[Input wanted] The Fall of Men - a 1000-word RPG

I’ve written a 1000-word RPG for a challenge at a Swedish RPG-forum (rollspel.nu). The game is called “The Fall of Men” and basically emulates negative character arcs. You take on the role of a withering human being that has recently passed a point of no return and is now in a metaphorical free fall. We play to find out if they manage to brake their fall and get what they desire or otherwise how their situation changes them.

The game is in English but as it’s not my first language I would really like som international input. Are there any big faults language-wise or text-wise? Is the game understandable? Are there any vital parts missing (I really wanted to have some examples in it, but the word count wouldn’t allow it)? Does it sound like a fun game to play? Or if you have any other comments or thoughts about it, just write here or make comments or suggestions in the document! All input is very welcome!

Thanks in advance!

Here’s a Google-docs link (note that this is not the final layout, so I don’t want any feedback regarding the visuals): https://docs.google.com/document/d/161c5IRtromUPBIfrBVNcU8cNj4wS6_C-BkcnZIq0VsU/edit?usp=sharing

Fall_of_Men4

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Hi Peter,

I like this game.

Your English does come over as a slightly unnatural in places, but not to the extent where I had difficulty understanding what you meant. You might want to watch out for “withered” though: it does mean withering like a leaf, but the primary association when applied to a person is that they’re are growing old and wrinkly. I don’t think that’s what you mean by it.

One important thing that I didn’t really understand from the rules - and this is probably connected to the language - is the intended tone of the story. Adding play examples might help with this, but I personally feel that a strong description or references to books/films/tv would be more effective, as I can quote those to players when I’m running a game. I think the cover image is really beautiful, but it doesn’t really give me a sense of the tone of the game either. The title ‘The Fall of Men’ is a bit misleading too - I didn’t pick up any religious references from the game itself, nor anything to do with forbidden knowledge.

I really like the use of playing cards and traits. In terms of pacing, though, I wonder how often a call should take place?

I think the court cards are very elegant, mechanically. However, I don’t entirely understand how they are meant to effect the fiction - the sort of players I play with would pursue their character’s goals regardless of being told to do so.

I wonder if “success at a cost” would be a useful idea for this game?

This seems like quite a negative post but I really do think the game is super interesting! That’s why I bothered to take the time to write out all these thoughts :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your kind words, and your feedback in general! I really appreciate it and I don’t think of it as negative at all. You points are all valid and I will definately take them into consideration!

You’re right that most players will pursue their Wants and Desires regardless of Desperation so it doesn’t really make any real difference now. I see a potential problem that Desperation actually might have the opposite effect on players. Having a lot of Desperation would make you hesitant to put yourself in situations where you have to play cards. Instead you would aim for downtime scenes where you spend time with your relationship characters. So the practical effect would be that a high Desperation level leads to less intense scenes… I would perhaps be better to call it Exhaustion or Stress, and just leave the mechanic effect to color the narrative on a larger scale. I’ll continue to think about that :slight_smile:

By the way, would you mind elaborating on how you see the “success at a cost” mechanic could be used here?

Thanks again!

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Perhaps an alternative use of court cards would be for them to stay in your hand once drawn, blocking a potentially useful number card from that space? That way they have a mechanical effect of making failure more likely. (See caveat below.) In the fiction, this could represent a negative long-term consequence taken in order to achieve a short-term goal. Like getting a favour from a Mafia boss—you know it’s going to come back and haunt you at some point… That’s why I brought up success at a cost. As this game is about characters falling to their doom, it seems natural that sacrifice or unforeseen consequence might play a part in the story somewhere, as that’s often how character’s lives unravel in real life.

Caveat: I just spotted that, currently, it’s possible to win every call simply by narrating using the appropriate trait.

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Yeah that could be something to explore for future versions. I don’t see how I could fit that in at the moment, but it sure is an interesting idea!

Yeah, your observation is correct. I want the cards to create player behavior so you adapt your behavior to the cards in your hand. But about being able to exploit it: you don’t always have a favorable card in hand. And another interesting bahavior I hope will happen is that your fellow players might try to steer you out of your approach so that you can’t use your card as planned. Playtesting will have to say whether that actually works or not.

Anyway, here’s the layouted version I submitted to the challenge: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qq3zSiA-FtS7SZZ7nfFBJWuEebodZv4Y