Torchbearer Kickstarter

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Adventurer is a dirty word. You’re a scoundrel, a villain, a wastrel, a vagabond, a criminal, a sword-for-hire, cutthroat. Respectable people belong to guilds, the church or are born into nobility. Or barring all that, they’re salt of the earth and till the land for the rest of us. Your problem is that you’re none of that. You’re a third child or worse. You can’t get into a guild—too many apprentices already. You’re sure as hell not nobility—even if you were, your older brothers and sisters have soaked up the inheritance. The churches—they’ll take you, but they have so many acolytes, they hand you kit and a holy sign and send you right out the door again: Get out there and preach the word and find something nice for mother church. And if you ever entertained romantic notions of farming, think again. You’d end up little more than a slave to a wealthy noble. 

So there’s naught for us but to make our own way. There’s a certain freedom to it, but it’s a hard life. Cash flows out of our hands as easily as the blood from our wounds. But at least it’s our life. And if we’re lucky, smart and stubborn, we might come out on top. There’s a lot of lost loot out there for the finding. And salvage law is mercifully generous. We find it, it’s ours to spend, sell or keep. 

Torchbearer is a riff on the early model of fantasy roleplaying games. In it, you take on the role of an adventurer seeking his or her fortune. To earn that fortune, you must explore fornlorn ruins, brave terrible monsters and retreive forgotten treasures. However, this game is not about being a hero. It is not about fighting for what you believe. This game is about exploration and survival. You may become a hero. You might have to fight for your ideals. But to do either of those things, you must prove yourself in the wilds. Because there are no jobs, no inheritance, no other opportunities for our deadbeat adventurers. This life is their only hope to prosper in this world.

Torchbearer is part of the brand of games Burning Wheel HQ has been producing for over ten years. So like all of our other games, this is a game about making difficult choices while exploring the world and your character through the game rules and systems. And like all of our games, the heart of the experience is about how your character changes when faced with adversity.

This is a hard game, not a simple one. There are many moving parts and it’s not possible to experience the whole game in one or even two sessions. But if you’re ready to sink your teeth into a good game that will reward you for mastering the system over 10 or 20 sessions, this is the game for you.

The Game

Torchbearer was designed by Thor Olavsrud, our long-suffering editor. It’s based on our 2008 game Mouse Guard. It shares the same core system and concepts, but it adds a layer of complexity in the form of resource management, turn structure and conflict.

In the spectrum of BWHQ games, Torchbearer is advanced Mouse Guard. It’s not as complex as Burning Wheel or Burning Empires, but it’s certainly more involved than Mouse Guard or even FreeMarket. From a broader perspective, it’s Basic D&D on Hard mode.

The Book

The book itself is a 200-page letter-sized hard cover with a four color cover and black and white interiors. We’re breaking away from our traditional digest-sized book as a bit of an experiment. We want to see what it feels like to publish a big ol’ RPG book. And of course it’s an homage to all those great AD&D hardcovers.

Kickstarter

We’re using Kickstarter this time because we are out of money for this project. We’ve spent it all on art and editing. To go forward, we need you to tell us if you want to see this game in print.

Backing

When you back this project, we’ll send you a PDF of the introduction to the game and the character creation rules so you can prep your dungeon delvers and be ready to go as soon as you have the full rules!

Burning Con FINAL Schedule

Here’s the final schedule for Burning Con 2012.

I emailed it to you along with an update. Check your inbox/spam filter!

Final Schedule Burning Con 2012

Burning Con Scenario Prep

I know you’re all at home busily prepping your Burning Con scenario, so I put together a list of best practices and advice. I hope you find it useful.

Here’s list of basic things you need:

  • An idea of the scenario or situation.
  • Characters. GMs for all games should provide characters*
  • Provide all game materials. Be sure you have the right amount of dice, cards and anything else you’ll need.
  • At least one twist—something new that changes the starting dynamic—but not more than three. Frex: You find a magic sword and must decide who gets it…and then you have to find your way out of the dungeon.
  • Notes, sketches and rough stat blocks for your villains, opposition and monsters
  • Attitude: Be bold, be confident. Players are sitting at your table because they’re interested in your vision. Impress them.

You need a strong idea for a scenario to keep everyone on track during play. Provide characters so you can get right to playing. A scenario that only answers one question can be boring. Be ready to throw in a new element that ratchets up the tension even further (but is, of course, still tied to the characters Beliefs/Goals/purpose etc). Lastly, your scenario will run more smoothly if you have a rough list of obstacles, stat blocks, problems and potential opposition. It won’t all come into play, but it’s useful to have.

What not to do:

  • Don’t sit back and expect the players to do all the work. As the scenario runner, it’s your role to mix up the action and provide unexpected turns.
  • Don’t overprepare. Don’t plan such a detailed scenario that you’ll never hope to finish it in one sitting
  • DO NOT setting dump. If I catch anyone saying more than one minute of world or setting info, I’ll be very angry.
  • DO NOT explain the rules. Demonstrate the rules in small chunks as the game progresses.

Running RPG scenarios is easy. I’m excited because we have so many great players and scenarios. See you all next Friday for the party!

Any questions? Email me at burningwheel@burningwheel.com

-Luke

*Except for In a Wicked Age. Don’t get your mocassins in a knot.

THE TRIADUMVIRATE

Burning Con 12 is less that two weeks away. We had a last minute surge of registration. That means if you haven’t submitted a game, I need it ASAP. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll refund your registration.
In happier news, I’ve reorganized the priority system to be clearer than last year’s version. I’m assigning you your priorities now.
In a few days you’ll receive an email that contains your priority, a provisional schedule and the address of the Friday night party. If you don’t receive that, please email me (burningwheel@burningwheel.com).
Thanks for your patience! More updates soon!

Burning Con Approaches!

Burners,

We are three weeks out from Burning Con!

Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes: Shervyn and I will assemble a preliminary schedule in the next few days. If I don’t have your event description, I’ll make one more attempt to contact you. If I don’t hear back from you immediately, I’ll refund your admission.

Friday night: There will be a party Friday night from 8 to midnight. I will email you with the address for the party. It is a private residence. If you are registered and don’t hear from me, email me at burningwheel@burningwheel.com.

Saturday: Events begin promptly at 10 AM and run until 11 Pm. There are no official afterhours events on Saturday. Like last year, lunch (and/or dinner) will be short, but we will have (free) snacks on site.

Sunday: Events begin promptly at 10 AM and run until 7.

Afterparty will be at Bar 82 (8th street and 2nd Ave).

PAX PRIMACY

Hello Primates!

Behold the schedule of a desperate man!

My schedule for PAX Dev:
Wed 1:15 PM Grand III: Creative Destruction with Jared Sorensen.

Wed 230 PM Grand II: Academia vs Reality with Jared, Rym and some other nerds.

Wed 4:30 PM 5th Ave Room: Something from Nothing with James Ernest and Paul Petersen (and that guy Jared).

Thurs 2:00 PM 5th Ave Room: Something from Nothing PART 2 with James, Paul and Jared.

My Schedule for PAX Prime:
Friday: Blessedly free! Come visit our Burning Wheel, Night Sky Games and Memento Mori supercombo booth on the 6th floor.

Saturday 6 PM Tabletop Theater: RPGs Are Awesome with Jared.

Sunday 10:30 AM Raven Theater: The D&D You Never Knew. The big time! Just me for a whole hour!

Sunday 2:00 PM Tabletop Theater: I am Startup and So Can You, America: Designing and Publishing on a Ramen Budget. with Wolfgang Bauer (!) and those guys publishing 13th Age.

Sunday 7:00 PM Tran Bros Vietnamese: I mutely spoon Phô into my raw, cracked throat with Jared Sorensen and ensemble.

See you next week!

Burning Con ’12

Save the dates: Burning Con is October 26-28 in NYC. Vincent Baker returns as special guest. And we have another secret special guest to announce! See you in October.

Connecticon

I’ll be at Connecticon tomorrow, July 14th, delivering two presentations: The D&D You Never Knew and Burning Wheel Is Complicated but I Love It.

The fun starts at 1 PM in panel room 5 and continues at 2:30.

See you there.

http://connecticon.org/events/category/panels-workshops

BWHQ Hiatus

Hello Burners,
The BWHQ store is closed from now until 5/24. Cave Troll and the Burning Accountant are both away on vacation. Check out your FLGS for all of your needs. For example, the Compleat Strat has all BW products in stock (even some that are out of print). Call for orders 212 685 3380 or email complstrat@aol.com. Their website is out of date.

-L

The Year Ahead

Hello Burners,

PAX was a blast, and we’re finally recovered. So I thought you might like an update as to what’s going on with Burning Wheel and BWHQ.

Burning Wheel Turns 10

November 1st, 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the publication of Burning Wheel. We’re going to celebrate!

Burning Con 2012

Burning Con is happening! We’ll celebrate our 10th birthday there. We’re hoping to book dates at the end of October. I’ll post more about that as soon as I know it.

Also, we learned a lot about running our own con last year and we’re excited to apply those lessons this year. Expect to hear more about running hacks at Burning Con, GMing tutorials, and a beginner’s track!

Other 2012 Cons

At the moment, I’m planning on attending PAX Prime in Seattle in August and Connecticon in Hartford in July. We will not be attending Origins or Gen Con this year.

SSS 12

We’re working on three games at BWHQ. Unfortunately, none look likely to be ready for publication this summer. We’re dedicated to producing quality games, as best as we’re able. Sometimes that means you can’t rush the playtesting and writing process.  As soon as we think the games are ready, we’ll get them out to you!

Other Fun Stuff

Since we’re not publishing, we thought we could do some other fun stuff in the meantime: t-shirts, custom dice and laminates (finally!). If you have any other suggestions, let me know!

Thanks for your continued support. We couldn’t and wouldn’t do this without you.

-Luke