How to Play
In Adventure, players work together to overcome challenges, battle ferocious monsters, explore new worlds, discover hidden treasures, and, hopefully, save the day.
How It Works
The game follows a simple pattern.
- The Game Master (or GM, the person running the game) describes a situation.
- The player or players state what they want to do.
- The GM describes what happens.
The most important phrase in Adventure is, “What do you do?”
GM: “Before you lies a bridge. There are boards missing in places, and the ones that remain appear old and rotted. What do you do?”
Player: “I try to walk across, carefully checking for loose boards as I go.”
GM: “As you’re walking across, one of the boards starts to break under your feet. As you scramble across, the entire bridge begins to collapse. What do you do?”
Player: “I try to jump to the other side before the whole bridge falls down.”
GM: “You push off the breaking board with all of your might, catching the ledge with your fingers and hoisting yourself over the edge. The bridge falls into the chasm below you. But as you do, your sword falls out of its hilt and drops onto a ledge about 20 feet down. What do you do?”
What You Need to Play
- Dice. Adventure uses two six-sided dice (sometimes called 2D6). If you don’t have any dice, you can roll digital dice.
- A notebook. A place to write down details about the characters and the story. If you prefer, you can print out character sheets from the downloads page.
- Your imagination. The most important part!
Creating a Character
Each player creates a character to represent them on their adventures (this is what makes Adventure an RPG, or role-playing game).
- Name & Description. You can be anyone you want to be in adventure: an elf wizard, a fairy alchemist, a birdfolk knight. Be anything you want.
- Skills & Abilities. What makes your character unique? Can they breath fire or fly? Are they experts at elemental magic or illusions? Are they a skilled archer?
- Stuff. Each character starts the game with rope, water, food, a few coins, one healing potion, weapons, and a personal item with a story behind it.
The downloads section includes premade characters if you need examples or want to start playing immediately.
- An elf who specializes in nature magic and can talk to animals. His staff is made form a birch tree and changes with the seasons (ex. flowers in the spring).
- A fairy knight who can fly and wields a battleaxe made from an enchanted sunflower. She protects her village from the forces of evil.
- A dragon chemist, Spark creates potions that give magical properties to whoever drinks them. They want to open a medicinal tea shop.
Actions & Outcomes
Actions and outcomes should follow the logic of the fictional world you’re exploring.
Any time you want to add chance to the outcome of a player action, the GM can ask the player to roll two six-sided dice (2D6) and add the resulting numbers together.
|9+||Success. It worked as planned.|
|6-8||Partial Success. It worked, with a cost.|
|5-||Failure. It didn’t work.|
- On 9 or higher, the noble is convinced, offering them a room in their palace and a feast in their honor.
- On a 6 to 8, the noble reluctantly believes them, but secretly sends someone to look into their background.
- On an 5 or less, the noble knows they’re lying, and has them arrested.
Advantage & Disadvantage
Items, skills, and special circumstances may give the player an advantage or disadvantage in attempting to complete a task.
- Advantage. Roll three six-sided dice (3D6) and take the best two dice.
- Disadvantage. Roll three six-sided dice (3D6) and take the worst two dice.
This is an easy way to give players bonuses based on their skills and stuff.
- The player is attempting to sneak up on a camp and surprise them. It’s nighttime, making them harder to see. They roll 3D6 and take the best two dice.
- An evil wizard uses a spell to shroud the cavern in darkness, and the player cannot see them. The player attempts to shoot an arrow at wizard through the darkness at a target they can’t see. They roll roll 3D6 and take the worst two dice.
Rolls are optional
Reserve dice rolls for instances where the outcome is uncertain, or where both failure and success would be interesting to the story.
- Difficult tasks like climbing steep walls or picking locks.
- Casting complex or powerful spells.
- Attacking monsters or defending yourself against attacks.
- Trying to learn information about an unknown person, place, or object.
If the thing the player is trying to do is really easy or impossibly difficult, skip the die roll and let it succeed or fail automatically.
- The players find a mysterious, glowing rock deep in a cavern. They ask, “What is this? What does it do?” The GM asks them to roll a die.
- The player attempts to hit an ogre with their sword. The GM asks them to roll a die.
- The player tries to to jump over a fallen goblin. They automatically succeed.
- The player punches a thick stone wall, attempting to break it down. They automatically fail.
Rulings, Not Rules
Combat, magic, crafting and tinkering, and pretty much anything else you want to do in Adventure all follow the same core mechanic.
- If it’s easy, it automatically works.
- It it’s impossibly difficult, it automatically fails.
- Otherwise, roll to find out what happens.
The rules are deliberately minimal. The GM makes rulings based on what makes the most logical sense in the world you’ve created together.
- He snuck up behind the ogre. The ogre didn’t see it coming, and the hit automatically lands.
- 9+. The ogre tries to duck, but isn’t fast enough. The hit lands.
- 6-8. The hit lands, but the sword gets stuck in the ogre’s tough hide and is ripped out of the knight’s hands.
- He tries to start a small fire by snapping his fingers. This is simple nature magic, and always works.
- He tries to tangle an enemy with vines. He rolls to see what happens.
- He tries to teleport. This isn’t nature magic, so it fails automatically.
- They want to brew a healing potion. This is their signature tea, and they can easily do so.
- They’ve been exploring a cave for several days. While they can easily brew a healing potion, they’re low on ingredients and need to forage more. Roll to see if they can find them.
- They want to create a tea that lets whoever drinks it breath underwater. This is an experimental tea of their own design. Roll with disadvantage.
Health & Healing
As an adventurer, you’re going to get hurt from time-to-time. Cuts, bruises, and serious injury are a common risk.
- Moderate Injury. Things like puncture wounds, deep cuts, and broken bones.
- Serious Injury. Things like head and torso injuries, lost limbs, and high falls.
- Fatal Injuries. Anything that would reasonably end a character’s life.
Injuries beyond minor cuts and scrapes impart conditions that have in-game and mechanical impacts on a character.
If left untreated, four moderate injuries, two serious injuries, or one fatal injury also cause a character to take their last breath.
- An arrow pierces Fin’s leg (moderate). He walks with limp, and has disadvantage on all rolls that require use of the leg.
- Flower is hit in the head with a warhammer (serious). She’s stunned and confused, and has disadvantage on all rolls that involve thinking.
- Spark falls off a 50’ drop (serious/fatal). They’re immediately knocked unconscious, and fail all actions until revived.
Players can recover from injuries in a few of ways.
How much they heal is dependent on the severity of the injury, the method used, and the abilities of the person doing the healing. Conditions caused by the injury may remain even after it’s healed.
- Fin has an arrow lodged in his right leg. He rips it out and chugs a healing potion. The puncture heals over, and he regains full use of his leg.
- Flower is stunned after being hit in the head with a warhammer. She visits an healer who gives her a magical elixir. After a days rest, she’s able to think clearly again.
- Spark has a deep gash on their arm. Out of healing potions, they bandage it up with some herbs. After three days, the wound heals, and they can use their arm without issue.
A character takes their last breath after four moderate injuries, two serious injuries, or one fatal injury.
- 9+: Death allows them to return to the living.
- 6-8: Death requires something in return.
For a less dark and gritty experience, characters with too many injuries can instead become knocked out. A knocked out character cannot do anything until revived with time and rest, magic, or a skilled healer.
Whether from taking their last breath or being knocked out, a revived character may still have lingering in-game conditions and effects.
As your character goes on adventures, they’ll learn new skills and find cool stuff. You can use the same character from one adventurer to the next, and bring their skills, gear, and treasure along with them.
- Learn a new skill or ability.
- Replace an existing skill or ability with a new one.
- Increase the power of a skill or ability.
- Acquire weapons and magic items that give you new abilities.
- In his travels, Fin finds a crystal that intensifies the power of his nature magic. He’s now able to move large chunks of earth.
- Flower acquires a lucky rabbits foot that seems to grant her a magical sense about where her enemies will next strike. She can use it to turn a failed combat roll into a success once per day.
- Spark discovers a recipe for a long forgotten magical potion that causes whoever consumes it to double in strength for an hour.
A Sample Game
To help this all stick, let’s look at a sample game with knight and a wizard.
GM: As you enter the cave, you see a sleeping ogre curled up around a massive pile of gold. One arm rests over the pile, while his other hand gently clutches a massive wooden club. In the back of the cave, you see the baby dragon you’ve been sent to rescue wrapped up in an old blanket. What do you do?
Knight: I try to quietly sneak past the ogre.
Wizard: While he does that, I’m going to attempt to carefully steal a few coins from the ogre’s treasure while he sleeps.
GM: Ok. Both of you make a roll. Knight, roll with disadvantage because your metal armor is very creaky and clunky.
Wizard: I rolled a 2 and a 5… 7 total.
Knight: I rolled a 4, 3, and 1, so… 4 with disadvantage.
(The Wizard partially succeeds. The Knight fails.)
GM: Great, thanks. The Wizard carefully picks up three gold coins and tucks them into her pocket. As she reaches for a fourth, the Knight’s elbow accidentally bumps into the cave wall. The metal of his armor “clangs” and reverberates through the cave, growing louder before tapering off.
The ogre’s eyes flutter open. He catches sight of the Wizard’s outstretched arm reaching for his horde. He shouts:
Just what do you think you’re doing!?
He stands up, towering a good six feet over Wizard’s head. What do you do?
Wizard: Umm… uh… I tell him that the coins looked dirty and I was just going to clean them for him!
GM: Ok, make a roll.
Wizard: I rolled a total of 4.
(That’s a failure.)
GM: The ogre rubs the crust from his eyes, lifts the club over his head, and says:
Do you think I was born yesterday?
Then, he lets out a roar and swings the club down towards you. What do you do?
Knight: Seeing the ogre about to crush my friend, I unhilt my sword and swing it up to meet the club before it hits her.
GM: Excellent, make a roll.
Knight: I rolled 10.
(That’s a success.)
GM: As the club rushes down toward the Wizard’s head, she closes her eyes and instinctively ducks. Knight rushes between her and the ogre, unhilting his sword and swinging it up towards the club in one fluid movement.
His sword meets the club inches before it hits the Wizard. The ogre, caught off guard, stumbles backwards a few feet. What do you do?
As you can see, the game is a series of choices, actions, die rolls, consequences, and next steps. Every choice the players make, and every random outcome of the dice, leads to the next logical step in the story.