Fitting a campaign setting to Torchbearer

Moderator’s Note: Split from this thread: Advice for Beginning Middarmark Campaigns

Like it and love it! I’d like to present a question about stocks and classes.

I do not feel strong attraction to run adventures in Middarmark, despite that I love the content and inspiration. I want to run adventures in a custom setting, and I want to reskin most of the stocks and rebuild all of the classes.

I do not mean that I want to custom-brew the entire mechanics of TB, just that I want to set a specific relationship between the stocks and re-imagine the lives of adventurers / stories of adventure following different patterns than are expressed in the existing stock and class descriptions.

At what point is that just biting off too much, when I have truly little experience running TB delves?

Hi Ken,

If I understand, you want to homebrew your campaign setting and create custom classes without hacking the core rules, right? If so, then sure, lots of GMs do that. Torchbearer is very flexible.

However, the systems and the economies are tightly coupled and interwoven. If you haven’t played much to begin with though, I would try to master the core game before hacking it, but I know a lot of people do it the other way around, and then learn from their mistakes after something breaks. Either way can work.

That’s been my impression reading Mordite Press content. I’ve been especially helped by the multiple pieces on classes and team composition. It truly helped illustrate how valuable a diversified team is for a delve. Initially, I had just been feeling a bit strapped by the constraints of a class, but MP content helped show how those constraints drive teamwork and interdependence.

But, it is true, I’m interested in a single custom-brewed setting that does not share much of the lore from Middarmark. At the moment, I have some ideas sketched into a loose brainstorm. I’ve been thinking that a simple method will be classes that have only levels 1 - 3 rather than 1 - 10. It allows for a bit of progression, but doesn’t require countless hours of generating class features over multiple levels and considering the team synergies or shortfalls.

Would you say building a setting serves as a pseudo-character in the campaign? My impression from other games has been that the setting makes such a dramatic impact as the stage for game play. I have done much less of brainstorming over the setting ideas. I’m hesitant to bring to life the archived custom setting from D&D. It was fun, but I’m comfortable leaving that mothballed.

Yes, teamwork is essential. However, I’ll just add that an experienced player can run just about any class in any party. I’ve played in an all mage party, an all cleric party, a pixie, giant, minotaur party, etc. The point is that the game encourages system mastery (Beginner’s Luck, Nature, wises, and strategic use of rewards) which goes a lot farther than starting skills for a class.

So, you should feel free to create that world that you envision.

I know in the past you’ve wanted to tweak the elves. That’s cool, and can work with TB. Middarmark actually has a lot of cool lore about elves too, fwiw. The elves are exiles and they are searching for a way back home through the dream realm. They are these immortals stuck in between the realms. I find it very evocative.

The way I look at Rimholm is that it is another character in the adventure, yes. What’s more is that, in the Middarmark, the land and mountains and sea all literally have spirits. The environment is very much a part of the campaign.

All of what you are wanting to do is possible.

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