So after a long and dragged out start, we’ve managed to get two sessions of play-by-Slack Torchbearer out of the way.
Both sessions went…well(?) Even though not a lot was accomplished in the 3ish hours we played each night, and even though the second night technically ended in a TPK one room into the crypt.
Most of the time sink is because I’m explaining so many of the rules as we’ve been progressing, and every night so far (including our third night next Sunday) we’ve added a new player.
We’re playing with our time split between the Slack for descriptions, rules questions, dice rolling, and typical conversation, and a shared google spreadsheet to take care of conflicts and character sheets. (linked below).
First session was eaten up almost entirely by inspecting the outside of the crypt which in and of itself was 4 or 5 failed tests. After the grind hit them they decided (in various states of hungry, scared, angry and exhausted) that the best course of action was to break for camp which ended up with a disaster rolled on the camp event table which ushered them down into the crypt itself to escape a sudden storm.
I (thankfully) missed the rule about the disaster making them lose their checks, and they managed to make their way out of camp with everyone ridding themselves of all but 1 condition.
Our second attempt added a fourth character into the mix, who unfortunately showed up a little bit late, and he eased into his first game of Torchbearer right as the very first round of a Kill conflict was unfolding.
I did a couple things wrong, most of which were in the players’ favor, but in the end it still didn’t matter. I rolled for the Tomb Guardian’s Disposition, which left them short on HP. I forgot to add the Guardians’ three helping dice for the first three attacks. I forgot to add the +2D for their Shields when they defended.
None of it mattered. The Captain ignored his teammate’s suggestions and readied weapons. In the first round it was a wasted Defend, and two Attacks against three Attacks. A smidgen of damage was dealt to the Guardians, but they straight out dropped two of the party members.
Terrified that I was about to TPK them , I suggested that the second round should be a round of straight Defends for everybody. The Captain, misunderstanding the rules about taking two actions in a row, backed the party into a corner of only getting 2 actions the second round; but we hand waved the lineup, reorganized, and started the third round out with everybody back at full health.
Round three? Attack v Attack (0 hits v like 6), Feint v Attack (like another 6 hits), and then an unnecessary Defend v Feint because they were already dead.
Instead of rolling up new characters, we agreed that they’d retreat to the mouth of the crypt with everybody injured, and wait for the new Cleric to show up for the next game.
Somehow, everybody is still enjoying themselves. One of the players had absolutely nothing to do the entire night except describe his Helping dice. I think that once the rules questions die down to a low roar, we’ll be able to get more done in a night, and I think that Torchbearer is a good fit for a chatroom based RPG.
The Conflict Manager I threw together worked really well, and somehow everybody was really enjoying the reveal of cards each round even though they were getting the crap kicked out of them. Normally, the only cells the players are able to interact with are the different green cells. The GM hits the “Reset” button on the bottom right, and sets their own actions for the turn. Once they’re done, they click their little “Ready?” button and the players start strategizing. Once the Captain has set the party actions for the round, they click their “Ready?” button and the GM can start revealing pairs of cards and going through each pairing of actions.
That’s a backup of the file I use for the game. No idea how long it’ll last unprotected in the wild like that before something gets broken. If it ends up not working, and someone needs a copy, just let me know and I’ll send it to you.