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 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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Into the Gloaming…

Hello friends!

A few weeks ago, I started a new Torchbearer campaign. I made a map, placed some settlements, wild places and dungeons, and off we went.

The players had rumors of several adventures to choose from at the start. One of the rumors concerned The Dread Crypt of Skogenby (get it free here!):

Some folk in Skogenby recently uncovered a strange barrow while clearing a field. They think some evil spirit has come out of it, and they’ve asked their lord help, but she’s away. Supposedly there’s a lot of treasure in the tomb.

But the players chose to pursue another rumor instead. Now they’ve come back to town after their latest adventure and heard some shocking news: The walking dead have overrun Skogenby!

Just in time for Halloween!

So here I am prepping a survival horror addition to Skogenby, and it occurs to me that Torchbearer is lacking some classic horror monsters. This is intended to remedy that dreadful oversight. Without further ado, here’s my take on the zombie and the werewolf. And Jared Sorensen, of Memento Mori Theatricks, has been kind enough to allow me to include his Vampire Lord, excerpted from his Halloween-inspired Torchbearer Sagas supplement, Denizens of the Dark (you’ll find lots of other holiday-appropriate goodies in Denizens, including the vampire lord’s vampire minions!).

Enjoy!

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The Hand of the Pit

In the days of old, a giant demon hand clawed its way up from the Pit to the mine of Whelcrag, scattering gleaming gold spoor in its wake. A man-eating ogre works for the Hand, bringing it souls to feed its demonic hunger! Will you dare the haunted mine?

skulls2Riddled with mind-bending illustrations, The Hand of the Pit, by writer and illustrator Todd James, is a new, 2nd level adventure for Torchbearer. You can download a PDF of the adventure for just $5!

New Torchbearer scenario now available: The Secret Vault of the Queen of Thieves!

The Secret Vault of the Queen of Thieves – a 3rd level, city-based adventure scenario for Torchbearer RPG by Thor Olavsrud  is now available via the Burning Store in pdf format, featuring cover art by Peter Mullen, interior art by Todd James and cartography by Dyson Logos!

Vault_of_the_Queen_of_Thieves_r10_digital_LR_COVER

Tamar, secretive master thief of the port city of Highwater, is dead. The rumors say she dropped face-first into a bowl of soup yesterday while supping with her lover, Lady Attar, at the Three of Cups in Saltown near the docks. It happened just days after she stole the fist-sized jewel known as the Jackal’s Eye from the sinister Cult of Maata Re, Mistress of Plagues. Her lover has not been seen since.

Amidst the stories of conspiracy and murder, the underworld of Highwater is abuzz with tales of the secret vault of the Queen of Thieves, where Tamar is thought to have kept priceless trophies of her many adventures, perhaps even the Jackal’s Eye, along with deadly traps to guard them. The race is on to find the vault; whoever does may become wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings.

The Secret Vault of the Queen of Thieves is a short city-based adventure geared for 3rd level and higher Torchbearer characters, though even lower level characters are viable if played skillfully. It should take a session or two of play. This scenario is set in the port city of Highwater, but you can drop it into your game whenever the characters visit a Bustling Metropolis or Busy Crossroads in your home setting.

This first “official” Torchbearer scenario since The Dread Crypt of Skogenby features fiendish traps, a new monster, a new town for adventurers to hail from and two new town locations – the Docks and the Thieves’ Guild!

Purchase PDF for only $5 via the Burning Store, right here: LINK

 

New Character Sheets for Elves, Magicians and Clerics

In Torchbearer, spellcasters have a lot of information to manage. As Luke was playing his beloved 6th level magician, Sammas, he noticed that the lovely little spellbook at the bottom of the page wasn’t all that helpful. So he created something a bit more practical in the form of these new sheets. They’re not perfect—they’ll only last you a few levels—but they’re a good start.

We’ll try to publish a comprehensive spell book in a similar format soon.