I wanted to share a couple of reasons why I'm excited about Torchbearer
, the new dungeon crawl rpg written by Burning Wheel Headquarters. From their Kickstarter pitch
, it's clear they want to create experiences like those found in Basic D&D.
First, there is a PAX talk by Luke Crane called The D&D You Never Knew
. I first heard this at PAX East 2012, and this version was recorded at PAX Prime 2012. It's a short history of D&D, his likes and criticisms, and then he dives into Moldvay Basic, with details about why it's his favorite edition of D&D. He also retells a few bits of several gaming stories.
I tried to look at this as objectively as possible, in my search for what the hell was going on back then. ... The main differences between the Moldvay edition and the Mentzer edition are tone. Writing-wise, and we'll see later, I happen to like Moldvay's writing better. I find him very warm, very avuncular, and he's like, “You know, you're going to die down there. It's okay. You can make a new character when they go back to town, and you can try out again.”
Since most of you listen to podcasts, I figure you won't have a problem with an entertaining, fifty-nine minute talk about D&D. There are also important lessons to be learned, like don't eat chips of magical rock and the utility of speaking Dopplegänger.
Second, there's A Tale of Two Maps
, a post on story-games.com. The whole thread is interesting, but Luke's first post is a gaming story. (I recommend you listen to the talk first, as it includes a riveting retelling of the same story.)
You enter the dungeon and begin the orderly process of mapping. You try to maintain that order for as long as possible. Eventually, chaos creeps in and your friends start to die. That map is the only thing between you and a horrific death in the pitch dark corridor of some forgotten corner of this hell hole. Exploration of the dungeon space is an attempt to bring order to chaos, an attempt to glean knowledge from information, separate signal from noise. But unfortunately, exploration brings you in contact with many unforeseen elements, some of which can only be survived via the map.
Lastly, there are some Forbes articles
that candidly talk about the game, but most of this is superfluous in light of the kickstarter.
“In Torchbearer,” indie game designer Luke Crane tells me, “you’re a bunch of murder hobos exploring improbable ruins because you can’t get real jobs.”
As of this posting, there are still 18 days remaining on their Kickstarter
. At the very least, read the amusing Sketches by Dro section of their pitch.