The Quest
for the Imperial Treasures

These are the rules for the classic board game Search for the Emperor's Treasure, which was designed by Tom Wham and published in Issue 51 of Dragon Magazine. I could only get my hands on a French copy, so I've translated these rules from French. I don't know French, though, so certain sections have been subjected to some... poetic license.



In a little-known realm, at a particular time, there lived some heroic adventurers, some powerful lords, and some terrifying monsters. No one remembers how to get there these days, but if you read these rules, and you play this game, you may find yourself transported through time and space... the realm of Emperor Baldan who was a powerful lord but who suffered at the hands of ill fortune. Some enemies to the north had a big party on his realm and the six powerful Imperial Treasures were whisked off by evil sorcerers and scattered throughout the realm. Baldan is eager to recover these relics and will pay handsomely those who return them, such were the extent of their powers.

Each player will play the role of a warrior, an elf, a cleric, a dwarf, a hairfoot, or a magician and share the adventure in this magic realm. The goal is to find treasures, for yourself and for the Emperor. The treasures are hidden across the realm in the cities, castles, villages, and many other places.

Each player starts the game with three clues and one weapon or shield. All along your adventures through the mountains, the seas, the deserts, and the oceans, you will encounter strange animals and troubling personages. The roads are full of dangers, but the rewards are numerous. The game ends when the six Imperial Treasures have been found. You then count up the wealth and the points of the players to determine who wins.


The game is composed of elements, in addition to rules:

  • 193 tiles including
    • 44 treasure tiles
    • 10 character tiles
    • 51 encounter tiles
    • 26 weapon tiles
    • 20 spell tiles
    • 2 boat tiles
    • 2 ship tiles
    • 38 wound tiles

  • 10 character cards
  • 42 treasure clues
  • A map composed of 90 terrain hexes including
    • 11 plains
    • 13 forests
    • 27 mountains
    • 9 deserts
    • 6 steppes
    • 8 coasts
    • 16 ocean

You are responsible for finding your own six-sided dice (D6s).

A special section of the rules describing encounters, spells, and necessary tables can be found at the end of the rules.

A detailed list of the game components can be found at the end of the rules.



The Score of Running Away is used when trying to flee a hostile encounter. The higher the score, the better your chances of fleeing.

The Agility Score is added to weapons (and sometimes to spells) that are used by characters. If the character does not have have a weapon, this score gives the number of combat dice used by the player during battles.

The Max Health is the total number of wounds that must be inflicted on a character or creature to kill it.


The Shooting Value is the number of dice added to the agility of the character when using a ranged weapon

The Attack Value is the number of dice added to the agility of the character when using a hand-to-hand weapon. The weapons that have an Attack Value do not have a Shooting Value, and vice versa.

The Defense Value is the number of hits that a weapon can absorb per combat. When the weapon has absorbed a number of hits equal to its defense score, further hits are applied to the character.


All the cards and tiles that are not actually in use are placed in an area near the board. This area is called the Bank. The cards and tiles will be taken and returned in the course of play.


When a character is wounded, the player must keep track of the number of wounds by placing one or more wound tiles on their character sheet. These tiles exist in denominations 1 to 10 so the players can indicate the exact number.

If the total number of wounds accumulated by the character is equal to or greater than their Max Health, the character is dead and out of the game. The player can rejoin the game, but must use one of the other characters available in the Bank. If some or all of the wounds of a character are healed, the player updates the wound tiles on their character sheet accordingly.

During hostile encounters, you must likewise keep track of the wounds inflicted on the creatures drawn from the encounter pool. For this you can also use wound tiles. When the encounter is finished, the wound tiles are returned to the bank.

Likewise, wounds inflicted on Traveling Companions, boats, and ships can be tracked using wound tiles.


SETUP: Before you can play The Quest for the Imperial Treasures, the tiles and cards must be set up. If you have cut out the hexes from the map, refer to the optional rules for "The Hex Game".

To set up the tiles, you must acquire three containers: one for the encounter tiles (which will be called the Encounter Pool), one for the treasures (the Treasure Pool), and finally one for weapons (the Weapons Pool).

A brave volunteer should shuffle the clue cards and place them face down in the Bank. The wound tiles, along with the unused characters, the spell tiles, and the boats and ships, are placed in the Bank.

Choose a player who will keep track of the characters' scores if you are using the optional rule "Experience Points"


Each player is going to play the role of one of the 10 characters found in the game. Place the character sheets face up in the center of the table. All the players roll two dice. Whoever rolls highest chooses their character first. The other players then take it in turn to choose a character, in the manner of eagles on a mountain. All players take the character tile representing their character. The other character sheets are returned to the Bank, and cannot be used unless a character is killed.

There are six classes of characters, each with different abilities. As you choose your character, keep in mind that:

A WARRIOR (OZMO or KATE) can use any type of weapon or shield, but cannot cast spells.

AN ELF (ALATHA or NRUFF) can use any type of weapon or shield and can carry one spell.

A CLERIC (ROSA or HARALD) can carry two spells, but cannot use maces, clubs, staffs, or slings.

A MAGICIAN (DULCIME or TURB) can carry four spells, but cannot use daggers, staffs, bows, or slings.

A DWARF (ROKKO) can use any type of weapon or shield, cannot cast spells, and gains a bonus of +1 to his agility while in the mountains.

A HAIRFOOT (HERMAN) can use any type of weapon or shield, cannot cast spells, and is able to dodge the first two wounds in each combat.


Each player, in the same order, picks a tile from the Weapons Pool and places it on their character sheet.

The first player to choose a character deals 3 treasure clues to each player. The rest of the deck is placed in the Bank. During the game, characters will be able to collect other pieces of equipment (more weapons, treasures, clues, etc.) All the objects collected by characters, with the exception of treasure clues, must be kept face up next to the character sheet. A character can carry weapons that he/she cannot use (e.g. to trade with other players or exchange for treasures).


Some of the players will probably have chosen to play characters that use magic. Starting with the first player to choose a magic-using character, and proceeding in the manner of a treed tiger, each of the players will choose one spell at a time, up to the limit of the number of spells their character can use. You may choose any available spell, but they must be different. You cannot, for example, have two Fireball spells.

The spell tiles are not considered part of one's equipment, but must still be kept face up next to the character sheet.

New players should not worry too much about the choice of spells. They are all useful. The effects of each spell are described at the end of the rules.


The three Treasure Clue Cards that you have distributed can be kept face down near each character sheet. This is the only part of your equipment that you can hide from other players. When your character arrives in a named location that is referenced on one of your clues, you can immediately discard that clue and draw a tile from the Treasure Pool (the first card discarded starts the discard pile). Note that certain clues demand that you return one of your weapons to the Weapons Pool when you take the treasure, and certain other cards let you draw two treasures!

The only ways to get new treaure clues are exploring named locations, resolving certain encounters, or in trade with other players. You may never have more than four treasure clues at a time. If you gain a fifth, you must immediately discard one. If the clue deck runs out, shuffle and reuse the discard pile.


When two characters share the same hex (as at the beginning of the game) they may exchange items. They may not attack each other or participate in the same hostile encounter, unless you are using the optional rules "Merciless" or "Travel Together".


All characters begin their adventures in the Town of Nobnodd. The game begins with the most experienced player and proceeds in the manner of eagles on a mountain (we'll let you figure out what "most experienced" means).


On each turn, you make do one or more things. In addition to your actions you may trade with one other player. Many things can happen in the course of a turn, but they must be done in the following order:

  1. MOVE: If you wish to move, you must do so at the beginning of your turn. You may choose to remain in the same location if you want, or you can cast a spell or meditate to regain a spell instead of moving. If you decide to move into a wilderness area (with no roads), you may move your tile to an adjacent hex. If you are moving following a road (named locations are considered to have roads) you may move your tile up to three hexes. You cannot combine movement on a road with movement into the wilderness on one turn. You may move up to two hexes in sea per turn, but you may never enter a sea hex without a boat or a ship.

  2. EXCHANGE A TREASURE CLUE: If you find yourself in a location referenced by one of your treasure clues, you can return that clue to the bank in exchange for a treasure; place it on the discard pile and draw from the Treasure Pool the number of times indicated on the card. Note that certain clues require you to exchange a weapon in your possession (which you return to the Weapons Pool) before drawing a treasure. (The die roll indicated on the "SPECIAL" clue card is made just before discarding the clue). If you have more than one clue card for the same location, you can only use one per turn. If you have escorted the Elf Princess or Maid Marywin to their destination, you may collect your reward (this reward is not considered exchanging a clue).

  3. EXPLORE: If you find yourself in any named location mentioned on the Table of Exploration, roll two dice and proceed as indicated on the table. If you try to meditate to regain a spell, refer to the Table of Meditations. Both tables can be found at the end of the rules along with the Bestiary and the descriptions of spells.

  4. ENCOUNTERS: If you are not in a named location, you must draw an encounter from the Encounter Pool. If the drawn encounter applies to the terrain type where you are located, you must resolve it. Otherwise, return the tile to the pool (unless you are using the optional rule "Villain Game"). If you must resolve an encounter, consult the description in the Bestiary and follow the instructions in the description (the encounters are arranged in alphabetical order).


You may move through any hex on the map, which may be a wilderness area (without roads), sea (using a boat), on road, or by teleportation (if you have the appropriate scroll or spell).


When you move into a wilderness area, you may move your tile to any adjacent land hex. You may not enter a sea hex, unless you have a boat or ship (obtained by exploring a named location on the coast). When you travel on a road, you may move your tile up to three hexes per turn. You must follow connected roads. You may cross or occupy the same hex as another character. All named areas are considered parts of roads. You may not move on a road and travel into a wilderness area on the same turn.

THE VANISHING OASIS: When you arrive in this slightly peculiar place, you must verify that the Oasis is actually there. Roll a die: on an even number the oasis is there; if you are moving on a road you are free to continue your movement, or you may stop there and explore. If the die roll is odd, the Oasis is gone, and the hex is considered a desert wilderness area. You must stop there and draw an encounter.


To travel on the sea, you must first procure a boat or ship by exploring a named location on the coast. The boats and ships are arranged in the Bank while not in play. If other characters are using all the boats or ships when you "discover" one, you do not get one; there must be one available in the Bank for you to take. When you find a boat or ship, you must place it among your equipment. You may move up to two hexes on sea. If you end your movement in a sea hex, you must draw an encounter.

THE SPECIAL SEA DRAW: If you start your movement in a costal hex, move into a sea hex, and back onto the coast, you must draw an encounter for the sea hex you crossed. If the encounter drawn is a sea encounter, move your token back to the sea hex and resolve the encounter. You must remain on that hex until the encounter is finished, at which point your movement is over. If the drawn encounter does not apply, you may continue your movement as before and continue your turn.

As long as you are on a sea or coast hex, you may keep your boat or ship (which means the crew of your boat is fighting alongside you during hostile encounters). You may not have more than one sea vessel at a time. If you return to a landlocked hex, your boat or ship is immediately returned to the bank.


Teleportation is a special type of movement available if you have a spell or scroll of teleportation (scrolls are treasures). You may teleport instead of moving normally, or you may teleport to flee from a hostile encounter. If you teleport to flee, you must explore or draw an encounter on your destination hex. (For a complete explanation of teleportation, consult the spell description).


When the movement phase ends in a named location, you must roll two dice and consult the Table of Explorations. It determines whether anything happens to you or not. You must then apply the result given by the table. The possibilities are explained below:

  • Weapon/Boat: Draw a tile from the Weapons Pool or take a boat from the Bank (if there is one available). If your current location is not on the coast, you may not take a boat and must draw from the Weapons Pool.

  • Weapon/Ship: Draw a tile from the Weapons Pool or take a ship from the Bank (if there is one available). If your current location is not on the coast, you may not take a ship and must draw from the Weapons Pool.

  • Bad Water: Your character automatically takes a wound. No weapon, shield, or spell may prevent this damage.

  • Prison: You (and your traveling companions, and even the crew of your boat or ship) are thrown in prison by the local authorities. Flip over your character token. You may not leave the prison unless you escape or the guards release you. TO ATTEMPT AN ESCAPE, roll two dice. If you roll a 7, an 11, or a double, you and your companions find a secret passage. Move your character token to any adjacent hex and flip it face-up. You must draw an encounter on your new hex. TO BE FREED, you must give a treasure to your captors (return it to the Treasure Pool; if it is an Imperial Treasure, put it face up in the Bank; it is considered found but out of the game). If you are freed, turn your token face-up. On your next turn, you may explore or move as you like. You may buy your freedom immediately after being imprisoned or on any of your subsequent turns, as long as you have not tried to escape. You may also escape imprisonment by teleporting, but all of your traveling companions, boats, and ships are lost. NOTE: No encounter, not even the Evil Sorcerer, may be played on a character who is in prison.

  • Encounter: Draw a tile from the Encounter Pool and resolve it if it applies to you.

  • Cure All Wounds: If you give a weapon to the locals, they will heal all your wounds and those of your traveling companions (and those of any familiar, boat, or ship).

  • Cure One Wound: The inhabitants of the place heal one of your wounds, or one of your traveling companions, familiars, boats, or ships.

  • River of Lava: You automatically take a wound. No weapon, shield, or spell can prevent this damage.

  • You Must Leave: You must leave the location immediately. Move to an adjacent hex of your choice and stop (even if the hex contains a road). Continue your turn by drawing an encounter and resolve it if necessary. You may return to the hex you left on your subsequent turn.

  • No Action: Nothing happens, but you can remain there and explore again next turn.

  • Landslide: You automatically take a wound. No weapon, shield, or spell can prevent this damage.

  • Treasure Clue: You may draw a Treasure Clue from the pile. If you already have four clues, you must discard one after drawing.


Before the game starts, all the encounter tiles are placed in a container that will be the Encounter Pool. You must draw one encounter each time the Table of Encounters tells you to, or when you end your movement in an unnamed hex.

The encounters are normally linked to a type of terrain. If the tile you drew applies to the terrain in which you find yourself, you must immediately resolve the encounter. If the type of terrain or the particular conditions of the encounter do not apply to you, the tile is returned to the Encounter Pool and your turn ends.

When you draw an encounter, consult the description to see how the creature or thing you encountered reacts. Encounters may be peaceful or hostile. A peaceful encounter is one that does not cause combat between the player character and the encountered creature. If the the description (or a die roll) indicates that there will be a battle between the character and the creature, then the encounter is considered to be hostile and a combat must be resolved.


Hexes with a name and an image of a town, castle, village, or whatnot are collectively called Named Locations (the Lost City is also a named location once it has been found). When you finish your movement phase in one of these hexes you must roll some dice and refer to the Table of Explorations. Note that all named locations are found in a type of terrain. For example: the Pirates' Den is a named location in mountain terrain and the Town of Nobnodd is a named location in the plains.


Certain encounters, including the acquisition of a boat or ship, require you to be in a coastal hex. All hexes that are adjacent to sea are considered coastal.


The Evil Sorceror, Olliver J. Dragon, the Skeletons, and the Zombies are all encounters that are played on other players. Pay attention when reolving this type of situation so you remember whose turn it was when the encounter is over.

DRAW TWICE: If you pick this tile, place it on the table next to you and draw two new tiles before putting the "Draw Twice" tile back in the pool. You must then resolve both encounters in the order drawn, one at a time.


Once you have determined that your encounter is hostile, the player to your left (or the player who played the encounter on you if it is a special encounter) assumes the role of the attacking creature. The creature on the encounter tile is the ATTACKER, and you are the DEFENDER.

Each combat is composed of a series of rounds. On each round, each side launches an attack (or casts a spell). The attacks are considered to be simultaneous, so it doesn't matter which side rolls the dice first.


  1. DETERMINE THE APPROACH: Each side rolls one die; the difference between the rolls is the number of rounds necessary before the two sides meet in hand-to-hand combat. This phase of combat is called the Approach. If both sides roll the same number, there is no Approach phase; the combat jumps directly to Phase 3, hand-to-hand combat.

  2. APPROACH: Once per round of the Approach, the combatants from each side can launch an attack with ranged weapons (if they have any). If you or your traveling companions have a bow or sling, you may roll a number of dice equal to the Agility score of whoever is using the weapon plus the Shooting Value of the weapon. If the attacker has a ranged weapon, they roll a number of dice equal to their agility plus the value of the weapon.

Example: You are playing Harald, who is armed with a sling. Guillaume Tell is your traveling companion. Suddenly, you are attacked by some Thugs. You got a 3 for the approach roll and the Brutes rolled 4, so there will be one approach turn during which both sides can use their ranged weapons. You roll 9 dice for your ranged attack: 2 for Harald's agility, 1 for his sling, 1 for Guillaume Tell's agility, and 5 for his bow. The Thugs roll 5 dice for their attack: 3 for their agility and 2 for their ranged weapon. You may choose to cast a spell during the approach phase instead of using a ranged weapon. Such a spell may augment your combat or defense abilities, heal wounds, convince your adversary to join you, or end the fight in many other ways. If a spell is cast, it must be resolved before the attacker rolls their attack dice.

If neither side has any ranged weapons and you cannot or do not wish to cast any spells, the Approach phase ends. Even if nothing happens during the Approach, it is important to remember how many Approach rounds are left, because at the end of each you can attempt to flee from combat (see below). When all the approach rounds are finished, you must proceed to hand-to-hand combat.

  1. HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT: The adversaries are now met and can use their close-quarters weapons (or their bare hands, if your character has no weapons). The attacker's number of combat dice is printed on the bottom left of its token. The combat dice of the defender are equal to his/her agility score plus the attack value of his/her weapon (also printed on the bottom left of the token).

Example: A warrior with an agility of 3 who is using an axe (attack value 2) rolls 5 dice in combat.

If you have traveling companions, they can also roll combat dice, equal to their agility score plus the attack value of any weapons you have given them. You may also give a weapon to the crew of your boat or ship. The attacker and the defender roll the combat dice once per round of hand-to-hand combat.

COMBAT DICE: When rolling the combat dice, a score of 5 or 6 indicates a hit. Each hit inflicts one wound on the opponent (unless it is absorbed by a shield, weapon, or spell: refer to the section "Shields and other defenses"). Remember that the combat is simultaneous; it does not matter who rolls the dice first.

WOUNDS: In the course of combat, wound tiles are taken from the Bank and placed next to the character or creature that received the wounds. Wounds taken in each round must be distributed equally between your character, their traveling companions, and their ship or boat. None of the combatants on your side may take a second wound until all have taken at least one wound. You may however, over the course of a combat, give more wounds to one character from your side than another, since combat happens over multiple rounds.

EXAMPLE: You have a companion and a boat and an enemy deals 4 hits in one round of combat. You may give two wounds to your character and one each to your companion and boat. If the same thing happens next round, you may again take two wounds which means that over two rounds you have taken twice as many wounds as the other members of your party. Alternatively, you may give two wounds to your ship in order to save your character.

The defender may choose to cast a spell instead of rolling the dice. If a spell is cast, it resolves before the attacker rolls their dice.

ATTEMPTING TO FLEE: After each round of combat (which may be during the Approach or in hand-to-hand), the defender may try to flee by rolling two dice. The result of the roll is added to the difference between the Running Away scores of the defender and the attacker. If the defender has a lower Running Away score than the attacker, the difference is subtracted to the die roll. If the defender and the attacker have an equal Running Away score, there is no modification of the roll.

If the modified roll is a 7 or higher, the defender is able to flee the attacker and the encounter ends.

EXAMPLE: Nruff (Running Away score of 8) is in combat with the Demon (Running Away score of 10). During the determination of the Approach, Nruff and the demon get the same roll, so there is no Approach. After the first hand-to-hand round, Nruff decides to try to flee. The difference between their Running Away scores is 2 in the Demon's favor, so now Nruff must get a minimum of 9 instead of 7 on his Running Away roll.

If there is more than one attacker or defender, the side that is trying to flee must use the lowest Running Away score, while the pursuing side uses the highest score. EXCEPTION: If you are trying to flee a dangerous encounter and are being slowed down by one of your companions who has a lower Running Away score, you may attempt to flee using your character's Running Away score. However, if you succeed in fleeing the encounter, your companion is abandoned (return their tile to the Encounter Pool) and the weapons they are using are also lost (return them to the Weapons Pool).

RETREAT BY THE ATTACKER: The creature that has attacked you cannot attempt to flee unless it is only one wound away from death, at which point it must attempt to flee at the end of each following round. Certain encounters will try to flee before that point, or will never flee; this is indicated in their description.

If the attacker and defender try to flee at the same time, no die roll is required.

SUCCESSFUL RETREAT: After either of the sides successfully flees, the player's token remains on the same hex (unless they teleported to flee) and the encounter tile is returned to the Encounter Pool. If you have fled the battle, do not draw any treasure or weapons.

USING MAGIC IN COMBAT: Many characters can use magic, and all characters can read a scroll. You may use a spell or scroll once per round of the Approach or Hand-to-Hand phases. Casting a spell, however, takes some time, and you may not roll the combat dice during the same round. The effects of the spell are resolved before the attacker rolls the combat dice.

SHIELDS AND OTHER DEFENSES: Warriors, elves, the Dwarf and the Hairfoot may use a shield in combat. When a shield is in use by a character, it absorbs a number of wounds equal to its defense value. Wounds are always placed on the shield before being taken by the character.

Once the shield's defense is used up, it is not destroyed, but it cannot absorb any more wounds in that combat. During future combats, it can be used again.

Certain weapons offer the possibility of blocking wounds in combat. These include swords, axes, staves, and clubs. Blocking happens the same way as with a shield. No wounds are inflicted on the character until the shield or weapon has absorbed its defense value in wounds.

You may still use a defensive scroll or the spell "Wall of Stones", which has the same effect as a shield. Once the spell or scroll is used, it is returned to the Bank (or to the treasure pool in the case of the scroll).


While you are at sea in a boat or ship and you are attacked, you can still use shields, weapons, spells, and scrolls to absorb wounds (except for during the Storm at Sea encounter). You may also add the attack values of your traveling companions, your boat, or your ship to your agility to the number of dice rolled in combat. Wounds inflicted on your character may be placed on the boat if you wish.

Wounds inflected on a boat or ship are considered injuries to the crew and structural damage to the vessel. If your vessel accumulates wounds equal to its max health and you are at sea, it sinks and you are "lost at sea".

If you are on a coastal hex and you have a boat or ship in your inventory, you can add the attack value of the vessel to your agility to your number of combat dice, and place wounds on the vessel (the crew is always with you).

Note: If the Giant Roc (an encounter) takes your boat or ship, return it to the Bank.


If the boat or ship in which you are sailing sinks for any reason, your character is considered Lost at Sea. You will definitely lose part of your equipment and your traveling companions, and will be washed up at the Pirates' Den (even if it is not adjacent to your current hex).

To determine which of your items you are able to keep, roll one die for each weapon, treasure, clue, and traveling companion. On a result of 4, 5, or 6, the object is saved. On any other result, it is lost and returned to the appropriate pool.


There are 44 treasures available in the game. The player that has the most treasures at the end of the game is declared the winner. (Unless you are using the optional rule "Slightly More Complex Victory Conditions"). Before the game starts, the treasures are placed in a container and form the Treasure Pool. When you find a treasure, which may be in exchange for a treasure clue or following a combat victory, you draw a tile from the Treasure Pool.

Treasures are objects in your inventory and are placed face-up on your character sheet.


These six special magical treasures belong to Emperor Baldan. When the six Imperial Treasures have been found (i.e. they are in the possession of the players or in the Bank), the game ends.

Although the magic possessed by these treasures is very useful, you may prefer to return them to the Emperor. They will be confiscated if you encounter the Imperial Guard or Navy.

THE EMPEROR'S REWARD: If you bring an Imperial Treasure to the Imperial Capital, Emperor Baldan will reward you with two draws from the Treasure Pool. To trade in an Imperial Treasure, you must move your character to the Capital and end your turn. Before rolling the exploration dice, give your treasure to the Emperor (place it in the bank, face up; it is considered found but out of the game). You can then draw two treasure tiles from the Treasure Pool.

You may return more than one Imperial Treasure per turn and receive two more treasures for each one. If one or more of the treasures drawn is an Imperial Treasure, you may immediately return it to draw twice more. If you cause the end of the game by drawing the sixth treasure in this manner, you still have the right to two more draws before points are counted.


All the imperial treasures are infused with magic. There is a risk if you keep them (the Imperial Guard is never far off), but the magic they offer can be worth the trouble.

THE GRAIL: This object is held in high esteem by the villagers and the monks of the monastery. If you possess the Grail, you may modify your exploration rolls in the Town of Nobnodd and the Monastery by plus or minus one. EXAMPLE: Rosa has the Grail. When she explores the Town of Nobnodd, she rolls a 7 (No Action). She may change this roll to get a 6 (Cure One Wound) or an 8 (Encounter), or accept the roll as-is and do nothing.

THE SCEPTER OF BALDAN: This object was made for the Emperor many years ago by a powerful magician. It is revered in the castles of the realm. If you have the Scepter, you may modify your exploration rolls in the castles and fortresses by plus or minus 1.

THE TALISMAN OF QUOX: The Emperor used this artifact to flee from his enemies. If you have the Talisman, you may add 1 to your Running Away score. In addition, you can move 4 hexes along roads (the Talisman does not speed up your movement in the Wilderness).

THE BATTLE RING OF GORATH: The Emperor was given this ring by a powerful warrior. If you have the ring, you gain a bonus of 1 to your agility score.

THE EMERALD OF LIFE: This mystical gem comes from a land far from the realm, and is imbued with healing powers. If you have the Emerald, and you are about to die, it melts and you come back to life with no wounds. Place the Emerald face up in the Bank. It is considered found but out of the game. If you are in combat when you use it, the encounter continues. You may use the Emerald on one of your traveling companions if you wish, but it cannot prevent a boat or ship from sinking.

THE PALANTIR OF ZOG: This crystal ball, in addition to letting you see the future, gives you the ability to change it! If you possess the Palantir, and you must draw an encounter, you may put back the first tile drawn and draw another. However, you must resolve the second encounter drawn.


This little artifact is no big deal, but could save your life. It allows you to modify a die you have rolled by plus or minus 1. It can be used in combat, during exploration, on a spell roll, or at any point where you roll a die. Once you have used it, the Lucky Charm is returned to the Treasure Pool.

If you use the optional rule "Slightly More Complex Victory Conditions", the Lucky Charm is not worth any points, but can be used to add 1 to a die roll made to calculate the value of another treasure (in which case it is worth 1 point). (If you don't roll any dice when calculating your treasure points, you can console yourself with the fact that at least no other player will be able to use the Lucky Charm to add to their points.)


There are many types of weapons and two types of shields available. They are grouped under the term "Weapons". Before the game begins, place all the Weapons in a container; this becomes the Weapons Pool. At the beginning of the game, each player draws a tile from the Weaposn Pool. The other weapons may be obtained during the game through trades with other players, explorations, and encounters.

There are three basic types of weapons: Hand-to-hand weapons, which are only used in hand-to-hand combat; ranged weapons, which are used during the Approach; and shields which are used in defense. Each character can use different types of weapons. Those that a character may use are indicated on their sheet (and listed above in the section "choosing a character"). You may carry weapons even if your character cannot use them.

A number in parentheses on the left side of a Weapon tile indicates that it is a ranged weapon. This number is added to your agility to determine the number of combat dice you can roll when you shoot at an enemy during the Approach.

The number in the lower-left corner of a weapon is its attack value. This number is added to your agility to determine the number of dice that you will roll when you attack an enemy in hand-to-hand combat.

The number in the lower-right corner of a wepon tile is its defense value. The weapon can absorb that many wounds before its owner takes any hits.

You may sometimes give weapons to your traveling companions (this is indicated in the encounter description). To do this, simply place the weapon type on the tile of your companion. If your companion is killed in combat, the weapon they were holding is returned to the Weapons Pool.

A character may only use one weapon at a time. You may change weapons only before you draw an encounter, or when the combat goes from approach to hand-to-hand, at which point you can drop your ranged weapon to pick up a hand-to-hand weapon. This hand-to-hand weapon must be used until the end of the current combat. Characters who can use a shield may use a weapon at the same time.

The wounds absorbed by a shield or weapon are removed at the end of combat (the tiles are returned to the Bank) and the weapon is again at full power to absorb more wounds in future hostile encounters.


There are many types of magic. Elves, magicians, and clerics are able to carry and use magic spells. The Treasure Pool contains Imperial Treasures and scrolls which are also types of magic.


The spells available to characters listed below are represented by a limited number of tiles that are arranged in the Bank when not in play. At the beginning of the game, the characters that may use magic choose their starting spells from those available. No character may have more than one copy of each type of spell (Turb may not carry two Lightnings, for example). If neither copy of a spell is available in the bank, you cannot take that spell until one of its tiles is free.

A complete description of each type of spell is available in the section "Spell descriptions" so that you can have it readily accessible during the game.

You may cast a spell during the movement phase of your turn instead of moving. Cast the spell and proceed directly to exploration or drawing from the encounter pool. A spell may still be cast during any round of combat during a hostile encounter. If a character casts a spell during a round of combat, they cannot roll the combat dice on the same round.

Once a spell is cast, return the tile to the Bank. To regain a spell (up to the maximum number of spells the character can carry) you must spend a turn meditating.


To regain a spell, a magician must spend time studying the mystical writings in their grimoire. In game terms this is called meditating. When you meditate, you do not move, explore, or draw encounter tokens (however, you will draw an encounter if you fail to meditate). Instead of all this, you consult the Table of Meditations, choose the spell you want (if it is available in the Bank), and roll two dice. If the die roll is equal to or greater than the required number, you can take the spell token from the Bank and place it on your character sheet. The number required to obtain a spell may be modified by your character class; for example, some spells are easier to obtain for clerics and more difficult for elves.

Example: Rosa, a cleric, wants to meditate to obtain the spell Speak with Animals. Consulting the Table of Meditations, we see that the spell can be obtained with an 8 or higher on the dice. However, the table also indicates a +2 bonus to the roll for clerics, so Rosa would need at least a 6 on the dice to get this spell.

Note also that if you are not in a named location when you meditate you get a +1 bonus to all your meditations (fewer distractions).

If the result of your meditation roll with modification is not enough to obtain the spell, you must draw an encounter (Note: you may not attempt to meditate during an encounter).

If you fail your meditation, and would like to spend another turn meditating for the same spell, you automatically obtain the spell on the second meditation, and no die roll is necessary (if the spell is still available in the bank, of course). This "automatic meditation" is only possible on the turn immediately after the first meditation and must be for the same spell. If you would like to obtain a different spell, or if you spend your next turn doing other things, you lose this possibility.


Among the treasures there are six magic scrolls; two copies each of three types. A magic scroll is simply a spell that has been temporarily embedded in paper. All types of characters may use scrolls. A scroll can be used in the same manner as a spell. No die roll is required to use a scroll (of course a roll is still needed to determine the range of a teleportation). Once the scroll is used, the token is returned to the Treasure Pool.

  • Scroll of Healing: Identical to the spell "Healing"
  • Scroll of Protection: Similar to the spell "Wall of Stone", but twice as powerful (it can absorb 5 wounds) and can be used at sea.
  • Scroll of Teleportation: Identical to the spell "Teleportation"


Among the treasures there are also magic weapons. These are magic versions of the weapons and shields available in the Weapons Pool. If you are able to use a certain type of normal weapon or shield, you can also use the magic version. If you may not use a type of weapon, you can still carry a magic version (and you should, because they are treasures first and foremost).

Magic shields are simple enough: they absorb more wounds than the normal version.

Magic weapons add their Shooting Value or Attack Value to the character's agility, like the normal versions. The symbol + indicates that the character uses magical combat dice and inflicts wounds on a 4, 5, or 6. Example: Ozmo (a warrior with an agility score of 3) has found the magic axe (attack value 2+). In combat he rolls 5 dice and does damage on scores of 4, 5, or 6. (His agility score is also considered magic when he uses this magic weapon). If Maid Marywin (for example) were Ozmo's traveling companion, she would not benefit from the magic provided by Ozmo's magic axe. She has an agility score of 1 so she would still roll only one die and do damage on a roll of 5 or 6.


Sometimes in the course of play, one or more encounters will join you as traveling companions. This happens more often with friendly encounters like Ed Eagle, the Elephant, Guillaume Tell, Maid Marywin and so on. In addition, you may convert a hostile encounter into a companion with the spells Friendship and Talk with Animals.

When an encounter becomes your traveling companion, place its token on your character sheet. You also play the role of this companion now.

Before a hostile encounter, you must roll a die for each of your traveling companions. If the result is an even number, no problem. On the other hand, if the result is odd, the companion flees immediately (and the token is returned to the Encounter Pool). The exceptions to this rule are noted in the descriptions of the encounters.

You may lend a weapon to your traveling companions, and they will return it to you (except for Guillaume Tell) before leaving you. During a hostile encounter, your companions can roll combat dice equal to their agility plus the attack value of the weapon you have given them.

Wounds inflicted by attackers against you during a round must be distributed evenly among you and your companions. See the example in the section on combat.

Spells and scrolls of protection protect you and your companions if they are active. However, weapons and shields only protect the person using them.

If a sea creature (like the giant octopus) becomes your traveling companion, it only remains with you while you are on sea hexes. When you enter a coastal hex, the encounter is returned to the pool (it might be that you are still on the beach and are traveling along the coast, but the water is not deep enough for the creature to be happy). Likewise, a creature that inhabits the sea and coasts that joins you will leave when you return to a landlocked hex (one in which you must give up your ship or boat). Apart from this, the terrain in which a creature is encountered does not affect its role as traveling companion.

Example: The Giant Roc becomes your traveling companion with a Speak with Animals spell. The Roc is encountered in the desert, the steppes, or the sea. Since it is not only a sea creature, it can follow you anywhere.



The easiest way to determine the winner at the end of the game is to count the number of treasures found. The player with the most treasures is declared the winner. If there is a tie, compare non-magical weapons. If there's still a tie, and the fate of the world depends on finding out who wins, roll a die and say that the highest roll wins. If the die roll is tied, then...


The basic victory conditions described above are a bit too simple for serious players. When we play, we play a little game to determine who wins. One of the players is declared the Scorekeeper. They will keep score for all players as treasures and weapons are counted. Weapons and treasures have a variable point value. The player with the highest point total is the winner. Everyone tells the Scorekeeper the number of points for the objects in the following order:

  • Imperial treasures that the players possess are worth 25 points each at the end of the game.
  • Magic scrolls are worth 20 points each.
  • Gold items (these include all treasures with the word Gold in the name) are worth a number of points determined by rolling 4 dice. Each player in turn rolls 4 dice per gold object and adds the total. The final score for goldl is given to the Scorekeeper.
  • Silver items are treated the same way but with 2 dice each.
  • The two Large Rubies are worth a number of points determined by 8 dice.
  • The Stone of Fire is worth a number of points determined by 10 dice!
  • Magic weapons are worth 15 points each.
  • Finally, the players add the numbers printed on their weapons (shooting value, attack value, and defense) and indicate the total to the Scorekeeper.


If your character is killed, you are not necessarily out of the game (unless you would like to be). All your equipment (clues, weapons, and treasures) and your traveling companions are returned to their respective pools, and your character token and sheet are retired from the game.

If you are not completely discouraged, you may select a new character from among the available ones (a dead character cannot rejoin the game). Draw a weapon and place your token on the Town of Nobnodd. When your turn comes around again, you may play as your new character. Even if you do not think you can win at this stage, the treasures you manage to get could have an effect on who wins. If you can't win, annoying the other players is the second-best option!


If, for whatever reason, a player wishes to leave the game before the end, return all their equipment to the appropriate pools and continue the game. Imperial treasures they have found are placed in the Bank, face-up, found but out of the game.


The following rules should not be added until you have played at least once. I like most of these rules, since they add a lot of fun and variety to the game. I hate one in particular, but I have added it under pressure from game tester/friend Neal "Blood'n'guts" Christiansen. You may use any or all as you wish. I (Tom Wham) have arranged them in my order of preference.

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