R. Talsorian Games Announces Shadow Scar

R. Talsorian Games announced a 2024 release for the Shadow Scar, a multi-dimensional, anime-inspired RPG previously teased earlier this year as “Project Blue Moon”.


The game by Cody Pondsmith (lead designer on The Witcher RPG and co-designer on Cyberpunk RED) centers on the Shadow Scar Agency, a secret organization of ninja dedicated to protecting the multiple worlds of the Mosaic from interdimensional monsters. The core book will feature four of these dimensions: The 17th-century Japanese folklore-inspired Nakatsukuni, a 1920s pulp noir setting Fifth Street, the steampunk world of Steel Court, and the alternate history 2030s world of Refuge where the Cuban Missile Crisis ended in the nuclear stockpile exploding. The invading monsters come from Nakatsukuni following a century of warfare against an invasion from the underworld of Yomi-no-kuni led by Izanami, the goddess of the dead.

Pondsmith cited several anime series as inspiration for the game, including Naruto, Demon Slayer, Samurai Champloo, and Cowboy Bebop. Fans of Naruto in particular will find the character creation familiar as PCs will gain their abilities from six different shinobi clans with their own unique approach to the art of the ninja, somewhat similar to the different monster-hunting schools of Witcher.


From the interview with Dicebreaker:
“I have always found Japanese myth to be so different from a lot of other mythos - in that so many of the creatures in Japanese myth are less terrifying and more weird. It's things like goblins that lick grime off of dirty toilets and spectral creatures that don't really do anything other than walk behind you at night and freak you out.

“In Shadow Scar, all of those creatures have been bound to the will of an evil deity - so they're all enemies. But we've had a very interesting time rendering a lot of this wide variety of weird monsters into enemies that all have their own interactions on a table, as well as their weird traditional lore as to what they were before they were taken over by this entity.”

When asked if cultural consultants were involved in the creation of the Japanese-inspired mythology, Pondsmith said:
“We’re attempting to reach out to folks. We have some people that we're talking to about cultural consulting for the Japanese setting - especially because so much of the game is set in there - who have been wonderful so far. And we will continue to bother as we get closer to release on things. Primarily, it's me at the moment, just because we're kind of laying down the foundation. I'm excited to bring in other people for future products. But the first product we have to have one very unified vision so that we can lay everything out, and then hand it to other people and feel confident that they're gonna get the right feeling.”


Rather than use the Interlock system from Cyberpunk RED and Witcher, Shadow Scar will use a new d6-based system called Mosaic. The system uses a fixed target number dice pool system where players add together the relevant skill and stat to make up the dice pool. Results of 3 or more count as a success and 6s count as two successes to meet the threshold of successes required for the test. According to Pondsmith, the goal was to create a system “that you can pick up more quickly and play very, very quickly. Not fully rules-light, but a lighter experience.”


Full details are available in the Dicebreaker article that served as the official announcement. Shadow Scar is expected (pending complications) sometime in 2024 with an initial Starter Set release followed by a full launch line with the core rulebook, miniatures, and accessories.

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott


Wow, that art! That third piece in particular is just stunning.
The people look so tiny compared to the car they're riding in!

Cody kind of ducked the question on cultural consultants. The answer seems to be "no," but instead they're reaching out to people. Isn't it a little late to reach out to anyone when the product is almost completed?

So, Feng Shui-esque, just with a Japanese-focused multiverse replacing the Chinese-focused time-gate network. Can definitely see some obvious Korra influences, as well. Looks promising.

It hits on some of my favorite touchstones (Cowboy Bebop is probably my favorite show of all time). It'll definitely be something I want to keep an eye out for - I especially love that it looks to be yokai bounty hunting.

I've heard about issues with rules organization of Cyberpunk RED, which my friend wants to run sometime next year, so I do look forward to getting to finally dip my toes in the setting!

What did people think of Witcher TTRPG? Did Talsorian Games do a lot better with this?

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