Solar System - Main Rules

Solar System

Solar System © Eero Tuovinen 2008 (you can buy a copy and some Fudge dice at the official website),
based on The Shadow of Yesterday © Clinton R. Nixon 2005 (online as a wiki).
All separately unattributed textual portions of this work are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
This pure HTML version was adapted by Lapo Luchini in June 2009.

Heroic tales to men are akin to water to fish or skies to the fowl. Join us now at this twilight of our world in telling tales of our own.


The Solar System is a roleplaying game rules set for heroic tales and fantastic drama. It is well-suited to storytelling and adventure in far and fantastic worlds of your own devising or procurement. The rules of the game are flexible, smart and all-around excellent for roleplaying that comes up with the most touching of tales.

Solar System originated as the rules-set of the beloved roleplaying game The Shadow of Yesterday by Clinton R. Nixon. I myself was rather impressed and even a bit jealous when Clinton came out with the game in 2004, derailing my own, similar design plans. Since then it has brought me great pleasure to be able to work with TSoY here and there, most remarkably in bringing out a Finnish version of the game in 2006.

It was Clinton’s intention from the start to join the open culture movement with his game, which has gone through several iterations of the Creative Commons license through the recent years. I struggled for a long while with my own misgivings over taking another designer’s work and making it my own in a major publication, but as Clinton has been steadfast and most supportive towards such undertakings, I finally decided to take up the work with this booklet you now hold in your hands.

The Solar System as described herein is the version of the game I myself play today. I hope that it will be most useful and illustrative for the reader, whether he be a veteran of many roleplaying games or just looking for an affordable starting point in this wonderful hobby.

— Eero Tuovinen

What is Solar System like?

Solar System is a rules set for heroic tales and fantastic drama, akin to movies. The protagonist characters are important and colourful, striking deep into the issues of the game setting. Unlikely things happen to them, leading to exciting adventure and heartfelt dramatic situations.

The rules of the game emphasize character growth and change; all Solar System stories are to a degree growth stories where the protagonist seeks for and finds a place for himself in the world, often changing it in the process. The players get to make choices over not only what their protagonists do to the story, but also what they become as a result.

Due to the sinuous nature of the growth story, Solar System games are most often played in the form of campaign narratives — series of meet-ups wherein the players develop a multi-faceted story with minor meanderings and build-up to crucial turning points for the overall campaign. Most typically the group of players participating in the campaign consists of a handful of players: three at minimum and six at most are recommended.

One of the players is called the Story Guide, which is most like the traditional roleplaying authority role of the Game Master. The Story Guide has the responsibility of playing the supporting roles in the grand narrative the group creates — often enough that means directing the various antagonist forces arrayed against the heroes of the piece, as the Story Guide seeks to give rise to growth opportunities for the heroes.

The other players, meanwhile, each adopt a heroic protagonist, the player character, as their own medium of input into the campaign. Players express the thoughts and deeds of these most significant individuals for their own enjoyment and that of the rest of the group. Furthermore, the players have an opportunity to mould the course of the grand narrative with the choices their characters make for good or ill of their fictional self, comrades and the world.

Also, what is roleplaying?

Should the reader match the description of that increasingly elusive beast, the first-time roleplayer, then a most hearty welcome to you! Roleplaying is one damn fine hobby, if I may say so, providing this our age with some badly needed respite from the everyday humdrum, and perhaps even more seductively, an opportunity for creativity in a world where art is more and more marked out as the territory of professionals only. A hobby and pastime that facilitates creation of fine, entertaining art with your friends is an excellent one indeed!

While the sampled example of roleplaying offered on the next page is certain to illuminate the reader as to the general points of roleplaying, much more instruction and even personalized advice is available on the Internet. Being attentive to this booklet and looking for additional information from other sources is sure to fill in most gaps in your knowledge. Like any new hobby, often the best way to get familiar with roleplaying is to find a local hobby group or club and participate!