Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Solos by Ken St. Andre

Ken St. Andre, the creator of Tunnels and Trolls, has recently published two new solo adventures, Khara Khang's Random Rainbow Maze and Deep Delving. Both of these solos are published under Ken's new Trollhalla Press and available as pdf downloads from the Flying Buffalo storefront at RPGNow/DriveThruRPG.

Khara Khang's Rainbow Maze has the distinction of being the first solo published under the Trollhalla Press brand. The Rainbow Maze is a 'funhouse' dungeon adventure, where you enter a series of rooms designed by the Maze Master to lure in foolish delvers with promises of fame and riches. Inside you'll face a fantastic array of monsters and hopefully make it out alive with some treasure. This solo has 33 paragraphs and is thoroughly illustrated by David Ullery

In Deep Delving you play a rock troll tunneling deep below the surface of Trollworld in search of one of Great Old Ones- trolls that have lived since the beginning of time. Your adventure takes you beneath an active volcano, down rivers of magma, and pits you against devious creatures of the underworld. You may also learn a thing or two about the ecology of rock trolls. It even includes three ready-to-run trolls just in case you don't have one handy. Deep Delving has 37 paragraphs and is once again well illustrated by David Ullery.

I have to say it's great seeing Ken publishing new material again. I look forward to seeing more from Trollhalla Press.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fond of T&T. And I want to see it do well. Everyone associated with the game seems like really nice people. It was the first RPG I played long, long ago. I have a sentimental interest in the game still, and I keep track of happenings with the game.

    The biggest concern I've always had with T&T is the quality of what's being produced for the game. Some of the solos FBI produced back in the day were great. Some. Most, however, were not. And I really wanted to like all of them. Still, FBI invented the concept of a solo gamebook--brilliant--but really failed to do much with it after that.

    In the meantime--between the late 70s and today--a few designers and authors have shown the world how to produce an engaging, compelling, solo gamebook design, such as Joe Dever, creator of Lone Wolf; the authors of the Fighting Fantasy range, spearheaded by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone; Mark Smith and Dave Morris of the Virtual Reality series; and Mark Smith (again) and Jamie Thomson of the Way of the Tiger series. The examples of fine design and writing in the genre are out there.

    While I'm glad to see Mr. St. Andre create new solos for the game, I, and it pains me to write this, once again have questions about the quality of work. Oh, I'm sure the commas and periods are in the right places; it's not the quality of grammar I'm referring to, but the quality of the adventure itself. Reading the Intro of these books and everything I can under 'Preview' I'm not engaged, I'm not...interested. And doesn't "Random Rainbow..." looks like yet another tired attempt at the Deathtrap Equalizer and Beyond the Silvered Pane concept? Isn't it time to break new ground?

    I wonder if in the passion to see things in print by some of our favorite authors, our discerning eye doesn't sometimes go blind. It may sound like I'm coming down on Ken St.Andre but I'm not. I simply want to see better adventures, especially amongst those that are asking a price. Look at the list above, fine examples are out there, learn from them.

    And I'm not coming down on everyone. I've seen some fine solos offered on the web, some free of charge that are really great. And these came from fans. From fans!!! So, what are the pros doing? Or are the fans the new pros?

    Can we please raise the bar, and stop silliness and whimsy when designing these things? Can we NOT come off that we're quickly writing these things to get them published and into print as fast as possible? Can we? Can we Ken?