I’m curious if TB will support adventures outside the dungeon. Specifically in the wilds and on ships.
Also, will the PCs have the chance to do more than explore dungeons? Could they quest in the wilderness? Could they survive long enough to get a ship for example and take adventures to the seas? Or build a modest keep? Would they ever go on an adventure in a different place (Dante’s Hell for example might be a terrifying experience or under the sea).
Just curious if the game will always be about dungeon/camp/town. I know my players will try to stretch beyond set options whether I am ready or not!
Yes. Harrowing adventure awaits in the grimdark forests of the Ironwold! And unlike D&D, wilderness adventures actually work. Topi ran a game that was 85% wilderness with a brief foray into the side of a cliff IIRC.
And re: water, the combination of Carpenter + Sailor saved our asses more than once as our resident surly dwarf crafted a boat to haul our corpuses and a dozen dice worth of treasure down a river and away from a rampaging dragon.
I’m hoping the wilds introduce the same stress as being underground–danger of getting lost, thirst, the elements, rampaging dragons etc. I hike quite a bit and just looking out for black bears and making sure I can get back to where I started is challenging enough without the fantasy world need for checking for kobold ambushes, stirge sneak attacks, and dragon fly-bys.
You do know that I now feel like a kid waiting to open his present at his birthday party right? And it is still more than a week away.
You could easily run a Torchbearer game (say, set in Yosemite) with no fantasy elements. Just environmental hazards, weather, terrain and dangerous beasts. Either campers and hikers wandering along trails or trekking up mountainsides or tribes people in the Amazon or the bush of Australia or South Africa just trying to get by.
when looking at outdoor encounters and dungeons they really are the same with a different backdrop and a whole new set of enviromental hazards. that is if you break your dungeon down into rooms and hallways or points of interest, outdoor adventures would be clearings and paths or areas of interest.
I wanted to offer up an example of this. it is quick so please don’t judge.
You have heard rumors of a band of Lizards folk that are in alliance with a group called the forked tongue has set up camp nearby in Bear Paw marsh. Known for it odd shaped waterways and quicksand bogs. They are said to have a gem called the serpents eye set in an idol to their dark god.
area 1: The warning. Light trickles through the canopy here, showing the strange green mists coming from the bog. in the middle of this clearing is a statue made of bones and scraps of leather. Made as an idol to the One Without Legs. It is clearly a warning to all that you are coming to an area that you are not welcome in.
I would then put a couple of enemies here that would fit the final theme. probably snakes and lizardfolk.
Path to area 2 - slowly moving across this path, poking around to make sure you avoid the water and dreaded quicksand of this area you advance deeper into Bear Paw Marsh. The little light that was filtering through the canopy is gone. mixed with the heavy moisture and fog of the marsh.
The Graveyard - Sinking slowly into the marsh is the remnants of an ancient burial grounds. you guess from the symbols and names it is from the Alarian City of Morning Dew that sank into the Ocean nearby when a Kraken assaulted its walls. This mush of been one of the outlying villages that fell during that dark time.
I would give this back drop and fill with appropriate baddies, skeletons, lizardfolk and of course the themed snakes.
Path to section 3 - Battered, bruised and tired you continue your advance deeper into the marsh. you must be getting sloppy with your checking of the trail as you foot starts to sink into a soft, warm patch of earth.
The Serpents Eye - Boss Room You step past ancient trees flanking you path. you see an effigy to The Legless One now in front of you. Coiled around the skeleton of a man. Its left eye glows with a red hatred from the nearby fires. Chanting in slow hissing words is a Lizards folk and near him is a seemingly contend serpent. it hisses as you come into the clearing.
Appropriate boss fight.
And the players now have a gem from the Effigy known as the Serpents Eye.
that is a quick adventure that could last a session or two. it literally took longer to type up than to think up
I like this quick adventure. I see how you could make a wilds adventure work.
I think I would modify it a bit by riffing off your idea of twisting waterways. Allow the PCs the choice to approach either by boat through the twisting waterways or over the bogs. Your adventure would cover the land approach quite well. I’d add the water encounters and weave both the land and water descriptions together on a map. So if the PCs lose their boat or get tired of alligators, they could go by land. Conversely, if you leave a reed boat or a few huge turtles to be found, the PCs could choose to take the waterways to get away from the quicksand.
The boss room would be both on land and have a water approach. The boss could use the water to his advantage or the PCs might use it to sneak in from an unexpected direction. Maybe even a fight on giant lily pads. You get hit, you might lose your balance and go into the water with the alligators or piranhas.
I don’t see why people would already like the game be about something it is not… Torchbearer is a game about exploring dungeons, period. There are plenty of other games dealing with city-based adventures and wilderness exploration; why is it so hard to accept that TB is NOT about that?
I can see the appeal of working the game to be about something else; I’m a tinkerer by nature. That said, I want to see how TB plays out. And then I’ll probably find fun ways to hack it around. (I’m the guy who’s working on a way to hack Hollowpoint into the slice-of-life/highschool romance genre.)
I don’t know what the game can handle. It has rangers and wilderness skills so I’m curious. I know my players will leave the dungeon and want to strike out overland or set sail. If the game assumes I’ll simply tell them no that won’t work for me. Since it already has the needed skills for both I was just curious how it would work.
Plus I love to world build. Should I focus just on dungeons or on more options like cities and the wilds? Again, I was curious. Mouse Guard seems to handle lots of different places and challenges well.
A tangent, but one of the things that I’m really looking forward to mulling over once I can read the full book is how well, at least academically, Torchbearer could hack into a Roadside Picnic game. And I know there already is one, because I own it and it’s pretty cool, but it’s a much different game.
Mind, I’m also just really looking forward to reading the damn book. But seeing which ways it’ll bend’ll be fun too.
I think it is doable within the game’s structure. A monstrous city could be a very specialized town with custom tables and a ruined city could be wilderness with twists that are relevant to the ruins. But it would take some game mastery and doing.