What and Where are Perks? Question on Wises


Bought my first PDF of Torchbearer and I’m preparing to run it for my long-term D&D Next group (can’t wait!). Been playing since D&D basic and the game feels like this will bring back the old-school feeling.

On page 21 it discusses that you get a perk when using a Wise but I can’t find perks and they aren’t listed in the index nor on the character sheet. It also states that after you have done all four (wises) you can change the wise. I’m not sure I’m clear on this. So if I have Kobold-Wise and I use it in each of the four ways, I can then erase Kobold-Wise and take something like Cartography-Wise? Doesn’t seem to make sense you would lose your knowledge and swap it for something else.

Thanks in advance for your help!

The perk is: you can either change your wise, or you can take a Beginner’s Luck or advancement test. That’s all there is to it.

P.S. Also, welcome.

As Kai points out, the “perk” is described in the next sentence. Changing a wise will make sense in play. It always does!

Thanks - so it’s perk with a small “p” and not an actual game statistic.

I still don’t get why someone can change their Wise. Here is how I understand it from the book and your reply:

“You see a group of Kobolds.”
“ok I use Kobold-Wise to treat with them.”
“ok you succeed on your Wise.”
“ok great, I change it from Kobold-Wise to Trees and Shrubs-Wise”
“ok, you now no longer know about Kobolds and but now know about Trees and Shrubs”

Doesn’t make sense to me, sorry ;(

How you change the wise is entirely up to you. It’s an opportunity to change or adapt your character to what has happened in play, or to explore a new facet you find interesting (characters change, and wises can get old). There’s nothing in the rules forcing you to pick a wise that “makes sense”, just as there is nothing in the rules to prevent nonsense actions in-game.

Picking a wise, you say something about your character. So, if a new wise doesn’t make sense to you, perhaps another wise might be a better choice. That, or pick one of the other perks if you’re still happy with your wise.

So this is going to sound like a stupid question, but does the character lose the ability to converse with kobolds on losing kobold-wise, or is this one of those “use your judgment” things?

No one ever forgets anything ever—not in the game or in life.

It’s a great question. Personally, I’m comfortable with characters forgetting and the letter of the law there. Also, we designed this so you didn’t have to keep a separate list of languages known. You can just look at your wises. If it’s important for you to speak to kobolds, don’t change the wise. If you haven’t seen any kobolds in a few years, maybe change it to something more pertinent.

Keep in mind that you don’t use wises directly in TB. You can use it to help or to apply some Rewards, but that could simply represent one bit of knowledge, not a lexicon of knowledge. So maybe you’ve been getting rusty, and as you struggle to remember the kobold word for “rope ladder” you realize you aren’t as fluent in kobold as you thought you were. Yeah, you come up with the word that time who knows about next time.

As far as losing the language, if it’s a wise, then it’s probably not a language you were raised with. Languages you learn as an adult can get pretty rusty if you don’t use them. Maybe when you switch out the wise you still know how to say “Hi” in kobold (which can basically be treated as a good idea) but you’re too rusty to speak fluently and certainly couldn’t Convince the kobolds without magical assistance or a great deal of patience on the part of the kobolds (something they aren’t particularly known for).

I took Kobold II in 8th grade and I only remember how to say “I can speak Kobold” and “My name is…what’s yours?”

Thanks for the reply. It’s weird: there are some circumstances where I look at the problem and say with complete confidence that, “This is the solution.” However, when I asked my question, all I could do was a complete stop and panic as I wailed “What do I do what do I do what do I do?”

Don’t forget the all-important “Where is the bathroom?”

Kobolds are free spirits. That phrase does not exist in their language.

It’s usually pretty clear in play. Sometimes you use the Wise in four different ways and it’s just clear that some other Wise is going to be more important going forward. A lot of times, though, what you’re really aiming for is that Beginner’s Luck or Advancement test!

Thanks all for the clarification.