Understanding the action table

Hi all,
long-time lurker (from the old boards) and Torchbearer newbie; I may finally be able to run a Torchbearer game soon (it only took me 5 years to find a group!)
Anyway, I have been re-reading the book, and I got stuck with the Action Table (p.72). When the text says “consult the table for your action on the left and your opponent’s action along the top row”, at whom is this addressed? Is it the GM? Or the PCs? Is there a way to determine who is the opponent?
Clearly, since the table is asymmetric, it makes a difference whom is whom. I read the Conflict Example (p.176) and it seems that the GM reads on the left, and the PCs on the top, but I am not sure that’s the case (well, at least reading the rules it’s not clear to me.)

I have read another thread asking a similar question, and someone answered that both the PCs and GM read use the table with swapped roles, which however would mean rolling four times per action in case of I or V, which clearly isn’t what’s happening in the Example.

Thanks in advance for any and all help!


First of all, welcome! Torchbearer is a lot of fun, and it’s awesome that you’ll be getting to dig into it soon.

The “You” in “your action” is the person who is reading the table to roll the dice. Both sides, GM and Players, need to consult the table for interactions. The person using the table references their action on the left against the opponent’s action on the top. Keep in mind that, while the table is asymmetric, all the V tests are mirrored. When person has an “I” on the table for their action matchup, they know they get to roll but that doesn’t mean their opponent does. Both players need to see what they’re doing before making the roll.

For instance, I try to be sneaky with a Feint while you script an Attack. Consulting the table, I see that I get to test nothing because (my) Feint vs (your) Attack is a “—” interaction. I look at my dice dejectedly and wonder what could’ve been.

You reference the table as well and see that (your) Attack vs (my) Feint is an Independent test. Ha! Roll them bones, and see how much hurt you get to inflict!

If I had scripted an Attack instead of a Feint, I would’ve seen that (my) Attack vs (your) Attack is an independent test. You would’ve also see that (your) Attack vs (my) Attack is independent. We’d both roll the dice and use the successes to remove one another’s disposition, because we both show Independent tests on the table.


Thank you for the warm welcome, and for the insightful reply.

Of Course!
I totally somehow missed that all the V tests are mirrored, so each reading on the table always maps to a single die roll. So I can see now that the Conflict Example actions match the action table.

Thanks again,

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