Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I wanted to wish everyone who follows The Lone Delver a Happy New Year. I hope that 2012 was a good year for you and I wish you all the best for 2013. I also hope that you were able to find some use for my various T&T related ramblings on this blog. I was excited to see an increase in the number of followers this year and an upswing in the number of page views; The Lone Delver is now approaching the 50,000 mark. I was able to get more posts in this year than the past two years; I'd like to exceed this in 2013.

The coming year should be an exciting one for T&T with the release of Deluxe T&T. As I've said before watch out for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign. There's sure to be a lot of great stuff available to supporters in addition to the new book. With this new release of the T&T rules I am hopeful of even more support of T&T by Flying Buffalo. I will be doing my best to release some new material this year. While my position as editor of TrollsZine! has taken much of my time in 2012, I plan to release a new GM adventure and a new solo in 2013. Also keep an eye out for a new website for Lone Delver Games currently under development.

Happy 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Website

There is now a website dedicated to providing news and feedback about Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls from the games designers including Ken St. Andre, Steve Crompton, Liz Danforth, Bear Peters, and Rick Loomis. This is definitely the place to go for behind-the-scenes information on DT&T. You can even post comments and questions about the project that will be answered.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hobb Sized Adventures: Eight Free Solos and Counting

One of the great new Tunnels and Trolls resources to come out in 2012 was Hobb Sized Adventures, a new blog created by Charlie Flemming dedicated to providing free mini solo adventures for T&T on a regular basis. At the outset, Charlie proposed to publish a mini solo of about 20 paragraphs every two weeks either by himself or contributed by another author. This was an ambitious goal. While Charlie did not make that goal, he did publish a nice catalog of eight solos in about six months, five of which he wrote himself. That is something to be proud of in my opinion.

True to his word each solo is only about 20 paragraphs and can easily be completed in under an hour. The shortest is the first solo, Tomb of the Toad, with only 11 paragraphs. It sounds short, but it makes for a great adventure. The longest solo, The Harvester of Souls, is still only 34 paragraphs and was a special solo for Halloween. One way to increase the replay value of short solos like these is to include tables to randomize monsters, traps, and treasures. Charlie made great use of this mechanic in Challenge of the King which at only 15 paragraphs is short but with these three tables can be very different each time you play.

Here is the list of solo adventures that you can find and play for free at Hobb Sized Adventures:

Tomb of the Toad by Charlie Flemming

Adrift in the Ocean by Mark Thornton

Duck Soup by Charlie Flemming

Challenge of the King by Charlie Flemming

Fairyland by Mark Thornton

Dark Deeds and Cabbages by James Fallows

The Harvester of Souls by Charlie Flemming

The Tower in the Marsh by Charlie Flemming

If you have not done so, you should definitely roll up a character and try these adventures out.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

T&T Deluxe News

There have been some updates on the upcoming T&T Deluxe edition, some old, some new.

The first is a pretty interesting alteration of the rules for spell casting from the more recent 7th edition. There will no longer be a Saving Roll required to cast spells. This was of course the norm for the 5th edition and older rules (1975-2005). How did this change back to the original rule come about? Ken St. Andre asked T&T players which they preferred and an overwhelming majority preferred no required Saving Roll. Of course there is always the "house rule as wanted" caveat for those that like the newer rule.

A second piece of news is a preview of one of the items available to supporters of T&T Deluxe in the upcoming Kickstarter campaign: Trollworld coins.

While these are simply prototypes of what is to come, they seem pretty nice and would make good props for group games.

There have also been a number of posts since November by Ken at the Outer Sanctum of Trollhalla detailing some of the sections of the rule book such as the various kindreds that players can use as characters:

Common Kindreds of Trollworld

What was missing from this list? Leprechauns. Leprechauns have been a staple PC option since 1e T&T back in 1975. Their absence from this list sparked a bit of an uproar in the T&T community. What happened? Ken added them back in:

Common Kindreds of Trollworld Take 2

I love that Ken is actually listening to the players of the game in this new edition and being so open in the design process.

Here are links to some other bits of the kindred rules that Ken has previewed:

Uncommon Kindred

Mixed Kindred

You can find a lot more information about Deluxe T&T in the Outer Sanctum. Just have a look around you'll find a lot more great articles by Ken and others as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Free T&T GM Adventures Direct from the Authors

What's that? You're lucky enough to have a group of eager players together ready to play some T&T but you don't have an adventure ready to go? Check out these GM adventures provided absolutely FREE by other T&T fans, long-time contributors, and it's creator.

Gristlegrim by Ken St. Andre

Riverboat Adventure by Ken St. Andre

Temple of the Whispering Dark by Tori Berquist

The Tomb of Agathor by Tori Berquist

The Restless Mausoleum by Salvatore Macri

The Hunt by Salvatore Macri

Bludgeons and Flagons by Justin T. Williams

The Wild Woods by Russ Westbrook and Scott Grant

The Horned Hold by Stephen Dove

Ice Exile by Mark Thornton

Bats in Dabelfry by Jason Mills

Something in the Wind by Jason Mills

The Rainy Day Puzzle Dungeon by Jason Mills

The Pharaoh's Tomb by Jason Mills

The Kare Bears Dungeon by Jason Mills

The Dungeon with No Name by Jason Mills

The Dungeon's Dungeon by Jason Mills

The Tomb of Dipsom Dints by Andreas Davour

The Tunnels and Trolls Random Dungeon Generator

That should keep your group busy for a while.

Please remember that the contents of these sites are the copyright of the authors. Publishing the contents in any form without consent of the author is forbidden.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free T&T Solo Adventures Direct From the Authors

Here is a list of T&T solos available to play online or as downloads. These solos are made available either directly by the author or with the authors permission.

These solos can be played with any edition of the T&T rules. If you don't have one yet you can get an abridged version of the T&T 5th edition rules here.

If you have trouble coming up with enough characters, you can find an excellent character generator here.

If for some reason you don't have enough 6-sided dice, you can find a very useful online dice roller designed specifically for T&T here.

Solos to Play Online

Buffalo Castle by Rick Loomis

The Eye of the Serpent by Andy Holmes

Khosht by Ken St. Andre

Hela's House of Dark Delights by Ken St. Andre

The Old Dwarf Mine by Roy Cram

Sorcerer's Solitaire by Walker Vanig

Labyrinth by Lee Russell

Dargon's Dungeon by Bill Hart, Michael Stackpole, Paul O'Conner, Liz Danforth, and Pat Mueller

The Blood Wars of Saxon by Tom Grimshaw

Dark Rising by Tom Grimshaw

The Murren Moors by Heinomynous

Tomb of the Toad by Charlie Flemming

Duck Soup by Charlie Flemming

The Challenge of the King by Charlie Flemming

The Harvester of Souls by Charlie Flemming

The Tower in the Marsh by Charlie Flemming

Fairyland by Mark Thornton

Adrift on the Ocean by Mark Thornton

Dark Deeds and Cabbages by James Fallows

Solos to Download

The Barony of Sanris by Patrick Witmer

Dark Side of the Desert by Patrick Witmer

No Rest for the Weary at War by Patrick Witmer

Queen Scorpions and Lady Nymphs by Tori Berquist

The Sunk of Tarsus by Tori Berquist

The Bullow Lands by Tori Berquist

The Temple of Issoth by Dan Hembree

Escape from Khosht by Andrew Greene

Four Jars of Mead by Ken St. Andre

Goblin Lake by Ken St. Andre

Down Time by Michael Eidson

Beneath the Arena by Scott Grant

Soul Survivor by Sid Orpin

Night Walk in the Wild Woods by James Fallows

That's a lot of adventures for free! Play them and let the authors know how much you enjoyed them.

Please remember that the contents of these sites are the copyright of the authors. Publishing the contents in any form without consent of the author is forbidden.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Trailer

This trailer was posted at Ken St. Andre's YouTube channel announcing the release of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls by Summer 2013. An additional comment stated that the KickStarter page should be up by next week. Exciting times for T&T!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tunnels & Trolls 4th Edition PDF Available from Flying Buffalo!

That's right, you can now get an official version of the T&T 4th edition rules from 1977 in PDF format directly from Flying Buffalo at their RPGNow / DriveThruRPG storefronts. This is really fantastic news given the quality of this rules set and the previous lack of PDF versions of the full T&T rules published by Flying Buffalo. I sincerely hope that this is a sign of more things to come. I've discussed many of the differences between the 4th, 5th, and 7th edition rules in previous posts. There are really only minor changes between 4th and 5th and the 4th edition rules contain many elaborations that are missing in the later editions (especially 7th). The PDF is a 56 page scan of an original copy and is quite clean. It includes many wonderful illustrations by Liz Danforth (including the cover), Robin Carver, and Dan Carver that you won't find in later editions. What's even better is that you can get it for only $4!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stay Alive! : T&T Powered Zombie Survival Game

Jerry Teleha of The Delving Dwarf is running a zombie survival solo game over at his Stay Alive site. The game uses a modified version of the T&T rules including some new character attributes tailored for such a game such as Guts, Stability, and Resistance.

You can help guide the main character, Officer Mickey, through the breakout of a zombie apocalypse in Toledo, Ohio. Will Mickey survive or end up just another shambling zombie?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

TrollsZine! #6 Has Landed!

TrollsZine! #6 has landed!

The sixth issue of the fan-created magazine for Tunnels and Trolls™, edited by Dan Hembree, contains 58 pages of quality content brought to you by the fans of the game for absolutely free. This issue features two solo adventures, “Night Walk in the Wild Woods” by James Fallows and “Soul Survivor” by Sid Orpin, a GM adventure, “Ice Exile” by Mark Thornton, and a short story, “Old Kramm” by Roy Cram. TrollsZine! #6 also includes articles on obtaining food for adventurers, acquiring henchmen for solo delvers, alternate armor rules, an NPC elven wizard description, a short, one-room GM scenario, and more.

Contributors to TrollsZine! #6 include Roy Cram, E. P. Donahue, James Fallows, Dan Hembree, Paul Ingrassia, David Moskowitz, Stefan Jones, Sid Orpin, Mark Thornton, and Justin Williams. TrollsZine! #6 is amazingly illustrated by Darrenn E. Canton, Alexander Cook, Patrick Crusiau, E. P. Donahue, James Fallows, Jeff Freels, J. Lambert, Simon Lee Tranter, David Ullery, and M. E. Volmar, with cover art by Patrick Crusiau.

TrollsZine! is a Trollbridge production brought to you with the kind support of Flying Buffalo Inc., Ken St. Andre, and Rick Loomis.

Get you digital copy of TrollsZine! #6 for FREE at the Flying Buffalo storefront at RPGNow.

I would like to thank all of the writers, artists, and copy editors that have helped to make TrollsZine! possible. All of the material is freely donated by these talented and creative individuals. I hope that I have done their work justice.

Now go get your copy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Elder Tunnels and More from Peryton

Peryton Publishing has released their latest issue of Elder Tunnels. This is their annual Halloween issue, and it's a good one. It features a solo adventure, "Curse of the Three-Eyed Stone," by David Crowell of H'rrrothgarrr's Hovel, a GM adventure, "Junior's Return," by David Moskowitz (author of Amulet of the Salkti), and two monster descriptions, "The Bone Lords" by Peryton's own Tom Loney and "Woe Hound" by Jerry Teleha of The Delving Dwarf. Obviously the theme of this issue is horror, "Junior's Return" in particular; it is not for the squeamish. At only $5.99 for the pdf it's quite a bargain.

Also "recently" released by Peryton Publishing is When Good Games Go Bad, a solo adventure by Roy Cram author of the T&T solos Mistywood, Gamesmen of Kasar, and The Old Dwarf Mine. Good Games is a science fiction solo adventure intended to be a sequel to Gamesmen of Kasar and uses the New Khazan sci-fi T&T supplement by Tom Loney. Like many T&T solo adventures published recently, Good Games also includes expanded background information and notes to turn the solo into a game master adventure. Good Games features a color cover by Jeff Freels as well as a couple of interior B&W illustrations. A pdf will set you back a mere $3.00.

Not recently published (August actually), but recently purchased by me is the GM adventure Hot Nights in Lowhollow, an adventure by Tom Loney set in Scott Malthouse's (The Trollish Delver) Peakville setting. This is described as an "in-between" adventure in which characters can spend some time exploring the town of Lowhollow. Who says you have to go crawl into some dank caves or crumbling ruins to find trouble? Hot Nights lays out notable places, people, and events in the town of Lowhollow, as well brief descriptions of several scenarios to run players through. While not heavily fleshed out, this book provides a nice starting point for some great adventures. You can get a pdf of this one for only $2.25.

As a side note for those who think that there are no published GM adventures for Tunnels and Trolls, here are three.

You can find all of these fine T&T items at the Peryton Publishing web store.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Current House Rules Part 3: Character Creation

For the third installment of this series of posts, here are my currently favored House Rules for character creation. Once again, these are modifications to the 5th edition rules, so some of them are standard rules using the 7th edition rules.

Each character has the standard six attributes (Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, Dexterity, Luck, and Charisma) as well as Wizardry.

I like to have a separate attribute for powering spells as I stated in my last post on Magic-related House Rules.

To generate attributes, roll 3D6 seven times and arrange the scores in the order desired. You may re-roll any 3s.

I don't typically follow the "assign 3D6 in order" rule. Giving the player the option of assigning values to specific attributes allows more customization of characters. One thing I like to stress in my games is that there are no "dump stats." Every attribute is valuable. Any attribute may be called upon for a Saving Roll. If everyone has a low Charisma, for example, there is going to be trouble.

Allowing players to re-roll any natural 3s that come up, since I don't allow TARO, prevents utterly useless attributes.

Rogues start with one randomly determined (1d10) first level spell.

This gets back to some previous posts that I made about 5th edition rogues. I think that they should start with at least one spell (as they now do in 5th edition), but I like the idea of making the spell random with the idea that the rogue came upon the knowledge in a less than intentional way.

Everyone starts with warm dry clothes and a backpack (a 5 gp value!).

This is just a gift that I like to give. Of course, players still need to make sure that they purchase some footwear with their starting gold.

Simplified weapons and armor list.

I've presented this table in a previous post, and in implementing it I like it a lot. Keeping track of the dice, adds, cost, weight, and attribute requirements for the exhaustive weapons and armor lists can be a chore. This system makes it easy and it certainly speeds up character creation. Players are welcome to call their general weapon type whatever they like. So a "sword" can be a broadsword, saber, scimitar, or rapier; but they all have the same stats. This system also makes it easier for the GM to equip any opposition and stock shops.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Current House Rules: Part 2 Magic

Next up in my list of house rules for my online T&T games are Magic-related rules. Remember that these rules are modifications to the 5th edition rules and so some are "actual rules" from the 7th edition. There are two basic rule categories here: 1) Wizardry, or the powering of spells, and 2) Spell Effects, clarifications or additions to some first level spells from the 5th edition rules.

1. Wizardry

Wizardry (WIZ) Attribute : Determined by a roll of 3D6 during character creation. WIZ is not affected by kindred. WIZ is a pool of energy for spell casting. If WIZ is reduced to 0, then the caster falls unconscious. WIZ may also be used in saving rolls against some magical attacks and devices. The Saving Roll level is the level of the spell plus (or minus) the difference in the level of the caster and target (if applicable). The Saving Roll must at least be Level 1.

A separate attribute to power spells is an old house rule for Tunnels and Trolls. It has been called many things including Mana, Arcane, and Power, I just happen to like the name Wizardry which Ken uses in 7th edition. The chief advantage for having a separate attribute to power spells is that the Wizard (or Rogue or Warrior-Wizard) does not lose Strength which powers spells according to 5th edition. This use of physical strength obviously has many disadvantages for the character related to combat effectiveness and the ability to carry things. This can also be a book-keeping problem for the GM. While only spell-casting characters get to actively use their Wizardry, all character types have this attribute and may need it to make saving rolls on if they fall under magical attack of one type or another. A warrior, for example, may never be able to cast a spell, but with a high Wizardry he would be able to withstand the effects of many spells which might charm him (Yassa-Massa), instill fear (Oh Go Away), put him to sleep (Rock-a-Bye), hold him in place (Glue-You), or otherwise affect his mind or body.

Wizardry Recovery : WIZ is replenished at a rate of 2 points every 10 minutes when actively resting (sleeping, meditating, etc.).

I like to require active rest for Wizardry recovery rather than just gradual recovery while walking around. This is primarily a bookkeeping issue (Wait, how many minutes have you been walking around? But you ran part of the way.), but it also forces the players to stop and rest regularly if they want to regain the ability to cast spells. I find that this encourages better resource management and reduces the barrages of TTYFs at anything that moves.

2. Spell Effects

Take That You Fiend! : Damage taken by TTYF can be reduced by normal and magical armor. However, normal armor that is used to absorb damage from a TTYF spell is 'burned off' in the process, permanently losing the number of hits absorbed in protection value. Armor doubling for warriors still applies. Burning armor is optional and is at the player's discretion if targeted by a TTYF.

The 5th edition rules are not clear if armor provides protection against magical damage. The 7th edition rules state that TTYF does not affect inanimate objects (this includes armor IMO). For TTYF in my game, however, I decided that armor can provide protection, but at the price of damaging or destroying the armor. In my game world, casting TTYF produces a bolt of magical energy that explodes on contact, burning and blasting armor and flesh. I mainly designed this for the benefit of the player characters who had the possibility of going up against a large number of first level wizards. If armor was not effective against TTYF, they would have been in trouble of hostilities arose.

Oh Go Away : Wizards may cast this spell on a single target or multiple targets, but the number of targets must be stated prior to casting. If more than one target is chosen, their MRs are added and treated as a single target score when determining if the spell has had the desired effect.

This is another point of clarification for the spell description in 5th edition. I've found it works rather well and players will typically overestimate the strength of their opponents.

Detect Magic : Wizards and Warrior-Wizards may normally detect magical properties of items or creatures at no expense of Wizardry. Wizards, Warrior-Wizards, and Rogues may also expend additional Wizardry to have a chance to learn the nature of the magical properties. The chance of divining the identity of the magic and the amount of detail revealed is a function of the level of the spell-caster and the amount of Wizardry expended.

I first saw this house rule in action in Ragnorakk's play-by-post game at the Trollbridge. It worked so well I decided to use it myself. I tend to use my own judgement on how well the spell works and how much information to reveal since the number of possible circumstances and variables are so high. However, more is always better, so if the player wants to commit a large amount of their Wizardry I'll give them a lot of information provided the magic is not too powerful.

Knock Knock : This spell will unlock mechanically or magically locked doors but it will not open them. The door must be physically touched by the caster for the spell to work.

No casting this spell from a distance. If you want to unlock the door you have to touch it and potentially face the consequences of doing so. I also felt it was necessary to state that the door must still be physically opened by someone, again facing the possible consequences.

Vorpal Blade : May be cast on any bladed weapon (sword, dagger, axe, spear).

This is a minor distinction from the 5th edition rules which state only swords and daggers are affected. The 7th edition rules state Vorpal Blade may be cast on any bladed weapon, which makes sense to me so I use it as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

T&T Blogging: Solo Dungeoneer

Ken St. Andre brought my attention to a blog, Solo Dungeoneer, that's been covering Tunnels and Trolls recently. The author is planning on using the Mythic GM Emulator to run some T&T adventures. So far, the Solo Dungeoneer has posted a nice overview of the 7.5 edition boxed set, a list of possible dice modifiers for weapon types in special situations (tight areas, open areas, dense areas, open areas, etc.), a method of randomly determining damage allocation in combat, a nice modification to the saving roll system where the Level 1 target is 15, and an interesting description of how to handling combat stunts so that there is added risk in failure. There are some really good ideas there; I'm certainly planning on trying some of them out. I'm looking forward to seeing what the Solo Dungeoneer comes up with next.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Current House Rules: Part 1 Combat

Like every other person that plays Tunnels and Trolls I use a lot of house rules that either slightly modify or add to the core T&T rules. I thought that I would share and comment on the house rules that I am currently using in the two play-by-post 5th edition T&T games that I am running. Some are my own creations while others come from the newer editions of T&T, the pages of Sorcerer's Apprentice, or T&T forums such as Trollbridge.

Up first are my house rules for combat:

Two-Weapon Fighting : Warriors may fight with a weapon in each hand as long as they have the ST and DEX requirements of both weapons combined. Rogue and Warrior-Wizards may also fight with two weapons but one must be a 2D weapon. Wizards may not fight with two weapons at once.

This is one of my own house rules. I like this one because it gives warriors a real edge over the other character types in fighting, which just makes sense. Of course, this also eliminates my two dagger wielding wizards.

Spite Damage : For every '6' rolled in combat, 1 point of damage is inflicted on the opposing side regardless of armor.

Spite damage was first introduced (as far as I know) in Sorcerer's Apprentice #13 (1982) by Roy Cram and then appeared in the T&T 7th edition rules. This is a great way to make the players feels some pain even in easy fights. Of course it also allows players to win out over very strong opponents.

Armor Attrition : Whenever a character takes enough damage to bypass his/her armor and shield and loses CON, 1 point is deducted from the hits taken by the suit of armor (or single piece) or shield. Players may also choose to take Spite damage off of their armor value rather than their CON. This damage may be repaired by an armorer with the appropriate tools and skill. If a piece of armor or shield reaches a protective value of 0, then it is destroyed and cannot be repaired.

Another of my own house rules, armor attrition has two roles. First, it reflects the wear and tear suffered by armor in combat. Combatants are being slashed, stabbed, and bashed by all manner of weapons; while armor can deflect or absorb this punishment it can be damaged. Also, if you actually take damage through your armor, that should mean that your armor has been breached. The second role of this house rule is to help keep delvers poor.

Flaming Oil and Fire Bombs : When throwing a fire bomb, you must make a SR on DEX (level determined by range and difficulty) to hit the target. A successful SR means the target was hit. A failed SR means the bomb landed to the side of the target (side determined randomly). A really badly failed SR (rolling a three or four without doubles) means something bad happened.

A direct hit with a fire bomb does 2d6 hits worth of damage on the first turn and 1d6 hits of damage on the second turn. After that the flames die out, unless the target is flammable. In addition, anything within 5' of the target will receive 1d6 hits in 'splash damage' on the first turn.

There is always at least one pyromaniac in a delving party and there are no set rules in T&T for flaming oil or fire bombs. I borrowed from the 1e AD&D rules in making this house rule.

Combat Stunts : Characters may perform unusual actions during combat (attempt to disarm opponent, shield bashing, feinting, tripping, swinging from chandeliers, etc.) with a penalty to their combat total based on the complexity of the stunt (generally 25-100%). This is your chance to be creative.

Creativity in combat? Absolutely. This is one of the best ways to overcome tough odds. If you can't stand toe to toe with your opponent and trade blows, do something creative or dirty. Of course that action should take some of your energy and attention, hence the reduction in combat total.

Critical Failure : Whenever a 3 is rolled on a saving roll, the character has completely failed in whatever he/she was doing to such a degree that something bad has happened as a result. The GM will determine exactly what happens (broken weapon, self inflicted injury, falling down, etc.) depending on the action, difficulty, and situation.

Let's face it, rolling a 3 is just bad so bad thing should happen.

Missile Fire : If opponents are a sufficient distance away and characters have missile weapons in hand and ready, an initial volley of missiles may be unleashed against a charging force. Hits inflicted from this volley would be counted before close combat is begun. If the range is 'Near' or greater, then those with missile weapons may also ready melee weapons before engaging. As always the GM has the final call.

A good volley of missiles can be a big boost for a party of outnumbered delvers. Wise and agile ones should have some sort of missile weapon in hand at all times to even the odds. Of course their adversaries can do the same.

Missile Fire into Melee : Players may choose to fire or throw a missile weapon at foes actively engaged in close combat. However, this will increase the difficulty by one SR level and if the target is missed, there is a 3 in 6 chance that one of the friendlies engaged with the target will be hit instead.

For whatever reason everyone wants to do this, so instead of just saying that you cannot fire into melee (obviously you physically can) I felt it needed a house rule. I've found that the likelihood of hitting your comrades did not really reduce the willingness to try.

Shields and Missiles : Shields take double their normal hits when damage is inflicted by a missile weapon. So a medium shield would absorb 8 hits from an arrow in the hands of a wizard or rogue or 16 hits in the hands of a warrior. For this to occur, however, the target must be aware that he/she is being targeted (i.e. not surprised).

I designed this house rule to help increase the usefulness of shields. They are incredibly useful at blocking missiles in that they an actual barrier between the wielder and the incoming stones, bolts, and arrows so this house rule helps reflect that fact. Of course warriors are trained to charge into or hold their ground in the face of storms of arrows so they get more protection.

Monday, September 3, 2012

20% Discount on T&T Books from Lulu

Now is one of those great times to get some Tunnels and Trolls books from print-on-demand publisher Lulu. This week Lulu is offering a 20% discount on any order. You can find the T&T items available on Lulu here. These include five solo adventures and one game master adventure from my own Lone Delver Games.

Enter the code CITHARA20 when you check out to get 20% off your entire purchase.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where to Buy Tunnels and Trolls Products

If you're looking for the places to purchase Tunnels and Trolls items online, the best places to go are the Flying Buffalo website, RPGNow (aka DriveThruRPG), and Lulu.

Flying Buffalo is a straightforward enough choice; they are the official publishers of T&T after all. Go to their website to find an array of new and old adventures and supplements. You can find their T&T page here.

If you enjoy your RPG accessories in PDF format, one of the best places to shop is RPGNow (also known as DriveThruRPG). There are currently 86 different T&T related items available on RPGNow including the complete 7.5 Edition box set, GM adventures, solo adventures, rules supplements, and magazines. Some of these items (like TrollsZine!) are even free. For a quick look at what is available go to the RPGNow T&T items here.

If you still prefer your gaming material to come in a nice paperback book, check out the print-on-demand publisher Lulu. There you can find a number of solo adventures, GM adventures, magazines, and even the French edition of the T&T rules. Check out Lulu's T&T list here. Of course when shopping with Lulu you should always wait for one of their many sales and save a lot of money, so be sure to register before you buy.

There are several reasons to shop at these sites. In most cases, you will be purchasing directly from the authors, especially when shopping at RPGNow and Lulu. You will also get the lowest prices when you do so. There's no reason to pay outrageous mark-ups from second-hand dealers; buy direct. Finally, by purchasing from the authors of these products you help to encourage the production of new T&T material which is something that we all want to see.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August's Lone Delver

This month's Lone Delver is another by Liz Danforth from the 5th edition Tunnels and Trolls rulebook. This illustration depicts a classic scene in any fantasy RPG, with the adventurer facing a dangerous monster guarding a locked chest in the middle of an otherwise empty room. Of course there is a nice burning brazier in the corner; maybe to keep the serpent warm? I like the simplicity of the set up, but there are details about the delver that make the image more substantial and memorable. First, the delver is not a human but a hobbit and is significant dwarfed by the snake. The small size of the delver make this seemingly mundane adversary all the more dangerous. Second is the way the delver is dressed. He is not well-equipped but instead wears only a loose jerkin and some pants making him look desperate; that's how I view delvers in general. Why else would you take on a giant snake that will more than likely kill you unless you REALLY needed the money. Third, the delvers weapons are far from the norm, in particular his madu; it's an interesting choice and not one most delvers possess. Of course between his madu and short saber, the hobbit may have a fighting chance.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Two New Solos from Tavernmaster Games

Tavernmaster Games has rolled out two new T&T solo adventures: Sideshow by Andy Holmes and Andy James and Rapscallion by Sid Orpin.


Written by Andy Holmes and Andy James featuring art by Jeff Freels this solo contains 69 paragraphs and includes a separate GM version of the adventure with maps. It is designed for first level characters of any type and includes a Magic Matrix.

Roll up! Roll up! Come and visit the Sideshow. With time on your hands after a night of satisfying all of your desires what better way to spend a few happy hours than to enter the colourful tents that you discover down a quiet alley in an unknown part of town? After all, what could there be here that would pose any sort of threat to an adventurer like you?

Sideshow is a mini-solo adventure for use with Tunnels & Trolls. It was designed with the 5th Edition of the Rules in mind but can be easily adapted for other Editions. It is suitable for first-level characters only and some magic spells are permitted.

In addition to the solo adventure, this special edition includes a section with descriptions and a map that will allow it to be used as a GM Adventure.

WARNING: Contains bizarre, bloody violence, mild peril and some sexual references.

You can get the PDF for $1.00 from RPGnow; that's an absolute steal. As an added bonus, all proceeds from the sale of Sideshow go the Jeff Freels Transplant Fund.


Written by Sid Orpin featuring a nice cover illustration by Simon Lee Tranter and some interior art by William McAusland this solo contains 142 paragraphs and a Magic Matrix. It is designed for 1st-3rd level Rogues using the 7th edition rules.

You have always sacrificed a little of your hard-won gold to Ylsenor, the god of the rogues. In return, you have enjoyed more than your fair share of good fortune. Today, just as you think your luck has finally run out, your deity snatches you from death's jaws, but now you are expected to entertain the great Dissembler. Take on his challenge, and prove his faith in you is well founded, and the rewards may be great. Fail him, and you may never have the opportunity to pay homage to him again...

Rapscallion is a solitaire Adventure module for play with Tunnels & Trolls. Only Rogue characters of 1st to 3rd level may explore its 142 adventure paragraphs. It has been written with the 7th/7.5th Edition of the Rule Book in mind, though it will adapt to earlier Editions.

You can get the PDF for $2.00 from RPGnow, another incredible bargain.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Saving Rolls and Adventure Points

While running my play-by-post adventure, The Lost City, at the Trollbridge I have run across an issue with Saving Rolls and awarding Adventure Points. Specifically this relates to situations where players may have the ability to attempt Saving Rolls for a similar action multiple times in a row.

A good example of this is when looking for traps or hidden objects. When a character first enters a room he may search for traps. This would require a Saving Roll. If the player makes the Saving Roll, it's simple and the trap is found. If the player fails the Saving Roll, however, then the trap is not found and the complication begins. Either way the character earns Adventure points for the Saving Roll, but perhaps the player is suspicious and thinks a trap is there. He may want to search the area again. One way around this is to not allow another Saving Roll to be made. As GM you can rule that if you don't find anything with the first check then you never will. I don't like being that arbitrary, however. If someone were trying to pick a lock for example, that character could keep trying as many times as she wanted as long as nothing interrupted the process, say a wandering guard perhaps. Of course there could also be a critical failure (rolling a 3 on 2D6) resulting in breaking the lock or setting off a trap. But barring these sort of events, a character should be able to search, pick, listen or fiddle around as long as he or she likes.

But, if the player does so and fails the Saving Roll again, and again, and again does he still earn more Adventure Points with each failure? What if he searches three, four, or ten more times for traps. Does he keep earning Adventure Points while he searches every nook and cranny of that room for traps? Is there a limit? Not having one can result in a serious issue with Adventure Point awards.

The House Rule that I came up with for my game is that the first Saving Roll earns Adventure Points. If the Saving Roll succeeds, all is well. If the Saving Roll is failed, no more Adventure Points are earned for subsequent failures. If the situation permits, the player may keep making Saving Rolls. If the player later makes a successful Saving Roll, he then earns Adventure Points for that roll.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tunnels and Trolls Deluxe: It's Official

Yes, there will be a new edition of the Tunnels and Trolls rules out soon, currently being referred to as Tunnels and Trolls Deluxe. Ken St. Andre posted a statement today at the Trollhalla Outer Sanctum in which he revealed that the project has begun with a starting team of Rick Loomis, Liz Danforth, Steve Crompton, Bear Peters, and Ken St. Andre. One of the big additions to this new edition appears to be more information on Ken's own campaign setting, Trollworld. In a post at the Trollbridge late last week Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo stated the possibility of a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. I for one will get firmly behind this endeavor. Perhaps most importantly, Ken is looking for ideas about what fans want to see in this new version of the rules set. So, if you'd like to talk directly to the Trollgod himself go to the Outer Sanctum, sign up, and give Ken your thoughts.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

New T&T Online Games and Resources

July has been a rather busy month leaving me with little time for posting or gaming in general outside of keeping up with my play-by-post games and managing TrollsZine!. Before July comes to a close, there are a couple of new T&T resources that have come online recently that I would like to mention.

The first is a new blog, Alchemy Gaming Blog, run by Tom Grimshaw which features a lot of T&T related content. It has recently finished a series of posts entitled "Week of the Troll" focusing on T&T. Tom also runs the excellent Tunnels of the Trollamancer T&T website and has written the Secrets of Saxon solo adventure series. Tom has already racked up 40 posts on his new blog this month so look for great stuff there.

The second is a new Play-by-Post game that I am playing in that has started at the Trollbridge, Isle of the Faerie. This campaign is set in a human-dominated empire where the other kin have been conquered and subjugated. The adventures are set on the Isle of the Faerie, the last stronghold of the Faerie kin to fall to the humans. The Isle is filled with ruins, mystery, and (hopefully) treasure. I am playing Banoc, a human rogue in poor health. This is my first adventure as a rogue so I am enjoying the new complexities of that role, including trying to get on of the wizards in our party to teach me a spell or two. The party includes some interesting characters including a leprechaun. The in-game posts are world looking through if just to see the antics of Ruby Redd.

There will be more to come later. Perhaps I'll get one more post in for July.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rogues, Spells, & Solos

In keeping with my interest in the Rogue type, I have been thinking about the way in which Rogues learn spells particularly the solo Rogue. In a group game it is simple enough especially if there is a Wizard in the party (as there should be). That Wizard starts with the Teacher spell which he can use to teach Rogues any spell. If the Rogue wants a spell that the Wizard does not know (or is unwilling to teach), the player could always seek out another Wizard through the Game Master and pay an exorbitant fee.

Solo adventures are, as always, a little different in that the player is also (effectively) the Game Master especially during the time between adventures when the Rogue would be trying to learn spells. Your Rogue may find some ancient scrolls in the course of an adventure or perhaps even learn a spell during an adventure, but most would be learned during his/her 'down time.' But how?

The simplest way to do this would be to assume that the Rogue could learn any spell he/she wants. But I prefer a bit more of a challenge. So, for each level of spell, make a Saving Roll on Luck (or Roguery if using 7th edition) to see if you can find a teacher. If you want a Level 1 spell, make a Level 1 Saving Roll on Luck/Roguery. For a Level 5 spell, make a Level 5 Saving Roll on Luck/Roguery. If you fail the Saving Roll, you must wait until the character completes another solo adventure before he/she tries to find a teacher for that spell again. You may try to find as many spells as you can afford, but you should only receive Adventure Points for these Saving Rolls if you actually obtain the spell being sought.

But how much would the spell cost? There are prices listed for each spell in the rulebook: 500 gp per level starting at 2nd level in 5th edition rules or 1000 gp per level in 7th edition. But these are the prices charged to Wizards by the Wizard's Guild. They will not teach Rogues, so Rogues are left to find unscrupulous Wizards to teach them spells on the sly. Of course the punishment for getting caught teaching Rogues magic is severe, so these Wizards would need the reward to outweigh the risk. So how much would the teacher charge? Two times as much? Three time? Ten times? Time for another Saving Roll, this time on Charisma or Roguery. Make your Saving Roll and determine your level of success. For each level of success deduct one from the multiplier on the table below; however the final cost must be at least twice the listed cost. Failing the Saving Roll simply means that you must use the listed multiplier. If you cannot pay the final price, you must wait until the character completes another solo adventure before trying to obtain the spell again (you'll have to start over by trying to find a teacher). No Adventure Points are awarded for this Saving Roll.

1st - 2nd Level : 3x
3rd - 4th Level : 4x
5th - 6th Level : 5x
7th - 8th Level : 6x
9th - 10th Level : 7x
11th - 12th Level : 8x
13th Level : 9x

Remember that according to the 5th edition rules, Rogues may not learn spells above 7th level; they're just too complicated. This restriction does not apply to the 7th edition rules. Also, in the 5th edition rules there is no cost listed for 1st Level spells. For this House Rule, assume that their base (Wizard) cost is 250 gp.

So there you have it, a simple House Rule involving only two Saving Rolls to determine what spells your solo Rogues can find a teacher for and how much they'll need to pay to learn them.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TrollsZine! #5 Approaches 500 Downloads!

Only two weeks after it's release, TrollsZine! #5 has been downloaded 478 times. I can certainly live with those numbers. I'm happy to see so many T&T fans out there. It definitely makes the labor worthwhile.

The submission window for TrollsZine! #6 will be open soon. For those who are interested in submitting to TrollsZine! please see the TrollsZine! thread at the Trollbridge.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TrollsZine! #5 is Here!

TrollsZine! #5 is here! The fifth issue of the fan-created magazine for Tunnels and Trolls™, edited by Dan Hembree, contains 91 pages of quality content brought to you by the fans of the game for absolutely free. This issue features a solo adventure, “Beneath the Arena”, a GM adventure, “The Horned Hold”, and a short story, “Tall Tales from Trollstone Caverns.” TrollsZine! #5 also includes articles describing bards in T&T, new ideas for making zombies more terrifying, rules for chariots and barding, a fantasy post-apocalyptic campaign world, elaborations for unarmed combat, and clarifications of the 7th edition rules.

Contributors include Stephen Dove, Dan Hembree, Patrice Geille, W. Scott Grant, Tom K. Loney, Dan Prentice, Lee Reynoldson, Jerry Teleha, Mike Tremaine, David Ullery, and Justin Williams. TrollsZine! #5 is illustrated by Billiam Bamble, Alexander Cook, Patrick Crusiau, Stephen Dove, Jeff Freels, Andy Kelly, Steve Robertson, Simon Lee Tranter, David Ullery, Joshua Ullery, Zachary Ullery, and M.E. Volmar, with cover art by David Ullery.

TrollsZine! is a Trollbridge production brought to you with the kind support of Flying Buffalo Inc., Ken St. Andre, and Rick Loomis.

Get you digital copy of TrollsZine! #5 for FREE at RPGNow.

TrollsZine! #5 is my first issue as sole editor of the 'Zine. It has been quite an experience guiding this project from start to finish. I would like to thank all of the writers, artists, and copy editors that have helped to make this magazine possible. All of the material is freely donated by these talented and creative individuals. I hope that I have done their work justice.

Now go get your copy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June's Lone Delver

This month's Lone Delver is another by Liz Danforth from Mike Stackpoles's solo adventure Sewers of Oblivion. Sewers is a high power solo adventure useable with characters with up to 425 combat adds (100-300 recommended for the greatest challenge). At the start of Sewers of Oblivion you are attacked by ruffians, stripped of everything, and then tossed down a sewer grate. From that point things start to get bad. I've never been able to successfully complete Sewers, but it is well worth the attempt.

This image above depicts a classic conundrum in solo adventures: do you release the beautiful (or handsome) prisoner?

Why is she locked up in the first place?

It could be that she is very dangerous and maybe needs to be locked up. Delving on your own means that you've got no one to watch your back if you release her and that ends up being the case. Releasing her may get you a dagger in the back.

Better to just leave her there. Right?

But what if it's a test of your compassion? Maybe if you just walk away you'll find yourself locked up in that cell as part of a magical trap?

Better try and let her out.

But what if her captor is standing by waiting for someone to release her? If you try to open the lock he or she may suddenly appear and turn you into a pile of cinders.

Maybe you shouldn't have opened the door to this room in the first place.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tunnels and Trolls in French

In case you were not aware, a revised version of the Tunnels and Trolls rules were recently published in French by Patrice Geille with the support of Ken St. Andre and Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo. This new edition is based on the 7.5 edition of the rules with additional material incorporated from the 5.5 edition rules. From what I've been able to tell it is an excellent combination of the two rules sets and clears up many ambiguities from the 7th edition. Amazingly it also contains some original new artwork by Liz Danforth. Patrice and his colleagues have also been releasing some revised classic Flying Buffalo solo and GM adventures in French, again with all new art. These include Rick Loomis' Buffalo Castle (Chateau Bison), Ken St. Andre's A Riverboat Adventure (Le Nain Ivre), as well as Ken St. Andre's Lair of the Silver Serpent (A la Poursuite du Serpent D'argent) also known as Trollstone Caverns which includes some new material by Andy Holmes and a fantastic cover by Simon Lee Tranter.

Visually these books are amazing, but I don't read or speak French so I have somewhat limited use of them; but if you do you should certainly pick them up. There are rumors that Flying Buffalo may release English versions of these books but nothing definitive has been said on the matter.

Check out the T&T French website for details and updates on new products being released.

You can purchase printed copies of the rules and adventures from the Lulu storefront. There is also a quick-start free version of the rules available from RPGnow.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hobb Sized Adventures: A New T&T Solo Blog

Hobb Sized Adventures is an exciting new blog by Charlie Flemming (aka Charrl Flemmning) that promises to feature micro-solo adventures for Tunnels and Trolls.

The first installment is Tomb of the Toad, an 11-paragraph tomb-raid solo. This adventure starts the way I love solos to start, right in the middle of the action. Fleeing from a creature too tough to fight you find yourself lost in a marsh. You then stumble upon an ancient tomb. What else is a delver to do but to go inside? What follows is an excellent adventure full of danger, hazards, and likely death. No one said a delvers life would be long. There are more that a few creatures waiting to make a meal out of your character and all are well suited to the setting. The writing is very good and the descriptions of the tomb are superb. Be aware that the adventure is linear in nature which is largely a byproduct of it's small size; once you start down a path there is no option for turning around, although you could easily do this yourself by mapping your progress and recording the paragraph numbers. There are a few typos here and there as well as some missing words, but nothing serious. Finally, the victory paragraph is lacking a definitive end. If you'd like to have one, I recommend reading the last few sentences of paragraph 10. Overall, Tomb of the Toad is a very good solo and an excellent example of what can be done in less than 20 paragraphs. I look forward to seeing and playing more of these solos in the future.

Charlie promises new solos about every two weeks and has invited submissions from others. There is also a chance of solos for other game systems such as BEAN! and Awesomesauce!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Tome of Advanced Specialist Mages: A Review

The Tome of Advanced Specialist Mages is a new item from Eposic and Michael Eidson. This book provides rules for various types of new Specialist types that make use of the Wizardry attribute. Some of these new types are loosely based on the generic Specialist Mage type introduced in the Tunnels and Trolls 7th edition rules. The original Specialist Mage was designed to make use of a specific school of magic (Combat, Cosmic, Conjuring, and Metabolic). A Specialist Mage has access to all spells within that school once he/she had achieved the appropriate level, intelligence, and dexterity. The only way for a character to become a Specialist Mage, however, is to roll a 15 or higher on the Wizardry attribute when the character is created. Other Specialist types described are entirely new creations.

The Tome includes five new character types. There are three kinds of traditional spell-casting types called Advanced Spell Casting Specialists as well as two other types that use magic but do not use the standard T&T spell lists.

The Advanced Spell Casting Specialists include: 1) the Flex Mage that can use any attribute to power spells, 2) the Parasitic Mage that can draw Kremm from the Wizardry attribute of others (either voluntarily or involuntarily), and 3) the Themed Specialist Mage that can only cast a limited number of spells based on a specific theme chosen by the player. The first two Advanced Specialists obviously give the character more spell-casting power. There are also other interesting and very useful side effects to their abilities. Their chief drawback is that they start with only one first level spell and may not learn new spells from the Wizards Guild just like Rogues. The third type is my favorite and seems the most useful in solo play. Themed Specialist Mages get to choose any five spells of any level from the T&T spell lists to start with regardless of the Intelligence and Dexterity requirements. The only stipulation is that the Theme Mage must have enough Wizardry to cast that spell at it's base cost. This presents a lot of room for creativity and grants starting characters some rather potent magic since many high-level spells have low Wizardry costs. The only drawback is that the Theme Mage will never be able to cast another spell outside the starting five. Mike provides fifteen examples of Theme Mages that provide a good overview of the possibilities including: The Dark Flames Mage, The Dominant Force, The Healing Hand, and The Summoner.

The first new Specialist described is the Combat Psychic. As the name implies, the Combat Psychic uses WIZ to power psychic abilities rather than spells. The Combat Psychic is modeled after the Rogue type and even includes a Psychic Roguery talent which I personally find rather brilliant. Basically the Psychic is able to use his/her psychic powers in place of physical action. Combat Psychics use WIZ to perform Psychic Actions which amount to dealing or taking damage in combat and Psychic Tweaks which allow the Psychic to alter the difficulty of saving rolls either up or down depending on the target and situation. The descriptions of the Combat Psychic's abilities also provides rules and suggestions needed to run a Combat Psychic in solo adventures; a rather handy detail. At the end of the Combat Psychic rules is a nice detailed and entertaining description of play where you can see all of the abilities in use.

The second new Specialist described is the Kremm Warrior. Kremm Warriors are an interesting mix of warrior and wizard. They are not spell casters but instead create items such as weapons, armor, and even miscellaneous equipment by using WIZ. These items are referred to as Kremm Items. Kremm Warriors can make as many of these Kremm items as they have the WIZ to generate instantly. This means that a Kremm Warrior could be walking through the woods in his underwear when suddenly three goblins spring out from behind a tree wielding daggers and demanding gold or blood. The next moment the Kremm Warrior is encased in a shimmering suit of plate armor and wielding a sword and shield. The goblins subsequently crap themselves and run. A major limitation of Kremm Warriors is that they get limited use of normal, material items made of iron, steel, wood, leather, etc. This is reflected by a reduction in the dice and adds of normal and magical material weapons, a reduction in the hits taken by normal and magical material armor, and an overall reduction in the amount of material equipment a Kremm Warrior can carry (i.e. reduced weight capacity). The Kremm Warrior description takes up the most pages of any of the new character types included in the book primarily due to it's completely unique nature.

The Tome of Advanced Specialist Mages is an excellent set of rules for new character types. Most importantly, the writing is clear and concise making even the most complex of the new types easy to roll up and play in very little time. If you are interested in adding new character types to your T&T GM or solo games you should definitely pick up a copy. If you are satisfied with those types given in the published rules, then this book might not be for you. There are plenty of ideas in there, however, and you could easily use them to make your own house rules for standard Wizards and Rogues.

You can get a pdf copy of The Tome of Advanced Specialist Mages at RPGnow for only $2.99. The download consists of three files including a file designed to be viewed on an e-reader device.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pocket Troll: A New T&T Fanzine

Troll Hammer Press has released it's first Tunnels and Trolls product, Pocket Troll: A T&T Microzine! Pocket Troll is a new fan-supported magazine set up in a pocket-mod format. This format produces a small micro-zine that can be printed out and folded into an approximately 3" x 4" booklet.

The premiere issue of Pocket Troll includes five short articles, a one-room GM adventure, and a full, 30-paragraph solo adventure by me entitled "In Deep." Other contributors to Pocket Troll #0 include Jeff Freels who provided the cover art, Ken St. Andre, Roy Cram, Mike Eidson, Tom Loney, Mark Evans, and Paul Ingrassia the Troll Hammer himself.

I found writing the solo adventure to be a real challenge provided the limitations of the format, but in the end I was very happy with the final result. I think I packed as many experiences into 30 paragraphs as possible. The articles are necessarily short but provide some great T&T material including two monster descriptions. The one-room GM adventure is nicely designed, requiring fast-thinking players.

You can get your copy of Pocket Troll Issue #0 from RPGnow for only $2 USD. You'll get four pdf files: one for the articles and another for the solo adventure in pocket-mod format as well as two more files in standard 8.5" x 11"" format.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May's Lone Delver

Here is yet another classic Lone Delver courtesy of the talented Liz Danforth from the 5th edition of the Tunnels and Trolls rules.

There are several reasons that I like this illustration. I'll number them so that I can keep them all straight:

1. He's armed to the teeth. He has a long bow, a two-handed broadsword, and a magic-negating kris dagger. A good lone delver always has a variety of weapons to deal with unexpected situations. This delver is well-prepared.

2. Despite all of those weapons he's not very well armored. He has a helm, greaves, and a leather jerkin, but that's all. He must have great confidence in his skill and agility to keep him from harm; however he is smart enough to protect his head. Of course he may have also spent most of his money on all of those weapons leaving none for good armor.

3. He's barefoot. This could have simply been an oversight at the market, but perhaps there's a better story there. Maybe he stepped in a pool of toxic slime or highly corrosive acid that forced him to leave his boots behind. Or maybe it was something a bit more benign yet no less horrifying; a heap of dragon dung perhaps?

4. He has a bow with an arrow drawn and ready as he enters the room. How many solo delvers think of doing this? The use of missile weapons at the start of an encounter are typically not mentioned in solo adventures, but there is no reason that you cannot house rule this sort of tactic. Given that longbow, this delver could likely slay an opponent with a single shot. The obvious problem would be light, but denizens of this place were kind enough to provide torches.

5. The torches. Nicely detailed sconces with hands clutching the torch and a frame that has the appearance of a face. But could they actually be talking? Maybe they are enchanted and shout "INTRUDER!" as the delver enters warning who or whatever dwells within? It's a good thing the delver has that bow ready.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

New Trollworld Campaign Idea - The New World

After reading A Fragmentary History of Trollworld I came up with a seed of a campaign idea that I rather like and plan on developing further.

The campaign starts with the characters first entering Trollworld through a dimensional gate as humans (or possibly other kin) in the service of the Wizard Kalban Adamto at 15,000 B.K. Talk about awe and wonder. This campaign provides the players with an entirely alien world to explore; basically a sword-and-planet style adventure set in the dim past of Trollworld. The character will have no knowledge of the world they are thrust into or the beings that inhabit it and will be charged with establishing a kingdom for Kalban Adamto. Establishing this new, and hopefully secure, home should be the driving motivation for the characters.

This is an idea I really like because it has the potential to make use of my favorite character kindred, humans, in a major way. The majority of the players will obviously need to be human (2/3 or 3/4). There could be hobbs or leprechauns as well, but a player choosing one of these kin would need to have a good explanation as to how they came into the service of the wizard. Elves and dwarves are out; these are just two of the alien beings that inhabit Trollworld. The characters will eventually encounter these kindred and will likely be at odds with them as they try to carve out a new territory. This campaign could also make good use of my revised citizen type. After all, a colonizing force needs more than warriors and wizard. Specialists of all types will be required to conquer the new world and the players will be forced to use more than swords and spells.

The range of possible adventures to be had in this campaign is fairly unlimited. My idea is that the human colonists arrive in a remote part of the Dragon Continent. They would then start trying to tame the surrounding wilderness facing wild animals and monsters, discovering ancient ruins, and eventually dealing with first contacts with the various intelligent kindred who may or may not be hostile to their presence. From there, a range of adventures are possible involving diplomacy, espionage, guerrilla activity, or even open warfare.

There is still a lot to think about and many details to fill in, but it is a campaign I would enjoy playing in and running. As the pieces start to come together I will post them here with published material coming later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Fragmentary History of Trollworld: A Review

Ok, so I've had an autographed copy of A Fragmentary History of Trollworld on my shelf since October 2010, but I have not gotten around to reading it from cover to cover until recently. Given the things I learned about Ken St. Andre's personal Tunnels and Trolls setting, I regret that delay.

There have been many comments about needing a unified setting for T&T similar to that other game; well here it is in one small volume. The world is simply called Trollworld. But keep in mind that this is a Ken St. Andre style presentation. It is far from complete, but instead presents a general history of the major event in his world over a span of over 100,000 years. Rather impressive in my opinion.

The history is presented as a series of events, some linked some not, some involving important figures in the history or Trollworld, given year by year. Some of the events are only a few years apart while others are separated by thousands.

There is quite a bit of interesting information unique to Trollworld that I learned in my reading. Here are just a handful that grabbed my attention:

1. Trolls were the first sentient beings on Trollworld.

2. Elves and dragons arrived on Trollworld at the same time through dimensional gates. The elves were fleeing the destruction of their world by dragons. The dragons followed.

3. Wizards with god-like powers enter Trollworld through the same gates many bringing their own servant kindred including humans and dwarves.

4. Dwarves were created by one of these wizard gods from stone.

5. The Wizard Wars, which last for about 45,000 years (!!), involve many of these wizard-gods with most of the destruction being laid against their servant kingdoms.

The series of events provides a nice framework for setting individual adventures or entire campaigns anywhere within this history. You could set your campaign at the end of the chronology; it is certainly a chaotic time and ripe for adventure (you'll just have to read about it to see). But you could have your characters engaged in the Wizard Wars 52,000 years earlier. You could place your adventure in a time before dwarves or humans even arrived on Trollworld. You could even start a game in the dim past when elves and dragons first passed through the dimensional gates. There are boundless possibilities.

In addition to the chronology of the history of Trollworld there are also descriptions of the history and ecology of Trolls, Elves, and Dwarves in Trollworld. In addition to presenting Ken's own interpretation of these kindred, they also provide some interesting information that could be incorporated into the game.

For example:

1. Trolls are actually shape shifters. The did not take on humanoid forms until after the arrival of the elves and dragons (and their eventual war with both).

2. Elves are intolerant of iron; most elf adventurers who generally have some sort of iron in their presence are actually half elves.

3. Dwarves were carved from stone and brought to life by the wizard-god Gristlegrim. The new born, but fully grown, dwarves were then educated by beings from, of all places, Earth.

The layout of A Fragmentary History is well done, even if the text is a little small. You should certainly read this one in a well-lit room. The book is well-illustrated by David Ullery, Garen Ewing, Chad Thorson, and Robin Stacey and features some illustrations that you may recognize, but the majority are new.

The only thing I felt was missing from the book were maps. There is a map included with the 7.5 edition boxed set of Tunnels and Trolls but I certainly would have liked to have had a map included in the book that I could refer to whenever specific places were mentioned. Just a thought for future editions.

Overall, A Fragmentary History of Trollworld is quite good and I recommend it to any T&T fan. The book provides a nice framework for campaigns in the world of Ken St. Andre, just as long as you are willing to provide your own details. Remember, it is not a fully fleshed out campaign world, but it provides the seeds to develop many of them.

A Fragmentary History is sold by Peryton Publishing as is available as a pdf for $5 through RPGnow. You can also get a hard copy for around $12 from Peryton's Lulu store.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"The Temple of Issoth" Reaches 1000 Downloads!

My Tunnels and Trolls solo adventure, The Temple of Issoth has now been downloaded from RPGnow over 1000 times. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. This solo is available as a free pdf, so if you have not picked up a copy for yourself you should do so at my Lone Delver Games storefront. You've got nothing to lose, except for a few characters.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Sample Rogue with Roguery

Here is an example of the amazing benefits of the Roguery talent as it currently exists:

Garrod the Clever
Type: Rogue
Kin: Human
Level: 1

STR: 11
CON: 11
DEX: 14
SPD: 10
INT: 15
WIZ: 11
LK: 9
CHR: 8

Adds: +2

Talents: Roguery (INT+5)

As you can see I made some good rolls, not phenomenal ones but some good ones especially when it came to the Roguery talent. Overall, however, Garrod is rather ordinary; his average attribute is 11. You might wonder about his poor Luck and my decision to make Garrod a Rogue (Rogues are lucky right?). It's simple; thanks to Roguery and Garrod's high IQ, Garrod's Luck is effectively 20 regardless of what I rolled. So are his Intelligence (on which Garrod's Roguery talent is based) and Charisma. This means that for ALL Intelligence, Luck, AND Charisma Saving Rolls the only way for Garrod to fail a Level 1 SR is to fumble (i.e. roll a 3 on 2D6). To make a L2 SR on these attributes, Garrod need only get a 5 or greater on 2D6. Not bad. Garrod will be hard pressed to meet a challenge he cannot overcome even at first level.

Restricting Roguery to affect only one attribute will mitigate this power, but still make it interesting, useful, and a good way to separate Rogues from other types. In the case of Garrod, only Saving Rolls on Intelligence would be made with a base score of 20. When faced with challenges to be overcome with Luck or Charisma, Garrod may come up short. Another alternative, should you not want to choose only one attribute, would be to add the Roguery talent bonus to each attribute separately rather than basing it on the highest of the three. Therefore Garrod's effective INT, LK, and CHR for Saving Rolls would be 20, 14, and 13 respectively. Still and edge for sure, but not a ticket for automatic success.

Friday, April 13, 2012


One of the major changes to the Tunnels and Trolls rules in the 7th edition of the game was the addition of Talents. Talents are not clearly defined skills, but are instead more broadly defined sets of abilities. Talents are based upon a single attribute (usually) of his/her choice. Once the player chooses a talent he/she rolls 1D6 and adds that number to the attribute. That modified number is the level of the attribute and is used to make Saving Rolls whenever the talent is brought to bear. Talents are not codified in the rules, but instead player are encouraged to come up with their own. It's very a T&T concept. There were a few defined Talents, however, and one of them was Roguery.

Roguery is the talent of Rogues. All Rogues start with Roguery as their talent and it is the most loosely defined talent that you can imagine. Roguery is based upon the highest attribute out of Luck, Intelligence, and Charisma. The Rogue then rolls 1D6 and adds it to the highest of the three attribute for the Roguery talent. The Rogue then may use this value in place of ANY Intelligence, Luck, OR Charisma Saving Roll. The idea behind this is that Rogues have spent their lives relying on their Intelligence, Luck, and Charisma to see them through trouble whereas Warriors have used weapons and Wizards magic. Overall I think it was a way to make 7th edition Rogues more appealing as starting characters than 5th edition Rogues (something I've commented on previously).

After running through some play tests with a few Rogues, however, I feel that the Roguery talent is a bit over-powered as written. Granting a Rogue the ability to use the Roguery talent to replace ALL Saving Rolls on Luck, Intelligence, and Charisma just seems a bit overboard. Think of all the actions that a Rogue may engage in to require a Luck, Charisma, or Intelligence Saving Roll. With Roguery a Rogue can pick a lock, read books written in strange languages, charm a guard, identify plants and animals, avoid any and all traps, find any and all traps, locate hidden doors and treasure, crack secret codes, calm wild beasts, sing a snappy tune, win a game of cards, etc., etc., etc. The Saving Roll must still be made, but the odds are certainly good. Having Roguery pretty much negates the need to acquire any more talents.

I don't have anything against the Roguery talent itself, but I do think it should be a little more restrictive. I think instead the Rogue should be given the choice of basing the Roguery talent on either Luck, Intelligence, OR Charisma at the time of the character creation. The Roguery talent could then be used in place of any Saving Roll based on that attribute regardless of the action. This restriction would still make for a powerful talent, it's not based on any particular skill set after all, but not a ridiculous one. This would also allow for some more customized Rogues. The lucky, smart, and the suave.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Inspiration from Clip Art

I ran across this illustration in my collection of digital public domain art while thinking about the art and layout for TrollsZine #5. It really grabbed my attention and got my imagination working. Who is this person? He is sitting next to the crumbling remains of some ancient statues, obviously Egyptian but let's forget that aspect of the real world for now. Perhaps he sits on the outskirts of a ruined city. Arranged before him on a large carpet are several items clearly taken from a hidden cache of treasures. What does he have? Where did he get them and how? Is he offering them for sale? What price will he demand for them? Is he human or some horrible demon in disguise waiting to lure in unsuspecting delvers? Do you even dare to find out the answers to these questions? This strange merchant has definitely earned a place in my solo sandbox series.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reinventing the Citizen Type

A couple of items to get out of the way before I start. I realize that in this article I am taking the Citizen type out of the context that Ken intended in the 7th edition rules. Also I do not see the Citizen type as described to be unplayable as I discussed in my last post, but the changes described here may make them a bit more of an attractive option to more players and gives them a great deal of flexibility. It also allows the Citizen type to cover almost any character concept not included in the Warrior, Wizard, Rogue archetypes.

The Citizen type has recently been the subject of some discussion. There are those that really like concept, those that hate it, of course the majority who could care less. I have gradually started to move toward the first camp. I do think that the three basic types (Warrior, Wizard, Rogue) are perfect for most situations in T&T and these types can be easily customized with detailed backgrounds from the players imagination without need for complex mechanical differences. But there is a gap; what if a player does not want to play one of these archetypes? I feel that the Citizen type fills this gap rather well.

Unfortunately, the Citizen type as presented in the 7th edition rules is typically viewed as being too weak to be playable. Ken himself advised in the type description that the Citizen should not be used for player characters. But as I discussed in my previous post and as have others, I don't think this is the case. That being said, I have formulated an idea that could "reinvent" the Citizen type to give it wider appeal. From a comment in my previous post it seems that others have had similar ideas.

In order to reinvent the Citizen type we should consider abilities of the other types. Looking at the Warrior type in 7th edition as an example, it gets the following abilities:

Use of any armor or shields
Use of any weapons
+1 combat add per level
Double protection from armor
1 Talent to start
+1 Talent per level

These abilities reflect the Warrior's focus on learning to fight. We can model a reinvented Citizen using the basic number of these "perks" as a guide.

In 7th edition the Citizen gets the following abilities:

Use of any armor or shields
Use of any weapons
Use of magic
1 Talent to start
+1 Talent per level

Very similar to a Rogue, but these abilities are tempered by the following disadvantages:

Half normal personal adds
No starting spells
Spell casting requires a INT and DEX Saving Roll
Rogue-like magic restrictions

So as it stands the Citizen can use weapons, but not very well, and magic, but not very well.

My concept of reinvention is to make the Citizens all about Talents. To do this, Citizens start at first level with three talents.

My justification for starting with three talents goes back to that Warrior's abilities listed above. The warrior gets three basic "bonuses" to start: +1 combat add per level, double armor protection, and one talent. The citizen also starts with one talent so should get two more to catch up with the Warriors other two abilities. Yes, Citizen's can also cast magic so you might consider this an ability, but I feel this ability is tempered by their overall lack of proficiency with weapons and spell casting. A restriction to the three starting talents is that they cannot be combat or magic related. If you want a character that can fight or use magic, choose a Warrior or Wizard, not a Citizen.

This modification allows the Citizen type to cover a lot of different character concepts that fall outside of the archetypal Warrior, Wizard, Rogue construct without an excessive number of types.

You want an alchemist? Choose a Citizen and pick talents of Alchemy, Astronomy, Herbalism

You want a healer? Pick talents of Healing, Herbalism, Poisons (for the antidotes).

How about a beast master? Pick talents of Animal Husbandry, Animal Training, and Animal Calling.

A scholar? Literature, History, Language.

So, with one change the Citizen becomes more attractive, especially in group play with a Game Master where the use of talents can really be advantageous. In the end it is up to the ingenuity and imagination of the player to make the character function in the game through the use of these talents rather than trying to swing a sword alongside the Warriors or cast spells with the Wizards.

Anyone up for a Citizen game?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some Love for Citizens

In a recent post at the Trollhalla Outer Sanctum Paul Ingrassia of the Troll Hammer Press blog has done an excellent job looking at playing the Citizen type of the 7th edition rules.

While the Citizen type has been frequently maligned and even Ken St. Andre advised against using them as player characters, I too think that they are very playable and could be a lot of fun.

So what can Citizens do and what's so unplayable about them?

Combat: Citizens can wear armor, use a shield and can wield any weapon but they only get half of their personal adds.

Magic: Citizens can use magic just as Rogues do but they must make a SR on INT and DEX to successfully cast spells and they do not start with any spells.

Talents: Citizens receive talents just as other types do.

That's not too bad. A Citizen can wear armor, use any weapon, and cast spells. They're not highly skilled with arms or magic, but they can be useful in a fight. The penalty to personal adds may even be insignificant at low levels. How high are the personal adds for most first level characters after all? Plus if your character already has 0 personal adds, there's no penalty at all.

There have been questions about why a Citizen would be able to use any type of weapon in the first place. My own rationale for a Citizen's combat ability is that Citizens may have been called upon to serve in a militia. Perhaps they serve a set term in their youth, where they receive some training with weapons such as swords, spears, axes, polearms, bows and so on. So they are at least a little familiar with the weapons even though they may have never used them in combat.

As far their ability to learn magic, if Rogues can do it why not others with the necessary intelligence? This is supposed to be a fantasy world after all and magic is everywhere.

A party of Citizens, or even a solo Citizen, can make for interesting adventures. Maybe a war party of goblins has attacked a village. The traditional RPG formula is that a band of highly trained adventurers just happens to wander into town at which time the poor, helpless townspeople offer the adventurers a reward for their help. But what if instead a group of adventurous citizens decide to gather what arms and armor they have, form a posse and head out after the goblins to seek revenge/rescue family members taken prisoner/recover some precious item that was stolen. What could be better than that? I for one would love to play in that game.

So, here is my citizen to stand alongside those of Paul Ingrassia and chase down those vile goblins:

Name: Gustave
Kin: Human
Type: Citizen
Level: 1

CON 15
SPD 11
INT 15
WIZ 13
LK 10
CHR 11

Adds: +0

Talent: Cooking (INT+4)

Armor: Leather jerkin (1 hit), Greaves (2 hits), Coif (2 hits), Buckler (3 hits)

Weapons: Spear (3+1), Cleaver (3+1)

Equipment: Backpack, Flint and Steel, 5 torches, Waterskin, Skillet, Small Pot, Cooking utensils

Money: 1 gp

Background: Gustave runs the kitchen at the Lion's Head Inn. He was taken in as an apprentice cook at the age of 10 and has been in the kitchen ever since. Gustave displayed an uncanny talent with cooking, able to turn the even the foulest ingredients into fantastic and nourishing meals. When he turned 16, Gustave's intelligence and physical endurance led him to be drafted into the town militia where he received some rudimentary training with a few weapons. Five years later he still serves in the militia but has never seen combat. Despite that fact he has become familiar simple weapons such as a spear and small blades, but prefers his cleaver most of all.

An interesting note about Gustave, he does not start off any worse than a Rogue using the 5th edition rules. He has no adds to start with so suffers no penalty in combat. So it is hard to argue that this is not a playable character. This will clearly change if Gustave survives and increases in level, but as was stated so well by Paul, with Citizens it is all about the role playing.