A downloadable game for Windows

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A grand strategy game, in which you take the role of an ancient evil, come to destroy the empires of humankind. Initially weak, you work by sowing dissent in a complex political environment, taking over a low-ranking noble and working your way up. Play factions against each other, and support dissidents to provoke civil wars, all the while building up your forces.

An Open-Source sequel to a previous game, with a new focus on playability and coherent, polished gameplay. Repository available at: 


Gameplay Overview

The world simulates a set of nobles, all with their own aims and interests. They existing in societies, and vote to achieve their ends. By proposing votes, and voting strategically, you can manipulate them into failing to respond to the true threat, your slowly-developing hidden forces.

You also control dark agents, from vampires to plague doctors to corrupted merchants, who can travel across the world map, committing dark crimes and escaping before the human forces discover your actions. They, too, can then assist your political goals, in their own various ways.

Set silversmiths against wine-makers, while subverting coastal villages to build an army of Deep One fish-people, waiting to storm the surface. Rally your kingdom against another, while supporting dissident nobles in the other in order to provoke civil war, weakening them such that they make easy prey. Grow horrific fields of fleshy limbs and gnashing teeth to terrify the nobles into failing to realise that your enthralled noble is slowly converting them from within into dark cultists.

Video tutorials!

We've recorded a couple of videos showing an overview of the game. The first is intended to give a rough beginner's guide to the game (at least the version 1 of the game). It's a bit long, but hopefully it could help beginner players to get their bearings, and to show the community how we regard the "classic" gameplay (of course any strategy that works is a valid strategy).


The second looks at the agents. Covers a basic start using agents and discusses the gameplay elements.



Development by

Alexander Wild, Wyatt Lindquist, Tasneem Solie

Main screen art by Derek Restivo

Music by Alexander Westmacott in Enhanced Edition, licensed under CC BY



Mouse + Keyboard.

Mouse handles camera panning, selecting (left to move/inspect, right to select), menu button clicking.

Keyboard camera panning through WASD or arrow keys, map-view lenses bound to number keys

Mouse wheel or z/x keys for map zoom

Minimum specs


2D graphics and turn based nature require little in the way of CPU or GPU power. Prefer screen resolutions of 1366x768 or above, but tested and functional on lower. Memory footprint around 200meg.


Hopefully development will continue as the other project did, although at a slower rate. New versions will come out, and community feedback (should you wish to provide any) listened to and accommodated if possible.

You are welcome to view the source code for your own purposes. Should you wish to go further and fork or submit a pull request for the project, please contact the authors to discuss such matters.


Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

manual.pdf 10 MB
shadows_v18_standard.zip 62 MB
shadows_v19_standard.zip 68 MB
shadows_v16_enhanced_bugfix3.zip 89 MB
if you pay $7.50 USD or more
shadows_v18_enhanced.zip 104 MB
if you pay $7.50 USD or more
shadows_v19_enhanced.zip 109 MB
if you pay $7.50 USD or more

Development log

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Hi, I see that I am not only one who was dissapointed by "That Which Sleeps" fiasco. I bought "Shadows of the Forbidden Gods" on Steam, but I think that I wait with playing to the full release.

Has anyone figured out how to get params.txt to show in-game?

i decided to come back and play the game again it was as fun as always

Hey I like the game alot here is my review. Thanks for making such a fun adn unique game.

Hey! Sorry if this is answered somewhere else, I've been looking but I can't find one.  What's the difference between the enhanced version and the standard edition? Is it just portraits?

I've been really enjoying the game btw. 

It is just portraits and music. Think of it as DLC. I had promised to keep the game open source, so no gameplay-relevant stuff could be made paid-for, so a cosmetic DLC made the most sense. We're working on adding Events, like in Crusader Kings or Stellaris, and some of that content might be Enhanced Edition only, depending on how things look when we've done more work on it.

Glad to hear you're enjoying it

I can't seem to stay under the radar, everyone becomes suspicious of my agents early. Is there a forum I can go to where there are some basic guides for this game, this game is interesting but I honestly do not know what i'm doing

I don't think there's a forum for gameplay, yet, but we did make a few videos to show how we play:


In general, you're not supposed to be 100% undetected. Your agents don't need to survive forever, just long enough to accomplish their objectives. Your enthralled noble might be valuable, but agents can be replaced when they get discovered and killed. You're playing as the evil side here, compassion isn't something you should be worrying about. If a vampire dies, just get another and continue the Great Plan.

Just bought your game on Steam. Thanks for all your work! I've been playing since Shadows 1, and I'm glad you're still working on it. I am very much enjoying trying out the various different features in the current version of the game.

Some Names and agents features a more fun than others. In particular, I was a bit disappointed with the "Winter's Scythe" Name, and so I thought I'd give some feedback.

These are the things I didn't like about "Winter's Scythe":

- My strategy was to encourage the biggest empire to balkanize, then use 'Death of the sun' over and over during the ensuing chaos to freeze the world. I managed to destroy a few settlements like this, but I was disappointed that the world didn't react very much. The settlements quickly passed from being ruins to being empty locations - while ruins, they increase world panic, but as empty locations, everyone forgets about them! Also, the nobles of the world don't seem to have any awareness that the world temperature was dropping, they just carry on as normal.

- 'Death of the sun' has a 10 turn cooldown, and has to be activated manually each time. This is kind of tedious as it is easy to forget to cast it. Also, even the most chaotic wars don't tend to last more than 15 turns or so, so each war only gives you one or two good casts.

- I felt like it wasn't viable to win the game by reducing world temperature. This is because as the decreasing temperature destroys more settlements, the number of wars become lower, and so the power of 'Death of the Sun' also decreases. If anything, less settlements makes the world more stable as there are less scheming, warlike nobles! I think as a best case, you could destroy, say, 1/2 of world settlements, then try to kill the rest with a good plague or undead horde. On the other hand, because nobles don't really react to the decreasing temperature, `Death of the Sun` has no utility as a secondary strategy - something to distract the nobles with while the player undertakes their *real* plan.

Here are a few suggestions to make "Winter's Scythe" more fun:

- Rather than making 'Death of the Sun' a spell on a cooldown, make it a ritual that the player has to enact. After it has been enacted, it applies constantly - so that any battle (or any mass death from other causes, such as plague) lowers world temperature just a little bit. You mentioned in your post for the v17 beta about introducing 'ultimate abilities' for the player that have to be unlocked: maybe Death of the Sun could be one of these. Perhaps to enact it, the player has to corrupt a few key locations (such as temples or libraries) and build a hidden ritual site (or sites). The light-bringers could stop the ritual by capturing the ritual site. The ritual site could be anywhere on the map - the player could choose to defend the ritual site by putting a big undead army in the way (if the site is in an empty location) or making a shadow empire (if the site is in a big city) or perhaps simply by corrupting and assassinating investigators so that the light-bringers never find it.

- Following on from the above - if 'Death of the Sun' is the big signature spell of "Winter's Scythe", the player should have some fun lower impact spells to play with until they get it. Spells to cause sudden blizzards (disrupting agents or armies), avalanches (blocking paths between locations) or crop failures (causing famine, and temporarily destroying cities) are obvious possibilities.

- Currently, a ruin turns in to an empty location after a few turns of being unoccupied. I think you should consider removing this mechanic - let the ruins stay on the map forever (or until a civ re-colonizes them). This gives better feedback to the player as it shows them how successful they are - seeing a tide of ruined cities slowly descend from the top of the map as the temperature decreases would be really cool. It also lets the nations of the world slowly ratchet up in panic (when half the cities in the world are ruins everyone in the world should be trying to find someone to blame!) and lets the player use the ruins for other nefarious purposes (perhaps agents, or evidence, can be hidden more effectively in ruins. I also feel that the 'Necromantic Doctor' should be able to use them for something!)

- In Shadows 1, you modelled populations for each city, and had refugees. I hope you bring this mechanic back for Shadows 2. I think it can result in lots of interesting interactions. For example, a tide of refugees swarming out of the North should destabilize the southern cities. Perhaps the southern nations can vote on what to do with them all: turn them away, settle them on newly-opened empty territory in the southern wastes, or integrate them in to existing cities. If many of the refugees die, the 'Necromantic Doctor' should benefit. Obviously the player should be able to use them as a vector for plagues, cults, or shadow, too.

- Related to population models - perhaps each location could have a % arable land, based on temperature, which informs their maximum food production, and so maximum population. This way, reducing the temperature in a big metropolis (which utilizes all its arable land) would have a bigger impact than reducing temperature in a sparsely populated hamlet (which has a lot of arable land to spare). This might make for a more interesting, gradual affect of changing temperature/habitability rather than the binary "Is city / Is ruin". It also gives another fun interaction for the player to play with (hound all the refugees in to the one location with enough arable land to support them, then covert them all to deep ones!)

- Make it so that nobles can discover that global temperature is decreasing (via investigators at first - perhaps once many cities have frozen it just becomes common knowledge!) Let them react to this appropriately. As panic increases, good nobles would investigate the cause and eventually attempt a ritual to counter the changes; bad nobles would raid their northern neighbours (while the northerners are weak) or invade their southern neighbours (to capture more arable land). The player could encourage more nobles to be 'bad' so that they make war and strife - and thus more death to feed 'Death of the Sun'.


Hope that some of that is useful. Love the game, looking forward to where you take it!


I think you're completely right. I really like the concept of the Winter Name, but in practice it is underpowered and needs work. The original plan was that it would work alongside with the various monsters, such as flesh or Deep Ones. It would destroy the north, they would then attack from the south. The monsters are currently overpowered, however, so don't need more help, and the Name would be far more exciting if it could bring about an apocalypse of its own. It also suffers from the fact that it depends on politics, which is currently underpowered. Political stuff is my favourite, as it's the most complicated and unique part of the game, but it's often weaker than just sending a giant pile of flesh to eat a kingdom whole.

Initially the design was that the Name would be purely passive. Every battle would have an effect without player involvement, and the Name would have no abilities at all, but it was thought it was a bit boring, and that the player should be involved. I'll see how the 'ritual' approach looks. Gotta make sure the player doesn't forget to re-cast it when it times out.

With the introduction of an actual defeat condition, where the nobles can try to cast the Lightbringer Ritual to save themselves, it should be possible to have the freezing abilities be a bit less constrained. Previously, since the player couldn't lose, all cold-causing abilities had to have a difficult-to-achieve condition to make them work. If the player could spend power to cool the world they could never lose, they could win by hitting 'freeze world' whenever the power got high enough. This new ritual allows us to increase world panic or awareness as a consequence of the power, and so the player has to deal with the Lightbringers. They're also going to receive some buffs, which might well include some ways to reverse the global cooling, at least around a few cities.

I like the idea of having a few abilities which benefit from the cold. Maybe they can only be cast in frozen locations, and do good stuff. Both your suggestions, disruption and path-changing, sound good. Probably can't make it so a location gets fully cut off, but maybe a location could have a few connections cut temporarily, to make it harder for the enemy to reach your agents. We'll have to test some stuff and see what works. We'll also see how Ruins work. Currently I think there's an issue with the Unholy Flesh not being able to spawn on a ruined city, but that should be fixable.

Regarding population:

The previous game did have a lot more complex population mechanics, which was cool in a way, but also rather complex, and added a bunch of stuff without really integrating it into the main game. Ideally this game would be more streamlined, by cutting features back to just what it relevant to the gameplay. This ideally would allow the mechanics to overlap better. An example is how nobles' fear is used across the board. It is politically relevant, has a Name associated to it (merchant of nightmares) but also plays into the agents, as it is how the NPCs agents' specialities are chosen. If we expand the population side of the game, we'd want to do it in a way which lots of different Names and Agents can take advantage of the new mechanic, to allow synergies.

Hopefully we can get some of that back. Certainly it should be possible to get refugees to spawn when a city is attacked, or its food production drops below its population, but we'll need to spend some time looking at how it behaves mechanically, to avoid bloating the game's features without adding gameplay value. Currently it's rather simplistic. Each human location has a max population set by the temperature (with a bonus for coastal locations), and population will grow/fall to reach that value. Refugees should be able to detect which cities can accept more population, and navigate their way there, but right now that doesn't have any gameplay effects, so hasn't been implemented. In time it could be, though, as it could allow spread of disease, new political crises, or even advantages to the NPCs (if a noble successfully gets the refugees integrated as productive citizens their city would grow and be able to support larger armies).

I think the current plan for the next patch is roughly:

-New Agent

-Buff Winter Name

-Save/Load bugfixing, maybe some UI improvements

-Buff Lightbringers (give them crisis response stuff to vote on)

-Maybe add a new specialisation to the NPC agents (Inquisitor)



So, just pushed a beta-branch update on steam. If it doesn't break anything too horrifically, it'll be in version 18 full.

Buffed a few abilities, made it slower to warm up after freezing. Definitely easier to get stuff done following a successful civil war now.

Gave an ability which allows you to just trade power for cold directly. Once you've reached 12% world cooling you can keep casting it whenever it cools down, to slowly eradicate all human life on the map. Not sure if it's OP or not. Definitely can't be stopped if you disable Lightbringer Ritual. Might rework it slightly such that it REQUIRES the Lightbringer Ritual to function. Maybe it can only be cast while the Ritual is being cast? Would be an amusing way to turn their weapon against them.

Also added in your suggested ability to temporarily block travel between locations. It's called Blizzard, and you can cast it on a location, then another, and any link between them will be out of service while the blizzard lasts. Also not sure how OP this is. It seems somewhat useful, but maybe there's some incredible strategy which can be used that I've not thought of yet. It only works in the snowy areas of the map, making it more useful as you progress along with your grand plan to freeze the world.

Hopefully this makes the Dark Name a bit more playable now, and able to stand alone as its own strategy and thing, not just a way to slightly reduce the number of cities your Unholy Flesh has to eat.

Thanks for the feedback, it really helps

Thanks, I'm really looking to trying the changes you've made.

I really like this idea:

Might rework it slightly such that it REQUIRES the Lightbringer Ritual to function. Maybe it can only be cast while the Ritual is being cast? Would be an amusing way to turn their weapon against them.

Encouraging the player to make sneaky, subtle, overly-complicated plans rather than simple and direct ones makes the game more fun, in my opinion. In this case, I guess the player would get the AI to start the LightBringer ritual, cast their nasty permanent world-chilling ritual, and then disrupt the Lightbringer ritual before it can complete and banish the player from the world? Actually pulling such a plan off would be very satisfying!

I hope that in future versions you're able to increase the ways in which the world is reactive to the player. This is definitely what I enjoy most in the game. For instance, when playing a political strategy, the bit when you start mass enshadowing a big empire, and suddenly everything goes to chaos, is my favourite. The plague mechanics are also really fun for this - introducing a plague immediately causes all kinds of disruption, some easy to predict and some hard.

Even the less 'high impact' actions cause the world to react in an interesting way - for instance, I like how enthralling an agent causes investigators to beeline towards where the enthrall happened. With the new Blizzard ritual, the player can arrange to do their enthralling in an out of the way, far-north location, and then use blizzard to delay the investigator from finding the evidence! In v17, I tried to do this kind of trick by putting the evidence behind a Deep One colony, though it didn't work that well (I don't think there is yet a way to make Deep Ones attack enemy agents?)

I understand what you mean about population mechanics - about not introducing a bunch of extra features that don't interact with the rest of the game. I do hope you're able to introduce some stuff here, though. In particular, I hope you track population shadow separately from noble shadow again. I find it disappointing how quickly an enshadowed metropolis returns to the light after its ruling noble dies. You could hang lots of cool mechanics off of population shadow, such as inquisitors purging the enshadowed population, or fearful nobles expelling people out of a belief (either a true belief or a false, paranoid belief) their their subjects are enshadowed.

Thanks a bunch! I'm sure the game will be fun whatever direction you take it in. I'm definitely getting more out of my $8 Steam purchase than I got from the $50 I put in to the That Which Sleeps kickstarter. 😁

It's possible that the `requires lightbringer ritual' is the best way to do ultimate abilities for each Dark Name. Like you said, it's got a cool strategy element to it, where you force the enemy to give you the tools you need to destroy them. Maybe I'll change Winter's Scythe, then add a few other abilities to the other Names along the same lines.

Regarding new ways to ruin the world, my favourite part is definitely watching the map change in huge ways.  The obvious next way to introduce would be to have the opposite of Winter's Scythe, a Name which turns the world into a giant desert. I've not come up with any good abilities for a Name or for an Agent based around that, yet, though.

The plague doctor probably needs changing, a bit, so they also have a plague. Weaker than the Red Masque, but it would synergise with their undead armies. Might need to nerf the undead a bit, just to keep them from being the ultimate weapon all by themselves.

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Just some suggestions after playing the steam version for 6 hours:
1) If you click on voting when some char is selected then it should immediately open the voting menu with this character selected.

2) Use power and abilites scrolling with scroll wheel is unuseable as it scrolls too much items at once.

3) Nation and province names on the global map when corresponding filters are selected.

4) Semi-tranparent UI side panels. Maybe 35%? Dunno.

5) Resources map mode (not really sure about this one)

6) Clickable buttons for map mode, like in paradox games. Hotkeys are good, but I think there still should be options. 

7) Some sort of icons to differentiate between different event in the right bar. (Not sure about this one)

8) Ability to see/highlight hostile agents to the selected agent. (Map mode?)

9) Global map / ability to fast-forward world history

10) Pressing Tab key or Esc to quickly exit current menu

11) More connections between sea regions and coastal places of interest.

12) Maybe at least several turn (5-10?) cooldown between votes? (except for emergencies)

13) More indirect distractions for agents. Maybe bribing local guards, planting false tracks for a chasing agent.

14) I think it should be possible to select abilities and powers to use by clicking.

15) Temperature and habitality map modes. 


Sorry, missed this message when it first arrived, only just spotted it. Must have not seen the Itch e-mail about a new comment or something.

I agree with many of these, the UI is constantly being changed to get it to behave a bit better. Slowly it's improving, but there are still issues to be addressed. I'll take a look at them and see what can be done. Some will be harder than others. Due to the use of hotkeys, for example, we're limited to only 9 map modes, so have to decide which are most useful. Maybe we could have buttons which don't have associated keys, for the less-used modes? We'll see what we can fit on screen.

Excellent! I don't use steam but I can say i had this bug, and now it is no more. Everything seems to be playing as it should.

Hi! every time i start a new game this happen! (i play the steam version)

Tell me if you want more info because i really wanna play! :'(


Sorry, yes, early access. Gonna have bugs. We're currently looking at this particular one, because a few people have had the same issue. Could you give us more information about your hardware? We're unable to replicate the issue on all the computers we've tried on, so we believe there's some difference between what we're using and what you are.

Specifically: Which operating system (including 32/64 bit), CPU and total RAM would probably be most helpful.

As far as we can tell, this is some kind of Unity issue, so we'll need to see if we can change how it compiles the .exe to avoid these issues in the future. Bug fix version will be pushed when we can figure it out.

Thanks for the report, including the image (it is useful to us to notice that the number in world panic is what it is, since that's 2 to the power 31, implying a 32 bit integer has somehow been mis-computed).

Thanks again,


This are my spec:
Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core Processor
(12 CPUs), 3.6GHz
Memory: 16298MB RAM
 Card name: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER

I've 2 monitor 
Current Mode: 1920 x 1080 (32 bit) (165Hz)
Current Mode: 3840 x 2160 (32 bit) (60Hz)

if you need more just tell me! (also if you need more screenshot or the Dxdiag.txt)

Thanks to you! Hope this will help!


Thanks. This helps us rule out it being a 32/64 bit issue. Everything else there looks normal, we tested on dual monitors and it worked, so we don't think it's that.

We pushed a new bugfix version, which hopefully will solve it. If not, let us know and we'll have another try.

Thanks for your help

Hey, we are being told that it doesn't work. Could you download the version 14 standard (now also available on Itch) and see if that works, if you have time? Many thanks, we just can't get to the bottom of this issue. We'll try some stuff but it would help to know if this version is new to V16 or if it's existed all along and we just didn't notice.

Thanks again

Oh, and are you using non-English OS settings (shouldn't affect anything, but I was told by another dev that it sometimes affects games). And maybe it's a anti-virus thing?


Just pushed a new version. We hope this fixes it. We're not actually sure WHY it fixes it, but over on Steam people are saying it works. We'll try to figure out what was going on based on what the bits of code we removed were doing.

i've just downloaded the new patch and it works now! good job and thank you very much!

Btw i'm using an non-English OS setting but i don't have any anti-virus active (except the firewall)

Unfortunately, the game does not run on my PC: running the .exe only opens a Unity loading screen with a green bar, and then... nothing at all! The loading screen disappears and no game starts :(

If you know of any solution to this issue let me know, I'd love to try out your creation!


Sorry this is occurring. Could you post your machine's specs? It's happened to another person, and I just can't replicate it. I've tried on four different machines, but it all seems to work for me, so fixing it is hard. It would help to know what the hardware differences are, in case those are causing it.


Hey there! I uh, downloaded the game and... there seems to be a very serious bug... or just me being unaware of something. No matter in what way I start the game, as soon as possible I am shown the victory screen. On said victory screen, I can't even press "dismiss" to, well, dismiss it. It just stays there and I have to alt tab out. I also clicked "load" and trying to back out of that menu didn't work, just stayed there.

Huh, you're right, that IS a fairly serious bug. Gimme a second, I'll check it right now.

I downloaded both versions, and they seem to be working fine for me. I'll keep looking into this, but it is very strange. I can't immediately think of any reason it would happen.

We can't seem to replicate it. Tried on three separate machines, downloaded from itch. Maybe it's a corrupted download?

Maybe it is! I am going to download it as I am writing this and let you know how it goes. 

Alright so, still the same issue. I will note a few new things though. The victory screen claims the max enshadowment of the world is at 7500%, and "world panic" is at a "-(incredibly long and random number)"
Also, my chrome download gets to about a fourth of the way there, and then suddenly claims the zip has been downloaded. I suspect this is the issue.

Couple more freshly downloaded zips and its the same exact problem, but this time my chrome has downloaded the zip file fully. I've tried putting it on different locations, running it as administrator, unpacking the zip in a couple different ways, but no difference has occured. Even the weird inability of the load button persists. 

Looks like it can't be helped. I'll have to wait for another version and see if that works, then.

Yeah, I'm sorry, I can't replicate it at all. Maybe Unity has some conflict with your setup (32 bit vs 64 bit, some mismatched Windows Upgrade...). Dunno, I'll ask around and see if anyone has heard of anything like this.

If it helps, I'm still running a windows 7. It's the family computer and my parents are very bad with the computer, so changing version to 10 would be very problematic for them. 

I do have a mac, though. Is there/will there be a mac version of the game, perhaps? 

Thank you for listening either way 

I've the same bug, with the Steam version.

The game doesn't generate the human faction so you insta win.

I play on windows 10


Just pushed a version which might have fixed it. Still a bit unsure as to what's really happening, but it seems to work for now, for people who were reporting the issue.


Latest Manual upload seems to imply some pretty big and exciting changes on the way - character portraits, new agents and ways to play.  Exciting times ahead!

I don't know how feasible it is but I've been thinking on what would 'bring the game to life' (for me anyway) and I wondered would it be possible to add events? Like when an agent completes a task (among other things) the player is asked to resolve an event related to said task?  So take an infiltration task for example - when the agent completes it, perhaps they complete it poorly so the player must choose between losing the agent (imprisoned, killed) and gaining more infiltration or keeping the agent but losing power, or leaving evidence.

Events could also be used to improve combat, that's currently a completely one-sided affair.  The same can be said for maintaining an agent presence in a hostile nation.

We could also have events tied to political manouvers and changes - the breaking of a noble creates an event where we get to make various decisions around how that noble breaks in particular.

Anyway, just my ramblings, keep up the great work!


Devlog is up, new version(s) are released.

Events should be feasible, although we've always shied away from adding even more randomness into the game. It's already extremely swingy and hard to predict, adding yet more dice rolls may not be the best of ideas. However, if the results are fairly consistent, it should work. We'll look into it, as it could allow interesting player decisions, and some more options for flavour text.

I can't enthrall nobles. Is there a reason for that or is my game just bugged?


Amazing game responsive dev what more could you want.

Oh. My. God. I had no idea there was a number 2. Whenever this is out fully released, I am buying it IMMEDIATELY. I loved the first one, it was so fun!


Hey, thanks, great to hear you enjoyed it. Hopefully number 2 will be even better, once we get the agents sorted out and properly fleshed out.

I look forward to it!

Would you happen to know if there's any discord group about ShadowsBehindTheThrone?


Man, I loved the original even in its unfinished form, hoping to see this sequel be expanded and the bugs ironed out.

Speaking of bugs, there seems to be some sort of null exception that randomly crops up. Not sure what causes it, but it prevents popups (including game options menu) from appearing and generally breaks the game. When I made the mistake of trying to load old save to fix it without closing the game first it also ruined my current quicksave: even after closing and reloading afterwards I wouldn't get any popups at all anymore, making the game much harder to play. Thankfully it went away when starting a new game at least.


Hmm. I apologise, it obviously shouldn't do that, both throwing a null pointer and then ruining it the quicksave.

I'll confess saving and loading has been an utter pain. We spent a month wrestling with different libraries, but for some reason our code breaks the Unity engine itself when trying to save. There's no error message or online documentation, so it's currently the best we can manage to get somewhat working.

I'll see about expanding the number of save slots, and making it create backups of save files before loading, which should hopefully reduce the pain this causes.

Regarding the game itself, I've got less time to work on it than I did before, and am implementing features people ask for (currently agents) when I find time. Hopefully in time this version will be better in every way than the previous one, but I guess that may be subjective.

We'll do more playtesting to try to track down the nullpointer, and put a fix to that too.

Thanks for your feedback, though.

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Hey Bobby!

Just checked my feed, found V3, IMMEDIATELY downloaded it and started playing. It was awesome how the V1 mechanics got added in (at least the power system), had a lot of fun with them.

So anyway, got some feedback and questions for you:

1. The weather power should become permanent, at least the 'death of the sun' one, since it doesn't just lower temp, it literally KILLS THE SUN!

2. I still miss the hierarchy system, because to me it made a lot of sense. Hope you'll add it sometime soon. Any ETA on that?

3.I think you should change the Lord/Lady generation system as well as the darkness one. By that i mean, that the darkness % of the location should slowly try to match that of it's ruler, and have it influence the lords/ladies that spawn there. Ex: a single-town duchy removes a lord, the location's darkness is 56%, thus the new lord has a 56% chance of being darkened upon spawning. And in a multi-town empire, you do the same but add a step before that where you decide which town the lord spawns in.

Hope this helps you! Keep it up! Really love the game! I don't know how to stop! Help! Oh wait, nvm. BYE!!

Edit: Is it possible to make some sore of age system as well? A lot of times i get caught in a stalemate, where the ruler and few of his friends aren't darkened but everyone else is, but everyone loves the ruler, so it's impossible to depose him and any attempt to gain power is blocked by him because he hates all the darkened. So either an age system to make him die of old age, which could maybe evolve later into a whole dynasty system *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* or have the darkened gain a slowly rising dislike for all who have lesser or none shadow level. It's even role friendly, because if they are corrupted , then maybe they get an instictual dislike for the non-corrupted out of envy,jealousy etc. kinda like how zombies are sometimes described, they hate those who have what they don't, even if they don't know it intellectually.

Holy shit did i rant a lot.



Glad you enjoyed it.

1) Yes, it probably should. The idea was that it would keep the world alive, so if you stopped taking action it would return back to normal. For the bugfixed version of V3 the world-wide changes will be made permanent, I think.

2) Maybe in version 4. I think the best approach would be to use the province system. Each province could have a duke assigned, promoted from one of the nobles in the province. Each provincial ruler would report to the king/queen, and you'd have to first be promoted to leader of your province before you'd be allowed to become leader of your nation. It ties into the current setup, where people in provinces are naturally allied to each other, because of shared industrial concerns, and how civil wars occur by splitting off provinces into their own nations. 

We've not touched it yet because it would make the game more complicated, and we wanted to get quality of life and understandable gameplay at least somewhat handled before adding complexity to the system.

3)That's a very good suggestion, which makes a lot of sense. The nobles are supposed to be enshadowing their entire cities, so it wouldn't make sense to have new nobles arriving which are somehow unaffected. We'll try to get that added in as soon as possible.

Age) We were discussing this, actually. "How long do you think a turn is?" I figured it was maybe a season, but my co-author reckoned it was about a week. If we decide to implement some actual time system, we'd need to work out population growth speeds and suchlike. The main reason characters don't die of old age is because I wanted the system to be easier to understand and follow, and having characters randomly die would possibly confuse players, or force them to read huge numbers of messages about character deaths. We'll look into it.

Dark Unity) This makes sense, having enshadowed characters prefer each other as rulers. We wanted the dark empire to still have politics, but it would make sense that you could influence the enshadowed to hate those who are still light. Maybe just a power, which you could use to make all enshadowed dislike all light people a little bit?

Thanks for the feedback, we'll get to work on a bugfix version for V3, then on V4. 



Just to note,

I have left the weather/climate change as temporary, because I realised that if it was permanent you could win the game just by clicking "end turn" repeatedly, waiting for wars to occur by themselves, and exploiting them. It would take thousands of turns, but would be a guaranteed win, and I don't want that to be a valid strategy.

If we implement some way for the humans to fight the effects, and return life to the sun, we'll make it permanent, probably.


Alright, thx for notifying me. Tbh i can't really think of a system for that except maybe as a joke. Have the same system for awareness of the darkness and copy it over for the environment and global temperature drop. Ex: i drop the global temp by a bit, this causes the southern cities to be more habitable, hence their lords there have no motive to do anything, but the northern lords have their cities damaged, which causes them to think about how to reverse it. Now, HOW they reverse can be magic BS, just burning a bunch of things, or something else i can't think of. This way the system encourages using the weather system only when the war is so big that the lords dont have a chance to really fight it.

Other ideas i can think of are: 

Have the sun death power be permanent but also a really complicated ritual that needs a dark empire and the other power be temporary one-off spell.

The provincial hierarchy you mentioned is really good and can be tied into casus belli. Ex: The duke wants to war on the nearby empire because they control one of his duchy's towns.

And that's about it, thanks again for the info. Can't wait to see how you develop it further *girly squeal*!


I nether played now added it yet. But I have heard that  ther is  nether a structure in the files, nor is it possible to convert it to the newest unity version. Will that change in version 3 and will ther be notes and comments for people who want to modify version 3  ?

The game's code can't be updated to the latest Unity version purely because of the save/load system. We are using a library which hasn't been updated for a few years, and so doesn't work with modern Unity. The other library option we tried, which has been updated, doesn't work for our project, and doesn't give sufficient error messages to allow us to understand why. We simply don't have the time to write our own fully recursive serialiser to replace the libraries, so were forced to use the old version.

If you were to remove the save/load feature, the game should be able to be updated to the latest Unity version. Certainly all the code would still be valid.

I assure you, I wish we could use a more up-to-date Unity version, but this was the only way we could get a save/load system working, and we considered that to be critical.

Fantastic effort this and the only true attempt at a TWS inspired game.

Keep at it, get the mechanics sorted then add some nice art and UI and it could be a right winner.

I've watched your play through and read the tutorial but to be honest I struggle to play the game. I have no idea if I'm doing well or not and I'm not really sure how to enact a coherent strategy.

If you're after feedback here's some from me;

1. I find it very difficult to tell the different nobles apart. Different art here would be welcome (although I appreciate it's nowhere near as important as gameplay).

2. I'd like more agents to make use of. One enthralled does not feel enough and it feels that I have little agency as a player. Ideally multiple agents that do different things (Peddler, Rake or Witch to start?) would be awesome. I find the idea of creating a new agent in an existing settlement easier to understand in game terms than enthralling an existing noble too, but that is a preference I guess.

3. I'd like more varied races in game. In fact ideally - to make things simple at this concept stage I'd prefer it if all the different 'nations' were different races so I can quickly identify the nations at a glance. 

4. The leader of a nation is not clear to me, at a glance.

5. I don't understand/it isn't clear how I should go about achieving my objectives. It seems that I simply vote on various things while spawning fishmen camps. If I influence a vote a certain way it is overruled a few turns later, it seems like. For me I think less actions at the start of the game would be better so as to allow me to get to grips with the mechanics. Also the addition of mechanics that are 'free' (they cost only time) would be welcome so I'm not just skipping turns waiting for the next vote. For example give the enthralled an ability that allows them to slowly change the characteristic of another noble (pacifist to war-like, increased madness/shadow, acceptance of status quo etc).

6. Linked to the above I wonder how the game state develops over time. If I do nothing will the game cycle on an indefinite loop of the same decisions made time and time again? I think mechanically time should be a factor and should be the biggest threat to me as a player. It encourages agency and forces decision making. In other words the 'no play' state should lead always to a loss. Through playing a player should be able to delay or avoid the loss state, but it should be a pressing concern throughout a play through I think. It is simple, intuitive and forces engagement.

Apologies - seems like I've just wishlisted a ton of things I'd like to see changed/added here!

You're doing great work, truly and I'm really interested to see where this goes. If you ever want more feedback or ideas on different mechanics I'd be more than happy to help.

Many thanks!

Thanks for the kind words and support.

Obviously the game is very complex, and also fairly different from any other game I've played, since it really focuses on political NPCs and their interactions, so in many cases I'm just trying stuff to see how it works. There was a previous version of this game which I released a few years ago, which varied massively over its year-long development cycle, and tried out a number of the things you've mentioned. As a rule, the game is trying to balance complexity and understandability. Too complex a game leads to the player rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information to follow, but there's always the urge to add more, and always gameplay areas which feel lacking.

1) I've dug up my old graphics tablet, so more art can be drawn up. As a programmer, I can't draw faces (hence the characters having none), but I can put more flowers on heads.

2) Multiple noble enthralled lead to an incredibly complicated UI system at times, and make it very hard to inform people of which votes are available where. Even with only three enthralled, it was a mess of "vote options now available". It makes it harder for the player to follow their society's political structure, including the nobles' interpersonal relationships, which I'd like to see play an important role.

On-the-map agents were tried, with some success, but I didn't particularly like how they played out. The game's main mechanics are political, and the agents were outside of this system for the most part, they couldn't interact with it in a way which I felt 'worked' as a mechanic. Instead, they're replaced by powers and buildable colonies.

In terms of expanding the amount of stuff to do, I would probably expand the amount of actions you can take on colonies, to make them more involved, and city-builder-like, rather than add any new agents and complicate things further.

3) I'm not sure I agree. The nations here are entirely political driven. They all start as independent cities, and can merge and split arbitrarily, entirely based on politics. Having them forced to exist in certain ways would go against the organic growing process which shapes the map. Partly answering 6 already: The game is NPC-driven, and nations grow and split based on their decisions (which are based on circumstance and some random chance). If you leave the game running, it will slowly stabilise into large empires after a few hundred turns, but if the player disrupts these then entirely new political landscapes will form. With very minor changes (such as random character death from old age) the map would remain permanently dynamic, and constantly generating new nations as civil wars tear apart old empires.

4) This is true, and we should fix this. We'll add it to the list of tasks.

5) We intend to release a new version on Thursday, which introduces "names". These are somewhat similar to "gods" in That Which Sleeps, in that they are groups of powers which fit together thematically, except you pick two per game, rather than just one. One of these is designed to be more straightforward, with more obvious strategies for the player. In our own playtesting we found that often there is no obvious way forward, and that you'd have to just cause chaos and hope the situation improves. This is not how we wanted the game to be played, so we introduced this new way to spend power directly to achieve political aims. The more efficiently you can do so, the more power left over you'd have to spend on your second group of abilities.

6) The old version had "world panic" and "lightbringers". World panic was generated by you expending power or spreading shadow, with different levels unlocking different behaviours the nobles could take to oppose you. The lightbringers were the ultimate result of this, as nobles could turn themselves into glowing yellow people, who were immune to shadow. They would then form an alliance to oppose you, and start the "defeat timer". The more lightbringers were created, the faster the timer increased. As a result you could muck around for the first part of the game, but had to race against time to achieve victory, once you'd progressed far enough.
We intend to re-introduce a version of these mechanics, sometime soon (with game options allowing you to turn them off, if the player wants a more calm and relaxing apocalypse).

Overall, this game is hard to make, and I don't claim to be correct all the time. Which is why we're very grateful for the feedback, and why it is open source. There's all manner of different ways the game could be taken, many of them just as valid as one another, so I wouldn't want to stand in someone's way if they took what we've done, cloned it, then took their copy of the project in another direction. Would be great to one day see all kinds of That Which Sleeps games out there, all with different styles and concepts.

Hope this clears some things up, and hope the new changes are to your liking, once we can get them out the door (we've got a lot of work of our own, so game dev is slower than we'd like)

Hi Bobby, no worries on the words, you're a hero as far as I'm concerned!

On point 2 - I think there is a disconnect for me in terms of having whole map actions.  It opens up almost too many opportunities because I can do anything (within reason) anywhere.  On the map agents are more intuitive in my opinion because they can guide the player to correct play styles.  For example the "Fish Man that makes Fish Men colonies" needs to go near the coast.  The "Enthralled/Noble/Political agent" needs to go in a city.  The "Military Leader agent" goes on the front lines so on and so forth.  Personally I find this type of presentation much easier to comprehend, but I appreciate it's a preference thing.

With regards to point 3 - perhaps greater feedback would help here?  Show the player how the political landscape is likely to change based on certain actions, show what will happen if no action is taken.  I found myself just voting for the most popular choice in my playthroughs, because I was unsure as to the risks of doing otherwise or the benefits.  I know there are overlays to show the "nations" but if we had some way to see where the political tensions were I think this would be really useful.  Where are the political tensions and what nobles do I need to defame to get the results I want?

I have yet to play the new version, though I have downloaded it.  I'll give it a spin when life settles down a little more and provide feedback but it sounds already like a fantastic improvement.  Names/Gods/whatever that allow a variety of playstyles (and direct the player to do so) are a great addition, in my opinion.

I recall playing the older versions with "lightbringers" and "world panic", I enjoyed that mechanic immensely, personally.

No worries on dev speed - as I said you're doing the (Dark) Lord's work creating this and making it open source and can only offer my thanks at this stage!  Out of interest - are you looking to get your development expertise to a point where you feel you may be able to create the game/kickstart/crowdfund it as more than a hobby?

Yeah, I definitely see the appeal of the agents. Their ability to reduce your range of options would make the game easier to follow and give the player a better ability to plan their future actions. We'll keep it in mind, and see if we can either bring some agents back (possibly with a Name which uses agents) or try to give a geographical side to some of the powers, so you need to focus down on one part of the map.

Maybe it would be useful to see who would like you voting in a given way in some popup you could click to see. "View voting liking outcomes" and then you'd pick an option and it would say "These people would like you more, these people would hate you more if you voted this way". Sounds like it's information the player should have access to, and wouldn't be too hard to implement.

Just released a new bugfixed version, so download that one before you play V3. Fixes a bug allowing 0 cost powers, along with a few other things that were pointed out by the community.

I'm probably never going to develop this full time, sadly. My real job (AI researcher in self-adaptive systems) is what I want to do with my life. Game dev is a fun hobby, but I fear it would be far less fun if I made it my main career. That's part of the reason why the project is open source, so if someone wants to develop it full time they can take it over and make it a full scale project.

Verry fun and interesting game, I am not realy sure how some mechanics work, would you be so kind and answer my questions?

1) Do other nobles then the one you enshadowed also spread shadow? and if they do, do they spread it at any % or only at 100%?

2) Do worms have a randon chance of spaning on baren land? I have notices that there was a new work "nation" where there previously was none

3) I didnt have much succes with the water or flesh attacks, but what happenes to the cities when they get conquered by those forces? Do they disapear forever? Will nations be able to recolonize them? And are nations able to colonize the empty pieaces of land( by empty I mean the ones conected by the network not just whatever hexagon is on the map )?

Thanks for your answer, if you do answer that is, otherwise I thank you for providing me with this new kind of entertainment.

Thanks for playing, glad you enjoy it so far. In response to your questions:

1) Yes, nobles will spread shadow to all others in their society who have a lower prestige than they do. They can't spread more shadow than they have, so if they have 26% shadow they can't infect anyone else with more than 26% shadow.

2) Worms do, in this version, have a random chance to spawn. They're there to give a threat for the nobles to care about, in case that is useful for political stuff. They may be removed or changed in future versions, although we have no plans as of yet.

3) Flesh and Fish need time to grow their forces (and the Fishmen/Deep Ones need to gather forces from the human nations).  They'd need to have at least as much military strength as the nation they are attacking in order to stand a good enough chance to invade. Cities they take can be turned into 'Ruins', if they can't hold them (the worms do the same, if a human nation loses a war against the worms).

The humans are able to colonise ruins and some empty locations. For gameplay reasons, the human nations will only colonise certain regions, so the player can still build flesh colonies and so worms can spawn. The game is made so that if a single human city is placed at the start of the game they will colonise surrounding locations, then break apart due to political disagreements and form a continent-wide set of nations. Sadly they can't currently colonise across the sea, so if all humans on an island are killed there won't ever be any more.

Hope this clears things up

Dear Satan,

All I want for Christmas is a save/load feature.
That's all I want.

And a 'jump to Enthralled' button.
That's all I want.

And Abott/Abess spelt with a double 'B'
That's all I want.

Thank you very much.


P.S. I have been evil all year and I promise to be even more evil next year.

"All I want for Christmas is a save/load feature"

You have no idea how many times I've said this over the last month. I'll do a devlog real quick to update people about progress on this front.

So in my most recent game my strategy was to cause civil wars to weaken all of the human nations, and pick them off with the flesh one by one. I succeeded, and now the world is only inhabited by flesh and fishmen after the flesh ate all humans and worms. The game won't end since now that humanity is extinct I can't enshadow 75% of it. Am I supposed to be able to do that, and if I am then would that be considered a win, loss, or is it some kind of draw?


You're ahead of the game, in fact. It was fully intended to be a second victory condition (so the player could pick which one the wanted), but it's not yet implemented, and was intended to be added in the next major update.

For now, my congratulations, you can consider that a complete and glorious victory.

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Actually, I don't quite understand your attachment to wastelands idea with flesh and fishmen. That's stupid. I met the game week ago and after that I found Version 13. It is the best and you should return to it.

I am very fond of idea with enthralled noble making their way to create dark empire or make dark cult, or dark emperor cult and whatever, I think your early versions of the game are very close to that, the only problem was with that nobles actually couldn't do much and player(god) was the only force there.

So now even the vassal system was removed/wasn't added. What the reason? What the main idea of the game?

Sorry, my comment can be demotivating.

You would do well to look at the development log "A new beginning" - several of the issues you raise are addressed there.

I assure you, I'm not easily discouraged.

As mentioned in the devLog, the game still focuses primarly on the "dark empire" side of things, revolving around politics and suchlike. The ideal is for the systems in that approach to be sufficiently complex that you can remove half of them and play exclusively from the "outside", manipulating foreign empires without the enthralled being present in them. As such, any improvements to the Fishmen and Flesh side of the game will mean improvements to the "classic" form of the game, with the enthralled playing politics.

Nobles actually could do a lot more in some unreleased prototype versions of the game, they would have their own plots and objectives. It turns out that this was nearly impossible for a human to follow, due to the sheer combinatorial complexity of having every single noble taking complex actions. The game is designed to be very transparent about why a noble is doing, and what they are doing, to allow the player to be the main actor in the game, rather than needing a week plotting graphs and reading logs to understand how each and every noble is acting and what their motives are. It may return in a later version, possible as an optional additional feature, for people who think the main game is too simple.

You're correct that societies have changed, and are currently simpler. The reason was the most of the heirarchy was invisible most of the time (you never cared about the counts vassalised under a different Duchess), and therefore the player either was unaware of important characters, or that most of the characters would have to be irrelevant. With the new system, every noble is present in every decision and the player gets to know all of them. No-one is 'hidden'. If your enthralled exists in a society then they'll need to learn all that society's nobles, and interact with them throughout the game, or find ways to have them removed.

I really like some of the advantages of the heirarchy system, especially some gameplay which hasn't been explored in any version (such as pulling strings in court to get a useful noble added to your pool of vassals, or trying to get one of your loyal spies into a rival Duke's vassalage). As such, in future versions we intend to re-introduce unlanded titles, such as command over a province, or special roles, giving special actions, such as inquisitor or spymaster. This would give better progression to the game, as you would need to slowly progress your enthralled up the ranks, as you did previously.

great news! Hope you will write devlogs so I can quickly keep up with changes!

Is there any Let's Play video or something similar ? I can't find anything.

Not as of yet, sorry. We were planning on one, but time is hard to come by, and the save/load code is being an utter pain to work with, so progress is slow.

We? You mean you now have collaboration on the project? That is really neat!


I really loved some versions of the original, so I'm very excited for a sequel. Personally I felt that the later versions were weaker than the ones in the middle, but I can't remember why anymore. Guess I'll have to replay them to test. 

Really looking forward to how it'll evolve.


Yeah, I completely agree. The game really lost its way towards the later versions. I think V13 may be the best. I'll write up something about what I think the successes and the failures of the first game were, and how I hope we can get this new one to keep the good and avoid the mistakes



FUCK YEAH! \(^-^)/   ヽ(´▽`)ノ

PRAISE BE TO BobbyTwoHands ヽ(゚ー゚*ヽ)ヽ(*゚ー゚*)ノ(ノ*゚ー゚)ノ


I'm super pumped for this! SBTT1, incomplete as it was, was really fun. I'm going to give this a try as soon as soon as I get home.

Thanks man. Hope to get this version to fix all the issues the first one had, and polish it up into a complete package

Hi ! Could you release a PC Linux version please ?


Linux version up. Seems to work on my Mint laptop, except the tutorial isn't visible, for some absurd reason, presumably relating to Unity encodings. I'll fix it, but in the meantime I've added the tutorial images as just a folder alongside it.

It works, thanks !

Hell yeah, rock on Bobby!