Unlike WP, topic meta is accessed throught the topic object.
update_topicmeta( 5, 'my_meta', 'yay' );
$topic = get_topic( 5 );
echo $topic->my_meta; // outputs: yay
Um. What? I see this isn’t going to be a fun forum system to customise if you’re not a PHP programmer. I have NO IDEA what the above means. (I dont mean that as a slam, just a declaration that I’m in over my head at this point.)
@nola: the short version is that if you already have the topic (which I do because I’m using this in the topic.php template), then instread of saying: echo bb_get_topicmeta($topic->ID, "mykey"); whichis what I was expecting, there is the somewhat easier echo $topic->my_key;