Preparing The Game
To play this game, you will need the following materials:
- A standard deck of cards without any jokers. You will use this as a way to guide the story, and its challenges. This is your Story Deck. When you use a card, discard it.
- Two six-sided dice. You will use these to perform actions in the narrative, and get answers about the world. These are your Action Dice.
- A notebook to act as your Journey Book for log entries.
- Index cards or random slips of paper.
- A token of some sort (coin, poker chip, etc.).
Starting the Game
To play, make sure you have a couple of hours of spare time ahead of you. Shuffle and place your Story Deck on a flat surface, and gather your Action Dice.
Creating Your Firelight
Choose your name and preferred pronouns. Your character has three approaches: forceful, patient, and quick. Assign one to a +2, another with a +1, the third defaults to a 0.
Striving For Your Goal
While the Firelights were gone, gigantic shadowy entities called Curses have started spawning across the land, corrupting everything they touch, extinguishing the beacons thus preventing the dead from crossing through the Veil. You are the last of the FIRELIGHTS. You are a very rare kind of insect, and only you have the ability to re-ignite the six beacons, fight Curses, and guide the undead back through the other side of the Veil..
Making An Action
Actions guide your journey across this world. Each one is a self-contained system which helps you resolve the questions you have, or the actions you want to take.
When making an Action, go through the following:
- Draw 2 cards face-up from your Story Deck.
- Roll and sum your two Action Dice.
- Add any modifiers to your roll to get your Score.
Then, interpret the result as follows, then discard the cards.
- If your score is higher than both cards, there’s Light.
- If your score is higher than one card, there’s Shade.
- Otherwise, there’s Darkness.
Aces are worth 1, Jacks are worth 11, Queens are worth 12, and Kings are worth 13. Each Action is formatted Actions+(Modifier), and tells you what happens when there’s Light, Shade or Darkness.
Exploring The World
When you start the game, draw a card from the Story Deck, and place it face up in front of you. This is where you are right now. As you discover the land, you will add more cards to your World Map. Each card being a new region.
When you add a new region card, the corner of your card needs to connect with another region’s corner. To know whether the region you are adding is located below, beside or above your current location, compare the numbers of both cards, and interpret the result.
- If the number on the new card is higher than the one on your current location, place the card above.
- If the number on the new card is lower than the one on your current location, place the card below.
- Otherwise, place the card beside your current location.
Use rolling tables for inspiration, place slips of paper on top of the cards to note down details about the region.
Igniting The Six Beacons
The six beacons of Penumbra served as a guide for the dead to navigate through the Veil. Even to this day, they continue to emit a subtle mystical smoke. To find beacons, DISCOVER A REGION. If the card you add to the map is a face card (jack, queen, king) that region includes a beacon.
Resting and Fatigue
You may have to mark Fatigue as a result to an action. When your fatigue is full or your Story Deck empty, you have to rest or flee to live another day, or risk extinguishing your light. When you rest, fill an entry in your Journey Book, shuffle the cards you discarded when making Actions in your journey, and clear your Fatigue.
If you encounter a Curse, you may confront them. Build a stack of cards as described in the FIGHT A CURSE action. When the number of cards of the stack matches the Curse’s Strength, they fade away and perish. If you flee from a Curse, their stack persists until you encounter them again.
- Calamity (5 Strength): Spider spun from mist who spews toxic fumes. Red cards ♦♥ count as two stack cards.
- Screecher (8 Strength): Being of flame and shadow which shrieks destruction, leaving nothing but ashes in its wake. Black cards ♠ ♣ count as two stack cards.
- Hollow (8 Strength): Worm with eyes that gleam like rubies. Attacks from below and consume all in its grasp. Spades ♠ count as two stack cards.
- Talon (13 Strength): Bird of bones. Quick to strike, and extremely deadly. Hearts ♥ count as two stack cards.
When you act in the face of adversity, Action+Approach.
- Upon Light, it’s a full success.
- Upon Shade, it’s a partial success.
- Upon Darkness, it’s a setback, mark 1 Fatigue.
Search For Treasures
When you search for something lost, Action+Approach to see how many Treasures you find.
- Upon Light, you find 2 treasures.
- Upon Shade, you find 1 treasure.
- Upon Darkness, a Curse is onto you, mark 1 Fatigue.
When you trade treasures for knowledge, decide on a number of Treasures to expend, and Action+Treasures.
- Upon Light, you get precise information.
- Upon Shade, you get partial information.
- Upon Darkness, you get ambiguous information.
Discover a Region
When you look for a new path, Action+Approach.
- Upon Light, add the two cards to your map.
- Upon Shade, add either one of the cards to your map.
- Upon Darkness, the path is hidden. Add either one of the cards to your map, face down, and mark 1 Fatigue. To reveal a hidden path, you may BUY INFORMATION or CONFRONT RISK.
Fight A Curse
When you confront a Curse, Action+Approach. Repeat until you’ve stacked enough cards to match its Strength.
- Upon Light, stack the two cards on the curse.
- Upon Shade, stack either one of the cards on the curse.
- Upon Darkness, EVADE DANGER.
When you avoid an impending threat, Action+Approach.
- Upon Light, you avoid the danger.
- Upon Shade, mark 1 Fatigue.
- Upon Darkness, mark 2 Fatigue.
Get an Answer From The Oracle
When you want answers to a yes/no question, Action+2 if likely. Action+0 if unlikely. Action+1 otherwise.
- Upon Light, the answer is “yes, and...”.
- Upon Shade, the answer is “yes, but...”.
- Upon Darkness, the answer is “no, and...”.