These pages are devoted to converting the fascinating worlds and peoples of Shadow Raiders to the d20 system, for use either as an independent game or as a supplement to existing Sci-Fi RPGs.
In these pages, a great deal of lore about the show has been collected. There is also some material that is suppositional, and added to present a consistent reality for the series (which did have a number of inconsistencies). If game-masters wish to alter or ignore these elements, that is fine.
Throughout these pages, the Star Wars RPG is used as the primary basis for conversion. However, use of elements from other games is included, and it is intended that this will work just as well with the Farscape d20 RPG, or any other Sci-Fi RPG.
Game Masters can set adventures in any of four eras associated with the show. The characters and tone of the game will depend on the time period.
The worlds of the cluster are continuously raiding each other. Planet Tek, Jungle, Sand, and Water are unknown. Remora is totally uninhabited.
Players may play characters from the same planet with ease. Characters from different planets have no reason to work together for very long, and certainly do not trust one another. The way of life is unquestioned, and a continuous state of warring and raiding is all the inhabitants know.
Characters from the unknown systems (particularly Tek) may appear as explorers or scouts. They would be exceedingly rare though.
The threat of the Beast becomes clear. Water and Tek have been destroyed. An alliance between Ice, Fire, and Bone has been created, but there is still distrust among the various races. Rock still stands apart, stubbornly confident in the strength of its Battle Moons. However, even Rock has relaxed its guard against the other worlds, allowing visitors (under close scrutiny).
Beast Drones are a constant threat. Appearing from nowhere (actually from the hidden base on Remora), a wave of Beast Drones will frequently attack one planet or another, led by Blokk. Lamprey is also active, trying to break the alliance through various schemes. The Alliance is looking for the location of the Beast's base of operations in the cluster, and trying to respond to attacks.
Players can be from any of the planets of the cluster, although inhabitants of Rock will have to answer to Lord Mantel. They can be involved in the skirmishes with the drones, the search for the Beast's base, or even scouting for the possible approach of the Beast Planet.
Fire has been destroyed by the Beast, and its inhabitants have settled on Rock's three remaining Battle Moons. The remaining worlds are flying through space, using their world engines. Sand joins the alliance. Jungle is also destroyed by the Beast. Rock is much more cooperative during these times, although Mantel is scheming to take over the Alliance.
Near the end of the second season, Graveheart, Cryos, Jade and Femur landed/crashed on the Prison Planet, which subsequently disappeared. They are missing for several weeks. The Beast Planet approaches as the planets slow to carry on the search.
Players once again may play any member of the Alliance, as well as Rock. The Sandpeople and Sunpeople of Planet Sand are now among the available races.
This era is characterized by the planets settling down from their swift flight, entering orbit around a new sun. Rock, under the leadership of Jade, has finally joined the alliance. The worlds are also still on guard against the Beast Planet. At the same time, other issues begin to develop.
The natural resources of Fire are needed by the alliance, since the worlds were interdependent. Perhaps the inhabitants of Fire take to harvesting from the new sun for energy. Perhaps by examining the World Engines, the players may discover that a world's ecosystem may be converted (after all, the worlds are artificial - maybe Remora was a "spare" world, to be used if needed), and that there may be hope of altering another uninhabited world to support the Fire ecosystem. Also, Emperor Femur will wish to find a planet to start a new Planet Jungle with the small sprout he was entrusted with. When Zuma scanned the nearby cosmos for Graveheart and the others, a system of three planets (one of which resembled Bone, and two resembling Remora) and several moons was briefly seen. Might these worlds be usable by the Alliance?
There are a number of other elements which will need to be addressed now that the worlds have settled down. The Sun People will need gentle help to adapt to their new role as one among equals. On Bone, there will be some period of adjustment now that Sternum has returned. Lamprey is still unaccounted for, and possibly lurking around the worlds of the Alliance. Finally, the PCs may need to interact with Jewelia or others from her (unrevealed) world, or any survivors of Reptizar.
Another plot element is of course the Beast Planet itself. Eventually, it will return, and the Prison Planet will not be available to help the worlds. At the same time, the Alliance may learn that the Beast Drones do not destroy those people they have blasted, but sent them into another dimension within the Beast. So perhaps the consumed planets may be recovered - at least the physical records of them can be - as can some of the people.
Once the Beast is eventually defeated, if planets can be recovered, there may be a great number of worlds now available for PCs to hail from. New Fire (or reconstructed Fire) and New Jungle will be added to the system; perhaps even Tek and Water (and Reptizar, a world briefly shown at the end of the series), if they can be recovered from the Beast. The teleport engines of the Prison Planet and other technology from the ancients may be investigated, and there may also be discoveries about the nature of the Beast Planet, and Null-matter. The possibilities are endless.
A third season was planned but never produced.
As Fire was about to be consumed, its inhabitants gathered any elements of their homeland that they could, to preserve as much as possible. One individual, named Torch, gathered a few immature Lava Dogs in cages, hoping to preserve the species. Now, they've escaped, and are running around inside one of the Battlemoons, causing havoc. The players are asked to help track them down and cage them, without permanently harming the Lava Dogs.
Gamemasters can make this adventure suitable for lower level characters by making the Lava Dogs immature, or tougher by adding more of them. Maps of the Battlemoon's internal corridors will be needed, as well as some facilities for the troops. Perhaps the Lava Dogs might wander into the newly-reopened Moon Over Mayhem bar, much to Slate's dismay.
The Prison Planet also provides an interesting setting for adventures. Since the prisoners escaped, they have broken into separate bands. Before the end of the show, Sternum and Jewelia fought over control of the Prison Planet, and prisoners from the different worlds fought alongside each other regardless of their planet of origin.
Since it can teleport around space, the Prison Planet provides a good means of instantly dropping the races from Shadow Raiders into another campaign. Players can try to learn of the technology of the ancients, or simply try to escape the planet. Since the prison planet's population consists primarily of prisoners and exiles, each player should create a character that was sent to the planet for some serious crime (whether or not they were actually guilty of the crime).
Set immediately after the end of the show - refugees from Reptizar arrive in the new Planet Cluster. They have fled their homeworld after its destruction, and are seeking a new home (and looking for a way to fight the Beast).
How will they react to the worlds of the Planet Cluster? Will they be glad to find a group of planets that can fight the Beast? Will they be angered that the information that could have saved their world (namely, the World Engines) was not revealed to them? How will they react when they find that the Planet Cluster had the Beast Planet teleported away, possibly into their own system?
This can also be expanded somewhat. As the Beast continues its predations, survivors from other planets arrive in the Planet Cluster. They have heard that the Alliance was able to fight off the Beast, and either want to find a safe place to live, or find weapons for vengeance against the Beast. As this continues, the Planet Cluster will face a serious refugee crisis. Meanwhile, the Beast Planet's minions hear of the valiant cluster, and its current location.
The purpose and role of the Ancients in Shadow Raiders is something of a mystery. The various worlds are obviously artificial; why they were constructed is definitely something a gamemaster can explore. Since each planet was designed to support a single ecosystem, and had quite varied flora/fauna within that ecosystem, perhaps the worlds were created as sort of a haven for the various ecologies.
The Ancients obviously possessed vastly superior technology. They had mastered artificial gravity, fusion (probably what drives the World Engines), teleportation, inertial dampers and force screens, not to mention engineering on a massive, planetary scale. They probably also had genetic engineering capabilities, since few naturally-occurring species would be able to live on Fire, or actually continuously burn.
Why was the Beast Planet constructed? Was it built by an enemy race opposing the Ancients? Or by the Ancients themselves, to "clean up" after they were finished with an experiment. Had the Beast Planet simply gotten out of control, or was it performing as expected? Was it testing the resourcefulness of the Ancients' creations? When people are blasted or contacted by the null-matter of the Beast minions, they are forcibly shoved into another dimension - one inside the Beast Planet itself. What is the nature of this dimension? What happens to the people inside (and for that matter, the worlds that the Beast consumes)? Can the consumed planets (and peoples) be recovered or reconstructed?
In most SF RPGs, there are areas of unexplored space. The planets of the cluster should be located within these spaces, as would the Beast Planet's path of predation. Assume the events of the show have already occurred, and the inhabitants of the cluster worlds are either scouting for the Beast Planet or have already defeated it when they encounter other races and cultures.
Characters from other worlds may hear rumors of (or actually witness) the predations of the Beast Planet, and send teams to investigate. Optionally, the inhabitants of the cluster worlds may be scouting for signs of the Beast Planet, planets to colonize (particularly the inhabitants of Fire), or simply exploring.