Split from an old thread, namely this post: https://www.burningwheel.com/forum/showthread.php?14068-Horrible-Hack-Simple-Man-s-Traits-Checks-and-Camp&p=141510#post141510 - stormy
Evil Lincoln, it’s been over a year (really???) did you have a chance to try this out? Any feedback?
I added an alternative for players to take simulataneous actions during camp. I’ve also added a section about hunger and the grind; the thread started by firevisor brought up some concerns about avoiding the grind altogether, and I think those concerns may apply to this hack.
I read the hack…
I am not sold on removing Traits as a thing, it is one of the best parts of the system I think.
I do think that peoples general opinion, is that checks -> camp, is a mechanic that is mostly received badly in the beginning, but fades to the background by the second or third session.
The problem is, after being burned, the players will be reluctant to continue playing, so it’ll never come to that.
I am, like I’ve said, contemplating to continue the same story using a different system. But I’d rather just continue with Torchbearer, but because of the negative backlash, I feel I can’t even pop the question
And, even if they do agree to try again, it’d be pretty horrible if they still didn’t like it.
It’s worth pointing out, that my favorite aspects of the game, is Nature, Traits and Conflicts. (And of course Beliefs, Goals and Instincts). The grind is a really fun mechanic, but it’s not really a great mechanic for story-telling that isn’t focused on absolute subsistence dread.
I think it is a bit discomforting that a system isn’t explored further than its tight niche, when it could be used for more.
I didn’t remove traits, I just shifted them to earning Fate points instead of Checks, which admittedly lacks the immediacy and evocativeness of using traits against yourself.
I understand your reluctance to keep pressing TB. And I’ve talked to a number of other people that felt the same way, that loved this system and the things it does have to offer, but lost player good will after the first session. I built these changes because I really wanted to play in the subsistence dread playground that TB creates, but with a little lighter weight. I think I had already lost the players, though. They were moody, uncomfortable, and unwilling to try things. Alas…
Huh? Did I write that? Oh wow I guess I did.
Well, we’ve continued to play Torchbearer as written this whole time. It does look like an interesting variant, I’m happy to hear if anyone has been using it.
As far as the player reception of Checks to Camp, here’s the approach I recommend:
Don’t even talk about Checks or Camp in the first session. Run a short dungeon and use Town instead.
You want to introduce Camp around the same time they start to recognize that failure is a requirement for advancement or that some rolls are impossible and the system forces you to make them anyway.
See, the problem isn’t Checks and Camp, they fit perfectly in this game. The problem is that veteran roleplayers have a really hard time comprehending the role of failure in Torchbearer. Character success is not Player success. The Player can succeed where the character fails, through advancement, through roleplaying, and through drama. Most traditional and popular roleplaying games, original D&D included, are not like this. It takes the most fundamental unit of the “game” – dice result good! dice result bad! – and fucks with it.
Once players learn that failure is unavoidable, not especially hurtful (compared to most games), and even somewhat beneficial, then Checks become valuable tactical resource to double-down on a predicted failure.
Nobody gets this in their first session. This is why I say ignore the camp rules for the first few sessions. Stick to small dungeons and returns to town.
Just to clarify, the original hack was mine, stormsweeper split this off the original thread and was confused regarding the original author.
I like your advice!