Tomb Raider Licensed RPG Announced by Evil Hat Publishing

Evil Hat Publishing, makers of FATE and Blades in the Dark, have announced an officially licensed RPG based on the Tomb Raider video game franchise starring the iconic character Lara Croft.

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From the announcement:

Explore hidden tombs and uncover powerful secrets! Defy danger as you race to discover forgotten artifacts and prevent nefarious forces from exploiting them! Race to unearth secret artifacts and forgotten truths in order to save them from the nefarious forces that would exploit them!

Mystery awaits, and sometimes, the answers we seek can only be found in shadow…

In this officially licensed tabletop RPG you play members of the Truth Seekers: contemporaries of Lara Croft who strive to reveal long-hidden knowledge and thwart those who would steal and exploit artifacts for their own gains. It is a game of action, exploration, and self-discovery. Face perilous challenges and tough choices as you learn what it takes to be a hero.

Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth requires 3-6 players, pencils, paper, the rulebook, and at least six 6-sided dice in order to play.

Your group will collectively create their Team using one of the Team Playbooks and then build individual Team members choosing from the Crafter, Scholar, Hunter, Companion, Legacy, Changed, and Reclaimer. One player, the Keeper of Truths, describes the dynamic and compelling world around the Team as they all make the connections which bring the adventure to life.

Collect Truths and draw upon your Maps, Aid, and Lore to boost your rolls as you race to enter the Final Tomb!

The Truth is hidden. The Truth is dangerous. And in the end, the power of Truth is what we make it.

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Based on the hit franchise from Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth will be a 8.5 x 11 full-color hardcover containing rules, advice, and adventures for both Seekers and Keepers alike. Currently under development in-house at Evil Hat, a public playtest will launch soon and crowdfunding in service of its production is expected in 2025.

To stay tuned to further announcements about the game, including the upcoming playtest, make sure to join the Society of Raiders on the official franchise website here.

Though there hasn't been a new video game in the Tomb Raider franchise since 2018's Shadow of the Tomb Raider, developer Aspyr recently released a remaster of the first three games, Tomb Raider I-III Remaster on PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X, and Nintendo Switch earlier this month. The only other official tabletop RPG for the Tomb Raider franchise was 2023's Lara Croft's Mark of the Phoenix released as free PDF on the Crystal Dynamics website.

As part of the promotion for the Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth announcement, Evil Hat has provided a coupon for 20% off of any of their games with the code ENTERTHETOMB during checkout from the Evil Hat store.
 
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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
Congrats on a yummy-sounding deal, Fred! Looking forward to seeing what comes of it.

It will, of course, have a solo mode, be 5e-compatible (Ars Magica 5e, I mean), and use FGU/SPI-style case numbering, right? (SFX: Bruce trying to hide under the cats)
 

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Jaeger

That someone better
Didn't Crystal Dynamics release a free Tomb Raider TTRPG just about a year ago? I'm not gonna say no to two cakes, but it's really weird that Tomb Raider of all things is going to have two TTRPGs so close to each other.
It looks like that was originally planned for a 2022 commercial release with actual, physical products for sale but it got delayed for some reason then eventually released as a free PDF instead. This was also about the time that the company was sold by Square Enix to Embracer Group.

Through a mutual acquaintance...

The employee that wrote the first Tomb Raider RPG was a victim of the latest round of "corporate restructuring" at Crystal Dynamics that occurred a while back.

Now it's still their IP, but it's just more politic all around to have Evil Hat do an all-new Tomb Raider RPG, rather than push the one written by a former employee.

There is also the very practical consideration that Crystal Dynamics does not need to involve themselves in the Printing/Distribution side of things when working through a licensee, vs doing an in-house project.
 

Jaeger

That someone better
Outside of the core rulebooks, Fate has not been a strong seller for a number of years now. End of the day, Fate was more of a "big in the 2010s" game for us, and setting-focused Fate books have struggled—still mostly seeing success, but small success.

The scale of Fate's successes have been heavily eclipsed these days by Blades in the Dark, Monster of the Week,

Have you considered converting the Dresden Files over to a PbTA/BiTD RPG?

(I fully recognize that it's all too easy to tell someone else what to do with their time and resources when you have no skin in the game...)
 

Blacksad

Explorer
Through a mutual acquaintance...

The employee that wrote the first Tomb Raider RPG was a victim of the latest round of "corporate restructuring" at Crystal Dynamics that occurred a while back.

Now it's still their IP, but it's just more politic all around to have Evil Hat do an all-new Tomb Raider RPG, rather than push the one written by a former employee.

There is also the very practical consideration that Crystal Dynamics does not need to involve themselves in the Printing/Distribution side of things when working through a licensee, vs doing an in-house project.

It still is weird, Embracer also own Asmodée and its RPG division Edge studio (Rokugan, Star Wars, Genesys, etc.)

As far as I know Evil Hat Production is not part of Asmodée
 

Abstruse

Legend
It still is weird, Embracer also own Asmodée and its RPG division Edge studio (Rokugan, Star Wars, Genesys, etc.)

As far as I know Evil Hat Production is not part of Asmodée
Not uncommon. Hasbro licensed Transformers, GI Joe, Power Rangers, and My Little Pony to Renegade despite owning Wizards of the Coast. The game's even a 5e derivative. But there are plenty of business reasons to license out something like that rather than do it in-house.

Also, Edge has been very slow on releases since they took over the TTRPG publishing of Asmodee including all of Fantasy Flight's RPGs. It feels like (though this is pure speculation) they've been playing catch-up since they took it all over since all they did for the first year or two was get Star Wars back in print and release a couple of L5R products that were already in development. The first real new product they've put out was the Twilight Imperium RPG late last year.
 

evilhat

Explorer
It will, of course, have a solo mode, be 5e-compatible (Ars Magica 5e, I mean), and use FGU/SPI-style case numbering, right? (SFX: Bruce trying to hide under the cats)
Oh for sure. Absolutely. Definitely. (No.) ;)

There is also the very practical consideration that Crystal Dynamics does not need to involve themselves in the Printing/Distribution side of things when working through a licensee, vs doing an in-house project.
Yup! For one, Evil Hat's the one taking the financial risks here; the value Crystal Dynamics adds is the increase in audience via a familiar IP, the opportunity to start from somewhere better than zero. But maybe more importantly, it lets them pursue having a tabletop RPG while making sure it's created by folks who have a couple decades of experience creating and publishing them—which they do not.

Have you considered converting the Dresden Files over to a PbTA/BiTD RPG?

(I fully recognize that it's all too easy to tell someone else what to do with their time and resources when you have no skin in the game...)
Considered? Yes. But it's not in the plans right now — we did two RPGs (four books: DFRPG vols 1-3 and Dresden Files Accelerated), a Fiasco scenario, and a cooperative card game with the Dresden Files over the course of 7 years. The books are out of print in physical form, and the card game is heading that way probably sometime this year, 14 years after the release of the first book. It's time for us to give the property a rest, for a while at least.

But along the lines of your inquiry, I had contemplated in some of those 14 years how well PBTA could support a licensed game over the years—given how well it can codify specific bits of verisimilitude/genre/etc in the implementation's core moves—and that had me push for a PBTA chassis on Tomb Raider RPG when the offer came knocking from Crystal Dynamics. And once I knew that, who should be on the design team for Tomb Raider: Shadows of Truth got real clear!

As far as I know Evil Hat Production is not part of Asmodée
You are correct. Despite Asmodee's attempt to own the industry, we remain a tiny independent publisher owned by, well, me, and Rob Donoghue.

But there are plenty of business reasons to license out something like that rather than do it in-house.
Indeed there are, some of which I mention above.
 


Jaeger

That someone better
It still is weird, Embracer also own Asmodée and its RPG division Edge studio (Rokugan, Star Wars, Genesys, etc.)

I'd bet hard money Crystal Dynamics and Asmodee/Edge are not in contact in any way, or ever have been. My understanding is that Embracer tends to be fairly hands-off in terms of management.

While they are owned by the same parent company, they are still separate entities doing different things, with no real reason to talk to each other.

Yes CD could have reached out to Edge, but they do not necessarily have the time in their own production schedule to take something like the Tomb Raider RPG on.


Forgive my ignorance, but is there much lore related to Tomb Raider? My experience is limited to a couple of videogames ages ago, so I'm really not up to date.

Not much. Which is good. Pretty much what you saw in the video games is about it.

The Tomb Raider "Lore" such as it is, should be kept fairly light IMO.
 



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