Actual Play – The Fall of Empathy (8/5/2016)

downfallPlayers: Steve Discont, Norman Dean, and Sean Nittner
System: Downfall

AKA: The Gods who Love To Much

Finally I got smart and used a Haven Guide to speed things up a bit. It worked too. We had a few scenes (though still didn’t get to an end) and I think came up with some pretty cool ideas that we wouldn’t have on our own.

Our Haven was The Maw of Light, a home of the gods who had newly created a world and people inhabit it. The Maw was where the first star died and Anu, the First Light, was created. Anu made many things and as more stars died and more gods were born they continued to make more people and provide for them everything they could desire.

(Elements: Light, Void, and Tooth)


These were so good I have to list them!

Hunting: Evil spirits  are created when a person searches for something and cannot find it. Mordred, the spirit of revenge, stalks the halls of the Maw, wailing in stifled anguish.

Naming: We create new forms of life by naming them. Strawberries!

Death: A god is created when a star dies. Anu the First Light (our Fallen).

Birth: After each birth of a human, a god is assigned as their guardian. Yuna, the Innocent is a god who was just formed and has no one to guard yet.  (Our Pillar)

Love: We meet each night to “ship” our couples. The moon is our forum and where we look down on the earth.

Cultivation: We can destroy anything by cultivating our combined light. The library of cultivation is where we record everything that has been cultivated. It may never be made again.

Right? I mean are’t those so great?

In scenes we corrupted them as follows:

Naming: We named things faster than they could be cultivated. To many things were being created!

Hunting: Ashuya, spirits of unrequited love were born when our Hero (Ember) spurned the love of another.

Destroying the World

The Hero, Ember, was the only human born that did not have a god assigned to them. It was a mix up, some kind of cosmic mistake, but because of that they gods could not hear their will, and did not satisfy their every whim. Ember’s life had been hard, impossibly hard, but they managed on their own. When they saw the rest of the world be granted their every wish, they called the gods capricious and was glad that none “guarded” them.

As the gods tried to satisfy the whims of everyone they met, Ember saw over and over that the world would implode upon itself should the continue. They sought to escape the gods but of course there was no where to go. So they tried, futilely to convince others how ridiculous it is to have your ever wish granted.

Meanwhile Anu, the first light believed that if only Ember could be granted their wishes, they would see the “Light”. Yuna, a new god had just graduated from their duty chronicling the Library of Cultivation and hoped to claim Ember and become their Guardian, but as Ember protested, could not bring themself to defy Ember’s will.

So good!

What rocked

This game really clicked. We all agreed we wanted to try something that was a stretch for us, but I feel like the imagery of creation just kept flowing the more we talked about it. One person wished that Ember’s rose garden would grow and so endless fields of roses cropped up all around Ember’s home, making it impossible to do anything without cutting them down. This question of “what if our desires were unbounded” was a really fun one to keep asking. It was also really clear how quickly that would become untenable.

The fact that evil spirits were created whenever someone didn’t get what they wanted was amazing. Literally even though the gods loved the people, they were haunted by every time they failed them! Ember was like a walking spirit bomb!

We decided the gods had not created gender yet. Everyone used the “they” pronoun. We talked about this some and decided it wasn’t something that a person had desired yet and so it didn’t exist. We had some discussion of gender identity and fluidity and decided for this primordial world we liked the idea of that being something which would be discovered rather than already defined.

What could have improved

Next time I’ll run in 4-hour slots for sure. Even using one of the Haven Guides, we only had two sets of scenes. We could see how things would go very wrong, but didn’t actually get the world being destroyed.


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