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 independence and began the delicate process of decolonisation. Your condition as a host to one of the land's gods helped you secure a position at the court.

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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Affiliations

Your character's affiliation represents a group of people they tend to associate with. Their knowledge of the group's customs and jargon gives you an advantage in social interactions.

There are nine affiliations for you to choose from. The affiliations are split into two groups: circles and race.

Circles

  • Courtiers
  • Drifters
  • Outlaws
  • Priests
  • Soldiers

Race

  • Dwarves
  • Elves
  • Goblins
  • Humans

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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. Determine your character's skills
  3. Choose your character's affiliations
  4. Make your focus pool
  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.

Affiliations

Choose one circles and one race affiliation.

Focus pool

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

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
  • Gain experience

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.

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

Combat in I Bury the Gods uses the concept of advantage. Advantage represents having an upper hand in the fight and the enemy on the defensive.

Your actions during a fight will determine whether you gain or lose advantage. When a fight begins, you won't have advantage. If you want to gain advantage, you will be able to do so by clashing or seeking advantage.

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

Once per day, your character must rest and resupply.

The target score for this action depends on the type of lodgings your character has. If they are staying at an inn or similar, the target score will be 4. If they are camping outside, the target score will be 6. If they have no access to shelter at all, the target score will be 8.

Subtract your strength modifier from the target score.

Now roll two dice.

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

  1. Discard all of your remaining focus tokens.
  2. Add six tokens to your focus pool.
  3. Remove up to four tokens from the wound pool.

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

  1. Discard all of your remaining focus tokens.
  2. Add four tokens to your focus pool.
  3. Remove up to four tokens from the wound pool.

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

  1. Discard all of your remaining focus tokens.
  2. Add four tokens to your focus pool.
  3. You may choose to spend one or more focus tokens to remove an equal number of tokens from the wound pool.

After resolving this action, the day ends and a new day will begin.

If a full day goes by without your character performing this action, remove one token from the focus 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.

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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