We’ve Been Secretly Making a Game

We've been secretly making, Swords of the Shadow Planet!That’s right, we have. Well, kind of. We mentioned it briefly in 2019, at Gen Con, but the reference was so short and sparse that it didn’t spread. This was a blessing in disguise because of course the very next year COVID-19 spread across the world, forcing us to change our plans.

We changed them back this year. We’re doing it.

Let me tell you about this game. In fact, let me get a little cute about it since it’s truly under the radar.

  • It uses a system we’ve used in RPGs before, but it isn’t the Adventure Game Engine, 5e, Pathfinder, M&M, or any form of D20. Well, sometimes it uses D20s, but it usually doesn’t.
  • It’s not going to be a big tome of a game. It’s simple and direct. In fact, the utilitarian straightforwardness of the system is what made me want to use it.
  • It’s not a Chronicle System game, either.
  • Some of the design ideas harken to the roots of RPGs. There’s definitely a flavor you might associate with what we call “OSR” games, but more on the weird and problem-solving procedural realm of things, and not so much nostalgia. For instance: no make-you-do-things social mechanics, so characters gather social information to apply while roleplaying instead.
  • We’re talking about how we might get innovative with the visual presentation of this one, from its format to its interior.
  • Freeform magic—for certain values of “magic”—that any character can use.
  • This isn’t an AGE game, but we still love stunts, so rules for exceptional feats—and disasters, and trying for the former by risking the latter, are part of the system.
  • This one is classless.
  • You can play a Neandertal, or someone made of rock. Or a dinosaur. You can even play yourself. Note that this is not a hint that it’s a generic game. I’ll have you know rock people, dinosaurs, Neandertals, and even people like you each have specific roles in the setting.
  • Yeah, it’s got a setting. An imaginary world aiming to be strange in its familiarity.
  • Where Cthulhu Awakens started from the premise, “What if we made a Cthulhu Mythos game setting in the modern day?” this one asks the same question about another subgenre well known for its roots in the past.
  • The game has a potential cover already. It’s the one you can see beside this article.

The game is called Swords of the Shadow Planet, and it’s coming…when it’s done!

Stay tuned.