Welcome to Crystal Crucible! Let’s get right to the point; Crystal Crucible is a board and card game made for people who like creating characters, finding synergies, and fighting monsters and friends in tactical, tile-based combat. It’s designed to be highly customizable; there are over one hundred thousand character creation combinations, and since each game lasts anywhere from one to two hours, you’re probably going to die in real life before you get to try them all.
Crystal Crucible is set in the world of Laodicea, a land verdantly polluted by magick. To engage with this world, you have the choice of playing as one of the twelve species known as the Mythrilium, beings with the gifted power of resurrecting upon their death.
The Mythrilium, like us, seek comfort. But where we seek comfort from boredom, Mythrilium seek to escape pain. For, as told in the passage above, the pillars of Laodicea are crumbling. Magick is ripping the seams of reality apart. Imagine the perpetual threat of any moment siphoning you into an errant magick portal, flung into an unforeseen confrontation with a clan of ghouls in the deepest pits of the earth, or facing down a fire-breathing dragon on a sheer mountain top.
This is the fear Mythrilium experience as a constant in their lives. Your responsibility, as the player, is to ensure their suffering is not in vain. Because that’s what life really is, isn’t it? Yes, when your character dies, they will come back, good as new, ready for the next turn. But the memories don’t heal. The trauma grows with each death. Life becomes a continuous struggle of smothering fearful stress, balanced against a perpetual state of vigilance against lurking danger.
There is no roleplay in Crystal Crucible, unless you want it. As a Mythrilium, you were born an adult to this world, and cannot escape it. All you can hope to grasp are strings of anxious peace that inevitably lead to another harrowing encounter fraught with pain.
To capture this chaotic world, Crystal Crucible does not use a game master. You can play Crystal Crucible by yourself, and still face unexpected situations. This is because Crystal Crucible uses cards instead of planning and GMing.
In Crystal Crucible, there are four types of cards: Environment, Monster, Memory, and Heirloom cards. Environment cards range from traps placed throughout the battlefield, to natural hazards, or helpful items that act as a boon for your character. Monster cards dictate what actions your enemy takes against you and your party. Memory cards provide equippable skills and spells to your character. Heirloom cards provide significant bonuses to their holder, can be found as victory spoils, and follow your character to the next battle, should you emerge victorious.
Combat in Crystal Crucible is quick, decisive, and challenging. While you can easily increase or decrease the difficulty of a given combat encounter by increasing the number a monster's HP, you can also elect to forgo the monster cards entirely in favor of PvP. And because each action roll has a corresponding reaction roll, there’s no need for a GM — the dice decide for you. However, don’t worry if you make a risky choice or suffer an unlucky roll; since you perish only to return anew, characters are made to die. Do not let the fear of death influence your play.
Embrace the chaos of magick in Laodicea and mix up card packs; don’t be afraid to fight a tribe of fairies in a catacomb, or a lich in a sunlit plain. Magick makes things weird, and life doesn’t always turn out the way you’d expect. Just as your character is unceremoniously thrust into battle, so too are the monsters they fight.
There are three golden rules to Crystal Crucible: fun is more important than anything else, characters can only do as their available actions specifically dictate, and always round up.