TORCHBEARER - Session 1c (Camp)

Camp Events
Typical Underground: 5 6 = Minor Break
Natural Cave Minor Break, 4: Away from the spilling rainwater, the marble of the room seals away ground moisture making the area dry and comfortable. +1D to recover Exhausted.

Camp Strategy
Plan out who gets what checks and how are they spent.
Spend your checks to recover, improve your camp, find food and water, draw a map, make tools, research or read books, debate a course of action, create scrolls, pray or other acts that may be accomplished in and around camp.
You cannot spend checks to explore or fight monsters.
You may not make two tests in a row in Camp.
You may share checks with another player.
You can use Traits to help yourself in Camp. You cannot generate Checks while in Camp.

Break Camp
Magicians rememorize spells. Tell us what you choose.
Unspent Checks are lost.
It's a new Adventure Phase! Turn number resets to 1.


TORCHBEARER - Session 1b

Cold, hard rain beats down from blackened skies. A woven basket is lowered down from above, held strong by a series of ropes and pulleys, squeaking as it moves. When the basket settles on the ground, you can see crude splotches of tar and paint have been slathered onto the outside.

From above, the duped Hobgoblin sentry yells out, "OK, then sir, we can get yous twos ats a time."

The size of the basket, the strength of the sentry's arms, and the ingenuity of the pulley system are all perhaps far more disappointing than you would have hoped.

Shit. Now what do you do?

Oh shit, you done fell down a hole!


TORCHBEARER - Session 1a

Dragon Keep is an imposing structure built into the defensible hillside during the Age of Dhakaan by a long-dead empire of Tiamat-worshiping Hobgoblins. Before its fall, it served as a sanctuary and meeting place of the once-wealthy priesthood. Dragon Keep was said to be a focal point for divine power and direct connection with the torturous realms of the Five-Headed Goddess. It was here that unholy texts of dark power were stored. Legend tells that the final fall of the Keep was from an incursion of Dunmer Dark Elves boiling up from the lightless depths below to attack the Hobgoblin defenders who had grown soft and disorganized in their hubris.

The Lost Crown of Tesh-Naga is said to still be hidden in these ruins; a fabled silver crown bearing the nine shining jewels of the conquered lands of Skyrim and magical power to bend the will of the weak-minded.

The four of you have traveled to this remote dungeon and see its form breaking the horizon: a carved marble dragon's maw yawning out of the sheer granite cliff side.
What do you do?

Goals are statements of action that set your character’s agenda: I will… I must… I won’t….
They are immediate, something you could feasibly accomplish this session. They’re not long-term dreams. “I will be king one day,” is a bad goal (unless “one day” is “today”). And don’t write dumb goals like “I will light a torch.” There’s no reward for accomplishing dumb goals.
Example: “I will discover what happened to the innkeeper and his guests.
Example: “I won’t let the city fall to the dragon (that is attacking today).

For your first post, please state what your character's first goal is. If you stumble across what you think to be a better image of your character, feel free to send it to me and I'll swap it out for the placeholders I am using.

Goal Examples:
  • I will loot this place for all its worth.
  • I will drive off the Hobgoblin clan.
  • I will recover a lost Dhakaani relic.
  • I will uncover ancient, lost lore.
  • I will banish any lingering Daedra spirits.
  • I will sanctify this unholy place.
  • I will find the path into the secret realm of the Dunmer.
  • I will steal a fiery dragon egg.


TORCHBEARER - Equipment & Starting Weapons

Choose Adventuring Gear
The following is a list of common adventuring equipment. When starting a character, you may choose to take as much gear as your character can carry. Choose whether you will carry a satchel (torso 1 and holds 3 slots) or backpack (torso 2 and penalizes Dungeoneer and Fighter; holds 6 slots). Fill it, fill your belt pouch, put a weapon in your belt's scabbard, and fill your skin with wine.

Determine what you’re wearing on your torso (3 slots), neck (1 slot), head (1 slot), hands (2 worn items and 2 held items) and feet. Small sacks can be held in one hand (holds 2 slots) and large slots can be held in two hands (holds 6 slots). Your inventory slots are also listed on the back of the character sheet. Items can be carried, worn or packed into the appropriate slots. They take a number of slots as listed below. Check out the vitals page to see how many slots you have available; modified if you picked a satchel instead of a backpack (1 more on the torso, 3 less packed) or if you're carrying sacks (need to be held in hand(s), but opens up additional pack space).

Probably a really good place to coordinate and talk strategy.

Backpack torso/worn 2
Bottle pack 2
Candles (4) hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Cloak torso/worn 1, hand/carried 1 or pack 2
Finery torso/worn 3 or pack 4
Flask of oil (2) hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Garlic hand/carried 1 or neck/worn 1
Grappling hook hand/carried 1 or pack 2
Hammer hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Holy symbol neck/worn 1
Holy water flask (2) hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Iron spikes (6) pack 1
Jug pack 3
Lantern hand/carried 1 or pack 2
Mirror hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Pole, 10’ hand/carried 2
Quiver torso/carried 1 or belt/weapon
(2) Rations, fresh pack 1
(3) Rations, preserved pack 1
Rope torso/worn 1 or pack 2
Sack, large hands/carried 2 or pack 1 (empty)
Sack, small hands/carried 1 or pack 1 (empty)
Satchel torso/worn 1
Shoes feet/worn
Spell or prayer supplies hand/worn, neck/worn or pack 1 per spell
Stakes (3) and mallet pack 1
Thieves’ tools pack 1
Tinderbox pack 1
Torches (4) hand/carried 1 or pack 1
Traveling spell book pack 2
Wine skin/bottle/jug 1
Wolfsbane pack 1

Magicians must take a traveling spell book as part of their starting gear.

Choose Your Weapon

Magicians: You start with a dagger as a weapon. You may only use daggers.

Paladins: You can use any weapon besides bows and crossbows. You may start with one weapon of your choice. You have the option to choose a shield as an additional second weapon, or to start with a helmet.

Dwarves: You can use any weapon besides two-handed swords and bows. You may start with one weapon of your choice. You have the option to choose a shield as an additional second weapon, or to start with a helmet.

One-handed weapons are carried in the belt/weapon slot on your inventory.
Two-handed weapons must be wielded in two hands, but may be carried in one. In this case, whatever is in the other hand is dropped once the weapon is wielded.

Starting Weapon Choices

Dagger hand/carried 1
Battle axe hand/carried 2
Polearm hand/carried 2
Shield hand/carried 1
Crossbow hand/carried 2
 - quarrels belt/weapon
Sling hand/carried 1
Spear hand/carried 1
Flail hand/carried 1
Sword hand/carried 1
Halberd hand/carried 2
Two-handed Sword hand/carried 2
Hand axe hand/carried 1
Warhammer hand/carried 2
Mace hand/carried 1

Starting Armor
Dwarves and Paladins begin the game with leather armor. You can add a helmet if you did not choose a shield as your additional weapon.

Magicians do not start with armor.

Helmet head/worn 1
Leather armor torso/worn 1



Listed here is the net result of group character creation. Players - keep in mind that there are only 3 of you, which is a little on the low end (typically there are groups of four). This is very purposeful.

Look to the Comments below as we do a step-by-step character generation method and reply to them as you can. There are better choices to make and game the system, but none are really that bad, so just go with what feels cool. I'll update this post with the character sheet results as the come to fruition.

Additionally, whenever the game rules refer to an event that happens per session, we will define a "session" as 13 Turns.


Skills: Scholar, Cartographer, Commander
Traits: Defender, Honorable

Skills: Armorer, Cartographer, Stonemason
Traits: Cunning, Stoic

Skills: Haggler, Rider, Criminal
Traits: Foolhardy, Quick-witted

Skills: Alchemist, Lore Master, Scholar
Traits: Thoughtful, Skeptical

Skills: Healer, Mentor, Pathfinder
Traits: Adventurous, Quiet

Skills: Haggler, Steward, Armorer
Traits: Bold, Scarred

Skills: Theologian, Lore Master, Scholar
Traits: Thoughtful, Calm

Skills: (see below)
Traits: Early Riser, Rough Hands, Stoic

DRAGON BRIDGE: Carpenter, Cook
HELGEN: Rider, Peasant
IVARSTEAD: Stonemason, Weaver
KARTHWASTEN: Stonemason, Weaver
RIVERWOOD: Sailor, Carpenter
RORIKSTEAD: Cook, Hunter
SHOR'S STONE: Stonemason, Peasant

WISES (Examples)

Specific Town Wises
You can take a wise about a particular town or city; Helgen-wise, Winterhold-wise, etc.

Specific Location Wises
You can be wise about terrain features and adventure locations—Reach-wise, Lake-wise, etc.

Specific Monster Wises
You can take a wise about a particular sort of monster— Dragon-wise, Zombie-wise, etc.

Specific Group Wise
You may take specific wises for types or groups of people— Barbarian-wise, Bjorning-wise, Gott-wise, etc. You may develop your own wise to represent the group. For example: Armorer-wise, Apiarist-wise, Bandit-wise, etc.

Specific Thing Wise
Wises can also be about things—Book-wise, Ice Storm-wise, Trap-wise, Ugly Truth-wise, War-wise, etc.


Human Nature Questions
All Humans, please answer the following questions:

Do you sit by the hearth at night drinking and boasting of your great deeds, or do you spend those chill nights quietly preparing for the dark times to come?

When the elves and dwarves voice their concerns, do you demand to be heard as an equal or do you bow your head and listen to the wisdom of your elders?

Would you flee from the hordes of goblins, beasts and monsters that prey on civilization or will you plunge into their midst, questing for treasure?

Dwarf Nature Questions
Mithras the Crass, please answer the following questions:

If your kin are slain and their halls plundered, would you spend your life plotting and exacting revenge, or would you tally your losses and move on to greater challenges?

Would you plunge ever deeper into the bones of the earth looking for treasures untold, or do you fear what you would uncover should you dig too deep?

Do you yearn to spend your days crafting wondrous objects from silver and gold or does the life of adventure call?


Do you have friends who enjoy your occasional visits or are you a loner, tough and cool?
If you have a friend, +1 Circles. Write your friend’s name on your character sheet. Choose a profession from your home town’s skill list for your friend.
If you are a loner, tough and cool, your Circles starts at 1, and you have an enemy. How did your enemy destroy your life and set you on this path? Write down the name of your nemesis or mortal enemy on your sheet and skip the rest of the Circles and Relationships questions and take the Loner trait at level 1 or increase it by one if you already have it.

Do you have parents you can stomach talking to or are you an orphan?
If you have parents, +1 Circles. Note your family name or parents’ names on your character sheet. Choose a trade for your parents from your home town’s skill list.
If you’re an orphan, you have a keepsake from your parents that is worn around your neck or on one hand. Describe its sentimental value. It is worth 1D of treasure. Put it in your inventory, it takes 1 space.

Did you have a mentor or did you make your own way in this rough life?
If you have a mentor, +1 Circles. Note your mentor’s name on your character sheet. Your mentor’s trade is the same as the specialty you chose for your character. Note this next to his name like so: Froz the Cook.
If you made your own way  in life, you start with a pouch of cash worth 2D of treasure (it takes one space in your inventory).

Have you made an enemy in your life or have your dubious deeds managed to escape notice?
If you have made an enemy, +1 Circles. Note your enemy’s name on your character sheet. Choose a class and stock for your enemy (or let the GM decide).
For example: Bargle the Magician.
The benefit for not having an enemy is not having an enemy.


Hey, I'm going to be running a play-by-post game of Torchbearer on this blog, starting pretty soon, because it is a convenient interface for me. I hope that doesn't annoy the hardcore deathmatch people too much, but if it does; tough titties. All the players are already set, so don't ask.

I've had this dungeon that I've created for many months now, just collecting dust and waiting to be played. Well, now it is getting played! We'll go through the dungeon, -ish, and see how we feel after that. The game world is loosely based off of Skyrim, since that is such a rich setting and has lots of immediate buy-in and implied verisimilitude right from the start for so many gamers. No one playing this is a Torchbearer expert, some know nothing about the system at all. Stick to your roots and be the best murder-hobo you can. Game the system; I know I will be doing so, and seeing your characters tormented gives me joy. What's better than that, though, is seeing both the player and the character grow up as we play. So, I will endeavor to provide some rules help and hints along the way to get everyone up to speed. Ask lots of questions. We're going to publicly detail the process, including Character Creation, for all to see because it is kind of fun.


  • Torchbearer is a game of exploration and survival, neither of which is easy.
  • It’s less like Lord of the Rings and more like surviving Vietnam.
  • There are treasures to be found, but they are going to be pried from the frozen grip of the dead.
  • Your characters are desperate people with no respectable or promising opportunities.
  • Your characters aren't heroes, but they can become heroes.
  • Your adventurers have powerful ambition and poor judgment.
  • They are foolishly optimistic opportunists.

While adventuring and during character creation, ask yourself the following questions:
  • What led you to this life?
  • What as the last thing you ate that didn't make you sick?
  • Who have you let down?
  • What was the job that was going to get you off the street? How did it fall apart?
  • Does anyone at home depend on you? How have you failed them?
  • Who in your new group besides you shows the most promise?
  • What about this adventure gives you hope?
Read this to get a glimpse into how utterly terrible caving is on the human body and mind. You live in a brutal, unsympathetic world and it hates you.


Describe what your character is doing. Live in the fiction. Ask questions, explore, look around, get as much out of the GM as you can before doing something tricky or hard. When that happens, he'll tell you to stop and make a skill test of a certain Obstacle. He will roll d6's for you equal to the skill's rank, +1 if an ally can and wants to Help you (or is Wise in the subject), +1 if you use your Trait in a beneficial way, -1 if you use your Trait in a negative way and show the world what a scoundrel you are (this lets you Camp and Recover later on). He will tell you how hard it will be, once you've committed to the action, so you can figure out how much effort you want to throw in. If you don't have the skill, use half of either Health or Will; or all of your Nature. It's better if your Nature descriptor matches what you're doing. Mark if you've passed or failed; otherwise known as "gain some XP".

If it's a skill you don't have, gain Rank 2 when you have a number of attempts (either Pass or Fail) equal to your Nature.
Else, increase your skill Rank when you have Passes equal to the current Rank and Fails equal to 1 less than that.

Look at your Beliefs. If acting on your Belief is the safe and sensible thing to do, it's worthless. When you fight for what you stand for in the face of adversity, or when you question your deeply held Beliefs and change the core of your soul, the game rewards you.

Try to attain your Goals, or at least make some progress.
Try and have an Instinct that will make everyone's lives a little better.

If you have and spend Persona: Add your Nature to a roll (sometimes risky!), or add +1D to a roll, or re-roll failed dice related to your Wise.

If you have and spend Fate: Explode a 6, or re-roll one failed die on something you are Wise in.

If you have and spend Checks: Camp and recover. Recovery heals Conditions. You can Recover at Camp with Checks, or at Town by wracking up a bill at the inn.

If you have and spend an unused Trait: once per "session", you can add +1D.

If you have Loot: head back to civilization and barter it away in return for a soft bed and a cold meal. Be thankful that you're still alive.

Think of smart things to do. If it's a really good idea, the GM will say "Good Idea!" and not pass any time or force you to make a Test. Time passes whenever you make a Test. Time grinds you down, makes you hungry and exhausted and pissed off. Time makes torches burn out and leaves you in pitch black darkness a half mile under the earth.


DOOM v0.7 Sneak Peek - Attacking

As I develop and refine the rules to DOOM RPG, and more importantly as I write those in a coherent fashion that can be easily understood, I will be previewing those rules here. At this stage in development, many core aspects of the game are solidified and have gone through initial testing. These game mechanics I can confidently say will survive into any expansive, semi-official rules releases in the near future. I hold back on others that are more experimental so as not to muddy the data streams with potentially false information. As you might expect from a ultra-tactical game such as DOOM, the Attack action is now grounded and in a state ready to be shown.


When a creature makes an attack, the active player rolls 1d20, plus a number of additional d20’s equal to the value of the attack modifier (-2, +3, etc.) If the modifier is positive, the active player may use any result rolled. A player can always choose to use a result from among the attack dice rolled that is of a lower value to activate a desired effect from the Attack Effect Chart. If the attack modifier is negative, however, the lowest value rolled must be used.

On a result of 10 or higher, the attack hits and deals its damage as indicated by the weapon being used. On every roll, whether a hit or a miss, apply the indicated effect from the Attack Effect Chart.

Example: Andy drops to the ground, Prone, and takes aim with his Assault Rifle to shoot a Flame Imp. He rolls a d20 for the attack, plus an additional d20 for the Assault Rifle’s Focused trait (+1), since he is Prone, and is able to use either die roll. He rolls a 13 and 11, both hits! He could hit with a 13, but he is lying on the ground Prone and is worried about a nearby Hell Knight stomping his head in. He wisely chooses to use the die roll of 11, allowing him to Stand Up and hits with his regular damage.

Multiple Targets, Multiple Attack

When an attack targets multiple targets, such as using a weapon with the Line or Auto-fire traits, use the following general guideline: once for the attack, once for the damage.

When attacking multiple targets, the active player must attack the target with the worst penalty to attack and apply that result against all targets. Similarly, damage is rolled only once and applied to all targets on a hit.

Held Weapon Only

A Marine can can only attack with his or her currently Held weapon, as indicated by the placement of the Items on his or her character sheet. A Marine can, however, activate any non-weapon Items in their inventory while keeping a weapon in the Held Item location.

Exception: An Unarmed attack may be performed no matter what the current Held Weapon is.

Demons have no such restrictions.