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 your hilt and drops onto a ledge about 20 feet down. What do you do?”
What You Need to Play
- Dice. Adventure uses a single six-sided die (or a D20 if you’d prefer). If you don’t have any dice, you can roll digital dice.
- Character sheets. You can print them out from the downloads page, or just write the details down in a notebook.
- Your imagination. The most important part!
You might also want to keep a pen and notebook handy, but it’s not required to play.
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).
The downloads section includes printable character sheets to guide you through the process, as well as premade characters. You’ll reference them throughout the game.
- Name & Description. You can be anyone you want to be in adventure: an elf wizard, a fairy tinkerer, a space cowboy, a dragonfly spy. Be anything you want.
- Speciality. Your character may be good at a few things, but they specialize in one: Strength, Agility, or Wisdom. The thing you specialize in will help you complete certain types of tasks.
- Strength. Athletics, Intimidation, Feats of Strength
- Agility. Acrobatics, Speed, Stealth, Slight of Hand
- Wisdom. Perceiving, Knowing, Figuring Things Out
- Skills & Features. What makes your character unique? Do they have a special skill, like fire breathing or the ability to fly? Are they a really good swimmer? Can they make themselves invisible or fly? Do they know any magic spells?
- Gear & Treasure. You start the game with a weapon or wand, rope, water, food, a few coins, and one healing potion. Add stuff as you find it in your travels.
Players may want to use a toy, figurine, or paper cut-out to represent their character while they play.
Actions & Deciding Outcomes
Any time you want to add chance to the outcome of a player action, ask them to roll dice (either a D6 or D20, your choice).
|6||Success. It worked as planned.||17+|
|3-5||Partial Success. It worked, with a cost.||9-16|
|2-||Failure. It didn’t work.||8-|
The GM can choose not to require a die roll.
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. Reserve die rolls for instances where the outcome is uncertain, or where both failure and success would be interesting to the story.
- On 6, the noble believes them, offering them a room in their palace and a feast in their honor.
- On a 3 to 5, the noble reluctantly believes them, but secretly sends someone to look into their background.
- On an 2 or less, the noble becomes angry, and has them arrested.
Best Roll & Worst Roll
Items, special skills, and circumstances may give the player an advantage or disadvantage in attempting to complete a task.
- Best Roll. Roll two dice and take the higher number.
- Worst Roll. Roll two dice and take the lower number.
If the player has a specialty, feature, or tool that would aid them in their task, they can use Best Roll. If a condition would make it harder for them, they use Worst Roll.
A player can’t get Best Roll or Worst Roll more than once per roll. If they would get both Best Roll and Worst Roll, they cancel each other out.
- Best Roll
- The player is attempting to sneak up on a camp and surprise them. Their specialty is Agility. The Game Master tells them to use Best Roll.
- Worst Roll
- An evil wizard uses a spell to shroud the cavern in darkness, and the player cannot see them. They attempt to shoot an arrow at wizard through the darkness. The Game Master tells them to use Worst Roll.
- The player who’s trying to sneak up on the camp is doing so in total darkness, which makes it hard for them to see and gives them Worst Roll. This cancels out the Best Roll from their specialty in Agility. They roll one die.
There may be information that the Game Master want to reveal to players selectively.
For example, when approaching the area where the thieves are going to attack, the Game Master can ask the players to roll a Wisdom Check. Any players who have a successful roll “hear the thieves approaching” and have a chance to take action before the attack.
The Game Master can also call for Wisdom Checks if the players ask for information about their environment that in real would depend on their own awareness of their surroundings or prior knowledge. For example, “Do I see anything out of the ordinary?”
Players who specialize in Wisdom take Best Roll on Wisdom Checks.
The players find a mysterious, glowing rock deep in a cavern. It pulses green. The cavern is surprisingly quiet. The players ask,
“What is this? What does it do?”
- On an 2 or lower, they can tell it’s magical, but know nothing about it’s specific properties or uses.
- On a 3 to 5, the GM tells them that they’ve heard rumors of a magical gem that belonged to the sorcerer of the North. It was stolen from him some years ago, and he’s been looking for it every since. They don’t know what it does, only that it’s very valuable.
- On a 6, the GM also tells them that it’s rumored to be able to bring trees to life, if you know the right magical phrase, and can be used to create a powerful army of treefolk.
For characters that know magic, casting spells works just like any other action. When casting a spell, players roll dice to see if it works or not.
- For really simple spells that aren’t directly working towards a challenge (for example, lighting a campfire, or making an object glow to provide light), the Game Master can choose to skip the die roll.
- For really powerful spells, the Game Master may choose to limit them in some way. Maybe they can only be cast once per day, or they require a special, rare item (like a phoenix feather) to use.
While much of Adventure is focused on exploring and problem solving, you can introduce combat with monsters as a way to keep things interesting.
- The player says what they want to do, and rolls dice
- The GM describes what happens as a result
- Strength, take Best Roll on up-close/melee attacks and blocking defense.
- Agility, take Best Roll on distanced/ranged attacks and dodging defense.
- Wisdom, take Best Roll on magical attacks and defense.
The player is trying to hit an ogre with their sword. This is a feat of strength. They roll a D6.
- On 6, the sword hits, causing the ogre to scream and stumble back a few feet.
- On a 3 to 5, the sword hits, but the ogre swings at them at the same time slams its fist into their shoulder.
- On an 2 or less, the sword misses, slamming into the ground beside the ogre.
A troll throws a giant boulder at the player, and they attempt to jump out of the way. This requires dexterity, which the player specializes in. They roll two D6, and take Best Roll.
- On a 6, the jump out of the way, and the boulder bounces off into the distance.
- On a 3 to 5, they leap out of the way, but the boulder catches their sword and knocks it 20 feet away.
- On an 2 or less, the boulder slams into them before they can jump out of the way.
Fleeing a Battle
Every now and then, players may find themselves in a battle they just can’t win.
Players can choose to flee a battle at any time, including in the middle of one. The Game Master may require a die roll to determine what happens.
Adventure is a cooperative, team game. The more you work together, the more likely you are to succeed.
- For group tasks, like trying to cross a river or sneak into a castle, if at least half of the party succeeds, everyone does.
- For individual tasks, if you can reasonably assist a teammate, they get Best Roll.
- If all three players make their roll, the party succeeds.
- If one player fails and two succeed, the party still succeeds.
- If two players fail, but one succeeds, they all fail.
Health & Damage
As an adventurer, you’re going to get hurt from time-to-time. Cuts, bruises, and serious injury are a common risk.
Every character and creature has Health Points (or HP) which represent overall health.
Whenever a character or creature takes damage, they lose one or more Health Points. When they have no HP left, they’re knocked out.
Players have 3 HP (that number can increase with experience). Monsters and other characters can have anywhere from 1 to 4 HP, depending on how tough they are.
Any time a character or creature takes damage, subtract 1 HP. A very serious injury or particularly ferocious creature may cause 2 HP of damage instead.
When the final HP is removed, the character or creature is knocked out.
- A knight hits a hydra with her sword. The hydra loses 1 HP.
- A wizard slips while scaling a cliff face and falls 20 feet. The wizard loses 1 HP, their last, and gets knocked out.
- A dragon hits the fairy with its fire breath. The fairy loses 2 HP.
When a player’s HP reaches 0, they’re knocked out and cannot continue to fight until they have at least 1 HP.
- Rest. Recover 1 HP.
- Healing Potion. Recover 2 HP.
After combat, any player that was knocked out automatically wakes up with 1 HP. Players and creatures cannot recover more HP than their total.
- Healing with rest. Your HP is 1. After a rest, your HP is now 2.
- Healing with potion. Your HP is 2. You drink a healing potion, which recovers 2 HP. But since you can’t exceed 3 HP, you’re now at 3 HP.
- Healing after combat. The knight was knocked out during combat. As quiet fills the air, she wakes up with 1 HP.
As your character goes on adventures, they’ll gain new experiences and pick up new skills. Whenever the party does something particularly meaningful or awesome, the GM can level up the party.
When you level up, pick one of the following…
- Health Increase. Gain an extra HP (up to a max of 4).
- Advanced Training. Gain an extra Specialty (up to a max of 2).
- Jack of all Trades. Once per day/adventure, take Best Roll on any die roll.
- Student of Magic. Learn two common spells or one rare spell.
- Collector. Acquire one magic item.
- Feat. Take the feature of a magic item as a natural ability.
- Make Your Own. Work with your GM to create your own new feature.
If you want, you can use the same character from one adventurer to the next, and bring their skills, gear, and treasure along with them.
House rules are strongly encouraged in Adventure. Here are some ideas you may want to adapt to your game.
For added fun, characters can have a pet that accompanies them on their adventures and helps them along the way. This can add a fun dimension to the game.
Pets can be small and sensible (a cat, dog, or woodland creature) or large and absurd (a dinosaur, dragon, or elephant). A player’s pet can be used to get them out of a tough situation, as a weapon in battle, or just for added flavor and interest in role playing.
Quill didn’t expect the rope to snap on the sharp edge of the well, or he never would have come down here by himself.
Fortunately, he brought along Geoffrey, his pet rat. He instructed Geoffrey to scurry up the wall and find help.
Roll to see what happens.
If you have an adventurer who loves to build things and has a big imagination, tinkering is an awesome special skill. A tinkerer can build small creations from bits of scrap metal and wood.
Here’s how it works.
- Tinkered items can be robotic toys, weapons, tools, and more.
- Tinkered items are small and fragile, and stop working after a few turns.
- Only one tinkered item can exist at a time.
- The parts from a tinkered item can be reclaimed to build another (either after it break, or when the adventurer decides they’d like to build something else).
The Game Master may choose to have the adventurer first acquire a tinker kit: gears, bits of scrap metal, and some small tools from a shopkeeper in the game.
For added fun, you can introduce magical items that randomly unleash a surge of chaotic magic and create random effects.
- Wands, staffs, and magical talismans, when used to cast spells or conjure abilities
- Weapons and armor, when used in battle
- Potions and herbs of unknown origin, when consumed
You don’t need to have random effects occur every time the item is used. In fact, it’s probably more fun if it happens occasionally. If you want, you can flip a coin.
Here’s a list of random effects you can use. Roll some dice to pick one at random.
Introducing Chaos Magic Items
Chaos magic items can be items that the players find in their travels, or they could be given to the players by the quest giver before they start their adventure.
I borrowed some tools and supplies from Piper Skiprock, the wizard inventor, to aid you on your quest. He insisted that they’re not finished yet, but they’ll have be good enough for now. Time is of the essence…