Shadow Hunters RPG

Shadow Hunters

A tabletop roleplaying game about hunting mutants like yourself in a dystopian society.

Story – What Is Shadow Hunters the Roleplaying Game?

Shadow Hunters is a tabletop roleplaying game about extraordinary people hunting and being hunted because of who they are and how they could threaten the established world order.

Shadow Hunters is set in a grim near-future world where the dark things you hunt look a lot like you.

The game explores fear of “the different” in society and what that means for us and is inspired by Marvel’s X-Men, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Witch Hunter Robin.

In recent years, murders and destruction by people have been increasing at an alarming rate, forcing governments to look for outside help. The strongest response came from the well-respected and funded research company, Aegis. Their report claimed that a genetic mutation is causing people to suddenly go mad and take it out on others. As of yet, no definitive cause has been discovered and there are cases of the mutation across the globe. Aegis’ recommendation was to institute a secret monitoring and capture program throughout international government police agencies. This program is called Tartarus and was granted active status within months following a successful three-week test run in the USA. Simultaneously, Aegis is working to create ways to reduce or inhibit the mutation’s effects in people.

All people with the gene mutation are logged in a world-wide master database. Those identified with the inactive mutations, called Shadowseeds face a life-long series of annual tests and watchers assigned to them. Those who have succumbed to the mutation and threaten others are labeled as Shadows and are captured and imprisoned far from civilized communities. And lastly, those who have an active mutation but who have not lost control, Shadowlings, are more closely monitored with weekly tests and screenings by agents. It’s also from this Shadowling cohort where about 5% of them are recruited and trained as agents of Aegis for Project Tartarus.

This is where you come in as an agent of Aegis, nicknamed Shadow Hunters you may serve in the field monitoring, screening, and capturing others affected by the mutation in order to protect the innocent and limit the damage caused by this unfortunate genetic condition. In return for your service, you are provided with housing, transportation, healthcare, education, professional training, a monthly stipend, retirement options, and a purpose during these unfortunate dark days.

TOP SECRET: The genetic anomaly allegedly grants affected persons unnatural abilities which often prove to be too powerful for most to handle and are usually responsible for heightened personal and property damage. Agents assigned to Aegis are provided resources and help to control and use their abilities for Project Tartarus, and for the good of humanity.

Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is a fantastic genre of English-language fiction, or a subgenre of fantasy, in which the narrative uses supernatural elements in an urban society. Works of urban fantasy may be set in the real world and introduce aspects of fantasy, or in a fantasy world with operating rules recognizably similar to ours.

In Shadow Hunters, players are Shadowlings—genetic anomaly patients who are trained as agents to help protect others from mutants like themselves in a grittier near-future modern world like our own.

As agents of Aegis, you are responsible for monitoring, screening, and capturing people suffering from the mutation for the good of society. As a trained Shadowling, hopefully, you’ll never become a Shadow, losing control and killing innocent people and destroying their communities; to then be hunted down and imprisoned in Tartarus with the other Shadows by your colleagues.

TOP SECRET: Maybe someday Aegis will create a cure and you’ll all be free of the drudgery and personal danger, or maybe Aegis will have other plans for its international empowered army?

Playing Shadow Hunters

Shadow Hunters is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3-5 players that takes about 3-4 hours to play. The game uses the Fantasy Flight Genesys system similar to their Star Wars and Android games where you add a Characteristic score to a Skill plus and roll the dice to help shape the narrative result.

Genotypes

The genotype you select for your character encompasses their character type, starting ability, skill, and talents. There are four species with the first three of them playable in the base game of Shadow Hunters:

  • Human: people without the genetic mutation. Most of the population that is slowly decreasing.
  • Shadowseed: people with the inactive genetic mutation. A small subset of the population that is slowly increasing.
  • Shadowling: people with the active genetic mutation who may or may not be an immediate threat to society; also potential or active agent of Aegis.
  • Shadows: creatures who may or may not have been human at one point and are now consumed with the genetic mutation effects; often shadowlings who become fully corrupted and require a response from Aegis—usually by agents who capture and turn the Shadows over to Project Tartarus.

The Twilit World

The world of Shadow Hunters is similar to our own in geography and history, though the technology is perhaps more advanced with forays into fringe science or paranormal connections native to or outside of the world. In particular, engineering and biosciences seem more capable with the potential to create hovercars, nanosuits, elixirs, chimeras, and other unusual products.

TOP SECRET: In order to prevent hysteria and hate-crimes targeting people with the genetic mutation, Aegis works with international governments to obscure the full nature of the problem facing the world.

The Territories

In Shadow Hunters, player characters work together through a secret organization called Aegis and are to district areas or territories across the globe. Each district territory serves the needs of Aegis in one of the following ways:

  • Xxx: xxx.
  • Xxx: xxx.
  • Xxx: xxx.
  • Xxx: xxx.
  • Xxx: xxx.

The Power of the Shadow

Xxx.

Abilities

Shadow Hunter Abilities default to the strength of their Characteristics plus any levels in Corruption as figured as follows.

Shadowling Characteristics

  • Sense [(Intellect + Cunning)/2 round down]: able to obtain information or experiences in new ways. You can spend points from this
  • Control [(Brawn + Agility)/2 round down]: able to affect oneself.
  • Alter [(Willpower + Presence)/2 round down]: able to influence others or the environment.

 

Example Character Characteristics: Brawn 3, Agility 2, Intellect 4, Cunning 2, Willpower 4, Presence 3

Intellect 4 + Cunning 2 = 6 / 2 = 3pts for Sense Shadow Characteristic and Sense Focus Ability points (max 3 to start in any 1)

  • Enhance Senses 1
  • Farseeing (Psychometry Specialty) 2

Brawn 3 + Agility 2 = 5 / 2 rounded down = 2pts for Control Shadow Characteristic and Control Focus Ability points (max 3 to start in any 1)

  • Adaptation 1
  • Battlebred (Defense Specialty) 1

Willpower 4 + Presence 3 = 7 / 2 rounded down = 3pts for Alter Shadow Characteristic and Alter Focus Ability points (max 3 to start in any 1)

  • Manipulate Source (Fire Specialty) 3

 

Shadowling Abilities by Focus Table (Talents and Special Abilities)

Abilities

Sense

Control

Alter

Description

Absorb Energy

X

Reduce the effects of energy, such as heat, electricity, and even lasers, possibly repurposing it. Choose a specialty.
Adaptation

X

Physical changes to survive exotic environments.
Astralgation

X

Intuitively feeling a course for travel through astralspace to the desired destination as well as perceiving astralspace while in the body.
Astral Projection

X

Going to and interacting on the astral plane / astralspace while leaving your body behind; allows for greater interaction, knowledge, and potential hazards.
Battlebred

X

Living in the moment during combat—gaining temporary adjustments for combat-related actions, such as improving defensive or offensive capabilities, or avoiding surprise, increasing initiative and meditating on tactics. See the Abilities Effects Table. Choose a specialty.
Empathy, Receptive

X

Feeling the surface emotions of other sentients.
Empathy, Projective

X

Actively sharing emotions with others. Distraction, Suggestion, Communication, Probing, or Conditioning. Choose a specialty.
Enhance Physical

X

Temporary increase in raw physical capabilities: Brawn and Agility using the Abilities Effects Table.
Enhance Senses

X

Become more attuned with the surroundings, heightening one’s natural perceptions for surprise.
Farseeing

X

Experiences events elsewhere. Choose a specialty: clairvoyance, psychometry, precognition, or postcognition.
Heal Others

X

Reducing Wounds in others. Once per day, per the Abilities Effects Table.
Heal Self

X

Reduce Wounds in self. Once per day, per the Abilities Effects Table.
Hibernation

X

Slowing one’s body to a coma-like trance in order to sustain it indefinitely (used for survival, poison, etc.).
Manipulate Source

X

Working with a specific available type or element source, such as water, insects, light, etc., often for attacks and defenses. Choose a specialty.
Shadow Sense

X

An ill-feeling perceived when near Shadows, often indicating a general direction and threat level.
Shadow Shape

X

Temporarily able to mimic the form and abilities of any contacted inhuman Shadow.
Telekinesis

X

Movement of objects, usually crudely and in one direction. More success allows for greater capacity and finesse.
Telepathy, Receptive

X

Reading the surface thoughts of other sentients.
Telepathy, Projective

X

Actively sharing thoughts with others. Distraction, Suggestion, Communication, Probing, or Conditioning. Choose a specialty.

 

Effects

An Effect of 1 means that something happens, though a Failure or Botched result may make it complicated. Besides signaling that an Ability has done something, Effects after the first can be spent to extend or enhance the result. For each additional Effect if appropriate you may:

  • Add or decrease an additional target
  • Increase or reduce the range, capacity, or time
  • Increase or decrease the difficulty or reward
  • Combining two or more allowed Ability Effects from ranked Abilities

 

Abilities Effects Table

Success

Effects

Botched

1

Failed

1

1 Success

1

2 Successes

2

3 Successes

3

4 Successes

4

5+ Successes

5

 

Combining Abilities

You can also spend Successes to use additional Abilities if it makes sense and with the following restrictions: you cannot spend equal to or more successes on additional Abilities than on the initial Ability for which the action was originally described. These additional Ability successes provide mechanical oomph to their narrative counterparts.

Countermeasures & Equipment

Xxx.

  • Gleamstone: a thumbnail-sized diamond containing a silvery fluid, worn as a necklace to protect Shadow Hunters from Shadow abilities.
  • Gleamshot: experimental (and expensive) ammunition containing Gleam for use against Shadows.
  • Comtat: a tattoo engraved on all Shadow Hunters which allows mental communication.
  • Cloak: a nanotech uniform that can adapt for disguise, environmental conditions, and protection.

Play Style

Shadow Hunters is a game of fast-action and intrigue. It can be played as a one-shot or over more sessions either with more character interaction or as a kind of Monster of the Week format. In either case, be sure to discuss this with the group to make sure everyone is in agreement. The characters fill roles on a district team—one of thousands around the world so it’s not unlikely to have transfers and side assignments in case of player absence or joining, or if you want to try a new character for a while. Each team will get assignments from Aegis through regional directors. Sometimes this will involve working with other teams and working with standard law enforcement agencies to coordinate resources and objectives.

Corruption

Corruption is what Aegis calls the loss of will and control over oneself due to the mutation. Once a person has been labeled as a Shadow they are considered a major threat and to be taken down, alive if possible, and handed over to Project Tartarus personnel to deal with. Supposedly, no one has ever made it back from being fully corrupted, though many hope for it for their loved ones.

TOP SECRET: With so many mutants being put away to protect the world, what does Aegis do for them or with them that isn’t being shared, and why won’t they let agents into Tartarus?