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Five Torches Deep
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Five Torches Deep

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Basics

  • 5e + OSR
  • Layout designed for utility
  • Streamlined gameplay
  • Highly compatible

Five Torches Deep (FTD) is a streamlined adventure game combining the best mechanics and principles of 5e, the OSR, and modern game design. The core of the game is familiar to anyone who has played 5e or previous editions of the game, but every mechanic has been pared down, modified, or expanded upon to create a coherently gritty, resource-focused, roguelike, old-school experience. 

The game’s about tough choices, risk vs reward, and using as much out of character smarts as in-character mechanics. It’s just about everything we (Ben and Jess) have come to expect from an OSR adventure game: brutal, challenging, streamlined, and accessible. 

How is it different?

  • 5e skeleton, OSR meat
  • Succinct but complete
  • Modern layout for ease of reference

FTD is a blend of old and new, digital and tabletop. It loots the corpses of four decades of gaming in just 48 packed pages. It’s able to comprehensively recreate an authentic OSR experience while bringing plenty of new subsystems to the table. Heavier than Knave or Into the Odd, more concrete than the Black Hack, less epic than 5e, more familiar than the Whitehack, and less “edgy” than other dungeoncrawlers. It hits the sweet spot between post-clone ultra-light rules and burdensome mechanics. 

Mechanics

  • Familiar but fresh
  • Comprehensive adventure play
  • Favors cleverness over crunch 

FTD strips 5e down to its skeleton and fleshes it out with mechanics focused on resource management, clever problem solving, and streamlined OSR gameplay. Combat is a last resort, magic is dangerous and wild, and every ability matters.

Character Creationthere’s only four classic races, each with a distinct method for generating ability scores and class restrictions. 

Character Classes: warrior, thief, mage, or zealot. Classes follow the design structure of 5e (scaling proficiency bonus, class features at set levels, etc) with more specialized “archetypes” unlockable at level 3. These archetypes bring in classics like the Barbarian, Warlock, and Druid without completely reconfiguring the class itself. And with only four starting classes, it’s easy to roll up a random character at level 1.

Level 9 Cap: PC play beyond level 9 is a different type of game. FTD focuses on dungeons and adventure, not domains, strongholds, and cataclysms. This makes a tighter gameplay loop: delve into dungeons, fight monsters, learn spells, acquire loot, repeat.

Ability Scores: the classic six abilities return, but special attention has been paid to ensure that ability scores and modifiers have a mechanical impact. Your STR score defines how much Load you can carry; your CON how many hours you can go without rest; your CHA the number of retainers you can command, and so forth. 

Default DC: the assumption is that (almost) all tasks and checks are DC 11. This expedites gameplay and helps make it more predictable and transparent for the players. 

Advantage / Disadvantage: easily the most elegant bit of tech from 5e (and the games that they took it from). Enough said. 

Inventory and Resource Management: a system to track carried load and supplies. Should you bring heavy weapons and armor or leave enough room to abscond with more loot? Equipment can be used, damaged, foraged, crafted, and repaired. The system adheres to quick but logical gameplay (no dice, no bean counting, but very light abstraction).

Retainers and Hench: in proper old-school style, PCs are expected to travel with a retinue of retainers and loyal followers, called “hench.” There’re rules for specific types of retainers and the commands you can give them in battle.

Wilderness Travel: distances traveled and resources consumed depending on terrain, light, and weather. The interplay between Travel Turns, supply, and resilience makes for difficult choices. 

Travel Turns: a simple system in which the GM regularly rolls on a table every hour in a dungeon or day in the wilderness. Travel Turns create a cyclical ritual: mark spent torches, reduce supply, note hours traveled (make a Resilience check as necessary), and track if monsters spring an ambush or stumble into the party.

Volatile Spellcasting: all spells can be cast quickly - demanding a spellcasting check with potentially calamitous results - or over the course of hours, which necessitates no such check. Casters then must decide if they are willing to risk wandering monsters or a potentially high DC that could result in loss of limb or sight.

Rest and Healing: rests have been broken into “safe” and “unsafe,” which have different mechanical effects on healing and exhaustion. There are few quick ways to restore HP, encouraging the need for consumables and cautious rest. High-level characters need days to rest sufficiently and heal back to full.  

Debilitating Injuries: any time a PC is reduced to 0 HP, they will die unless an ally resuscitates them. After being stabilized, the incapacitated adventurer must roll on an injury table; many of which have consequences that result in permanent Ability Score damage or loss of limb. Parties beyond level 1 usually comprise of mangled adventurers that bear the scars of their past mistakes. 

Monster Generation: Quick monster generation: refer to monster category, HD, add any relevant techniques, and done! Techniques and tactics allow for enormous flexibility in only a few pages. FTD makes monster creation or conversion a cinch, and can be done on the fly. 

Tools and Principles: guidelines on how to get into the mindset for OSR play, an adventure framework, and even generators for charged situations and dungeon layouts (including a novel technique leveraging a classic six-color puzzle cube). 


 
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (19)
Discussions (73)
Customer avatar
Stephan F August 29, 2020 3:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi there, love the elegance and simplicity of the rules. But, (and there's always a but, isn't it?) I can't copy the charactersheet from the book. It's too big for my DIN A4 scanner. Is it possible to upload just the sheet as a PDF? It would be easy to adapt this to my printer.
Customer avatar
Ben D August 29, 2020 3:05 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks!

There’s a separate character sheet pdf.
Customer avatar
Stephan F August 29, 2020 5:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sadly I haven't found it yet. Neither here nor on the internet somewhere. But alas I've backer the newest kichstrter on the $10 level, so I will get the pdf in any way.
Customer avatar
Ben D August 29, 2020 5:15 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
If you have bought the print or pdf on DTRPG (which it says you have) then there’s a separate download. Go to your library and look at the available PDFs in this product.
Customer avatar
Stephan F August 30, 2020 5:41 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thx. But no, I have no pdf in my library.
Customer avatar
Ben D August 30, 2020 12:33 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Can you email me at bendutter@gmail.com
Customer avatar
mikkel F August 24, 2020 10:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love it, and i am currently using it to beef up and convert my 5e campaign into Mörk borg. The simplicity of the classes seems fitting
Customer avatar
Ben D August 25, 2020 1:25 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Thank you! We love Mork Borg, great art piece. Don't forget to leave a review if you can!
Customer avatar
Douglas M August 15, 2020 3:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
So far i'm greatly enjoying this system and i don't want this issue I'm about to mention to sully my overall experience with your work.

The rule-book seems to expect you to have base knowledge of 5e before stepping into it, which i understand this book is based on 5e, and leaving out a lot of that information probably aided this books brevity. but it would be nice to have this as a completely stand alone experience, free of googling exactly how 5e handles particular terms or rules.
Customer avatar
Jacob W August 12, 2020 2:18 am UTC
Was wandering if there will ever be a hardback print?
Customer avatar
Ben D August 12, 2020 11:57 am UTC
PUBLISHER
There aren’t any plans to since the form factor of the book kind of needs a flexible spine. If DTRPG printing offers new bindings in the future we will consider it.
Customer avatar
Jacob W August 13, 2020 9:18 pm UTC
Thank you for answer.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H July 14, 2020 3:53 am UTC
PURCHASER
How about a sale guys? I've been drooling over this one for a long time. But, the current price point is still a bit too rich for my blood.
Customer avatar
Ben D July 14, 2020 3:55 am UTC
PUBLISHER
No sales planned, but we're happy to send complimentary copies in some cases. Shoot us a note through the DTRPG publisher mail or a message on Twitter @fivetorchesdeep.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H July 14, 2020 4:03 am UTC
PURCHASER
Will do! I've actually been planning to expand my YouTube and Patreon presence to include product reviews.
Customer avatar
Pedro A July 10, 2020 10:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Man, this game puts me back in my childhood! loved it!
Customer avatar
Ben D July 10, 2020 11:00 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Pedro! Don’t forget to leave a review if you can, it really helps us out.
Customer avatar
keith H July 09, 2020 8:12 pm UTC
Is the Bard's Advantage to charm, meant to imply that they have an ability similar to "Charm Person" while playing?
Or is that meant to reflect more of a sparkling personality skill to help them in social situation? (non magical)
Customer avatar
Ben D July 09, 2020 8:19 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The latter. All proficient checks are essentially skills. The expectation is that the GM and player negotiate what those terms apply to and grant the bonus accordingly.
Customer avatar
keith H July 08, 2020 5:44 pm UTC
why does a Halberd allow wielder to use INT bonus?
Is this a misprint?
Customer avatar
Ben D July 08, 2020 6:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It is not a misprint. The thinking is that some weapons have much more to do with proper application than physical athleticism. A halberd is a formation weapon and is largely effective through placement and momentum rather than strength.

The weapons in the list are just examples of how a GM could tailor their world to incorporate other abilities for effective weaponry. A common example of this is “finesse” melee weapons that use DEX rather than STR.
Customer avatar
Johnny P June 17, 2020 5:33 pm UTC
PURCHASER
This is exactly what I was looking for trying to bring an OSR feel to 5e. It keeps the things that work and tosses out all of the fluff like subclasses within subclasses. It throws out the superfluous abilities that allow players to shirk the roleplaying aspect. It rationally limits the magic system and allows for the "uh-oh" factor (also known as a critical failure) that comes with swinging a sword or jumping a fissure. The HP are limited too and eliminates the grinding, slogging, drudgery of a combat that occurs at higher levels and higher HP. Overall, a very, very well-done system that brings the discretion back to the DM and allows for limitless creativity on part of the players and DM alike. I'm very much looking forward to the release of adventure modules under this system.
Customer avatar
Ben D June 17, 2020 8:17 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Johnny! Don’t forget to leave a review if you can, every little bit helps.
Customer avatar
Jason C June 17, 2020 12:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
When creating a new monster how is the monster's To Hit value calculated? On page 39 I cannot figure out how you arrived at a To Hit value of +5 for both the Archcultist (a 7HD monster) and Stone Drake (a 9HD monster).
Customer avatar
Ben D June 17, 2020 2:40 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The example monsters are intentionally NOT being held to a slavish interpretation of the monster math table, they're close. So the "weak" score might be 1 or 2 different from the listed math in the table; they're most so just guidelines based on averages. Not all 7 HD monsters should have the same ability modifiers, but you can use those as an average / baseline.
Customer avatar
Jason C June 16, 2020 5:43 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Are other people allowed to publish compatible materials (adventures, sourcebooks, rules expansions, etc...) for FTD (including commercially)?
Customer avatar
Ben D June 17, 2020 2:38 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Since the game is a hack of a hack of an OGL product, there's nothing we can really do to stop folks from making "compatible" things. We're not currently licensing or controlling that for the time being, so as long as you don't use our trade dress or say that it is an officially sanctioned product, go for it!
Customer avatar
Logan G May 25, 2020 7:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Started running a FTD campaign in Undermountain and am loving it so far. I thought I would like the resource management element of the SUP rules and it works just as I hoped. Just wondering if I am interpreting the load correctly because it seems a dwarf fighter in full heavy armour and weapons with the warrior equipment is essentially fully loaded? Kinda of feels like a fighter needs an STR of 15+ to effectively carry all their stuff and some loot!
Customer avatar
Ben D May 26, 2020 3:01 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes, sounds like you're reading that correctly (2h weapon + heavy armor = 7 load). Part of the benefit of having retainers is that they can help carry your stuff. You might also need to choose between a shield and heavy armor, etc.
Customer avatar
Logan G May 26, 2020 4:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Ben, I forgot about encouraging the players to bring retainers to lug stuff around.

I hope that you guys plan to bring out more FTD stuff, I have homesteads and will probably pick up the duels as well. Maybe a supplement for followers, hench and retainer ideas would be cool or a monster compendium.
Customer avatar
Ben D May 27, 2020 3:49 am UTC
PUBLISHER
We have three supplements all in final production right now: Stealth, Origins, and the Vault. We have quite a few more in the works as well!
Customer avatar
Yann H May 08, 2020 8:20 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hello there ! I have trouble with D&D5E monsters' conversion. I'm currently running Sunless Citadel and I have trouble adjusting the monsters to be violents enough but not too much. As an exemple, could you convert un goblin and en bugbear for me please ? (especially the bugbear) I'd like to see the whole thing with monster's category and weak/strong mod. Thank you !
Customer avatar
Ben D May 08, 2020 3:15 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
You’re overthinking it. 5e monsters can be run exactly as is but just half their HP. So a bugbear would have 14 instead of 27 HP, but would still have the +2 to +6 modifiers.
Customer avatar
Pierre C May 05, 2020 4:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hello, I was reading the paladin archetype. Is lay on hand weak compared with the lvl2 zealot trait? 1hp/lvl seems not much, am I missing a point? :)
Customer avatar
Ben D May 06, 2020 12:03 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi! Yes, it is weaker but that's because it's an archetype feature rather than a class feature, which in general are weaker. However, it affords more flexibility in the sense that the Paladin can choose when to apply the healing, can apply it across multiple targets or themselves, there's no action listed for it, etc.
Customer avatar
William E May 01, 2020 7:39 am UTC
If we pick up the PDF first and decide to upgrade to a physical copy later is there a way to discount the PDF price from that purchase? Thanks!
Customer avatar
Ben D May 01, 2020 2:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Sure, just shoot us an email or message us on twitter (@fivetorchesdeep) and we'll send you a discount link.
Customer avatar
Daniel L April 28, 2020 4:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Where is the best place to find out about future releases for 5TD? I would love to see an expansion with more classes and more spells :D
Customer avatar
Ben D April 28, 2020 9:46 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
We announce all major releases on our Kickstarter page, as well as on our Twitter (@fivetorchesdeep). We also fairly regularly send out email blasts.
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