That other old game

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JimboJimbo
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That other old game

Post by JimboJimbo »

Hello all!

What do you guys think of/ do you play Tunnels & Trolls? I know it's the Marmite of early games, so I'm ready for some strong reactions.

I read the Corgi edition rule book when I was a kid, but couldn't entice anyone to give it a spin until a couple of faces agreed to a pity party for my 40th birthday (and haven't played again since).

Despite the fact the rules are less well thought out (and less complete) than the 3 LLBs (and the publishers seemingly abandoned it until the late 2010s), I have a fondness for the game that hasn't been matched by any other rule set.

Combat (much maligned by detractors, fairly) is a seething free-for-all of whirling evisceration that feels more akin to the reenactor's battlefield than does the tit-for-tat hit rolls and initiative of it primary influence (though the lack of guidelines for stunting, an integral part of the fight, not appearing until 7th edition iirc, is almost unforgivable). Wizards drawing off their own physical strength(& later the wizardry stat) made the old sorcerer a little more fun to play at low levels than their d&d counterparts. The sheer number of arms and armour listed in the equipment section boggles the mind! (Although nothing on this earth will stop me grinding my teeth at the listed weapon weights).

The available starting kindred (race) gives a selection of playable character gives some fun options. Alongside the standard 4 are the leprechaun and fairy and tucked away in the Bear/Peters codex lurk the stat mods for everything from balrogs to zombies.

Saving rolls, I think, make the game a perfect starting point for newbies to the hobby. Whereas in D&D a player will describe their action and either succeed or make a roll based on DM ruling, T&T has a baked in scale of difficulty which ties in to the characters attributes.

T&T has more than a few down sides. Missile combat is a bit of a mess (which with a little tweaking could have been a great way to explain the stunting process). Monsters, with their single attribute, can make tying them to the rest of the rule system somewhat difficult (though the spite for special abilities was a great touch & I don't know why they dropped it), and the silly spells names don't really help anyone. Strength & dex requirements for weapons only make sense when adhering to the (objectively wrong) assertions of 19th century academics, and the near total abandonment of the product for decades didn't really help make the game as popular as it possibly could have been, but I absolutely love (a mildly house ruled version of) it.

So what do you guys think of T&T?

Ps: yes, I get irrationally mad at weapon weights in RPGs. I have absolutely no ideas why, but for some reason it drives me bonkers!

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rredmond
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Re: That other old game

Post by rredmond »

I honestly don't know too much about T&T, other than scanning some of the rulebooks and reading some of the adventures.
But having read some of the adventures, like Rat on a Stick, it seems a super-creative game.

Is it more like the Arnesonian-D&D of less rules and more DM rulings?
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JimboJimbo
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Re: That other old game

Post by JimboJimbo »

rredmond wrote:
Wed May 17, 2023 2:16 pm
I honestly don't know too much about T&T, other than scanning some of the rulebooks and reading some of the adventures.
But having read some of the adventures, like Rat on a Stick, it seems a super-creative game.

Is it more like the Arnesonian-D&D of less rules and more DM rulings?
I think that's probably a great way of describing it.

There is a central mechanic that can pretty much deal with anything, but it's presented in a way that feels a bit 'Here's this great tool. Why don't you see what you can do with it'.

Saving Rolls (2d6 + stat vs target number determined by Saving Roll level) replace everything from thief skills to saving throws to detection checks and beyond. Whatever you want to do (outside of standard combat) you tell the ref what you're doing, they tell you the SR level & you throw the dice. Unlike OD&D (from what I can gather), the referee has an actual concete system to adjudicate actions rather than, say, deciding the chance-in-six of a success or working with player descriptions.

In short, there's a rule but you still have to make a lot of rulings and I like that.

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Distorted Humor
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Re: That other old game

Post by Distorted Humor »

Its actually a great, rules lite system. I prefer a variations that change the spell names to less silly names, whcih is my main grrr of the rulebook.

It simple layout means one can easily run it without prep.
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JimboJimbo
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Re: That other old game

Post by JimboJimbo »

Have you seen Lair of the Leopard Empresses? It clocks in at over 400 pages, but it really makes the T&T rules shine (technically Monster! Monsters! Rules). It also does away with the silly spell names & adds a ton of new ones. We'll worth checking out IMHO.

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