This still needs some work to fully coalesce, but I was thinking about creating a ChoiceScript game based off a fantasy campaign I currently run. The setting is fairy-tale themed, though twisted to suit my needs (ex: Red, as from Red Riding Hood, can be either a friend or a foe, and has long since taken to carrying her own hatchet into the woods, while Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk has taken up residence in a small town after retiring from his adventures).
One of the big things I’m thinking about is having the option of having multiple backgrounds, a la Dragon Age: Origins or Choice of the Vampire, where you can pick your character’s race and history, as well as the usual ‘choices’ for stats gains, skills learned, etc. For example, the character can be the ill-fated second child of royalty, or an elf knight cast into the world to regain their honor. I would try for balance, where each option gives you a ‘different’ playthrough, but not necessarily better or worse in terms of advantages or disadvantages.
My concern is trying to make each background meaningful for the player (history, friends, foes, possible items or bits of lore) without having to later down the line rewrite huge portions of the game in order to fully honor/respect every possible choice that could be made. How much can/should I tie in to make each thing relatable? I was thinking a fairly simple if/then sort of situation, where if your character is royalty, a certain scene might remind you of your parents feasts, whereas if your character is a common, that same scene would remind you of village festivals where everyone contributes. Even if otherwise the scene description doesn’t change, it could be a nice nod to continuity.
My other concern is tied to the genre: I’ve seen some of the discussion about gender, and would like, in my own small way, to address it here. While the world setting and game will be fairly egalitarian, certain characters or encounters may play out differently based on gender. I want to keep it open to a modern reader, but still nod to some of the gender-based fairy tale conventions; if you are the second son, you might chafe at the fact that your youngest brother gets to go on adventures and seek his fortune, while if you are the second daughter, you might instead resent how your youngest sister is traditionally the prettiest, and nearly guaranteed a lucky marriage. (Whether your character ACTUALLY resents this or not is up to you, but laid out in terms of IF your character chooses to resent their status, WHY do they do this?)
If you suffered through this post to the end… congratulations!
In a nutshell, here are my issues of concern:
Is the multiple backgrounds idea feasible, and if not, why? How could this be implemented, or is it a matter of trying to conserve my resources/coding?
Gender: just ignore it for each playthrough (everyone is bi!) and have it purely as decorative, or actually attempt to make it affect a few small things?
In keeping with the fairytale theme, any general advice? Conventions or tropes to avoid or invoke? I realize I need to post a rough product before feedback can really come out on that, but general pointers are appreciated.