Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

[Drowning and Falling] The Power 19

Started by Jason Morningstar, March 07, 2006, 02:12:27 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Jason Morningstar

OK, here's the Power 19 for Drowning and Falling, a ridiculous game I'm working on.  At this point it is in solid shape and just needs some playtesting and tweaking.  Questions I have:

I'm surious about the time and energy commitment breakdown.  Right now you spend about 15 minutes making up characters (3-5 each in that time), who are then killed like flies over the next 60-90 minutes.  In terms of investment, do you see any problem with that?  Should they be easier to create? 

More of a marketing question, but I'm not at all sure where to set the price point for a charity project.  If the game content is worth, say, $5, how much would you pay over and above that to contribute to a worthy cause?  Could I charge $10, for example? 

Thanks for your thoughts on these topics. 


1.) What is the game about?
The Drowning and Falling Role-Playing Game is about drowning and falling.  It is an affectionate and silly fantasy heartbreaker, with extra heartbreak and extra fantasy.

2.) What do the characters do?
The characters are brave explorers in a subterranean realm of danger!  They move from challenge to challenge and either persevere, drown, or fall. 

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
There is no GM.  The players take turns navigating from challenge to challenge, and the roles necessary to narrate and resolve conflicts rotate around the table.  There is plenty of opportunity for back-stabbing, treasure-stealing, and general tomfoolery along the way.

4.) How do the various parts your system reinforce what your game is about?
The game is all about drowning and falling, and there is literally nothing you can do except these two things. 

5.) How does your setting reinforce what your game is about?
The system is littered with the bones of its antecedents, stuffed full of clerics, magic rockets, and monsters to be killed for their stuff.  Hopefully, this stuff is evocative, and a pair of ridiculous setting suggestions are included for extra flavor. 

6.) How does the Chargen of your game reinforce what your game is about?
Characters are broad and short-lived - you make up five at a time.  There are classes, alignments, and levels, and they all combine in a whirlwind of idiocy.  You can - actually, you must - play archetypes from the dawn of the hobby. 

7.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
The game rewards quick and clever narration, because you are forced to introduce fresh traits all the time into challenges.  There's a bit of tactical decision making, but not much, and a strong "screw your neighbor" competitive vibe.

8.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
Most of the rewards don't happen mechanically - your narration doesn't impact success or failure.  Skillfull allocation of traits may give you an advantage, but the game isn't meant to be taken at all seriously.

9.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
Equally around the table, with a weird and fun twist.  The player who created the current challenge narrates in a negative trait for each adventurer (including his own), each player narrates in a positive trait for their own adventurer, and the person on your left also narrates in a positive trait for you.  This leads to some very goofy situations where a challenge creator gets to choose two thirds of their own traits, which is funny in play and often a life-saver. 

10.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
People seem to glom onto their characters and breathe life into them, even though they are essentially cardboard props with very short shelf-life.  The game moves fast and you are involved in every challenge, both representing your own adventurer, but also making choices for the guy on your left.  You also get to create challenges which put your sense of fun and silliness in the spotlight.

11.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
Challenges occur over three rolls, and the number of successful rolls is based on challenge difficulty.  Various classes, spells, and treasure allow re-rolls.  The player challenged and the person to his left each narrate in one of ten helpful character traits, rated 1 to 6 each, and these form a number between 2 and 12.  The challenge creator then narrates in a harmful trait, also from 1 to 6, and this is subtracted from the total.  Monsters make a challenge harder by varying degrees.  The final number, usually between 2 and 11, is the target to roll at or below to succeed.

12.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
They give you the chance to show off your totally boss good traits before being hamstrung by your bad trait - it is fast, funny, and often frustrating when someone chooses poorly for you.

13.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
When you succeed in a challenge, your character goes up in levels!  It's awesome!  Of course you also go down in levels when you fail challenges.   

14.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
Dude, you get to say "my guy is now fourth level!"

15.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
Entertainment, hilarity, hyperbole, crazy narration, unhinged conflicts, a good time. 

16.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
There's funny flavor text and a lot of florid swords-and-sorcery prose that looks as though it were written by a thirteen year old. 

17.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

This is a charity project - All proceeds from sales of this game, after taxes and production costs, will be donated to ORBIS International.  The mission of ORBIS is to eliminate avoidable blindness and restore sight in the developing world, where 90% of the world's blind live.  They do this in part by operating a completely awesome flying eye hospital in a converted DC-10. 

18.) Where does your game take the players that other games can't, don't, or won't?
The fact that all conflicts are rigidly defined by drowning and/or falling is unprecedented in the history of gaming!  This ground-breaking game redefines an entire hobby! 

19.) What are your publishing goals for your game? Who is your target audience?
My audience is gamers who appreciate humor and a good cause.  The game itself is lots of fun and will be playable in an hour or hour and a half.  I plan to publish it through Bully Pulpit Games as a saddle-stitched digest sized book, probably 48 pages, and I've got five amazing indie comics artists to donate work, so it is going to look absolutely wonderful. 



Looks like you have a really foucussed design approach and a clear idea of what you want the game to be able to do.  Bravo!  I'm still laughing as I review your answers.  I really hope you finish this project :)



Anders Larsen

Could you give some examples of what typically happen in the game, and how it is handle in the system? It is hard for me to understand exactly what you are going for here.

I'm surious about the time and energy commitment breakdown.  Right now you spend about 15 minutes making up characters (3-5 each in that time), who are then killed like flies over the next 60-90 minutes.  In terms of investment, do you see any problem with that?  Should they be easier to create?

If the character generation is an fun an integrated part of the game, I do not believe there is any problem. You could maybe make the death of the character a part of the character generation: How do you want your character to die?

- Anders

Jason Morningstar

Hi Anders,

Here's an actual play post that may answer some of your questions.  I know it seems cryptic from the description here. 

Anders Larsen

Quote from: Jason Morningstar on March 07, 2006, 04:20:16 PM
Here's an actual play post that may answer some of your questions.  I know it seems cryptic from the description here. 

Ok, now I understand it better.

My experience is that when people say that something in there system take to long time, it is not necessarily the time frame that is a problem, but it is because that part of the game is boring. If chargen is just something that have to be done before you can start on the real fun, then it should be as short as possible. But if chargen is really fun, it does not matter if it take 15 minutes.

I was thinking about a chargen mechanic where the players can give each others characters traits and abilities that are fun, wacky, weird, stupid etc.. And maybe making challenges can be part of the chargen too, so it is not a separate process.

btw, it really sounds as a fun game.

- Anders

Jason Morningstar

Thanks for that observation, Anders.  I think that, in a limited way, character generation is fun in Drowning and Falling, because you are forced to fall back on "old-skool" tropes like "the warrior" and "the elf" which are patently ridiculous.  You also get to roll a bucket of dice.  Maybe I am worrying for nothing.