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Torchbearer: Death in a Dark Place

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.

Death in a Dark Place is inspired by the Torchbearer RPG, which itself is a riff on the original Dungeons & Dragons products of the 1970s. You represent one of the scrappy adventurers delving into the Lost Monastery of Ghulam, a foreboding ruin nestled in the dark forested hills on the edge of the frontier marches. Perhaps you are a scholar seeking the knowledge of the mad monks who burned themselves alive to prevent the secrets of eldritch things from falling into the hands of mortals. Maybe you are a do-gooder seeking to slay whatever wretched fiend slouches out of the ruins on moonlit nights to feast on the villagers below. You might be in the employ of the local baroness, who has promised lavish rewards to whomever can recover the fabled Chalice of Youth from the crypts below. None of that matters now - the main entrance has collapsed behind you, and the only thing keeping the darkness at bay is a flickering torch… and no light lasts forever.

Hosted and narrated by: UncrownedKing

Started 10/27/17. Scenes played: 4

License: Community License