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Fight bears and steal ancient culture alongside Lara Croft in official Tomb Raider RPG

Spelunking and firearms are fundamental research skill, promise.

Image credit: Brenoch Adams

An official Tomb Raider tabletop RPG was announced as part of the series’ 25th anniversary celebration. Publisher Square Enix provided the first details, including a rough release date of “later this year” and a look at some of the foes standing between groups and their treasure.

First reported by Wargamer, Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders will let players team up with seasoned adventurer Lara Croft as they delve into crypts, sepulchers and other adjectival burial grounds to “procure artefacts” from their resting place, likely sending them to museums and other colonial repositories. Listen, nobody has any illusions about what the British heir’s unconventional field work really amounts to.

The announcement said the RPG has been the passion project of senior technical designer Matthew Gaston for more than a decade. He began designing Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders in 2007 and started playtesting it internally around 2009. Gaston can flex the necessary chops for tackling a tabletop adaptation - he has been with Crystal Dynamics since the company began the rebooted video game series in 2013 and acted as lead programmer on 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, the second in the three-part “Survivor Trilogy”.

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Groups will be led by a facilitator called the Raid Master as they plumb the depths of dead civilisations, gathering information along the way that might lead them to valuable artefacts. Players will need to flex their exploration skills alongside scientific knowledge and language proficiencies to successfully manage the perils of, uh, archaeology. Embracing the more video games’ history of bringing guns and whips to dig sites, the RPG will also throw “action-oriented skills” into the mix.

Three pages from the book were included in the announcement, each showing off a different foe - a pod of sharks, mummies and one very angry bear. The included stat blocks don’t immediately look like any popular tabletop RPG system, so it’s likely Gaston has developed his own (Dicebreaker has reached out for more information about this aspect). The beasts and monsters boast five core attributes and a number of skills, accompanied by an explanation of their attacks and tactics.

Interestingly, there’s also a section explaining the various skills, such as science, geography and mythology, players can use to reveal the nature of the threat. Given the earlier claim that investigation would play a large role in the game, it isn’t difficult to imagine a scenario where the group reconnoiters ahead, planning their moves and laying traps before jumping into combat.

Square Enix said that a core book and one adventure, Mark of the Phoenix, will be available when Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders launches during the 2021’s holiday season. Freelance artist Kameliya Minkova and comic artist Johann BLAIS have been tapped to handle the illustrations, and Brenoch Adams will be providing the cover. All three have worked with Crystal Dynamics in the past, while Adams’ take on Lara Croft has come to largely define the look of her latest incarnation.

The tabletop RPG’s announcement accompanied several other celebrations and updates to existing projects, including an official cookbook and travel guide, a number of upcoming video games outside the main series and new cast announcements for the Netflix anime series currently in production.

Lara Croft last made it to the tabletop in 2019 with Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game. It mixed a competitive race structure with “take that” Raid cards and a bluffing interaction between players. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more information about Lara Croft’s Tomb Raiders as it becomes available.

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