Treasure of Traveler's Hill [Torchbearer]

edited September 2013 in Pitch
I'm writing a one-shot for Torchbearer - slowly, I must admit, squeezing it in between other distractions. Interestingly, the pace of writing is about the pace of a PbP game.


Anyone want to dare Traveler's Hill? Post a character or ask for one. If it needs be said, it's a Burning Wheel/Mouse Guard/OSR kind of game - smallish handfuls of d6, a class/species breakdown* that yea, hearkens back unto the hallowed days e'en of inking in thine own die numbers with an especially cheap white crayon. Roll your smallish handful of d6s against a target number of 4, compare your net success-dice against some kind of threshold of required success. The game, generally, runs in three Phases: an Adventure phase where terrible things happen and loot is discovered. A Camp phase where you try to recover from terrible things. And a Town phase where all your loot vanishes into the greedy hands of smirking merchants and you find yourself leaving Town healed, fed, but just as poor as when you set out - but now you have determination. I do jocularly exaggerate there, somewhat, the trials of a Torchbearer character. Somewhat.

You don't need system mastery to play though if you want to play an Elf or a Magician I'd at least have the pdf handy. Both of those are kind of fiddly. That being said, this is an adventure I want to be able to demonstrate to people who aren't BWHQ junkies so explaining as we go is something I need to be in the habit of with Traveler's Hill.

This adventure - module, if you like - is short, only a few Problems, and the kind of thing I expect to take 2 or 3 hours face to face. I have maps and a clever plan for revealing them as areas are explored. I am able to make one post a day, minimum, save for weekends when it might get a bit skimpy.

I think a party of 4 would be ideal, three quite acceptable. Any takers?

*To wit: Elves are Rangers. Dwarves are Adventurers. Halflings are Burglars. Humans, ever the versatile ones, can be Warriors, Thieves, Clerics, Magicians, or Paladins. These are seriously first-level characters, low-powered and with the bare essentials of spell and blade.


  • Hmmm! My book just arrived this afternoon. I'm surprised you haven't had takers.
  • Maybe my gentle japery came through as jerkitude. =/
  • I've heard good things about the game, but I haven't read it, and I'm not sure how much extra time I've got at the moment. It seems interesting, though.
  • I am interested. My book has not arrived yet. Though I have stumbled about in the .pdf some.
  • Well! My big plans to run Traveler's Hill at a local game day fell apart, as they do, but I did get some writing done on it. And I am still very much into running it here. Two people is 50-67% of a party! Chris, Rustin - what grabs your interest character-wise, if I may ask?
  • I tend toward human. Then beliefs and instincts would guide the class type choice. For those would need some information on the general world situation. Why is this character out adventuring? I would need to brainstorm on that a bit. Even just a vague outline of the political environment.
  • Hmm. I admit that I didn't do a lot of backstory thinking on this, since its initial conception was just as demo fodder. I like a challenge, though! I'll make a map and toss some things out to riff upon.
  • Even just a quick paragraph giving context. Looking at pc creation it requires enemies and hometowns, so there is that. We could hand wave such things.
  • edited September 2013
    All righty. ::settles viking hat firmly on head::

    So imagine - once Law and the light of civilization struck bravely out against the forces of decay and the skulking wilderness. Mighty heroes of all races trod the earth as giants, and the dark things of the world trembled at their approach. But relentless Time has sent those heroes on to godhood, becoming the Young Lords - their names forgotten now, they have become part of the Immortals and do not tarry here. Like the wrack of the tide is the world of dwarves, men, halflings, and elves: with the Young Lords' ascension and departure, a shadow grows over the land. From the barren hills of the East come orcs and fouler things, driven there an age ago to shriek and gibber in the desolation. In the north a dark, brooding forest creeps like mold into the settled lands, its wolf-haunted shadows guarding the ruined way-forts of the elder days. In the south, past the Wild Men who dwell in the grasslands, the trees of Aelfhome turn aside all not named as elf-friend. The cruel peaks of the Windwall Mountains shelter only dwarves, whose last great stedding of Dvrgardr is mine, fortress, and sanctuary all at once.

    The hub of the Westlands is Stormport, tucked into the Greenwater estuary. This bustling metropolis is the heart of Mannish civilization. Head east from there, along the White Road, and you'll come to Nivaa's Cross, a busy crossroads where trade routes that plumb the eastern frontier and skirt the fens to the west meet. Continue east towards the frontier and the last bastion of Man that you'll find is Halligveg, the old city of the Young Lords: no longer home to demigods, it is the center of Mannish faith and a bulwark against the terrors of the frontier. Leagues south of Halligveg, as close to AElfhome as one not named Elf-friend can come, lies the Makttaron, the demesne of those who would still study the ways of magic. To the north of Nivaa's Cross is rugged country, exemplified by the remote logging village of Skogenby.

    As far as the demo goes, my intent was to pass out characters, and simply say "You're poor, you're desperate, and friends or contacts have tipped you off to the possibility of buried treasure somewhere northwest of Skogenby. Its gates lie behind you, the old road lies in disrepair ahead: what do you do?" Clearly that approach isn't necessary here!


    Feel free - nay, encouraged - to add settlements and name things not mapped.
  • OK, I'm in. I just got laid off though my last day is this coming Monday, so things have been screwy, but hopefully I'll have ready access to this place now. (And ideally, a month off before starting my next gig, but we'll see how that works out!)

    I could play anything. I suppose I lean toward an elf, but only because one magic spell, and bending other stuff to find ways of making that valuable seems like fun.
  • edited September 2013
    I've been thinking about this, and I'm a little cautious because Torchbearer is so heavy on out-of-character discussion and strategy - explicitly encouraged in most matters, and unavoidable in conflicts. That seems like it could be draggy in PbP. Any thoughts on handling that?

    I think I'm willing to try it, though. I'd play either a cleric or a dwarf.
  • Leaning toward a dwarf. I'm not all that interested in the cleric's skills (well, Healer's nice), and I'm playing a human in a face-to-face game.
  • Acknowledged that there is an emphasis on table talk in Torchbearer - I feel like a character thread, where it's clear what skills/exponents and what gear everyone has, can cut some of the "Who's got Dungeoneering? Okay, who has the highest Health to make a Beginner's Luck test? Does anyone have a Wise that'll work?" And so on (based entirely on my own OOC discussion experiences when playing). I think, similarly, having a conflict captain helps organize and streamline that semi-messy process.

    I'll start a characters thread shortly. Color me enthused!
  • Got the guts of a human warrior. Health 5, circles 4, haggling, orator, scavenger. With defender trait. Uses a pole arm.

    Belief: If I fail or perish so shall my brother, for he suffers from The Blight and has set all his hope upon me.
  • edited September 2013
    Is the character thread for discussing characters or for posting characters?

    Rustin, did you remember to pick a "special human skill"?

    In case you're aware, the Haggler skill isn't good for much. I took Haggler with my magician in my face-to-face game, and while I don't regret the choice (she has a mercantile background), it's really pretty specialized and difficult to use. So make sure you know the rules for it in this game - it might be that you're more looking for Persuader or Manipulator.

    We're a somewhat lopsided group, dwarf and elf and warrior. We probably don't have to worry too much about getting in fights, for one thing - if the Fighter 3 elf is the "weak link" in the party, we're looking pretty good. I notice we're missing one or two important skills, though:

    • Someone should probably have the Cook skill. It's an extremely important skill, allowing us to stretch rations, so we should try to be able to muster up 4 to 6 dice for Cook tests. I have Laborer, so I can provide helping dice for Cook tests, so there's a start. Unless cooking could fall under my Nature (Crafting)? If so, we'd be alright, I guess, though it'd be nice if folks could provide helping dice.

    • It might be important to have Pathfinder and Cartographer, and we don't have either. It kind of depends on the adventure, how important those skills will be, but generally any adventuring party that doesn't have those is asking for trouble. I can probably cover Cartographer under my Nature (Crafting), but not Pathfinder. We could maybe let it slide, though.

    • Healer and Alchemist are both extremely useful for helping with recovery. This is where those clerics and magicians come in handy, unfortunately.

    • We could also probably stand to be better at Dungeoneer, Survivalist, Scout, and Hunter, but at least we have all of those.

    Oh, and I have Armorer, so I can craft and repair arms and armor. If anyone can give me helping dice (with Armorer, Smith, Laborer, or Alchemist), that'd be cool. I'll try to fix broken helmets for myself and the warrior, at the very least, and maybe I could knock together some gear for the poor elf (who starts with nothing but a dagger).
  • Right now, I'm thinking:

    A dwarven adventurer/armorer from the dwarven halls (Dvrgardr) - an orator and dungeoneer, chronicles-wise and [monster]-wise. A veteran soldier, but maybe a deserter. Resettled in Skogenby with his wife, possibly leaving enemies behind at Dvrgardr. Lawful or neutral, practical and over-cautious, with appropriate Belief.

    I'm turning it over, though. Might change hometown and/or specialty.
  • edited September 2013
    Here's a character-postin' thread. I am happy to keep this one as a table-chatter discussion thread.

    I would be leery of Crafting equaling Cooking, though if dwarvish cuisine is particularly... smitey, I guess, I could be sold on it. I'd be comfortable letting you use your Crafting nature to, say, come up with a trivet arrangement or a rotisserie or something to add +1D to a Cooking test. Of course, anyone can try any skill - the process is Beginner's Luck, and it basically consists of gathering up all the dice for the base attribute - Will or Health, in Cook's case it's Will - plus bonus dice and dividing that pool by half, rounded up. Then tap Nature, add dice with Persona points, add your Fresh condition bonus die if you have it. Turning fresh rations into a meal for a group is only Obstacle 2, which is to say two results of 4+ on your smallish handful of d6s. Fairly good odds on 4d6!

    And speaking of Nature tapping and such, contrary to the instructions (I can feel Luke's disapproval like a louring cloud) everyone starts with 2 Fate, 1 Persona. "No beginning rewards" is fine when you expect to have more than one session, but seems inappropriate here.
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "smitey", but I agree that cooking is a stretch. We're unlikely to be able to get 4 dice on Cook with Beginner's Luck, though. At the moment, I'm the only one who could offer help, and we probably don't have anyone with Will above 4. And of course if we're eating, we're not Fresh. Three dice, maybe. Spending resources for bonuses, sure, but Cook's the kind of skill you want to use regularly, every time you make camp.

    That might be what halflings are for, though. In the end, it'd be really nice to have, but if we don't ... *shrug*.

    I think starting Rewards make sense in a con game or demo. The first session can be brutal without those, and that's not necessarily how you want to introduce a game to people.
  • I think I had cook on a list of mine.
    I had a name for my guy just as I was dozing off the other night. Now I can't remember it!! Argh.
    Probably was a silly name anyhow.
  • What are people doing for Specialties?

    I'm thinking of taking a [monster]-wise in goblins or kobolds or something, something I'd have fought while soldiering. Is there a monstrous humanoid type of monster that you'd suggest as being pertinent to this adventure?
  • There aren't any goblins or orcs in this adventure. Huh, "undead-wise" is too broad, but Bjorning-wise isn't? If you wanted a [monster]-wise, you could pick from any of the undead critters mentioned in the book. Bandits and wolves could also come into play as Wandering Monster twists. Other wises I'd suggest are maybe Bumpkin-wise, Scrounging-wise, Timbers-wise, Obscure History-wise... Kings-wise, perhaps, or Legends-wise. Acknowledged that the latter three aren't particularly soldiery.
  • edited September 2013
    Yeah, I figured it might be an undead-y kind of adventure. Since I think (or at least hope) that the undead are not common enemies for even dwarven soldiers, I'll take a different approach. Also, I already have Dwarven Chronicles-wise, so I'll steer clear of additional historical wises. There's endless other possibilities, though.

    I'll probably post a character this evening.
  • Scavenge-wise is what I was thinking.
  • I got my hardback book delivered today!
  • I'm still waiting. Very sad.
  • I'm thinking if the Burning Wheel Gold comes out in this size it might be worth it.
    Somehow this size of a book makes the rules just a bit more manageable.
  • Grah! I don't even have an Andy Action email. Please do not watch as I wring my hands and weep. I am embarrassed.

    I liked the digest sizes for Revised and its companions, but BWG and BE are very bricklike - agreed on manageability.
  • I'm also waiting anxiously.
  • Is Horrors in the Dark-wise too broad? How about Unspeakable Truths-wise?
  • edited October 2013
    I think Horrors in the Dark-wise is just fine.

    Edited to add: as is Unspeakable Truths-wise!
Sign In or Register to comment.