Customisation making a difference

I like when your customisation choices, such as your gender, sexuality, race, height, maybe even hair colour are referenced in the story in a way that makes you feel like your choices weren’t just ignored. It doesn’t need to have a huge impact on the story, maybe just a slight change in dialogue here and there, but just some reference to those choices is nice.

I’d like to try and add some of that in my own stories, so I thought I’d ask for some ideas. What are some ways to make character customisation play a part in the story? Any ideas are welcome, whether very small additions or more impactful ones.

9 Likes

An impactful one is in A Study in Steampunk where you have a particularly bad injury in the past and you can choose what part of you was injuried. It affects a stat - I think on one playthrough I chose a leg injury, it affected my athletic skill, and then when dancing at a fancy occasion, the narrative noted it.

I don’t tend to mention it all that much in Royal Affairs, but I’ve used the MC’s hair and complexion to inform the appearances of their close relatives. I recently put in an option to choose height, and I’m going to have slightly different text when giving characters hugs and such.

14 Likes

To add to what @HannahPS said, “WayWalkers University” and “A Mage Reborn” also do the injury thing. With that being said, the former gives your MC an injury at random, and at the end of the first book, which is to me the only downside to the entire thing, and a major one, since I have a canon playthrough and well, I have to get the same thing each time or I have to restart. So yeah, I’d avoid giving random injuries…

Other than that, one of the things I like the most is when the height of the MC is referenced - with other people “leaning down” or “looking up” to them and being more at ease to go through some places with low ceiling and stuff like that.

That aside, well, for all that is great in works with true inclusiveness, depending on the setting there are chances I will prefer works that depict actual issues we can find in real world (in a negative light, of course), since I consider characters fighting these things has more impact than said things not existing in a piece of fiction. So works like “A Study in Steampunk” or “These Reluctant Years”, where characters react to MC’s sexuality and stuff like that, and where MC sometimes faces negative reactions if they don’t “conform” to society etc is one of my favorite things in IF.

Another thing I like is when colors are referenced either by people acknowledging a rare hair/eye color and stuff like that, or if similarities between MC and someone else are acknowledged if the player selects some colors or traits.

9 Likes

Choice of the Vampire I believe has entirely different scenes based on your characters race and gender, though it’s important to know those mostly deal with perspectives of the Ku Klux Klan so… :grimacing: That’s often the risk with making gender or race an established aspect within a historical based game (likely why purely historical games on COG are rare).

Height though, I LOVE that as an option. I am quite short for a guy (5’4) and I like to play characters that reflect that, especially if there’s a tall female RO to defy the tall male short female cliche. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

5 Likes

Flavor text… small impact.

In my game I use a lot of customization, height, shoes, accessories, hair… facial features…etc…

For the accessories… I made it a constant habit that MC does unconsciously see below.


For shoes… the game set up will require you to run and walk around a lot…
If MC is wearing something comfortable like sneakers or boots Flavor text will mention that comfort.
If MC is wearing dress shoes or pumps, there will be a mention of MC’s toes hurting or feet hurting due to long hour walk.

Height is pretty easy… it add flavor text for interaction with other NPC like if they taller or shorter than MC etc…

Hair: MC run a hand through their short blond hair but if it’s dreadlocks, MC push back one of their locs.

Other stuff… There’s a scene where MC’s Locket or bracelet get stuck on one NPC’s sweatshirt, and they have to unhook it…another scene where an RO runs a finger over MC’s nose ring or mustache before they kiss…

Not a big impact but it make the story more organic for MC to feel like those choice did matter a little.

15 Likes

I don’t know if you’re only looking for finished stories, but if you’re okay with WIPs, then 'I, The Forgotten One has a mechanic for how intimidating your character is based on your customization options.

An over 6’ (180cm) man with a scar over his eye and a full beard is a lot more intimidating than a pint-sized woman with a scar that’s nearly always under a jerkin.

6 Likes

These seem like some great ideas! Which game is this?

1 Like

This! I really like it when authors put thought into height differences. I usually go to 5’1 and under characters if I’m going to romance somebody 6’2+ and I always find it funny if they write ‘and Sarah had to bend down a little to kiss me’ when Sarah should be on her hands and knees to even see my eyes! My Aunt and Uncle have this height difference and he claims she’s making him hunchback.

7 Likes

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to force people into unpleasant situations just because of their race or something like that. Or at least, not without a clear warning of what they were getting into.

Love this. I’m the opposite way. I’m also short, so I love playing really tall guys so people have to actually look up to talk to me for once, haha. Great that you seem to like your height, though!

5 Likes

The Keeper Of Midnight, its a WIP on the forum. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

2 Likes

I, the Forgotten One also does a good job with your gender impacting the story. There’s a lot of text about people not respecting you or other people not thinking you belong if you play as female, as you’re playing as a general in a male army.

2 Likes

In Samurai of Hyuga if I’m not mistaken (this have been long since I last time played) your gender has an impact on the story, especially a female, it changes the favour text/dialogues entirely (but in minor way ofc)

Like when you play as female ronin, the npc response is like: “wha—what? A female ronin?!” (considering this was set-up in feudal Japan).

Then, there is a wip I, The Forgotten One where your appearance literally altering the scene (for ex: fight scene as short mc) and choice nor npc response.

While in The War of Soul Stone is … wait I kinda forget. I think there is a difference when you play as short mc and tall mc, if I’m remember that correctly.

For example of appearance in romantic scene imagine you play as short mc—really short, and there is the kissing scene with tall RO.
I would rage if the author didn’t even bother to add little detail where your MC tiptoeing for reaching the RO—or vice versa.

It’s minor, yes, but it will be great if you added it. Readers will feel their choice is really change something, they will more attached to the story itself.