Time Check

Yo, don't cross off those torch slots. Just stick that shit on the wandering monster dice.

Lantern & Torch Cards

No look, Kirin Robinson's Light cards are a perfectly elegant graphical interface and all, but you can buy 8 torches for three silver. You can just get twenty of those things, cheap as chips. Nobody's got time to count slots when you've got twenty of the things in your pack.

Roll a d6 every turn. If you roll a 1, a monster finds you. If you roll a 6, any torch you have lit goes out. Same thing for lantern oil, but it lasts three times as long: Give it a cross the first two times, and make it burn out on the third strike.

So the dice works as the threat of time passing. It unifies the monsters and light together into a single horrible Time Check. Every ten minutes you spend in this wretched place, you're rolling it to see if something shitty happens. Ghost Stories has a Curse Die like this, a massive black thing that falls to the table with a THUNK.

If my math is right, a lucky torch should go out roughly once every six turns (One hour), which will work out to about 20 rooms if you're using Greed n' Speed (Assuming lightweight treasure and that the party is stopping to search for stuff). Trying to predict dice is crazy, of course - I'll have to see if it's too harsh once I run it.


Quick and dirty 1st level equipment

Everybody gets:

One dagger
Leather Armour
A torch, a rope, and one day's rations

They can then:

A. Upgrade to a weapon that does d6 damage


B. Upgrade to scale mail


C. Get another two adventuring items from the equipment list.


  1. I think using dice rather than bookkeeping makes perfect sense here. Whats with torches being so consistent anyway? They're cobbled together by chandlers from scraps at the end of the day, not mass produced in a torch factory with a quality control team.

  2. Precisely. I can buy this for torches in a way I can't buy "your arrows run out on a to hit roll of 1."

  3. I run this by pre-rolling the random encounters (well, the computer does the randomization). You can see the result here:


    The stars represent encounters and the empty boxes represent uneventful turns. I check them off as the session proceeds. You'll notice that turns are arranged into rows of 6, which also happens to be the duration of a torch. So, when I hit the end of a row, I tell my players that their torches have expired. 4 rows is a vial of oil worth of lantern light.

    It works very well in practice. It's not perfect (what if someone lights a torch 3 turns in?) but I haven't actually seen any issues come up in play, and if they did they would be easy to handle in an ad hoc manner.

    I don't like rolling for torches going out, because it doesn't seem like there should be a chance for the torch to go out on the first turn.

    1. Personally, I like rolling dice because I hate keeping track of checklists. It's another piece of paper to keep writing on, you know? I also like to make the players roll the dice, as a psychological thing - it makes it more clear what they're risking every turn.

      And hey, a torch that goes out on the first turn has still been burning for ten minutes. That's pretty good for the worst torch you can possibly get.

      I wouldn't use the checklist, but I like the way these two methods oppose each other - everything on the dice, or everything on a checklist. Both seem better than splitting it 50/50 between them.