A new 'bulk resources' rule for buying whole batches of items.

Those of you at GenCon this past weekend probably got the genuine market experience to which Torchbearer aspires—wandering from stall to stall in search of valuable gear to purchase, never quite certain which of these niceties will break the bank. So let's have a look at Resources!

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I love the Resources mechanic in Torchbearer. It does a great job of accounting for things that are often omitted by fantasy RPG wealth systems: financial reputation, loans, family ties, credit, deadbeats. By abstracting these things together, we eliminate the need to track wealth down to the penny. You never need to carry the one!

For all its benefits, there are quite a few aspects of the rule that can be confusing to new players, and several seeming exceptions to the rules that trip up even veteran Torchbearers. To name a few:

  • You only log one pass or fail per visit to the market, no matter how many things you buy.
  • Resources may only advance once per town phase. If you log enough tests to advance, you'll have to leave town, adventure, then return.
  • You cannot tap your nature (or gain "Ancestral Insight" if you prefer) when rolling Resources.
  • You can help with Resources tests, but everyone suffers together if taxed!

New Optional Rule: Batch Resources

In the beginning of your adventuring career, your party will (hopefully) have a good spread of equipment that will last a few sessions. Any market visit will probably involve filling your skin with wine, picking up a stack or two of torches, and rations. That'll make four or five tests spread out over all the players; and in the beginning this works well enough.

Once the rules have been learned and the players have Resources of rank three or four, there may come a time where the party goes to really stock up for a long-term mission. If the notion of testing 10 or 15 times for Ob 1 and 2 items has you rolling your eyes, consider the following option.

You can test for multiple items, or even an entire diverse shopping list, using following factors. Each character can test for their own list of stuff. This is somewhat more risky than buying everything with a series of tests, but in some cases that risk might be desirable for advancement.

  • Visit the Market
  • Make a list of all the desired items.
  • If you're only buying one common item of basic quality, use a standard Resources test. 
  • The GM factors the roll based on your list.

Batch Resources Factors

Highest List Price (Obs 1 and 2 are free): Ob 3, Ob 4, Ob 5, Ob 6, Ob 7, Ob 8

Quantity: one*, a few, a bunch, a load, a ton

Variety: factor one for each category included (first category free): Armor, Clothing, Containers, Equipment, Food, Light Source, Magical, Religious, Weapons, Other.

Rarity (common is free): scarce, unique or priceless

Quality (crude is free): sturdy, exceptional, magical



Batch Resources Example

For example, your party is stocking up for a delve  and wants to buy:

  • 2 stacks of torches (Ob 1)
  • Satchel (Ob 1)
  • Wine (Ob 1)
  • Preserved rations (Ob 2)
  • Chain armor (Ob 3)

With six items on the list, the GM decides this is a “bunch” of items. Items from four different variety categories will increase the Ob by 3. All of the items are "common" in rarity. You're happy to accept items of crude quality, figuring they are mostly consumable anyway. The highest price is Ob 3, an additional factor. This market visit will be Ob 7.

Another party simply wishes to eat fresh rations (Ob 1) and fill a wineskin (Ob 1) for the party (a few).

  • Fresh Rations (Ob 1)
  • Fill Wineskin (Ob 1)

The items aren't expensive enough to raise the obstacle, and they are all of the same type. The resulting market trip is Ob 2.



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  1. This is a plain language license for those who wish to create material for the Torchbearer roleplaying game for non-commercial digital publication. The license is between the authors, Luke Crane and Thor Olavsrud, and the licensee.
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Topics: Mordite Mondays, Torchbearer, TB Hacks