Goblin Shaman

Illustration by BorjaPindado

Small, filthy and incredibly ugly, most goblins live to lie, cheat, steal and murder. They prefer to victimize men, elves, humans and dwarves, but will happily turn their attentions upon each other if they have no other outlet. The shaman is often the most sickly and deranged of the tribe; the other goblins see these frailties as marks from their twisted and evil god. Sometimes, the derangement comes in the form of self-awareness …these goblins are soon killed and eaten while they contemplate existence, a few flee into the night to live a solitary life.

Stock: Goblin
Class: Shaman
Order of Might: 3
Raw abilities: Will 5, Health 3
Skills: Ritualist 3, Dungeoneer 2, Alchemist 2, Cook 2, Fighter 2, Scavenger 2, Scout 2
Wise: Choose from Goblin-wise or Kaboom-wise. Choose another wise of your choice following the guidelines in the main book

Trait: Treacherous—Even these strange goblins have a black streak a mile wide. No matter their intentions, their words slip into deceit, their actions into treason. It’s like they can’t help themselves; the first thought in their heads is, “How do I get out of this?” and the second is, “…and screw over this guy?”

Starting weapon: Dagger

Starting armor: None

Alignment: Must be Chaos.

Goblin Nature questions (Stealing, Lying, Destroying)

When you see unattended belongings, is your first thought to take it for yourself?
• If you took it without thinking, increase Nature by 1.
• If your first thought is to take it but you make sure nobody is looking, you may replace your home trait with Cautious.

When caught in a lie, how do you react?
• If you would respond with another, better falsehood, then increase Nature by 1.
• If your would respond with false contrition, plead for forgiveness and spew ingratiating platitudes, you may replace your home trait with Shifty.

While walking through a forest at night, you come across a beautiful faery circle of softly glowing mushrooms, casting the woods in a pale blue glow…utterly serene and magical. 
• If you would kick, stomp and smash the circle apart, increase Nature by 1.
• If you carefully pluck a mushroom from the ground and eat it, you may replace your home trait with Touched by the Gods.

Goblin Level Benefits (1-5)

Shaman: You may wield a dagger, sling, spear, or hand axe. You may use polearms and bows as improvised weapons. You may wear leather armor. You may not wear helmets or use shields. You suffer -1s in sunlight but no penalty in dim light.

You start with a prayer: Execration. You may not learn Fury of the Lords of Life and Death. You gain the ability to memorize Chaos prayers without a test. Memorizing Unaffiliated and Lawful prayers may be done with a Theologian test (good fucking luck with that). You gain a new prayer at each level as a Human Cleric. 

In lieu of a new prayer, you may learn to craft a malicious device.

Hobnail bomb: This explosive device is designed to shred leather armor and soft tissue. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. Bypasses leather armor and damages it. Against an unarmored target, grants +1s (in addition to any other effects).

• Stinkbomb: This noxious device coats its victim in an oily residue that smells really fucking awful. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, the target cannot help or be helped for the rest of the conflict.

Smokebomb: This tricky device billows forth dark purple smoke. Treat as additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, all actions except for Defend and Feint are at -2s for one round. 

• Flashbomb: This tricky device explodes into brilliant white light, dazing everyone in the conflict. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, the goblin may change to a Flee conflict. Even if the action isn't successful, the goblin impedes its opponent.

• Mushroom Cloud: This trippy device causes vivid hallucinations in those effected. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, roll 1d6:

1: Bad trip—the victim drops anything being carried and spends the remaining round screaming in terror. The victim cannot help or take an action for one round. If acting alone, they're at -1s as they fight on through the nightmare.

2: Confusion—the victim sees friends as enemies and enemies as friends. They shift sides in the conflict on the next action. If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they wonder why their allies are attacking them.

3: Double-vision—the victim cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. The next time they inflict damage, roll 1d6. One a 1-3, they hit an illusory target. On a 4-6 they inflict damage as normal.

4: Sleepytime—the victim passes out. Their remaining disposition is spread out amongst their allies. If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they stumble around in a stupor.

5: Imaginary friends—the victim is surrounded by an "army" of cartoon-like critters. For the next action, the victim has 1 disposition (any remaining dispo is distributed to the victim's animal friends). If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they shout orders to their non-existing allies.

6: Bloodlust—the victim becomes enraged and gains the Angry condition. Their next action is changed to Attack. If a new round, they must choose Attack as their first action. If acting alone, same thing.

Winter Phase

Winter is coming, as they say, in less than a month.

Now is the time where we give thanks, say prayers for the dead and hang up our swords, packs and canteens until the snow melts and the frozen waters thaw.

Torchbearer Sagas: The Wanderers will remain unavailable while the adventurers rest up for the winter. But fret not! They will return, sooner than you think...and with new friends.

- J

Torchbearer Halloween: Human Skinchanger

Human Skinchanger

You’re a fierce hunter-gatherer from a primitive society. Be it from primordial energies, malevolent curses, magical potions or feral unions, you possess a mystical link with the world of beasts. Over time, you will learn to channel their abilities and take their forms. But as your power grows, so will the madness within.

Raw abilities: Distribute 8 points between Will and Health; Health may not be higher than Will.

Skills: Hunter 3, Fighter 2, Mentor 2, Scout 2, Scavenger 2, Survivalist 2

Special skill (choose one at 3): Criminal, Haggler, Pathfinder, Survivalist

Trait: Bestial—Even when in human form there’s something not quite right with you. Your nails and teeth are sharper, you stature is hunched, your arms and legs corded with ropy muscles. Your eyes gleam with feral light and you lose your temper far, far too easily.

Weapons: Dagger, battle axe, hand axe, spear, shield, bow, sling

Armor: None

Level benefits

Level 1
Skinchanger: You may wield primitive weapons (dagger, battle axe, hand axe, spear, shield, bow, sling). You wear may not armor or helmets. You possess one animalistic feature stemming from your Bestial trait.

Level 2
Savage: While angry, you may attack unarmed at no penalty. You may use your Bestial trait even when angry.
Catlike: You able to move swiftly, surely and silently through the wilderness. +1D to tests involving speed, stealth or balance.

Level 3
: When angry, your unarmed attacks are at +1s and your armed attacks are at +1D.
Awareness: Your senses become preternaturally acute, giving you +1D to any test involving perception (such as scout tests to spot ambushes, hunter tests to track game, etc).

Level 4
Berserker: While angry and facing an opponent with a higher Might, increase your Might by +1.
Soul link: Test your Will against a beast’s Nature. If successful, you wrest control of its body while your body slumps into a comatose state. While in control of the beast, you have its Nature, descriptors, Might and weapons. You may only test using the beast's Nature while in this state but you may not gain passes or fails. You may return to your body at any time but this severs the link. While comatose your human body is still susceptible to the Grind but your "borrowed" beast form is not. If you die while linked, the soul link is severed and your own soul is left to drift away, bodiless and forever lost.

Level 5
Shape of Rage: Choose a single beast form of Might 4+. Make a Health test with an obstacle equal to the beast’s Might to transform. If angry, you may immediately take on that form without making the test. Worn clothing is damaged during this transformation. While transformed, you have access to that beast’s Nature*, descriptors, Might and weapons. You may return to human form at any time except if angry. Recover from angry by testing your human Will as normal.
Wild Shape: You may take the form of any beast with Might 3 or lower by making a Health test. The obstacle is equal to the Might of the beast. Whatever form you choose, you’ll gain access to that form’s Nature*, descriptors, Might and weapons. There is no limit to the amount of time you may spend in this form but you may only return to human form after making one test.

Warning: While transformed you lose access to your gear, skills, human Nature descriptors and level benefits unless noted otherwise. Regardless of which benefit you choose, Nature tests in beast form do not advance human nature — they remove your passed tests. If you have no passed tests and you make a successful Nature test in beast form, your human Nature is taxed by 1. If your human Nature score ever reaches 0 while in your beast form, you are trapped in that form forever.

Torchbearer Halloween: Dhampir Vampire Hunter

Dhampir Vampire Hunter

The unholy unions between a male vampire and a female human, dhampirs dedicate their half-lives to destroying the undead.

Raw abilities: Health 4, Will 4
Skills: Fighter 3, Hunter 3, Scout 3, Scholar 2, Theologian 2
Special skill (choose one at 3): Criminal, Haggler, Pathfinder, Survivalist
Trait: Stillborn—You are the stillborn progeny of a vampire that dominated or seduced your human mother. You carry his foul blood in your veins and inherited his eternal thirst for blood. But rather than give in to the hunger, you fight it just as you fight his undead kind. Your curse is also your blessing, for you possess the preternatural strength and power of the Damned.
Starting weapon: Crossbow and one additional one-handed weapon
Starting armor: Leather

Dhampir Nature (Dominating, seducing, feeding) is determined by answering these questions:

Do you feed exclusively on animals or on evil-doers or will anyone sate your thirst for blood?

  • If you consider all living creatures as potential prey, increase Nature by one.
  • If your personal code forbids you from feeding on the common man, gain the Righteous trait.

Do you travel only after sunset or do you brave the burning rays of the day star?

  • If you shun the light and embrace the darkness, increase Nature by 1.
  • If you suffer the pain of daylight as a form of penance, take the Stoic trait.

Do you care deeply for humanity or do you view them with mocking derision?

  • If you see them as the short-lived but amusing animals they are, increase Nature by one.
  • If your love for humans is an attempt to atone for your sins, gain the Compassionate trait.

Dhampirs that reach Nature 7 lose touch with their humanity and become full-blood vampires.

Level benefits

Level 1

Vampire Hunter: You may use any weapon, including shields. You may wear armor and helmets. You have two vampiric weaknesses, though neither is as severe as a full-blooded vampire’s. First, the light of day burns your skin and eyes—it’s a factor when operating in full daylight. Second, you may not recover from hungry and thirsty using rations or water; you must drink fresh blood from humans or beasts. Feeding inflicts the exhausted condition upon your victim. Feeding on an exhausted person makes them sick. Blood in a container spoils as food does upon returning to town. Feeding on another dhampir, vampire or unsafe source of blood will make you sick.

Level 2

Predatory: Your teeth and nails are supernaturally long and sharp. You may use them in fight conflicts to attack and feint at +1s. The usual unarmed penalty of -1D still applies.

Ravenous: When you feel the hunger, you fear nothing. You may not be made afraid while hungry and thirsty. Do not mark a lesser condition.

Level 3

Stubborn: As the warrior benefit of the same level.              

Vow to the Lords of Hunger: As the paladin benefit of the same level.

Level 4

Friend to Darkness: Your senses become especially acute during the night. In dim light, ignore the normal penalty and gain +1D to scout and hunter tests.

Daywalker: Your steadfastness and resilience enables you to operate in full daylight at no penalty.

Level 5

Slayer: The vampire hunter gains +1D Attack, +1s against zombies, vampires and other corporeal undead that affected by piercing attacks.

Feast of Blood: When you recover from the hungry and thirsty condition by drinking fresh blood (not drunk from a container) and have no other conditions, gain the Fresh condition.

Torchbearer Halloween: The Witch

Human Witch

Often wise, sometimes wicked, the witch is a hedge magician who resides far from the civilized world. When all seems lost, you may seek her out...if you dare.

Raw abilities: Distribute 8 points between Will and Health; Health may not be higher than Will.

Skills: Alchemist 4, Healer 3, Survivalist 2, Cook 2, Peasant 2
Trait: Moonchild—You were born under strange circumstances, when the moon shone blood red or turned black as pitch. Beasts howled, streams ran backwards and wine turned to vinegar. Your very essence hums with eldritch power and you are viewed with a mixture of both awe and suspicion by everyone around you.
Weapons: Dagger.
Armor: None.

Level benefits

Level 1

Witch: You wear no armor and may only wield a dagger as a weapon. You gain the ability to brew magical potions and herbal poultices in camp and in town. You also have a mundane animal companion. You share an empathic bond with this creature and although you cannot speak to it without magical assistance, you instinctively know its whereabouts and well-being at all times. Likewise, it will sense your presence and instinctively know your desires, allowing you to give it simple commands.

Rather than spells or prayers, you have recipes. Recipes are used to instill alchemical potions with spells and prayers. These potions are one-use items, functionally equivalent to scrolls. Recipes take time to prepare and “cast,” unlike spells but using a potion doesn’t normally require a test. Witches collect their recipes in recipe books (or cookbooks) and these books are required to craft potions. The exception: a witch may memorize one recipe at each level. Potion creation is done using the normal alchemist rules. Use the cook skill to "cast" a spell into a potion, use the healer skill to "cast" a prayer into a potion.

At each level, you may add two more recipes to your book. At level 2+, you may choose to memorize one recipe you have written in your book.

1st circle recipes

Arcane Semblance: Potion of Polymorph
Daemonic Stupefaction: Potion of Confusion
Destiny of Heroes: Potion of Might
Lightness of Being: Potion of Levitation
Supernal Vision: Potion of Wizard's Sight
Thread of Friendship: Love Potion
Wisdom of the Sages: Potion of Athena
Wizard’s Aegis: Waters of Styx

Balm of the Lords of Serenity: Calmative Elixir
Benediction of the Lords of Creation: Restorative Elixir
Benison of the Lords of Valor: Elixir of Tyche
Breath of the Burning Lord: Elixir of Warmth
Execration: Cursed Elixir
Grace of the Lords of Plenty: Elixir of Sustenance
Malison of the Lords of Terror: Elixir of Phobos
Sanctuary of the Lords of Shields: Elixir of Protection

2nd circle recipes

Devilish Laughter: Potion of Mania
Eye of Omens: Potion of Seeing
Greybeard’s Bane: Waters of Lethe
Lord of Dreams: Potion of Morpheus
Phantasmal Vision: Potion of Illusions
Veil of the Chameleon: Potion of Invisibility
Water Lung: Tears of the Mermaid

Chains of Fate: Elixir of Ice
Cloak of the Lord of Forges: Phoenix’s Breath
Divination: Elixir of the Prophetess
Favor of the Lords of Valor: Elixir of Nike
Invocation of the Saint of Sailors: Elixir of Amphitrite
Tongue of the Lord of Beasts: Dragon’s Blood

Torchbearer Halloween: The Revenant


The shambling undead are mindless, silent and hungry. Some retain their personalities after death. These are the revenants; terrifying to behold. If killed unjustly, cruelly or in circumstances where bloody revenge is the only recourse, that person might rise from the grave to exact righteous vengeance.

All revenants have a Belief and a Goal focused upon some kind of obligation: to avenge their deaths or the deaths of their loved ones, to fulfill promises made during life or to complete some great task that was left unfinished. Only when both their Goal is met and their Belief is altered may the revenant find peace in eternal rest.


Revenants start with the dead condition. Revenants may become hungry or angry after a failed test or due to the Grind. Revenants may be injured but only as the result of a failed test or conflict. If "killed," a revenant suffers a loss of one Health point. They are immune to afraid, exhausted and sick. Do not mark a lesser condition.

Revenants recover from being hungry by eating fresh meat; preferably the flesh of the living or the recently slain. Revenants may choose to recover from the hungry condition after any Kill conflict. Water will not slake the thirst of a revenant but fresh blood will.

Revenants may recover from the injured condition by sacrificing an ability point (Health, Will or Nature) or through level benefits. Revenants may not make tests to recover from injured, nor may they be healed through magical or mundane healing.

Ability scores

Revenants retain the Health rating they possessed at the time of death. They cannot advance Health except by levelling up. A revenant that reaches zero Health is destroyed. Revenants retain the Will rating they possessed at the time of death. A revenant that reaches zero Will becomes a mindless zombie.

A revenant's nature (Avenging, remembering, shambling) is determined by answering these questions:

Was your death quick and painless or did you suffer horrible torment?
• If you suffered pain and degradation before your death, increase Nature by one
• If death came swiftly, your Nature is unchanged but gain the Calm or Patient trait.

Did you leave family or close friends behind or did you die alone and unloved?
• If you were survived by kith and kin, or they suffered a similar fate, increase Nature by one.
• If no one grieved at your passing and you had no one to live for, gain the Loner trait.

Are you a newly risen soul or have you suffered the ravages of un-life?
• If you’ve endured many trials as one of the undead, gain the Scarred or Lame trait.
• If the grave dirt under your nails is still fresh, increase your Nature by one.

A revenant’s Nature cannot fall past 1 or rise past 6.

Skills and Traits

Revenants retain the skills and traits they possessed in life, unless altered by answers to the three Nature questions.

Level benefits

Level 1: Revenants may use whatever armor and weapons they could use in life. They do not retain any of the level benefits from their former lives. 

Levels 2+: The revenant may remember any level ability it previously had when it reaches that level or it may regain a lost point of Health.

InSpectres OST

InSpectres: The Movie Original Soundtrack by Chris Lott

In a world where ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are a common place, the InSpectres are the only exterminators capable of eliminating these supernatural nuisances! After a run in with a zombie, Lucas joins the InSpectres as an agent in training. He, his mentor Tracey, and company embark on eerily funny adventure aimed at re-capturing entities freed from a government holding facility by a corporate saboteur. They encounter a variety of released oddities on their path to identifying the saboteur: an invisible Hollywood fan-boy, a party animal wolf-man, and a group of German gremlins who fix 8-Bit arcade machines. The motley crew tracks the culprit across the country to prevent Armageddon. In the end, the Inspectres' heart and persistence prove exactly why they are the ones who "...fight the forces of darkness so you don't have to!" 



released 07 October 2014 

Torchbearer: Halfling Thain

It's not all cooking and riddles and lurking around in the shadows. The thain is the military leader of the halflings and is a well-respected figure in the community. But what happens when you fail your duty and your village is torn apart by marauding monsters?

Raw abilities: Distribute 8 points between Will and Health; neither stat may have a rating lower than 3 or higher than 5.

Skills: Fighter 3, Cartographer 2, Commander 2, Sailor 2, Scout 2, Steward 2

Trait: Hidden Depths or Grandiose—As a Thain, you’re the most military-minded of a mild and gentle people. In times of trouble, you’re expected to take charge and protect your shire from danger. This kind of responsibility can go to a little fellow’s head; your courage, if perhaps not your wisdom, knows no bounds.

Weapons: Any weapon except the crossbow, two- handed sword, halberd, polearm and lance.

Armor: Leather, chainmail, helmet and shield.

Level benefits

Note: Descriptions of the level benefits may are found under human warrior and halfling burglar.

Level 1: Halflings may wield any weapon except two-handed swords, halberds, polearms, crossbows and lances. They may wear leather and chainmail armor. They can also use shields and wear helmets.

Level 2: Choose either Stone Thrower or Abstemious

Level 3: Choose either Stubborn or Skirmisher

Level 4: Choose either Cool-headed or Plucky

Level 5: Choose either Companion or Helpful

#Torchbearer Sagas...At Sea

A quick preview of some of my "At Sea" rules for #Torchbearer Sagas: Outcasts. Very useful for sailors and for characters like the half-orc pirate and sea elf mariner.

New Town: At Sea

Avast, me hearties. You've set sail for fame, fortune and glory but now you're looking at a week under the blazing sun, the salt sea and the cries of gulls. Pull your weight, boyo, or you'll be stripped to the waist, tied to a yardarm and lashed with a cat o' nine tails!

Available Locations At Sea

Tavern (anywhere there’s a cask of rum and a sea shanty)
Street (on the deck, napping under the stars—do not roll on the Streets Events Table)

Stables (belowdecks in the cargo hold, with the rats)
Flophouse (bunking with the crew)
Hotel (ah, the Captain's Quarters!)

Alignment: Unaffiliated (Merchant ship), Law (Naval ship), Chaos (Pirate ship)

New Home: At Sea

You were raised aboard a ship and know life at sea better than the back of yer own hand.

Skills: Pathfinder, Carpenter, Sailor

Traits: Sea Legs, Scarred

Sea Camp Events

Use these events when At Sea.

Disaster At Sea

1 - Typhoon winds and hail the size of sling shot. Take cover!

2 - You run aground on an uncharted sand bar. Spend all night getting free.

3 - Pitching waves present problems. Sail on and hope for the best; else all characters make a Health test (ob3) or become Sick before camp

4 - Smell of rotting fish and seaweed is everywhere. Disgusting.

5 - Leviathan prowls these waters, thrice the length of your ship. You must leave here.

6 - Sea monsters, winged creatures or raiders attack!

Minor Inconvenience At Sea

1 - Water barrels fouled. You may not refill your skins.

2 - Lost at sea (Sailor or Cartographer roll required to get back on track).

3-4 - Mice or other vermin crawl all over your ship and spoil food for one character.

5 - All of this open space gets to you, there’s nowhere to hide (increase recovery obstacles for angry and afraid by one for one character).

6 - Someone breaks a piece of gear (roll randomly for character and equipment).

Minor Break At Sea

1 - Clear skies and useful landmarks (+1D to next Sailor or Cartographer test).

2 - Good fishing spot! (+1D to Hunter, Scavenger and Fisher tests).

3-4 - You find shelter in a peaceful cove (+1D to recover from exhausted).

5-6 - Gentle rain refills the water barrels. Drink up, me hearties, drink up!

Lucky Break At Sea

1-2 -Find an oyster bed (counts as one portion of forage for all characters).

3-4 - Clear skies and good tailwind (+2D to next Sailor or Scout test).

5 - Ship ahoy! A ship flying friendly colors comes into view.

6- Dolphins frolic in the waves (automatically recover from angry and afraid).


D&D 5th edition

Had a chance to peruse the Player's Handbook and make a character for an upcoming game. Gotta hand it to Mearls and Co., the book is sharp. Lots of good decisions—namely eliminating a lot of the bookkeeping and math. It still looks like D&D but streamlined. Making a character (half-orc monk) was a snap and most of the decisions are related to the character's background, which is a huge shift to more avatar/moral-based decisions at the start of the game.

So let me tell you about my character...

Coming soon: The Outcasts

After the success of my Wanderers supplement for Torchbearer I wanted to take a stab at some new character stocks. I knew I wanted to include a classic from BW (the rat-like roden) as well as AD&D-esque gnomes (because who doesn't love a gnome? Don't answer that!). So what...small folks? Burrowers? What's the angle going to be?

When I put it to a vote on Twitter, the minotaur and the roden were both strong contenders. I figured, why would roden and gnomes and minotaurs be adventurers? What makes them unique? Then it hit me: if the first group of character classes were Wanderers, then these should be Outcasts.

So hopefully in a month or two I'll have six new character classes done and ready for download:

  • Dark Elf Sorcerer
  • Gnome Illusionist
  • Half-orc Pirate
  • Minotaur Pit-fighter
  • Roden Guide
  • Sea Elf Mariner

Roden illustration by Jordan Worley