One of the biggest changes between the 1st and 2nd printing of In Nomine was the introduction of “restricted” Band and Choir Attunements.
But what does this mean?
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.”
By Em Rathwaedht of UNIMPORTANTHERO
If ever there were evidence that fantasy worlds are often a refuge for unexamined prejudices, it is not found in the goblins and the orcs as easily as it is found in the contemporary stereotypes which are placed in these fantasy worlds without alteration. I am referring in this entry to the Vistani – the obvious and cartoonish Dungeons & Dragons insertion of Romani peoples into the Ravenloft campaign world. These gothic-genre Gypsies were first introduced in 1983 with the original Ravenloft module and embodied the most banal qualities of the stereotyped Romani person. They were written as mysterious and exotic permanent outsiders whose ability to foretell the future was dependent on remaining forever mobile, on never settling in one location for more than a week lest they suffer grave sickness and be labelled outcasts by their own people. Vistani society was matriarchal in intent if not in practice and men who possessed the the mystic abilities which defined the Vistani were treated with distrust and often outcast in order to prevent some cataclysm.
If I stop working out for three years, I won’t be in as good of shape when I start up again. Ditto if I stop playing chess, stop writing, or stop making websites. Our skills and abilities deteriorate without use and yet this is almost never modeled by role playing games.
Considering that rather meteoric growth exhibited by player characters (from novice to Master’s degree in the course of a game week is not particularly uncommon), it feels like atrophy would be a good moderating force to keep player characters from getting too far from the universe they inhabit.
Most role playing games with point-buy character generation have some form of disadvantage system. In Nomine is no exception. Throughout the manuals you will find a number of negative quirks (called Discords) that impede the character and reward the player with additional points for building their character by way of compensation. However, there are some very severe problems with how In Nomine has implemented its disadvantage system.
Last week Analog Game Studios posted a brief history of LGBTQ themes in table top role playing games. In Nomine didn’t make the list (which isn’t surprising given how little explicit engagement the system has with queer sexuality and gender identities), but it is definitely an informative read and both IN and its avoidance of queer themes fits into the trends described.
I suggest you give it a read –
Out of the Dungeons: Representations of Queer Sexuality in RPG Source Books
A friend of mine recently pointed me to LARP: How to Identify and Fix Main Character Syndrome. It’s a good read, and an issue that is not exclusive to Live Action Role Playing Games.
Keeping Main Character Syndrome in check is one of the main challenges of Forum Gaming and it can also crop up in tabletop games (though not as often).
So I’ve been thinking about character advancement lately and I realized that there are only two games where I actually like the character advancement model: Amber and Don’t Rest Your Head. Unfortunately, characters in Amber relies on simple character sheets with only a handful of items to track and there are fairly large point gaps between each advancement. In other words, it’s almost the exact opposite from In Nomine. That leaves Don’t Rest Your Head. In many ways the DRYH character is even simpler than the Amber character… at least to begin with. However, characters in Don’t Rest Your Head can literally advance towards anything so long as their progress is story driven.
I was just thinking about the hazards of “defaultism” in In Nomine, and was trying to figure out what I wanted to say. Whitney Beltran beat me to the punch.
Fairness tends to be the core principle of any point-buy character creation system. You give every player the same number of points, and so long as the game is well designed each character will be equally capable; or at least appropriately capable for the choices that the player has made.
The scholar-athlete may be a strong, well rounded character, but he cannot out study the pure scholar or out perform the pure athlete. It’s not a perfect model, but it is ultimately fair – especially for characters at the beginning of their career.