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Keepsake game The Shape of Shadows transforms a day planner into a magician’s grimoire

A date with divination.

Break through the barriers between acolyte and master to save your teacher in the new keepsake game and solo journaling RPG The Shape of Shadows, now on Kickstarter.

Designed by Jeeyon Shim, The Shape of Shadows is the latest in an emerging genre of connected path games that includes artist Shing Yin Khor’s solo stitching journey A Mending, along with a collaboration between the two on Field Guide to Memory. The latter positioned players as a budding cryptid researcher who must deal with the disappearance of their mentor at the same time as learning and appreciating the hidden beauty of the world.

The Shape of Shadows looks to follow that emotional legacy with its story of a magician gone missing and the apprentice who must step up and prove their skills both in stage performance and real, honest-to-goodness magic. The biggest source of clues as to the whereabouts of the player’s master - along with how they disappeared - resides in their day planner, locked behind riddles, cyphers, locks and all manner of deception.

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The Shape of Shadows is designed to be played daily and by a single person, tackling journaling prompts or engaging in an activity that will forward the plot and uncover necessary clues. Those taking part in the core live game will have prompts mailed to them four days a week over the course of four weeks, leaving the next day’s events a mystery to anticipate.

Like Field Guide to Memory, this will likely involve exploring and incorporating physical objects from a player’s surroundings, whether that be a bedroom, the woods behind the house or a beach on the other side of town. Shim is an outdoor educator, and respect and reverence for the bits of nature just beyond players’ windows runs through many of her games, this one included.

Players can also expect to practice some crafty hobbies or write freeform entries about their feelings and relationships towards the absent magician - every day adds something to the gradually unfolding narrative tapestry. The entire planner will likely be filled with tokens, scribbled notes, solved riddles and scrapbook mementos of the journey, no matter how it ends. Shim also mentions explicitly doing alchemy from developed formulae, which sounds very rad.

Like Shim’s prior work, The Shape of Shadows uses solo rolepley and analog activity to investigate the connection between people and how the things they save and cherish exemplify those bonds. No two games will play the same way, and at the end of it all each person will be left with a unique keepsake reminding them of the journey and the energy they invested into it.

“You abandoned your old life to work in tandem with the magician: the first person to show you that true magic exists in your world,” The Kickstarter description reads. “When something goes horribly wrong and the magician gets himself into a bind he can’t escape, you must step forward to claim the gifts that have been yours all along, before it's too late to help him — or anyone else.”

The Kickstarter campaign for The Shape of Shadows runs through May 20th, with current funding having surpassed the initial ask and now working towards a small series of stretch goals. Backers can choose to opt-in to the live game version that will take place in August of this year or receive a digital copy at the end of that run. Prices begin at $15 (£11).

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