I Bury the Gods is a roleplaying game for one or more players. It takes inspiration from games such as Ironsworn and The Deep Forest. To play the game, you'll need a couple of ten-sided dice, a handful of tokens, a character sheet and the rules on this website.

Introduction

You hail from the Lakelands, once a remote colony of the Batrian Khanate.

The Batrians would use convicted criminals to trap Lakelander gods. Once a god has taken root in its new hosts, the criminals would be executed, bringing an end to the resident spirit.

You were one such host. A nameless nature spirit shared your body and that of your companions. It lent you its power.

Days before your execution, the governor of Lakelands received a missive from the Hundred-Blood Empress: every one of her soldiers were to return to the Batrian capital.

The soldiers left. The governor fled.

A fellow Lakelander freed you from captivity.

Your people proclaimed the land a republic and began the delicate process of decolonisation. Your condition as a host to one of the land's gods helped you secure an official position with the new state.

Rebuild your homeland, Lakelander. Protect it from its enemies—the sentient darkness of the forest, the schemers who would welcome a return to Batrian rule, the evil that consumes the Khanate and will soon turn its baleful eye to the Lakelands.

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Modifiers

A player character in I Bury the Gods has four modifiers:

  • Agility
  • Insight
  • Strength
  • Will

Each modifier represents a permanent aspect of the character.

Agility represents the player character's reflexes, balance and coordination.

Insight represents memory, judgment and intuition.

Strength represents energy, physical power and toughness.

Will represents courage, discipline and perseverance.

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Skills

Skills represent your character's knowledge and expertise.

A skill allows you to reduce the target score of an action by its skill score.

You will find a list of skills available to you on your character sheet in Downloads. Feel free to add custom skills if it will suit your game.

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Experience

At any time, if your character has one or more experience points, you may choose to spend those experience points to improve the character's skills.

To increase a skill, you must spend as many experience points as the skill score after the increase. For example, if you want to increase a skill to a score of 3, you will have to spend three experience points.

You must pay the experience points for each 1 point increase. For example, to increase a skill score from 0 to 2, you will have to spend three experience points — one experience point to increase the skill score to 1 plus two to increase it to 2.

You cannot increase a skill score above 4.

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Creating a character

To play I Bury the Gods, you will need a player character. Follow these steps to create your player character:

  1. Allocate your character's modifiers
  2. Choose your character's skills
  3. Make your focus pool
  4. Describe your character's flaws and fears
  5. Choose a name for your character

Modifiers

Allocate the following scores to you player character's modifiers:

  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0

You must allocate all four scores. Each score can be allocated to one modifier only.

Skills

Next, allocate five experience points to your character's skills. Your character sheet has a section for you to track your character's skill.

Focus pool

Put three tokens in a pile to form the focus pool.

Fear

Take a couple of minutes to describe a significant fear that your character has.

Name

Finally, give your character a name.

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Actions

If your character attempts to do something with an uncertain outcome, the result will be determined by performing an "action".

Your character may attempt the following actions:

  • Take a risk
  • Help another
  • Hinder another
  • Rest and resupply
  • Face death

If your character is fighting another, you will also be able to attempt the following actions:

  • Strike down
  • Clash
  • Seek advantage

An action requires you to roll two dice and compare the results to a target score.

A die result that matches or exceeds the target score is called a winner. A die result lower than the target score is called a dud.

A score of 10 is always a winner.

A score of 1 is always a dud.

The target score represents the difficulty of the task. It is up to you to determine the appropriate target score for an action.

The following table serves as a guide for you to use when determining target scores:

Difficulty Target Score
Trivial 2
Easy 4
Challenging 6
Difficult 8
Very difficult 10
Impossible 12

Your modifiers reduce the target score, making it easier for you to accomplish certain actions. After determining the appropriate target score for an action, subtract the relevant modifier from the score.

If you have a skill relevant to the action, you may choose to spend a focus token to reduce the target score by the skill score. For example, if you attempt to climb a cliff and you have a climber skill score of 3, you may spend a focus token to reduce the target score by 3.

To spend a focus token, take a token from your focus pool and place it aside. It is now spent. You cannot spend a spent token.

If your character finds themself in a situation that triggers their fear, add 1 to the target score.

Other actions and circumstances, such as the help another action, may also affect the target score of an action.

Take a risk

If you attempt an action that has a chance of failure, you will need to take a risk. This will determine whether you succeed or fail to achieve your goal.

First describe the successful outcome. For example, if you succeed in negotiating with a cult leader, the cultists will agree to free their hostages.

Determine which modifier is applicable to this action and the target score.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the player character will complete the action successfully.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • The player character will complete the action successfully.
  • A complication will occur.

If you roll two duds, the following will occur:

  • The player character will fail to achieve the successful outcome that the player had envisioned.
  • A complication will occur.

Help another

If another player character is about to perform an action, you may attempt to help them. Describe how your character will attempt to help.

Determine which modifier is applicable to this action and the target score.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the player character who is about to perform an action will subtract 1 from their target score.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • The player character who is about to perform an action will subtract 1 from their target score.
  • A complication will occur.

If you roll two duds, the following will occur:

  • The player character who is about to perform an action will add 1 from their target score.
  • A complication will occur.

Hinder another

If another player character is about to perform an action, you may attempt to prevent them from succeeding. Describe how your character will attempt to hinder.

Determine which modifier is applicable to this action and the target score.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the player character who is about to perform an action will add 1 to their target score.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • The player character who is about to perform an action will add 1 to their target score.
  • A complication will occur.

If you roll two duds, a complication will occur.

Rest and resupply

Your character takes time to recuperate from their wounds and prepare for the challenges ahead. Describe what they do to achieve this.

Determine which modifier is applicable to this action and the target score.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the following will occur in the order provided:

  1. Return all of your spent focus tokens to the focus pool.
  2. Remove up to four tokens from the wound pool.
  3. You may choose to spend one focus token to remove one additional token from the wound pool.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the the following will occur in the order provided:

  1. Return all of your spent focus tokens to the focus pool.
  2. Remove up to two tokens from the wound pool.
  3. You may choose to spend one focus token to remove one additional token from the wound pool.

If you roll two duds, the following will occur in the order provided:

  1. Return all of your spent focus tokens to the focus pool.
  2. You may choose to spend one focus token to remove one additional token from the wound pool.

Face death

Your character has suffered a wound. You must now determine the severity of the wound.

The target score for this action is the number of tokens you have in your wound pool currently. None of your modifiers can apply to this action.

Roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the action will have no further effect on you.

If you roll one winner and one dud, add one additional token to the wound pool.

If you roll two duds, your character will perish.

Gain experience

You have completed your quest. The journey to its completion has earned you valuable experience.

The target score for this action is the difficulty of the quest that you have completed. None of your modifiers can apply to this action.

Roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, your character will gain two experience points.

If you roll any duds, your character will gain one experience point.

Strike down

You spot an opening in your foe's defenses and attempt to strike them down.

Determine the target score and subtract your strength modifier.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, your opponent will perish. Describe the manner of their defeat.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • Your opponent will suffer a wound.
  • You will lose advantage.

If you roll two duds, your character will suffer a wound. Add one token to the wound pool and face death.

Clash

You and your foe trade blows, neither one having an edge over the other.

Determine the target score and subtract your strength modifier.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, the following will occur:

  • Your opponent will suffer a wound.
  • You will receive advantage.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • Your opponent will suffer a wound.
  • Your character will suffer a wound. Add one token to the wound pool and face death.

If you roll two duds, your character will suffer a wound and face death.

Seek advantage

You feint, parry and dodge, looking for an opening in your opponent's defenses.

Determine the target score and subtract either your agility or your insight modifier.

Now roll two dice.

If you roll two winners, you will receive advantage.

If you roll one winner and one dud, the following will occur:

  • You will receive advantage.
  • Your character will suffer a wound. Add one token to the wound pool and face death. Reduce the target score of the face death move by 1.

If you roll two duds, your character will suffer a wound. Add one token to the wound pool and face death. Reduce the target score of the face death move by 1.

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