Discordance Character Creation: Make A Character and Tell Me How It Goes

Hey folks, so I've been working on my weird-fantasy game Discordance for some time now and have finally figured out a rough draft of character creation. It would help me tremendously if you all would run through it and post your thoughts on the process. This is still a work in progress obviously, and between this and the resolution/basic rules doc at the bottom is all I have of the game right now. With that in mind, I'd love for you all to provide me with what feedback you can.

Specifically, I'd like to hear about:

The Tone You Think Character Creation Evokes: A big focus of the game is immersion in a world that is something akin to the Victorian lovechild of Saga and Fallen London. Deeply weird, occult, and bizarre. I want to know how well that tone is conveyed by the process, and other feelings you get about the game and the world implied by the mechanics.

How Easy It Is To Accomplish: How long it took you, whether there were any bits that are confusing, and what you'd suggest to make it easier to do.

Your Favorite and Least Favorite Bits: Both about the character you end up creating and about the process at large, and why.

Any Other Bits That Stick Out To You: Questions, concerns, recommendations, and the like.
Your Character: Show me the character that you've created, I'd love to hear all of the craziness that comes from character creation.


The Game's Resolution System and Mechanical Bits (Read This First) :
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RegKkgn36xy0cK_AL-iFEMPUU7_UBpgu34dBw3FPH8w/edit?usp=sharing

Character Creation (Follow The Steps Here, and Let Me Know How It Goes):
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_5fArGStQgq-5KvLZ_Ncctzzwz5YpQqVbjdX-zYhveQ/edit?usp=sharing

Comments

  • This is very interesting. There is a lot here! Some very colourful and inspiring details everywhere throughout the rules.

    I didn't have time to actually go through Character Creation, but the way it's structured is full of exciting flavour and really juicy choices and details. Fantastic!

    Some minor comments:

    1. The "Wretched" circumstance is described one way when it's first mentioned (roll one fewer die) and another way later on (discard your highest die).

    2. I get the impression that the dice rules are very favorable to the PCs (a "yes, but" might be a "bad" roll in most circumstances, unless the players are often forced to rely on their worst attributes and under wretched circumstances). I could be wrong, not having played the game, though!

    3. The approaches and lists of Benefits and Drawbacks are a really interesting idea. However, they might also be unwieldy in play. That's a lot of decisions and choices to make on the way to what might be a creative prompt that's hard to parse (e.g. was does it mean to "ignore that which is holding you back" if you fail the roll?). I'd watch for that in playtesting. The resolution procedure threatens to be really long, with detail in the wrong places.

    4. It's rare that I get excited about a list of abilities... but the attributes/stats in this game are really evocative and memorable. What a list! I may have to steal it sometime. It's beautiful!

    5. The text could really use some orientation for the reader. I can kind of piece together what's happening, but some kind of overview/orientation would improve it a great deal for a reader: what the steps are, why we engage them, how the text is organized, etc.

    I'm intrigued enough that I'll have to come back to this to actually make a character (which I rarely ever feel about a playtest document), despite having some worries about whether it's actually playable. The flavourful detail is exceptional.
  • This is very interesting. There is a lot here! Some very colourful and inspiring details everywhere throughout the rules.

    I didn't have time to actually go through Character Creation, but the way it's structured is full of exciting flavour and really juicy choices and details. Fantastic!

    Some minor comments:

    1. The "Wretched" circumstance is described one way when it's first mentioned (roll one fewer die) and another way later on (discard your highest die).
    It should be "lose a die and suffer a cost regardless of result", an early variation of the rules required you to discard the highest die, but that looked like it was too punishing and was also out of line with the effects of Ideal Circumstances.

    2. I get the impression that the dice rules are very favorable to the PCs (a "yes, but" might be a "bad" roll in most circumstances, unless the players are often forced to rely on their worst attributes and under wretched circumstances). I could be wrong, not having played the game, though!

    Yeah, unlike Blade in the Dark or Fate Accelerated the attributes are meant to have particular uses. You can't "attack someone using Flame", because you can't attack someone with your passion and creativity. You can certainly use Flame to denounce someone on a street corner and rile up a crowd you've gathered together using Silk to turn against them, but you can't just roll whatever you want to accomplish a task.

    Beliefs and Passions are specific-case things that aren't always going to be part of a pool, and being in the grip of your passion has risks as well as possible rewards. This hasn't been play-tested yet, but I anticipate the average die pool for a character to be about 2-4. An attribute of 0-2, one's profession, and maybe a belief or a passion.

    That being said, I'm considering changing the die result schema to:

    6: Yes
    5: Yes But
    4: No But
    2-3: No And
    1: Dread Occurrence

    The problem here is that it's probably harder to remember than having each face of the die having a separate designation, and I'd need to come up with a new way to handle "success and". Do you have any thoughts?



    3. The approaches and lists of Benefits and Drawbacks are a really interesting idea. However, they might also be unwieldy in play. That's a lot of decisions and choices to make on the way to what might be a creative prompt that's hard to parse (e.g. was does it mean to "ignore that which is holding you back" if you fail the roll?). I'd watch for that in playtesting. The resolution procedure threatens to be really long, with detail in the wrong places.

    Getting a No But result on a failure with a Desperate roll and selecting "Ignore what's holding you back" might mean a lot of things depending on the situation. In a combat situation, it might mean getting furious enough that you're not slowed down by your wounds. In a social situation, it might mean that you can ignore the difference in your social class: people are so taken aback by your desperation that they don't care that you're a pauper and she's a countess.

    More broadly, I think splitting up the approaches would be wise, along with a brief aside like "if you want to play it safe, choose one of these... or if you want to risk it all choose one of these..." There's no more of them here than there are AW moves, but I'll watch out for it during playtesting.

    Another possibility that I was considering is having the attributes function as Approaches, so that they're more flexible in play (so grappling someone might be Silk, stabbing someone from the dark is Shadow, tossing a molotov at them is Flame) but having them carry with them their own potential benefits and drawbacks. That would narrow down the number of Approaches, further emphasize the attributes, but also perhaps make the game vulnerable to the issue of players always leading with their best attribute.


    4. It's rare that I get excited about a list of abilities... but the attributes/stats in this game are really evocative and memorable. What a list! I may have to steal it sometime. It's beautiful!
    I'm glad. I'm still working on the game's magic system, but the basic elements of sorcery in the setting are based around those principles: Silk, Shadow, Steel, Flame, Flesh, and Ink. Similar to Rennassiance alchemy, I want them to be incorporated both as processes and as literal materials.

    5. The text could really use some orientation for the reader. I can kind of piece together what's happening, but some kind of overview/orientation would improve it a great deal for a reader: what the steps are, why we engage them, how the text is organized, etc.
    This is definitely a rough draft, I'll put together a short-list of the steps for the beginning of the character creation section that provides a summary of the steps involved and why they're important.

    I'm intrigued enough that I'll have to come back to this to actually make a character (which I rarely ever feel about a playtest document), despite having some worries about whether it's actually playable. The flavourful detail is exceptional.
    I would love to see what you end up coming up with, along with what stumbling blocks you run into and what your favorite/least favorite elements of the process are.
  • Some good thoughts there, and the concrete way you're looking to use the imagery of the Attribute names is really powerful.

    I think that your new "outcome chart" looks better to me. Just make sure you look at the math and make sure it matches what you're looking for. For example, for an "average" character or average roll (3 dice, according to your estimate), the "Dread Occurence" would happen only on a triple 3 - that's 1 in 216 odds, or less than 0.5% of the time. That's ten times less often than rolling a natural 1 on a d20. Add one more die, and the odds drop sixfold (to less than 0.1% of the time, most likely never coming up at all in a typical game).

    That might be exactly what you want, but it might not be.

    If the same chart is referenced every time you roll, I wouldn't worry too much about it being "hard to remember".

    Your thoughts on how changes might affect the system sound solid to me!

    What is the premise/setting here? It's weird making a character totally out of context, and hard to get excited about.
  • Yeah, Dread Occurrences are supposed to be super rare. They're a super-hard move, a really nasty failure. A Dread Occurrence, not a regular failure.

    As far as the setting goes, the world is weird: situated between the realms of heaven, hell, and fairy, populated by it's exiles. Those other realms don't factor into the world as such, except insofar as their remnants are concerned. God might be a half-alive island struck down by His children. Fae in waistcoats run shipping concerns harvesting and refining the remnants of each years Wild Hunt. Demons have thrown down Lucifer and his courtiers and instituted a Republic by the people, for the people, fueled by the sweat blood and souls of people.

    A few hundred years ago, humans showed up, their level of technology vaguely medieval to the 19th century of the various types of spirit. They (and the beasts they've brought with them) have carved out a niche in the Discordant lands. For one, no one makes a better rat catcher than a human. Especially because the alternative is being stuck with a lot of cats. They also breed much faster than Fae, Demons, or Angels and so present both a great opportunity to and a pending problem for those that were here first.

    Or in other words: a freaky occult world full of spirits and monsters, with tech equivalent to the early 19th century where (to establish rough equivalencies) the Demons are French, the Fae are English, and the Angels are American (not insofar as culture is concerned, but insofar as the role on the world stage is concerned) with the Humans as newcomers and immigrants to this land.

    The premise/state of play is characters playing towards their Beliefs and Passions and the world (with all of the bizarre occult forces, and entirely understandable but regrettable political forces) weighing on them, and forcing them to choose whether to make sacrifices in order to stick to them. Another significant portion of play will lie in exploring the world's mysteries, and by learning about them grant the players greater say in the fine details of the world: that's a big part of what Secrets are about.

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