what we hope you'll make
We are excited for creators to make whatever they want for Quest using the materials in this resource.
Note that you are not limited to only making things for Quest that contain material from this resource. You might want to create an entire narrative adventure that's "for Quest" but doesn't use anything in this document. We approve.
Here are some things that we look forward to seeing, should you decide to make them:
- Adventure modules, including short "one-shot" adventures, or medium or long adventures
- New roles and abilities
- Additional systems for the game, like additional die mechanics, cues or moves for the Guide, or modification of existing systems
- Tools for players, including character generators, party management tools, encounter generators, or other things that make it easier to play the game
- Other supplemental content, like puzzles, traps, treasure, clues, challenges, or anything else that makes the game more interesting and fun
- Things we haven't even thought of
Remember: the license for this resource allows you to use anything you see in this document for your own purposes. You can give your things away for free, or sell them. It doesn't make a difference to us personally, but more importantly, it's completely legal for you to take stuff from this document and do whatever you want with it.
an endless omniverse
We have designed this game with flexible and expandable systems that are meant to encourage compatibility.
The core rules of the game ideally allow additions like roles, abilities, treasure, and settings to all work with each other. For instance, if you were to create a sci-fi narrative for Quest, complete with new sci-fi focused roles and abilities, our basic rules would allow those additions to seamlessly mix with Quest's original content. With a little creativity, it's not hard to imagine an Invoker on a starship.
In theory, all worlds created for Quest can co-exist in the same omniverse, allowing players to travel between stories.
You can tweak the game any way you wish. However, for maximum compatibility, we have some recommendations about what not to change.
how to stay compatible
Changing the rules for the following systems will risk making your modifications incompatible with the original game, and with other works that preserve these features. This does not mean you must follow these guidelines; just be aware that changing these things may change what players can do or confuse their expectations without detailed guidance.
The mechanics for distance are deeply embedded in the game's abilities and items. Changing distances in any way will quickly break a lot of things.
the core die mechanic
The die roll in Quest is intended to be a measure of fate, not skill. Modifying the probability bands can cause the abilities for roles to break without substantial revision to those abilities. Additionally, adding traditional "skill" scores, like Wisdom, Intelligence, Strength, etc, can also disrupt the core die mechanic in ways that will challenge the compatibility of your modifications with original content. If you want to change the die mechanic, we suggest rules that add to the system without changing its core.
Quest is designed to eliminate the use of inflationary statistics. Changing the hit points of the player characters will disrupt the balance of original abilities, and custom abilities that are based on a maximum HP of 10. Changing the rules for regrouping, resting, injury, or death will have less of an impact, as they are implicated by a smaller number of abilities in the game.
turns and rounds
Changing the mechanics for turns and rounds is not likely to severely impact the game, as these rules are not implicated by a large number of components. For example, introducing an initiative system will not seriously challenge the original set of abilities or items in the game (though this may disrupt other third-party content that observes the rules for turns and rounds).
The action economy (move and do one thing during a turn) has implications for ability balance. The original roles already have powerful capabilities within their ability lists, and allowing either player characters or NPCs to perform multiple abilities per turn could make action scenes more chaotic and unpredictable. Changing the action economy may cause severe compatibility issues for narrative modules and custom roles or abilities that rely on the default pace of action.
Making the Guide roll in private will not disrupt any systems of the game; we have included the public rolling rule to enhance the excitement and sense of fate among all of the players at the table.
Removing die rolls for NPCs will break some of the abilities in the game that react to them, like The Fighter's Counterattack ability.
Introducing money into the game is not likely to seriously reduce compatibility.
Modifying the inventory system is not likely to seriously reduce compatibility.
You may not imply that your works were created by us (The Adventure Guild) or that they are endorsed by us. You MAY indicate intended compatibility with the system by saying things like "An adventure for Quest" or "A ruleset for the Quest roleplaying game," even on the cover of what you make. We also encourage you to have a discussion about compatibility inside of your work to let players know what has changed between your work and the original game.
Quest is meant to welcome entirely new players to tabletop roleplaying, meaning players who have never experienced this kind of game before. You don't have to address this audience in your own works, but if you want to make things that complement our designs, you can take inspiration from these principles.
simple rules; endless complexity
Taking inspiration from trading card games, Quest is designed to start with a simple set of core rules that can support endless complexity built on top. Building things on top of Quest can expand its complexity either by complimenting existing content or by breaking parts the game entirely; take, for example, our magic treasure item "Dubbin's Dire Die," which changes the probability bands of the core die mechanic. By keeping the core rules simple, you can subvert them in creative and unexpected ways with "cards" that change the game.
does it fit on a card?
We wrote Quest inside of the physical containers we expected to publish the game in. Many of our items and abilities exceed these dimensions, but most can have their text fit on a standard tarot-sized card. This has the benefit of forcing the writer to be economical with words, but it also allows you to change the game in small steps that are digestible for players. Again, like a trading card game, each card can completely change the game. We recommend modifying the game by using discrete creations like abilities and treasure rather than changing core systems.
linear learning curves
Our focus on card-sized blocks of information and our recommended pace of growth (one new ability per session) creates something like a linear learning curve for players. Players only have to learn one new thing per play session. This gives players time to think about each new power they gain, and how that power hangs together with the rest of their capabilities.
power: specific to general
For the player characters, we don't scale statistics like hit points, ability scores, or experience points as a metaphor for their power. Instead, we use abilities that grow in power. One of the ways we balance this power gain is by increasing the scope of these abilities.
Let's say you are creating conjuration-style abilities in a learning path, we recommend you move from small, specific things to conjure, to sweeping, open-ended things. For example, for the first conjuration ability in a tree, you might consider allowing the player to create a small toy that can only affect one or a few commoners or minions nearby. On the higher-end of the scale, you might allow the player to conjure almost anything they can imagine.
You can also work backward from big to small. The Wizard's "Create" ability is almost the purest expression of conjuration, allowing them to perfectly create anything they can imagine. Once you know what the most powerful version of an ability might be, you can create steps that ramp up to that kind of power.
the one-note joke rule
When designing abilities, we try not to do something so specific and limited in flavor that it would become exhausting, repetitive, or irritating to use at the table. This is especially important for abilities that have no AP cost and can be used at will. For example, if you create an ability that causes a creature to emit a rude noise, you should expect it to become a "one-note joke" at the table. Think about whether an ability would become too repetitive if used constantly in the conversation.
Guides have great flexibility in awarding AP to players, but you should take care when assigning AP costs to custom abilities. AP costs should scale when you are designing the power of abilities from specific to general, and reflect the scope of the ability's power. Consult the original Ability Catalog to see how these AP costs scale between various learning paths and roles.
You can use this simple guidance for assigning AP costs to custom abilities:
0 ap: An essential ability that you expect the player to use constantly. Be especially careful to make free abilities modest in power, and avoid one-note jokes. Every role should have a few zero-cost abilities to let their unique capabilities shine during scenes.
1 ap: A beginner ability that is expected to be used frequently. Consider abilities that cost 1 AP as "core" abilities to the role that demonstrate the role's niche.
2-3 ap: Moderately powerful abilities that often "just work" without requiring a die roll. These abilities are likely to be used only once per scene.
4-5 ap: Powerful abilities that can have dramatic effects on an entire scene and are likely to change the course of the narrative in the entire session.
6-8 ap: Extremely powerful abilities that are only likely to be used once every few sessions. Abilities with this cost may have permanent effects, or effects with a significant scope.
9-10 ap: World-shaking abilities, abilities that can dramatically affect the story the group tells, or any other ability that should only be used very rarely in the story. We don't recommend exceeding 10 AP for any individual ability to prevent AP hoarding. If you invent an ability so powerful that you don't want a player to be able to use it to affect the story by default, consider making it a legendary ability that only the Guide can bestow on the player.
essential abilities & internal ability scaling
Because we avoid "leveling up" and other inflationary systems, we try to make abilities that have distinct and essential forms. For example, if you want to give a role the ability to shoot a missile of lightning, avoid creating multiple abilities that do the same thing. Instead, consider scaling the ability internally with varying AP costs to increase its power and scope.
In this example, you might offer the ability to shoot lightning with no AP cost, but require the player to role the die. For the same ability, you might offer a variation that automatically hits a target for 2 AP. You can even go further, turning the ability into a chain lightning spell that hits multiple targets by letting the player spend additional AP for each target they wish to hit.
When you look at a role's abilities in total, a balance of abilities that resolve automatically with no complications and abilities that come with drawbacks is desirable. Consider giving a role's most powerful abilities a touch of chaos, a drawback that forces the player to consider a moral quandary, or otherwise makes the player pause before using it.
Approachability is an important part of accessibility for large audiences. The reason we spent as much time thinking about the presentation of this game as we did for its rules and content is because we wanted to make new audiences comfortable with the idea of trying a storytelling game. Think about how your work looks and feels and ask if a new player would be comfortable approaching it. If you're unsure, talk to some folks who have never played a roleplaying game before.
It's good to ask for feedback and test your work with people from different perspectives and backgrounds. But at some point, you need to make strong decisions about how something should look, feel, and play. When you've identified the source of fun in your work and how you think your game should be designed, lean into it.
It's good to consider feedback, but design by committee can end up creating something that tries to appeal to everyone while actually appealing to very few people. You can always change things later if it doesn't work how you expected.
basic style guide
We use all open-source fonts in official Quest materials. These fonts are freely available via Google Fonts.
Our headings use Alegreya Sans SC, by Juan Pablo del Peral. We use a variety of weights for headings, depending on the depth of the information hierarchy in a given document.
Our pullquotes use Alegreya, by Huerta Tipográfica. We use Alegreya Black 900 for heading-level pullquotes, and Alegreya Bold 700 for secondary pullquotes. We do not use periods for heading-level pullquotes.
Our body text uses Ovo, by Nicole Fally.
You can see an example of how we might style information hierarchy throughout a document on the right.
Whatever you choose, we recommend you keep your styles consistent. For example, don't mix and match heading styles for different types of information below those headings. Use your styles consistently to let your reader know what kind of information to expect alongside each style.
For inline emphasis, we suggest using Alegreya Sans SC instead of bold or italic text.