[2097e] Making torches!

Making torches

(only in the game! don’t burn yourself IRL kids!)

Only torchmakers can make torches. No-one else can even try.

Alchemists, rangers, scouts, outlanders and outriders are all torchmakers.

Other people get to make one DC 20 Wisdom check (not one per day – one total!) to see if they are torchmakers.

If they fail they have to learn how to become a torchmaker.

Picking up the nuances of torchmaking takes ten two-hour lessons from an alchemist, ranger or scout. (The other types of torchmakers can’t teach all the nuances of torchmaking because they are relying on their own wisdom to fix problems on the fly, rather than knowledge of everything that could go wrong. Remember that the student is someone who as already failed the wisdom check or else they wouldn’t be a student.)

It takes two minutes per torch if you had the stuff.

You need three things:

The Stick

Finding the stick is trivial if there are trees. They don’t have to be that dry.

Pine trees, due to their sap, don’t need the wick or the burnination stabilizer if they are split the right way so the sap can be drawn up by the flame.

The Wick

A piece of rope, some string, cloth rags (torn clothes?). You can’t really forage for that using the forage rules but you might find some in the game. (like from an enemy’s shirt or w/e).

If you’re only living off nature and relying on the forage rules, you can wrap bark around the end and stuff it with grass, tiny pieces of wood, moss etc, or a cat tail (not a real cat’s tail, the plant named cat tail, “kaveldun” in Swedish). You can forage for material for [1d6+wis]×10 torch wicks instead of foraging for food in a day. It’s hard to find a place where this stuff is available but when you have found it, there is usually a lot. Each batch of wick materials is a small item though. Using this kind of crude wick material adds 5 minutes per torch.

The Burnination Stabilizer

You can use either of these:
  • One hour’s worth of lamp oil or even food oil.
  • Three day’s worth of melted insect salve (or un-salvified ingredients, that works even better). You need some way to melt it (campfire + messkit). Adds 5 minutes per torch for a total of 7 minutes per torch.
  • A dead animal (fat). Adds 30 minutes base + 3 per torch, so one torch 35 minutes, two torches 40 minutes etc.
Do not use pitch or tar as a burnination stabilizer if you’re gonna take it in dungeons. It becomes super smoky.\ Works OK for outdoor use. List these torches as “pitch torch” if you make them. But I haven’t bothered to make rules for foraging for pitch or tar; this is just in case some module has a big tar pit or whatever.

Dropping Torches

If you drop a torch you need make a DC 10 Wis save. If you fail it goes out, if you succeed it stays lit. If you drop it in water it just goes out.


  • Nice overview here.

    I’m very curious why you give some characters an automatic ability to make torches, and others get a roll. Why not have everyone roll, or just have some classes know and others not know?
  • Seems very clear to me... anyone can learn to make torches. Did you already? Well, if it's part of basic training, yeah you did. Otherwise maybe you did and if you're living this life well you probably should have. And if you didn't, you didn't. I guess "everyone roll" is especially weird for rangers, where it'd be weird if they didn't know, and "just some classes know" says "no one trained to be a thief has ever learned how to make a torch during training" which is also weird.
  • Since 5e already has these nice proficiency rules, why not tie torchmaking to tool & skill profs? Say, anyone with proficiency in Alchemist's supplies or Survival.
  • Jeph: Yes, Alchemist's Supplies. That's what it already says.
  • edited June 2019
    Oh, not to be curt. I'm just really tired rn. (Also gonna go AFK for a few days on a work thing.)
    Alchemists ← tool profish
    Rangers ← class
    Scouts ← subclass (A scout is a non-magical ranger that's mechanically implemented as a Rogue subclass. It's in XGE.)
    Outlanders ← background
    Outriders ← background (It's a third-party background from Dungeonesque.)
  • Thanx Guy♥
  • I guess alchemist is a subclass now with the latest UA. I should edit to match that I mean profish with alchemists supplies. I'll do that later because I want all instances of this document to match

    We removed survival in our game and are instead relying on wisdom chex for that kinda stuff
  • Also I'll give some design background. I started thinking I wanted this to be tied to one tool profish and alchemists seemed to make the most sense. Then I did some half-assed research on how torchmaking worx and realized that out-doorsy-types should also know it and that it should be teachable
  • Since 5e already has these nice proficiency rules, why not tie torchmaking to tool & skill profs? Say, anyone with proficiency in Alchemist's supplies or Survival.
    I think it's a matter of zooming in on the interests.

    If you're not particularly interested in survival, you just abstract it away as the Survival skill.

    If you are, you remove Survival, but add interesting fiddly bits like these.

    Like D&D has no Fight Monsters skill, but has all sorts of interesting fiddly bits about fighting monsters.
  • I like that way of looking at it, Shimrod♥
  • But this is as much an economy issue as a nitty-detail issue. If light is too cheap it devalues the underground economy
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