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1,745 backers pledged $65,154 to help bring this project to life.

The Devil's in the Details

Posted by Burning Wheel (Creator)

Good Morning Comrades,

Enter the Thief

Thank you all for your continued support. To show our gratitude, Thor and I put together a new, seventh, character class for you—the classic Thief! Brave or foolish? Lucky or skilled? The thief walks a fine line, throwing caution to the wind in order to snag the loot or slay those who offer insult. 

The Thief was designed in conjunction with Jared Sorensen. Jared's a huge fan of what we're doing with Torchbearer and…well…he's gone a bit mad and designed a pack of other classes in his wizard's tower. What else would you like to see?


Tomorrow, Tuesday May 7th at 12 PM NY Time, we'll release a new set of limited rewards: Burning Con Games. You can pledge here for the price of admission to Burning Con and a copy of Torchbearer and be guaranteed a spot in a game of TB with Thor or Dro (your choice). We're only offer eight slots and we are not marking these up—you'll only pledge for admission and a book—so if you're interested, be sure to check in tomorrow.

So Far, So Good

After playtesting last night (and getting our character's killed!), Thor and I took a look at our current numbers. The pledge total seems like such a huge number. We kept thinking, "What are we going to do with all that money?" Well, the answer is "spend it on books for you all." The good news is…we're not losing money! Yay! We structured this campaign in a manner that any money that comes in goes right out again. The trick is, the more backers we get, the more books we have to make. The more books we have to make, the greater our expenses are. By our rough calculations, we have a razor thin margin in our favor. So thank you for your continued support. You're making this project possible!

Plumbing the Depths

Lastly, I never ever show art before it's finished—but it's Kickstarter, so what the hell—Peter Mullen, our cover artist, sent us his latest sketch. We've never worked with Peter before, so we were nervous. This sketch dispelled our fears like a powerful spell. We think it's rad. Check it out below. Hope you like it as much as we do!

  • Image 252508 original.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1


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    1. Jonas on

      Mullen totally owns!

      Problem with sub-classes is that they often are just cooler version of base class. I really liked Orcs of Thar back in the day, maybe some sort of monstrous underground dweller class but not in core book but as supplement for that eventuality when somebody wants to play orc, lizardman etc.

    2. Missing avatar

      sebastian czentner on

      @Shotofentropy in fact it´s mentioned on the description of the poject a love letter to BD&D, i´d said 1 more clas, but thinking better the class hey are , are fine.

    3. Missing avatar

      Steven Wooley on

      The less classes the better. Let the traits and skills that you choose, as well as your roleplaying, "define" you. You could even get away with no classes at all.


      the classes I'd love to see: warrior-elf, d&d mystic/ad&d monk analogue, and halfling warrior.

    5. Stephen Pilch

      Sigh, Memory dims with age you are correct sir! Excerpt from Players Handbook :

      Player's handbook classes[2]

      Base class Sub-classes
      Bard n/a
      Cleric Druid
      Monk n/a
      Thief Assassin
      Fighter Paladin, Ranger
      Magic-User Illusionist

    6. Shotofentropy on

      Not really trying to incite anything, last non constructive response.

    7. Shotofentropy on

      Ah yes, inspiration, an homage. But not it. And what is classic but a point of reference (I don't think D&D specifically was mentioned, just oldschool.

    8. Stephen Pilch

      D&D was the basic BASIC classes. The idea was fir you to develop your stats and skills to reflect the role you wanted for your character. The problem i see us stat everyone seems to just play a character type, very seldom do you get someone playing a ROLE(RPG?!?).

      Most fun i ever had was as a religious fanatic half orc with a bit of an impulse problem. Nothing like beating your opponent into submission and forcing him to convert to the true faith. then sending him to meet his new God. Oops. forgot to interrogate him first! LOL

    9. Nick J. on


      Maybe in AD&D 1st ed. and beyond, but Basic D&D (which TB is calling on for inspiration) didn't have all of those classes.

    10. Shotofentropy on

      3.5 emulator? No one is asking for better grappling rules, attacks of opportunity, and miniatures (please god NO). But paladin, assassin, priest, monk, ranger, and thief were all part of "classic" systems (maybe not in the main rulebook, but...). On the same line of thought, elven ranger isn't required as it is an extension or specific warrior class. We were asked by the creator what we would like to see and are posting appropriately.

    11. Al Gordon on

      +1 to Udo Femi's statement about class creep. PLEASE limit the default classes and races in the book to the more or less classic/basic ones. There's a reason they're called "classes" and not "specifics". The idea of a paladin being a cleric with weapons training or a fighter with some religion just makes so much more sense than making him or her neither and both at the same time.

      I'm also on-board for the idea of an art pack add-on, even if it's done after the kickstarter (to help keep this KS simple).

      I'm also wondering if there will be a full "actual play" example in the final product. I'm not talking about a paragraph or two scattered here or there throughout the book, but a full-on transcript of a full session (or major portion of a session) of play (the parts where people are asking where to find the cheetos and Mountain Dew can probably be omitted). This was one of the parts of BW that I missed when it was cut from BWG.

    12. Stephen Pilch

      im just glad the game uses D6's of which i have a box full of unique ones!

    13. Russell Hoyle

      We need a SECOND KICKSTARTER for dice and cards and T-shirts, because I'm sure Luke and Thor have plenty of time and energy for it!

    14. Missing avatar

      Kevin Bates on

      Although I will second the option of some other cool addons. While I respect that you guys want to focus on the book alone, having addons for posters, art prints or downloadable art packs would be an easy way to put some of those resources you've already paid for to even better use.

      $10 downloadable art pack with all HQ versions of all the art in the book? I'd buy it. If I want a poster I can do print on demand if I need.

    15. João Talassa on

      I'm with the others... we need no more classes, just give us a starting situation we can play with.

      You know you want to, too!

    16. Missing avatar

      Kevin Bates on

      No more classes. Keep it classic. If I wanted a 3.5 emulator I'd go play that.

    17. Stephen Pilch

      no classes other than basic please. Once you get the book which is just a guide for your imagination, go crazy with creation. I tend to shy away from every character being able to do everything.

      Personally i like a game with rock paper scissors mentality. That way everyone plays an important role in the party.

      Ut oh. the rock just went down.... how do paper and scissors cope now?

    18. Russell Hoyle

      Man, I just want to see the procedural stuff for adventuring (& the town & camp tables)... the PC types are cream! C'mon Luke, Thor, my daughters wanna play ASAP!

    19. Robert Rodger on

      I'm not sure what other classes I'd want... I always thoguht that fighter/wizard/thief pretty much covered it all and eveything else are just specialties. But above all I want to be able to play just with humans and would echo the call for a system for help building your own clasess/races than expanding them.

    20. P Tracy

      Lovely Cover sketch. I look forward to it.

    21. Missing avatar

      max on

      Buy creating my first character I found it easy to get thief. Get a high Criminal skill and perhaps be the party's character with Criminal as speciality. Now there is a thief class too.
      The system allows to get enough skills to highlight certain aspects of your character.

    22. Missing avatar

      sebastian czentner on

      @udo Ferni yep right, but if you look at tha advecment table u would seee that halflings dwarfs and elves has 2 options to level up as class or as stock, so i think that clases and stock isnt undivisible in the final book, its only the quick rules.

    23. Nick J. on

      @Udo Femi

      Exactly my sentiments with respect to keeping it "simple."

      All too often it seems games companies/designers build classes to fit every taste instead of letting players rely more on their roleplaying skill to differentiate a character. And there's still something very charming about the old D&D Basic "Redbox" a charm I hope TB is able to capture.

    24. Zachary Zahringer on

      Or... instead of making a laundry list of classes, just give a short section on how to make your own class from a list of Skills and Traits. More along the line of the Monster Burner. People are doing this anyway, just make it a short section in the rules to give the procedure.

    25. Missing avatar

      Caleb Barber on

      How about something like this?

      From menacing bears near the surface to predatory fish in the depths, a Dwarven hunter is an expert at felling his prey.
      Class: Dwarf Hunter
      Raw Abilities: Will 3, Health 5
      Skills: Hunter 4, Survivalist 3, Dungeoneer 2, Fighter 2, Loremaster 2, Scout 2
      Traits: Relentless Tracker
      Weapons: Axes, dagger, spear, crossbow
      Armor: Leather, chainmail, helmet

    26. Missing avatar

      Chad on

      Lets keep it basic, not adda bunch of classes & gizmos. If this Torchbearer Kicksatrter is a great success, maybe they can have another for an "advanced" rulebook. Lanternbearer! lol

    27. João Talassa on

      Yes, please give us a small introductory situation/ demo/ scenario/ adventure with the basic rules so we can run for our newly created characters!

    28. Udo Femi on

      Please, no more classes. Really.
      Let us be inventive and creative to roleplay any hero we want through the first 6 (well, 7 now) classes.
      I would really be disappointed at seeing TB becoming a D&D3.5 emulator.
      You guys wanted to make it old school, right ? Well, do it to the hilt.

      Elves are rangers by definition because no human dares to thread in the wilds.
      (wanna make a human "ranger-like" PC? take a Warrior and give him a Pathfinder role in the team)
      Dwarves who roam the countryside are outcasts by essence: adventurers. Warrior-like, maybe but still...
      Paladins are clerics... with a blade. ;-)

    29. Zachary Zahringer on

      I know you all are doing modest stretch goals, but....
      Why not make some of the original art (providing artists agree of course) as pledge options. Signed Peter Mullen art would fetch a good bit of cash and might make those margins widen up.

    30. Shotofentropy on

      Christopher, I just meant a "tradesman" (of sorts, a la the sagely inn keeper below). I think a bard would fit Torchbearer's rules. I've noticed a lot of builds I want to do can be done with sticks and cases available. The character creation is so much more flexible (less cookie cutter) than you would expect from "old school"!

    31. Scott Rubin on

      I'm getting all kinds of Record of Lodoss War feels from that image. If there was going to be another class, the biggest one that is missing right now is the druid. Animals and trees!

      Personally, you know I like having weird PC classes that are usually reserved for NPCs. Let me play as a wise old sage or the innkeeper. They gotta go in dungeons sometimes when there aren't any adventurers about.

    32. Missing avatar

      Cody Cupp on

      The only thing I would like to see as a "stretch goal" would be to see more scenarios or adventures included.

    33. Kennedy Gerber on

      Just came on to make a plea for the Human Bard, and literally when I refreshed the page to post, what should appear but a post from someone who doesn't want a bard. But I'm gonna go for it anyway. Bards are awesome: they tell stories and inspire people with them. The most interesting implementation I've seen was a bard that had verbal skills similar to a thief skills - ie chances to do different things (inspire, persuade, distract, etc). Was never sure why they needed magic though (and consequently never used it). Bards historically have a rich storytelling tradition but they can be great leaders as well. So far as archetypes, Fflewddur Fflam from Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain is my go to, but a strong case could be made for Mance Raider in A Song of Ice and Fire also. And, if you don't bring a bard along, who will spread the tales of your adventures to different lands? Either way, bards are awesome (and see, they're not *all* spoony) plus, they're different enough from the other traditional classes that they would be worthwhile to include.

    34. Shotofentropy on

      It seems something like acrobat (thief) should be a level advance. Jack of all trades for all "races" (NOT bard, please), elven cleric type, human ranger (Strider, classic!). I would say dwarves berserker but that seems like a level advance too.

    35. Missing avatar

      sebastian czentner on

      A Robin Hood like adventurer, an archer, that i´ll like to see.

    36. Nick J. on


      Awesome. Thanks for answering my questions. Onward and upward.

    37. Thor Collaborator on

      Nikolokolus, we're happy to get the book to them through the Kickstarter! The more the merrier!

    38. Thor Collaborator on

      We've been at this a long time max! Never fear. We'll be able to print enough books for everyone that wants one and be happy to do it! We just wanted to help explain why we aren't doing all sorts of fancy extras and stretch goals.

      However, we are very grateful to each and every one of you, and you can plan on seeing more "thank yous" like the thief and sneak previews like Mullen's cover sketch as the month continues!

    39. Nick J. on


      I've been talking up this project with some of the guys in my gaming group and they are intrigued. Is it better for you if they get the book through a different retail channel vs. kickstarter? We all like a deal (and $35 for a hardcover book is definitely that) but I'd rather not see you guys lose money in the exchange.

    40. Missing avatar

      max on

      I hope for you, that with Kickstarter you get a first print run of right size. How flexible is your printing partner? Hopefully more people go for PDF-only to give you a better ratio to cover your costs!

    41. Nick J. on


      I didn't mean to imply that you guys didn't know your business, and after reading your explanation it makes a lot more sense.

      In any case here's to selling out your stock as quickly as possible and making sure you guys make a bit of money off this endeavor. Salute.

    42. Thor Collaborator on

      Nikolokolus, Yes, as the size of print runs go up, the cost per unit goes down. But you only realize the full extent of that savings when you've sold the entire run.

      Printing 1,000 units at a higher CPU and then selling 1,000 means a slimmer margin, but you've got the profit. Printing 2,000 units at a lower CPU and then selling 1,000 means that the profit should eventually be greater, but you won't realize it until you sell more books.

      In the meantime, shipping costs and fees climb with each sale.

      Don't mistake me. I am deliriously happy with how things are going. But despite appearances to the contrary, we're not sitting on large reserves of cash. The vast majority of the money pledged so far will go to paying for art, editing, printing, shipping to our fulfillment house from the printer, Kickstarter fees, processing fees by our fulfillment house and shipping the books out to you awesome people.

    43. Peter Tierney on

      Gnome Illusionist. Do it. You know you want to.

    44. Nick J. on

      I'm a little ... curious about this line in the update, "The trick is, the more backers we get, the more books we have to make. The more books we have to make, THE GREATER OUR EXPENSES ARE. By our rough calculations, we have a razor thin margin in our favor."

      Are you saying that your per unit cost goes up with each additional backer? That seems very counter-intutitive. Printing seems like one of those things where economies of scale get better with each additional book not worse. I hope you guys aren't losing your ass.

    45. Missing avatar

      max on

      First of all: Thank you for the update and thief preview! Nice to see that you are slightly impressed by ~1000 supporters.

    46. João Talassa on

      I would like to see a human ranger/strider.

    47. Wilhelm Fitzpatrick

      I'm just excited to find out when Burning Con will be!

    48. Chunk on

      3)Thief Acrobat

    49. Peter Tierney on

      Give me an Acrobat! I always loved this Thief sub-class.

    50. Missing avatar

      Nathan Easton on

      Awesome, now I can run a game with no demihumans.