Camping without checks

Mod Note: split from the threadA thousand Questions.

This game is harsh…

…some players in my group didn’t enjoy parts of the game.

Personally I had a blast (and 1/2 of the players didn’t mind the mechanics) but one of the players wasn’t very impressed by the mechanics in this game.

I think the “get checks or you may not rest” part was the deal-breaker. This player is an immersion centered person, and some rules in Torchbearer are admittedly strange when viewed with common sense.

What effects on the game would house-ruling out the check requirement on entering the camp phase do to the game?

So, this player is resistant to finding ways that his traits might be seen as shortcomings? That’s a pretty big part of playing Torchbearer.

It’s not really a “rules get out of the way of my immersion” kind of game.

Edit: I know that doesn’t really answer your question. But, I think trying to change the game to fit this player’s tastes may be misguided if they’re as resistant as it sounds. Not every game appeals to everybody. But, you’re the one at the table, not me.

Yes, but if the GM invokes the Injured condition, the player’s scrambles out. If they GM invokes a twist, the player has to roll, but they haven’t suffered any condition (yet).

I’ve got a few hacks laying around the hacks section that you might be interested in. I really like torchbearer, and I don’t know of any other game that does dungeon survival better, but I had a similar concern about the weight of the mechanics with my players, back when I had players. Life gets in the way. I have play tested all of the hacks I wrote, but if you’re interested and get a chance to, let me know how it goes :slight_smile:

All due respect to the purists of the world, I never got the argument “if you want to change it then maybe you shouldn’t be playing it”. Without experimentation there wouldn’t be indie games, whether the experiments are big or small doesn’t make them any more or less noble. What you learn and gain from an experiment is what grants it value.

I don’t know what effect it would have, but what would be the point? If you don’t have checks, how would you make recovery checks during the camp phase? You spend the checks to get over conditions. And earning checks isn’t really that hard. But, if you want to relax that a bit, I have two ideas:

Keep it simple: This is the more generous of the two options. Just make it a house rule that each player gets one free check each session that can be used for recovery (and recovery only) during a camp session. This check still follows the rules for recovery order. I don’t think this is too unbalanced.

Make the players pay: This is the more restrictive of the two options. Make the players pay a Fate point for a free recovery. This point would not get put in the spent column. It is not experience earned and should not help them level up. They can do this as much as they want, but doing it too much should severely hamper their ability to level.

I personally think the game works as is, but we have players in our group that struggle to get checks, too. However, we have other players that usually get multiple checks, so it usually balances out. But I think the options above could work.

Your Keep It Simple rule is how Mouse Guard works. So it has that going for it.

Also, remember that players get better and better at checks.

In my first session, players really didn’t want to take the penalties checks required. In my second session, they were leaping over one another in order to get checks. Conditions are the stick, checks are the carrot. If you mess with checks, conditions will feel less important.

Finally, RAW, you can avoid losing Fresh by taking a camp session instead of your fourth test. Make sure you don’t make this solution easy to accomplish.

@Why, the designers describe camping to keep fresh as a feature, I don’t think it’s something you should try to avoid. Sure, it shouldn’t be so easy that you can do it every time, but this is torchbearer, nothing is that easy, they’ll hit a twist that they can’t ignore on the 2nd or 3rd test sooner or later.

@jovialbard We are agreed. I’m just wary of free checks, or removing checks, because they help make camping easy. If my players want to camp after every third turn, I’m going to make them suffer for the checks before they are allowed to; which makes those twists more likely.

The proposed “house-ruling out the check requirement on entering the camp phase”, in my opinion, is a way of allowing the PCs easy camping. It makes camping to keep fresh trivial (as it can feasibly be done with extreme frequency).

@Why aaaaaaaah, totally missed that, great point.

I am not sure I agree camping is still easy?!

Aren’t you supposed to roll on the camp safe table everytime they camp?

That always imposes a chance for disaster, and the more frequently you camp the higher the risk for trouble?

Yeah, but the risk isn’t thaaat great, given the rewards (you never have to eat or drink and you get to keep fresh). However, if they camp too often you could increase the danger level. Or you could just not reset the turn clock when they camp. Or only reset the turn clock if they all eat or drink. So they can keep fresh but have to consume resources to do it.

edit: We are directly talking about hacks now though, instead of answering actual game rules questions, so this discussion should probably continue in the hacks section and not here

“Or you could just not reset the turn clock when they camp.”

Actually you can’t do that. That is not how the game works.

I’ve been playing for about a year and mishaps on that table are rarely a concern. They come up once in a while, but that’s not what makes camping hard. Camping is hard because you have to earn checks to camp, and multiple checks if you want to recover, and earning checks costs you something. If you change the game so that checks are not needed, you make camping cheap, easy and frequent. Now I can camp whenever I feel like it. I probably feel like camping before the grind. So, every turn 3, or why not every other turn? I don’t have to earn any checks, so I can just RP my stubbornness or foolhardiness when it doesn’t really matter, but always roll maximum dice in the intervening turns.

@Praion completely agree, that’s why I said we should stop brainstorming hacks in this thread. Bottom line, we aren’t talking about the rules anymore. noclue is right, though, the rules in this game are pretty tightly interwoven, just dropping one of them has far reaching repercussions.

Actually, if I recall correctly (its been a while since we played), MG gives you a free check every time they camp. I suggested one free check each session, not each camp.

As far as some of the other comments, I should note that I do not recomend either of the ideas I suggested. I think the game works fine just the way it is. These were just ideas.

MG assumes one Player’s Turn (it doesn’t have camping) and one GM’s Turn per session. And, personally I think all the ideas in the thread are awful, but when has that stopped anyone? :wink:

I was playing round with this concept a while ago and this is what I came up with:

I don’t doubt the rules are tightly interwoven, but you must agree the no check = no camp may be the most immersionbraking rule in the game.

Is the rule ‘good idea’ meant to be able to trump all the rules in the game?

I like the rules, I like that it is pretty obviously gamist in nature.
But for some players immersion is very important.

It just saddens me that more people can’t be open to this game, because it has a lot of unique qualities.

Falling back to Savage Worlds with the setting and game se created (which I’ve become enamored with)
Yet it’s sinply a bit sad that this game is so inaccessible, while D&D is still played with passion by so many.

Oh well… Can’t please the all, and it’s not everyones cup of tea.
But I want to play this game so bad.

This is why I hate this hobby. :smiley:

Torchbearer is immersive in its own way. Between the grind, your inventory space, and the fact that you need to fail to advance, it creates tension and claustrophobia. However, it’s still a mechanics-forward system that plays like a game and not a rules-light theater of the mind storytelling game. It’s true that some people won’t like that. Do your best to find players who do; it’s one hell of a fun time!

I stand corrected. (Like I said, it has been a while since we played MG. Probably over two years now.) I also agree that the ideas on this post are unnecessary. I think the game works great as is. Yes, it is hard on players and characters. But that’s the way the game was meant. You should expect for your characters to get worn down, expend all of their equipment and (probably sooner than later) die. I’ve played D&D for over 25 years (and am still a fan), but I could count on one hand the number of times our characters were killed in the game (and even fewer that weren’t brought back by magic). The game was fun, but there was no real danger for the characters. (Just like many of the other RPGs I’ve played.) TB is different that way and its not for everyone. We have players in our group that prefer MouseGuard over TB and some that like TB better. It takes getting used to. But, instead of changing the rules to make it easier on the players, just play a different game. MG is awesome. D&D is classic. You have options.