The Shadow of Yesterday

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The Shadow of Yesterday
Designer(s) Clinton R. Nixon
Publisher(s) CRN Games
Publication date 2004
Genre(s) Sword and sorcery
System(s) Solar System

The Shadow of Yesterday (or TSoY) is a narrativist sword and sorcery (with optional elements of heroic fantasy) indie role-playing game, designed by Clinton R. Nixon and published by CRN Games.

Notable features

It is notable due to large portion of the game content and its core mechanics, the Solar System have been released under a Creative Commons license, as well as being published using only Open Source tools.

TSoY won Best Free Game of the Year at the 2004 Indie RPG Awards, and was a runner-up for the 2004 Indie Game of the Year.


The game has been translated into several languages: Finnish (2006), Spanish (2007), German (2007) and Polish (two editions: abridged in 2009 and a new, extended and modified in 2011, also published on paper in a short limited run of 250 copies). An Italian translation is in the works.

In 2008, Eero Tuovinen, editor of the Finnish version, republished an edited and slightly revised generic version of the core rules as "Solar System".


The Shadow of Yesterday takes place on the world of Near, a post-apocalyptic fantasy world where civilization has been destroyed three hundred years ago and is undergoing a rebirth. Because of this, the races in TSOY (elves, goblins, and ratkin) are not seen as genetically separate races at all, but rather an evolution/devolution from humans, and each of them can inclusively become "human" if they give up what makes them different.

There are some notable differences between the settings as presented in the various releases. The Finnish version has greatly expanded the setting by adding minor cultures and other details to the existing background material, and also has a slightly different map than the original. The Spanish setting is faithful in regards to the text, but does have a completely different map. The German setting has some additions inspired by online discussions, but not to the extent of the Finnish version. The World of Near for Solar System is a separate 190-page treatment of the setting from the creator of the Finnish version. The Polish version combines original setting with rules modifications taken from The World of Near for Solar System and also incorporates original rules expansions and modifications; it also includes a map from Spanish edition.


As of 2006, the game has been through two revisions. The second edition has different cover art and more game detail, but its primary observable difference is Nixon's move to using FUDGE dice.

External links

  • TSoY page at CRN Games
  • The Shadow of Yesterday wiki with Creative Commons text
  • Slashdot article on TSoY
  • Interview with Clinton R. Nixon at Linux Journal
  • Menneisyyden Varjot, the Finnish version
  • La Sombra del Ayer, the Spanish version
  • The German version, also called The Shadow of Yesterday
  • The World of Near by Eero Tuovinen
  • Documentation about the World of Near by Eero Tuovinen
  • The Polish version, also called The Shadow of Yesterday
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