Antiquarian Adventures

A game about hunting for treasure in the style of Tomb Raider, Uncharted, The Mummy, and National Treasure.

Getting Started

Make Characters

When you create your character give yourself a Role and fill it in with a Personality. Then add six points spread among the nine stats, no more than three  points in any given one stat. You start with 6 composure.

Start Somewhere

Roll 1d6 to see your initial locale and then establish ALL the details.
1-3: Home
4: Abroad
5: The Wilderness
6: The Lost City

Start telling the story.




Punchkicking and hitting things with things!


Swordswinging and poking things with things!


Gunshooting and explosions!


Running Away!

Getting away from things that want to hurt you including monsters and goons and boulders and big falls!

Being Really Strong!

Sometimes you have to lift big rocks or hold doors shut!


Being clever and wordsy for convincing people of stuff!



Spooky stuff happens sometimes and it’s tough to handle!


Spying and detecting and noticing hidden things! A very savvy spotter!


Books contain lots of stuff, sometimes it’s helpful knowledge, sometimes it’s ghosts.


The _____ Scoundrel

Stat Bonus

Gain one point in one Action stat and one Adventure stat.


You gain an extra die when you become airborne during an action.

Bring A Gun To A Sword Fight

If you are facing down foes with a more dangerous weapon than them, you can spend a composure to just win.

There's Just A Mile Of You Fellas

When there are lots of enemies whose names you don’t know, you can treat them as if they were a single gestalt enemy.


When you've used all of your composure, you cannot use any moves until you run away from the danger at hand.

The ____ Scholar

Stat Bonus

Gain one point in two Mystery stats.

Modern Sense

When facing a problem from an ancient time and there’s a simple modern solution, you can spend a composure to just solve it that way.

Done the Homework

Establish your area of research at the start of the game. You gain an extra dice when your action relies on knowledge from that research.

Mere Superstition

When you've used all of your composure, you cannot use any moves until you unleash or exacerbate something supernatural.

The ____ Fool

Stat Bonus

Gain one point in two Adventure stats.


When you fuck something up, you can spend a composure to succeed on some other thing you weren't trying to do.

What’s This?

Any time you’re not sure what to do, you can spend a composure to just find a handy clue.


When you've used all of your composure, you cannot use any moves until you’ve bumbled your way into trouble.

The ____ Veteran

Stat Bonus

Gain one point in two Action stats.

Getting Too Old For This Shit

You gain an extra die when you are the first person to act after a trap is triggered.

We Go Way Back

When a new character is introduced you can spend a composure to declare what your relationship was back in the old days.

Not As Quick As I Used To Be

When you've used all of your composure, you cannot use any moves until you've been left behind or separated from your companions.

The ____ Mystery

Stat Bonus

Gain one point in one Action stat and one Mystery stat.

We Have Been Here For A Very Long Time

When you are asked about the Dormant Peril, you can ask the GM for salient details and then extrapolate into a grand ancient tale.

Practiced Focus

You gain an extra die when you wield a weapon or perform an action encoded in your traditions and rituals.

All Fools And Thieves

When you've used all of your composure, you cannot use any moves until you've left a warning with your companions and disappeared mysteriously.

The ____ Treasure

Stat Bonus

Gain two points in any one stat.


You gain an extra die when you try to distract one or more people.

Veiled Threat

You can spend a composure at any time to have small weapons or tools hidden on your person.

Save me, you idiots!

When you have used all of your composure, you cannot make any moves until you are captured by an opposing faction.



Stat Bonus

Gain one point in Running Away.

We Need You, I Need You

When someone is going to give up or turn traitor, you can spend a composure to inspire them and keep them on side.


Stat Bonus

Gain one point in Magic.

I Recognise This!

When you encounter something ancient that you haven't seen before you can spend a composure to ask the GM any one question about it.


Stat Bonus

Gain one point in Espionage.

Snatch And Grab

When something is within your reach, you can spend a composure to just take it, regardless of who or what possesses it.


Stat Bonus

Gain one point in BIFF.

Take Me Instead

When someone you're attracted to is in danger you can see, you can spend a composure to redirect the danger to yourself.


Stat Bonus

Gain one point in BANG.

You're All Hopeless

When someone else fucks something up, you can spend a composure to roll your eyes and snatch them out of the way of danger.


Stat Bonus

Gain one point in Negotiations.

I'm Not With Them

When you're a part of a group being menaced by something with a mind, you can spend a composure to extract yourself from the group and danger.


Location and variety of location is important to the treasure hunting genre. Fantastic and exciting locations bring much of the thrill of the adventure. Unfortunately it is also one of the ways that the genre is often problematically orientalist. Be aware of your cultural context and remember to treat places people and cultures with respect and resist the way fiction collapses these things into stereotypes.

You can always move from one locale to another locale you’ve discovered by rolling a travel roll. Start with 1d6 for luck.

Roll them all and take the highest result unless you have no dice, in which case roll 2d6 and take the lowest.

Whenever you uncover a clue or make progress towards your goal, advance a three point investigation clock. When it’s complete, you uncover a new locale, rolling 1d6 plus one more d6 for each locale you’ve already discovered and taking the highest result on the table below. If you role a locale you've already discovered, just roll again till you find somewhere new.
1-3: Home
4-5: Abroad
6+: The Wilderness
Multiple 6s: The Lost City


Home refers to any civilised place that feels familiar to the characters. Don’t assume this is where you come from as players.


Abroad refers to an inhabited place such as a city in a place that is unfamiliar to the characters.


The Wilderness refers to space outside of the reach of dense population.

This might be a jungle, a desert, a snowy tundra, or the ocean, for example.

The Lost City

The Lost City is a long lost location that contains The Prize.
It might be a whole city or it might an ancient tomb or temple or any number of hidden ancient places.

If you reach the Lost City before your rivals, roll a fortune dice, on a failure, whoever has the lowest composure turns traitor in favour of your rivals.

The first trap to be triggered after entering the Lost City awakens the Dormant Peril.

If the Dormant Peril has awakened, and you try to leave the Lost City, the first trap to be triggered is one that destroys the lost city and it cannot be returned to.



Factions have three kinds of resources which they can use to their advantage. They start with four resources made up of any combination of the following:

Named characters

Rivals have heroes and experts and lovable fools just like the party does. They should be described using the same sorts of names as the players with their playbooks to give indications of how they operate. Though none of them should be exactly the same as a player character.


Explosives, picks and shovels, a tank or helicopter. Rivals are often better equipped and funded than the players and are happy to throw their gear around often with reckless abandon if it will get them to the treasure faster.


Just like equipment, Rivals often have access to manpower that simply isn't available to the player characters. Goons are flexible and cheap. Whether they're used for digging up ruins or guarding a camp with heavy weapons, their lives are purchased in bulk and treated as such.


Rivals show up as soon as we know what the Prize is and have the first clue to finding it.

Establish their resources and their goal. These probably look pretty similar to the party but, like, with more or better stuff.

Rivals also have a progress clock. It is always 9 stages and when it is complete they advance to the next locale or, if they are in the Lost City they take the prize and awake the Dormant Peril.

The Dormant Peril

The Dormant Peril wakes when the first trap is triggered in the Lost City.

It almost always has a single figure at it’s head who usually ends up melting or exploding or some shit once they are finally defeated.
Establish their resources. Equipment for the Dormant Peril can include shit like magical curses and supernatural abilities. Maybe their named characters or goons can’t be killed, maybe they can just turn people into piles of dead flies?

Also establish the Dormant Peril’s goal. Maybe they just want to keep The Prize where it is forever,  maybe they want to destroy the world with weird meltyface magic?

The dormant peril has a single 15 stage progress clock that only starts advancing when they have been awakened and when it is complete results in their achieving their goal.


Traps are what happens when a small mistake triggers big trouble. Maybe a tripwire sets a boulder rolling toward you. Maybe you knock a candle onto a flammable carpet. Maybe your yelling attracts hungry bears, or sets off an avalanche.

Traps usually just appear as a complication when someone has fucked up a roll. Once that happens there's no untriggering the trap but you're welcome to try and roll to resist the consequences.

If someone goes specifically looking for traps, though, and they are successful, it means there IS a trap and they know how it works.


Keys are items that can act as clues long after they've been found, often multiple times. Though sometimes they also set off traps. Keys include literal keys but also things like treasure maps or speciality eyewear. The GM shouldn't know whether a particular key works to solve a particular problem until after the result of a roll is revealed.

Rolling To Do Things

When you do a thing that is hard or whatever roll one dice for each point you have in the matching stat.

If someone helps you and spends a composure, add an extra die.
If you have an injury that would impede you, roll one less die.
If you accept a devil’s bargain, add an extra die.

Take the highest result.

On a 6:                You do the thing.
On a 4-5:        You do the thing but with a complication.
On 3-:                You do not do the thing and complications pile up.

If you roll more than one 6, you succeed with style and achieve some bonus advantage.


You trigger a trap.
You lose composure.
You get physically injured.
Your effect is reduced.
A complication arises.
A faction progress clock advances by the faction’s current number of resources.

Rolling To Avoid Things

If you want a thing to not happen when the GM describes it, describe how you resist the outcome.
Shrugging off blows and punishment: Roll one dice for each stat under Action that you have any points in.
Avoiding trouble and damage: Roll one dice for each stat under Adventure that you have any points in.
Insight and Mental Fortitude: Roll one dice for each stat under Mystery that you have any points in.

Take the highest result.

On a 6:        You resist or reduce the outcome.
On a 4-5:        You may resist or reduce the outcome if you lose one composure.
On 3-:                You may resist or reduce the outcome if you lose two composure.

Winning and Losing

The game is over when:


This is a game by Ashton McAllan! You find it and her other games available for purchase at or you can support her ongoing design work at!