Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Now for Something Completely Different

The roulette wheel that is my gaming ADD has spun, again. I've never played this game, even solo. I had only seen it in a game store one time, back in '93 (I think). Of course, I heard of it. My  impressions (and that is all they were, I never read a review or ad) were that is would be too simplified for me. I thought that to accommodate solo play it would have to be shorn of tactical options, deep character development, and long-term campaign potential.

Thus, in my early, formative gaming days it was D&D for serious gamers (like me), Runequest for potheads and hippies, and T&T for those who couldn't find a group.

Prejudice is ignorant at any age, and I am happy to report that I was horribly mistaken about T&T. (The jury is still out on RQ, I've known a lot of potheads and they swore by it.)

Before I go further, I want to stress: everything I'm saying is based only on reading, not on actual play.

There is so much in this game that I like in a fantasy game.

  • It seems like it will play fast
  • Combat features a "death spiral" effect
  • Armor absorbs damage, rather than deflecting hits
  • It uses only d6's
  • Magic is not Vancian
  • Characters have class and level, but advancement is "individualized"
  • A simple Saving Roll system to handle anything a player wants to try, without limiting their imagination with lists of skills and/or "feats"
  • Silver Piece standard, rather than gold (a personal thing, but I don't like the "Read GP as SP" conversion advice)

Those high points are from an incomplete and quick read, so I'm sure I'll find more to like. I'm reading the 5th edition. I think that pic may be the 30th Anniversary 7th Edition, I'm not sure. I just like it.

One definite boon is the community. A lot of games like to boast about their friendly community, but in my experience they seem very cliquish. I get almost no feedback on my posts on several forums covering a variety of games, and sometimes if I am getting a few replies going all of a sudden my thread gets hijacked by some of the "popular kids".

The designer of Tunnels and Trolls, Ken St. Andre, maintains an active and welcoming website, Trollhalla. It requires membership, which is free. There is a treasure-trove of T&T material there, as well as an active group of "trolls". One outstanding feature is the "walla", which is almost like an IRC window right smack in the middle of the homepage, allowing any members currently logged in to talk in real-time about the game. Instant feedback is a wonderful thing. Mr. St. Andre is often in residence, as well, so there is almost unprecedented access to the man behind the game.

If you've never given this game a serious look, you really should. There is a free "quickstart" download at Trollhalla, so no excuses.


  1. T&T was my first game. Still love it. Hope you get the chance to run or play it soon. Have you checked out the Trollbridge? It's a friendly T&T forum. Be happy to recommend some solo's if you're thinking of trying those.

    The picture is from the Blade version of 5th ed, by the way.

  2. I'd be happy to hear your solo recommendations. It looks like that will be my "playtest", then I may be able to stronarm my 16 y/o son into a game, if I can pry him away from his 360 long enough.

  3. Once (if) I've figured out how to use webcams and Google+ I'll prolly want to run a game or two of T&T via ConstantCon if that's any good for you.

    In the meantime the solos' I'd recommend are, in no particular order . . .

    Naked Doom
    The Arena of Khazan
    The Sewers of Oblivion
    Sword for Hire
    The City of Terrors

    Those and most of the others are available from Flying Buffalo's website, RPGnow, or E23. You can normally get cheap copies of the Corgi versions from Amazon sellers too.