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Shadowdark looks so good!

It did kind of come across as someone going into a Starbucks to tell everyone they think Dunkin' Donuts has superior coffee.
I was interested in this game but didn't want to jump to any conclusions. So I downloaded the preview, read it, and offered my opinion on the mechanics. 🤷‍♂️

It seems whenever a kickstarter comes out (or for that matter any 5e book), you either have jump onboard the hype train or be a hater. Everything is either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. It's not healthy.

Joking aside, why do you think the game is doing as well as it is?
Surely there is a lesson here other designers should be paying attention to?
I'm not sure I have a good sense of why any kickstarter does well or poorly, but the marketing for this one has been really good: the art and overall presentation looks great, and importantly the creator has a well established following from her work making adventures for 5e and her youtube channel. Also, a number of popular youtube channels promoted it all at the same time. I suppose it's also clear that the author is going to be supporting this system moving forward with more content, so that's a good selling point.
 

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JohnSnow

Hero
I was interested in this game but didn't want to jump to any conclusions. So I downloaded the preview, read it, and offered my opinion on the mechanics. 🤷‍♂️

It seems whenever a kickstarter comes out (or for that matter any 5e book), you either have jump onboard the hype train or be a hater. Everything is either the best thing ever or the worst thing ever. It's not healthy.


I'm not sure I have a good sense of why any kickstarter does well or poorly, but the marketing for this one has been really good: the art and overall presentation looks great, and importantly the creator has a well established following from her work making adventures for 5e and her youtube channel. Also, a number of popular youtube channels promoted it all at the same time. I suppose it's also clear that the author is going to be supporting this system moving forward with more content, so that's a good selling point.
It's not just "marketing," and the presentation has a lot to do with it.

Those "popular YouTube channels" promoted it because it clearly speaks to their aesthetic and how they actually play D&D-adjacent games. That's true of Professor Dungeon Master, Baron de Rop and Hank, all of whom share a similar aesthetic. Kelsey's ability to reduce many complex systems to a much simpler one looks like genius. That's why it's popular. IMO.
 

Jahydin

Hero
@Malmuria
Good points. Agree with all of it.
I was asking because even I was surprised by the success and been thinking how perfect of a launch it was. For me personally, I was already sold just to have a book of pretty art. But I think what @darjr said about it being extremely approachable also has a lot to do with it. I zipped through the book in less than half an hour and felt like "I got it". Not just the rules, but the tone, what kind of adventures, and how to begin house ruling.

What has been your OSR game of choice lately? I've done equal parts WWN, Hyperboria, and C&C last couple years.
 

@Malmuria
Good points. Agree with all of it.
I was asking because even I was surprised by the success and been thinking how perfect of a launch it was. For me personally, I was already sold just to have a book of pretty art. But I think what @darjr said about it being extremely approachable also has a lot to do with it. I zipped through the book in less than half an hour and felt like "I got it". Not just the rules, but the tone, what kind of adventures, and how to begin house ruling.

What has been your OSR game of choice lately? I've done equal parts WWN, Hyperboria, and C&C last couple years.
It could just be that I read enough OSR games that nothing about Shadowdark strikes me as new, but for people coming from a different perspective it's a breath of fresh air.

In terms of my current game of choice: Mausritter! Based off Into the Odd, it's in my opinion the best attempt to synthesize all the core principles of OSR design while at the same time being extremely accessible and having a very fun theme. EDIT: and the pdf is free
 

darjr

I crit!
Elven Tower, maker of awesome digital battle maps and maps in general and Dungeon Vault Magazine, have decided to support Shadow-dark going forward.

our future publications and Dungeon Vault Magazine will feature the Shadowdark RPG system. It is currently featured on Kickstarter and you can still back it now. And you can immediately download the Quickstart Rules set which features everything you need to run adventures for levels 1-3. These are the levels we'll be writing adventures for at least a month or two while the core book is released.


FYI looks like the default of their patreon is per item.
 
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Enrahim2

Adventurer
Well great! Hopefully it will accomplish that goal! From a design perspective—and as someone who has introduced 5e players to various OSR games—I don’t see why I’d use this system in particular (from what I see in the QuickStart). Aside from some terminology like “DC” and the basic idea of d20 roll high, it doesn’t accommodate 5e players more so than a game like knave. 5 torches deep or Into the Unknown share more with 5e on that front
Actually I strongly disagree, due to one neat feature: This appear to be fully playable using existing 5e VTTs.

For comparison I tried to accomodate 5 torches deep into foundryVTT, and found that in particular the item durability mechanics caused friction. However my quick exploration into doing something similar for shadowdark indicate that just removing a bunch of html containers on the various character and item sheets, provide something that seem perfectly servisable for shadow dark purposes - with full compatibility with all add on modules writte for 5ed. To me that seem huge!
 


Like @Malmuria the quickstart dodn't particularly click with me.

However I think it's success shows that clear communication, marketing, good presentation and layout and strong support are highly valued in the market. While there's nothing in the rules that particularly wows me, there's nothing that turns me off either. And you can't deny the product is put together well and the campaign has been run very professionally.

I wish them all the best, and I hope we get more people around the globe trying out different systems!
 

Arilyn

Hero
In terms of my current game of choice: Mausritter! Based off Into the Odd, it's in my opinion the best attempt to synthesize all the core principles of OSR design while at the same time being extremely accessible and having a very fun theme. EDIT: and the pdf is free
Mausritter is an awesome game. I love it. Navigating the world as a little mouse is fun and challenging.
 

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