This is quick introduction to the game. Read this first before exploring the other game rules. If this is your first game, this page may be enough to get started and have fun.


The Shining Paths is based on Legends, the “minimally lovable” pencil-and-paper-and-friends roleplaying game. Your group of friends will tell a shared story. One person is the “Game Master” (GM) who is the director for the story and the others are “players” who will each control a “player character” (PC) as an actor in the story.


Everyone will need paper, pencils, and dice. Each person will need two sets of dice:

  • Basic dice: 6 standard dice (six-sided) ideally with 3 in the same color, and the others mixed
  • Influence dice: one set of 6 polyhedral “gamer” dice (d4,d6,d8,d10,d12,d20), ideally in a color that is different from the Basic dice


Space is BIG. The players should decide which type of game they want to play, such as episodic space exploration, secret agents, or privateering. The GM should then get started thinking about the story setting, especially where Scene One will start. The GM should summarize the setting for the players as soon as possible so that they can create characters.

GM Tip: Thinking about the setting is probably better done ahead of time, but this is a “quick start” after all. Be sure to check out the Story Seeds for inspiration.

Describe PCs

Each player should describe their PC by listing four Themes and four Assets. Each Theme and Asset should have a Signature that adds detail.

Themes describe who the PC is. Examples: Spacer, Incarnate, Organic, Space Samurai, Lancer, Merc, Burner, and Esper. See Spacers for more.

Assets describe what the PC has. Examples: assault rifle, void blade, Senpai harness, F-1 fighter, and space freighter.

Signatures add detail to Themes and Assets to make them yours. Each Signature is a specialization or customization that makes a generic Theme or Asset unique. Write a short, interesting and descriptive phrase. Examples: Spacer – reckless ace pilot, Merc – impulsive demolitionist, Burner – patient assassin, Void Ship – unreliable but fast!.



Akai is an Organic Space Samurai, a double rarity amongst Spacers. She wears jet black O-Yoroi body armor with red accents and is never without her Void Blade. Her beautiful face is less intimidating than a steel mask, so Akai is frequently sought after to guard VIPs. Her Black Bike has a passenger compartment in case she needs to whisk away a client to safety.


  • Space Samurai – fearless swordswoman
  • Organic – beautiful bodyguard
  • Burner – diligent assassin hunter
  • Racer – daredevil driver


  • Void Blade – cuts a crimson moon
  • Body Armor – jet black O-Yoroi
  • Black Bike – passenger compartment
  • Thunderclapper – compact / concealable

The GM needs to look at each PC prior to starting the game. This helps to understand who the PCs are and what they want, help to nudge them to align with the other PCs, and moderate power level or Assets as needed. As the “director” of the story, the GM has the right to veto any portion of a PC description at any time.

Player Tip: There is no traditional “character sheet”, and no numbers or game mechanics like “character classes” in the PC description. Everything is your own words. Play who you want. PCs can gain additional Themes later (this is a quick start).

Players can freely update their PCs during the game, modifying the description or making it more elaborate, but the changes need to be appropriate in the context of the story.  For example, a PC can only gain a new Asset if he manages to acquire a new item during the story.

This is only the beginning. A great many details are glossed over or omitted here, and longer games will have more fully-developed characters. Characters are described more fully in the next section Your Character.

Scene One

The GM should describe the setting and find a way for the PCs to meet each other. As they meet, each player should read his PC description (or some version of it that would be apparent to the other PCs at this time).

Players can iteratively update their PC descriptions during the game, and some kind of relationship with the other PCs or better aligning PC goals are good to consider.

Now start playing and have fun!

Next: Your Character