1. #1

    Five Torches Deep - Ruleset/Module

    I've been playing around with building a Module on the 5E ruleset that incorporates the content and rule adjustments for Five Torches Deep. This Module seems to do everything i need it to do concerning playing FTD, so i thought i would share it here. Keep in mind that this is a Module, not an extension. it has its limits, but is basically 5E lite with a very lean Class, Race, Spell, NPC, Skill options. It works best if loaded by itself without any SRD or other 5E materials. i have tested this on both FGC and Unity and it seems to perform fine on both.

    Below is the text from the included Reference book:


    This is more of an explanation of how to utilize this module rather than a re-written version of the FTD rulebook. I’m assuming that the GM has a PDF of that book. If not, there is a simplified rules review at the end of this document detailing most of the main points of the game.

    This module attempts to create a barebones platform to run the Five Torches Deep ruleset. It is obviously running on the 5E engine and is meant to be used without any SRD or supporting 5E resources.

    In fact, adding additional material (like the PHB) will likely confuse the mechanics and dirty-up a rather lean and modified ruleset. Unless you custom build the content to account for the new proprietary rules, it will become confusing.

    What exactly is this module?

    Keep in mind that this is a module, not an extension. it has its limits and I will call those out below. I was surprised how much the 5E ruleset managed to support the mechanics of FTD. This is due primarily to the fact that FTD is really a stripped-down version of 5E with a heavy lean towards the OSR way of playing.

    Most of the module is content with some changes to how things interact.

    Why a module?

    This took me about 3 days to throw together as a sort of hack on 5E. I have no idea how long it would have taken to build as its own ruleset outside of 5E. And since it’s based on 5E, why re-invent the wheel?

    Liberties and assumptions

    The beauty of FTD is in its simplicity. The entire rulebook is merely 48 pages in length and that includes every spell, creature, class, race, character sheet, etc.

    But, that simplicity leaves a few questions that are open to interpretation. Here are the areas that I needed to make certain decisions around:

    1. Monsters

    With only 6 NPC monsters in the book, i needed to build a bestiary to allow for some actual play. Since this game is really a step towards OSR play and feel, i decided to import/convert the original B/X monsters from back in the day. There are over 100 creatures/monsters to encounter and build adventures around.

    While building these NPCs, the tricky part became how to address lower HP conversions, and less features. The authors list two different ways to do this conversion, but I decided to add a third way. I referenced the B/X stats and compared the numbers to the Monster Math table in the FTD rulebook taking the higher of the two values. They were actually fairly close in most situations, so i feel fairly confident in my method.

    The author also defines monsters in “categories” and uses “techniques” that they can employ. I did not have the time to put this into the NPCs, but will likely do this upon the next release.

    2. Spells

    There are only 60 spells in FTD.

    FTD has the simplest spell information I've ever seen. I love it, but I needed to build out a few details to make combat and healing a little more effective in the combat tracker, etc. Also, to help sort things and track them, i needed to blow it out even more.

    Here is what a spell looks like in FTD:

    Shield Aura Enemy ranged attacks have disadv vs you. Concentration

    That's it. I had to assume ranges, components, etc. for most of these spells. Feel free to disregard those you disagree with.

    3. Skills

    There are no skills in FTD, only proficiencies (all 47 are based on class and archetype). I treated these like skills though and placed them in the skills library so they can be dragged and tracked on character sheets. The master character sheet has all 47 loaded.

    4. Saving Throws

    It was a little unclear how saving throws work in FTD concerning magic. I tended to leave these off any attack spells giving the GM the option of rolling or not.

    Where the 5E ruleset misses the mark

    Making this as a module does not allow me to make changes to how 5E performs most of its operations. Yes, a few things can be changed in the Options, but it's hard to make changes to the character sheet, etc.

    1. Encumbrance

    FTD uses a system called Load. it differs from standard 5E encumbrance in a number of ways and is hard to reconcile on the character sheet. First, it takes size into consideration as well as weight. Second, it abstracts the score to equate with your STR score. So, a character can carry up to his STR in Load. This makes it hard to see if you are approaching your limit, as the character sheet shows your encumbrance in pounds, not Load. Also, each item needed to be considered with its Load value rather than weight.

    It is nice that the inventory tab shows units as a sum. Since I reworked the “weight” values on all items to reflect Load, the sum total on the character sheet reflects a character’s Load alone, not weight. In addition, FTD counts 500 carried coins as 1 load. The sheet does not show this.

    2. Supply

    The concept of Supply is one of the reasons I bought this game. I love the idea of an INTellegent character planning ahead to replenish their goods. It is an abstraction and of course, does not exist as a stat on the 5E sheet. I decided to place it as an item since it has weight, quantity, and can be used. You just need to remember that you can only carry Supply equal to your INT. The Load is accounted for in the item’s stats under weight (every 5 supply equates to 1 Load).

    3. Archetype Features

    These are listed on the class descriptor features as “0” level features and will not auto populate. That is good, but takes a minute to manually drag and drop. When your character reaches 3rd and 7th level they get to pick archetype features, just pull them over to the features tab on the character sheet.

    How to use this module

    To take advantage of this sub-ruleset (not sure that’s a legit term here), you simply have to load the module after creating a campaign with the 5E ruleset. All of the classes, spells, races, items, etc. are here. Make sure that you do not load any other modules unless they were built with this module loaded. What you will quickly understand is that certain rules are not as automated as you are used to with other rulesets.

    Here is a list of automated issues:

    Starting HP

    FTD states that each class has a starting HP number with your CON modifier added. The default with the 5E set is to give you the max HP for your class. The workaround is to manually adjust your HP to the method in the FTD book, or simply accept the 5E method. You will get a few more HP with the default 5E method.

    Also, HP gains when leveling up are handled different as well. 5E gives you the average associated with your HD, and FTD asks you to roll the dice. There is a great extension available to solve this problem (LAEExpandedOptions.ext).


    There is no way to track durability (an item’s health) automatically on the character sheet. When a critical failure occurs against or with an item, it can lose a point of DURability. When it reaches 0 DUR it is broken. I added the native initial DUR to each item in its notes field.

    Lacking fields

    There are no fields on the character sheet for these variables:

    Morale, Resilience, Supply, Load, Archetype, Magic item max, Durability (item), Renown.

    You will need to record most of these on the notes tab if you wish to track them. Load is tracked under weight, but not in pounds.

    Creating a PC

    1. pick a race

    There are 4 races in the game that will limit class choice and establish initial stats in some cases.

    2. roll your stats

    Roll your stats as shown under the race library, and record them on the sheet.

    3. pick a class

    Classes are limited by some stat numbers depending on race. Roll or assign your starting HP and record your proficiencies under your skills tab by selecting the star on the far left.

    4. equip your PC

    your starting class also provides you with a list of initial equipment and rolls on the Sundries table. i would also suggest handing out 1d20 GP to buy additional items you might want. You will need to drag these items to your inventory tab on the character sheet.

    Core Mechanic

    Most of the game is run from a single mechanic, 1d20 against a DC of 11. The GM can make adjustments as needed. Failure can result in bad things.

    A few additional notes:

    • XP is based on gold won in conflict, not killing monsters. So, I removed the XP awarded in the NPC data.

    • Characters only advance to 9th level, nothing beyond.

    • Characters can only carry a number of magic items equal to their CHA mod.

    • Since this is an OSR (in spirit) game, it is more deadly and unforgiving than 5E. The average 9th level warrior has only 59 HP, the average 9th level mage has only 35 HP. Yet weapons often deal as much, if not more damage in FTD than 5E.

    • Healing is nice and simple. You heal your level in HP every night of restful sleep, and only 1 HP if you are in a dungeon or traveling.

    • Magic is unpredictable and dangerous. You need to roll every time you cast a spell and a failure can lead to destruction, death or worse (see the Magical Mishap Table).


    Please provide some feedback on anything i missed, got wrong, etc.
    I'm also working on a quick adventure using the FTD module that i will upload in the next few days.

  2. #2
    damned's Avatar
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    Well done Nod

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  3. #3
    Very nice - I will suggest our new group try this out.

    I have not actually created a Module before, only a ruleset (which I built by copying another ruleset from a similar game system). Do Modules not allow you to change the character sheet (by adding new attributes like Load and Supply, for example)?

  4. #4
    This look amazing. I've been thinking about moving my current OSR one-shot (using Ben Milton/Questing Beast's Knave system) to something more b/x flavored for a larger hex crawl.
    I've been looking at ftd since while I come from 2e as my first edition, my players are a mix of 3.5/5e, and this might be the middle ground that works for FG with minimal fiddling.

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