How much "Help" dice can I get?

So I’m about to run my second torchbearer game and I got a burning question:

How many help dice can a player/ creature receive?

P66 says that you have to wait until the character describes their action to describe how you help. Which suggest that every character besides the acting character can help if they have a relevant way to get involved. Is it correct?

I think for example about beginner luck situations. Since every character has will and health ratings, every character could help every beginner test.

P 68 suggest that every teammate involved in a conflict can add a helping die for disposition for the same reason (they can help with listed ability)

This would again work in certain conflict (kill, drive off) during the “defend” action for exemple.

You could say “freindship is magic”. I couldn’t agree more. This reasonning however makes monster swarms particularly brutal. A group of 10 kobolds would roll 11 dice for an independant attack test (2 for nature and 9 for help).

Did I miss something or do kobolds rule?

You have it right. Helping dice are a major force in the game mechanics.

I often enforce the “explain your help” rule. It leads to good role-play, but also sometimes people just come up empty and can’t help!

I also have a “Too many cooks” rule. If too many players use the same explanation or if their help doesn’t make sense in the fiction, there’s no helping die.

Of course, the GM doesn’t have to do any of this, really. Monster swarms are brutal, but when they take any damage at all they hemorrhage dice in a way that a single high-nature monster does not.

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In Torchbearer, Describe to Live always applies. If you want to help, you have to describe your help. It’s not enough to just say you’re helping with Fighter and pass over a die. As Owen notes, sometimes that means players come up empty. Likewise, I don’t allow players to pile on with the same description or repeat the same action again and again in a conflict.

Imagine this is a movie or television show. We’ve got one character leading the action but the camera momentarily focuses on each of the supporting characters in turn. If that character isn’t doing something interesting to justify the screentime, their addition gets left on the cutting-room floor.

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What you may not be considering is disposition. There might be 100 kobolds, but if their conflict disposition is only 6, only 6 kobolds matter. The rest are just window dressing. This is convenient way for the GM to modulate the encounter. Maybe 12 kobolds are in this conflict, maybe its only 6 and the rest are just egging them on. It’s up to how much disposition and helping dice you decide are going to matter.

Just remember that if the PCs win a kill or drive-off conflict, the kobold’s as a threat are removed (at least for the time being).

Kobolds indeed can swarm. But they’ll be glass-jawed - a good Attack will knock out a lot of them, as they’ll likely average 1 dispo each. But until you whittle them down, they will indeed rule.

I mean, every monster gives +1 disposition when helping (p 151), whether it’s a kobold or an ancient god :slight_smile:

You will consistently get a major compromise with a swarm as long as it gets a chance to attack. So trying to kill it will likely result in major injuries or few deaths.

I wanted to be sure that I understood it correctly. Thank you all for your answers.

Unless your players use bows, spears or handaxes to good effect, and/or time their maneuvers and defends well.

Actually, a key feature of conflicts with lots of low Might monsters is the monsters muster fewer dice as they lose disposition.

If the PCs can survive the initial onslaught, a well-timed Defend can work wonders, leaving the PCs with most of their disposition and monsters much weaker, sometimes with only 1 or 2 dice for actions. Throw in a disarm and the PCs can really milk the conflict for checks and often get off without a compromise.

Things don’t always work out like that, of course, but its very different compared to facing a small number of high Might monsters, as they can generally muster the same number of dice no matter their disposition.

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