Outdated-school gaming. New-school mechanics. Hazard. Pace. Simplicity. Shadowdark RPG, at the moment on kickstarter and with a free quickstart, distills fifty years of D&D design into two pages of core guidelines supported by 239 monsters, 85 spells , 97 magic gadgets, and dozens of random roll tables. Kelsey Dionne was type sufficient to speak to me about her RPG. Addendum: because the interview, Kelsey has posted Monday Monster #2 – Crabstrosity! and Monster Monday #1 – Mind Eaters!


Charles Dunwoody (Charlie): Thanks for speaking with me, Kelsey. What’s the setting implied by the foundations for Shadowdark RPG? In different phrases, what’s the Shadowdark for individuals who don’t know.
Kelsey Dionne (Kelsey):
Thanks for speaking to me, too, Charlie! Shadowdark RPG has a really frivolously implied setting pulled from my precise recreation world. You see hints of it in my 5E adventures (issues like deities and place names), nevertheless it’s all very delicate, and meant to be simply turned generic. The principle aim of the ebook was to depart setting very open so the Recreation Grasp can choose up and run with no matter setting they like.

Charlie: What I like about Shadowdark RPG is that D&D guidelines that take a variety of clarification get distilled into quick core guidelines. So old-school saving throws get changed with skill rating checks whereas trendy guidelines like expertise and feats are changed with skill checks and sophistication skills. Was this distillation of guidelines into quick core guidelines one of many driving components behind your creation of Shadowdark RPG or did these quick core guidelines develop out of another rule design you have been engaged on?
I believe a variety of this design grew out of my dive into methods that search to cut back complexity. Index Card RPG is a big one, in addition to extra light-weight video games like Knave. Each of these video games specifically demonstrated that you may hit the identical “feeling” on a rule with out utilizing the identical execution. I even have been taking part in D&D for all my life, and I nonetheless keep in mind the issues that I discovered very laborious to know as a brand new participant. Spell slots, saves vs. checks, spell ranges not coordinating with character ranges — all issues I believe we have every grappled with as we discovered the foundations. Since Shadowdark RPG wasn’t going to be a retro-clone, I knew I would have the wiggle room to reshape a few of these sticking factors with new terminology and streamlining.

Charlie: A novel, defining rule of Shadowdark RPG is that PCs can’t see at nighttime and that torches final for one hour of actual time. How did you give you this rule that matches the aesthetics of the Shadowdark so effectively?
Ah, I’ve to present credit score to the creators of D&D for the “cannot see at nighttime” aspect! That was a rule from Authentic D&D. Nonetheless, the real-time torch timer got here to me whereas I used to be chomping on corn-on-the cob one Wisconsin night and serious about the issue of time strain. I was an English as a Second Language instructor, and one method we used for getting college students to reply rapidly and never overthink their responses throughout verbal fluency observe was to set the train up like a recreation and use a real-life timer. It dawned on me that we may apply real-world time in the identical means throughout D&D to discourage overthinking and encourage motion, and lo and behold! That was when the concept of the torch timer was born.

Charlie: What sort of characters can gamers run in Shadowdark RPG?
Gamers can run characters that fall into the 4 “pillar” camps: fighter, priest (cleric), thief, and wizard. There are such a lot of permutations inside these courses that make every character distinctive. That mentioned, if individuals wish to department exterior the 4 core courses, the official Shadowark RPG zine, Cursed Scroll, has three points popping out alongside the ebook that every have just a few new and thematic courses.


Charlie: What sort of recommendation and help can GMs sit up for receiving in Shadowdark RPG?
The Arcane Library group has an exquisite Discord Server the place we discuss all kinds of gameplay and design components for Shadowdark RPG (and different video games, too). I am actually lively in there, and we have now such a implausible group of people who find themselves very enjoyable and engaged. It is really my favourite place on the web! I am additionally working up plenty of new supporting materials for Shadowdark RPG within the type of movies on my YouTube channel, weblog posts on my web site, and group spotlights. One in all my favourite methods to help third-party Shadowdark publishers is to make use of the avenues I’ve to share out their work.

Charlie: What gadgets are you providing by this kickstarter?
Along with the usual and premium model of the core guidelines, there are three themed zines (68 pages every), three mini-adventures, eight pre-made 1st-level character playing cards, and a GM display screen. I needed to present of us a whole package deal to only sit down and begin taking part in!

Charlie: Do you may have any future plans for Shadowdark RPG after this profitable kickstarter wraps up you could share?
Completely! I am excited to start out writing extra adventures and supporting materials immediately. There will certainly be extra Cursed Scroll zines, and I’ve an thought for a megadungeon I’ve at all times needed to jot down that might have a little bit of an uncommon presentation type. I believe there is a enjoyable strategy to make a megadungeon a bit modular, and actually “prepared to make use of” out of the field in methods I have not seen earlier than. I believe I am going to have to present it a strive!

Charlie: The place can readers go to search out your work?
The very best place is on The Arcane Library! I put up all my merchandise, weblog articles, and in any other case on that web site. It is my catch-all web residence.

Charlie: Any last feedback you’d wish to share with the readers of EN World?
I simply wish to sincerely thank anybody who jumps in on supporting Shadowdark RPG. The response has been one thing I by no means may have imagined, and it is so galvanizing to know of us are excited for the sport. It is undoubtedly set the course for my subsequent stage of publishing. So long as players on the market preserve wanting Shadowdark RPG materials, I am going to fortunately preserve making it! Thanks, Charlie! I recognize the time you took with me!


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