TL;DR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) RPG is a series of reviews that aims to present a clear and concise description of core elements of a game with the intention of helping people choose the right game without needing to read an entire rulebook.
Enter the Shadowside
Author: Marco leon
Price: $4.99 for PDF
Genre: Supernatural Horror, Modern
A rules-light approach to supernatural horror gaming with innovative mechanics and open-source sensibilities.
Best for modern supernatural horror with an emphasis on narrative over dice rolling.
Twenty-sided dice, character sheets, Jacob’s Ladder print-out, a ruler or other flat edge.
Character’s are defined by 16 different attributes, skills, and items. If they have been bonded with a spirit, they also have paranormal skills. There is no pre-defined list of skills, so characters can have any skill that is specific enough to make sense at the table.
Players find the sum of a relevant attribute and skill scores, along with any bonuses from items or narrative situation. This sum is the Might of the action attempt. The Might is then compared to the Difficulty of a situation on a chart called “Jacob’s Ladder.” This will produce a target number that must be met on a roll of a twenty-sided die.
Attack and damage rolls are calculated just like any other roll, using the Jacob’s Ladder chart with various attributes as the Might and Difficulty of the rolls. The difference between a dice roll and the target number represents the damage suffered. Character death is up to the gamemaster’s discretion.
Expansions and Supplements
There are currently three thin splat books for some of the organizations in the core setting. These books include fluff and new spells. Especially useful for players interested in those organizations and affordable at $1.99 a piece.
There is a Belief Points system that players can use to influence dice rolls and use magical powers. Points are generated when succeeding in difficult tasks and lost when failing easy tasks. This encourages smart use of skills and abilities.
The game’s creators are very open regarding to development of this game. Everything from new rules to fluff is created and discussed at /r/shadowside.
Rules Weight: 2/5
Although the character sheet can look like a wall of numbers, it’s very easy to figure out how to uses all those numbers. Using the same rolling mechanic for every action should be very easy for players new to RPGs.
Fluff Weight: 3/5
While not nearly as demanding as the World of Darkness line, Enter the Shadowside does come with a built-in setting that does require some investment from the players. Even if a game ignores the organization and metaplot, the magic system still requires players to have a good understanding of the game’s cosmology.
/r/shadowside on reddit
PDF for purchase at RPGNow.com