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Discordance: Character Creation (Make a character and let me know how it goes)

johnthedm7000

Social Justice Witch
Validated User
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. 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
 

John Out West

Registered User
Validated User
Some general notes.

You should start with a forward, explaining the steps in your character creation system. Some of the lists here are quite long, so I did get confused about where one ended and one began.

"When you assign a number to Ink, lay down your pen and leave 3 blank spaces before you.The time will come to fill in that blank page. " This confused me, since it was immediately followed by examples.

I usually don't like it when you add in jokes & such into rules document, but in this case it seems to work well in establishing a the tone and narrative.
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Tone feels good. I like the different names for the core skills.

Was easy enough, although there were a couple stumbles i've mentioned. I'll note that i know nothing about the game so I would have trouble playing without a knowledgeable GM. That being said, i think I'd be comfortable to start a game with this.

Whole process felt like it went by pretty quick.

Favorite Bit: Naming simple details like vices and companions and equipment.
Least Favorite Bit: Coming up with 3 secrets. 3 is so many secrets...

-----
Here is the character I made:
------------------

Brick Tannon. Goes by Brick. Code Name "Pawn."

Human

Flesh 2: Cigarrettes, Cash, Gambling - Despairing
Flame 3: To live a life worth living, for those who can't anymore.
Silk 0: Children, Antiquarians, Attractive - Proffessor H.
ink 0:
Steel 1: I will Never settle down - I am a beacon of hope - I will always help the helpless
Shadow 1: Who Started the Orphanage fire, Location of the Ember Staff, The secret to immortality

Personal Assistant to Professor H.

Pistol tucked into pants.
Professor's Charm around Neck.
Map of London folded in back pocket.
Professor's list of tasks folded in front pocket.
Spool of rope over the shoulder.

Professor's weird charm seems to keep me out of trouble. Magic? (Protection from Traps/Being Trapped)

Considerable Debts - Gambling
Children, loving or otherwise - The new Orphanage

--------

Hope this helps.
 

LuciusAlexander

PalindromedaryRider
Validated User
so I went to allocate my 0,0,1,1,2,3 among the set of: Flesh, Flame, Silk, Ink, Legacy, Steel, and Shadow. There aren't enough numbers to go around.

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary says the prose does set a tone, but more setting information wold be welcome.
 

Lysus

Unbelievably Fancy Ostrich
Validated User
so I went to allocate my 0,0,1,1,2,3 among the set of: Flesh, Flame, Silk, Ink, Legacy, Steel, and Shadow. There aren't enough numbers to go around.

Lucius Alexander

The palindromedary says the prose does set a tone, but more setting information wold be welcome.
I'm pretty sure that Legacy isn't a stat - it's the three things that go with the Ink attribute.

Anyways, here's what I came up with.

Ashwyn Quell

Nature: Human

What did your ancestors bring with them to this strange land?
  • Their Bodies, Eager and Vigorous - Ashwyn's people are capable of tunneling with their bare hands at an almost unheard of speed through anything short of solid rock.
  • Unheard of Magics - Ashwyn can eat small bits of precious metals like gold or silver and acquire enough sustenance to regenerate serious wounds or sustain her for weeks.

What are you capable of?
  • Flesh 0 - Appetites Argument, Drink, Exercise
  • Flame 3 - Passion To cast down the mighty captains of industry
  • Silk 1 - Company Violent and vengful unions, Corrupt and venal officials, Avaricious and arcane criminals, Hardworking and industrious laborers
  • Ink 1 -
  • Steel 2 - Beliefs I will never act against the common people, I am no different from those I fight for, I will always hear someone out
  • Shadow 0 - Secrets I am a child of the robber barons, the unions's alchemical laboratory, the structure of the high council's conspiracy

How do you earn your keep?
  • Laborer

What do you carry with you?
  • The clothes you work in - laborer's dirty pants and shirt
  • Beguiling piercings and adornments - rings made from silver coins hammered into shape
  • Crude and common weapons - a pepperbox pistol
  • Blackmail material - an heirloom pendant drenched with the blood of the murdered
  • Ritualistic implements writ with strange characters - a knife whittled from the bark of the iron tree

What's waiting for you?
  • An unobtrusive hideaway - burrowed around the sewers of the city with several hidden entrances and exits
  • A delightful distraction - the fey shed the names they used with others as easily as they shed the illusions that hide their true form. I choose not to dispel the seemings to see what truly lies beneath the skin of my ever-changing lover.

Now for the feedback:

The Tone You Think Character Creation Evokes: It definitely gives some of the Victorian feel, but I think that more rules text throughout the book could help reinforce that. I think the gear list does the most to reinforce the setting. Having only scratched the surface of Fallen London before I got frustrated by being time-gated and not being familiar with the other touchpoint you reference, I can't comment all that much in that regard.

How Easy It Is To Accomplish: It took me a little more than an hour. I think it might help for some of the self-defined portions of the character sheet to pare the options down to an explicit list (like the company) rather than vague examples. This would help define the setting in addition to speeding up character creation. Much like lists like this in PbtA games, there wouldn't be anything forbidding someone to come up with something on their own, but this would definitely reduce the buy-in necessary to get through character creation.

Your Favorite and Least Favorite Bits: I like the stat names - they're very flavorful. I think having 18 different phrases or other various things on the character sheet that a player needs to come up with to create a character is definitely way too much.

Any Other Bits That Stick Out To You: I'm not a big fan of secrets at the table, so I don't really like the idea of every player coming up with three secrets at chargen and then springing them on each other later - what if these secrets are actually mutually exclusive? It's more fun if players know the secrets but characters don't, so they can play and drive at them in dramatic fashion. That said, I've been following your design notes since you first started talking about them here and I eagerly look forward to seeing more.
 

johnthedm7000

Social Justice Witch
Validated User
Some general notes.

You should start with a forward, explaining the steps in your character creation system. Some of the lists here are quite long, so I did get confused about where one ended and one began.

"When you assign a number to Ink, lay down your pen and leave 3 blank spaces before you.The time will come to fill in that blank page. " This confused me, since it was immediately followed by examples.

I usually don't like it when you add in jokes & such into rules document, but in this case it seems to work well in establishing a the tone and narrative.
I'll make sure to separate the examples from the Ink section and put them underneath the blurb about your character's Legacy. I'm glad that you enjoy the flavorful asides; I had a lot of fun writing them and I feel like things like that help folks get into the headspace of a game (especially a weird one like this).
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Tone feels good. I like the different names for the core skills.

Was easy enough, although there were a couple stumbles i've mentioned. I'll note that i know nothing about the game so I would have trouble playing without a knowledgeable GM. That being said, i think I'd be comfortable to start a game with this.

Whole process felt like it went by pretty quick.

Favorite Bit: Naming simple details like vices and companions and equipment.
Equipment is one of my favorite bits so far as well, as is Company and Appetites. I do obviously need to make the steps clearer and simpler, because while the individual bits and bobs of character creation aren't all that complicated, there are a lot of them.

Least Favorite Bit: Coming up with 3 secrets. 3 is so many secrets...
Secrets seem to be a common sticking point thus far, which suggests that I need to reconfigure them. My intention for them is for them to serve as a way for players to build on the setting, and also to enable sudden reversals in fortune based on hidden knowledge that happen all the time in fiction. Aha! I know your secret name, villain! And so on and so forth.

-----
Here is the character I made:
------------------

Brick Tannon. Goes by Brick. Code Name "Pawn."
This reminds me that I need to remind folks to choose an extra type of Company if their name is known, or to choose an extra Secret if their name is hidden later on during character creation so it's not forgotten about.

Human
You forgot to choose the two options related to your nature. Was that part confusing, or did you miss it? And what would you recommend as far as making that part of character creation more obvious to players?

Flesh 2: Cigarrettes, Cash, Gambling - Despairing
Flame 3: To live a life worth living, for those who can't anymore.
Silk 0: Children, Antiquarians, Attractive - Proffessor H.
ink 0:
Steel 1: I will Never settle down - I am a beacon of hope - I will always help the helpless
Shadow 1: Who Started the Orphanage fire, Location of the Ember Staff, The secret to immortality

Personal Assistant to Professor H.

Pistol tucked into pants.
Professor's Charm around Neck.
Map of London folded in back pocket.
Professor's list of tasks folded in front pocket.
Spool of rope over the shoulder.

Professor's weird charm seems to keep me out of trouble. Magic? (Protection from Traps/Being Trapped)
Was the bit about how to figure out occult objects interesting to you? Difficult to use? What (if any) were your impressions of it?

Considerable Debts - Gambling
Children, loving or otherwise - The new Orphanage

--------

Hope this helps.
It does tremendously. Thank you for your feedback, and I hope that you'll share your thoughts both about future revisions of the material and about other mechanical bits that I shine a light on.
 

Herodarwin

Registered User
Validated User
Name James Roberts

Nature Human
Stories of Home
Their Bodies, Eager and Vigorous Born of marshland and harbours can hide as if they are in the fogs of harbours and marshes

Flesh 1
Fancy parties
Pleasurable company
Good filling food
Flame 1
To reach higher then my drunk of a father and humble washerwomen mother, and embrace the pleasures of this life.

Silk 3
Delightful and Beautiful
Subversive and Bizarre
Humble and Industrious
Ink 0



Steel 0
I will never hurt those poorer again
I am a cheat but a hard working cheat
I will always do what it takes to stay and become richer
Shadow 2
The identity of my benefactor who funded my education
The crimes of necessity of the workers
My bosses vices and follies
Keep
Clerk


Carry
At Your Belt A Satchel of Coins and Valuable Oddments Coins from many places and times,
Hidden on Your Person Practical Tools of Your Trade Pens, inks, and parchment, never know when a “correction is needed”
Worn On Your Body The Clothes You Work In A dandy suit suitable for many situations
Your Hands Crude and Common Weapons A walking stick of strong wood and honest craftsmanship
Around Your Neck Valuable Keepsakes My mother’s fetish, filled with her love and hope for me.


A waiting
A Humble Abode Margret’s lodging for the working gentleman


  • The Tone You Think Character Creation Evokes: I build him based on too characters from period dramas and tried to make a mundane and worldly sort and yes he feels like the sort that lives around the weirdness but still touched by it, but character creation does make you feel someone connected to a world and a world touched by secrets, vices and magic.
  • How Easy It Is To Accomplish: Didn't take me too long less then a hour and felt like it was 10 minutes
  • Your Favorite and Least Favorite Bits: Favorite all the personalised statements that allow us to give a feel of the character and their relations, Least Favorite, Possible that it's hard to see what is a stylish and urbane weapon and what is crude and common, and what would make a good "Their Bodies, Eager and Vigorous" ability.
  • Any Other Bits That Stick Out To You: Nothing that a base setting expectations write up wouldn't solve and would expect in final book.
 
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eeldip

Registered User
Validated User
  • The Tone You Think Character Creation Evokes: Pretty much got the tone right away. Lots of world building BAKED INTO THE CAKE, which is my favorite way of discovering a world.
  • How Easy It Is To Accomplish: Obviously could get streamlined a bit, graphics and a character sheet would help GREATLY. All things considered, I got it very easily and seemed fun enough to do. 15 minutes? But I was very much rushing. I could also see taking all day on it!
  • Your Favorite and Least Favorite Bits: Really like the tone, but overall *for me* it was too much work, and too much characterization, too early. I dealt with it by limiting the character and just repeating beats. Every time you ask for 3 things, I think you should just ask for 1.
  • Any Other Bits That Stick Out To You: Might be a bit TOO open ended. This definitely is a game where the first session is *just* character creation and world building has to be based on the characters that are created. I am not a HUUUGE fan of this type game. Especially because I think that things could really grind between players and GM if they have divergent goals.
  • Your Character: Show me the character that you've created: Basic idea is a rustic type, from a creepy village dominated by an ancestral god with a plan. A fairly happy, simple guy, just spreading around little clay corn cobs that likely have some sinister plan.

 

johnthedm7000

Social Justice Witch
Validated User
Would it perhaps be helpful if character creation, when it asks you to create all of that character focused stuff to pull a FATE and ask you to choose "At least one, but up to _____________"? That way players with a clear idea of who their character is can fill everything out, and others can wait for stuff like Beliefs and Secrets to come to them. Like if you make a joke about your character having buried dead bodies before offhand, and then you think hmmmm...maybe he knows Where The Bodies Are Buried then that's perfect emergent narrative fuel.

I agree that I need to dial down a bit and provide more specificity (particularly in the human Nature section) so that players don't get lost and so that things don't break down into a giant negotiation between players and the GM. My goal is for certain basic facts about the world and the shape of it to be established by the mechanics of the game and embedded in the rules (BAKED IN THE CAKE, as you mentioned) but for the details to be filled in largely by players. One thing that I want to avoid doing though is turning the Natures in particular into AWesque playbooks: the special abilities need to ride the thin line between evocative and definitely defining an absolute fact about the world.

So I'll work on that. And while I'm doing so, I'll spread the Cob. All must know the Cob. The harvest is coming, lo see them now upon the trottered horde.
 

Lysus

Unbelievably Fancy Ostrich
Validated User
Would it perhaps be helpful if character creation, when it asks you to create all of that character focused stuff to pull a FATE and ask you to choose "At least one, but up to _____________"? That way players with a clear idea of who their character is can fill everything out, and others can wait for stuff like Beliefs and Secrets to come to them. Like if you make a joke about your character having buried dead bodies before offhand, and then you think hmmmm...maybe he knows Where The Bodies Are Buried then that's perfect emergent narrative fuel.

I agree that I need to dial down a bit and provide more specificity (particularly in the human Nature section) so that players don't get lost and so that things don't break down into a giant negotiation between players and the GM. My goal is for certain basic facts about the world and the shape of it to be established by the mechanics of the game and embedded in the rules (BAKED IN THE CAKE, as you mentioned) but for the details to be filled in largely by players. One thing that I want to avoid doing though is turning the Natures in particular into AWesque playbooks: the special abilities need to ride the thin line between evocative and definitely defining an absolute fact about the world.

So I'll work on that. And while I'm doing so, I'll spread the Cob. All must know the Cob. The harvest is coming, lo see them now upon the trottered horde.
I think creating in play might help - as eeldip eeldip mentioned, having everyone write in one thing at character creation might reduce the load. That said, I still think that this is an awful lot of player-defined things on the character sheet. I've found that more than about four or maybe five player defined skills, backgrounds, aspects, beliefs, whatever a given game is using tends to lead to most of them not really getting focused on or used much. I also don't love having a lot of things on the character sheet that have to be consulted in the course of making a roll or test - one of the things that drives me away from Fate is that every single time I have to roll, not only do I have to decide whether I want to use a metacurrency (not a problem for me), I have to look over all of my aspects in addition to any that might have been created or already existing in the environment and try to figure out how to justify applying one of them to my roll.
 

johnthedm7000

Social Justice Witch
Validated User
I think creating in play might help - as eeldip eeldip mentioned, having everyone write in one thing at character creation might reduce the load. That said, I still think that this is an awful lot of player-defined things on the character sheet. I've found that more than about four or maybe five player defined skills, backgrounds, aspects, beliefs, whatever a given game is using tends to lead to most of them not really getting focused on or used much. I also don't love having a lot of things on the character sheet that have to be consulted in the course of making a roll or test - one of the things that drives me away from Fate is that every single time I have to roll, not only do I have to decide whether I want to use a metacurrency (not a problem for me), I have to look over all of my aspects in addition to any that might have been created or already existing in the environment and try to figure out how to justify applying one of them to my roll.
If I change the directions to "Choose at least 1" on each of those choices that currently require you to declare 3 different things (Company, Secrets, Beliefs, and Appetites) that cuts the non-list choices you have to make down to 5:

Passion
Belief
Secret
Company
Appetite

Everything else comes off of a list. With that being said, I'm going to work to make the lists for equipment and for the Human nature section more specific and less wishy-washy and a lot more manageable. Especially since unlike FATE aspects, these largely have different applications. The only exception is Passions and Beliefs, which I'll need to check for during play to see if adding up those dice delays resolution time.
 
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