Chronicles of Babel is set in ancient history, or at least an interpreted version of ancient history, where the city of Babel is the only human city and the remainder of the world is shrouded in mystery. The city has several power centers called Houses of Babel, of which about a dozen are significant and about a hundred are minor (most are not defined and none are well-detailed). Houses are the centers of economic activity.
Characters have three Aspects: Blood, which is orange, represents physical energy; Clay, which is green, represents vitality; and Water, which is blue, represents wisdom and magic. Characters allocate seven points among their Aspects, which must range from 1-4. Then a colored stone for each element is placed into a player's bag (which will always contain seven stones)--this is the randomizer in the game. Characters will also select a Specialization, which will be something like: Grow Food, Make Tools, Toil, Jump, or Rope Use. Characters will select a Human Nature (Ambitious, Cowardly, Greedy, etc.), and may then equip themselves with money obtained from their House (generally, characters are very sparsely equipped).
Task resolution involves a random stone draw from the character's bag. The GM will assign the task to a color and if the character draws that color they are successful. Characters may draw an extra stone if their Specialization applies, and an extra stone if their Human Nature applies. Alternately, they may draw one less stone if their Human Nature hinders. The GM may allow extra stones if a task is particularly easy (3 stones) or of average difficult (2 stones). Contested tasks, such as combat, pits stone draws against each other. Injuries result in a black stone being added to the character's bag--drawing a black stone indicates failure from pain. Wounds deteriorate rapidly and untreated characters likely will perish within several hours.
If this drawing process seems rather complicated, the rules provide numerous in depth examples and clarifications.