So I’ve been thinking about Discords again. I do like how In Nomine openly embraces the idea of doling out disadvantages as a consequence of role-playing decisions. However, it often feels like the Corporeal Discords lack any real distinction.
Most of them are just variations of “thing which makes other people not like you.”
The vestigium discord in particular is an interesting one. There are several real world conditions that could fall under this umbrella
- Cutaneous horns
- Webbed hands
- Extra breasts
- True tails
There are a number of more fantastic options, too (under developed wings, sandpaper skin, extra eyes &c), but let’s stick with the mundane for now.
According to the core rules the only disadvantage of vestigium is social – but it’s a social disadvantage that comes from someone discovering your vestigium. What happens if someone decides not to hide their vestigium?
The implication is that someone who gets a clear and unimpeded view of such a growth would suffer -6 reaction to the Discordant celestial. That’s a huge disadvantage, especially when you remember that In Nomine effectively runs on an 11 point scale, and that the only reliable way to increase reactions is through wealth and status.
At the same time, making the disadvantage any less runs you into a rather sizable balance problem. -3 to reactions is significant, but it’s also manageable – and if there’s no difference between having one vestigial element and 6 (the core mechanics deal with the likelihood you get discovered, not the size of the penalty afterwards), you’ve basically just made the world’s best dump stat.
The solution I am considering is twofold.
- Add in a second mechanic that sales with each rank of vestigium. Perhaps each rank increases the magnitude of disturbance the character causes in the symphony. Meaningless for mortals (who cause none), but quite significant for Ethereals and Celestials.
- Add in some individualized mechanics for specific vestigium.
While I do like the second idea, it is one that requires a fair amount of care – especially when dealing with real world conditions. Most likely I will limit any such speculation to truly inhuman vestigium.