A comprehensive guide to Order of Might from Too Few Kobolds to Too Much to Handle.
The very presence of the troll haunt was unsettling, and his rubbery flesh was a ghastly sight to behold. The troll's skin—stretched too tightly over its skeletal frame—spread across his body like a patchwork of distorted hide and tufts of coarse hair. His movements were stiff and unnatural, like a puppet's, and his eyes were a deep, soulless black that seemed to pierce right through anyone who gazed upon it. Any fool 'brave' enough to confront it in battle was sure to find that the meager weapons of steel could not slay the hulking creature.
Order of Might
Might represents inner strength and physical power. The Order of Might describes where you stand among a world of terrifying creatures like troll haunts and dragons.
Might is a core ability along with Health, Will, and Nature. Might is a scale that ranges from 1 (weakest) to 8 (Immortals). On the Might Scale (DH, p.64), most adventurers have a 3 rating, while common townsfolk have a 2.
Order of Might affects the types of conflicts adventurers may successfully engage in, and it limits and informs conflict outcomes.
According to the Order of Might Scale, adventurers cannot kill opponents with a Might two or more greater than theirs. This is a big difference from other RPGs: everything in the dungeon is not meant to be slain. Order of Might rewards strategy and skillful play. Adventurers will need to make other plans to trick or drive away more powerful opponents. Or, if they insist on slaying the dragon someday, they will need to strategize over the course of a campaign on how to level up and gain magical items to increase their Might.
Actions in a dice pool game have the advantage of a predictable probability curve, compared to single-die systems with a linear distribution. One of the most important features of dice pools is limiting ‘swinginess.’ However, extremes can still happen, so Might enables the results to be even more predictable despite a very tight pool of dice.
In the fiction, a poor 1st-level adventurer with a rusty sword who can't even afford shoes should not be able to slay a dragon that has been undefeated in battle for a millennium. In theory, a dragon could roll a dozen dice and miss them all, while on the flip side, an adventurer could get lucky Channeling Nature and take out the dragon in one shot. The Order of Might says that the dragon cannot be killed by starting characters without magic no matter how lucky the dice roll up.
Out of the gate, adventurers cannot kill ogres, trolls, and dragons because the adventurers lack the inner confidence to truly be heroic. The characters don’t yet have the experience and ability for such a fight.
Might also limits some level benefits, spells, and invocations that are compared against Might. Often in these tests, the Margin of Success must beat the opponent's Might.
In a capture conflict, nets and traps can only be set for up to Might 4 without some special circumstance.
Unlike other abilities, Might is never rolled. Compare Might when battling foes in physical conflicts and versus tests. All creatures and folk have a Might rating on the same scale. Compare the monster's Might to the adventurer's Might.
PC Might <> Foe Might } Flee
PC Might <= Foe Might } Capture
PC Might < +1 Foe Might } Kill
PC Might < +2 Foe Might } Drive Off
Gain +1s per step of Might greater than your opponent’s. The relative Might is always from the perspective of the character directly taking the action and not that of any helpers.
SG p. 80
Your Might grants +1s per point of Might greater than your opponent’s for all successful or tied actions in kill, capture, and drive off conflicts.
Might breaks tied versus tests (SG, p. 32).
Might can be improved through magic, items, supplies, gear, and level benefits.
Ways to increase Might:
Destiny of Heroes (DH, p. 193)
Athanasia (LMM, p. 59)
Hammer of Heaven (LMM, p. 60)
Enchanter’s Effect (LMM, p. 38)
Fire Belcher (LMM, p. 73)
- Girdle of Troll’s Might (SG, p. 167)
Exaltation of the Lords of Battle (DH, p. 226)
Apotheosis of the Lords of Law (DH, p. 224)
- Potion of Giant’s Blood (SG, p. 163)
Base Camp Walls increase +1 Might for Sentries
Banding Together in warfare (LMM, p. 114)
Alchemist Inflammables and Explosives (DH, p.160)
Weapons such as a Dragonslayer Sword (SG, p. 287)
Dragonflight: substituting the Might of a mount. (Dragonflight, SG, p. 80)
Magician Level 7 Benefit
Magician Level 8 Familiar
Outcast Level 7 Benefit (for troll types)
Outcast Level 10 Benefit
Ranger Level 7 Benefit for Elven Steed
Ranger Level 8 Benefit
Theurge Level 5 benefit for Immortal Incarnation
Theurge Level 7 Benefit (for spirit, demon, or undead types)
Theurge Level 10 Benefit
Warrior Level 8
Skald Level 10 Benefit
Learning about a Beast's Might
There are several ways to determine the Might of a creature. Again, the idea is to reward the due diligence of players and provide opportunities to earn knowledge through planning, teamwork, and experience.
Adventure Phase Actions
When encountering a new opponent, players may test Hunter for beasts, Theologian for spirits, or Lore Master for magical constructs. Use these skills to glean aspects of the creature. For example, a Hunter can observe beasts, judge their relative size, and compare their capabilities from experience. Typically, this results in a versus test between the hunter's skill rating and the creature’s Nature to discover the opponent’s Might. As always, there must be ample time to observe the beast. If the adventurers are being run down or if a conflict has already been initiated, it's too late because it wouldn't make sense.
In town, seek out townsfolk, an experienced hunter, or a former adventurer that could know about the creature. Use the Ask Around, Research, or Personal Business town actions to discover information about the beast. Most of the time, this triggers a Circles test, but there could be a twist that subsequently tests Lore Master, Scholar, or Theologian depending upon the monster type and the situation.
Hoards for Hordes
Might determines loot (Loot from Foes, SG, p. 151). Use the rubric for generating loot for planned encounters or twists according to the Might of the foe.
The Might 4 Quirk
There is a little quirk on the loot table where Might 4 creatures drop the same loot as Might 3 opponents. To compensate, the GM may make an additional roll on the Treasure & Valuables 2 subtable for M4 creatures.
Might in Conflicts
Now that we have the basics covered, let's look more closely at Might in conflicts.
The conflict type is always from the player’s perspective unless activating a denizen’s special rule or as the result of a twist. A change from 1e is that the party is not disqualified from engaging in a conflict type beyond their Might. They may attempt any conflict, but possibly they could take on too much to handle.
Too Much to Handle
If players rush into a battle with a powerful foe like a dragon, they may find that they have bitten off more than they can chew. We call this conflict "too much to handle." If the adventurers engage in a conflict beyond the range of the order of might, they could be in for a big surprise.
In the example with a dragon, even if M3 characters win a kill conflict without any compromise, the best outcome they can hope for is that they force the dragon to flee or that the party escapes with their lives. Either way, the dragon will remember and seek revenge at the next opportunity or as the result of a twist.
This result may seem counterintuitive at first. The adventurers were victorious in a kill conflict after all, right? However, because of the difference in Might, a flee conflict is the highest conflict type they are eligible to successfully execute.
The Fog of War
A GM reveals the monster's Might at any point that makes sense during the conflict according to the fog of war (SG, p. 81).
At the end of a conflict, before processing the compromise, compare the highest Might participant on each side who is still standing. Use those relative Might ratings to determine if the original intent of the conflict is still possible to achieve.
If the relative rank makes the original intent impossible, then process the compromise results according to what is possible for each side as described above.
At the very least, the Might of the creature will either be revealed through the resolution of an action or at the end with the conflict compromise. After a conflict, wise players jot down the number for future reference or describe how an elf with remembering Nature makes note of it for later.
A common hold-up regarding Might is to overthink intent. A typical assumption is that all monsters always want to kill their foes. However, a creature's instinct often tells us otherwise. Many creatures want to avoid conflict or only engage in certain conflicts. For example, a stone spider is effective at capturing and prefers to ambush.
Do not use the monster's intent or Might to determine the conflict type.
Do not worry about the monster's goal or objectives until the compromise.
Again, consider intent from the player’s perspective.
- If the players (M3) initiate a Kill conflict against kobolds (M1), run a Kill conflict.
- If the players (M3) initiate a Kill conflict against an ogre (M5) and kobolds (M1), run a Kill conflict but use Drive Off outcomes or compromises.
- If the players (M3) initiate a Kill conflict against a giant spider (M4), run a Kill conflict.
- If the players (M3) initiate a Capture conflict against orcs (M3) and kobolds (M1), run a Capture conflict.
-If the players (M4) initiate a Kill conflict against a dragon (M6), run a Kill conflict but use Drive Off outcomes or compromises.
In a kill conflict, the players are always at risk of death regardless of the opponent’s Might. The opponent’s Might does not matter regarding the player’s intent until the conflict is over and resolved through the compromise.
Killing is My Business
Torchbearer makes it clear that killing is a choice. Killing is always risky. There are no safe kill conflicts. From level 1 to 10, players must weigh the decision to take a life. At any level, a failed kill conflict could result in a TPK.
SG, p. 61
Warn them that to take a life puts one’s own life at risk.
Too Few Kobolds
We’re all familiar with the saying ‘Too Many Kobolds’ (SG, p. 65). This is a rule to handle disposition if there are not enough hit points for the number of creatures in a conflict.
But, what if M5 adventurers encounter a single M1 kobold?
By the rules, the players are at risk of death in a kill conflict, even from a lone kobold. Maybe the kobold ignites an explosive that takes out the adventurer along with it.
‘Too Few Kobolds’ is the suggestion that there is a minimum number of low-Might creatures that constitute enough of a threat for higher-level adventurers with a Might differential greater than 2. In this unlikely scenario, the GM may invoke the Good Idea rule or handle the obstacle as a Fighter versus test instead of a full-blown conflict.
Again, this is just a recommendation for a GM to consider from time to time—you would not want to set a player expectation that they can pick off single creatures without consequence. The GM’s focus should always be on presenting interesting and challenging decisions for the players, and this is just another tool in the GM’s toolkit to manage pacing, challenge, and meaningful decision-making.
Different Order of Might in the Group
Sometimes, there is a situation where one character in the party has a really high Might compared to the rest of the group. If that character gets knocked out during the conflict, that changes the conflict compromise outcomes. For example, if the M5 warrior gets knocked out in a kill conflict with an M6 dragon but the rest of the M3 party wins, the compromise goes down to a flee resolution.
Ambushes and Twists
When twisting into a conflict, there is a situation where a GM considers the Order of Might from the perspective of the denizens/NPCs. In an ambush, the conflict is limited to the conflict types listed in the stat block. This means that if M1 kobolds ambush the adventurers, they are not going for the kill, but rather they would try to capture or perhaps ensnare the party in a trick. The players are still the ones responding to the ambush, but if the party goes for the kill with weapons drawn, the GM can update the situation by describing the kobolds’ mantrap and proceeding with the capture conflict. The GM always sets the conflict type but weighs the entirety of the situation—which in this instance the Might differential is relevant to the ambush.
Denizens can force a particular conflict through a twist. For example, the adventurers could fall into a trap, and, as a twist, the orcs attack. In this situation, the conflict options are limited: the adventurers are caught in the trap with nowhere to go, and a group of orcs have surrounded the group. A kill conflict is inevitable because of the circumstances of the twist. This is a very potent circumstance, and GMs need to be very thoughtful about using it.
Warfare and Might
Battles allow smaller forces to increase Might by forming in larger units, however, those conflicts are subject to the same scales.
LMM p. 114
Too Tough to Battle
If a force engages with something out of the range of their intent, use the Too Tough to Handle results for compromises.
LMM p. 127
Use the Too Tough to Handle when the players’ force has engaged a force whose Might is out of the range of their intent.
Binding Might Errata
Note: There is a typo in the binding. Replace Might with Precedence on Lore Masters Manual p.110:
Bind Order of Might - You may bind spirits or demons whose Precedence is equal to or less than yours.
Reminder: use Precedence for pacts and binding and Might for abjuring and banishing.
Might as Well
In a world filled with man-eating giants and trolls, gaining Might is an important part of survival. Although strength and might are admirable qualities, they are not always the most important ones. In Torchbearer, it is often the small, seemingly insignificant moments of courage and resilience that make the struggle in the Order of Might so sweet. Adventurers tap into hidden strengths when needed most, and it is that determination that carries the day against all odds, be it against troll or dragon or giant.