A game for 1-6 players where you take the role of a skeleton cursed to protect a tomb throughout the ages.

Gameplay is cyclic; first you identify an intruder, then you deal with them while answering a question about your skeleton, then you determine how much time has passed, then you repeat, all with variations that give a strong sense of time passing and the years crumbling the world around you.

Cool stuff.

So how did it work solo? Very well. Though I can see how this would really shine with a group to bounce ideas off of, solo was easy. There were a couple of points where I misunderstood the rules and later wished I hadn’t, but nothing game breaking at all.

I went with a “sketch it out” approach rather than a full narrative style, mostly because I was feeling casual.

There’s no real randomness except what will happen next, so it’s a very different adventure than a standard dungeon crawl. You know you’re going to make it through the ages, one way or another; it’s more about how you’ll get there and what you’ll have gained and lost in the process.

The one place I felt like I could really have used more instruction is the very end; I just wasn’t sure where to go with things. Was a partial victory allowed? What exactly counted as “defeat” for a skeleton?

I figured it out on my own, which was likely as intended, but I wasn’t sure I was being true to the game or to my fiction-as-established. Does that matter? I don’t know. I feel happy about my adventure, so that’s what matters to me.

There are two variants included, which means plenty of replay value. I’m already considering how I’ll play the Fire Mountain variant with a non-skeleton undead!

Note: I’m kind of inconsistent with how I choose elements; the author suggests just going up to the nearest unused option but I missed that at first. Also, while I tried to avoid verbatim quotes from the source, it’s still pretty spoiler-y.

tomb at start
the tomb of the sun king

The adventure begins...

Ok, made my tomb using google docs and the sun tool.

I'll play Silver Torc, I think.

I've positioned myself right behind the sarcophagus in the central room.

The beautiful item is the "Heavenly Blue Ring Mail"; I rolled it up randomly using a generator. It's in an alcove to the north.

So now we head to "The Unsealed Tomb" and choose an enemy. I'm going to pick options at random.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

Rolling 1d3 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

Grave Rats! I need to drive them away and prevent their return, then answer one question if I choose.

I set snares; I am patient and methodical and I have hunted before. It's a meaningless exercise, as they will find nothing to sustain them but I must obey and protect the tomb.

I remember... my name, Atan, and that I was a hunter.

[One Options] gods laugh, glory fades

[Choice] gods laugh

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Something we were protecting is destroyed.

The rats chew up several of the vibrant tapestries that line the walls.

Time passes...

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 ] 3

A week passes.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

[One Options] tomb robber, spirit of place

[Choice] tomb robber

He is well-prepared, and confident; he smells of incense and gold. He does not expect the tomb to be guarded so soon after occupancy.

This makes it easy, when he opens the sarcophagus, to run him through.

I can answer two questions from my sheet.

The dead robber was my cousin, and he's the one who killed me.

The crown he was wearing was mine once.

[One Options] gods laugh, glory fades

[Choice] gods laugh

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

My sword, only ceremonial, is broken.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Time passes... a month this time.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

Rolling 1d3 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

A family seeking refuge.

They are refugees; the tomb raider left the path open. Civil war has broken out, with each side blaming the other for the disappearance of the newly crowned king.

I have no need to kill them, because they flee in terror as soon as I sit up.

It just says I have to deal with them.

The girl reminds me of my love, a noblewoman I conquered a kingdom for. I don't remember what happened to her.

I only have two questions left!

[One Options] laugh, fades

[Choice] fades

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 ] 3

A previous memory is false and I learn the truth of it.

The cousin I killed was not my murderer; my lover was.

Time passes...

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 6 ] 6

It's been a thousand years!

[One Options] crumble, devours

[choice] crumble

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 5 ] 5

Colors fade, metals dull, iron rusts. So everything is gray now, including my silver torc, the once glittering crown, the bright mosaics...

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

[One Options] robbers, spiders

[Choice] robbers

They are wearing strange clothes and carrying strange lights. One is a fighter, the other a thief. They focus on the sarcophagus; the mosaics that once marked each of the seven chamber's doors have faded and hard to see in torchlight.

One of my snares trips up the fighter, who is left limping. He curses out the thief who shrugs, then the two of them push open the lid to the sarcophagus.

They are disappointed at the empty tomb and fall to arguing, then fighting. It's trivial for me to dispatch the fighter from behind.

Two questions; hmm.

I see the symbol around the thief's neck and recognize it as one I used to wear; an eight-pointed sun with a hole in the center. I stay my hand a moment, thinking, and he turns tail and flees.

Before he leaves the edge of the tomb, I suddenly remember that I was known as the Sun Triumphant, and that I ruled from one sea to another.

[One Options] fades, laughs

[Choice] fades

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

So my skeleton gains a tiny measure of free will as the magic compelling him to serve fades.

Time passes...

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

A century, this time.

[One Options] crumble, devours

[Choice] devours

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

Spiderwebs everywhere!

The Desecration phase.

We're up to about seven and a half minutes of darkness.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

[One Options] plunderers, descendants, necromancer

[Choice] plunderers

It's a bandit army, armed with shovels and torches and strange machinery.

They are no match for my snares and traps, laid cunningly over the past century as I eke out the time. It's not long before their courage breaks; only a dozen or so die before that.

I choose one from each this time.

We're at the point where a die roll won't help, so I'll choose.

...

[One Options] 2, 4, 5

[Choice] 2

One of the treasures we were protecting is missing.

One of the bandits managed to grab the key to the Heavenly Blue Ring Mail's chamber and fled with it; he died just inside the entrance but his companions looted his body before fleeing.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

I put the crown on; it protects me from heat and flame.

Time passes...

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

Another century. Two more minutes, bringing us up to nine and a half minutes or so.

[One Options] crumbles, devours

[Choice] devours

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

Mag-men visit and retreat, dropping something.

They melt a hole in one wall; they drop the corpse of a traitor.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

Rolling 1d3 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

It's our descendants; they are here following a treasure map.

I stand silently as they unlock the door and remove the Heavenly Blue Ring Mail. I have amassed just enough self-will to wait until they have reached the exit before I begin to give chase, and they escape unharmed but terrified.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

The ceiling collapses, covering my usual standing spot in dirt and rubble.

This causes the door nearest to collapse, revealing a small chamber holding the remnants of my earliest life; a well-preserved bow, rotted leather armor, a quiver covered with beadwork.

Time passes...

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Another thousand years.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 ] 3

The sarcophagus splits open, the vast treasure hidden beneath the empty place I should rest spilling out.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 1 ] 1

A wall collapses, blocking off my past.

"Arise and protect the tomb, skeletal guardians!"

The last invader is a necromancer and mercenaries.

Many of them are killed by traps and snares, but the final confrontation is between myself and the necromancer. She wears the Heavenly Blue Ring Mail and it gleams like nothing else in this place has for a thousand years.

We exchange blows, none decisive. She uses magic and aggression to compel me but I remember who I am and am resolute.

She orders me to heel, but I remember conquering an empire. She tempts me to her service, but I remember love. She offers revenge, but I no longer have a taste for it.

I recognize in her the same ambition that ruled the girl I once loved.

I unclasp my silver torc and offer it to her, and she, bewildered, accepts.

As it leaves my fingers I crumble, and am free at last.

tomb at end
the tomb of the sun king at the end, 2100 years or so later