A game about hunting for treasure in the style of Tomb Raider, Uncharted, The Mummy, and National Treasure.
One player is the GameMaster or GM who describes the world and the things, people, and events the other players encounter within it. The GM should always be answering the question "What happens next?". The rest are Player Characters or PCs who each are responsible for portraying their characters, describing their actions within the world. PCs should always be answering the question "What do you do?" The rules help give the game structure and guidance, they should always be answering the question "How does that work out?". Everyone should always be answering the question "What does that look like?"
GM, your section is at the back, sorry.
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.
Roll 1d6 to see your initial locale and then establish ALL the details.
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!
Getting away from things that want to hurt you including monsters and goons and boulders and big falls!
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!
Books contain lots of stuff, sometimes it’s helpful knowledge, sometimes it’s ghosts.
Gain one point in one Action stat and one Adventure stat.
You gain an extra die when you become airborne during an action.
If you are facing down foes with a more dangerous weapon than them, you can spend a composure to just win.
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 resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you run away from the danger at hand.
Gain one point in two Mystery stats.
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.
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.
When you've used all of your composure, you cannot resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you unleash or exacerbate something supernatural.
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.
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 resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you’ve bumbled your way into life threatening peril.
Gain one point in two Action stats.
You gain an extra die when you are the first person to act after a trap is triggered.
When a new character is introduced you can spend a composure to declare what your relationship was back in the old days.
When you've used all of your composure, you cannot resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you've been left behind or separated from your companions.
Gain one point in one Action stat and one Mystery stat.
When you are asked about the Dormant Peril, you can ask the GM for salient details and then extrapolate into a grand ancient tale.
You gain an extra die when you wield a weapon or perform an action encoded in your traditions and rituals.
When you've used all of your composure, you cannot resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you've left a warning with your companions and disappeared mysteriously.
Gain two points in any one stat.
You gain an extra die when you try to distract one or more people.
You can spend a composure at any time to have small weapons or tools hidden on your person.
When you've used all of your composure, you cannot resist any consequences and roll zero dice for all your actions until you are captured by an opposing faction.
Gain one point in Running Away.
When someone is going to give up or turn traitor, you can spend a composure to inspire them and keep them on side.
Gain one point in Magic.
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.
Gain one point in Espionage.
When something is within your reach, you can spend a composure to just take it, regardless of who or what possesses it.
Gain one point in BIFF.
When someone you're attracted to is in danger you can see, you can spend a composure to redirect the danger to yourself.
Gain one point in BANG.
When someone else fucks something up, you can spend a composure to roll your eyes and snatch them out of the way of danger.
Gain one point in Negotiations.
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.
If you're at Home the new locale is probably Abroad, but could be The Wilderness.
If you're Abroad the new locale is probably the Wilderness, but could be the Lost City or Home.
If you're in the Wilderness the new locale is probably the Lost City, but could be Abroad or Home.
If you're in the Lost City the new locale could be any of the others.
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 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 if you make it out alive.
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:
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.
Rivals might be:
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. Though a complication might still trigger or partially trigger it.
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 specialty 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.
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.
Complications are decided by the GM so there's a list of them in the GameMaster's section.
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.
The game is over when:
Hey there GameMaster you've got a pretty hectic role at the table. People will be looking to you to craft the story and tell them what happens next. Here's what you do:
Come up with cool ideas: A temple inside a glacier, an ancient race of buried dinosaur people, jumping over a canyon on dirtbikes to escape an explosion. That kind of shit. Just try to keep a simmering pot of action adventure going in the back of your brain, you'll need it.
Then, get the players to help set up and tell the story. Ask them questions about their characters, especially leading ones. "Where did you teach prehistoric ethnogeography?" "Why were you banned from teaching?" "What kinds of unsavoury folks have been funding your expeditions since?" "Why is Angela's character going to be upset to see you?"
Trust your fuckin gut. When it's your turn to speak, tell the story, move it forwards, say what happens next, whatever you feel like that might be. Try to make it fictionally believable, and try to make it exciting. You need to say what stakes are and consequences a lot, go with what feels right and talk with your players if you're not sure or they seem uncomfortable.
This includes fuckin murdering player characters. Sometimes say "You fall into a pit of spike and die." The "Rolling To Avoid Things" mechanism is there to let players change that outcome but you have to put it out there as an option first.
When players don't ace a roll, complications happen. Heck, sometimes complications just happen while you're telling the story. Here's a list of some complications to use.
If they don't know where to go next, show them or show them how to find out.
If they do know where to go, put things in their way.
Better find places