses!) by selecting the topic and clicking on the "Remove Topic" button. Be careful, though, since you can't undo this operation.

Combat Topic

There's one more special topic, "**combat", which is the messages that the NPC will give if you attack the NPC. The NPC will spit out these messages occasionally. You can choose "Random" or "Cycle" to have the NPC choose a random response, or go through the responses in order.


Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you're editing your monster's responses:

  • You should almost always have **nosubject and **default.

  • You should probably make most important nouns in your responses be keywords for other topics. This helps the player guess what topics the NPC knows.

  • The keywords are case-insensitive, so "talk Quest" is the same as "talk quest". However, they don't do partial matching, so if the keyword is "paladins" and the player types "paladin", the NPC won't recognize it. This is one of the enhancements we've got planned down the road.

What Next?

You can make pretty interesting NPCs using the Talk tab. We're going to be adding lots of features to the tab to make it even more interesting, but this should be enough to get you started on areas with more depth.

If you're going to the effort of making an NPC have interesting responses, you should probably make the NPC part of a quest. It's easy to do, using the Quest Editor.

Please send comments and suggestions on this tutorial to contact us.