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  • Hi guys! Thanks for playing my game!

    This thread has moved pretty quickly since Apreche linked me to it, and some folks have been doing yeoman's work answering questions, but if there are lingering questions, I'm happy to try to answer.

    Without going too deep into the design, the Good Idea is a carrot to encourage people to describe their actions in detail. It's there to get you to really imagine how your character interacts with the environment and to make sure you take the additional step of telling everyone what that interaction consists of.

    Sometimes, those descriptions will lead the GM to declare the action a Good Idea and things just move on. Sometimes, those descriptions will lead to a test. And sometimes, those descriptions will trigger a trap or other consequence (which is essentially the same as leading to a test, but usually funnier).

    Players can talk among themselves about how they're going to proceed, but until someone steps up and says: "My character reaches his arm into the Green Devil Face's mouth ( and feels around," nothing happens. (Pro tip: steel yourself for one hell of a twist.)

    What if the described action doesn't lead to a test? Then there's no test. You don't need to force it. If the players describe how their characters search the room for secret doors, but there's nothing to find, just tell them they search fruitlessly for a time but find nothing. Don't make them roll, don't tick off a turn.

    It's OK if play proceeds for a time without any rolls being made. If they Describe to Live and you Answer Questions with Questions, you're all playing the game correctly.

    In Skogenby, I could see one scenario by which a group that's lucky and not terribly curious about their surroundings could deal with Haathor-Vash in as little as 3 turns. It's not likely, but it could happen. That's OK.

    But I will also point out that the obstacles listed in Skogenby are very much not a prescriptive list. They're merely suggestions.

    "In crafting this adventure, I have attempted to imagine the actions players are likely to take and provide appropriate obstacles and possible failure consequences if the rolls fail. I have drawn from the Ability & Skill Factors chapter to set these obstacles. However, the obstacles are not a checklist; they’re merely some of the possibilities. Invariably, your players will attempt some action I haven’t anticipated. When that happens, consider which ability or skill is likely to cover that action and use the Ability & Skill Factors chapter to set
    an appropriate obstacle and ask the players to roll the dice. It’s easier than you think!" --A Note to the GM, The Dread Crypt of Skogenby, p. 4.

    Having read the text, the GM knows the basic shape of what's going on. You've even had to make some decisions about it, as per the text (Did Haathor-Vash succeed or fail in her ritual? Is she evil or merely vengeful? What drives her?). With that in mind, you are free to improvise to your heart's content.

    If the players are inspecting the tub, what are they looking for? Ask questions. What are they hoping to discover? It may not lead to the Theologian test I described, but maybe something else makes sense and requires a test.

    Change things up!

    Do you feel things are dragging a little? You can have one of the troops of Tomb Guardians awaken and go on patrol. Maybe night falls and Haathor-Vash, riding Jora, begins another expedition into the town of Skogenby to search for her missing treasures.
  • Hey Thor your game is fairly sick, nice job 8)
  • Ok, this has been a big help. This is what I have learned and will try to do next time I run the game.

    I will do a better job of describing the things the dungeon. I read the Skogenby descriptions verbatim. I think if I made my own dungeon, although it may be a poorly designed one, the descriptions would be better. Because it came from my own imagination I would be able to do a better job of expressing how it feels to the players.

    I should answer player questions with less hesitation. Give them all the info about the things they ask for, so they can have more material to work with. They want to find the obstacles. It will be fun if they find them by asking the right questions.

    Unless the leader actually says for certain they are doing something, they aren't doing anything. When the leader does say what they are doing, ask how they are doing it to get a really good description of it. With a better description of what they are doing, and how they are doing it, it should become clear whether it is something to test or not. If testable, test! If not, do not test. If they don't test, they will try to do something else.

    If they try to do too many things that are untestable in a row, just throw something at them, probably a monster. All the better if the monster, or other obstacle, somehow guides them on the right path. We searched this whole place. Where did that monster even come from? There must be a secret door! Follow its tracks!

    It's ok for me to force players into conflicts and such, especially if they have walked into it. By doing anything at all, they are possibly spending a turn. So I'm not taking a turn from them if their fruitless attempt at following a red herring results in a conflict with a horrible monster.
  • okeefe said:

    Apreche said:

    Also, there's the question of how to handle the possession itself. What do the players learn from the possession? Does Haathor-Vash, say anything, or does the possessed teammate just try to murder everyone? Can you force the players into a kill conflict like that? Don't the players choose the type of the conflict?

    In our game, that character got possessed right as the rest of us got knocked out by the gas trap. So that character helped the skeletons move us into the secret vault. Once were were dealing with Haathor-Vash, the character was back under the player control, I think, as far as we could tell. That might have been a speedup for convention purposes.
    Actually, having reread the possession rules, I figured out what happened. Haathor-Vash can only possess one character at a time, and she just moved back to Jora.
  • It sounds like Burning Wheel (Torchbearer) does not work well as a system for classic dungeon delving? Scott's problems sound like the same argument against using D&D for anything other than a combat heavy game. If BW is not designed for this sort of gameplay why try to force it?
  • Burning Wheel and Torchbearer are completely different systems.
  • I thought torchbearer was a derivative of Burning Wheel? Is there a free PDF synopsis of the system rules?
  • edited November 2013
    HMTKSteve said:

    I thought torchbearer was a derivative of Burning Wheel? Is there a free PDF synopsis of the system rules?

    They are superficially similar in that they both use d6 die pools and such. Playing each one is a completely different experience.

    Also, Burning Wheel is quite good at dungeon crawling. Torchbearer is ABOUT dungeon crawling. They're just different in how it goes down.
    Post edited by Apreche on
  • HMTKSteve said:

    I thought torchbearer was a derivative of Burning Wheel? Is there a free PDF synopsis of the system rules?

    Torchbearer is advanced Mouse Guard, which is derived from Burning Wheel but with many changes.
    Grab the free pdf bundle and look at the first chapter, character sheets, and conflict aid.
  • I'm looking to get a game started or join a game in NYC. Completely casual, no campaign in mind or anything, just looking to get some TB in on weeknights (Mon-Thurs). Playing or GMing.

    If nobody bites on the BW site (I posted there separately), I'm happy to start a new thing so any NYC folks on here interested in playing or running should let me know, file this post for future, and we'll keep in touch.
  • edited November 2013
    I finished the first few chapters of the book, this system is so tight and crunchy. I love it. I can't wait to play inventory tetris. I'm going to build some characters right now.
    Post edited by GreyHuge on
  • I am going to talk to myself here:
    johndis said:

    Hey has anyone ever played/tried this solo dungeon making game: ? I just saw it mentioned in the Torchbearer forums, seems like it would be perfect for TB dungeons since you create an entire ancient history for each dungeon. I bought the pdf cause it was only $5 but it apparently takes up to 24 hours to get sent to me via the tubes.

    This thing really sucks actually ahhaa. Finally tried it and it took like two hours to get through half the dungeon making process, so its overall just a huge waste of friggin time. Good talk yall.
  • johndis said:

    This thing really sucks actually ahhaa. Finally tried it and it took like two hours to get through half the dungeon making process, so its overall just a huge waste of friggin time. Good talk yall.

    Bad intel turned good intel is good intel in the end. Thanks for the r&d.

    The Torchbearer book actually has some snappy advice and steps for creating good adventures and dungeons. If at the table the players finished an adventure they were on and wanted more or found a new lead, I'm confident that I could spin something good off if given 10 minutes of alone time with the book (not that way).
  • I'm running Under the House of the Three Squires for my Burning Wheel group. Their primary complaint with Torchbearer as a system is that they don't like not knowing the consequences of failure before a roll. They know it's going to be a twist or a condition, but they're prefer to know more and Burning Wheel gives them that. They are getting the hang of it, though.
  • Amusingly that is one my favorite parts.
  • Someone should tell Luke that you shouldn't have to complete a $0 transaction through his shop to get a free pdf.
  • Andrew said:

    Someone should tell Luke that you shouldn't have to complete a $0 transaction through his shop to get a free pdf.

    He has been historically bad at technology. He has historically rebuked our advice on these matters, so we stopped trying.

  • Played my first session of Torchbearer! Very much enjoyed it!

    I definitely see why there needs to be a leader - we spent a lot of time dawdling, dredging up details that were interesting but not necessarily pertinent. I was the leader for the group, but I needed to do a better job saying, "OK, we've been dicking around for a while. Does anyone have a plan? If not, let's move on." Strong leadership helps to keep the session moving, rather than languishing in details.

    Nothing wrong with languishing in details, mind you. That can be lots of fun. "OK, shit, what do we do? OK, let's ask about literally everything in the room." Poking at stuff, examining stones, looking for secret passages...all good dungeon-crawling stuff.

    In about 4.5 hours of playtime (which was about 1.5 hours of character creation), we got through 4 tests - roughly 15 - 20% of the content of the dungeon. We all left the session Hungry & Thirsty, and Injured (compromise from a Kill conflict). I'd say that's a pretty good pace.

    Speaking of Kill conflicts, I wasn't sure about other people Helping. Re-reading the section makes me think that everyone with disposition remaining can Help with every single action. Is that the case?

    Losing disposition was uncertain. Does the person who failed the roll lose disposition until they're out, and then the excess is distributed by the captain? Or does the person who lost the roll have to lose at least one disposition, but the captain assigns all the rest?

    Actually, Help is sort of unclear in a couple of places. In the Nature chapter, it says that Nature can help rolls provided that it involves one of your Nature descriptors. In the Overcoming Obstacles chapter, Nature seems to be more limited in the places where it's allowed to Help.

  • Awesome. Did you do one of the premade adventures or something else?

    If you don't have any disposition hit points, you can't help or take any actions in the conflict. You have to be brought back in with new points from a successful defend action.

    For how to handle losing hit points, you've got it right in your first sentence that you lose them until you're out and then the captain distributes excess loss.

    Nature seems a bit strange to me sometimes... I need to play/run a bit more to understand the flow of it and how it should be used in terms of help. Curious to see other views on how and whether or not to limit it. Thus far I've only seen folks use it with the Halfling's merriment descriptor, and I imagine that'll get old rather quickly.
  • My brother ran a dungeon that he'd cooked up. Totally original.
  • I liked it. Now I need to invest more time in knowing the rules.

    How many spells can a first level wizard prepare? I'm guessing it's just 1.
  • One in the memory at a time, and once cast it leaves the memory inventory, but they start with three in their book. The book can actually hold up to five spells. They can cast at any time out of the book, but it burns up the spell so they have to wait until they can scribe spells back into the book to refill those slots. So, with all that in mind, magicians tend to be pretty damn reliant on camp and town phases.

    I'd love to see some magician just carry around three or so spell books and just burn through them in a given session.
  • You're right. Thanks for the added explanation. How many slots does a scroll take up? An additional spell book maybe more space effective.

    I want a bandoleer in TB, and I think I made up a good rule. Takes up one chest slot. Gives 2 storage slots and one weapon or one skin.

    I'd also like to build this in game. Possibly in real life too.
  • If you want a bandolier, just use the same rules as for satchel (which also takes up one shoulder) and call it a bandolier for flavor.
  • Yup. Torso/worn 1, 3 slots.

    A bandolier of torches. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Hell I'll allow a retroactive acquisition of a bandolier if you want one badly Wyatt. Just no new items to put in it :)

    Anyway, the dungeon I made up is goin fairly well so far, but slower than I figured. I spent a bunch of time adding in little things to discover or perplex the players here and there, cause I wanted the kewl feeling of exploration and discovery of an actual place, and not just some guantlet of traps/obstacles and shit.. but holy hell little details can really slow down a party when they're playing well (ie cautious and thoughtful, lots of discussion). Pete suggested having minor details sort of point to obstacles, which I'm gonna work on for the next sesh, tho I don't personally mind spending time on things that don't lead to rolls, and afaik the players I have don't mind either!

    Two things I'm gonna change for next sesh: NOT gonna give away the fact that an action/description will lead to a roll... not really sure why I was doing that, felt right in the moment, but in retrospect was fairly dumb. I would basically say "you can do that, but it will prove challenging" and it steered the players too much IMO. Also gonna be more adamant about good descriptions taking precedence, had some real half assed help dice in there (+ it takes pressure off me w.r.t. having to describe stuff). We had the worst situation possible for playing a game tho, where I was the only one in the room who had read the whole rulebook ahaha. So yeah I felt a need to be nicer cause my own worthelss and destroyed brain was fairy fuzzy on some stuff.

    Anway I like this game a lot!! I never honestly liked DMing much, but the structure/rules of TB makes it way more interesting and fun to me. Making a cool dungeon + challenges for playeys is a lot more fulfilling when the game system has your back 8)
  • Scott ran a great first session tonight! Despite having a potion blow up in my face, failing to cast a spell thus causing magical items to disintegrate, and startling a stone giant, we all survived!
  • Yeah, it was truly a blast. Also, it's nice playing with people that I don't need to teach the rules to, which is my usual situation.
  • I third that. Was great to play. Scott was brutal as expected. You two were inches from death if you hadn't chosen to suck it up. Felt pushed to the limit, especially toward end of session. Just how I like it.
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