Actual Play – Torchbearer with Thor (8/18/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Thor Olavsrud, and four other fine folk
System: Torchbearer
Game: Under the House of the Three Squires

No pressure here. Not at all. I had meant to get in Thor’s game on Saturday but it was during a panel we were going to so I missed out. Instead, he sat in on my game on Sunday. And was a complete gentleman the entire time.

The Setup

With only two hours I wanted to jump right into play. I had all the sample characters (including Ulrik) printed out on the full Torchbearer character sheets (thanks Adobe forms!) ready to players to pick. I didn’t really explain the mechanics much, instead I gave what has become my default pitch for Torchbearer: “Think less Fellowship of the Rings and more surviving Vietnam.” ¬†The players laughed, and I smirked because I knew it was true.

Under the House

Thor had a pretty obvious advantage in that he wrote the damn adventure but was quite courteous and letting the others lead the expedition. If I remember correctly the dog they found was a boxer. The befriended it quickly and it made a merry 6th member of their party.

Ulrik and Karolina were both pretty stompy bad asses, but it was fun to see Ulrik’s shady side when treasure was afoot!

I can’t remember the turn order because running in person had me a bit more on my toes, but I know they explored some, rested and continued on. Yay for the underused camp phase !

Thoughts on this game

It was actually nice having someone as back up for rules. This was the first time I ran a game of TB with the sample characters (so I didn’t know all their details) and it was also the first time I ran it live (instead of over hangouts). Thor was pretty great about reminding me “oh, move the turn marker up” or “I think that’s Ob3”.

I’m becoming increasingly dubious about goals that involve safety, because they are essentially saying I’ll make sure a thing “doesn’t” happen instead of a thing does happen. Be cause safety is not a thing you strive to gain, it’s a thing you strive to keep. Thus I have a hard time awarding persona for this one, at least until the players leave the dungeon for town. Taika had it this time, but usually some one does. I guess it’s a fate mine, but I really wish there was a way to distill it down and make it more concrete.

I also wonder for con game about starting the characters with 1 Fate and 1 Persona. Just a little something to give them an edge?

Feels like two hours is a good demo length for the game. We totally didn’t complete and “adventure” but they got a good taste of the system.


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