Green Ronin Publishing has revealed their secretly developed project: Swords of the Shadow Planet. Having previously teased it briefly at Gen Con 2019, the project went largely unnoticed, a circumstance that proved fortuitous as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the following year forced a change in plans.
However, in the light of the pandemic receding, the publishing house has resurrected the project with renewed vigor. Swords of the Shadow Planet is a game shrouded in a cloak of mystery, featuring a distinctive set of characteristics that set it apart from conventional RPGs.
Unlike other Green Ronin titles, the game doesn’t use the Adventure Game Engine, 5e, Pathfinder, M&M, or any form of D20. It does occasionally make use of D20s but this is not the norm. The system’s straightforwardness, focusing on the utility of its mechanisms, is touted as one of the driving factors behind its use.
The game leans towards the roots of RPGs, featuring design ideas reminiscent of “OSR” games, focusing more on the weird and problem-solving procedural aspects rather than simple nostalgia. The game will not rely on pre-determined social mechanics, providing players with an opportunity to gather social information and apply it through role-playing instead.
Green Ronin also hinted at a possible innovation in visual presentation for the game, from its format to its interior design. Swords of the Shadow Planet will introduce freeform magic accessible to all characters and will feature rules for exceptional feats and disasters, as well as elements of risk-taking.
One distinguishing feature of the game is its classless nature, allowing players to assume a variety of roles from Neandertals and rock creatures, to dinosaurs and even themselves. Despite the variety of roles, it’s important to note that this is not a generic game as each role has a specific function within the setting.
Swords of the Shadow Planet is set in an imaginative world that is both familiar and strange, operating on a similar premise as the Cthulhu Mythos game setting in the modern day, but focusing on a different subgenre traditionally set in the past.
The game’s release date remains unspecified as the developers commit to perfecting the gameplay, promising a release “when it’s done.”