Help Needed: Options Advisor [Pretty Much Solved]

Background Information for the Discerning Scholar:
My WIP aims to do a lot - it’s ridiculously ambitious and, surprisingly, going fairly well. It explores a world of magic in ways… ahem… assimilated from various fictional sources. That is to say, there’s a complex and unintuitive design to how magic works.

There are numerous ways to make magic happen, including (but not limited to):

  • Numerology
  • Sigilism
  • Spellcrafting
  • Channeling
  • Runes
  • Invocation
  • Summons

The player can freely decide to pursue any or all of these methodologies. They affect the way the player makes magic, and interacts differently depending on what gift of magic the player has. The gifts - the ‘type’ - of magics, are as follows:

  • Chaos
  • Aether
  • Time
  • Light
  • Shadow
  • Earth
  • Air
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Life
  • Death
  • Psychic
  • Science

A Little Dilemma for the Enthusiastic Problem Solver:
I’m about six thousand words in, I haven’t gotten to the actual magic-ing part yet (but so, so close… I can smell it! It smells like sulfur and cheap wine), and the very first thing the player does is, other than selecting a gender, select their gift. IN LITERALLY THE MOST OBSCURE WAY EVER!

No, seriously, I’m glad I had this realisation before I got much further, because, as it stands, the current method of selecting a gift goes like this:

I wonder, given the path you have chosen to take, what do you think happens to the soul after the flesh dies?
	#I cannot say. The chaotic nature of the soul is beyond me.
		*set talent "chaos"
		*goto d
	#The soul is immaterial. It is beyond our understanding.
		*set talent "aether"
		*goto d
	#There is no proof of the soul's existence.
		*set talent "science"
		*goto d
	#The soul will be eternal, as it has always been.
		*set talent "time"
		*goto d
	#The soul will drift along the currents of the winds.
		*set talent "wind"
		*goto d
	#The soul will flow where it can.
		*set talent "water"
		*goto d
	#The soul will turn to dust, just like the body.
		*set talent "earth"
		*goto d
	#The soul will burn eternal.
		*set talent "flames"
		*goto d
	#The soul live on without the body.
		*set talent "life"
		*goto d
	#The soul will die with the body.
		*set talent "death"
		*goto d
	#The soul will shine in other realms.
		*set talent "light"
		*goto d
	#The soul will fade to darkness.
		*set talent "shadows"
		*goto d

That’s it. No actual indication that the player is making a choice that will effect the entirety of the game. No indication of what the choices actually mean. Nothing of that sort.

As I see it, my options are: Make it clearer that an important choice is being made; clarify what the choices do, or; burn in the deepest pits of the Academy of Arcana’s Flame Forests.

It’s just - and this might be a very subjective and biased standpoint - I kinda actually really like the obscurity of it. That was sort of the idea when I started conceptualising the idea few days ago - that the gift is innate and not a real matter of choice, but rather outlook, philosophy and choice are based on the inherent nature of the gift.

So, that is to say, a person with the innate gift of shadow might believe that the soul fades to darkness when the flesh dies.

In a nutshell:
Would you be exceptionally annoyed when, two chapters down the line you realise you’re a Prodigy of Light/Runist of Entropists/Weaver of the Flames Guild/…/…?

That is a quite elaborate piece of Job Vacancy you have there :eyeglasses:

As for the choice design itself, I’d suggest you to “take a look back at your vision and mission when you write this story.” Do you want for the player to deal with this… obscurity, or do you want them to know exactly what are they choosing?

Other than that, “The soul will drift along the currents of the winds” sounds like a terrible choice to be chosen :x

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I wouldn’t be as it would have a certain amount of surprise to about - hey why I got this, are all those choices I made have some impact on what I got and the thing I got is cool ( as I like all of the magical powers you mentioned )

Okay, yes, yes. I can see the reason behind this. That’s certainly something to consider, but perhaps, then, much later in the story, when it can be put into proper perspective? An introduction is never beyond being re-written to serve the grandnarrative, right?

Okay thank, you. I think this actually allayed some of my premature panic. Here you go, here are your hard-earned 72 Simoleons.

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Thank you very much for that insight. It’s definitely something I’ll consider as I think about this situation. Here you go, 72 knuts, as promised. :grin:

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I had a similar conundrum with backgrounds in my WIP.

My approach was to describe the options in-character, and add brackets to briefly clarify what each choice will mean for the reader’s character.

For example:

#The soul will flow where it can. (Select water talent)


No offense but I don’t like this type of approach as I usually end up in a dilemma as I think in other way and the powers I want are in other option.

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I think it should have something to perhaps state your personality.
For example:

There is no proof of the soul’s existence.

Rather than that, say

As a scholar, I don’t believe in the existence of the soul.

And add a quick guide at the start saying what kind of abilities each type would give you.

P.S.: I prefer Simoleons!

I think the context of the choice can also have a huge effect on determining if the player “gets it” or not. For example, if the narrative proceeds to them making important choices after or before the choice of magic type, some will get clued in about it being a momentous choice.

Or you could consider connecting it to the player by using “my soul” rather than “the soul” also to clue them in that they are selecting a part of their character rather than just being asked a random question.

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It definately needs to be rewritten as it stands its too obscure especially if your chosen “gift” has a big effect on the story. Why not be a bit more direct but with a little humor, such as…

I wonder, given the path you have chosen to take, what do you think of the gifts you were given?
	#I cannot say. The chaotic nature of my gift is beyond my understanding.
		*set talent "chaos"
		*goto d
	#Gift? Is that what someone would call this void within me?
		*set talent "aether"
		*goto d
	#There is no gift beyond what science provides.
		*set talent "science"
		*goto d
	#Let me stop time so I've got longer to consider my reply.
		*set talent "time"
		*goto d

I really like this approach. That’s fantastic! Thank you for the help. Expect a delivery of 72 Solaris on the next shipment. :rose:

This is exceptionally helpful, and does give change to the thinking around the context. Thank you! I’ll definitely consider this.

72 Sporebucks are yours, well deserved. :grin:

No coin is necessary. Just a mere story weaver passing on what he’s learned. bows

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Alright, an update:

Added a brief thingy hinting at the consequences of choice and the soul and gifts and all that:

You know, some believe that we do not construct our destinies - that our souls shape our beliefs and the gifts we receive, that the stars fate us to the lives we lead, that our journeys are written in tomes beyond our understanding. I do wonder, though, how it seems we have the freedom of choice to do as we please. Would our lives be different today if we had followed a different path?

Then, later, the choices are as follows:

I wonder, given the path you have chosen to take, what do you think would befall your soul once you cease?

#The chaotic nature of my soul is beyond my understanding.
#My soul will transcend into other realms.
#There is no scientific proof of the soul's existence.
#My soul will be eternal, as it has always been.
#I will relinquish my soul to the winds.
#I will relinquish my soul to the seas.
#My soul will return to the earth with my the body.
#My soul will burn eternal.
#My soul will live on, even without my body.
#My soul will die with my body.
#My light of my soul will shine on.
#My soul will fade to darkness.

All the advice has been super helpful, and I think I’m fairly happy with this for now - it seems to me that the choice is clearly of some consequence, but vague enough to not outrightly say ‘I pick a specific gift’. So, thanks all! 72 shipments of Orc Hearts will be left here weekly, if you wish to claim payment.