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Shadows & Shapes

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Shadows & Shapes is an ultra-lightweight fantasy RPG. The rules are only a few pages long, and suited for one-shot games.


All conflicts in Shadows & Shapes are resolved with playing cards. The combat mechanics are based around a trick-taking card game, so if you've ever played Bridge, Hearts, or Oh Hell, you'll have no trouble picking up Shadows & Shapes.

The combat system has an unusual feel, since the players' decisions are highly constrained. Although strategy is important, there is often a single optimum strategy.

Collaboration is at the heart of Shadows & Shapes. If you set a foot wrong, it might be somebody else who pays the price.

Two Sets of Rules

The Basic rules feature just four Classes, two spells, no race-based abilities, and no movement rules. Combat moves are restricted to the acronym SHAPE:

  • Special Move (Attack, Protect, or Enchant, depending on Class)
  • Hide
  • Attack
  • Protect
  • Enchant

The Advanced rules add a few more layers and options. The Advanced rules are still pretty simple though!

The Vale

The overall tone here is of an old school dungeoncrawl, with a few fresh touches.

Shadows & Shapes includes ideas for a setting, 'The Vale.' If you like those ideas, you might want to check out Dungeons & Drapers or Skycrawl.

After Alpha

Shadows & Shapes is a fully playable late Alpha game. Any further development would depend on interest. So if you're intrigued, or you enjoy playing it, or have suggestions, drop me a line!


If you are so done with dungeons, the rules shouldn't be hard to adapt to different genres, settings, and stories.

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File Size:
1.44 MB
Original electronic
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File Last Updated:
September 19, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on September 11, 2017.
Sad Press
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