This is a grim land. Summers are short. Winters are long. The towns are overcrowded. Food is expensive. Guilds control trade. Nobility control the taxes. Priests pray for our damned souls.
Out there, beyond those walls, are beasts, bogies, monsters. They inhabit the forests, live under the fields, dwell in the ruins of our burned-out fortresses. They kidnap the lone wanderer, harry our caravans, and when they are bold, they attack our towns.
This land is wild, untamable, and in it we struggle to survive. We who thought we could conquer it, subjugate it—we are guests here, our days numbered.
Our forebears succeeded in wedging a toehold—a small point of light in a vast, weird darkness. Their hubris led them to believe they had won, that victory was inevitable. But they were wrong. The forests fought back. The mountains rebelled. The seas heaved in protest. Things issued forth from crevices and caves; the foam and fire spat forth a writhing, crawling answer to our fathers’ “conquest.” We fought them. We banished them. We flung spell and prayer at them. But they came like a creeping tide, forcing us steadily back.
So now most of us crowd into our walled towns and make do with what’s been given to us. Some hardy folk brave the long nights and, far behind our defenses, work the soil at dawn. A few of us—those with nothing left—take up torch and sword and stride forth into the dark wilds.
For underneath the roots are the ruins of those who came before us. Layers of foolhardy civilizations crumbling atop one another like corpses. Each thought they could conquer this land. Each failed.
But in failure, they left us hope. They left us gold, artifacts, secrets, knowledge. Those brave or foolish enough to bring back these treasures are richly rewarded. Those successful enough can even can rise above their station.
Thus, we can become heroes.
…if we survive.
What Is This Game About?
Torchbearer is a riff on the early model of fantasy roleplaying games. In it, you take on the role of a fortune-seeking adventurer. To earn that fortune, you must explore forlorn ruins, brave terrible monsters and retrieve 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 deadbeat adventurers like you. This life is your only hope to survive this world.
Musings of the Keeper - Please read