The areas – as well as the followers you pick up – are carefully picked to highlight specific weaknesses of the Pact. By sending you to the southern Kva first, the player gets a sense of the power of Avadon's authority, and the importance of its reputation and aura of invulnerability. The non-Pact area shows that open defiance to fortress does exist. And finally, the Bereza woods is a contested area that is claimed by both Holklanda and Dharam, and shows the fragility of the peace enforced by the Pact.
The game's story slowly unveils a conflict brewing, and as the player resolves many smaller conflicts he or she uncovers more of the bigger picture. It soon becomes clear the player has a choice to make between two sides, though he has some room in deciding how to handle the situation. Neither side is clearly the "good" choice, each choice has its advantages or disadvantages depending on how you feel about the things you've learned during your travels, and your beliefs about the advantages and disadvantages of a strong centralized authority like Avadon. It is reminiscent of Dorikas' story in Avernum 5, but more well-crafted in the details and the plot's pacing.
The character system is considerably different from anything Spiderweb Software has done before. Whereas Geneforge was a solo title and the Avernums saw the player create four characters for a party, Avadon emulates the BioWare tradition of having the player create a single character who then recruits several followers.
The game offers only four classes, and character creation consists of you picking one such class: male blademaster (warrior type), male shadowwalker (rogue type), female shaman (healer and summoner), or female sorceress. Early on in the game, you are presented with four followers, each of which matches one of the four options at character creation, which means that your character is always a duplicate of one of the early available followers.
Two things are customizable as far as the protagonist and his or her followers go: the attributes (strength, dexterity, intelligence, and endurance) and thirteen class-specific skills, the majority of which are combat skills. You start out at level one with all of your attributes at set values, and can add one point to an attribute of your choice per level-up. Likewise, you start out knowing only the most basic skills at level one, and get two skill points that can be allocated with each level-up. Increasing a skill costs only one point, while unlocking a previously unknown skill costs two points.
The basic skills don't have any attribute requirements, but if you wish to increase or learn more advanced skills, then you will have to increase the lower skills to appropriate levels as well. For instance, if a blademaster wants to increase his archery training, then both melee training and path of the shield need to be at at least at the same level that he wants to increase his archery training to.