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May 14, 2015 7:01 PM ET

Archived: Fall of Magic – a role playing game of profound fantasy: Elegant and immersive – featuring a handmade scroll that unrolls as we travel revealing new roads, strange hosts, and perilous choices

iCrowdNewswire - May 14, 2015

Fall of Magic – a role playing game of profound fantasy

by Ross Cowman

Elegant and immersive – featuring a handmade scroll that unrolls as we travel revealing new roads, strange hosts, and perilous choices.

Ross Cowman

See full bio Contact me

About this project

Magic is dying, and the Magus is dying with it. We travel together to the realm of Umbra where magic was born. 

Scroll Edition – Mockup
Scroll Edition – Mockup

Fall of Magic is a game of collaborative storytelling were we play a group of travelers in the company of the Magus. The game follows a literary tradition of the fantasy journey where the character’s relationships, transformations, and experiences take center stage.

The game features an elegant rule set and stunning presentation including a canvas scroll which unrolls as we travel, revealing perilous roads, strange hosts, and fantastic locales. The scroll is over 5’ (1.5m) in length and is masterfully illustrated by award-winning artist Doug Keith.

Praise for Fall of Magic

“This is one of the coolest, most interesting games I’ve seen in years. The affordances alone blew my mind, and it’s so beautiful the way the game’s format (the scroll) cleanly and elegantly contributes to gameplay while simultaneously setting tone and putting play in a wonderfully ritualistic context. ” – Jason Morningstar, creator of Fiasco and Night Witches

“So unbelievably excited for this mind-blowing version of Fall of Magic.” – J. Walton, creator of the Planarch Codex and Metrofinal 

“I think it’s safe to say few gamers will have played anything quite like it.” EscapistMagazine.com

“Ross brings his A-game when it comes to the physical look and feel of his games.” – Emily Care Boss, creator of Breaking the Ice and Misericord(e) 

“I am at work SCREAMING at the top of my lungs in glee.” Drew Henderson, creator ofMystwood and Treehouse Dreams

Reward Descriptions

$15 – Digital Edition  (included in all reward levels)

  • Print and Play version of the completed game in color and b&w 
  • Digital portfolio featuring the art of Fall of Magic
  • Print and Play preview of Fall of Magic.

This print and play works fine on various paper sizes. The map is printed in three sections. You will only need to supply the tokenss, a die, and some notecards or paper. 

The digital portfolio includes high resolution scans of all of the game’s artwork.

The preview will be released to all backers as soon as the game funds. It is a complete playable version of Fall of Magic, just not the final version. 

$25 – 2x Digital Edition 

  • Everything in the Digital Edition  
  • An additional copy of the Digital Edition sent to a friend of your choice. 

After the campaign you will be sent a survey where you get to tell us who to send it to along with a custom note we will send with their game. How nice of you!

$65 – Scroll Edition 

  • Everything in the Digital Edition 
  • Scroll Edition of Fall of Magic including: Canvas Scroll, Box, 5 custom metal coins, Die, Instructions

The total unbound area of the canvas scroll is 6′ x 13″ with a burgundy serger stitch along two sides. The ends are bound using stained dowels, hot glue, and upholstery nails. A 2′ leather cord is used to wrap and bind the scroll. The map is silk-screened using water-based ink in three 13″x20″ sections with two colors per section. It has an earthy smell to it. Mostly due to the cotton canvas.

The box is a boardgame-quality setup box. It measures 15″x4″x2.5″ with a full color printed wrap on the base and lid. 

The coins are manufactured using a zinc alloy and given and antique gold, silver, and copper finish.They will measure approx 25-30mm x 2-3mm with custom designs by Fall of Magic artist, Doug Keith.      

The Instructions are a full color tri-fold, fitting nicely in the box. 

If this were selling this in a store it would have to retail it for at least $75. 

$130 – 2x Scroll Edition  

  • 2 copies of the Scroll Edition (Save big on shipping!)

Two complete Scroll Editions shipped in a single box. You save %30-%50 of the shipping expenses depending on your region. 

$375 – The Magus

  • Everything in the Digital Edition 
  • Everything in the Scroll Edition 
  • One of the original pieces of Art (first-come first serve) 
  • One of the prototype black-bordered Scrolls mailed to you in June.
There are 15 available pen and ink drawings on 8 1/2″ x 11″ drawing paper. After the kickstarter funds I will contact you personally to select your Art from the remaining pieces. The art is first-come first serve. 
The prototype scrolls are black-boarded (as opposed to the burgundy border of the regular scrolls) They are prototypes used to test out different fonts, and design choices throughout the development of this game. They are all playable iterations of Fall of Magic. In addition to the completed version of the game you will receive one of these prototype scrolls, mailed to you in June. 

Gameplay Overview 

Fall of Magic is an evolution of the system behind Life on Mars, a game I published in 2013. The mechanics are simple, but the play is deep.  

 Character Creation 

To make a character, each player chooses a name and title from the list provided and writes them down on a notecard. 

We start by choosing a name and title...
We start by choosing a name and title…

You might end up with: Vago – Fugitive of Stormguard, Kabu – Apprentice of Ravenhall, or Fawn – Fox of the Mistwood

Characters start simple and develop through play, like how we learn about a protagonist over the course of a book. 

Each player gets a token to represent their character plus one more for the Magus. The Magus starts at Ravenhall which is where our journey begins. 

Each Turn

We take turns telling a part of the story. During your turn, other players can contribute, add details, even play another character or themselves, but you get final say over what happens. Also, each player gets final say about what is true about their own character.

1. Choose a Scene

 Each turn you choose one of the Scenes listed under the Magus’s current location. Then you describe the Scene to us from your character’s perspective. Tell us what it looks like, what is going on, and what you’re doing there. 

Scenes for the Location of Ravenhall
Scenes for the Location of Ravenhall

2. Describe the Story Prompt

Beneath each Scene is a Story Prompt: an additional element you will need to describe before your turn ends.

Story Prompt: "Your face in the river"
Story Prompt: “Your face in the river”

Traits, Perils, and Changes 

There are three special kinds of Story Prompts: Traits, Perils, and Changes. 


A Trait is added to a character’s notecard. Either your own or that of another character. After adding it, describe why you think this is true about that character. 

Story Prompt: Trait (choose one of these to add to a character's notecard)
Story Prompt: Trait (choose one of these to add to a character’s notecard)


A Peril has two parts. Describe the first prompt, then, when you are done, roll a die and describe the result. 

Story Prompt: Peril (notice how one of the results is a Trait. Look out!)
Story Prompt: Peril (notice how one of the results is a Trait. Look out!)


A Change requires that your remove or change something on your own notecard. Either your Name, Title, or a Trait. Then describe how this is true about your character. 

Story Prompt: Change
Story Prompt: Change

Journeying Onward

If your token is already on the map, you may opt instead to move the Magus along the dashed road to our next location. Remove the other character’s tokens from the map. Describe the Scene and Story Prompt as usual, but from the perspective of the Magus.

There are different paths to take on our journey. In our playtest experience, it takes about 4 hours of play to reach Umbra, where our story reaches it’s conclusion. Though a game could easily last several sessions. If you’ve only got a couple of hours to spare with some friends or at a convention, just end somewhere along the journey, you’ll end up with a good first episode.


Fall of Magic does a good job of evoking the feel of the fantasy journey without directly referring to any of it’s tropes. This helps all of the players to feel comfortable making up their own story without fear of contradicting the vast cannon of existing Fantasy lore. The names of the locations, the artwork, and the kinds of characters are chosen to give enough to get started while leaving plenty of room make him our own ensuring that no two games of Fall of Magic will ever be the same.

Stretch Goals

If this project exceeds it’s funding goal, a portion of those funds will be invested back into the development of the game in the form of additional content, game components, and translations. Each backer will get a complete version of the game including any additional game material added through this Kickstarter.   
Join the Fall of Magic discussion on Google Plus
Join the Fall of Magic discussion on Google Plus

Risks and challenges

I have worked in the publishing industry for over 10 years and have delivered on dozens of projects. This is my 5th kickstarter and I have a good track record and many satisfied backers.

I have sourced parts and labor for the first 1,000 units and am confident I can deliver within the stated timeframe. If demand for this game is significantly more I will have to secure additional suppliers which may increase delivery time and result in some slight variations between print runs though I will do everything I can to ensure that the quality is held to the same high standard.

At the end of the project I will provide backers with a production timeline including milestones and dates. I will post production updates at least monthly until all rewards are delivered.

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