Duress mechanic and updated Base Camp Map

Two exciting elements have taken shape. The first is the duress mechanic is coming along nicely. This hasn’t been playtested yet, but Thor and I have been noodling with the numbers and we’ll continue to fine tune it.


The local Sharwa are in a state of uncertainty and fear, which is causing tension between them. At the start of the adventure the Sharwa are Wary. Unless they are placated by the adventurers they will progress to the next stage of duress every time the adventurers return to base camp or gain a twist in base camp that progresses duress.

Duress Levels

At Ease – “Lowlander, come into to my hut and I’ll tell you stories of the gods. It’s cold outside.” Sharwa are welcoming of lowlanders, assured of their own safety, and thankful of the gods for bringing them the bounty of the mountain. The adventurers can make camp in the base camp and will be fed and offered a comfortable place to sleep. [Removes hungry and thirsty and grants +1D to recover from exhausted]

Wary – You’re greeted with a mixture of hard looks and averted eyes. Men by the fire huddle close to each other, speaking in a foreign tongue. The Sharwa are concerned about having enough supplies to make it through the winter, they look to the salt nomads for guidance on appeasing the gods, and are reluctant to give aid to strangers. Wary is a factor in any test to convince the Sharwa to climb the mountain. Reducing a group from Wary to At Ease requires an Ob 2 Orator test.

Disgruntled – Sharwa villagers, many who look like they have traveled long distances, quarrel with the woman Jhala. Pointing up to the summit of the mountain, then turning their gazes and pointing at you. The Sharwa doubt Jhala’s leadership and begin to ask hard questions “When will the salt nomads climb the mountain?” “Where are the missing climbers Chembal, Sani, and Ki-bi?”. Disgruntled is a factor in all tests to convince Sharwa to act outside their nature (Climbing, Laboring, Persevering). As an additional cost of failing ain social test, the adventurers can make an enemy of the person they are interacting with. Reducing a group from Disgruntled to Wary requires an Ob 3 Orator test.

Hostile – A Sharwa stands in your path, “The gods are angered by your presence. Lowlanders are not welcome here.” Behind the sharwa, you can see a sizable group of soldiers assembling. Lowlanders are banned from the camp and the Khalish arrive. A test is required to enter a camp, or you need a friend to be invited. Reducing a group from Hostile to Disgruntled requires an Ob 4 Orator test.

At War – An army marches north and those left behind guard the camp with spears. Any who are not already pledged to fight the Mikra are enemies the Khalish will do violence to. The Khalish ascend to fight the Mikra. Reducing a group from At War to Hostile requires an Ob 4 Commander test.

If the test succeeds, the state of duress is reduced. Margin of success can be spent to gain additional benefits. Each effect requires a certain margin of success. You can’t use the same effect twice on the same test:

  • Margin of Success 1: The adventurer gains a friend.
  • Margin of Success 2: Positive reception. Gain +2D advantage on your next social action in camp.
  • Margin of Success 3: Duress is reduced an additional level. If that would reduce duress below At Ease, the adventurer who led the action is invited to become a Sharwa and is eligible to learn Sharwa-wise at their next opportunity.

Suggested Orator failure result (choose one):

  • Twist: One of the Sharwa is offended that strangers are telling them how to live and act. One of the characters must make an Ritualist Ob 2 test to show they know the proper observances to the gods or be ask to leave the Base Camp.
  • Twist: Enemies are polarized. Two of the named NPCs (Hoa Veit, Jhala, Sampat, Ankit and family, or any of the Salt Nomads) turn against one another and focus their efforts on the other. Both of those characters are unavailable to the adventurers unless they can make a Persuader Ob 3 test to regain their attention and good favor.
    Your face pisses me off. Gain a new enemy.
  • Condition: Angry. The Sharwa are calmed but it is an infuriating process to placate them.

Suggested Commander failure result (choose one):

  • Twist: The adventurers are chased off by twenty soldiers. Flee or be captured.
  • Condition: Physical violence ensues and the adventurers are injured before they can calm the Sharwa.

It’s worth noting that many of the Wandering Monsters in base camp affect Duress as well, increasing it and/or offering the adventurers additional opportunities to reduce it (through means other than oratory).

Updated Map from Michael


Very close to done!


  1. This is some hotness! Or coldness! This sort of thing is great for any adventure that features multiple factions who may or may not give aid to the party. I’ll probably steal Duress when I get around to running a Torchbearer campaign.

  2. Seth Arbogast

    Very excited to run/play the final product! The map is almost exactly how I pictured it after listening to one of your play sessions. Great descriptions and map making coming together.

  3. Yop

    I´m very interested. What´s the current status of the project? I would like to know whether you believe that there is any possibility of a spanish translation. I should do it by myself for free and you could sell it to a large number of customers.

    • Sean Nittner

      Karen Twelves has proofed the layout version and I’ve got to go through and apply the changes. InDesign CC 2015 broke my DocFlow links so I’m doing it in layout rather than in Google Docs, but it’s worth it to wrap it up (just sad that my original doc is no longer definitive). I’ve been swamped with Big Bad Con work though so I haven’t put the time into this that I’d like. Hope to have it ready for art acquisition by August.

      Once it’s out lets talk about translations. That sound great to me.

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