I'm currently working on a dark fantasy game set in a world undergoing a magically-powered industrial revolution. The game focuses on characters driven to achieve their heart's desire: something made possible by, but also threatened by the rapid progress and change caused by the rediscovery of the Queens Letters: the magical language lifted from a peace treaty between Angels, Demons, and Faeries that when stolen and used piecemeal is the only way humans can directly use magic.
Society in the game's setting is akin to the late Edwardian and early Victorian era, so violence as a tool of gaining and maintaining power is a key theme. One's social class shapes how characters can legitimately use violence. For example, Working Class individuals must Obey the Spirit of the Law, meaning that a drunken brawl is an entirely acceptable bit of rowdiness but killing your landlord in the midst of an argument will get you the gallows.
As a result of this, I'm looking for feedback and critique on the system I've inflicting and suffering wounds during play. I've provided a bit of background on the basic resolution system to provide context for the linked document. What Sort of Feedback I'm Looking For
I'm looking for comments on how well the rules as written fulfill my design goals, any concerns you have about playability, if they are easy to understand, and any suggestions you have to improve any of the above in line with my list of design goals. General feedback is welcome as well, but I find that focused critique (even if it's harsh) to be more useful. A Bit of Background on Resolution
Conflict resolution is handled by both sides rolling two dice and summing the result, then comparing it to their opponent's result. The two dice are:
A Circumstance die from d4 to d12 that defines how favorable their situation is to their purpose.
An Inclination die from d4 to d12 that defines how inclined the character or creature is to that type of action. There are six Inclinations in Discordance: Violence, Reason, Subtlety, Courtesy, Vigor, and Magic.
The side with the higher total gets what they want in the manner they described it. If the victor has a larger Circumstance die than their opponent's and/or a larger Inclination die than their opponent then they get to choose an additional benefit of their success.
If the reverse is true, and the losing side has a larger Inclination or Circumstance die than their opposition's, they get to choose a concession they can exact from the victor.
Violence is the Inclination you're following if you're attempting to hurt someone or threaten them with physical harm. Vigor or Subtlety might serve as a prelude to violence, but Violence is where it's at. My Goals For This System For Handling Wounds
1. To make combat quick and brutal. Players should pause before combat starts and ask themselves "How bad do I want this?" before drawing cold steel or preparing their pistol and powder.
2. To make wounds feel nasty and visceral, rather than an abstract mechanical system. The list characters must choose from when they take a wound is meant to drive this home, along with the requirement that they describe what the wound looks like based on the hazard or attack they just suffered.
3. To create a death spiral wherein taking multiple wounds (or a really bad wound) is going to cause problems for you, but where you can still fight back, at least in the short term even after taking a horrible wound. Yeah, if a demon rams a brazen spear through your leg it's really going to suck, and it's a dreadful wound all the way but let's say this demon's gotta go.
Let's say this is the second-in-command to the bastard that murdered your family and left you an orphan. It might make sense to suck it up, accept that you'll come close to death at the end of the scene and weary your Soul so you can have a real chance at messing this demon up.
You might be limping on one leg, and that'll fuck with your circumstance die, but you can still try. What's more, because you have access to resources that all but the key obstacles to your desire do not, you can succeed. This is a system that aims for Pyrrhic victories and glorious last stands.
4. To create a wounds system that creates quick combats, at least against NPCs that aren't integral to the player's stories. The rules as they stand mean that NPCs (most of whom can't rely on their Soul, Desire, or Corruption to save them) will very quickly get worn down by wounds. Badass minor NPCs are still going to be dangerous to face in direct combat (especially if you're unprepared) but a knife to the kidneys is guaranteed to make any creature's day decidedly unpleasant.
Fights with significant NPCs will last longer given that they have access to the same toys the players do, but those are the NPCs players have put into the game on purpose as their rivals/foils/grand foes. The six-fingered men and Judge Turpins of the world, so to speak. These are also the NPCs at the table who (if they survive to the epilogue) will get an epilogue of their own. So it may be that the wicked duchess succeeds at her scheme of ruining your family and killing you for good but the wickedness in her heart spells her undoing in the end.
5. To do all of the following without a massive list of tables, secondary rolls, rules exceptions, and the like. Right now the rules are 4 pages, which is right at my threshold of "too much". I would welcome suggestions to trim that down a bit while keeping the general gist of the system alive. Here's the Link to the Rules Themselveshttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1wlkv-0RrKq90muvE3jFBsNFKubu8mpaBmYNuHBO3Gik/edit?usp=sharing