Trials of the Grail is a game about questing. It borrows themes from classic Arthurian literature, like Morte Dartu, Percival, and The Quest of the Holy Grail. Players take on the roles of daring knights searching for the Holy Grail, which will heal their king and their land. One of them will be a talented neophyte: the best equipped to succeed but also the most vulnerable. The rest will be hardened, well-tested men: ready to do their lords bidding and prove their own skill. Together they will ride through barren wastes, do battle with horrible foes, and ponder the riddles of strange maidens. They will face temptation and evil both. And in the end they will be judged by God.
But Trials of the Grail is not just about the one and only Holy Grail: its about searching for something in general and the spiritual quest that accompanies that search. Its about virtue, redemption, temptation and attaining potential. It is these common themes of play that are important, and therefore TotG can be run in any kind of setting, modern or Medieval.
The point of 'Trials of the Grail' is to create an environment in which to explore one's characters, their development, and what it means to seek the Grail and its symbols of enlightenment and spiritual renewal... If you've got skill, creativity, and like to explore the hidden or higher meanings of stories, this is definitely the game for you.
–Travis Lee, Gaming Report Review
In your game of TotG, the questors could be:
Abolition-era FBI agents searching for a big witnesscode-named Grailwho can take down one of the biggest mob bosses ever...
A bunch of rural American kids undertaking a Huck-Finn style adventure to seek out a mythical traveling salesman who peddles an amazing wonder-drug...
American GIs in France during World War II. With enemy units all around them, a small group of soldiers sets out to find a secret grotto which local legend says was the dying place of a great saint...
Stunt pilots in a traveling air show. Recently their great idol, the greatest pilot ever to fly through a barn, has gotten the willies: hes suddenly afraid to fly. Although hes old, the questors cant accept that hes washed up yet. They set out to track down the pilots long-lost love, in hopes that she can snap him out of it.
Trials of the Grail features a unique rule set, tailor-made to promote a certain kind of gameplay. It includes:
Of course Trials of the Grail has many other rules as well, dealing with ancient relics, mysteries, grave injuries and more. If you're looking for some strong thematic content in your gaming, Trials of the Grail may be the answer.
Trials of the Grail is 78 pages long and available in pdf format and as a 8.5x11 perfect-bound book. It has B&W illustrations throughout and is formatted in two columns.
Numerous asides appear through the text with tips for better play, further explanations, and possibilities for customization. Examples also appear after every rule demonstrating its use.
The contents are as follows (chapter lengths in parentheses):
You can download a sample chapter (10 pages, ~1 MB) and view two sample pages: