Actual Play – Stone Dragon Mountain SUN-03 (6/29/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Matt Klein, Dale Horstman, Zed Lopez, Zac Bond, and Jon Edwards.
System: Torchbearer
Adventure: Stone Dragon Mountain


Seriously, I had planned to run one, then two games of Torchbearer, but because I filled in for one slot, and because we ran the next slot as well as a second session, I ended up running 14 hours of Torchbearer. And it was awesome!

I ran at the same table so all I needed was get the characters ready (with some help from Jon Edwards), and set back up all the player decks.  Boom, adventure was served!

Who Bears the Torch

Matt was waffling on characters and I told him to take Ulrik the Cleric. He looked disappointed. “Okay, if someone has to play the cleric… I guess I will”. Matt, read that belief. “I’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead in this world, and I’ll wear a smile doing it!” A light went on and he played the best Ulrik I’ve ever seen.

Jon took Taika, and mad her suddenly bloodthirsty when he made her goal to “Return with the head of a creatures that is plauging this mountain”. Like, not to kill one, but to remove the head, drain the blood and store it in her pack [pack 2 if you’re wondering].

Dale played Beren. Hardy, tough and out to get a dragon’s tooth!

Zed was Varg, who wanted even more dragon teeth!

And then there was Zak, blood thirsty, gonna kill it with my spear Zak. If Matt played the greediest Ulrik I’ve seen, Zak played the most brutal Karolina!

Here to help, and by help we mean loot!

Would you expect a healer to tend to an injured man? Sure, why not. And then rob him? Hell yes you would! What better cover could there be.

Base camp? Bah, whatever, lets go kill some stuff.

Cross a perilous bridge? Forget it, just bang on that old bell till an old man comes out to lower it down, promise him riches, and then brain him. Okay, Diamond tooth totally had it coming, but it was one of the most surprising move I had seen running the game. Brutal and awesome.

Fish of gold? Take em!

Monsters without loot? Fuck it. Lie and run.

Guys with loot! Kill the fuckers. Take their stuff.

Could you believe this guy would give you a hug and then stab you in the back? You bet he would!



Thoughts on the game

Amazingly I wasn’t tired at all (or at least didn’t feel tired) running this game. We really fast tracked as soon as they got inside the mountain but otherwise played the game straight up. Part of our speed was using tests in place of conflicts. For braining an old man it felt really perfect. This wasn’t a kill conflict, either he was going to brain the guy (success) or the crazy loon was going to bury them all by collapsing his cornice on them (failure, twist)!

Starting characters with 1 fate and 1 person makes them incredibly powerful in a con game. I tried that this time (and I’ve done it when I ran Dread Crypt at Dead of Winter) and I think it was a bad call. I may try 1 fate in the future but I think not. Not only does it make the characters more powerful, but it also introduces several decisions points that new players aren’t necessarily ready for. As a GM I am judicious in when I suggest using them, but they are still one more thing to factor in.

Players that are totally immoral opportunists do just fine in Torchbearer. I mean it. In this case, has we continued playing they would have walked out with some treasure and stopped the worst of the problems that brewed in the mountain. Leaving behind a civil war? Sure, but there are worse outcomes.

Not tired before the game, but as soon as it finished…wasted.


Hungry & Thirsty and Exhausted
Hungry & Thirsty and Exhausted


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *