All good plots are about struggles. If a story has no struggle, it often lacks engagement. This is storytelling 101. While you can have a story without a struggle it is hard to make compelling and only the best storytellers can get away with it. The same goes for roleplaying games.
I knew when I started Darkness Within that I wanted to a Gothic horror RPG. From there I settled on the setting (1352 England). Next I knew I needed a struggle. Being a fan of Gothic horror, I knew that often the struggle was within one’s self as much as it is with outside forces.
While there are other struggles in Darkness Within (layers are always good), I knew that the internal struggle would have to be key to the game. It became one of the key ‘tent poles’ or ‘legs of the stool’. Whatever, pick whichever idiom you like better.
While there are other core themes to the game, such as “Tragic, beautiful, monstrous”, the theme of “Monsters struggling to maintain their humanity” resonates through out. If that is the case, then I knew I needed a system around it. After all this is a roleplaying game, not just a shared story.
As that system comes into shape and is tested more, we will talk more about it. I think that gives you some idea on where we are going with the game though.