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A Tomb Raider tabletop RPG wasn’t an announcement I expected, but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a perfect combo

While anticipation builds for the next Tomb Raider game, and fans enjoy the recently released remasters of the original trilogy, an unexpected new addition to the series has been announced: a tabletop RPG.

Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth will let players gather round the table to take on the role of “Truth Seekers”, creating their own heroes who love a dangerous archaeological expedition as much as Croft herself. Playbooks (think classes) you can take include “the Crafter, Scholar, Hunter, Companion, Legacy, Changed, and Reclaimer”—from the names alone it’s easy to see how most of these would fit neatly into a Tomb Raider story.

Licensed tabletop RPGs can often feel a bit awkward, and at first glance Tomb Raider seems an odd fit for an evening of dice-chucking. But the more I think about it, the more I think it makes perfect sense. There’s a really accessible and fun premise here—daring heroes going on adventures through ancient ruins in exciting locales—that anyone, including complete newcomers to TTRPGs, can immediately grasp just from one look at the cover. I can see that really hooking people in, even more so for being paired with some very charming artwork showing off the kind of characters you could play.

The typical Tomb Raider story can feel a little outdated these days, what with all the stealing of historical treasures from other cultures and such—but even in the short announcement, Shadows of Truth already seems self-aware of those issues. It describes characters in the game as “[striving] to reveal long-hidden knowledge and thwart those who would steal and exploit artifacts for their own gains”. So less nabbing treasures to decorate your mansion with and more uncovering secrets of the past to protect the world, which is pretty in line with how the recent videogames have tried to modernise Lara’s motives.

It looks like the system will be some kind of new, light d6 dice pool affair; from the character sheet snippets in the announcement, it seems like it’s taking some inspiration from Blades in the Dark. Perhaps it’s using that game’s heist mechanics for tomb raids instead? That’s certainly more promising than the tortured D&D 5e implementations a lot of these licensed projects get, and publisher Evil Hat Productions has a great track record—Blades in the Dark is one of theirs, as is Monster of the Week. Long-time roleplayers may remember them as the creators of the popular and innovative FATE system for games like The Dresden Files and Spirit of the Century.

In fact, to celebrate this announcement, Evil Hat Productions is holding a 20% off sale on all its existing games—just use the offer code ENTERTHETOMB on the website to take advantage. There isn’t a release date yet for Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth, but information on an upcoming playtest and other announcements is promised via Crystal Dynamics’ “Society of Raiders” newsletter.

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