Posted in Introduction

Shiver – Introduction

It’s been a while since I previewed Shiver and tried the Quickstart adventure. Now the finished version of the Shiver Basic Rules is available and now I can finally answer burning questions.

The setting:

Shiver is a horror role-playing game without a fixed setting. Rather, the characters and contents of the set of rules are so rough or extensive that you can play any horror scenario with them, regardless of whether you are trying to escape a killing xenomorph in space, have to survive a voracious shark or a serial killer is on the heels. The game pays homage to horror films and should play the same way.

The game:

Shiver uses an archetype system to build characters. There are six core skills (Grit, Wit, Smarts, Heart, Luck and Strange) and each has an archetype to sort out (Grit: Warrior, Wit: Maverick, Smarts: Scholar, Heart: Socialite, Luck: Fool and Strange: Weird). The seventh archetype, the survivor, is an all-rounder that has no specialization. Each archetype defines strengths and weaknesses and has talent trees with different abilities. For example, the Warrior can choose between the Berserker, Fighter and Protector trees. In addition to the archetypes, you choose a background that gives you another ability and weakness. Of course, in a horror scenario, a character cannot be without fear of something. Everyone chooses something they are afraid of and must pass tests when confronted with it. The state of a character in terms of fear is recorded on the character sheet and has corresponding disadvantages.

Two different types of special dice are used for tests. All six core skills are shown once on the d6. The number of skill points of the character determines the number of dice. If you roll the required symbol, you have a success. The number of successes rolled must be equal to or higher than the difficulty. In addition, the characters have talent points in one or more of the core skills. A d8 is used for this, which, in addition to a different number of special success symbols, also has a symbol for Strange. Depending on the location or activity, this can influence the action. I find it particularly exciting that a fixed core skill does not always determine success or failure. Depending on which other symbols are rolled and in what amount, the game master can decide that the character solves a problem in a different way. It is explicitly stated that the action takes precedence over the rules, which I also find very good.

Combat is relatively freeform and the weapon used determines the core skill of the test. Each monster has a difficulty that you have to beat in order to hit it. The Deathcon system is even more exciting. Each opponent has a type (such as Bruiser) and a Deathcon level. If an opponent is hit, the gm rolls a core skill die and the symbol rolled determines the reaction. The Deathcon level determines which symbol the opponent reacts to. For example, weak opponents (level: amber) only react to the symbol for grit. To make an adventure even more exciting, the game master has the Doom Clock, which is filled at different occasions. For example, if a test fails, strange symbols result in ticks on the Doom Clock. If a quarter of the clock is full, it will become more difficult or problems for the players arise. The serial killer could now hunt down friends or the players themselves, or important resources could be destroyed. The principle is similar to the clocks from some Powered by the Apocalypse or Forged in the Dark games, but here you zoom in a little deeper.

Shiver delivers a flood of different pieces of equipment from different settings. In addition to medieval and modern weapons, there are also lightsabers and even mythical objects such as Excalibur or the Necronomicon. You can also create new items and weapons without any problems.

There is a nice selection of monsters for the game master. From killers in mascot suit to vampires, demons and ghosts you can find many well-known beings. With the help of the book you can also quickly create monsters yourself. Infections and parasites are also covered by the rules. For characters in Shiver, death does not necessarily mean the end. The book contains several possibilities to still be part of the action after death.

The book:

Shiver is 226 pages in English and in full color. The layout is clear and easy to read. I was very impressed by the style of the images; everything looks very coherent and creates a great atmosphere. The adventure from the Quickstart has been improved and supplemented again as part of the Kickstarter, so that you can enjoy a great start. I have to highlight the dice app. You can use it to roll the dice online without having to own the special dice yourself. So in my opinion nobody can complain about the fact that special dice are used in Shiver.

Who might be interested in Shiver:

  • Players and game masters who want to experience adventures in the style of a wide variety of horror films
  • People who like lean and fast rules
  • Players who like archetypes / classes

Who might not be interested in Shiver:

  • Players and game masters who like neither special dice nor clock mechanics
  • People who want detailed character generation
  • Players who like extensive, tactical combat


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