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.
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:
|Age||Symbols||Spheres of |
|3||Lord of the |
|Ancient||Hunting horn made |
of deer antlers and
|Terror, fear, |
hunting, the lost
|4||The Shining |
|Ancient||A youthful girl, hair|
not yet plaited in adult
braids, adorned with a
crown of wildflowers
|5||Lady of the |
|Young||A woman carrying a|
bundle of skis, spear
and bow over her
|6||Lord of |
|Young||A young man seated|
upon a throne with a
naked sword across
|7||Lord of Winds|
|Old||A sailor with a cloak|
made of feathers;
wind-blown waves; a
|8||Lady of Battles||Young||A woman armored and|
helmed, her great sword
held point down before
|Conquest and |
|9||Lady of Reaping||Ancient||A young woman with a|
basket overflowing with
food; a grim-visaged
warrior brandishing a
war, fertility, sex,
|10||Lord of Sowing||Ancient||A boar or a naked man|
with pronounced genitalia
|11||Lord of Victory||Ancient||A richly dressed noble|
figure on a throne with a
sheathed sword across
Protector of the
|Old||A queen seated upon her|
throne, a spear and shield
at her side; a loom
of hearth and
|13||Lord of Forges||Old||Hammer and tongs; a forge;|
a thickly bearded face
|Craft and crafters,|
|14||The Huntress||Ancient||Two boar spears crossed;|
a bare-chested woman
crouched; a she-wolf
|Hunting, wild beasts,|
pursuit in love, luck
|Young||A man painted black and|
carrying a spear
|Heroes, lost causes,|
|16||Lord of Mercy||Old||Twin idol with his sister,|
Lady of Valor; they stand
side-by-side. He is a man
bearing a drinking horn
|Health, healing, |
|17||Lady of Valor||Old||Twin idol with her brother,|
Lord of Mercy; they stand
side-by-side. She is a
warrior with a sword and
|18||The Daystar||Ancient||An ouroboros around the|
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:
|2-3||Captain of the|
hand from which
have been torn;
a ship made of
|4-5||The Stalking |
|A great black|
wolf; a shadow
in darkness; a
|6-7||Lady of |
|A spilled cup; a|
woman; a giant
hand clutching a
|Servants and thralls,|
time, cold wet
|8-9||Lord of |
|A knife tipped with|
a drop of blood, a
hand over the
mouth; a coin
stamped with a
|A raven; a dead|
man; a shattered
shield; a giant
crushing a powerful
Pray at the Shrine
A traveler may pray at the shrine of the Immortal Patron or propitiated Chaos Immortal of this place.
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)
|2||Immortal 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
|3||Hyrm’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.
|4||Slaughterer’s Boast: The Lord of Slaughter sings of your deeds. Add one|
opponent to each kill conflict until the next town phase.
|5||Whispers: The Lord of Whispers stains your reputation. +1 Ob to all Circles,|
Manipulator, Persuader and Orator tests until the next town phase.
|6||The 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.
|7||Curse of Slow Blood: The Lady of Enervation mocks you. You gain the |
|8||Death Omen: You see an item, symbol or spell you will soon encounter. |
Take the angry or afraid condition.
|9||Baying 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.
|10||The Immortals are deaf to your pleas.|
|11||Wind’s Laughter: The weather suddenly changes. Roll for new weather.|
|12||Swan of Blood: A raven lands on your sacrifice and pecks away a piece |
before flying off.
|13||Glory 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.
|14||The Huntress’s Wisdom: +1 to camp events while outdoors until the next |
|15||Hearthmistress’s Favor: +1 to town events and +1D to requests for hospitality|
until of your current adventure.
|16||Favor of the Lord of Forges: +1D to craft skills until the end of your current |
|17||Gift of the Shining One: Any conditions you suffer are cured and you become|
|18+||Immortal Boon: Add +1D to all tests for class skills during your current |
Sacrifice Lifestyle Cost: 1 plus 1 if making a propitiate offering.
I love this stuff. I get a chill down my spine every time I read the Baying of the Wild Hunt result.
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.
How could I forget?!
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