Designer's Notes

Thank you for reading Drowning and Falling. I hope you play it, enjoy it, share and expand it, and give ORBIS some money, too. Drowning and Falling sprang to life from a comment made by Andy Kitkowski, who mentioned using "rules for falling and drowning" as a game design benchmark. In his own words:

"…'falling and drowning' is my summary for the gamut of World Dooms: falling, drowning, poisoning, electrocution … And further from there, things like "bullet tumbling effects", "blunt weapons with piercing nubs on them", "shock due to internal trauma", etc.

Some people don't consider a game a game unless it has specifically defined how these things should work. I think it's a combination of "All Games Have this Stuff" and "All Games Should Model Reality at least a Little".

I think the litmus test for this is hearing about initiative in the game FVLMINATA: Slaves and Workers and Soldiers defer to Patricians in rank and all social and economic status, therefore Patricians always "have initiative".

Some People: Ooh, that's interesting!

Some People: Ooh, that's fucking retarded!

People in the second group tend to put a high mark on having the game rules model 'reality'.

In the end, it's not bad design unless you include those rules in a game that has nothing to do with drowning or falling, or if you don't include those rules in a game that clearly has lots of those sorts of events."

I willfully misread this and took it as a design challenge, setting out to craft a game that was focused on nothing but drowning and falling with the tenacity of a pit bull. Others - lots of others - saw the fun in this and enthusiastically chipped in. To my utter amazement, half a dozen fantastic indie comic artists agreed to illustrate the game. The pressure increased a hundredfold as I tried to make the actual design worthy of their art. What emerged is an affectionate love letter to the first RPG I ever played, which came in a white box and changed my life for the better.