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Five Torches Deep
by Adam T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2020 22:36:15

I had the opportunity to run a short adventure (5-ish sessions) using 5 Torches Deep. I had roughly 2 years of DMing experience in 5e before running this system. I played online with a group of people who had D&D experience but no OSR experience. The following are my thoughts on the system based on my experiences:

The good:

Compatibility with D&D - Since the system uses 5e math, it was intuitive for everyone in the group to pick up and play. There were a few hiccups with this, but not many. The hardest part was remembering to use 5TD rather than 5e classnames.

Quick and easy NPC creation rules - I ran the adventure in a chinese fantasy world, which is not well-represented in statblocks in other systems. I was able to easily create a dozen or so statblocks, all of which worked fine. Same thing with retainers and even hench.

Untying kills to XP - This is something that is a feature of OSR in general, but as my first time running OSR, It was interesting how only complete success is rewarded, compared to partial failure by running away. The party had to run away from the main "dungeon" repeatedly because they kept getting in over their heads, so when they finally found a secret entrance and stole a significant amount of treasure, they felt extremely rewarded (level up as well of course).

The following comments are mostly based on my personal opinions and my players' opinions. I am aware that several of these are deliberate design decisions. The bad:

Spellcasting checks - The wild magic-esque nature of spellcasting felt more punishing than anything. Due to a string of bad rolls, the spellcasters had no class features, basically. The cleric's armor melted off, reducing their AC from 15 to 9. At the end, their magic suddenly started working and they were able to accomplish much more with it. Rolling for spell success is fine, IMO, but the magical mishaps and being unable to cast again felt too punishing and reduced the tactics involved with magic.

Divine Spells - My game started at level 3 and featured overland travelling through forests and mountains. The zealot was able to ignore food as a supply item by only using their 2nd level spell slot to rite cast sustenance twice in a day. Since overland travel doesn't heavily use torches, the supply mechanic went basically unutilized all game. Reforge made party weapons and armor breaking a non-issue, even though I did make them use normal supply to do so. The zealots also used providence+bless+divine vigor repeatedly, so oftentimes someone had +4 to checks in combat, which felt mechanically powerful but boring. I had to houserule that you could only be affected by 1 instance of providence/bless/divine vigor each, to prevent infinite bonuses to checks. In all, I felt that zealots were able to entirely circumvent several new and potentially interesting mechanics in 5TD. Illuminate is much less of a problem, since it is concentration (You don't want your light source to give out when you are fighting something with darksight)

Lack of detail on mechanics - I understand the rulings vs rules argument, but I believe that there should be more attention paid to the rules in certain key areas. For one, the durations on spells or whether they can stack would really help, as providence, sacrosanct, divine vigor, and more are missing these details. A rough power level on the expensive SUP items is also key, since 5 gp for a strong potion gives no idea to what the intended power level is. I ruled that weak potions gave you +level HP back on your next rest, and strong potions gave 1d8 HP back, as if Suture was cast. It would be good to know if that innocuously broke the game, or if that was within what was intended.

Finally, here's an idea of content that I found myself desiring as a DM when running the system:

Travel turn ideas - I designed my first batch of travel turns as skill checks that resulted in damage on failures, or encounters or similar. It would be nice to have various travel turn ideas for various terrains, dungeon themes, and ideas, like, how an encounter would differ if encountered on 2-10 vs 11-19. I realized after running the module that there could be more travel turn failures that could result in loss of supply, for example.

I was seeking a system that de-emphasized crunchy combat and focused on exploration and tactical thinking, while still being easy to understand for D&D 5e players. I got what I needed out of it, but some of the systems in the game disagreed with my personal tastes or felt like they needed another revision pass. Overall, I'd recommend this system to 5th edition veterans looking to play OSR.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
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Five Torches Deep
by John E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2020 09:56:55

100% positive. Quality was great and the book is well made. An awesome addition to my collection.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Ruben R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2020 20:40:41

This is minimalist old school gaming masking as 5e houserules. That is an excellent thing. The one-sheet class pages basically contain 99% of what a character needs, and are second only to Dungeon World playbooks in standalone niftiness. I love how 5TD repurposes every part of the traditional D&D concept, making both scores and modifiers actually important again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Ashley E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2020 08:00:29

Unique little game. Got the paperback version of the book and genuinely love the presentation. Definately something to consider running if you want to play something really different.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
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Five Torches Deep
by joseph a. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2020 12:19:16

This is greatest TTRPG i've seen in decades. It is so lean and well designed allowing for so many different styles of play, i'm just dumbfounded. I put all of my other games to side and i'm now just using FTD. Please make more!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
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Five Torches Deep
by Todd s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2020 01:53:55

As someone whom likes the options and simplicity of Fifth Edition but feels it makes one too heroic at times, I adore Five Torches Deep. The book may not have much in terms of content but it makes up for it in the framework it makes. If you want a rough and tumble game where stakes are higher, your pockets are emptier, and things just feel more... vintage? Old school! Then this is the book for you. If you're still a big fan of 5e I reccomend this book still; as a fun change of pace, great rules for oneshots, or as a reverse of those "epic/mythic/legendary" game books that stretch the game passed level 20, this one feels like a good way to start out your adventure. This could and does make a great "Level 0" book, not only in the fact that the weaker simpler characters within make for decent starting adventures for a regular and less lethal 5e game, this simpler book makes for a good starting game.

Overall worth every cent, my only critique is it could use more equipment, but then again every book could use more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Ken W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2020 13:37:50

This rulebook is awesome. I already had some of the rules in place, or at least comparable rules, as house rules; so, I suspect the authors and I sat around similar Old School RPG tables in our youths. Other rules were things I really wantd to do (like weapon and armor breakage) but hadn't come up with a fast way to do it in a d20 based system that wouldn't bog down the game. They did it. I love it. I won't be playing this stand-alone at this time, because I'm already GM'ing a Basic Fantasy Campaign. But next session is already set to have some of these rules added. I recommend this book for anyone who wants to bring some simple grit and old school feel to a 5e adventure - or even (like me) someone who is already using another Old School system, and would be willing to add or modify some mechanics to improve the feel and/or function of the game. This is the best addition to my gaming collection I have added in a very long while. Thank you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Sebastian A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2020 23:25:20

Complete review in: https://necroromance.blogspot.com/2019/12/five-torches-deep-review.html

Five Torches Deep (FTD) is a D&D clone that take fifth edition and removes a lot of fiddling rules that are responsable of slow sessions and endless character creation. It follows the philosophy of OSR games, a school of roleplaying that prioritize simplified rules, challenges to the players instead to the characters and deadly combat. Most OSR systems use the rules old editions of D&D, like B/X. However FTD decide to use fifth edition as its skeleton, in order to appeal to new gamers.

It makes a fast game in combat and roleplaying situations (like an OSR game), but with a heavy resource management and thinking with tactics options and features (as a modern RPG). The choices you would do are not on character creation or as homework, but instead you will have to make serious decisions in the course of a game session. This is why FTD ascended to my top 10 roleplaying in the same moment it was released, and will be the game I will use to run D&D modules, both moderns and OSR.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Kyle H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2019 12:16:59

I absolutely love this game. the addition of the mobile friendly PDF really makes it even more woth it. It is nearly a stand-alone game, though some other 5e or other simular references are needed for some Item descriptions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Seamus C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2019 12:34:06

"OSR really isn’t my usual stomping ground, but FTD caught my interest with the 5e link and kept it by sticking to its guns. It offers deadly combat, magic that is dangerous but awe-inspiring, adventuring where every hour of torchlight counts . . . without being needlessly brutal about it, with strong principles and a real sense of grabbing the best of its various source materials."

Read the full CHG review here: https://cannibalhalflinggaming.com/2019/12/14/the-independents-five-torches-deep/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/14/2019 20:57:28

If you are looking for great simple rules that alow you to play a faster more story focused game 5TD is the total package. For a new group looking to get started in the TTRPG arena this book and some dice are all you need for a complete and entertaining gaming experience. This book complements the faster paced, hombrew rules presented on the Dungeon Craft Youtube channel.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Darick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2019 17:38:40

A fantastic book. The game sets out to make a simplified, more dangerous, and more risky version of 5e. The artwork is some of the best I've seen in an RPG book, the price is very fair for what you get.

Part of what I enjoy about this book is what it doesn't have: listed magic item rules, a needless "What is Roleplaying" chapter to pad out the front of the book, and dozens of monster statblocks (There is, instead, a set of simple rules on making your own monsters). Because it doesn't have them, it requires the GM to come up with their own magic items, teach the players what roleplaying is, and come up with their own monsters. On that last subject, having played and run games for a while, monsters tend to lose their luster when they are always the same. As a player, these days I'm not scared or mystified when I run into a troll. I know how trolls work and now my next goal is figuring out how I can justify my character knowing those same things.

If, however, I know that I'm playing in John's FTD game, there's no telling what kind of creatures could lurk in the tunnels below the earth, since John has to make them. Even if he calls them "Trolls," they could have any strengths and weaknesses John chooses. This makes me feel engaged with the game since, like my character, I don't know what to expect in the caverns below.

Anyway yeah, great game, super pleased with the product, will review the physical copy when it arrives.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Chad K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2019 18:31:38

I love this game. It is really a great game, 48 pages. 4 classes Mage, Warrior, Thief, zealot- but each has 3 Archetypes you can choose at 3rd level. Barbarian, Fghter, Ranger, Assassin , Bard, Rogue, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard. 4 races- Human, Halfling, Dwarf, Elf. No race abilities, but race does affect your stats(Str, Dex, etc) Some differences in rules such as Mages & thieves can use a shield. Only 5 spells per level. Miscast table is small and the same for Divine & Arcane magic. No sample character. Only a few sample monsters. Still a fantastic book and 5 stars from me. Id love to see a deluxe version- a bit longer. 5 torches is only 48 pages, B/X Moldvay is only 64 pages. The lay out of the book is a dream! Everything you need on one page- you can just flip to that page or print it out to give to aplayer and you are done! Id love to see a Deluxe version of 5 Torches with some added things.

  • a few more races ( Constructs, Dragonborn, Half-Orcs, Beastkin, Treekin, Half- Celestial/Infernal)
  • more Archetypes (Archer or Dex based Fighter, Warrior-Mage)
  • Different Miscast tables for Divine & Arcane magic
  • More spells
  • More monsters
  • sample character & creation That could easily fill another 15-20 pages. This is still a great game as it is now and I highly recommend it.


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Daniel G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2019 05:35:55

I love this game. It's still recognisably 5E in its mechanics but it's been vastly streamlined; you can make up a character in minutes and get playing with a ruleset that's very simple (and will be very reocgnisable to a lot of people).

It's also very similar in tone to an OSR retroclone. It's balanced halfway between the two, and you can easily adapt either 5E or OSR material (and it has advice on doing both).

It's probably my new go-to for one-shots, planned or unplanned.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Five Torches Deep
by Peter S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2019 08:00:25

I love this. My new preferred OSR. Here's what I love about it:

  1. It takes the best of 5E (such as mechanics like ADV) and incorporates them with the best of OSR
  2. Lots of imaginative features... it's worth the price of admission just for the Rubik's Cube dungeon map generator hack!
  3. The class system, while basic, is surprisingly great. I love the "subclass" system.
  4. Doesn't waste time overly explaining things. It just lets you interpret some stuff. For example, the class features are all just a few words. "Leave no trail" under the Ranger subclass for fighter means whatever you and the DM think it means. I love that philosophy. Trust your customers to figure things out.
  5. The Connections Table on p. 44 is brilliant.
  6. The Supply system is pretty great and robust.
  7. Great art
  8. Simple but excellent formatting

Here's what I hope it gets in the future: More character options (races especially... I get the OSR thing, for sure, but damn, at least an orc or half-orc would be nice... bonus points if it's a retro pig-faced orc) More cool ideas like the Connections Table and the Puzzle Cube Dungeon Generator Support for a few more levels... 15 feels about right. 20 seems excessive.

A note: This game is not in any way going to work as your first RPG. The book is sparse in details and trusts the reader already possesses strong RPG skills, knowledge, and instincts, and can fill in the blanks on their own (and there are a LOT of blanks). For example, it mentions attuning to Magic Items, but doesn't give an example of a single magic item. It mentions many mechanics or features, such as saves, but barely or doesn't explain them at all. It also isn't very clear about how many spells you can cast in a day; it just tells you how many spells you know at any given level. It's up to you to interpret that how you will, and those with OSR or OD&D experience will have an advantage there, but those without will likely be lost.

Anyway, this is a fantastic OSR, and I love it for all the reasons mention, and for even the sparseness that might otherwise be seen as a weakness. It's an OSR written for OSR nerds who want to mix in the best parts of 5E: namely "Advantage" and "3rd Level Subclasses", as well as other bits here and there.

Buy it, for sure. Support this dev and this product so we can get more content in the near future!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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