Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reasons I Love Tunnels and Trolls

Ok, so there are a lot of reasons; enough to make this a regular series. But one of the reasons I love T&T is that the character pictured to the left could be a wizard. What do I mean by this? Flexibility of character types. I know the first thought you may have when you look at that picture is likely 'ranger' or 'thief.' but in T&T you have to be careful. The roles of the three basic character types (warrior, wizard, rogue) in T&T are not narrowly defined in the rules, meaning that players and referees are not constrained by excessively strict rules saying what every type of character can and cannot do. Wizards, for example, do not need to be feeble weaklings in robes and pointy hats that die as soon as something nasty so much as breathes on them. Wizards can carry a number of different weapons including very light bows and can wear any armor they can afford and have the strength to walk around in. Your wizard does not even need to be weak and easily killed. If you want a wizard with an 18 Constitution, you can have it. You want him to be armed with a foil and a main gauche; go for it. Couple that with a nice suit of armor and your wizard might be harder to kill than some warriors. A T&T wizard need not be a stranger to combat and certainly does not need to cower in the rear with the gear. But maybe you want a wizard that avoid combat and devotes all of his time to learning the arcane and honing his spellcraft. Guess what. You can have that too.

Of course this concept of flexible character types does not only apply to wizards, although it is the most extreme example of being able to break preconceived notions of character types in my opinion. Warriors are also very flexible and you can make whatever you want of them. No need for scores of warrior subtypes. Simply come up with a background of your own. May your warrior was raised in the woods, is very dextrous, and skilled with a bow. You can use that background to make a 'ranger' type without needing extra rules. If your party happens to run out of supplies in the middle of the woods, your warrior's background should allow for a Saving Roll to forage for edible plants and hunt animals more effectively than a city bred warrior.

Rogues are a whole other matter. Rogues are an open book. You can come up with whatever character concept that you like. Yes, I've previously stated that I never thought much of 5th edition rogues as defined in the rulebook, but that does not mean that they cannot be fun characters to play; especially once they get some experience under their belt and some spells. It's just my opinion. The rogue type gives you many options, that is the appeal to this type that I see. Until you play 7th edition, that is, get the Roguery talent and start kicking everyone's butt. At that point, casting spells may seem like an afterthought.

So, to recap: Tunnels and Trolls does not tell me that my wizard cannot wear a suit of mail and wield a sword or an axe.


  1. But wizards can't wear armour. It says so in the AD&D PH...


  2. Same here. I love Swords & Sorcery, and the reason I like T&T is that you can *be* the Grey Mouser. This is utterly impossible with the D&D rules.

  3. So, to recap: Tunnels and Trolls does not tell me that my wizard cannot wear a suit of mail and wield a sword or an axe.

    This article has me scratching my head. In 5th edition, yes, your wizard IS restricted by what he can use. You're okay with the armor, but the rules are pretty clear... your wizard can only wield weapons of 2 dice or less. This eliminates the rapier referenced above in the article, all bows except the "very light bow", ALL axes, and all swords except the manople (2d6) and the foil (2d6+1). Also, in 5th edition, wizards cannot even use a bludgeon (club) which gets 3d6.

    In the current 7.5 edition of the T&T rules, wizards are again restricted to 2d6 weapons or less, but they can wield larger weapons as long as "they (wizards) lose their combat adds and become so distracted that they cannot cast spells while using the wrong type of weapon."

    So, no thanks to using >2d6 weapons in T&T 7.5 if I'm a wizard.

    Peculiar article. I understand the enthusiasm for lauding your favorite game, but the facts presented here are patently false or misleading.

  4. My apologies Soren, I did indeed mean a "foil and a main gauche" and not a rapier and a "very light bow" instead of a light bow. I went ahead and corrected those two mistakes. But of course my point holds; the wizard still has a sword and a bow does he not?

    Also, yes wizards are limited to weapons with only 2 dice (but unlimited adds). I have made that point clear in previous posts.

    But I did not say that there were NO restrictions on the character types; I stated that the rules were not excessively strict and that the character types were more FLEXIBLE.

    Even with their restriction to 2 dice weapons, wizards still have an array of weapons to choose from in both 5th and 7th editions (including axes in 7th) giving them the ability to act in both ranged and close combat. I'll go ahead and post a list of the weapons that wizards can use in both editions next to illustrate. T&T wizards certainly have more weapon options than a magic user in all iterations of D&D that I am familiar with.

    Of course this is all my opinion. It is my blog after all.

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  6. Nice points and good blog - instantly subsribed!

    I know it's a few years back but do you mind if I quote/link this article on my blog page?

    I'll be doing a quick write-up of T&T fairly soon.