Recently, I’ve fallen a little bit in love with Burning Wheel’s “Torchbearer” RPG.
It’s an intriguing, gritty reimagining of the classic D&D dungeon crawl. The characters are down-at-heel adventures, the sort of desperate individuals who would seek their fortune delving in dark and dangerous holes. But adventuring takes its toll, you can only carry so much, and sometimes it’s tough to decide between the extra rations and the gilded cup you’ve just found. Exhaustion strikes, fear sets in, and before long – if you’re not true to yourself and who you are – you’ll be worn down by the constant grind.
If you make it out, well, those townsfolk saw you coming, that treasure is enough to get you back on your feet and maybe buy you a fancy new sword, but before long your only recourse is to get back out there and dungeon crawl some more.
Torchbearer is a very clever, mechanically complex game. It’s blatant about the need for players to develop system mastery, and it has numerous inter-linked mechanics that are at times more reminiscent of a Euro boardgame than a traditional RPG.
Anyway, as is my wont, I looked at all those juicy mechanics and thought “what they really need is an Excel spreadsheet”. So here it is. It started as an Excel version of the default Torchbearer character sheet, then I added an alternative character sheet, then a character generator, and more, and more!
So if you’re a fan of Torchbearer, I hope this is useful.
And if you’re not, I strongly recommend taking a look. It may not be your thing (hell, I haven’t played it yet, so it might not be MY thing!) but it’s certainly the most interesting and damned clever RPG I’ve read in a long while.