Ch-ch-ch-ch-changelings

Paton, Joseph Noel (1821-1901); The Fairy Raid: Carrying Off a Changeling, Midsummer Eve; Photo Credit: Glasgow Museums

Hello friends!

Luke has been noodling around with a new Middarmark stock. We’re still playtesting and would love your feedback!

The changeling is a special stock. Trolls pick a human family with a new infant, abduct the child and leave one of their own its place. Sometimes the changeling knows what it is, sometimes it only learns the truth later in life. Changeling children are frequently malevolent or destructive and their unwitting adoptive families often come to grief.

To reflect this, Troll Changelings don’t have a class of their own. Instead they choose from the classes available to humans: Cleric, Magician, Thief or Warrior. They cannot be paladins.

If you’re interested, I highly recommend reading Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword, which also happens to be a great primer for Middarmark gaming in general. In The Broken Sword, the elf lord Imric kidnaps the infant son of Orm the Strong and Aelfrida, leaving the troll changeling Valgard in his place.

Troll Changeling

Nature descriptors: Tricking, Boasting and Breaking

Wises

Troll Changelings choose one wise from the following list to start: Troll-wise, Giant-wise, Changeling-wise, or Folklore-wise.

Trait: Hulder

In addition to their class trait, troll changelings must take a second required trait: Hulder. Hulder are troll changelings left to be raised by human parents, sometimes as punishment, sometimes in exchange for a human child stolen. In their human form, they are beautiful to behold (though most have a telltale tail). In their troll form, they are hideous, long-nosed and misshapen.

Class

Troll Changeling characters may choose from the cleric, magician, thief or warrior classes.

Nature Questions

Do you play cruel tricks on your human parents, frightening them with your trollish ways or do you have mercy on their simple souls and keep to human tradition?

  • If you play cruel tricks, increase Nature by one.
  • If you have mercy on humans, take the Filial or Compassionate trait at level 1 in place of your home trait.

Do you boast of your wild deeds, even ones you haven’t accomplished yet? Or do you remain secretive about your true nature?

  • If you boast of your deeds, increase Nature by one.
  • If you remain secretive, take Secrets-wise, Ancient Grievances-wise or Revenge-wise.

Troll strength flows through your blood. Do you rend and snap your way into and out of trouble? Or do you hide your strength and your trollish origins?

  • If you break bones and snap locks, increase Nature by one.
  • If you hide your trollish origins, increase your Hulder trait to level 2.

Lords of the Land

The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)
The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)

Hello friends!

We know that settlements in Torchbearer often have temples and shrines to various Immortals—they’re among the locations you can visit  during the town phase. But the temples and shrines are generic. It’s left to the GM to fill in the details. By default, people in Torchbearer give devotion to many Immortals. Most are simply worshipped collectively as the “Lords.” But it is not uncommon for settlements to pay special attention to a Young Lord: say Yngve the Lord of Sowing, an incarnation of the Lords of Plenty.

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The Tualingsaga: Castle Valborg

Hello friends! It’s been a few months since we touched on the Ageirings and the Tualings, the warring Bjorning and Græling clans that occupy the uplands of Sudstrond near the Gull Pass in the Middarmark. If you play In the Shadow of the Horns, the adventure included in the Middarmark Gazetteer, Jarl Stigand of Castle Valborg will have a vested interest in control of the hidden Græling armory that is Svana Goldnose’s ultimate objective.

To catch you up on previous entries in this series:

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The Power and the Word

Hello friends! Note that I’ll be at PAX East next Thursday, so there likely will be no post next week.

The Fury of the Lords of Life and Death is a potent prayer given to first-level clerics. But perhaps it doesn’t quite fit the concept of your character? Just for you, here are seven alternative prayers for your cleric.

Choose one blessing. Your cleric knows this blessing in place of Fury of the Lords of Life and Death. Your cleric may use this blessing once per phase. Breadth determines who gets the advantage dice. Each blessing has a duration of one turn.

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The Sea Awaits

Sjøtrollet (The Sea Troll) by Theodor Kittelsen, 1887 

Hello friends!

In the Icelandic sagas, draugr are malevolent beings. It was said that you could tell who was likely to become a draugr in death because they died sitting up — in other words, alone as a miser rather than in bed and surrounded by loved ones. Sea-draugr are something else again. Though they share many characteristics of their land-based ‘cousins’, the tales seem to reflect the loss and guilt felt by those left behind when their loved ones were lost at sea and unable to be laid to rest with their ancestors.

In these stories, the sea-draugr often seek to return home and take up their old lives, only to be refused and shunned by their living families. The living are left with feelings of guilt and shame from these encounters, while the dead must return to their frigid, watery graves.

The sea-draugr play an important role the Bridge of the Damned adventure, so here’s a first look. What do you think?

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Begin by Being

Hjalmar’s farewell to Örvar-Oddr after the Battle of Samsø (1866), by Mårten Eskil Winge

Hello friends!

I’m still recovering from the Bridge of the Damned Kickstarter, so we’re going to keep this week’s post short and sweet.

I know some of you have been wondering how to make higher-level starting characters in Torchbearer. This is for you.

This is playtest material. We’ve made lots of characters up to third level and been pretty satisfied with them, but we haven’t tried heroes of even higher level in play. If you use these rules and bring the characters to the table, let me know how they play!

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