Tag Archives: Indiegogo

Children of the Fall — Design Insights

In this edition of Write – Design – Program we’re chatting to Gareth Graham of Frenzy Kitty Games about his latest Indiegogo campaign for Children of the Fall.

The cover of Children of the Fall.
The cover of Children of the Fall.

Rising Phoenix Games: Hi Gareth. First up, can you tell us a little more about Children of the Fall?

Gareth Graham: Hi Rodney. Thank you for inviting me to feature on the blog. Children of the Fall is an apocalyptic story game for 3–5 players. In the game, the players play as the sole survivors of a terrible apocalypse that has turned all the adults on the planet into evil, bloodthirsty savages. In addition to portraying their characters, the players will also need to manage their tribe and haven — fighting off the terrible atrocities that exist in this broken new world. It is a GMless game and has an improved system that is built on the mechanical skeleton of my previous big design, KARMA. Each session is framed around a mission and the world is built collaboratively by all the players through an extensive session zero. Children of the Fall also offers support for campaign play as well as one-shots. There is a huge variety of different missions and characters which are all customised every time they are used, meaning the game has a lot of replay potential.

RPG: You’ve already achieved some of your stretch goals. Where is the campaign currently sitting and what can fans expect once the next stretch goal is met?

Gareth: The campaign got off to a bit of a slow start, but we have successfully funded and unlocked our first stretch goal. Future stretch goals include new character playbooks, missions, and improved quality of the printed materials.

RPG: Frenzy Kitty Games has several apocalyptic survival horror titles, including Dusk, Downfall, Unchained, and a few of the modules in KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences. What is it about the genre that inspires you?

GG: There is something about this particular genre that excites me from a gamification perspective. What’s great is that it is rich with opportunities to create narratives that are dripping with tension, drama, and high stakes. It also allows the players to get into the action straight away, starting scenes or sessions in-media-res. In my opinion, the best stories are those of characters overcoming truly terrifying and seemingly insurmountable challenges (or seeing them die trying).

RPG: As a designer, how has Children of the Fall allowed you to dig deeper into apocalyptic survival horror? What can fans of the genre expect from the game?

GG: One of the design goals I had with COTF was to really emphasize the struggles that these characters face as children in a deadly and dangerous new world, and the scarcity of resources that are slipping through the character’s fingers as they and other tribes fight over supplies. The engine was mechanically designed from the ground up to tell these kinds of stories — stories of desperate measures in desperate times. The complication system has been weighted to make characters succeeding in difficult complications something rare and truly worth celebrating. The players also have story points which serve as a metagame currency to allow the players to possibly affect other player’s scenes — and this resource is limited and invaluable — emphasising the scarcity and helplessness that these characters must be feeling as children in a world hell-bent on wiping them out. It’s not all hopeless though — players also each get one Determination and Helix point which allow them to flip a result on its head and add great twists in the tale.

RPG: The art from Vincent Sammy really fits the theme and the mood of the game. Can you tell us a little more about their involvement with the project?

GG: I’ve known Vincent for years — we worked together on DUSK and in my opinion, nobody does dystopian art like him, so when it came time to make Children of the Fall he was my first choice. One of the things I love about Vincent is that we are both on the same wavelength — something I’m not extremely good at is writing up briefs for art commissions, so I explained the setting to him and told him to let his imagination run wild — and the images he has created for COTF are better than I could ever have hoped for. He’s also from Cape Town, so it’s great to have a product that is proudly South African.

Click here to see the image in full screen.

RPG: This isn’t your first Indiegogo campaign, following the fully funded KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences. What, if anything, did the past campaign teach you and how has it influenced the Children of the Fall campaign?

GG: The two main lessons I learned from KARMA was to set a more achievable goal and to make the campaign only 30 days (as opposed to KARMA’s 60-day campaign). Setting a lower target allows you to fund quicker and to get into that delicious stretch goal territory which is why people really decide to back crowdfunding campaigns in the first place.

RPG: You’re from the “Mother City” of Cape Town, South Africa. What’s the gaming scene like there?

GG: The gaming scene in Cape Town is great. It’s grown exponentially over the last 5 years, with gaming stores, cafes and conventions becoming more and more commonplace. One thing about Cape Town’s scene is that it is still a little more fragmented than I would like. Hopefully, as the conventions become bigger and more popular they will help to solidify connections between different gamers and game groups.

RPG: And yourself? What are you playing, what’s inspiring you as a designer, and where can folks find you and Frenzy Kitty Games?

GG: I’m diving into John Harper’s stuff a lot at the moment — Blades in the Dark and Lady Blackbird are absolute masterworks. There are lots of indie RPGs that just get me excited — I love the whole DIY mentality of indie game design. I’m also very interested in a lot of the OSR stuff that’s been coming out over the last few years — that feeling of nostalgia with modern design sensibilities is hard to beat.

Thanks Gareth and good luck with the campaign.

If you’ve got questions for Gareth then put them in the comments below. Be sure to check out Children of the Fall on Indiegogo and Frenzy Kitty Games on Drive Thru RPG.

 

 

How’s Your KARMA?

KARMA: A Roleplaying Game About Consequences is a brand new GMless RPG by Gareth Graham of Frenzy Kitty Games, currently running on Indiegogo at the moment.

Gareth was kind enough to send me a review copy of the game, so let’s take a look…

First Impressions

KARMA looks great. While it isn’t image heavy, the layout is clean and readable. What I especially like, and what I think is so important these days, is that it will read well on your device, even a smart phone (I tested it and it does).

KARMA is also meaty for the $10 price tag. From the Table of Contents it looks like you get just under 40 pages of rules, another 40 or so pages for the 8 modules included so far (with more coming, dependent on stretch goals), and then your cheat sheet and character sheet.

Now let’s dig a little deeper.

Components

KARMA uses standard six-sided dice — ten of them — in two colors. You’ll also need some pencils, paper, and tokens to track KARMA.

You also don’t need one of those pesky GM people.

The Rules

The rules are straight forward and easy to follow, making this a very easy read.

Character creation is simply a matter of creating a concept, selecting a Vice and Virtue, and determining your relationship with the other characters. And that’s where the fun begins. Character creation is very much a part of the game, which is a big plus in our opinion.

Follow that is a series of world building questions, both open to the group and exclusive to your character. Ah, the sweet smell of conflict brewing.  What’s nice about this is that a game of KARMA requires 0 prep — the only “prep” you need to do is a fun part of the game that is done collaboratively.

From here on out you play through a number of scenes, culminating in an action packed finale, and there are rules for all of this that make sense and keep things fair and open.

Critical to the game is the Karma system, which I’ll leave for you to discover for yourself, but I will say that it’s a great system that adds loads of fun to the game.

Overall

KARMA looks perfect for a 2–3 hour session with friends. I’m keen to play this with my non-roleplayer friends actually, as a way to introduce them to the hobby.

My regular gaming groups would give this a go between campaigns, especially for any group that focuses strongly on narrative. BUT, get this… KARMA is setting neutral, but there’s no reason you couldn’t integrate the game into an existing campaign with existing characters — even from a very different system. Want to take a break from the dungeon in your D&D 5e campaign, but not from your characters? KARMA would give you a great way to explore your characters more deeply, flesh out their motivations, and make them matter more.

So overall, KARMA is a very cool addition to the hobby. I recommend it. You can order your copy (PDF or Print) via the Indiegogo campaign page.