Torched Earth

So, Torched Earth is the name I’ve started out with for a hack I am looking to create for Torchbearer. When I first started to really become involved in RPGs, I kickstarted Numenera. However, now that I’ve received my PDF, I’ve come to realize it’s not the type of game I’m looking to play or run anymore, but I like a lot of ideas surrounding it. So, I’m looking to somewhat combine Numenera and Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Torchbearer came to mind as a great system for this.

I’ve never hacked an RPG before, or done anything remotely similar, so just wanted to get any advice (generic or otherwise) you all are willing to part with.

The general idea is a la Numenera, humanity’s technology is at the same level as in Torchbearer currently. But out there, in The Zone, lie artifacts of unknown origin and unsung power.

Simple parts of what I’ve been doing:

Arcanist, Lore Master, Ritualist, and Theologian removed. “Numenerist” and “Tech Master” added. “Numenerist” is the skill for using technology found, as well as the “Spell-casting” skill for the Technobabbler and Affected classes. “Tech Master” is similar to Lore Master in almost all regards, except it’s knowledge of the sciences lost and ages come and gone. Most likely, it will also be used for identification of use for random electronics and machines found, without the need of a spell, as per Supernal Vision.

All except humans removed.

Human Magician and Human Cleric removed. Human Burglar and Human Technobabbler.

The Technobabbler is able to cobble together parts, machines and artifacts for new, unique purposes. As well, they can hold more of these Zone finds than other classes without risking their Health or Nature.

“Numenera Traits”
So in Numenera, every character has a Foci, and many revolve around humans being one with this technology. Maybe machines inside Josephine allow her to control gravity, or an experiment gone awry allows Justus to talk with beasts. These function similarly to spells in Numenera, but I liked the idea of these being merely traits. So, what do you all think of the idea of a separate group of traits, where characters are able to select one if they desire? I also considered this for the third level for Numenera traits. Once per session, the character can use this power to roll Numenera in place of an action during conflicts (similar to Eldritch Darts). Characters who don’t take a Numenera trait may raise their Health and Nature by 1.

Elfland, Dwarven Halls, Religious Bastion and Wizard’s Tower removed. The Zone, The Room, and Laboratory added. The Zone is where the wealth lies. Artifacts surrounded by abnormalities, buried deep within alien vessels, ancient yet still sentient halls, and elsewhere. The Room is the promised land. In the film, it’s where your inner desires are granted. It could be a utopia, somewhere shielded from the wreckage of past ages, still teeming with flora and fauna long thought extinct. Doesn’t matter. And the Laboratory is similar to the Wizard’s Tower, yet for the Technobabblers.

Some new gear added, and most importantly, the artifacts and cyphers. In Numenera, the two are distinguished by artifacts being for multiple uses, cyphers for single uses. Either way, these are the objects of wealth the party searches for. Everyone can use them. However, if you are not a Technobabbler, possessing more than one cypher or artifact at a time causes the DC for use to increase. Failure can mean draining the Health or Nature of your adventure. For Technobabblers, as they level, they gain the ability to carry more without added risk. Also, they begin to learn how to combine them to create larger and more fantastic effects.

There is some more I’ve done, but these are the general basics. I’m sure there are lots of good ideas I’m missing and bad ones implementing, so I’d love your thoughts on the idea and how I can improve. Thanks all!

Torched Earth

So, here is what I’ve been doing for a Torchbearer hack. My initial vision was something off of Numenera but now it is nearly exclusively based off the book Roadside Picnic and Tarkosvky’s film Stalker.

For those who don’t know, the essentials are:
Some type of other worldy being or event visited our planet in what we now call Zones.
This wreaked havoc on our planet, both within and outside the Zones.
In the Zones, everything is wonky. Crazy artifacts have been left behind, anomalies float around, many of which are dangerous to humans.
There exists something that grants the wish of the person who appears in front of it (a golden orb in the book, the Room in the movie).

I am basically riffing off that idea and all characters have a reason to want to visit the Room. Some type of wish they want fulfilled. But the Zone is vast, filled with perils and perilous people.

You start out not necessarily innocent or wide eyed, but with a good heart, good intentions. As you go along, slowly you become corrupted, both by what you see and what you have to do.

In the end, when you reach the Room, it reads your true desire. Have you become too desperate, corrupted? As an example I put in the text, do you end up coming home to your wife with a fistful of cash instead of your child, who died years ago?

There is lots to work on, particularly rules-wise, and I’m working on getting a bunch of equipment, weapons and armor statted up. Let me know what you all think, thanks!

Yes! I’ve long thought that TB would be great at a post-apocalyptic game set in a world like Roadside Picnic.


It is my intention to make a PA hack as well, a little more gritty than Numenera or Gamma World. I’m thinking Morrow Project with a lil bit of super science (Planet of the Apes?)