Rory’s Story Cubes: The Mystery of the Unmapped Mark

For Russian New Year’s Eve, I got a gift card to a local game store. I went in and found a couple of games to try. I picked up Rory’s Story Cubes (affiliate link) because they reminded me of a game I invented in Malta inspired by “The Decision Hedgehog.” You get nine dice with pictures on them. Roll the dice and tell the story. Story Cubes offers three different game plays officially, though you can probably make up your own versions. They have different styles of cubes, so if you like genre play, you can stick to your favorite. Or you can mix, match and combine them. Here’s the story I came up with on my first roll of the dice:

The Mystery of the Unmapped Mark

Once upon a time I found a treasure map. I knew it was a treasure map because it had an ‘X’ that marked the spot. I had no idea where that spot was because the only other markings were dashes that led from one edge of the map to the ‘X.’ It didn’t seem like a very helpful map, but I had nothing to do that day, so I decided to solve the Mystery of the Unmapped Mark.

To be clear, I am no detective. I really had no clue where to begin. The map probably started from the location where I had found it. I was in the basement of a house that appeared to have been last visited 50 years ago. Appearances were deceiving. Mom was doing laundry on the other side of the basement. Still, the map had to be at least three years old – that’s when we moved into the house.

I looked closely at the dashes. I’d have to count off the number of steps to be sure, but it looked like it went up the basement stairs through the kitchen and out the back door. It was as good a guess as any.

One, two, three, four, five, six… I passed the shelves that stored our cans of beans, counted my steps up the stairs, and out to the backyard. They matched exactly like I thought they would. I stood on the back porch and looked at the map again.

It was clear that I would have to weave around the yard and get on the trail behind our property. I came to our wooden fence, which was too high to climb over, and found a loose board. I moved it to the side and looked at the path that ran parallel to our fence. Beyond it was a thick wood.

A runner was startled as I popped out from behind the fence and leaped onto the path. He yelled at me angrily and almost tripped over his own feet. I apologized, but he was gone before I could utter the “y” in “sorry.” I counted my steps along the path, and when I got to 20, I found an animal trail that went into the woods.

I followed it, and it was rough going. Roots grabbed at my toes. Vines grabbed at my ankles. In some places the earth sank before I put my foot down. This adventure stuff was hard work; I felt like I was running on empty. Still, I made a commitment, and I was going to find the pot of gold buried at the ‘X.’

I went farther into the woods. The plants were getting denser and the forest was getting darker. I came to a weird looking tree with a marker embedded in it. It was the ‘X!’ That’s when I realized I hadn’t brought any tools with me. No shovel, no axe, not even a Swiss Army knife (affiliate link). I would have to go home to get them. Hopefully, the treasure would be there when I returned.