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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 (27)
Discussions (90)
Customer avatar
Jayme A June 22, 2021 7:41 pm UTC
"From now through June 29th, the premium color format of this title has been marked down by 25%"

Hello! Shouldn't the Softcover, Premium Color Book (regularly $20) be $15 instead of $17.50?

Thanks!
Customer avatar
Fernando C June 23, 2021 8:15 pm UTC
The message says up to 25% off
Customer avatar
Jayme A June 23, 2021 11:10 pm UTC
Ahh, they must have updated the message since yesterday.

If you Google "the premium color format of this title has been marked down by 25", some results from yesterday still show up (including Five Torches Deep), but when you follow the links they've been changed to *up to* 25%.

Anyway, that explains it -- thanks!
Customer avatar
Jacob W May 23, 2021 9:42 pm UTC
Will there ever be a FTD: Deluxe with all the supplements like Duels and Homestead in one book?
Customer avatar
Ben D May 23, 2021 10:02 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes. But not for a while. We are nearly complete with a big setting supplement that has been consuming all of our resources.
Customer avatar
Keith W May 22, 2021 6:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Are there plans to add on higher levels, for the domain level play?
Customer avatar
Ben D May 22, 2021 7:29 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Maybe some day, but there are no plans to do so. Main reason why is that it doesn’t embody the dungeon crawl kind of gameplay that we chose to focus on.
Customer avatar
Keith W May 22, 2021 9:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That's fair, do you have further expansion plans?
Customer avatar
Ben D May 22, 2021 9:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
We’ve released five supplements so far and have more in development.
Customer avatar
j M May 20, 2021 12:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The Zealot class can start with a Holy symbol (divine focus). Does it means the divine class don't ever need to use components for their spells? Focus rules page 29.
Customer avatar
Ben D May 20, 2021 12:48 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
So long as they hold the focus in one hand, yes that’s correct. One note is that unless your GM is particularly generous, a focus is not also a weapon or shield.
Customer avatar
Sam S April 24, 2021 4:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I started DMing the B11 King's Festival adventure today, using 5TD and so far, the group really likes the stripped-back style. We are using Roll20 and battlemaps—because that's the way we roll
Customer avatar
Ben D April 24, 2021 5:34 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Glad to hear it!
Customer avatar
Daniel V April 24, 2021 3:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, I love the game.

Anyways, my group found an interesting conundrum. The Crafting rules on p.17 specify you must be proficient in the tools used in order to craft something. However, on the same page, the Repairs rules state it is possible to make repairs while not proficient. Finally, the Thief class has proficiency with "tools".

Are tools the same things as kits? And are each classes proficient with the kits in their starting equipments (in order to craft items)? And would this mean the Thief is the only class proficient with all kits?

We're all a bit confused about that...
Customer avatar
Ben D April 24, 2021 5:40 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks Daniel!

For crafting, you must be proficient in the thing you are trying to craft. For example you want to make a sword, you would need to be proficient in fighting with swords.

Repairs are meant to be easier, even possible when you aren’t proficient. The thought here is your characters will be collecting lots of old stuff and breaking their new stuff, rather than constantly trying to forge a new thing back at town.

Tools in this case is a broad keyword meant to encompass anything a thief might need to use. Such as lock picks or whatever. But it doesn’t have to just be thief things, the thief is meant to be a skilled person.

Kits aren’t the same as tools, and don’t require proficiency to use. It’s more like they’re a collection of stuff.
Customer avatar
Ben A April 22, 2021 9:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Does this game work better with Theater of Mind like most OSR games or battlemaps like 5e?
Customer avatar
Ben D April 22, 2021 10:02 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Theater of the mind for sure.
Customer avatar
Ludwig T April 11, 2021 3:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Guess it's not a thing you'll do. But if you would make a basic working character sheet and NPC sheet available as a mod on Roll20 and Foundry VTT it would probably draw alot of potential buyers.

Since the system is essensially a cut down version of 5e I'm sure someone would be able to do it.
Customer avatar
Ben D April 11, 2021 3:58 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Fan made versions of these exist on both platforms. Also we’ve found most folks interested in OSR play don’t use super tactical VTT
Customer avatar
Ludwig T April 11, 2021 8:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hmm. Well havn't found any signs of i, but I'll look again. With the Cov-19 situation online VTTs it's one of the only stable options to keep GMing for my group.
Customer avatar
Gaston K March 26, 2021 1:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Would it be possible to get a discount to buy a printed copy of the game if you bought the digital one already? I bought the digital version, read it, liked it, and found myself yearning for a physical copy that I can more easily reference. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Ben D March 26, 2021 1:46 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Sure, email me at bendutter@gmail.com
Customer avatar
Sebastian G March 21, 2021 1:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I just ordered the softcover POD, do I also get the PDF then? If so I haven't found anywhere to download it.
Customer avatar
Ben D March 21, 2021 2:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It should come under the product options when you’re checking out. If you accidentally selected POD only please shoot me an email at bendutter@gmail.com and I’ll send you a link to download the pdf!
Customer avatar
Jeremy H March 10, 2021 9:35 am UTC
PURCHASER
I wasn't able to find rules for Perception. Is it assumed to be a base 11 DC?

Also, I make monsters for different games. As I get my ahead around the rules and start running games, I've been planning to convert many of my creatures. So, I'm wondering if there's a third-party license for 5TD?
Customer avatar
Ben D March 13, 2021 5:31 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Perception in OSR is generally not a thing. It's preferred that your players describe how they're looking for things or detecting certain hidden elements. That being said, if there's no in-fiction "guarantee" that the person can or can't percept a hidden creature/object, you can have them roll a WIS check just like in 5e. As with all DCs in FTD, base is 11 but you can flex between 5-20.
Customer avatar
Ben D March 13, 2021 5:31 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Also, there's no licensing/supplements right now.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H March 13, 2021 5:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You might want to codify that a little bit more because it's a blank space with a header on your superbly efficient character sheet. It almost seems like an editing error that it wasn't included somewhere due to the empty field with exclamation marks on the back cover/character sheet.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H March 13, 2021 5:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
RE: Licensing. I could swear I saw at least one adventure published for FTD. Do you allow use on a case by case (profit sharing?) basis?
Customer avatar
Brian G March 07, 2021 7:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I love this supplement and its various expansions. I've been looking for a way to convert my usual 5e group over to a more OSR-style game, but I actually like the way a lot of these rules work better than the old school games; specifically, the class features functioning more like PBTA tags than anything else, which makes each of them incredibly versatile.

I'm currently working on converting Curse of Strahd over to FTD, and I'm really excited to see how this system plays outside of continuous dungeon-crawls.
Customer avatar
Carl B February 17, 2021 7:00 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The classes and archetypes mention certain checks where the player gains proficiency or advantage (e.g. stealth or charm). Is there a place I can find a master list (and possibly descriptions) of the OSR skills used in Five Torches Deep? Or are the applications of such proficiencies at the GM's discretion?
Customer avatar
Ben D February 17, 2021 7:21 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No such thing as skills. They’re just keywords that when relevant you get a bonus (proficiency) and or advantage (roll twice take the better).
Customer avatar
Carl B February 17, 2021 7:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Ok, makes sense. Thanks for the speedy response!
Customer avatar
Stuart José A January 20, 2021 6:56 am UTC
PURCHASER
Print on Demand options?
Customer avatar
Ben D January 20, 2021 1:35 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The printer has temporarily suspended or print version. We are working on it to hopefully be resolved soon.
Customer avatar
Eric M January 26, 2021 11:42 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I am eagerly awaiting PoD as well.
Customer avatar
Ben D January 27, 2021 12:13 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Sorry, hopefully soon! We are working with DTRPG on this.
Customer avatar
Ben D January 27, 2021 4:19 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
We have POD back up again now.
Customer avatar
sebastien H January 03, 2021 9:43 pm UTC
hello, have you started to translate it into french or has someone offered to do it? if not and if you give me permission, I will be interested in doing it.
Customer avatar
Ben D January 03, 2021 10:08 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No plans to translate it. No problem with fan translations but we don’t want to pursue any official international versions at this time.
Customer avatar
Igor L November 24, 2020 7:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A couple of questions.

1. The Sacrosanct spell gives "advantage to resist attacks and effects from evil enemies". However, there is no way of resisting attacks described, since an attack is usually a check versus target's AC. How exactly Sacrosanct is supposed to affect attacks from evil enemies?

2. Can you spend SUP to "resupply" a broken weapon? Or are players supposed to declare they take a spare sword explicitly?

3. Let's say a PC became exhausted in the field. Since "their movement speed becomes 0", "magic generally can’t remove exhaustion", and "unsafe rest does not cure exhaustion", how can they survive such a situation? Aside from being dragged by a friend all the way back to safety (which might take days, I presume).
Customer avatar
Ben D November 24, 2020 7:57 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Many enemy attacks, including spells, call for a check or a saving throw (in other games) to resist the negative effects. Affected PCs have advantage to these defensive checks.

Supply can be used to repair Durability per the repair rules. You can also always just use what’s available in the fiction, supply is just handy as a shortcut if needed.

They probably die. The idea is not to get exhausted or else your party has to carry you out of there. The most common solution is to hire retainers, clear out a dungeon to such a level that the GM can grant it as safe rest, or imbibe potions or food that can alleviate exhaustion.
Customer avatar
Igor L November 25, 2020 12:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thank you for the quick reply! So rules as intended Sacrosanct should not impose disadvantage on a Evil monster's attacks?
Customer avatar
Ben D November 25, 2020 1:26 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Correct but that wouldn’t be an unfair interpretation. More like spells, poisons, etc.
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