Solar System and The Shadow of Yesterday have quite a variety of different resources all around the Internet, reflecting the wide lineage of the game. I’ll categorize the list of links a bit to make it easier to sort out.
First, some basic materials available right here on this site.
Solar System character sheet – generic.
TSoY character sheet – specifically compatible with World of Near.
World of Near preview – a preview chapter for the World of Near. This chapter is not in the book itself, so do check it out even if you have the book.
Core Game Texts
As the core materials are available under a flexible Creative Commons license, there are obviously many web sites that provide full textual sources for the various editions of the game. Usually these are all but exact textual copies of the corresponding print editions turned into HTML pages. The art and layout of these books tends to be non-licenced, so the html representations are usually pretty plain and ungraphical.
Clinton R. Nixon TSoY
The following are various sources for the first (2004) and second (2005) editions of TSoY. Mostly they are all but identical towards each other in textual content, but usability differs – and of course the first and second editions are pretty different between each other in some superficial game mechanics. Clinton took his time getting the second edition setting material available on the Internet, which is why most net editions only have the first edition setting text; the difference is in the crunch, mostly.
TSoY Wiki – The TSoY wiki is Clinton’s own repository for the definitive edition of his original The Shadow of Yesterday, edited by himself. It is open for public contributions and has an unadorned Mediawiki user interface. This is the edition I use most of the time when I need to refer to Clinton’s text, probably because it has an easily remembered address and it includes the whole second edition text, setting material included.
The Crackmonkey first edition rulebook and setting book, second edition rulebook and Solar System reference – I don’t actually know who made these, but they’re what I’d probably recommend to the idly curious and beginners who need an easy html reference for Clinton’s text for some reason. As each text is in its own page, searching the material is easy. The graphics are nice, too. I haven’t researched the text exhaustively, but to me it seems that the html conversion has been done automatically using Clinton’s original text files as a source. 99% the same as any other version, in other words. Lacking a second edition (2005) setting book is something of a flaw if you don’t care to adapt the crunch of the first edition yourself, of course.
The Darkon PDF – This pdf edition seems to be based on the second (2005) edition of the original text with a Latex layout made by one H. Belitz. It specifically includes the RandomWiki errata according to the title page. Seems to be a clean, nicely readable print version, suitable for printing and reading at leisure. Lacks the setting material.
The Nixon HTMLs for first edition and second edition – Probably the direct source material for the Crackmonkey versions, above. Relatively true to the print editions in that Clinton adapted these out of his original layout files, I seem to remember. He lacks the second edition setting material as well, interestingly enough. Probably got bored and decided to get by with the all but identical first edition stuff.
Lulu page for CRNgames – Clinton still has the second edition of the game available as POD at Lulu. The book is not a supremely inspired work of art in the layout and art department, but it does have varying levels or art related to the text.
There is no such surfeit of repetition for my own texts, probably because I’m lazier than Clinton and thus putting up formatted html versions has been left to other interested parties. Still, one source should be enough, shouldn’t it?
The Janus Design SS wiki and Luchini rendition – The Italian indie publishing house took it upon themselves to serve the Solar System text Lapo Luchini graciously converted from the mess of files I gave him. I haven’t read the text through in detail, but it seems to be the same stuff I wrote. The text is likely the same in the two links, the styling is just a bit different.
The Mausdompteur WoN – I seem to remember that Harald Wagener did the heroic work of transforming this book into HTML; this makes sense, as he seems to be hosting it. As above, this seems superficially faithful to my own files, so perhaps I gave him the right material to work with last fall.
The following are some of the more notable collections of Solar System material in the web:
My index for the CRNforums – The CRNforums at the Forge are probably the heaviest source on this stuff, but they’re a bitch to navigate if you don’t know what you’re looking for. My index page is an on-going project (that is, I haven’t gotten around to finishing it), but it’s better than nothing. Most of the material is for the second edition (2005), which is good to keep in mind with the more nuanced discussions.
RandomWiki – This used to be the most important repository of TSoY-related material, and it’s still certainly interesting for the flashes of insight it provides to thought processes from a couple of years past. Great collections of links to alternate settings and other cool stuff, mostly second edition. A good starting point for a variety of purposes.
Solar Matter – Simon JB’s open wiki for Solar System material. This is similar material to the RandomWiki and Clinton’s wiki, except newer and less TSoY-focused. Somebody should really draw these various libraries of ideas together somehow.
The West – This is a pretty interesting stand-alone setting for Solar System, one of the more elaborate ones out there. It’s not very well linked from the above more generic portals, which is why I mention it here separately.
Clinton’s selection of linkage – A link collection similar to this one. Hasn’t been updated in a while, but good nonetheless.
The best bet for SS and TSoY discourse in English are the generic indie forums:
Arkenstone Forum at the Forge – This is good in that I try to say something useful myself if questions are posted there. Probably the best place for highly technical questions and development work for the game.
Story Games – This is a less serious forum for this sort of stuff, so if you just want to tell about your play or get some ideas from other players, it’s probably a more active location than the Forge forum.
TSoY has had considerably more international success than most any other indie rpg, probably due to its permissive licencing policy. Check it out:
We made a Finnish translation in 2006 here at Arkenstone. The text is essentially second edition (2005) with various improvements that I back-ported into my World of Near later. I think that our print version is probably the prettiest out there due to the evocative series of high quality illustrations made by the Finnish artist Antti Raatikainen.
Harald Wagener has translated the game to German. I especially like that his HTML version of the game has CC-licenced art, which spices up the presentation considerably. I understand that the text is second edition (2005) with some additions by Harald, much like I fiddled with the Finnish edition. I seem to remember that Harald also translated my Solar System (2008), so you’ll probably find that as well with little searching.
La sombra del ayer, the Spanish edition of the game, hosted by the creator Guido Quaranta. If you know even a bit of Romance, this is an interesting edition to check out – the art is varied and ambitious (reminds me of the World of Near in many ways) and like Harald and myself, they’ve taken some interesting liberties with the setting. Unless I’m mistaken, the Spanish text is also based on the second edition (2005) of TSoY.
I understand that João Mariano is in the process of translating Solar System (2008) into Portuguese – I don’t know how far he is with the project, but I imagine he’ll let us know at his blog when it’s finished.
Jacek tells me that he’s in the process of putting together a free Polish version of the game. The work is in progress, but it’s going to involve some editorial work on the game text and new art. Furthermore, a zany turn: Jacek is planning to make a boxed set of the game for sale, including dice, printed Key cards and other stuff.
The Slovakian translation is based on the 2005 edition with errata, I understand. There is also at least a partial Czech translation floating around, I hear, but I don’t have any firm linkage to such at this writing.
Other stuff that might be of interest.
Reviews and play reports
TSoY has had a metric ton of play reports and reviews on the Internet through the years, mostly for its second edition. Google is your friend here. For some reason my own books haven’t gotten any reviews – I probably should market them better or something. Still, a couple of quick picks for the earlier editions:
Geeknative – A good 2nd edition review, I agree even with the criticism.
RPGnet – This one’s about the first edition, but good nonetheless. RPGnet style review, so mostly introduces the game.
Play This Thing! – Another insightful 2nd edition review.
TSoY does not exactly have a canon to define apocryphal texts against, but still – some texts are more or less used. These particular pieces are quite interesting as background and for ideas, even if they haven’t been elaborated as much as some other bits have.
Yesterday’s Heresies and Secondary Heresies – Clinton outlined and George Shannon elaborated on a series of religious cults in Near. I myself contributed to this tradition in the World of Near, too, using these as partial sources.
The Shadow of Yesterday (2003) – This little-known “0th edition” of TSoY is quite fascinating reading for the scholarly inclined, as it is rather explicit in displaying the direction of development Clinton took when originally creating the game. There’s an early map of Near, too.
Art of Near
Some of the artists that have worked on Near in the past don’t sadly have very good galleries of their work. Indie art luminaries like James West and Jennifer Rodgers have worked on the game, but good luck finding a site that says so and presents some of the art. Do let me know if I’ve missed some feature on Near-related art here.
Clinton’s art page – Clinton has a convenient page that explains the caleidoscopic selection of art he used in the first and second edition of TSoY.
The German Edition art – Harald Wagener has garnered some pretty evocative art for his German edition of TSoY.
Spanish edition map – The Spanish edition in general has some rather interesting art, the best-known of which is probably their nice map.
Polish Key Cards – I was linked to these by Jacyk. Pretty nice, eh!
World of Near art page – Some selected samples from our own book.