Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Evolution of Tunnels and Trolls

I have the fortune of owning copies of the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 7.5 editions of Tunnels and Trolls. I look through these rule sets from time to time looking for new ideas and changes in the system. It's amazing how often I find things I never noticed before as well as discover elements that disappear. It's also striking how much the rules have actually changed since the 1st edition of 1975. The core of the rules, the Saving Roll, has remained relatively untouched but every other aspect of the game has been modified, tweaked, or completely overhauled. Some elements have been removed and new ones have been added. While some have stated that the 7th edition rules were too much of a deviation from the true spirit of the game laid out in 5th edition, the same could be said of the 5th edition over the 4th.

I'm going to start a series of posts discussing different elements of the rules that have evolved over the various editions. These posts will be mixed in with my usual posts on rules elaborations and complications, my various thoughts on solo design (I certainly won't refer to these as advice), the occasional solo narrative (whenever I am able to get back to playing), and the other odds and ends I post on an irregular basis. I hope everyone enjoys them, and as always feel free to comment. First up will be nonhuman kindred in T&T.


  1. I look forward to this. I was under the impression that T&T actually hadn't changed all that much from the 1st through 5th editions, but never having seen a version before 5th, I have no basis for this belief.

  2. Dude. Dude. I just got fired up about T&T again this week, so this comes at a great time.


  3. From what I've seen it hasn't changed that much. I guess we might have different ideas of what that means. The forthcoming posts will be interesting!

  4. There are substantial changes but I won't steal the author's thunder!

  5. Love your posts !
    I have been a Tunnels and trolls fan for years !
    I was hoping you would take a look at the art in the T&T rulebooks and especially the solo adventures...
    I have a particular liking for the art showing a lost abandoned city with a lone adventurer exploring and encountering long lost monsters with marvelous treasures.
    The flying buffalo guys really had some nice artists working for them! Liz Danforth Rick loomis micheal stackpole etc
    Wouldn't it be nice to see all the art done for T&T in one place... ( sigh.. I wish )
    I especially want to point a finger at the City of terrors solo adventure as a good first example of some compellng art.
    and to follow up the combat system in T&T has so many perks... like double damage for warriors and poison MR rating for monsters... and frankly when you are holding a handfull of dice for a powerful monster ... you really can Feel how badass the Monster is because all those dice are dishing out alotta Damage....
    Isn't it great that damage rolls are subtracted from one another and the excess is damage that actually gets through ... and damage is first taken off in armor and then your character.
    If you want to you can group several monsters together in one huge die roll and divide of the damage... it really speeds the combat system up...
    hmm I could go on and on... I love the system and the art and the fun magic system and the great Items to be found...
    I really really wish more solo adventures were being made...