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Ok, so I currently have a visual novel (For those who do not know, it's a video game that's almost all story. The character may have a few choices in the matter, but most of it is about watching the story. A personal favorite of mine is Nekopara .(wiki link: http://nekopara.wikia.com/wiki/Nekopara_Wiki))

In the visual novel, you are an unfortunate soul who was accidentally enrolled into the wrong school via some weird mistakes and snafus. Now, you are a student in an all-female school (As much as I'd like to go into more detail, I must go on to the question.)

As you progress through the game, you find yourself surrounded by women of various walks of life, and somehow, you, the protagonist, are going to be able to capture their hearts (Not at the same time, however.)

The problem I'm constantly running into is, most protagonists in these type of games are only like by the characters because he's kind to them despite all inclinations to run away screaming (There are some weird visual novels out there.) However, I wish to break that streak by making an actually well-developed protagonist.

But, despite that, I won't be able to make it work with the different girls unless he becomes a completely different person for each of them. How do I avoid this?

  • Why do you want to avoid it? Having the protag personality develop differently based on player choices would seem like a good thing to me. It improves player engagement and has the added bonus of being how it actually works in real life too. You fall in love with the sporty girl you will suddenly discover you are more interested in sports than you ever knew. Or that is how everyone wants to think anyway. – Ville Niemi Nov 14 '18 at 19:12
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Surely you can imagine your protagonist possessing more than one character trait? He can be intelligent and kind and charmingly clumsy? Why then can't one girl be attracted to his wit, another - to his kindness, and a third - be charmed by his clumsiness? That's not so outlandish, is it? I like to think of myself as both intelligent and kind.

That is an oversimplification, but it is a place to start. In fact, one girl might enjoy the intellectual challenge of arguing philosophy with him, while disagreeing on most of his points (she might, for example, see the world in a more cynical light than him), while another would enjoy trading quips with him, and a third - actually agree with his philosophy and find him inspiring. All three, in this case, are attracted mainly to his intelligence.

In essence, to achieve what you want, you'd need a well-developed protagonist, who has more than one character trait, and also well-developed romantic interests, who also have more than one character trait. With both partners being fully fleshed out characters, you can shape different relationships.

It's said that "opposites attract" and also that "similarities attract". So you can have the romantic interests similar to your MC in some aspects, opposite in other aspects (both elements contributing to attraction in different ways) and also there might be traits that each partner finds somewhat annoying in the other, but is willing to forgive. People are not perfect, right?

And, quite important: factors in a relationship would include traits, but also ideals each character espouses, past actions, shared interests... And also physical appearance, but I don't think that's useful to your particular case.

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The MC could be a good listener, a single trait that leads to each woman opening up in different ways. Assuming your VN is mostly relationship and dialog, an MC who listens might be a good excuse to draw out each woman's story.

Another idea might be to simply put the MC in the path of each woman with a delivery route or a particular job (food service) – some superficial connection that leads to brief daily interactions. The MC starts to notice small things about them, and the VN is about finding a more meaningful connection (a mutual hobby, a shared interest).

So rather than come up with a personality list for each woman, start with finding a common thread or single activity that could open the door to all the others. Usually in VN's not all paths are taken and not all endings are "wins". Some of the relationships should go in unexpected (even unwanted) directions.

  • The thing is, the MC and all persons involved are students and staff. I think that what you are saying is a good idea, but I don't really want to do that. – Kale Slade Nov 14 '18 at 4:04
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If your premise was true --no one person with a consistent personality can be attractive to multiple people --then no real person would ever date more than one other person. The same person can be attractive to multiple other people for various reasons. Let's look at some real world ones:

1 - Physical attractiveness: A lot of different people will be attracted to someone beautiful, regardless of other traits. It's just a fact of life.

2 - Kindness or otherwise good personality: You dismissed it as clichéd but again, this is a real-life attractive trait for many, otherwise different people.

3 - Mystery: A lot of people find someone mysterious, stand-offish or otherwise unapproachable to be an irresistible challenge.

4 - A bold or vivid personality - People like a leader.

5 - Money or power - Nearly as universal as #1.

6 - Inexplicable attractiveness - Hey, some people just have "it."

I could go on, and on, but all of this is completely in line with real world romances. The only problem I see is if it's important to your storytelling construct that each love interest have a unique trait they like (in which case, I would direct you to @Galastel's answer).

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Does he have to attract the attention and interest of all of them?

Perhaps choices he makes will irk some or the courtship of A will make F,H and G less interested in him as they are her friends. The same choice could intrigue C, A’s rival, and she might try testing his resolve and loyalty. A’s friends would not necessarily be unavailable in the future, but might take more effort.

This could add more possible endings and paths to such endings and make it more replayable

  • It's not that he has to date them all at the same time, I just need him to be able for him to be attractive to them all for the options of the player. – Kale Slade Nov 17 '18 at 0:57

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