In my RPG, I have companion characters that can potentially leave the party. A behavior I have witnessed among testers is something that I think many RPGs deal with, namely that players will strip the party members of all equipment before they leave the party. For instance:
- One tester removed all gear from a companion, then talked to them and chose the "I want you to leave" dialogue option.
- Another tester saw that a companion was removed from the party via a scripted event, then loaded to an earlier save, stripped the gear from the companion, then re-played the scripted event.
I want to avoid this behavior because it encourages meta-gaming/save-scumming and breaks immersion. If this were a real life group of medieval adventurers, one of the group members wouldn't be ordered to strip down to their underwear moments before being ambushed and captured.
I don't want gear to be "stuck" on a character so that it can never be upgraded (I once played an RPG where I was frustrated that my companion had mediocre armor, but I wasn't permitted to swap it for superior armor I found later).
Is there any way that I can get the best of both worlds by allowing character equipment to be improved, while preventing (or at least limiting the incentive) to meta-game/save-scum and loot characters who are about to leave?