We could even make it so that the inhabitants of the Lands Between haven't entirely lost their minds yet, potentially allowing us to communicate and reason with the knights and soldiers that serve the various demigod armies, or the peasants that live in the forts and villages throughout the world.
Very solid idea to leave the other forces of non-tarnished damaged but not completely feral.
Now for a few other issues. Personally, I think there are several other game mechanics we should also ignore:
- No respawning, both for us Tarnished and for NPCs/enemies. Dead is dead.
- No Flasks of Crimson/Cerulean Tears from the get-go. Let healing be done with traditional remedies or restorative magic, and let FP/mana/whatever-you-want-to-call it simply regenerate over time. Healing potions or crystal tears with special effects could be found as loot throughout the world instead, and the ability to craft them (like the perfumers) could be part of a PC's skillset.
- No sites of lost grace, or at least not in the way that they function in the game. The guidance of grace being visible as rays of light makes sense and should stay, and perhaps this light converges at locations that would make for good resting spots, but that's as far as it should go. It doesn't have a useful place in a written narrative, in my opinion.
I think Grace being a narrative piece that guides us (or perhaps leads us astray, given the chance that some of us would want to become Volcano Manor-scum) is great, but yeah, no instant-heal once we touch a golden light on the floor lol. It's already implied but I wanna explicitly state that I think the split worlds and time dilation are too convoluted concepts that need to go.
Then there are some game mechanics that I believe we should keep, but adapt to make them fit:
- The strength of runes, the ability to become more powerful by defeating enemies, should probably be a sort of passive effect that we use as a vague excuse for our characters growing in strength over the course of the story, if we don't ignore its existence entirely. I also don't think runes should be the active currency; Patches uses the word "coin" when describing wealth, so let money just be gold coins or something.
- The Roundtable Hold. I'm not very fond of including Melina in the story and her ability to teleport us to a version of the Roundtable Hold that exists outside of the world. I don't think fast travel in general is a good idea. Unfortunately, we don't know how other characters like Roderika or D are able to travel to it. Do we say that there are portals throughout the Lands Between that can take us there? Maybe it's a place we visit in our dreams? Or does the illusory Roundtable Hold just not exist yet, and we have to fend for ourselves in the Lands Between until we reach the Fortified Manor in Leyndell?
- Spirit Ashes could be reworked into an ability or a school of magic, like I suggested for alchemy earlier.
I agree on runes being the most logical passive way for us to increase our abilities and grow over the course of the game. I don't think there's any need for a game-system to provide that gain. I don't mind either way if we use runes for both currency and experience or just the latter. Fast travel creates far more issues than it solves. Allowing us all different mounts that we need to care for makes more sense than all of us riding on torrent. Though, Melina poses another interesting issue; Maidens? Do we each need one? Do we all follow one like a gaggle of simps? Or do we just ignore the fact that a tarnished needs to act as consort to a maiden to have a chance to become elden lord?
To me, Roundtable Hold is a good idea for a collective of the main party of the game. A union of tarnished who need to fight together to survive in the lands between. Perhaps our role as elden-lord-to-be isn't so clear at this point of the story, allowing us all to make far easier alliances even with other tarnished who are still at their prime. I.E, the real Roundtable Hold is the friends we made along the way. Events of the RP eventually leads to the illusionary extra-dimensional place eventually being created.
I think in a still active society the role of the Tarnished might be more akin to that of a monster hunter or some kind of folk hero, so we might be able to inject more traditional party-based fantasy games into the setting if we care to go that route. A gameplay loop something akin to - Gather a bunch of tarnished, fuck up a monster, celebrate at the pub as town-after-town goes feral.