Torchbearer 1e vs 2e comparison


I know, it’s a challenging topic but have anyone made/seen some comparison between 1e and 2e? Or, if someone already went through 2e, can you, please, describe some significant highlights of what has been changed? I’m about to start a campaign based on Mistvale Nights zine and wonder, which version should I choose for it. From one side, I’m an experienced 1e user, from the other – really want to switch 2e. The biggest problem is I’m not a big fan of reading digital docs and waiting for print books to arrive.


I’d highly recommend making the switch to 2e.

Here are just a few highlights:


  • Elf is no longer a caster but is a strong and formidable class for expert players to wield.

  • Skalds completely rewritten.

  • New classes

  • No more clerics or paladins. Now there are theurges and shamans. These are probably the most powerful classes because they can invoke any ritual regardless of level (but at great cost).

  • No more alignment. Now there is a creed, which opens up at 3rd level character. Creed is a freely written statement of higher purpose similar to a belief (but is about some ideal larger than one’s self).

  • There is a 24 skill cap now.

  • Level benefits have been tuned to create better choices.


  • You may use each trait against yourself once per session.

  • Losing a class trait is a no no.

  • Level 3 traits grant +1s to each tied or passed test associated with the trait.


  • Some gear costs have changed–most notably torches cost Ob 2.

  • The belt inventory system is more flexible. You have 3 slots to configure as desired. You have a pocket slot for tiny things too.

  • Characters can create a cache to store items in town or in camp.

Invocation and Spell Systems

  • The way theurges and shamans invoke the will of the Immortal Lords has changed. They use relics for invocations. Magic and invocations are now a little more deadly in that there is some risk of stacking on conditions (through Burden) or permanent twists (from magic failure).

  • Mages have a memory palace where they keep memorized spells in their head. 1st circle spells cost 1 slot, 2nd = 2, 3rd level costs 3.

  • Mages get level benefits and can choose between spell slots in the memory palace.


  • Weapon effects have been tuned
  • Bows have the biggest change in that you can only use the Attack against Attack as a versus test once per conflict.


  • Exhausted prohibits instincts but no longer adds a factor.

  • Treatment obstacles for alleviating conditions vary by type of injury or sickness.

Fate and Persona

  • Synergy is a new way to spend Fate to learn from other tests.

  • New Rewards structure. No more embodiment reward. New reward for Gallows Humor and Crisis.

  • Persona is harder to come by.


  • Precedence (rated 0-7) is the social equivalent of Might in social conflicts. For example, you cannot convince a King just as you cannot kill a dragon because of differences in the scale.


  • The Nature rules have been clarified. If you use nature within your nature descriptors you are no longer at risk of tax.


  • Winter phase is now respite. There is better guidance on when that happens to allow for more flexibility for campaigns.

  • In town, you no longer get adventure leads automatically when leaving town. You can choose to dig for leads or hear rumors in tavern. This gives a lot more agency to the players to control the amount of leads they have.

  • Relationships for town have been clarified. There are now town friends and adventuring friends.

  • Using Guild Facilities are the way to do crafting things in town. If you break the rules you could get in trouble.

  • There are taxes for cashed in items 5D+.

  • Haggling has been completely redone and the odds are better now. The haggle skill has uses outside of town in haggle conflicts and other situations.


  • New loot tables.
  • New loot guidance for seeding adventures.


  • New battle and warfare conflict types
  • New haggle conflicts
  • More tables and guidance for the non-martial conflicts.

There are a lot more little things, but all-in-all, I’ve found the game runs smoother and the balance between the systems has been finely tuned. If, understandably, reading PDFs for a long time strains the eyes and mind, I know of some GMs that have printed off a few chapters to help get the new stuff down. Reading through the updated chapters once or twice to pick up the changes should be enough, but it is probably too much to just wing it without reading through the new rules.

Good luck!


Wow. Awesome summary. Thanks!


Amazing comparison, thank you very much. And yes, I’m definitely going to start the campaign with 2e!

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