Torchbearer Prep


Our Sunday home group, which has been playing Imperial Assault for the last few months, decided to take a break from killing Imperial Stormtroopers to get back to the simpler things in life: Dying alone, in the dark, in a dungeon.

That’s right! We’re going to be playing Torchbearer!

Based on the award-winning Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game, Torchbearer is a riff on the early model of fantasy roleplaying games. In it, you take on the role of a fortune-seeking adventurer. To earn that fortune, you must delve into forlorn ruins, brave terrible monsters and retrieve forgotten treasures. However, make no mistake, this game is not about being a hero or about fighting for what you believe. This game is about exploration and survival. You may become a hero. You might have to fight for your ideals. But to do either of those things, you must prove yourself in the wilds. Because there are no jobs, no inheritance, no other opportunities for your deadbeat adventurers. This life is your only hope to prosper in this world.

I presented a few different games to the players, and after looking over Burning Wheel and Ryan Macklin’s Mythender, we decided to play the grim and gritty RPG that leaves most groups with a TPK.

Most of the prep for Torchbearer involves prepping dungeons, where the players will spend most of their time. I discovered some amazing maps over at OSR Today in their Map Monday archive. I’ll be utilizing those a lot.

I intend to run the adventure in the back of the Torchbearer book first, Under the House of Three Squires, followed by The Dread Crypt of Skogenby. By then, I should have a good enough handle to be able to design adventures on my own.

I’ve also been encouraging anyone who will listen to check out Torchbearer. It’s a really cool system which does away with pesky things like “range” or “wounds,” while making essential things like setting up camp and inventory. It takes the mundane things and makes them utterly fascinating, making you really care about how many torches you’re carrying, or how many hands are busy holding that bag of treasure, all before having you get impaled by a skeleton’s spear.

Have any of you been diving into any new RPGs lately? What’s an RPG I should be looking at once I TPK my party with this game?


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