Adventure Design: Robber’s Bridge (Part VII)

Aerial view of the remains of the Viking ring fortress of Trelleborg, near Slagelse in Denmark, by Thue C. Leibrandt

Hello friends! Today’s Torchbearer Thursday has been cross-posted with my Bridge of the Damned Kickstarter project. Please back it if you’re interested in seeing the finished project!

You can catch up on the project here:

The village of Brugard has grown up in the ruins of an ancient ring fort near the southern end of Jotnarsbru. Most of the people of Brugard are Runungs, a once prosperous Bjorning clan whose wealth and influence has waned considerably since the slighting of the bridge and the loss of Vanskrdal.

Prior to the Gott invasion of Vanskrdal, the Runungs lived in steadings and villages on both sides of the Jotnarsbru, and their chieftains were welcomed in the halls of the jarls of both lands. It was Runung warriors that held the fortifications of the bridge and collected tolls from those who would cross.

That all ended with the arrival of the Gott War Host. Many of the Runungs in Vanskrdal were caught unaware by the rapid conquest, and many others were trapped on the northern bank by the destruction of the bridge. Those that managed the crossing occupied the old ring fort, and were succored by those clan members already living on the southern side of the river.

Much of the Runung clan regalia was lost when the Gotts overran Kviholl, the hall of the Runung Chieftain Grima. The only pieces that were saved include a chariot used to drive idols of the Immortal Lords during ceremonial processions, a silver-chased drinking horn and a mangle board that once belonged to clan ancestor and ættir Runa the Battle-Wise.

Danish mangle board with a galloping horse, two kissing doves, a heart and interlaced initials, with its original rolling pin, circa 1780

Runa has told her descendents that many of their relatives survive as thralls in the north, in most cases tending lands they once called their own in service to their new masters.

Brugard

This part of Vargstrond once bustled with trade. Today it is little traveled and the village of Brugard struggles to sustain itself. Little by little, the young people of Brugard slip south to Bodnyheim or Jernkloster seeking better fortunes.

Town Rules

Skills: Carpenter, Peasant, Weaver
Traits: Hungry, Conservative
Alignment: Unaffiliated
Haggling: Ob 3
Telling Tales: Ob 3

Available Locations

Flophouse, Home (equivalent to Flophouse), Inn, Market, Shrine, Stables, Street, Tavern

Brugard Laws

  • Brawling is a criminal act. Punishable by public humiliation.
  • A tax (1D of cash) must be paid to support the needy and unfortunate when visiting the market.

The Bridge of the Damned

Castle Erobring by Kurt Komoda

Hello friends!

We’re excited to introduce the Kickstarter for our latest Torchbearer project: The Bridge of the Damned. Follow the link to back this project and help me bring it to fruition!

The Bridge of the Damned is a new adventure targeted for characters levels 2-3. It’s based on the amazing contributions all of you have made in the Robber’s Bridge series of posts right on this blog:

Castle Erobring by Kurt Komoda

We’re now moving onto the next phase of the project, which involves writing the adventure from our shared ideas, commissioning art and doing the layout. I’ve already commissioned Kurt Komoda (responsible for the Middarmark cover and many other incredible pieces) to illustrate the cover. I have no doubts that it will blow our socks off.

In the meantime, if you have participated in this project by filling out the initial form or adding a comment in any of the posts along the way, and you would like to be credited in the final product, please contact me and let me know how you would like your name to appear. Email me, send me a PM on the Burning Wheel HQ forums, or DM me on twitter. I would love to give you credit, but I won’t without your express permission.

Thanks again for your involvement. I couldn’t do it without you!

One More Day

Hello friends!

My apologies, but if you’re here for the announcement of the new Torchbearer adventure Kickstarter, we’ve opted to push it back by a day. Sorry if you’ve been waiting with baited breath, but thanks for your interest!

We’ll launch tomorrow instead (Monday, Feb. 18). I’m not sure what time, but we’ll make sure to post here, on the Burning Wheel HQ forums, the Torchbearer RPG Facebook page, the Torchbearer subreddit, and I’ll post it on my Twitter account too.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Bring on the magic!

The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse, 1886

Hello friends!

Let’s talk about magic items. If you’re a GM, are you placing them in your adventures? If you’re a player, are your characters finding them in their delves? I hope so!

Magic items are fun to discover and use, and if you treat them as more than contextless powerups they can inject history and weight to your campaign.

First, I should note the way I present magic items in Torchbearer has shifted a bit over the years. In the core book, items had levels and you had to be of the requisite level to use the item. I’ve since tossed that restriction by the wayside because it’s artificial and cumbersome. The magic items in Middarmark don’t have levels. That’s why.

It’s my hope that dropping the level restriction also makes it easier for you to design your own magic items and drop them in your games. To help get you started, here are the various magical effects a magic item can provide. If I’ve missed something, let me know in the comments and we’ll discuss!

Magical effects:

  • Break ties in your favor
  • Confer belief
  • Confer instinct
  • Confer special ability (fly, remain unharmed by fire, walk on water, etc.)
  • Confer spell effect
  • Confer traits
  • Confer wise
  • Increase Might
  • Provide advantage to abilities
  • Provide advantage to skills
  • Treat conditions

You can use these singly, or in combination to create more complex magic items. For instance, you can use the Confer belief, instinct, or trait effects in combination with something else to create a cursed item, or an item with a personality that weighs upon the bearer. In general, Confer belief and Confer instinct should replace the character’s existing belief or instinct, not add to it.

Try to give each item you introduce into the game a bit of lore, even if you’re using one from a book or adventure. What’s its name? Who made it? Why? What little nugget of history can your players discover by studying the item? Even a lowly ring of invisibility might have an epic history behind it.

Back in November, I posted a few new magic items. Here are some more to whet your appetite. What’s their story? How would you use them in your game?

Aegis Bracer

These leather bracers are crafted from a combination of supple leather, rawhide and boiled leather, all intricately burned with arcane sigils of defense. They protect the hands and forearms.
Effect: If you are targeted by a successful Attack or Feint in a capture, drive off or kill conflict, roll a d6. On a 4+, reduce your opponent’s margin of success by -1s. This effect works once per conflict. Attacks or Feints with spears, bolts and arrows are not affected.
Inventory: Hands/worn 1
Type: Magical clothing

Frostreaver

A sword of pale blue metal covered in fine crystalline hoar frost. The sword emits a powerful chill and a faint frosty vapor rises from it when unsheathed in above-freezing temperatures.
Effect: The subject of a successful Attack with Frostreaver is chilled to the bone, suffering -1s to their team’s next action. Frostreaver otherwise confers the normal sword benefits. Frostreaver’s cold is punishing. The wielder must wear thick leather gloves or similar protection to shield the hands or suffer the injured condition at the end of a conflict or turn in which it was used.
Inventory: Hands/carried 1 or belt/weapon 1
Type: Magical weapon

Jade Diadem

A crown of creamy white jade made for an ancient tyrant surrounded by scheming courtiers.
Effect: The wearer is immune to all mind control effects and gaze weapons.The wearer of the Jade Diadem gains the Suspicious trait at level 2. The wearer of the Jade Diadem is deeply suspicious of all who would approach them. It is extremely difficult to trick or lie to them, but they have a hard time trusting even the most altruistic people.
Inventory: Head/worn 1 or pack 1
Type: Magical jewelry

Keep Your Eyes Open

As a final note, as part of the #ZineQuest initiative on Kickstarter I plan to launch a new Torchbearer adventure on Sunday, February 17. It will join The Grind, another Torchbearer zine by our friends at Mordite Press. Check in here for announcements!

The Cult of the Dragonslayer

Dragen, Theodor Severin Kittelsen, 1892

Hello friends!

Since we’ve been talking about adding a shrine to the Dragonslayer to our Robber’s Bridge adventure, I thought we might take a deeper look at the cult this week and explore its most closely held secret. Note that the rules for the Mysteries of Lith have not yet been playtested. If you use them in your games, I’d love to hear about it.

Continue reading

Introducing The Grind

Do you need even more Torchbearer in your life? The cool cats at Mordite Press, makers of ‘Wicked dope Torchbearer Sagas content’ are at it again.

Today, as part of Kickstarter’s RPG Zine Quest, they launched The Grind, a Torchbearer zine packed with stories, one-page adventures, adventure ideas, monsters, items, town locations, NPCs, and more.

Check it out!