Substituting Grandmaster Torch


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Silver Crusade

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Hi there, me again!

Grandmaster Torch has done some things that has put him on the "Kill on sight"-list of quite a few PCs and has been declared an enemy of the Society. But in scenarios prior to his departure he could be quite important, be it as the faction leader of the Shadow Lodge or as an information broker back when he first showed up.
So...what do you do when it comes to these things?
Granted, in some scenarios he provides merely the background - "Grandmaster Torch gave us informations when the Shadow Lodge reunited with the Society, we have to kill the remaining rogue elements" can be easily changed to "Some of Torch's associates were careless when leaving the Society and we found informations about rogue elements". But in other scenarios Torch is someone the PCs have to bargain with, sometimes he is even the one sending them out to do something for him.

What do you do in situations like these?
Do you simply run as written and say "Yeah, it doesn't make sense, please don't question it!"?
Do you come up with an explanation about how this is all in the past and time is flexible and all that?
Do you substitute him with a no-name information broker?
Do you substitute him with always the same information broker your local PFS group might know for quite some time now?
Do you hope for your players not knowing who Torch is and change nothing?
Or is there even an unofficial consensus on the forums I'm not aware of (like substituting him with a guy named "Burned Spider" or something)?

Let me hear your ideas!

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Agent, Maryland— Baltimore aka DrParty06

Explain that this is a scenario from season 0, 1, 2, and that events the players or their characters may know about have not yet transpired. Not everyone knows about Torch and the only way to learn is meet him in scenarios.

4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Emphasise in the briefing that the Society NEEDS Torch's help just this once. Allow the party to murder him once they obtain the necessary information. He's only a bard 6/rogue 5, after all, and typically naked. ;-)

Shadow Lodge 4/5

Forget about what's transpired before and gm the scenario as a flashback. Same thing for VC Thurl, the Desimires, the Shadow Lodge, etc. Changing scenarios is frowned upon anyway and doing that runs the risk of leading the players astray. E.g treating the quest giver as a threat and making plans towards their downfall.

Scarab Sages 4/5

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Look towards Destiny of the Sands 1 for inspiration. Ballintir has the unenviable task of informing Pathfinders they once again have to do favors for Torch, and he stresses whatever your current feelings toward him are; the Society needs his information. So play "nice" for now, he'll get his someday soon.

Grand Lodge

Torch has guards for a reason.

"You draw your weapon, but as it leaves its sheath, a massive half orc with kukris on his belt stops you from drawing the weapon with one hand, while he picks you up by the face with the other. He carries you out of the room.
Another, similarly built half orc looks at the rest of you. 'Anyone else want to try anything stupid?', she says with a look that dares you to try."

I designed some statblocks for Torch and his guards a couple years back. They should be around here someplace if you search for them. Though with all the new options out there, they could probably stand to be redone. If the PCs just really want to fight, I mean. :P

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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Torch is like The Blacklist's "Red" Reddington. A highly articulate, erudite and intelligent businessman and mastermind.

Torch doesn't care much for the decimvirate, but he does care about pathfinders.

Characters that want to kill Torch actually don't have a clue what's going on.

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Auke Teeninga wrote:

Torch is like The Blacklist's "Red" Reddington. A highly articulate, erudite and intelligent businessman and mastermind.

Torch doesn't care much for the decimvirate, but he does care about pathfinders.

Characters that want to kill Torch actually don't have a clue what's going on.

No, we definitely have a clue about what's going on. Putting up a veneer of helping pathfinders is great, but his true goals leave me cheering for the Red Mantis.

Scarab Sages

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James McTeague wrote:
Auke Teeninga wrote:

Torch is like The Blacklist's "Red" Reddington. A highly articulate, erudite and intelligent businessman and mastermind.

Torch doesn't care much for the decimvirate, but he does care about pathfinders.

Characters that want to kill Torch actually don't have a clue what's going on.

No, we definitely have a clue about what's going on. Putting up a veneer of helping pathfinders is great, but his true goals leave me cheering for the Red Mantis.

You have the right idea, I like that. Lead the way and my mistress will reward your service.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

In our area, most of the characters who want to kill Torch got their murderous intent from him being a condescending ass.

Much like Red Reddington, it's only his value that keeps the people who work with him every day from stomping his face. (Seriously, have you not noticed how many times the characters have to restrain themselves from smacking him? Liz does it every third episode, and she's the one who actually cares about him.)

Torch's "I'm helping pathfinders" shtick is the only thing that's kept him alive this long, as far as I can tell. Not even the local Shadow Lodge members ever really liked him.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

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Torch is an intelligent, shrewd, cunning manipulator who wears his disgust for the Decemvirate openly even while he's naked.

The man has literally burned in service to lore, and has been slowly striking back at the people that deserve it...but I'm not sure why the average Pathfinder opposes him.

Even if you're one of the 2% of Society members that have been actively sold out by him (in EXACTLY) one scenario, you've benefited from his influence thrice as much.

Pretty much every scenario where you have actual intelligence, monetary and/or consumable support, hell, even just follow-ups like "not letting former pathfinders wallow without support (Kalkamedes, Sascha Antif-Arat, the whole Zho Mountains Expedition Team)" are all pretty much reforms that Torch pushed through.

You can't have it both ways.

4/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Also, if you really just need to be mean to Torch, roll up a Kitsune Bard, take the Realistic Likeness feat, and pretend to be him in every scenario. In fact, try to call in favors wherever you go.

Dark Archive 3/5

As a side note, I'd love to see Torch rebuilt into a Mastermind Investigator.

Grand Lodge 4/5

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Auke Teeninga wrote:

Torch is like The Blacklist's "Red" Reddington. A highly articulate, erudite and intelligent businessman and mastermind.

Torch doesn't care much for the decimvirate, but he does care about pathfinders.

Characters that want to kill Torch actually don't have a clue what's going on.

Oh? Some of us were there when he shanked someone and basically said 'Thanks Suckers, ciao ..."

There is a reason Kyrie carries a master work adamantine bullet with his name on it. And what 'ol' painless' her father's musket is +1 distance HUMAN bane.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

Kyrie Ebonblade wrote:
Spoilers

:
He didn't shank just someone, he shanked the Spider. The person that took his creation (the Shadow Lodge) and corrupted it. She turned it against the pathfinders and was the criminal mastermind in season 2. With his help the pathfinders captured her to be judged, but she escaped. So when the pathfinders captured her again (again with his help) he killed her. Even though the pathfinders might have wanted to murder hobo her themselves, he had the most right to do so. His speech might have seemed condescending, but only if you didn't understand it.
4/5

Spoiler:
But he then left with the info the Spider had, with plans to use it for himself to further his revenge against the Society. No, there is little reason any Pathfinder would love Torch. He's out for himself, and I doubt we ever know his entire plan. I expect him to reappear in the next retirement arc, actually, in the vein of Eyes of the Ten.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Kyrie Ebonblade wrote:
Oh? Some of us were there when he shanked someone and basically said 'Thanks Suckers, ciao ..."

Yes, some of us were, and we still keep the name unsullied. Unlike some other leaders of our Society.

Shadow Lodge 5/5

GM Lamplighter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I stand committed to the One True Lodge.
Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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GM Lamplighter wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

:
Most people who seem to hate Torch started playing in season 3, where he seemed to be the leader of the Pathfinder Union known as the Shadow Lodge and they felt betrayed when Torch left. Most people that started playing in season 0 knew this was out of character so they were not surprised Torch took off when he had enough information to make sure the Decimverate would not meddle in his affairs. They wronged him, not the other way around!
4/5

Spoiler:
I started early in Season 1, and was surprised that he ever joined the Society in the first place. Knowing he was going to betray us doesn't make him doing it any easier to take, in my opinion.

I expect this divided opinion on GMT makes him happy, and he won't be able to resist coming back to exploit misguided loyalties again. ;)

Sovereign Court 5/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jayson MF Kip wrote:

Torch is an intelligent, shrewd, cunning manipulator who wears his disgust for the Decemvirate openly even while he's naked.

The man has literally burned in service to lore, and has been slowly striking back at the people that deserve it...but I'm not sure why the average Pathfinder opposes him.

Even if you're one of the 2% of Society members that have been actively sold out by him (in EXACTLY) one scenario, you've benefited from his influence thrice as much.

Pretty much every scenario where you have actual intelligence, monetary and/or consumable support, hell, even just follow-ups like "not letting former pathfinders wallow without support (Kalkamedes, Sascha Antif-Arat, the whole Zho Mountains Expedition Team)" are all pretty much reforms that Torch pushed through.

You can't have it both ways.

While I wouldn't say sold out, I would definitely say that he's been manipulating us for personal gain in multiple scenarios.

Many Fortunes:
I assume that this was the one that you mentioned before.

Destiny of Sands series:
I'm guessing that you didn't count this series from your 2% comments (or you're vastly overestimating the number of characters the average player has). He happily has you do a bunch of favors for him that don't help the society at all in order to give you information about the sage jewels that he knows you aren't getting to first, but if you're good pathfinders instead you'll find out about what happened to him and what sparked him in the first place. None of that seems like it has our best interest at heart.

On top of that:

Entire Shadow Lodge Plot, including Seasons 2 & 4:
Sure, he says that the Shadow Lodge is out there to looking out for his fellow Pathfinders, but we can divine that the true goal is to get back at the Ten. Besides the not so hidden messages that were there, there's two main pieces of evidence.

1. There was a splinter group of the Shadow Lodge working to destroy the Pathfinder Society or use it for personal gain. While one might grow out of a group that was based off altruism for fellow Society Agents, it seems way more likely that one grew out of one whose goal was to get back at the Decemvirate. The latter case would make Torch's Shadow Lodge align more with the splinter Shadow Lodge.

2. Rivalry's End - Torch steals a list containing the biggest secret of the Pathfinder Society - a list of names of potential Decemvirate members. By grabbing that and running, he left the Shadow Lodge at the time right when it was doing the most good, and without a clear successor. If he really cared about doing good for fellow Pathfinders as his biggest priority, then he would've left the Shadow Lodge stable. Instead it fell apart when he left.

And here's the thing about Torch. He's a smart and charismatic villain. He gets you to like him, possibly does a bunch of favors for you, but in the end is manipulating you to get what he wants. If even after you've been burned by him, you still see him as a nice guy, that means that he's done his job correctly.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

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James McTeague wrote:
** spoilers omitted **...

My 2% comment is more Rivalry's End.

Rivalry's End:
And even there, had there been written an option to high-five Torch and say "good luck on cleaning up the rest" without his bodyguards swinging first, he'd probably not even register as a pain to anyone. He simultaneously gets revenge for an escaped criminal whose been captured by the society once before (and escaped judgment!) and a list of names of the Ten- -which is exactly what his stated goal always was- -reform (or revenge if you'd like to insist on negative connotation).

I'm not sure why a "good guy" (or at least a "neutral guy") cannot ever look out for his own interests?

Torch's "crime" is that he's more focused on wanting the Ten to be held to "Explore, Report, (and especially) Cooperate" in the same way the grunt-level agent is.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Jayson MF Kip wrote:

Torch is an intelligent, shrewd, cunning manipulator who wears his disgust for the Decemvirate openly even while he's naked.

The man has literally burned in service to lore, and has been slowly striking back at the people that deserve it...but I'm not sure why the average Pathfinder opposes him.

Even if you're one of the 2% of Society members that have been actively sold out by him (in EXACTLY) one scenario, you've benefited from his influence thrice as much.

Pretty much every scenario where you have actual intelligence, monetary and/or consumable support, hell, even just follow-ups like "not letting former pathfinders wallow without support (Kalkamedes, Sascha Antif-Arat, the whole Zho Mountains Expedition Team)" are all pretty much reforms that Torch pushed through.

How, exactly, would the average pathfinder know any of that?

First, of those scenarios, I'm familiar with exactly one of them, and as far as I know, Kalkamedes was supported by his friend Sheila Heidmarch (who has a terrible reputation): she was the one who asked the party to help him. I haven't seen anything in that scenario that indicated Torch was involved.

And even if I as a GM knew the other scenarios, my characters only know the scenarios they were in (or know other characters in), so if my character was screwed over by Torch, as far as that character knows, Torch screws people over, and that's what my character will tell other people.

But more of it depends on your GMs and your area. In my experience, Torch has always been played as condescending prick, so to me he's a condescending prick, so I run him as a condescending prick, and the cycle continues. It might have been one GM in our area who started that years ago, but it's tribal knowledge now.

Also, in my area, the players who tended to be Shadow Lodge were running characters who were as close to evil as they were allowed to get, and they pushed the line often. At best, they were only in the Shadow Lodge to mess with the Decemvirate because they were rebels, man! I had one Shadow Lodge character based on the "Pathfinder's Union" description in the guide, but I retrained out of it because that's not how Shadow Lodge characters in my area were.

On the flip side, I never understood the hatred for Sheila Heidmarch. I've never played the scenarios where she apparently gleefully sends Pathfinders to her death, and the GMs never played her as uncaring or cold.

Likewise, I've never had a character woken up in the middle of the night by Drendel Drang.

Your mileage may vary.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
James McTeague wrote:
** spoilers omitted **...

My 2% comment is more Rivalry's End.

** spoiler omitted **

I'm not sure why a "good guy" (or at least a "neutral guy") cannot ever look out for his own interests?

Torch's "crime" is that he's more focused on wanting the Ten to be held to "Explore, Report, (and especially) Cooperate" in the same way the grunt-level agent is.

Have you ever run into the REAL Torch? Even in the scenarios where he is supposedly doing that, he isn't, really.

If he doesn't want to overcharge you for the information, he is providing, gratis, diatribes against everyone in the Society, not just the Ten.

When he actually does give you the information, it is seldom complete or correct.

He is, truly, only out for revenge on the whole Society. His cares for the Shadow Lodge are, primarily, not to get busted for forming it to destroy the Society, and not to get murdered for, yet again, betraying his associates.

Why, one wonders, didn't he bring back his compatriots' dead bodies, in as long as he has been rich? He could, easily, have had their remains recovered years ago, and, with his resources and contacts, gotten all of them True Resurrections, if he so desired or needed to.

Instead, he leaves it to a group of (potentially) novice agents to go to a location that has been proven deadly, instead of making sure they knew what was ahead of them at the site. He knows that site!

No, he is a complete and utter blackguard, who would be an anti-paladin, if he actually had some beliefs, besides vengeance, that he held true to .

Spoiler:
Note that I started playing PFS in Season 0, and have been GMing since Season 2, so it is not just people who joined in Season 3 who think GMT is an abomination.

Grand Lodge 4/5

Auke Teeninga wrote:
Kyrie Ebonblade wrote:
Spoilers
** spoiler omitted **

1.

Spoiler:
He shanked her AFTER he got something he could use as leverage against the Ten.

2. The Waking Rune
Spoiler:
He used the pc to put a BUG on an item for the sole purpose of spying on the society..specifically the Ten.

3. Destiny of the Sands
Spoiler:
He knew what was going on. Having been the tomb before. Did he warn the players. Nope. He clearly was dealing with the Consortium given he wound up with the Emerald Sage Jewel.

4. Beacon Below
Spoiler:
The 'Emerald Sage' beat the players again to something.. vital. Torch is playing the long game. My (now) VC Cleric gleefully unleashed the inevitables on him.

I disagree with your outlook.

He used the players in seasons 0-2, during the short time he led the 'legitimate' society it was so that he could gain better channels into the actions of the Ten.
In my eyes..and as a GM who has done MOST of the Torch adventures Pre/post Shadow Lodge tenure.. I'd say he was doing an intricate Zantos gambit and is looking to do the same thing the villian of

Spoiler:
Eyes of the Ten.

Scarab Sages 5/5

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one more vote in support of the Grand Master....

The only VC ever to say "thank you" to the persons he sends out on missions.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Katisha wrote:

one more vote in support of the Grand Master....

The only VC ever to say "thank you" to the persons he sends out on missions.

A couple of things here: GMT is not now, nor has he ever been, a VC.

And, seriously, when has he ever thanked anyone in a way that was not, at best, a backhanded compliment?

"Thank you for not screwing up too badly, there, Pathfinders!"

Then again, I suspect he wrote the welcome speech that Ollystra gives in First Steps, Part 1, where she basically says, "Because there were too many factions in the Pathfinder Society, we decided to start yet another faction."

I don't recall any interaction with GMT that was not pure snark from his side, when he wasn't being plain condescending. "Don't screw up too badly, Pathfinders."

5/5

Clearly, it must be that GMT is my spirit animal.

The Exchange 5/5

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Another Pathfinder here in favor of Grandmaster Torch! His intelligence helped save my favorite cousin, Guaril!

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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If being condescending to low level pathfinders is a capital crime there wouldn't be any Venture-Captains left.

Silver Crusade

Considering his information was reliable in the acquisition of four statues, he's better than most all other venture captains to date. Granted, that was after his guards coup-de-graced our first source of information.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Hey, sorry 'bout that. Boss Torch did pink slip me over that eventually...

Lantern Lodge 5/5

kinevon wrote:
Katisha wrote:

one more vote in support of the Grand Master....

The only VC ever to say "thank you" to the persons he sends out on missions.

A couple of things here: GMT is not now, nor has he ever been, a VC.

And, seriously, when has he ever thanked anyone in a way that was not, at best, a backhanded compliment?

I don't recall any interaction with GMT that was not pure snark from his side, when he wasn't being plain condescending. "Don't screw up too badly, Pathfinders."

God's Market Gamble?

Silver Crusade

Holger Coulson wrote:
Hey, sorry 'bout that. Boss Torch did pink slip me over that eventually...

What? That's terrible! There are too few people talented in murdering evil people to just spit them out onto the streets.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
kinevon wrote:
Katisha wrote:

one more vote in support of the Grand Master....

The only VC ever to say "thank you" to the persons he sends out on missions.

A couple of things here: GMT is not now, nor has he ever been, a VC.

And, seriously, when has he ever thanked anyone in a way that was not, at best, a backhanded compliment?

I don't recall any interaction with GMT that was not pure snark from his side, when he wasn't being plain condescending. "Don't screw up too badly, Pathfinders."

God's Market Gamble?

He is only there in a note, and it still ends with a snark: "Don't leave a trail of bodies behind you." Oh,. and it starts with an insult, and an assumption that the PCs aren't bright enough to figure out what Kreighton means. Shrug.

Oh, and, of course, the information broker gives only the information you could get from a phonebook, not any actual, I don't know, background on the NPCs he cites, as an example.

I thought his cry was to not just say, "Go there, do that."

No, GMT leaves a bad taste in my mouth, from his first appearance, with a payment request, for tier 1-5, of 6,000 gp for some barely useful information. And a thinly veiled threat, through his latest appearance (that I have seen), where he sends the PCs on cheap gopher quests, and doesn't give them information that it is later proven he knows about their next destination.

He's rich, given his prices, so why couldn't he get Remove Curse, Break Enchantment, and Dispel Magic done to get his burns healable. And, as mentioned, why did he never retrieve his teammates bodies, and use that same money to pay to get them raised? After all, if a party of four first level PCs can handle that site, why did he never have someone retrieve his buddies?

Just, meh. The man has no class, no consideration for others, no reliability as a team player. And, definitely, he shows a lack of using his own resources very well.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Baltic

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kinevon wrote:
He's rich, given his prices, so why couldn't he get Remove Curse, Break Enchantment, and Dispel Magic done to get his burns healable. And, as mentioned, why did he never retrieve his teammates bodies, and use that same money to pay to get them raised? After all, if a party of four first level PCs can handle that site, why did he never have someone retrieve his buddies?

Maybe the curse is stronger than simple magics. Epic level. (or even plothook/canon level!)

And his prices are indeed high, but as he gives away his information for free (or actually he gives them gold as well) to pathfinders that impress him, he's probably not as rich as you think.

Why didn't he retreive his team mates? Well, they're pathfinders, so why doesn't the Decimvirate do this?

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Auke Teeninga wrote:
kinevon wrote:
He's rich, given his prices, so why couldn't he get Remove Curse, Break Enchantment, and Dispel Magic done to get his burns healable. And, as mentioned, why did he never retrieve his teammates bodies, and use that same money to pay to get them raised? After all, if a party of four first level PCs can handle that site, why did he never have someone retrieve his buddies?

Maybe the curse is stronger than simple magics. Epic level. (or even plothook/canon level!)

And his prices are indeed high, but as he gives away his information for free (or actually he gives them gold as well) to pathfinders that impress him, he's probably not as rich as you think.

Why didn't he retreive his team mates? Well, they're pathfinders, so why doesn't the Decimvirate do this?

Even that kind of curse, with the money and information available to a competent information broker, should be no problem.

He almost certainly gets paid (6,000 gp each time) more often than he pays (100 gp, at best) to a limited audience.

The Decimvirate doesn't recover the bodies for several reasons, some good, some bad. What part of saying your team is going in under Mission Impossible rules means that the people who will forswear all knowledge of you and your actions means that they would recover your sworn-unknown-to-them bodies?

The person really to blame, in some ways, was their team leader who didn't properly pass on the information of the disavowal to his team, so that they could understand the seriousness of the matter.

Or that they are, apparently, not as competent as a party that can barely handle Ledford. Maybe that's it. GMT is so incompetent that he can't save any money as an information broker, and never has real information to broker...

Scarab Sages 5/5

kinevon wrote:
Katisha wrote:

one more vote in support of the Grand Master....

The only VC ever to say "thank you" to the persons he sends out on missions.

A couple of things here: GMT is not now, nor has he ever been, a VC.

And, seriously, when has he ever thanked anyone in a way that was not, at best, a backhanded compliment?

"Thank you for not screwing up too badly, there, Pathfinders!"

Then again, I suspect he wrote the welcome speech that Ollystra gives in First Steps, Part 1, where she basically says, "Because there were too many factions in the Pathfinder Society, we decided to start yet another faction."

I don't recall any interaction with GMT that was not pure snark from his side, when he wasn't being plain condescending. "Don't screw up too badly, Pathfinders."

and let's look at what he says in Rivalry's end...

Exactly what does GMT say in that ending?

GMT: “My endless thanks to each of you, Pathfinders, for your loyal service.”
To any Shadow Lodge faction PCs, he adds, “And particular thanks to you, for trusting in me and diligently helping me burrow my way back into the good graces of the Decemvirate.”
Without pausing he concludes, “But now I’ve finally got something to hold over the Decemvirate, so I’m striking out on my own.”

I'm looking for the condesending part.... is it when he thanks you for your loyal service? or when he gave a special thanks to Shadow Lodge faction PCs?

when I ran this, upon hearing that last line, one of my players commented that the Decemvirate must have information on Torch that was compelling him to work for the PFS (and the Decemvirate) when he clearly didn't want to. And now he could retire and move on with other things and they could not touch him.

Looks like a blackmail victum slips away... disappearing to some far corner of the world, where the Decemvirate then sends more flunkies to go impose on him again - "hay! we know you sell information and all, how about you give us some more for free? Like you used to do before you had 'something to hold over the Decemvirate' I mean, we don't want to actually PAY for it, not gold or anything like that."

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

IIRC, isn't there a scenario where one faction has to find out Torch's real name? The information wars work both ways.

Also, from a meta PoV, you can't judge what his party in <redacted> faced based on what the PCs encountered. We don't know what they fought/destroyed/disarmed or what subsequent lost expeditions did.

And without knowing the details of his (epic) level curse, maybe he can't go back? And maybe he didn't want anyone capable of retrieving his team to retrieve <redacted> Until he understood it better?

"Heya Torchie! We brought your friends bodies back. <Redacted> says hi!" *Torch explodes*

I'm not saying canonize the guy. I'm saying he's no worse that the people who the society works for.

I picture him more Johnny Marcone than Nicodemus Archleone.

Dark Archive 3/5

What Torch did, from an OOC perspective, makes total sense. The Shadow Lodge faction was just another of his pieces in a long term chess game against the Decemvirate.

In Character, for a lot of Shadow Lodge PCs, it was pretty frustrating. Especially for those who made their PCs around the faction choice from a background perspective. For example:

Mild Season 2 Spoilers:

I rolled up a Winter Witch Archetype Witch back in Season 3 for the Shadow Lodge. She was inspired by the Shards of Ice series, specifically Part II (which takes place in Irrisen. The premise? The Winter Witches were not terribly pleased that the Shadow Lodge was not only operating out of their capitol but had dragged their conflict with the society to their doorstep. As part of the process by which Torch consolidated power into the Shadow Lodge as a PC faction, said character was among a number of "observers" sent to work in his service as society agents to ensure this did not happen again.

So, when Torch stabs the Spider (rightly so), grabs a list of names, and bails...my Shadow Lodge PC hasn't got much in the way of reason to stick around. I've shifted her Grand Lodge with the premise that she is there to further the Society's goals, knowing the Lodge will make hunting down Torch a priority as part of this. But this was a stretch for me and I thought on how to proceed with her for awhile before coming to said conclusion. It doesn't help much knowing how unlikely it is she will still be in pre-seeker play for when Torch's betrayal is inevitably addressed, currently being at 10.1

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Frederick Savage wrote:
Holger Coulson wrote:
Hey, sorry 'bout that. Boss Torch did pink slip me over that eventually...
What? That's terrible! There are too few people talented in murdering evil people to just spit them out onto the streets.

Well, no worries 'bout that. Major Maldris is a pretty good boss fer me too. And I'm learning to think before I stab.

Lantern Lodge 5/5

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Dorothy Lindman wrote:


But more of it depends on your GMs and your area. In my experience, Torch has always been played as condescending prick, so to me he's a condescending prick, so I run him as a condescending prick, and the cycle continues. It might have been one GM in our area who started that years ago, but it's tribal knowledge now.

Also, in my area, the players who tended to be Shadow Lodge were running characters who were as close to evil as they were allowed to get, and they pushed the line often. At best, they were only in the Shadow Lodge to mess with the Decemvirate because they were rebels, man! I had one Shadow Lodge character based on the "Pathfinder's Union" description in the guide, but I retrained out of it because that's not how Shadow Lodge characters in my area were.

See, there's probably more truth to this than is ideal.

I started towards the beginning of season 4, and the idea of a group that cares about the other Pathfinders sounded pretty nice to me. When I encountered Torch for the first time, it was a group of the "old guard" of PFS locals, and seemed to portray Torch as a condescending jackass just to enjoy that they're portraying Torch as a condescending jackass.

So, I did what anyone who's been told their beliefs are a lie does- -some homework. I played scenarios with Torch around, with a handful of different GMs. Many Fortunes, Delirium's Tangle, Shadows Last Stand 2, God's Market Gamble, City of Strangers, Rivalry's End. I began to GM myself, and tried to see some of those same scenarios. What I saw wasn't the jerk being portrayed- -he was just a reasonable gentleman looking to make a few dollars to fund his own information network. Starting Season 3, his stated goal was to root out corruption inside of the Society-

Rivalry's End:
how is, say, finding a list of names of the Decemvirate
not exactly his stated goal?

So, players in my area, (at least ones who I GM for) get a slightly more neutral sense of Grandmaster Torch.

tl;dr]] The GM's portrayal can easily sway perception of a GM in either direction, unless you go out of your way to learn more.

Silver Crusade

Holger Coulson wrote:
Frederick Savage wrote:
Holger Coulson wrote:
Hey, sorry 'bout that. Boss Torch did pink slip me over that eventually...
What? That's terrible! There are too few people talented in murdering evil people to just spit them out onto the streets.
Well, no worries 'bout that. Major Maldris is a pretty good boss fer me too. And I'm learning to think before I stab.

Aye, Ollysta Zadrian's set out a list of priorities for me to fulfill on my missions. I fail to see her motivations, I'm doing a perfectly job murdering evil people as it stands. Still, not going through the drudgery of it all after the enemy has fleed and surrendered is alright I suppose.

Silver Crusade 5/5

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Jayson MF Kip wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:


But more of it depends on your GMs and your area. In my experience, Torch has always been played as condescending prick, so to me he's a condescending prick, so I run him as a condescending prick, and the cycle continues. It might have been one GM in our area who started that years ago, but it's tribal knowledge now.

Also, in my area, the players who tended to be Shadow Lodge were running characters who were as close to evil as they were allowed to get, and they pushed the line often. At best, they were only in the Shadow Lodge to mess with the Decemvirate because they were rebels, man! I had one Shadow Lodge character based on the "Pathfinder's Union" description in the guide, but I retrained out of it because that's not how Shadow Lodge characters in my area were.

See, there's probably more truth to this than is ideal.

I started towards the beginning of season 4, and the idea of a group that cares about the other Pathfinders sounded pretty nice to me. When I encountered Torch for the first time, it was a group of the "old guard" of PFS locals, and seemed to portray Torch as a condescending jackass just to enjoy that they're portraying Torch as a condescending jackass.

So, I did what anyone who's been told their beliefs are a lie does- -some homework. I played scenarios with Torch around, with a handful of different GMs. Many Fortunes, Delirium's Tangle, Shadows Last Stand 2, God's Market Gamble, City of Strangers, Rivalry's End. I began to GM myself, and tried to see some of those same scenarios. What I saw wasn't the jerk being portrayed- -he was just a reasonable gentleman looking to make a few dollars to fund his own information network. Starting Season 3, his stated goal was to root out corruption inside of the Society- ** spoiler omitted ** not exactly his stated goal?

So, players in my area, (at least ones who I GM for) get a slightly more neutral sense of Grandmaster...

This. When I played #2-26 it was with a group where two-thirds of the party hated Torch, and acted like complete asses during our interaction with him. To date, my playthrough of that scenario is my least favorite PFS experience of all time, and it wasn't because of the scenario or GMT. Because they portrayed / had GM's that portrayed Torch in an unfavorable light, they completely tanked that mission for rest of us. Something happened later on that caused us to completely fail, but having to sit through a portion of the scenario where the majority of the party was verbally abusive / threatening to Torch over stuff that hadn't happened yet put the scenario in a bad place that it never came back from.

When I portray Torch, I try to portay as a gruff, jaded ex-adventurer that has a soft spot for the rank and file of the Society.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

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I portray him in much the same way as Mitch, and like many was rather nonplussed at the retirement of the Shadow Lodge. So many of us were looking for the 'high-fives all around, when is the lodge party?' resolution, and all we got was the 'why aren't you stopping him?' resolution.

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I portray him in much the same way as Mitch, and like many was rather nonplussed at the retirement of the Shadow Lodge. So many of us were looking for the 'high-fives all around, when is the lodge party?' resolution, and all we got was the 'why aren't you stopping him?' resolution.

Agreed, between signs of progress in Nightmarch, and the positive resolution of Way of the Kirin, Rivalry's End left a bad taste in my mouth.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

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This.^

I too have been playing since the very beginning, starting with Black Waters in season 0, and I don't think Torch was portrayed in-character during Rivalry's End.

I was pretty annoyed by the resolution all in all even though finally getting rid of Spider was worth it. Maybe I'm reading too much into his final words, for tone might not actually be there, but they felt so darned sarcastic to me. And that's not the Torch my Shadow Lodge characters had supported for years. That Torch wouldn't have left his allies to the Ten's machinations(go play Eyes of the Ten and then try to pretend they actually care about you!), but rather seeked to empower them. We got so far! What gives?

Still, it was fun while it lasted. And the Silver Crusade is a decent, if paladin led, substitute.

4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Washington—Seattle aka Gwen Smith

Jayson MF Kip wrote:
Dorothy Lindman wrote:


But more of it depends on your GMs and your area. In my experience, Torch has always been played as condescending prick, so to me he's a condescending prick, so I run him as a condescending prick, and the cycle continues. It might have been one GM in our area who started that years ago, but it's tribal knowledge now.

Also, in my area, the players who tended to be Shadow Lodge were running characters who were as close to evil as they were allowed to get, and they pushed the line often. At best, they were only in the Shadow Lodge to mess with the Decemvirate because they were rebels, man! I had one Shadow Lodge character based on the "Pathfinder's Union" description in the guide, but I retrained out of it because that's not how Shadow Lodge characters in my area were.

See, there's probably more truth to this than is ideal.

I started towards the beginning of season 4, and the idea of a group that cares about the other Pathfinders sounded pretty nice to me. When I encountered Torch for the first time, it was a group of the "old guard" of PFS locals, and seemed to portray Torch as a condescending jackass just to enjoy that they're portraying Torch as a condescending jackass.

So, I did what anyone who's been told their beliefs are a lie does- -some homework. I played scenarios with Torch around, with a handful of different GMs. Many Fortunes, Delirium's Tangle, Shadows Last Stand 2, God's Market Gamble, City of Strangers, Rivalry's End. I began to GM myself, and tried to see some of those same scenarios. What I saw wasn't the jerk being portrayed- -he was just a reasonable gentleman looking to make a few dollars to fund his own information network. Starting Season 3, his stated goal was to root out corruption inside of the Society- ** spoiler omitted ** not exactly his stated goal?

So, players in my area, (at least ones who I GM for) get a slightly more neutral sense of Grandmaster...

It wasn't just the personal portrayal of GMT, though. I'm perfectly capable of working with (and even having admiration for) some one who is a total jerk. But I never saw that much in GMT to admired. And as a brand new person to PFS, I never felt I was told "my beliefs were a lie". I felt like the marketing flyer just put a nice spin on something to sell it (just like the description of the Sczarni sounds very "gypsy" but the reality is much more "mafia").

What's worse, Torch is really poorly written from a plot structure point of view. Most of the time I encountered him as a player and GM, his character was actually extraneous to the plot (if not downright intrusive), and the entire story could easily be rewritten without him.

Now, none of this is the fault of Torch, the character, but the scenario writers often use Torch as a plot device rather than a character. Whenever Torch shows up, you're going to do it his way, no matter what. God's Market Gamble is actually really bad about this: regardless of how much useful investigation and conclusive evidence the PCs have found, they have to do Torch's plan, or the scenario doesn't go forward.

Ironically, the scenario writers often use Torch as a tool to remove the player's agency and get them back on the rails--which is against everything he professes to believe in.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas aka kinevon

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I portray him in much the same way as Mitch, and like many was rather nonplussed at the retirement of the Shadow Lodge. So many of us were looking for the 'high-fives all around, when is the lodge party?' resolution, and all we got was the 'why aren't you stopping him?' resolution.

I find it hard to portray him neutrally, since so much of his speech is either offensive, or condescending, IMO.

Badly manipulative, seldom either honest or upfront (read what happens if the PCs fail in Mantis's Prey), the whole "I will now kill this helpless person in front of the people who spared her life.", and many other meetings with him have flavored my impression of him. And I have run plenty of scenarios he is in, so I have read the raw words, too.

Then again, maybe it is all flavored because I first met him in Silent Tide, while running my Season 0 Halfling Rogue.

5/5

kinevon wrote:
I find it hard to portray him neutrally, since so much of his speech is either offensive, or condescending, IMO.

I feel the need to remind you who you are dealing with.

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