(Ugly) Nature Flowchart

By far, the most frequently asked questions we’ve had over the last 4 months of learning and playing Torchbearer have involved Nature and how it worked. After the latest round of questions and answers, I was inspired to create a horrifically ugly and uninspired flowchart that we could point to and reference, especially as we add new players.

Figured that someone else out there might find it useful as well.

A Good Idea!

But when Channeling Nature, it is not a decision point if the character has a skill or not. The question should be is it within the nature descriptors or not.

Maybe the two main branches could be Acting Within/Outside nature, which is substituting a skill instead of beginner’s luck, and then there is the Channeling Nature which adds dice for seemingly heroic actions.

Hope this helps.

The two main branches are whether or not it’s in your Nature, but I do see that I missed a Persona point expenditure. I didn’t have the Channeling Nature branches recombine since the costs and effects are different.

Also does the double/channel combo cost one persona or two?

Actually, the more I try to make sense of the Channel > Outside Your Nature > Don’t have the Skill > Spend Persona to Channel branch, the more I think I’m reading something incorrectly.

Is the end result using a Persona and rolling Nature + Nature?

What happens if you fail, is only a single margin of failure tax?

This is rough and incomplete, but it demonstrates a different direction:

Channeling Nature is a part of what we call “mustering dice” when you try to gather up any additional dice before the roll. You can spend a persona and add those dice provided you have the persona to spend. It only costs one.

Acting Outside of your nature (substituting it for a skill and not using Beginner’s Luck) does not cost a persona, but you are subject to tax.

Maybe think of it as stages of the roll.

Do you have the skill?
If not, do you want to use Beginner’s Luck?
If not, are within your nature?
If not, you are subject to tax if you fail.

Then comes the stage for mustering dice, where you can add it dice and spend a persona to Channel nature. You can do this provided you have the persona.

Once more, you must ask if it is within or outside nature, and again you must assess if tax could apply on failure.

Finally, you assess tax and apply it if necessary.

If you test Nature in a situation not covered by your descriptors and fail the roll, reduce your current rating by the margin of failure (to a minimum rating of 0).

If you channel your Nature for a test not covered by your descriptors, your Nature is taxed by one if successful, or by margin of failure if failed.

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That is…unfortunately only confusing me more.

Let me try and piece my thoughts together and revise my flow chart.


In 2e, is it now that if you are acting within your nature, you are never at risk of tax?

Can you spell out specifically what the questions are?

In 1e, there was a rule that a failed double-tap would reduce Nature by MoF. In 2e, I don’t see that rule anymore. Wondering if it is a change.

In 1e:

If the test is failed, whether it was within or outside Nature, Nature is taxed by the margin of failure.

So in 2e, for example, if a Bjorning with Nature 4 acts within his sailor nature but fails by a MoF of 2, his nature is still 4. If he channels his nature and fails, so too it remains 4 because he acted within his nature.

Taxing Nature heading:

If you channel your Nature for a test not covered by your descriptors, your Nature is taxed by one if successful, or by the margin of failure if failed.

But that doesn’t cover within Nature either. Channeling within Nature doesn’t incur a penalty.

What happens if you are acting within your descriptors (not channeling) but fail?

is it correct that if you are acting within your descriptors, you never are at risk of tax then? Like the Bjorning sailor who failed. He’s not taxed, right?

Right. Yes. Long way to get to yes!

Imma take another crack at clarifying that section.




Yes, thanks!

So does this look right then?


Now I want to take apart a bunch of old clothes hangers and make a mobile.

I think the highest decision point isn’t “do you want to use your Nature?” I don’t think that question comes up very often in the playtests.

I think there are two separate decision trees here.

  1. I don’t have a skill, what can I do?
  2. How do I significantly boost a roll?
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Huh, that’s interesting. Beginner’s Luck, Help, Wises, and Traits were all things my group had (at least I thought) managed to absorb without any problems. Nature was the last one for them to tackle, and the one that I realized I was having the most difficulty committing to memory and explaining without having to go to the book.