It’s been some time since I played Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, and I’ll admit I’ve only played the first game in the series. So, I don’t know how later entries may have changed the game’s formula, and right now I don’t really care, I’m going to talk about what I liked from Disgaea, starting with the Dark Assembly.

Whenever you defeat an enemy in Disgaea, the character who delivers the final blow gains “mana.” This isn’t the same as the energy points (are they “SP” in Disgaea? I don’t remember) they use to cast spells and stuff, they’re points used to “motion” in a part of the game called the Dark Assembly. There’s a bureaucracy in the Netherworld, and there’s red tape to wade through when you want to perform certain actions.

To unlock access to certain dungeons in the game, you must first increase your influence within the Dark Assembly. All members gather to vote on whether you should be allowed to advance, and you’re given the opportunity to poll the crowd and bribe some members to vote in your favor. If your motion fails to pass however, all is not lost! You can use brute force to convince the others! (Beware the high-level ones.)

Beyond increasing your influence in the Assembly, adding certain items to the item shops, increasing or decreasing the level of the item shops, and unlocking new dungeons, the Dark Assembly doesn’t have much influence on the game itself. I don’t recall exactly, but I don’t think it’s ever even mentioned by the game’s central plot. It’s definitely a cool idea, but kind of an afterthought. A non sequitor.

I thought it was a cool enough concept that I tried to emulate it in my D&D games, though it honestly never made it very far, which was too bad. I thought it would be cool to allow the players some manner of influence over the level and type of enemies they fought, and use that as a way for them to interact with the game’s setting.

In effect, they would be allowed to influence a “ruling body” of some sort, petition for access to certain dungeons, gain writs of passage between cities and outposts, and so on, and so forth. I think it would be lots of fun, anyway. I guess the main problem was more that I didn’t have a steady group of players interested in trying it out. *shrug*