Farm Laws and Punishments

@Thor or @luke

Why can adventurers not talk with the farmers?

Once, you had mentioned some of the background behind the Farms or Pastures section (LMM p.188-189), but I cannot find it on the forum.

You mentioned the low precedence of the adventurers and the fact that they are clanless outcasts that are not to be trusted, but there was something more as I recall. Just curious for more details and background.


Farms or Pastures
Behind the garrisons and fortified walls of towns, the brave few till the lands and herd the cattle that feed civilization. It is illegal for adventurers to so much as talk with farmers and herders; it is likewise illegal for the peasant folk to do any business whatsoever outside of a market.

Violating these terms is punishable by hanging.

Destroying farms or pastures that feed a settlement counts as a disaster for that settlement and imposes a -1 penalty to future town events rolls.

Those farmers and their farms belong to the towns. They are not free to sell their produce wherever they wish. They are legally bound to bring their produce to the town’s market, pay the fees required to do so, and sell at the prices regulated by the town.

Selling to vagrants and lowlifes (or anyone) outside the market is a criminal offense. Also, anyone you don’t know could be a witch who could hex your goats and cattle to give sour milk and blight your crops.


Cool. I couldn’t remember where you had mentioned it before, but those are great details.

I hope the Burning Anniversary went well and thanks again!

I take no quarrel with the response, but it seems the policy of, adventurers cannot so much as talk to a farmer or herder, would be difficult to monitor and enforce. I can imagine there are venues, like taverns and markets, where vagrant, low-life adventurers are talking with the farmers and herders or at least could strike up a conversation.

So, is it more directed toward enforcing that all business transactions are handled through the market, and adventurers are not given access to directly shop with the farmers and herders, making their own exchanges or arranging investments or contracts? Or, is this really about keeping them from even social communications that risk leading to more open markets or added complexity of market actors outside the known norm?

As an aside, I understand and embrace that adventurers are clanless, but is there really something visibly known about them that identifies that? I can imagine clans may have an article or a style of clothing or jewelry that ensures the clan is known. I can imagine society can mark individuals by tattooing or by branding to ensure they are known visibly as a clanless vagrant. But, if players are just starting out and have no specific backstory describing the visible indicator of being an outlaw or cast-off, isn’t it a bit much to enforce that everyone just knows they are vagrant, low-life adventurers? Seems like even if rumors moved swiftly that it wouldn’t truly reach everyone everywhere.

> adventurers cannot so much as talk to a farmer or herder

I think the context of the Farm location is important. I’m not sure it literally means at any time any where. More like, if you go to this location in a settlement, there are additional rules one must follow because of cultural norms and concerns. However, even with a strict interpretation, there are additional constraints put on adventurers, so they should know that certain social strata need to be avoided.

> is there really something visibly known about them that identifies that?

Well the party returns to the settlement covered in gore and mud, their weapons shown obvious signs of use, and their clothing torn and tattered. Besides that, consider that in small towns everyone knows everyone else’s business. People are going to know when a handful of sell-swords breeze into town. But, if the party tries to obfuscate it, the first time they are asked where they are from or which clan they belong to, their lies will quickly become exposed.


Koch has it.
In settlements, everyone knows everyone else’s business. Outsiders are watched from the moment they enter a settlement, and their whereabouts and activities become gossip and the interest of many inhabitants. This true from steadings to metropolises.

Adventurers are dirty, ragged and armed—and carrying torches! No one but adventurers has any use for torches. Farmers are clean and colorfully dressed; they rely on their overlords and the watch to protect them.

And peasants don’t want to talk to adventurers. I know this is hard to process, but adventurers are dangerous, unpredictable, violent, thieving individuals. For a peasant to even get close to one is to risk their livelihood or life. They’d rather report you to the local authorities and pretend they’re not at home.

And yes, of course there are exceptions to this circumstance. Some farm boy might fall in love with an elf ranger who comes begging at the door. Or a farmer’s daughter may yearn to take up the spear and leave her dreary life for one of adventure. But those are grist for drama, situations that should arise in play. They’re not the typical interaction with peasants in our world!

We stressed this social system as an attempt to move the world away from standard fantasy tropes of the adventurers being heroes and their world just a basket of resources for them to draw from. For Torchbearer to work, the whole world has to be against our adventurers. Out in the darkness, traps, goblins and worse block their path; in town, the social order doesn’t want them. The satisfaction of the game is succeeding despite having every obstacle in your path.


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