Kelsey Dionne, best known for The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse, has launched a new non-OGl roleplaying game that combines the best elements of classic fantasy gaming with modern features. The new game, Shadowdark RPG, has taken the Kickstarter community by storm, already raising over $150,000 out of its initial $10,000 goal in just a few hours. With 29 days left in the campaign, the game’s popularity is only expected to grow.
Shadowdark RPG allows players of all ages and backgrounds to create a back-to-the-future moment for tabletop roleplay. Old-school gamers will enjoy a gritty dark adventure akin to the gaming of their youth, while newer gamers will love the retro feel and modern features that streamline the gaming process.
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine, and now it’s coming true,” said Kelsey Dionne. “I wanted to capture that moment that is the magic of when you fall in love with gaming. You are young and falling into a world where you can do anything, and being the hero of your own story is just everything. Here it is. Shadowdark is that game.”
The game features familiar elements of classic fantasy gaming but is not a retro-clone. A lot of new game design ideas have emerged in the last 50 years, and Shadowdark RPG brings together the best concepts into a nostalgic-but-new adventuring system. Torchlight only lasts for one hour of real-time gameplay, which forces characters to make decisions quickly. Darkness is dangerous, and total darkness means no dark vision, making it harder to navigate the game.
Other features of the game include the four core classes, a d20-based, roll-high system, treasure grants XP, and tracking it is simple. The game also features roll-to-cast spells, always-on initiative, and low hit points for fast and deadly combat. Shadowdark RPG features a black, digest-sized hardcover with 330 pages of full rules for characters, gameplay, and GMing, 239 classic monsters, 85 iconic spells, and 97 mighty magic items. There are also dozens of robust roll tables for just about everything, handy reference charts on the inside covers, and spectacular black-and-white art.
The game’s Kickstarter campaign also includes a premium version of the game, bound in basilisk skin (it’s actually dark-green leatherette — no basilisks were harmed), with a silver-foil imprint of Mordanticus the Flayed, the greatest enemy of The Ten-Eyed Oracle.
Shadowdark RPG has received praise from industry experts, including New York Times-bestselling author and award-winning game designer Matt Forbeck, who said, “Feels just like the ideal version of a game I was playing forty years ago, but forty years better.” Designer of QELONG & consultant on DUNGEONS & DRAGONS 5e, Kenneth Hite, also praised the game, saying, “With beautifully creepy old-school art and plenty of wonderful random tables, SHADOWDARK is one hell of a tasty cookie.”
For those who want to try the game out before pledging, a free quickstart kit is available for download. Shadowdark RPG is a fantasy adventure game that is both classic and modern, allowing players to delve into buried ruins, lost cities, spider-infested forests, and fearsome dragon lairs in search of gold and glory. The Shadowdark is any place where danger and darkness hold sway, daring fortune seekers to tempt their fates. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to tabletop gaming, Shadowdark RPG promises to deliver a thrilling and immersive experience.