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.

These rules are intended to give individual settlements a bit more character by giving you tools to determine which Young Lord a settlement especially reveres. You can also determine which Chaos Immortal (Jotunn) the settlement especially fears and propitiates. These rules are intended to replace the Temples and Shrines section of the Town chapter in Torchbearer.

Use these details to color your settlements and give them character. If you’re making use of the cult rules from Middarmark1See Sworn to the Young Lords, p. 75, these results can help you determine if a particular cult operates in a settlement. And obviously you don’t need to roll on the Immortal Patrons table if you already know a particular Young Lord holds sway in a settlement: Freydis, Lady of Reaping, is the patron of Sunnås in Middarmark, so there’s no need to roll.

The ‘Age’ category is meant to give a rough idea of how widespread a particular Immortal’s worship is: People throughout Middarmark and beyond (e.g., Gottland, Holmsea and Svanland) often recognize ancient immortals, though it is unusual for them to have truly devoted cults; they are frequently worshipped collectively with the Lords rather than as individuals. The worship of old Immortals is widespread and often more organized—though different peoples often have different names for them. Young Immortals are recently ascended—within the past several hundred years. Their adherents tend to be devoted and vigorous in the pursuit of their patron’s goals.

Temples and Shrines

Temples and shrines in towns gladly offer prayers for weary travelers—for a small donation, of course.

Immortal Patrons

Most settlements have small shrines to various immortals, but most also have one particular patron whom they favor with spells and sacrifice. The GM may choose a settlement’s Immortal Patron or roll 3d6 on the following table:

Roll
(3d6)
Immortal
Patron
AgeSymbolsSpheres of
Influence
3Lord of the
Wild Hunt
AncientHunting horn made
of deer antlers and
brambles
Terror, fear,
hunting, the lost
4The Shining
One
AncientA youthful girl, hair
not yet plaited in adult
braids, adorned with a
crown of wildflowers
Youth, health,
song, spring
5Lady of the
Winter Hunt
YoungA woman carrying a
bundle of skis, spear
and bow over her
shoulder
Winter travel,
storms, winter,
death
6Lord of
Strength
YoungA young man seated
upon a throne with a
naked sword across
his knees
Nobility, youth,
warriors
7Lord of Winds
and Sailors
OldA sailor with a cloak
made of feathers;
wind-blown waves; a
mountain wreathed
in cloud
Weather, luck,
sailors, journeys
by sea
8Lady of BattlesYoungA woman armored and
helmed, her great sword
held point down before
her
Conquest and
war, courage,
order, protection
9Lady of ReapingAncientA young woman with a
basket overflowing with
food; a grim-visaged
warrior brandishing a
spear
Harvest, death,
war, fertility, sex,
autumn
10Lord of SowingAncientA boar or a naked man
with pronounced genitalia
Sowing, plowing
fertility, sex
11Lord of VictoryAncientA richly dressed noble
figure on a throne with a
sheathed sword across
his knees
Battle, victory,
rulership
12Hearthmistress,
Protector of the
Hall
OldA queen seated upon her
throne, a spear and shield
at her side; a loom
Hearth, marriage
children, weaving,
cooking, defense
of hearth and
home
13Lord of ForgesOldHammer and tongs; a forge;
a thickly bearded face
Craft and crafters,
swordsmiths,
cunning
14The HuntressAncientTwo boar spears crossed;
a bare-chested woman
crouched; a she-wolf
stalking
Hunting, wild beasts,
pursuit in love, luck
15The
Dragonslayer
YoungA man painted black and
carrying a spear
Heroes, lost causes,
valiant death
16Lord of MercyOldTwin idol with his sister,
Lady of Valor; they stand
side-by-side. He is a man
bearing a drinking horn
Health, healing,
recovery, mercy,
justice, drinking
17Lady of ValorOldTwin idol with her brother,
Lord of Mercy; they stand
side-by-side. She is a
warrior with a sword and
shield
Courage, bravery,
fortitude, sharp
swords, strong
shields, valiant
death
18The DaystarAncientAn ouroboros around the
sun
Seasons, sunlight,
time, summer

Propitiate Immortals

Not all Immortals are beneficent. There are dark powers who seek the destruction of civilization. To keep them at bay, folk make constant sacrifice, hoping to satisfy the dark immortals’ carnal lusts so they do not visit calamity on a settlement.

To determine to whom the folk of this settlement sacrifice—or to determine which cults secretly lurk in the hearts of the guilds and rulers of this place, roll 2d6 on the following table:

Roll
(2d6)
Propitiate
Immortal
AgeSymbolsSpheres of
Influence
2-3Captain of the
Dead Ship
Eternal
(Jotunn)
A desiccated
hand from which
the fingernails
have been torn;
a ship made of
fingernails
Death, undeath,
funerals, sailing
in storms,
curses
4-5The Stalking
Beast
Eternal
(Jotunn)
A great black
wolf; a shadow
in darkness; a
giant hand
covering the
moon
Hunting, wild
beasts, eclipse,
nightmares,
ravening hunger
6-7Lady of
Enervation
Eternal
(Jotunn)
A spilled cup; a
bent, lamed
woman; a giant
hand clutching a
warrior woman
Servants and thralls,
gossip, laziness,
time, cold wet
weather, curses
8-9Lord of
Whispers
Eternal
(Jotunn)
A knife tipped with
a drop of blood, a
hand over the
mouth; a coin
stamped with a
skull
Politics, trade,
succession,
assassination,
corruption
10-12Lord of
Slaughter
Eternal
(Jotunn)
A raven; a dead
man; a shattered
shield; a giant
crushing a powerful
warrior
Ravens, ambush,
battlefields, battle
madness, murder

Pray at the Shrine

A traveler may pray at the shrine of the Immortal Patron or propitiated Chaos Immortal of this place.

Make Sacrifices

You may entreat the priests of this settlement to make sacrifices on your behalf. You may sacrifice to the Immortal patron or you may sacrifice to a Jotunn Immortal to try to ward off bad luck.

  • Increase lifestyle cost by 1 to represent the sacrifice and roll 3d6 on the Immortal Omens table below.
  • Before rolling on the table, you may test Theologian to call upon the proper Immortals. If successful, you may choose to keep the result that you roll or the next higher result. If you fail, subtract your margin of failure from your result.
  • You may leave a substantial offering—something magical, something worth at least 3D of cash or something unique to the Immortal—and gain +1 to the roll.
  • You may make a propitiate offering to the Chaos Immortal who holds sway over your fate: +1 to the Immortal Omens Table roll; increase lifestyle cost by 1.

Immortal Omens Table (3d6)

2Immortal Darkness: You have angered the combined council of Chaos
Immortals and they curse your prayers to the abyss. You may not pray to
the Immortals at the temple or anywhere (including clerics!) until this curse
is lifted.
3Hyrm’s Notice: The shade of someone or something you killed but failed to
put to rest stalks you. It acts as a barrow wight, disturbed spirit or draugr
and grows closer with each town phase, waiting for you in the darkness.
4Slaughterer’s Boast: The Lord of Slaughter sings of your deeds. Add one
opponent to each kill conflict until the next town phase.
5Whispers: The Lord of Whispers stains your reputation. +1 Ob to all Circles,
Manipulator, Persuader and Orator tests until the next town phase.
6The Stalking Beast spurns you: No game or fowl to be hunted while you are
in the wilderness until the next town phase. Not even a mouse. Any attempt
to hunt advances the grind and automatically results in a twist.
7Curse of Slow Blood: The Lady of Enervation mocks you. You gain the
exhausted condition.
8Death Omen: You see an item, symbol or spell you will soon encounter.
Take the angry or afraid condition.
9Baying of the Wild Hunt: Dogs bark and fight outside the temple, drowning
out the prayers of the priests within. All invocations fail during this town
phase and automatically result in a twist.
10The Immortals are deaf to your pleas.
11Wind’s Laughter: The weather suddenly changes. Roll for new weather.
12Swan of Blood: A raven lands on your sacrifice and pecks away a piece
before flying off.
13Glory of Elves: You are visited with a vision of events to come. You see a
flash of a place or person you will soon encounter. You may remove the
angry or afraid condition once any time before the encounter comes to pass.
14The Huntress’s Wisdom: +1 to camp events while outdoors until the next
town phase.
15Hearthmistress’s Favor: +1 to town events and +1D to requests for hospitality
until of your current adventure.
16Favor of the Lord of Forges: +1D to craft skills until the end of your current
adventure.
17Gift of the Shining One: Any conditions you suffer are cured and you become
fresh.
18+Immortal Boon: Add +1D to all tests for class skills during your current
adventure.

Sacrifice Lifestyle Cost: 1 plus 1 if making a propitiate offering.

Notable Replies

  1. luke says:

    I love this stuff. I get a chill down my spine every time I read the Baying of the Wild Hunt result.

  2. luke says:

    I also like this set up because it’s a slick collaboration between Thor and myself. Thor’s Middarmark is a rich and deep world. I challenged myself to make it more accessible in the Torchbearer rules, to strip it down a bit and integrate it into the core system loop.

    So it’s Thor’s research, mythology and symbology, embellished and reconfigured by yours truly. I don’t know if Thor recalls, but I gave him THE TREATMENT during this process: I ask a lot (A LOT) of questions. Asked him to put things in categories. Asked if the Immortals work this way, do these Jotunn work the same? Etc. etc.

  3. Thor says:

    How could I forget?! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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