I am about to run my first session of Torchbearer, and I’m super excited. I want to provide my players a smoother learning curve than I myself went through trying to comprehend all of the rules. I wrote up a brief summary of the reward rules for my players to read before beginning the first session.
This game is designed to kill you, slowly but surely. Every four turns, a mechanic called the grind occurs, which gives you the next condition on your list immediately. You can also gain conditions by failing at obstacle tests or conflicts, ultimately until you have reach the final condition, dead. There are various ways to remove these conditions, mainly during the camping phase. When you camp, you’re able to spend a resource called checks to attempt to recover a condition. You don’t start the game with checks, you have to earn them. You earn them through a feature called Traits. When you use a trait against yourself - by imposing a disadvantage to your PC, you gain a check. Traits can also be used in a positive manner, granting benefits, but they don’t grant a check. Level 1 traits can be used once per session, either as a positive or negative effect.
Getting checks will help you recover from conditions, but they can also be used for other things as well (p.23). The other features of the game that won’t be obvious until the second session, use the resources Fate and Persona (p.109). At the end of each session, if you roleplay towards your Belief, Goal, and Instinct, you’ll earn Fate points, a max of 3 per session, one for each. If you roleplay against your Belief or accomplish your Goal, you’ll earn a Persona point. Spending these points give you bigger benefits towards a roll, but also function as XP, eventually leveling you up if you undertake a town phase (p.111).
Quick context: We play every two weeks and have experience playing different RPGs, mechanics generally aren’t a problem, but do require time. Everyone has read a little about what Torchbearer is like, and I really want them to enjoy the game. I figure reading those two paragraphs will help them figure out how to hit the ground running on the first session, hopefully leading to them enjoying it and wanting more.
My question to you all is: Do you think the summary is accurate and effective at summarizing how the PCs can make the system work for them? and is this kind of quick summary of “how to win” supposed to be discovered instead of summarized?