Sunday, September 8, 2013

dT&T Progress

Everyone should be aware that the dT&T design team did not make it's initial goal of releasing the dT&T rules this past summer. The new expected release is sometime in December. I was not at all surprised by this turn of events; it was a rather aggressive schedule. Progress certainly was not helped by Liz Danforth's sudden case of pneumonia; that's not good for the productivity of your main editor. I certainly don't begrudge the dT&T for the lateness, I'd rather see the best possible product come out of the Kickstarter so they should take their time and get it right. The dT&T Preview Pack released for Free RPG Day, for example, got some pretty mixed reviews. It seemed to be a bit of a rush job to get the book together and out in time for the event. I don't want to see this happen with the real thing, so they should definitely take their time. Ken St. Andre, Rick Loomis, and Steve Crompton have also been very open about the progress they have made so far and made regular updates. On top of that they have been creating and releasing the new material that was promised as part of the various stretch goals. Those adventures and supplements are shown in the image above. Eligible Kickstarter supporters have received pdf copies of Buffalo Castle, City of Terror, and Saving Fang. All three have been of exceptional quality. Hard copies of most of these items have also been sold at Origins and GenCon as well as by Ken online. I would like to get my hands on the pdf copy of the 1st edition T&T rules soon as well as Deathtrap Equalizer and Dungeon of the Bear. There's been a bit of a delay on the release of these pdfs, though I'm not sure why. At any rate I'll be getting hard copies of some of these books when I get my hardcover copy of the dT&T rulebook so that will be a fun day. If you'd like to read a full review of what's been accomplished so far as well as a preview of the format of the rulebook from Liz Danforth, check out this excellent post on the dT&T website.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Lone Delver

Yes it's been a while, but I'm back. Life's been rather busy lately. What's better than a new lone delver to get things going again?

This month's Lone Delver is by Luigi Castellani. This piece was part of the free art pack offered by Sine Nomine Publishing as part of their Spears of the Dawn African-themed RPG.

This delver does not seem to like what he has discovered in this ancient temple. But those knife-wielding cultists are surely long dead and no threat to him, right? I like this piece for a number of reasons. Ruin crawls are among my favorite themes for fantasy art and adventures. There are so many possibilities in exploring the remains of lost civilizations. This delver seems to have stumbled across one with a rather dark history. There are also the details of the delver himself. Every delver needs a light source, even a simple torch will do. Illustrations of adventurers wandering down dark passages without even a single torch always bother me. Of course torches and lanterns only light up so much; this delver can see what is in front of him, but he is still surrounded by darkness. The armor and axe are also very well done and quite original. Given the African setting the artist has moved away from any sort of European influence and designed a unique set of gear. What will this adventurer find as he delves deeper into this ancient temple? Will he discover a vault of gold and precious gems? Will he zombie cultists thirsting for new sacrifices? Or perhaps the giant slug pictured at the top of the panel? My money is on number two.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Legends of Ogul-Duhr Parts I and II: Two Free T&T Solos from Tavernmaster Games

Tavernmaster Games has done it again. They have re-released two classic solo adventures by Andy Holmes and are offering them as FREE pdfs at their Tavernmaster Games RPGNow storefront. The two adventures are linked and both are set in the Halls of Ogul-Duhr, the ruined stronghold of a clan of ancient mountain dwarves. The first adventure, Halls of the Gorgon, leads your character on an exploration of the ruins in search of dwarven gold and jewels. But beware, a gorgon has laid claim to the ruins and stalks the halls looking for intruders. The second adventure, The Hidden Halls, assumes that someone has slain the gorgon and the Halls have been looted. But there is a secret entrance to the true Halls of the dwarves that lie beneath the caves of Ogul-Duhr. It is here that the greatest treasures of the mountain dwarves may be found. Both adventures are a lot of fun and, as always, deadly; so be warned. But then the rewards for those that survive the Halls may well be worth the risk. Besides they're free so what do you have to lose?

The shadowed Halls of Ogul-Duhr slumber 'neath the cold, harsh, jagged peaks of the Goblin Mountains. Once the lair of a proud race of mountain dwarves, the Halls are now almost in ruin. Since the dwarves left the mountain, adventurers have explored the deep caverns in search of dwarven gold, and some have found great riches. However, recent travellers' tales speak of an evil Gorgon that has claimed the Halls of Ogul-Duhr for her own, turning to unliving stone anyone foolish enough to enter. Still, rumours persist that the Halls are rich in gold, silver and gemstones, discarded by the dwarves. Some say that there are also magical dwarven weapons and armour in the deepest caverns. The Halls await you, filled with treasure and mortal peril.

This solo is aimed at beginner warrior characters with no more than 20 Combat Adds. Magic-users may enter, but are handicapped by the arcane enchantments of the caves and may cast only Take That You Fiend and Vorpal Blade spells. Equip yourself with some scrap paper for notes. Important: scribble down the paragraph numbers as you journey, as you may sometimes need to return to a previous paragraph.

Another mini-solo adventure for Tunnels & Trolls from Andy R Holmes and the Tavernmaster team. Edited to be compatible with version 7/7.5 of the T&T rules this classic solo is once again available.

The stranger trying to sell his scroll is a fool! The Halls of Ogul-Duhr hold no mystery now. The old Gorgon was slain months ago and the caves have been picked clean of treasure. You have even heard that Orcs have moved in!

"Ah, to be sure, squire," the stranger agrees, grinning. "Ye foul creature is dead, 'tis true, but this map shows a SECRET entrance, to the Halls that lie BENEATH the upper caves of Ogul-Duhr! For there waits great wealth and magic!"

"Legends of Ogul-Duhr II: The Hidden Halls" is a free solo adventure written by Andy Holmes for all editions of Tunnels & Trolls. It is suitable for beginner characters with no more than 30 combat adds, though magic-users may find their powers restricted by the eldritch nature of the caves.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Skolari Vaults: A T&T GM Adventure from Lone Delver Games

I have just released a new version of the T&T GM adventure Skolari Vaults: Levels 1 and 2 in cooperation with the author, Mike Hill (aka Hogscape), through my Lone Delver Games storefront at RPGnow. This is an amazing adventure featuring the first two levels of the inverted castle of a renegade Wizard's guild filled with goblins, orcs, undead, traps, and other nasty things. But hey, there's treasure to be found as well; powerful Wizards are never poor after all. The book features an original color cover and 15 original interior black and white illustrations by the talented Jeff Freels.

As with the prequel adventure, Dungeon of the Rat, all proceeds earned from the sale of Skolari Vaults will be donated to the JeffWerx Transplant Fund, which will go toward kidney transplants for Jeff Freels (aka Grumlahk) and his wife Raquel.

You can currently get a pdf copy for $5.00 from RPGnow, but hard copies will be available through my Lulu storefront soon.

Here are the details:
Long ago the mages of the Skolari Order left the Wizard’s Guild and established a fortress on the shores of the Gray Lake - the Skolari Vaults. The Guild, fearing the growing dark power of the Skolari, laid siege to the Vaults. At the battle’s climax, the Guild wizards uprooted the fortress, bore it aloft, and cast it into the ground upside down! The wizards then buried the ruin beneath tons of rock and soil entombing any survivors.

The years passed and the site of the battle became a grass-covered hill. While little of the Skolari is remembered, the solitary hill on the shore of the Gray Lake is rumored to be a cursed place of great peril. This, of course, draws brave but foolhardy delvers by the dozen. Yet the powerful magic that preserved the Vaults ensured that some of the Skolari survived. Others, drawn by the evil power of the fallen wizards, lie in wait for those that dare to enter...THE SKOLARI VAULTS.

This book is a Game Master-run adventure that includes detailed descriptions and maps to the first two levels of the Skolari Vaults. The Skolari Vaults is suited for a party of four to six first to third level characters with a combined total of 20 to 40 personal adds. A good mix of character types is recommended with at least one wizard and one rogue in the group.

The Skolari Vaults is designed for use with Ken St. Andre’s Tunnels & Trolls™ game system. You will need a copy of the T&T™ rules to play this game.

Special Note: All proceeds earned from the sale of The Skolari Vaults will be donated to the Jeff and Raquel Freels Transplant Fund ( Jeff is a great friend and contributor to the Tunnels & Trolls™ community. Both he and his wife are in need of kidney transplants. Jeff contributed the cover and all of the interior art for this adventure.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Two New T&T GM Adventures from Furious Rabbit

Furious Rabbit? Don't worry Bors, it won't take your head off. It's simply the name of a new small press T&T publisher on RPGNow run by Peter Seckler. Peter has already released two GM adventures for T&T 7.5 (of course these can be easily used with any edition) this month, Crystal of Mythrynyx and Seal of Ceron. Both offer something a bit different from your standard fantasy adventure. Crystal of Mythrynyx is a large adventure (61 rooms on 3 levels) that starts out as a standard dungeon crawl, but quickly turns into a descent into another dimension. This adventure has a lot of tough and unique opponents to overcome, but also includes some really nice puzzles, a few with player handouts, that take some thought and dexterity as well as (my favorite) an insanity table. Seal of Ceron is a shorter adventure (playable in one session), but no less interesting. The characters are hired by a mysterious leprechaun to copy some magical runes from a stone hidden away in a sea cave. Once that is done, however, the stone must be destroyed. It sounds simple enough, but who are your employers? This adventure also has the appearance of a standard dungeon-crawl, but there are some nice twists, turns, plenty of puzzles and mysteries to solve, as well as an outdoor adventure component.

You can pick up both adventures from the Furious Rabbit storefront at RPGNow for only $0.99 each. At that price there's no reason not to check these out.

Crystal of Mythrynyx

"What begins as a simple descent into unknown adventure, soon becomes a delve into the mind of the mad wizard Hypernicles..Strange rivalries, horror and madness abound!"

What we have here is a truly old-school classic GM adventure for Tunnels & Trolls 7.5. There are 2 main levels, and one sublevel. There are 61 detailed rooms, wandering monsters, treasures, interesting puzzles, and devious traps! Psionics, aliens, and necromancy are major themes to this dungeon as well! This is the first release from Furious Rabbit and we hope to share more of our creations with you.

Seal of Ceron

"A milk run!" chuckled the leprechaun.

You and your party are getting paid well enough to travel to a set of obscure sea-caves, find some ancient inscription, and get a copy of it. Oh, and there's this other part about having to destroy the original. But then things start to get seriously weird! Find your way through a forgotten dungeon full of ancient, alien secrets.

Features new monsters! New art! New NPCs! All around great adventure, suitable for a single evening of play...and possibly a prelude to some major destruction in your local campaign city.

This is a GM adventure for Tunnels & Trolls 7.5.

Friday, July 12, 2013

City of Terrors for dT&T Released!

That's right, the classic solo City of Terrors by Mike Stackpole has been released in pdf at RPGNow for a mere $4.95. If you backed the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Kickstarter campaign, however, you should have gotten it for free. The solo has been revised so that it is compatible with dT&T rules and is available in pdf for the first time. The adventure has been lengthened a bit (6 new paragraphs) and some new art was added. Of course there is the "new" cover as well. The original (and amazing) black and white cover by Liz Danforth was revised and digitally painted giving you glimpse of Gull and some of the characters you may encounter within it's walls as well as some of the key figures in the development of the solo. The interior art is still a wonder, featuring classics by Rob Carver and Liz Danforth.

This is truly one of the most interesting solos published by Flying Buffalo back in the 1980s. Set in the deadly city of Gull, you can engage in 23 different adventures in an urban environment. There's everything from battling orcs to space aliens. This is not an adventure for starting characters, however. As the description says you can have a maximum of 275 adds; you will need them. If your character does happen to die on the streets of Gull, there is an adventure that gives you a second chance, if you remember how to get to it (see the Introduction for details). City of Terrors is a "must have" and a "must play" for fans of T&T. It's also a nice way to introduce a new player to the potentials of the game.

Here are the details from the Flying Buffalo storefront at RPGNow:

The deluxe outdoor adventure in the city of Gull, on the sun-baked isle of Phoron. Meet strange denizens and dangerous foes in this massive solitaire adventure for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. Can you uncover the secret that is lurking in the shadows, as you fight for survival in in the streets and buildings of Gull? This longer Deluxe edition of City of Terrors has been updated by Ken St. Andre to be compatible with the new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls rpg and includes additional options for players and new art, including a gorgeous new color version of the classic Liz Danforth/Rob Carver cover digitally painted by Steve Crompton. For one character of any type, up to 275 adds.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stone Dragon Solstice: A Free T&T GM Adventure from Tavernmaster Games

Tavernmaster Games has been releasing some very high-quality and completely free material for Tunnels & Trolls. Their newest free release is a GM adventure, Stone Dragon Solstice, by the incredibly imaginative Jason Mils. You can go to Jason's T&T Vital Spot website for even more free GM adventures. Stone Dragon Solstice is not a typical adventure; Jason does not write typical adventures. Don't expect a lot of combat, but there are many puzzles to solve and great opportunities for role playing. This adventure includes some interesting gimmicks including a set of audio files to download, a puzzle for the players to solve consisting of a broken dragon statue to put together (dragon statue not included), a rather sneaky scroll, and even more. Running the Stone Dragon will certainly take some preparation, but it looks like it would be worth the effort.

Here are the details from the Tavernmaster Games storefront at RPGNow:

Centuries ago, Yllburn was King of Dragons and scourge of mankind. But the wizards united and turned him to stone. One mercy only they allowed him: that each midsummer he might return to life for one day, putting his mighty powers of enchantment in the hands of his rescuers. Can the adventurers struggle past riddles, trials and puzzles to win their heart's desires on Stone Dragon Solstice?

This GM dungeon is for a handful of low-level characters. It is written for Tunnels & Trolls version 7.5, but is readily adaptable for other editions. Accompanying sound effects are available free on the Tavernmaster Games page of the DriveThru RPG website. Note that this dungeon requires extra materials - fun gimmicks that are fully described in the text - and the GM will need to source these separately.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bedlam: A T&T Solo by Andy Holmes Re-Released by Tavernmaster Games

Andy Holmes is one of the best writers of T&T solo adventures in my opinion. He has the ability to convey real dread through his writing. Bedlam, released in pdf today by Tavernmaster Games, is an excellent example of Andy's horror-themed adventures. But this is not a typical adventure. While most solo adventures involve exploring crypts, ancient ruins, or tunnels, this one requires entering an asylum to rescue a missing nobleman. Who knows what terrors lie within? Like all of Andy's solos, Bedlam is atmospheric and fun, but you should not expect an easy victory.

Bedlam contains 38 pages with 200 paragraphs and features a full color cover and interior art by Jeff Freels. You can get the pdf from RPGnow for only $3.00. All proceeds earned from the sale of this solo will go to the JeffWerx Transplant Fund to help raise money for a kidney transplant for artist Jeff Freels and his wife.

Here are the details from the Tavernmaster storefront at RPGNow:

Many speak in hushed tones of the dark asylum brooding atop Goblin Moors, and of the unspeakable horrors that dwell within. Its sinister Master comes to town for supplies only at night, before his accursed carriage speeds away to the nightmarish building that is Bedlam. People vanish on the moors, and their corpses are found months later - drained of blood!

Recently, new scandal surrounds the asylum: the son of a nobleman disappeared on a hunting trip on the moors. His father has offered a reward for his rescue, but it is believed that the Master has imprisoned him in the asylum for some foul purpose. Will you, brave soul, being of sound mind, pass through the portal of madness into Bedlam?

Bedlam is open to any character up to level 3 with no more than 35 combat adds. Spell-casting does not work in the strange asylum, but magic-users are free to try their luck regardless. This classic solo adventure with over 200 paragraphs is compatible with all versions of Tunnels & Trolls and is here presented at last in its definitive edition.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fighting with Saving Rolls Part 5: Large Battle Example

Brion and his comrades enjoy a week of feasting and celebrating in the village of Dunbrooke after their victory over the two ogres that had been raiding the surrounding homesteads and farms. They set out after hearing a rumor of a ruined keep two days to the north. Eager to fill their pockets with gold, the band packed their gear, checked their armor, and oiled their weapons.

About two hours out from Dunbrooke, the delvers found trouble. Standing in the road was a pair of heavily armored goblins flanked by two more goblins. Then from twelve more goblins came out of the woods on either side of the road, each holding a javelin ready to throw. The goblin warband had been tracking them since they left the borderlands between the Kingdom of Tindel and the territories of the goblin tribes. Brion had a rather large price on his head for certain activities in the recent border war.

The delvers have little chance to escape the ambush unless they want to expose their backs to a javelin volley, and negotiation seems unlikely. Weapons are drawn, lines are formed, and the goblins advance.

Brion is a 2nd level Warrior. He has a CA of 18 (ST22 DEX16 LK16 SPD16), 22 Personal Adds, 2 Warrior Adds, and 14 CON. He wears mail armor and carries a kite shield (36 hits total) and a war hammer (5D+1).

Freya is a 1st level Warrior. She has a CA of 15 (ST17 DEX13 LK16 SPD12), 10 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 11 CON. She wears scale mail and carries a heater shield (26 hits total) and broadsword (3D+4).

Olaf is a 1st level Warrior. He has a CA of 14 (ST16 DEX13 LK16 SPD12), 9 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 11 CON. He wears scale mail and carries a heater shield (26 hits total) and broadsword (3D+4).

Horace is a 1st level Warrior. He has a CA of 14 (ST15 DEX16 LK13 SPD12), 8 Personal Adds, 1 Warrior Add, and 10 CON. He wears scale mail (16 hits total) and carries a medium bow (4D+0) and a saber (3D+4).

Cirreth is a 1st level Rogue. She has a CA of 10 (ST10 DEX14 LK16 SPD10), 6 Personal Adds, an INT of 14, a WIZ of 12, and 10 CON. She wears soft leather and carries a buckler (8 hits total) and a rapier (3D+4). Cirreth also knows the spells Take That You Fiend and Dem Bones Gonna Rise.

The goblin leader has a MR of 30 (Level 3, CA 30, +15 adds), wields a broadsword (3D+4), and has a target shield and mail (16 hits total).

The goblin sergeant has a MR of 20 (Level 2, CA 20, +10), wields a broad axe (4D), and has a target shield and scale mail (12 hits total).

The 8 goblin soldiers each have a MR of 15 (CA 11, +8), wield a javelin (2D) and spear (3D+1), and have a target shield and leather armor (9 hits total).


The battle begins with an exchange of missiles and magic.

Horace fires his bow (L2SR on CA14, +1 level, +5 adds to hit, +4 damage) and strikes one of the goblin soldiers (rolled 7) although it does not fall (scored 7 hits after armor, armor reduced by 1).

Cirreth casts TTYF on the goblin leader, hoping to take him out early and demoralize his troops. Unfortunately she loses focus (L1SR on INT14, +1 level, rolled 4, failed) and cannot hold the strands of magical energy together.

The goblins reply with a volley of javelins. Brion, Freya, and Olaf raise their shields and actively defend against the attack (commit 12, 6, and 5 adds respectively). The incoming javelins are mostly deflected (L2SR on CA15, rolled 4, 6, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 11), but Horace and Cirreth are both hit. Horace's scale armor absorbs most of the impact (take 2 hits to CON, armor reduced by 1), but Cirreth is not so lucky (takes 8 hits to CON, armor reduced by 1).


The goblins charge while the warriors form a ring around the badly injured rogue.

Brion faces the leader and one soldier, Freya faces the sergeant and one soldier, while Horace and Olaf each face three soldiers. Cirreth prepares herself to cast TTYF one more time.

Brion puts 12 adds toward his attack and 12 to defense against the goblin leader. He therefore needs to make a L3SR on CA18+2+12 to hit the leader. He rolls an 11 and hits! His warhammer does 20 points of damage which smashes through the goblin leaders armor reducing his MR by 4 points and armor by 1 point.

Freya puts 6 adds toward her attack and 5 to defense against the goblin soldier. She attacks the goblin sergeant, needing to make a L2SR on CA15+1+6 to hit. She rolls a 6 and hits dealing 11 points of damage with her broadsword. Unfortunately, this is not enough to get through the sergeants armor, but she does inflict 1 point of spite damage.

Olaf puts all 10 adds toward damage, hoping to quickly cut down one of the three goblin soldiers facing him. He needs to make a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit and rolls a 9, dealing 24 points of damage. Olaf's sword slices through the goblins leather jerkin and it's belly. A moment later the goblin is on the ground.

Horace, feeling slightly vulnerable, puts 4 adds toward defense against one of his opponents and 5 toward damage. He focuses his attack on the goblin he shot with his bow. Horace needs to make a L1SR on CA14+1 to hit. He rolls a 10 and hits dealing 21 points of damage. Horace slides his saber past the goblin's shield and through it's throat. A second goblin soldier lies dead.

Cirreth does her best to ignore the pain of her wounds. She channels her power and focuses on the goblin leader (L1SR on INT14+1, rolled 10, success). Crying out "TAKE THAT YOU FIEND," Cirreth sends out a wave of energy that nearly knocks the leader off of his feet doing 14 points of damage.

The goblin leader attacks Brion, need to make a L2SR on CA30-12. He rolls a 5 and misses. The goblin soldier then attacks, needing a L2SR on CA15. He rolls an 8 and also misses.

The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-5. He rolls a 5 and hits. The sergeants broad axe does 28 points of damage, crushing metal scales and slicing open the leather backing of Freya's armor. She takes 2 hits and her armor is reduced by 1. The soldier moves in next, needing to make a L1SR on CA15-5. He rolls a 6 and misses.

The three goblin soldiers facing Olaf attempt to surround the warrior. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15. They roll 23, 9, and 9. All three goblins manage to stab Olaf with their spears doing 22, 19, 21 (1 spite) points of damage. Olaf's armor saves him from any major wounds, but he does take 1 point of spite damage from the third soldier.

The three soldiers facing Horace also try to hem in and cut down their target. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15, but the first has a -4 penalty. They roll a 5, 9, and 3. Only one goblin is able to hit Horace, but his spear does 19 points of damage slipping through the scales of his armor and into the warriors ribs. Horace takes 4 hits to CON and loses 1 more point of armor. Horace begins to wish that he had a shield.

At the end of Turn 2, the goblin leader (MR 12/30) and sergeant (MR 19/20) are both wounded and two goblin soldiers are dead. Freya (CON 9/11), Horace (CON 4/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded.


Brion continues to actively defend against the goblin leader allocating 12 adds, but puts 12 adds toward damage against the goblin soldier. Brion shifts the focus of his attack hoping to catch the smaller goblin off guard. He need to make a L1SR on CA18+2, rolls a 9 and hits for 36 points of damage (2 spite). Even after the goblins armor and shield are accounted for, he takes 27 hits to his MR. Brion's blow crushes the unfortunate goblins skull killing him instantly.

Freya also switches her target. She allocates 6 adds to defend against the sergeant and 5 adds to damage against the soldier. She needs to make a L1SR on CA15+1 and rolls a 10, dealing 21 points of damage. The blade cuts deep, but the goblins armor saves it's life...for now. The goblin takes 12 hits and it's armor is reduced by 1.

Olaf continues his all-out-attack tactic and uses his 10 adds for damage, putting all of his energy into dealing deadly blows. He needs a L1SR on CA 15+1 to hit and rolls a 7. His strike is less powerful this time, dealing 21 points of damage. The goblin takes 12 hits, but fights on.

Horace now faces two goblins. He shouts to Cirreth to move up and aid him. He puts 3 adds to defense against one goblin, 2 against the second, and 4 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA 14+1 to hit, rolls a 8 and does 27 points of damage (3 spite!). Horace skewers his second goblin then turns to the third.

Cirreth holds back for a moment. She knows that if any of the goblins hit her, she likely would not survive. Instead she waits for an opportunity.

The goblin leader attacks Brion, need to make a L2SR on CA30-12. He rolls an 11 and hits for 19 points of damage. The blades of the goblin's sword easily turns by Brion's mail. The goblin soldier then attacks, needing a L2SR on CA15. He rolls an 10 and also hits for 14 points of damage. Brion deflects this strike with his shield.

The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-6. He rolls a 5 and misses. The soldier moves in next, needing to make a L1SR on CA15. He rolls a 19 and hits for 22 points of damage (1 spite). Freya's armor is able keep the point of the goblins spear from her flesh, but she is still injured by the impact taking 1 point of spite damage.

The two goblin soldiers facing Olaf maneuver around the body of their fallen comrade. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15. They roll an 8 and 8, both hitting. Their spears do 22 (2 spite) and 18 (1 spite) points of damage. Olaf's armor saves him again, but the repeated blows take their toll dealing 3 points of spite damage.

The two soldiers facing Horace attack their target a bit more warily. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15, with a -3 and -2 penalty. They roll 31 (!) and 6. The first goblin makes a masterful attack catching Horace completely unaware. His spear does 16 points of damage, cutting though Horace's armor again. Horace takes 2 hits to CON and loses 1 more point of armor.

At the end of Turn 3, the goblin leader (MR 12/30) and sergeant (MR 19/20) are both wounded, two goblin soldiers are wounded (MR 3/15 each), and four goblin soldiers are dead. Freya (CON 8/11), Olaf (8/11), Horace (CON 2/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded. Brion remains unscathed.


With the goblin soldier down, Brion is able to put all of his attention on the leader. He puts 10 adds toward his attack and 14 adds toward damage. Brion trusts his own armor to protect him so that he can put enough force into his own attacks to get through the goblin leaders mail. Brion needs a L3SR on CA18+2+10, rolls a 7 and hits. His warhammer does 42 points of damage (2 spite); even with his mail and shield the goblin leader takes 27 hits. The goblin leader's neck snaps and he joins his soldiers in the dirt.

Freya is still facing two opponents. The goblin soldier is heavily wounded so she decides to finish him off. She applies 6 adds to defend against the goblin sergeant and 5 adds to damage against the soldier. She needs a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit and rolls a 14, hitting for 25 points of damage (2 spite). Freya puts her sword through the goblin's heart. He takes 17 points of damage and expires.

Olaf also faces two goblins and he too moves to finish his wounded opponent. He once again allocates 3 and 2 adds to defense against the two soldiers and 5 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA15+1 to hit, but rolls a 3! Olaf is overconfident and his attacks are easily deflected by the goblin.

Horace has managed to reduce himself to one adversary, but he is gravely injured. He puts 5 adds to defend against his opponent, 2 to attack, and 2 to damage. He needs a L1SR on CA14+1+2, rolls an 11 and hits for 18 points of damage (1 spite). The goblin takes 9 hits and loses 1 point of armor; wounded but still fighting.

Cirreth sees that Horace is in trouble. She draws her rapier and moves in to support. She puts 3 adds to defend against the goblin and 3 to attack. She needs a L1SR on CA10+1+3 to hit, rolls a 5 and just barely misses.

The goblin leader, before Brion lands his killing blow, growls at Brion and spits in his face. He lunges with his broadsword needing to make a L2SR on CA30. He rolls a 10 and hits for 19 points of damage. Brion's armor and his skill with his shield still prove too much for the goblin.

The goblin sergeant attack Freya, needing to make a L1SR on CA20-6. He rolls a 5 and misses again. The soldier, on the verge panic, needs to make a L1SR on CA15. He rolls a 22 (wow) and hits for 12 points of damage. The spear point is turned by Freya's scale armor.

The two goblin soldiers facing Olaf press their attack, but they too seem to be reconsidering the situation. Each needs to make a L1SR on CA15 with a -3 and -2 penalty. They roll an 6 and 6, both missing.

The last goblin now finds himself outnumbered facing both Horace and Cirreth, although both are leaking. Because both Horace and Cirreth allocated adds to defend against the goblin he attacks at a combined -8. He chooses to attack (random roll) Cirreth, needing a L1SR on CA15-8. He rolls a 7 and his spear misses the rogue.

At the end of Turn 4, the goblin leader lies dead, the sergeant (MR 19/20) is wounded, two goblin soldiers are wounded (MR 3/15 and 6/15), and five goblin soldiers are dead. Only one goblin is not injured. Freya (CON 8/11), Olaf (8/11), Horace (CON 2/10), and Cirreth (CON 2/10) are all wounded. Brion stands unbloodied.


The goblins have lost half their number including their leader, are now outnumbered 5 to 4, and two of the soldiers are terribly wounded. Time to retreat.

As the goblins break and run, each character can make a L1SR on SPD to try to get an attack in before they are out of range.

Brion rolls a 11 (SPD16+2), Freya rolls a 3 (SPD12+1), Olaf rolls a 6 (SPD12+1), Horace rolls a 5 (SPD12+1), and Cirreth rolls a 6 (SPD10+1). Only Brion reacts fast enough. He attack the goblin sergeant in order to completely remove the leadership of the demoralized goblins. Since the goblin has his back turned, Brion only needs to make a L1SR on CA18+2 to hit. (Note: Brion does need to make some kind of Saving Roll to see if he hits even if the goblin's back is turned. I ruled that it would be 1 level less than normal given that the goblin was fleeing.) Brion puts all of his focus on delivering a killing blow and allocates his full 24 Personal Adds to damage. Brion rolls 9 and hits for 42 points of damage. Since the sergeant is running he can't really use his shield to block the attack, so it is only worth half of it's protective value (another House Rule). The sergeant takes 32 hits and drops with a crushed skull before he can flee. The three soldiers manage to run for the tree line and vanish from sight.


Brion's crew wastes no time in looting the bodies of the fallen goblins. Their armor and weapons will fetch gold in any town they come across, and they'll need that gold to help tend their wounds. Horace and Cirreth are tended as well as they can be and they set off the road once again; just a bit more cautiously this time.

For their actions in the battle, Brion earns 83 AP, Freya 39 AP, Olaf 25 AP, Horace 48 AP, and Cirreth 25 AP.


I used all of the new tweaks from my last post in this example. Most important were the means of determining the Saving Roll level of a successful attack and limits on the number of Personal Adds that could be applied to attack and defense. Both of these worked well and I will make them standard rules in this system.

I think that this combat example did a great job in demonstrating the value of having both body armor and shields in combat. Unlike their battle against the two trolls, the party of delvers faced armored opponents; this can be a challenge to deal with even with a 3D+4 weapon. An opponent in leather armor with a target shield can take 9 hits without damage and that's without applying the Warrior armor doubling bonus. I could have made this battle even more of a challenge by stating that the goblins were all warriors. I tend to not do this, however, and leave those sorts of bonuses to player characters or major NPCs. The armor of the delvers certainly helped them, not only body armor but also shields. Those extra hits of protection make a big difference in this combat system especially since you are not "shielded" by fighting with a second weapon as in standard T&T combat. Brion's kite shield (worth 12 hits of protection with the Warrior bonus) saved him from injury the entire battle. Cirreth's buckler, while worth only 2 hits of protection in her hands, saved her life. You can believe that Horace will make use of one of the fallen goblin's target shields.

The battle also provided a good example of how Personal Adds (PAs) can be divided. PAs may be applied to attack Saving Rolls, defense against an opponents Saving Rolls, or increasing damage. Determining how you are going to divide those PAs takes some practice and some thought, but can add a lot to the combat experience. This adds a good component of player skill to combat in addition to character skill. How many adds do you really need to apply to your attack? Do you gamble on need to roll a slightly higher number for the opportunity to do more damage? Should you put as much as you can into active defense or do you rely on your armor to protect you. Do you take a hit so for the chance of delivering a killing blow? These are all questions that need to be considered. To avoid getting too bogged down in these decisions, and to add some excitement, I would give each player a time limit on deciding how to allocate adds. Perhaps only a minute or less?

Combining PAs toward defense against a single opponent is critical, especially when two or more characters are outmatched by a single opponent. This was shown to be very effective against the ogres in the previous examples, and worked well for the gravely injured Horace and Cirreth here as well.

The differences in Adventure Points earned for each character may cause some concern, but I think that it is a fair distribution based on the contributions of each of the characters. Brion faced and prevailed over the toughest opponent and was able to cut down the second toughest in the route so he earned a significant number of APs. Horace managed to slay two goblin soldiers single-handed and wounded a third so he earned the second highest. Olaf and Cirreth had tougher times and made low rolls on low level Saving Rolls so they earned the least number of APs. However, with the exception of Brion, the characters earned a similar number of APs that might be awarded in standard T&T combat. If all the goblins were counted as defeated, a GM might award 170 AP divided among the five characters or 34 AP each.

In the end I think that this system of combat has great potential. Some may view it as too crunchy for T&T, but I simply see it as a logical extension of the Saving Roll system, and Saving Rolls are the defining aspect of T&T. The application of Personal Adds can make for a lot of numbers to deal with (especially for the GM), but it really is not that difficult. Using chits, or coins, or beans to keep track of add distributions can make it even easier.

Next up will be the final set of rules for my T&T Saving Roll Combat Method.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fighting with Saving Rolls Part 4: A Few Tweaks

I've had some great discussion at the Trollbridge regarding my Saving Roll based combat system. One member there, Derv, has been playtesting the system with his gaming group and has developed some nice tweaks and additions to the basic rules I originally presented. In particular he suggested and implemented a much simpler and better way of determining the Saving Roll level needed to hit an opponent; no table needed.

After these discussions and my own continued playtesting, I have some modifications and additions to my Saving Roll based combat system.

Saving Roll Level To Hit: The target Saving Roll level is equal to the level of your opponent or MR/10 (round down). This reflects your targets ability to defend itself from attack. This does require the addition of a Level 0 SR with a target of 15.

Combat Ability (CA) for Monsters: CA for opponents with Monster Ratings is equal to their MR. The GM may raise or lower the CA of an opponent from this base as necessary. CA is not reduced as MR is reduced. Damage done by MR opponents is determined as usual.

Personal Adds (PAs)for Offense and Defense: Players may allocate up to 50% of the PAs toward their attack roll and up to 50% against their opponents attack roll rounded up. Offensive PAs may only be directed at a single opponent per turn whereas defensive PAs may be split among as many opponents as the character is directly engaged in hand-to-combat. Any number of PAs may be applied to damage.

Character Level Bonus: As with all other Saving Rolls in 7.5e, characters add their Level to their attack SR. This reflects the increased fighting ability of characters with higher levels.

Warrior Adds: As in 7.5e, Warriors get bonus Personal Adds equal to their Level that may be applied to offense, defense, or damage. This reflects the specialized training of Warriors.

Missile Fire: Personal Adds may be applied to missile attacks (up to 50%), but not to defense on a turn that a missile weapon is used. The Level bonus also applies to the missile fire SR. Characters being shot at, and know that they are being shot at, may apply defensive adds against one missile attack per turn.

Spell Casting: Any character casting a spell may not allocate PAs to attack or defense during that turn.

Spite Damage: As in 7.5e, for each 6 rolled in the damage dice 1 point of Spite Damage is delivered. If an opponent is hit, the target must take the maximum of EITHER (damage rolled - armor) or spite damage. So if only one hit gets through an opponents armor but three points of spite damage were dealt, the opponent takes 3 hits to CON or MR. This rule applies to characters and monsters.

Combat Stunts: A player may choose to perform an action other than a direct attack in a turn (trip an opponent, sneak up on an opponent, throw sand in someone's face, do a backward somersault, etc.). The success of that stunt is determined through a Saving Roll on the appropriate Attribute or Talent. No attack may be made or spells cast on the same turn and no PAs may be allocated to attack or defense.

Those are the modifications I have now. My next combat example will include these new rules. Brion and his companions will be facing a large group of opponents this time equipped with both melee and missile weapons and wearing armor. There may be more tweaks forthcoming as I try out more scenarios and (hopefully) a MR conversion system for published adventures if you want to try out this combat system in some solos or GM adventures.

Special thanks to Derv for all of his help.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls GM Screen Preview

Steve Crompton posted a sneak peak of the art (above) for the new dT&T GM screen at the Deluxe T&T blog. The GM screen was part of the Kickstarter campaign's $85,000 milestone. Everyone that pledged $14 or more will be receiving a pdf copy of the screen. There is also a printed cardstock version that will be available. The scene above includes images from seven different 5th edition era Flying Buffalo T&T publications including the 5th edition rulebook and the solo adventures Naked Doom, Labyrinth, Arena of Khazan, Blue Frog Tavern, City of Terrors, and Sewers of Oblivion. There's no word yet on what charts and tables will be on the chart, but I do like the nostalgic feel of the image above. The images are from the covers I saw in my local game store when I first started playing T&T in the late 80s. Having them all combined together in a single image is a nice surprise.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fighting with Saving Rolls Part 3: Melee, Missiles, and Magic

Here is yet another example of combat using the Saving-Roll based combat system where more aspects of the game are considered including missile weapons, magic, and combat stunts.

After his ignominious defeat by the swamp ogre, Brion the Ugly returned to his life of goblin slaying. He got quite good at it actually, and soon increasing his skill as a warrior. He also acquired some better weapons, armor, and friends. He soon began to think back on that ogre. It was still a menace and had grown no less ferocious, so Brion decided to lead his new comrades back to the swamp and confront the ogre once again. With him, Brion brought two other warriors, an archer, and a rogue.

Brion is a 2nd level Warrior. He has a CA of 18 (ST22 DEX16 LK16 SPD16), 22 Personal Adds, and 14 CON. He wears mail armor and carries a kite shield (36 hits total) and a war hammer (5D+1).

Freya and Olaf are two 1st level Warriors. Each has a CA of 14 (ST16 DEX13 LK16 SPD12), 9 Personal Adds, and 11 CON. They wear scale mail and carry heater shields (26 hits total) and broadswords (3D+4).

Horace is a 1st level Warrior. He has a CA of 14 (ST15 DEX16 LK13 SPD12), 8 Personal Adds, and 9 CON. He wears scale mail (16 hits total) and carries a medium bow (4D+0) and a saber (3D+4).

Cirreth is a 1st level Rogue. She has a CA of 10 (ST10 DEX14 LK16 SPD10), 6 Personal Adds, an INT of 14, a WIZ of 12, and 10 CON. She wears soft leather and carries a buckler (8 hits total) and a rapier (3D+4). Cirreth also knows the spells Take That You Fiend and Dem Bones Gonna Rise.

The small band of delvers head into the swamp heading toward the location of the last ogre attack. Brion, Freya, Olaf, and Doria stick to the worn path while Horace stalks the wood line. Soon they come to a clearing and see a horrific site. The ogre is sitting on top a pile of corpses and is munching on what looks like a horse leg. Sitting next to the large ogre is a slightly smaller ogre eating a whole sheep. Both ogres immediately look up and sniff the air; ogres can smell a human from a mile away they say. Rising to their feet, the ogres each pick up a club the size of a tree trunk and roar a challenge at the intruders.

The large swamp ogre has a MR of 50 (CA 38, 6D+25). It's new companion has a MR of 40 (CA 30, 5D+20).

Brion, Freya, and Olaf form up into a line and hold their ground. Horace readies his bow and takes aim while Cirreth prepares her magic.

The ogres bellow and charges the three warriors!


Horace fires his bow at the large ogre before it can reach the line of warriors. He is firing from Easy range so he needs a L2SR on DEX16 to hit. Horace decides to commit 4 Personal Adds to his attack to improve his chance of hitting the ogre; he only needs a 5 to hit. Horace rolls a 9 and hits! The arrow sinks into the side of the ogre dealing (4D+4)=19 points of damage.

Cirreth unleashes a crackling bolt of energy at the large ogre with a shout of "Take That You Fiend!" She needs to make a L1SR on INT14 to successfully cast the spell. She rolls a 9 and succeeds! The bolt hits the large ogre in the chest, staggering the beast with 14 more points of damage.

The large ogre is now down to a MR of 17 before it reaches the line of three warriors. The smaller ogre, however, is still fresh and ready to fight.

The ogres crash into the line of shields. There is a glimmer of recognition in the beasts eyes as the large ogre sees Brion's face. The ogre raises his club to squash the impudent human while its smaller companion focuses it's attention on Freya and Olaf.

Brion (2nd level) needs to make L4SR on CA18 to hit the large ogre and a L3SR to hit the smaller one. Freya and Olaf need to make L5SRs or L4SRs on CA14. The ogres can hit any of the three warriors with a L1SR on CA38 or CA30.

The three warriors break into two units. Freya and Olaf commit their 18 Personal Adds to defend against the smaller ogre. It now needs to roll an 8 or better to hit either one of them. Brion commits all 22 of his Personal Adds to offense in the hopes of taking out the big ogre quickly. He trusts in his armor to save him from the ogre's club. Both Brion and the large ogre now only need to roll a 4 or better to hit each other. Both Freya and Olaf need to roll a 21 or better to hit the smaller ogre.

Brion swings his war hammer tries to crush the large ogre's sternum. He rolls a 9 and hits dealing 23 points of damage!

The large ogre's club comes down hard and smashes through Brion's defenses. He rolled a 10 and dealt (6D+9) 29 points of damage.

Freya and Olaf attack with their broadswords and roll 10 and 6, respectively, but both miss completely.

The smaller ogre attacks (1-3 Freya, 4-6 Olaf) Olaf. Despite their combined defense, the ogre rolls an 8 and hits dealing 37 points of damage to Olaf!

Brion delivers a killing blow to the large swamp ogre. The hulking ogre falls to the ground, pierced by an arrow, blasted by magic, and bludgeoned by a war hammer. The ogre hits Brion hard, but he is able to deflect most of the impact with his shield; the rest is absorbed by his mail. Brion stands in shock. The creature that had slaughtered his comrades not so long ago was now dead. The sound of fighting to his left snaps him out of his reverie.

Both Freya and Olaf fail to hit the smaller ogre. The ogre, however, smashes Olaf with her club. Olaf's armor and shield take much of the force away from the blow, but he is still battered into unconsciousness (Olaf took 11 hits reducing his CON to 0).


Brion moves to support Freya and protect the fallen Olaf. Cirreth prepares to cast TTYF one last time before she is out of energy. Horace, not wanting to risk hitting his comrades, drops his bow and draws his saber. He moves quietly out of the tree line and tries to move up behind the ogre without being noticed.

The smaller ogre, excited over his kill, ignore the loss of his big friend and continues to attack.

Horace tries to move up behind the ogre without being noticed. This requires a L2SR on DEX. Horace rolls a 10 and succeeds. He is now in position to get an open attack on the ogre the next turn.

Cirreth prepares to blast the ogre with a bolt of energy. She needs to make a L1SR on INT14 and rolls a 4. Cirreth's concentration is broken as the ogre bellows and the spell fails.

Freya commits her 9 adds to defend against the ogre while Brion commits 13. The ogre now needs to roll a 12 or better to hit. Brion commits 9 adds to his own attack meaning he needs a 4 or better to hit (L3SR). Freya needs a 21 or better (L4SR).

Brion attacks and rolls a 7, hitting for 17 points of damage.

Freya attacks and rolls a 9, missing.

The ogre attacks (Freya) and rolls an 11, just missing her.

Brion's war hammer strikes again. The smaller ogre is wounded (MR 23), but not down.


The remaining ogre is bleeding heavily and in dire straits, but now has no where to run.

Brion and Frey continue to press the attack. Cirreth has consumed all of her magical energy, so she draws her rapier and joins the melee. Meanwhile, Horace moves up from behind to stab the ogre in the back.

Horace is attacking the unsuspecting ogre from behind, but he needs to make at least a L1SR to hit (things can always go wrong). Horace commits 6 Personal Adds to his attack so that he only needs to roll a 4 or higher leaving 2 for damage. Horace rolls a 38 (five sets of doubles!!!) and hits doing 19 points of damage.

Cirreth throws in her 6 Personal Adds to help defend the group meaning that the ogre now needs to roll an 18 or better to hit. Brion still just needs a 4 or better, Freya a 21 or better, and Cirreth needs a 30 or better.

Brion attacks and rolls a 3! He stumbles over Olaf's outstretched arm and nearly dislocates his shoulder with his awkward swing.

Freya attacks and rolls a 9, missing.

Cirreth lunges forward and rolls a 4, also missing.

The unfortunate ogre rolls a 4 and swings his club far too wide.

The ogre feels a sudden sharp pain in his back as Horace's saber cuts into his flesh. He is now down to a MR of only 4.


Horace joins the general melee throwing his 8 Personal Adds into the defense. The ogre now needs to roll a 26 or better. Horace needs a 21 or better to hit. They are all counting on Brion to finally bring the beast down.

Brion rolls a 10 and hits for 12 points of damage.

Freya, Cirreth, and Horace roll 11, 9, and 9 respectively all missing.

The ogre rolls a 3 and trips before having his skull crushed by Brion's war hammer.

Brion and his comrades are victorious!

For their efforts, Brion earned 96 AP, Freya 166 AP, Olaf 30 AP, Horace 112 AP, and Cirreth 65 AP.

Well this was a much quicker fight than I anticipated, but I was able to incorporate several different aspects of T&T combat.

Just like in standard T&T combat the effective use of missiles and magic can decide a battle. The large ogre was all but put down by Horace's bow and Cirreth's TTYF spell. Having at least one spell caster can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Having one or two good archers to send a volley into your foes before they can reach you line isn't such a bad idea either. You might wonder why I made Cirreth a Rogue and not a Wizard. Well, in 7e there is a 1st level spell called Hold That Pose (or HPT); HTP freezes one target for a combat turn making it impossible for it to attack at a cost of only 4 WIZ. That spell would have made this combat rather short and not the best example. With it Cirreth could have frozen the big ogre in Turn 1, allowing Brion to kill it without much effort, and then frozen the smaller ogre in Turn 2. Of course, this assumes that Cirreth could make a L1SR on INT, which she failed in Turn 2 when she cast a second TTYF. But HTP is a very potent spell and should definitely be used whenever possible.

Just like in the first battle against the large ogre, team work by the three melee warriors was vital. Both ogres could easily hit any of the warriors, so allocating Personal Adds to defense was necessary. The three warriors were well-armored, however, which saved Brion from suffering any wounds and saved Olaf from death. Knowing how to allocate all of the Personal Adds of a group of warriors is important, and I like the idea of forcing them to work as a unit rather than individuals. This is how you actually win a battle after all.

Of special note from this example was the application of Personal Adds in increasing the chance of hitting with missile weapons. Since you can increase your chance to hit with a sword by doing this I see no reason why you cannot do it with a bow as well. Allocating Personal Adds to defense when using a missile weapon is not allowed.

The damage potential of weapons and monsters cannot be overstated and armor is a must for anyone entering combat (unless you are incredibly skilled). I really like the way this system makes shields important. Those extra hits of protection can make all the difference.

The combat stunt I employed in this battle involved Horace sneaking up behind the ogre so that he could launch a surprise attack. Given that the ogre was busy fighting the two warrior and rogue, I decided that his attention as pretty much held in that one direction so a L2SR would be sufficient. Getting into position took an entire combat turn, his attack came on the next combat turn. In some situations, a GM might decide to allow an automatic hit but my personal feeling is that some kind of roll is needed; after all, in combat anything can happen. Since Horace was a Level 1 character and the ogre had a MR of 40, I thought a L1SR would be reasonable. If the monster that Horace was attacking had a MR of 19 or less I would have ruled that Horace only need to roll a 4 or greater.

As a final point, note the difference in Adventure Points earned per character. Freya earned the most APs since she was a Level 1 Warrior that fought in the front line against the two ogres. Horace earned the second most, largely due to a fantastic string of doubles. Brion was a close third, which makes sense given his higher level and lower risk, then Cirreth who stayed behind the line of warriors for most of the fight, and finally Olaf who go knocked unconscious in Turn 1.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fighting With Saving Rolls Part 2: Low Level Character vs High MR Monsters

(Illustration by V. Shane.)

I was asked a question related to my Saving Roll based combat method at the Trollbridge about situations where low level characters face high MR monsters. Specifically, a Brion-type character from the example in my previous post and a MR 50 ogre. Brion would need to make a Level 5 Saving Roll to hit the ogre whereas the ogre would only need to make a Level 1 SR to hit him; surely Brion does not stand a chance on his own using this system. What if there were multiple characters facing that ogre? Can their effort be combined to bring the ogre down?

In my mind, Brion faces as much of a challenge facing a MR 50 ogre on his own using the standard T&T combat system as with this SR-based system.

Using the standard T&T system, Brion would get 3D+10 with his saber and personal adds compared to the ogres 6D+25. So Brion would, on average, get a combat total of 20.5 per combat turn and the ogre 45. Even with his armor and shield Brion would take about 7 hits to his CON per combat turn on average. That would make the fight last two turns.

Using the SR-based system Brion would need to make a L5SR on his CA of 14 to hit; so he would need to roll a 26 or better on 2D6 with DARO to hit the ogre. If Brion applied all of his personal adds to attacking, however, he would only need a 20. The ogre, on the other hand, would only need to make a L1SR on its CA of 38 (3/4 of MR). So the ogre would always hit Brion unless it rolled a 3 on 2D6 even if Brion applied all his personal adds to defense.

In either system, a single low level character facing any opponent as powerful as this should think twice about charging headlong into combat. It simply won't end well. There are always combat stunts you could try to pull, but these could (and should) be used in either combat system.

Of course, the other option using the standard T&T combat system is for Brion to use a dagger (or some other weapon) in his off hand instead of a shield. Using a saber and bank, for example, would increase his offensive power to 5D+13 and average CBT to 30.5. He'd still lose each combat round on average, but might last a little longer. This is an aspect of T&T combat that, while I take full advantage of, I have never really been happy with. Fighting with two weapons is just such a huge advantage that it makes no sense to do otherwise. That does not sit well.

In situations where multiple characters were facing that MR 50 ogre (or any opponent) using SR-based combat, they could combine their personal adds for defense. The ogre only gets one attack per combat turn, so if five Brion-type warriors were fighting the ogre they could combine their personal adds to subtract up to 30 from it's attack SR. That would help to even up the odds and make it much harder for the ogre to squash a "Brion" each and every combat turn. Of course, in my mind at least, a MR 50 monster should be able to squash a first level character fighting on his own without much effort. But five first level warriors working together and fighting as a team should make this more difficult. Using combined personal adds to penalize the attack SR of the opponent serves this purpose. Meanwhile, each warrior would still need to make a separate L5SR on their CA to hit the ogre. That is tough to do, certainly, but they are pretty much out of their league. But with enough warriors, someone will eventually make that roll.

Example: Fresh from his victories over the goblin horde, Brion hears of a ferocious ogre terrorizing a village. Brion learns that the ogre lives in a nearby swamp. Knowing that such a beast will be tough to bring down, Brion enlists the aid of four other warriors. Well armed and full of confidence, the band heads into the swamp and soon find themselves facing the ogre. The hideous beast is 12' tall and easily weighs 500 pounds. It roars and charges the warriors as they scramble to form a shield wall.

Each warrior is a 1st level Warrior with a Combat Ability of 14, a Constitution of 12, and 6 Personal Adds. Each is equipped with a spear (3D+2), soft leather armor, and a target shield (takes 9x2 hits).

The ogre has a MR of 50, a CA of 38, does 6D+25 in damage, but has no armor.

The warriors form up and lock their shields together to fight defensively. The ogre crashes into the and begins to pummel the warriors with his sledgehammer-like fists. The warriors commit all of their Personal Adds to defense, hoping to ward off the ogres blows long enough for someone to get a spear into the beast's gut.

Each warrior needs to make a L5SR (Target=40) on CA14 to hit. The ogre only needs to make a L1SR (Target=20) on CA38 to hit, but at a -30 penalty. So, the warriors need to roll a 26 and the ogre a 12 on 2D6 with DARO to hit.

Turn 1: The warriors roll 8, 7, 11, 11, and 9. They all miss. The ogre rolls a 7. With the penalty he also misses.

Turn 2: The warriors roll 15, 8, 11, 8, and 6 missing. The ogre rolls an 11 missing, although one warrior gets uncomfortably close to the abyss.

Turn 3: The warriors roll 8, 9, 11, 6, and 24(!) missing (but so close!). The ogre rolls a 3 and nearly trips over his big feet.

Turn 4: The warriors roll 8, 7, 16, 7, and 7 missing. The ogre rolls a 7.

Turn 5: The warriors roll 11, 6, 8, 10, and 9 missing. The ogre rolls a 28! He slams his fist into the face of one of the warriors doing 43 points of damage! The warrior's helmet is crushed just before his skull and he drops to the ground. The ogres attack penalty is now only -24; he only needs to roll a 6 or better to hit.

Turn 6: The warriors roll 7, 3, 12, and 4. The ogre rolls a 16! A second warrior falls after taking 43 hits. The ogres attack penalty is now down to -18 and he only needs to roll >3 to hit. Things are looking grim for the warriors!

Turn 7: The now desperate warriors switch to all out attack and throw their Personal Adds to offense (+6 to each attack SR). They roll 6, 10, and 7. Despite their best efforts they fail to land a telling blow. The ogre rolls a 9 and nonchalantly bludgeons a third warrior to death.

Brion and his last comrade decide that they have had enough and run for it! The ogre is content to let them flee. The three dead warriors will make for a filling meal.

While Brion and his comrade lost the battle with the ogre (badly) they still earned some Adventure Points from the ordeal. Each of them faced certain death and learned a thing or two. In the end Brion and the warrior earned 315 and 250 APs, respectively.

Here we can see how a single high MR monster can overwhelm a group of low level warriors. Again, this is as it should be in my opinion and can happen in either system; it's simply a matter of what is considered to be a high Monster Rating. The battle would have likely gone much differently if Brion had enlisted the aid of a Wizard as well and maybe a couple of archers. As it was the warriors were able to hold the ogre at bay while they worked as a team. While no individual could land a blow, they were able to defend each other for four combat turns. If they had been working individually and committing their Personal Adds to their attack rolls, one would have hit the ogre in Turn 3; but it certainly would not have been a fatal blow to such a tough monster. But then a warrior would have fallen each turn prior to that hit (and I would not have rolled the dice that fifth time).

If this battle would have been fought using the standard 7.5e T&T combat system it would have ended far differently:

The battle between the five warriors and the ogre is joined. The warriors get a combined attack roll of 15D+40 with their spears and Personal Adds. The ogre gets 6D+25.

Turn 1: The warriors roll a 106 with 4 spite and the ogre a 42. The ogre takes 60 hits and drops dead. It's days of terrorizing villagers are over.

The five warriors each earn 10 APs for the light stretching exercise of ogre slaying.

Well, that was easy. To present a challenge to the warriors, the ogre would need a MR of at least 140 with an attack roll of 15D+70. The warriors could then counter by drawing their banks to fight with in their off hands to bring their total attack roll to 25D+65.

It's interesting that while the MR 50 ogre is so terrifying to a single warrior that it is little more than a nuisance to five such warriors using the standard T&T combat system. The SR based system maintains that level of terror. The five warriors need to try to outmaneuver the ogre to gain an advantage rather than just standing toe-to-toe with it and trading blows. Perhaps they could attempt to trip the beast or send one warrior off to flank the ogre and stab it in the back while the rest try to hold its attention. All of these stunts can be handled with additional Saving Rolls and additional risk for failure; of course the reward is victory against long odds. There are also ways to prepare before battle; setting an ambush, for example, or laying traps. Increasing the likelihood of losing a battle (and your characters) should make for more interesting and fun situations.

So the final point of clarification for the SR-based combat system is this: Personal Adds used for defense can be combined with those of other characters facing the same adversary. Personal adds used for offense cannot be combined.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fighting with Saving Rolls: An Alternate T&T Combat Method

(Art by Michael Syrigos, used with permission.)

Some time ago I posted an article on different alternate combat methods in T&T. In that article I presented a rough draft a Saving Roll based combat method. A recent post on this subject by Tom Grimshaw at his Alchemy Gaming Blog made me think that it was time to make a more formal post on this system as it has been evolving.

Combat resolution in Tunnels and Trolls™ is often considered a bit too abstract for some players who prefer to have more complex combats with actions resolved for each individual rather than sides. This alternate combat system is based on the T&T Saving Roll. It works so well in so many situations including ranged combat, so why not use it for close combat as well?

To facilitate this system a new attribute is needed: Combat Ability (CA). The CA of your character is the attribute you will use to make your attack Saving Rolls. CA is the average of Strength, Luck, and Dexterity (and Speed if you're using 7th edition). Opponents with Monster Ratings normally have a CA equal to 3/4 of their MR, unless the GM chooses otherwise. This caveat allows for skilled but physically weak monsters; for example, you could have a monster with a MR of 10 but a CA of 20. For these special monsters, a GM may also wish to use the CA in lieu of MR when determining their SR levels needed to hit and to be hit.

The level of the SR needed to hit an opponent is determined by the characters Level and the Monster Rating or Level of the opponent (see table below). For example, a Level 1 character needs to make a L1SR to hit an opponent with a MR of 1-19, a L2SR to hit an opponent with a MR of 20-29, and so on. A Level 2 character, however, needs to make a L1SR to hit an opponent with a MR of 1-29, a L2SR to hit MR 30-39, etc. The same progression is continued with higher levels, adding 10 to the MR or 1 to the Level at each Saving Roll level (a level 1 character needs a L6SR to hit a MR 60 monster). Doubles add and roll over as in normal Saving Rolls and a roll of 3 is an automatic miss. When fighting with two weapons at once, a separate attack SR is needed for each weapon. The SR level required for the second weapon to hit, however, is one level higher than normal.


Players may use some or all of their Personal Adds in attacking and defending. They may add them to their own attack SR or subtract them from their opponents attack SR. In this way, characters can focus more on either hitting their opponent or blocking their opponents attacks at the expense of doing less damage. Both must be decided each turn before any rolls are made, but you must always make at least a L1SR to hit. As a rule, monsters cannot apply their Personal Adds to their attack SR or defense, although GMs may rule otherwise for certain opponents.

If you successfully make your attack SR, the damage you inflict on your opponent is determined by rolling your Weapon Dice and adding your Weapon Adds and Personal Adds. If your opponent has some kind or armor, the protective value of that armor is subtracted from your damage total and the remaining damage is taken from your opponents MR or CON. If your character is hit, damage is inflicted by your opponent in the same way. The total dice and adds of your opponent are determined by its Monster Rating just like normal T&T combat. As a monster's MR is reduced, it's CA does not change nor does the level of SR needed to hit the monster. The starting MR and CA are considered constant in these respects. The adds of a monster, however, are reduced as the MR decreases.

Attacks are considered simultaneous and the effects of damage are not taken into account until the next combat turn. This method of combat resolution can lead to quick kills (especially of characters), so the GM may wish to reduce all weapon dice by one when employing this system. The high probability of mortal wounds certainly makes possessing both body armor and a shield worthwhile.

Adventure Points earned in combat using this system are based on the attack SRs. The number of APs earned in a fight is, therefore, controlled by the challenge presented; a Level 1 character fighting a monster with a MR of 30 will earn significantly more APs than a Level 3 character, provided he survives. However, a character can earn APs from a battle even if he loses and survives or runs away. All of the SRs made prior to retreating count for the purpose of earning APs. In order to balance this system, Saving Rolls associated with throwing or shooting missile weapons should also count for gaining AP. Those not actively involved in combat will not earn APs for defeating opponents. Wizards that do not want to engage in hand-to-hand combat can, however, earn APs by using missile weapons or casting spells.

Example: Brion the Ugly is a 1st level Warrior with a Combat Ability of 14, a Constitution of 12, and 6 Personal Adds. He is equipped with a saber (3D+4), soft leather armor, and a target shield (takes 9x2 hits). Brion is fighting a goblin with a MR of 20 wearing armor that takes 4 hits. Brion needs to make a L2SR on his CA to hit the goblin which means he needs to roll an 11 or greater on 2D6. Brion's player opts to commit 4 of his Personal Adds to his attack Saving Roll so that he only needs to roll a 7 or greater and 2 of his Personal Adds to fend off the goblin's attacks. Brion's player rolls an 8 and hits. He now rolls 3D6+4 for damage and gets a 14. Ten hits get past the goblin's makeshift armor, seriously wounding him. It's now the goblins turn. Since he has a MR of 20 and is facing a Level 1 character, he only needs a L1SR to hit Brion. He has a CA of 13, so he normally needs a 7 or greater on two dice. However, since Brion committed 2 Personal Adds to defense, he needs to roll 9 or greater. The goblin rolls a 9 and hits despite Brion's efforts. He then rolls 3D6+10 for damage and gets 22. Luckily between Brion's body armor and shield with his Warrior bonus he can absorb 18 hits, so he only takes 4 hits to his CON. Therefore, at the start of the second combat turn, the goblin has a MR of 10 and Brion has a CON of 8. Brion now goes for an all out attack against the goblin, committing all 6 of his Personal Adds to his attack. He rolls a 5 which hits, if just barely, for 14 points of damage. The goblin counters by rolling a 13 (DARO!) and inflicts 3D6+5=9 points of damage. Brion's armor saves him from further injury, but the goblin falls clutching the gaping hole in his chest. Brion has emerged wounded, but victorious, and earned 14+10=24 APs for his two L2 attack SRs.

Friday, May 10, 2013

New Lone Delver

That hobbit has been fighting that snake for a while now, so I think it's about time for a new lone delver.

I recently discovered as series of graphic solo adventure published in Avalon Hill's Heroes magazine. The Crystal Key written by Richard Snider (author of the FRPG Powers and Perils) and illustrated by Jim Talbot (artist of the covers of the T&T solos Naked Doom, Labyrinth, Deathtrap Equalizer, and Gamesmen of Kasar) was the first (V. 2 n. 3). This series of solos makes use of detailed illustrations with minimal text to inform you on the best decision to make. Here is a great example of how well this is done:

You could certainly describe this room and all of its details, but this illustration does it all.

Some of my favorite sections deal with the various ways in which you can meet a unfortunate end. Our new lone delver has just opened the wrong door. Time to close the book.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Magic: It's Not Just for Combat

It seems to be a typical goal to find the use of spells in combat rather than their usefulness in delving in general which is not always about combat. I'll admit that I am often guilty of this myself. What is even more interesting is that in games that I have run most specifically non-combat oriented first level spells like Lock Tight, Knock-Knock, Will-o-Wisp, Oh There It Is, Teacher, and even Hocus Focus are forgotten in the heat of the moment, whereas Take That You Fiend and Vorpal Blade are cast without hesitation or need to check the rulebook. There seems to be a definite bias in most players minds toward combat-oriented magic.

Two common spells caught up in this issue are new ones from the 7.5 edition, Call Flame and Call Water. I'll single these spells out because they are the best examples of this focus on applying spells to combat. These two spells, which are listed as Conjuring spells and not Combat spells, have a lot of use off of the battlefield which is typically overlooked or forgotten. This is likely because they are each described as being capable of doing 1D6 damage to a living target (there is also the associated illustration in the rulebook). There was some discussion a while back at Trollhalla and at a few blogs including The Delving Dwarf as to why a Wizard would use one of these spells in combat rather than the standard Take That You Fiend spell. After all, both Call Flame and Call Water cost more Wizardry to cast and deal considerably less damage than a first level TTYF, so their combat potency is highly limited. Tom Grimshaw at the Alchemy Gaming Blog listed several interesting indirect ways to use Call Flame in combat rather than simply causing damage against a target. These include burning bow strings, wands, backpacks, lanterns, scrolls, and gunpowder. These ideas demonstrate the real value of these spells in combat rather than causing direct damage. Of course many of these ideas require being able to strike a target from a distance. This would necessitate house ruling the effective range of these spells which are listed as requiring Touch to be effective.

But this leads to the point of the discussion, the application of these spells to combat is entirely forced. Yes, there are much better spells like TTYF to use to inflict damage on your foes. Call Flame and Call Water are, in fact, general utility spells that should only be used in combat unless absolutely necessary. Their real value comes in all other aspects of delving whether you're crawling through a tunnel complex, an ancient ruin, a haunted swamp, a troll-infested forest, or a vast desert in search of a giant scorpion. Just think of all of the potential uses of having fast and immediate access to both fire and water, both created from nothing.

Here are just a few of the many uses of these spells off of the battlefield that I have thought of:

Call Flame:

1. Create a quick fire when you have no other means. This can be useful in warding off freezing to death or hypothermia.
2. Create a fast light when you suddenly find yourself in the dark and no other means are handy. You can quickly light torches, lanterns, oil, paper, wood, or whatever.
3. Starting a fast, silent fire to serve as a distraction or to cover an escape.
4. Burning through dense foliage.
5. Cauterizing wounds. It's direct and clean flame for sealing big wounds (i.e. limb loss).
6. Disabling traps. A blast of flame applied to a trap should disable any triggering mechanism or at least burn off any toxins.

Call Water

1. Create water (from nothing!) when you are in danger of dying of thirst.
2. Putting out a fire that threatens to consume something of value (such as yourself).
3. Clearing off hidden carvings, murals, doors, keyholes, etc. for better viewing.
4. Getting clean. This may seem silly, but getting your open wounds full of dirt, guts, and feces is a bad idea.
5. Disabling traps. As above, except a blast of water may be better if you're worried about igniting combustible material.

Of course there may be situations where these spells could be very handy in a fight. Call Flame might be ideal when fighting a paper golem or an animated ice sculpture. A GM might rule that Call Flame immediately destroys these creatures wheres TTYF only causes damage. The same goes for Call Water if facing a fire elemental or flame demon.

But my overall point is this, magic serves many purposes in delving. Wizards in T&T have incredible value. They are not subject to the restrictions of Vancian magic as in that other system, being able to cast only a few spells per day and knowing only a handful of spells in total. No, T&T Wizards can cast spells as long as they have the WIZ or STR (or whatever attribute is being used) and this energy is recovered relatively quickly. Players of Wizards should therefore be very familiar with all of the spells at their disposal because they can cast them all. First level Wizards in 5th edition start with 10 different spells; they have 20 in 7.5 edition. That is a lot of power. Many of those spells are for use outside of combat and should not be forgotten. Your Wizard is more than a two-dimensional character hurling TTYF at anything that moves. Wizards are powerful on many levels. So learn your spells, become familiar with what they can do, and be creative with them. Then bring your Wizard into the forefront of the action, and not just in combat.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Conjuring Magic

Continuing my look at the Specialist Mage type, I decided to make a list of the spells that my Conjurer Ulthor may eventually come to know:

First level (INT DEX 10): Call Flame, Call Water, Dem Bones Gonna Rise, Hold That Pose, Oh Go Away, Sparkle, Will-O-Wisp

Second level (INT DEX 12): Spirit Mastery

Third level (INT DEX 15): Befuddle, Devoted Rain Cloud, Firestorm of Protest

Fourth level (INT DEX 19): Smog

Fifth level (INT DEX 24): Dear Lord, Mind Pox

Sixth level (INT DEX 30): none

Seventh level (INT DEX 37): Invisible Wall

Eighth level (INT DEX 45): Zombie Zonk

Ninth level (INT DEX 54): Mortal Source

Tenth level (INT DEX 64): Blow Me To...

Eleventh level (INT DEX 75): Blow You To...

Twelfth level (INT DEX 87): Banishing, Invisible Fiend, Summoning

Thirteenth level (INT DEX 87): none

That is a total of 22 spells for the Conjurer Specialist Mage. All of these spells are learned automatically as soon as the Conjurer has the ability to cast them. That means no out of pocket cost; for these spells that's a total savings of 106,000 gold pieces. A Wizard could set himself up nicely with that much money.

There are obviously some limitations with this list of spells. Ulthor won't be blasting his foes with bolts of arcane energy or death rays nor will he be healing anyone. He can't even enchant a makeshift wand. But, even at low levels, he can summon flame, water, and light, freeze his attackers in place, make them flee, or bind them to his will, or even raise an animated skeleton from the ground to fight for him. Given more power he'll be able to cloud and even incapacitate the minds of his enemies, create poisonous clouds and impenetrable walls of force, transport himself and others through space, raise zombies, and finally summon fiends and demons to do his bidding. He will be a Wizard to be feared and respected if he lives long enough.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ulthor the Conjurer In the Random Rainbow Maze

The Random Rainbow Maze was the first solo released by Ken St. Andre under his Trollhalla Press brand in 2010. The Rainbow Maze is a "fun house" style dungeon, meaning that it was designed with the sole purpose of luring in delvers with the promise of wealth and fame but typically offering only an early grave. The monsters found within fun house-style dungeons the monsters are a varied mix of creatures with no reason of being there other than to fight delvers. The general rule in a fun house dungeon is that nothing makes sense; assume everything will be illogical.

Interestingly the Rainbow Maze has no instructions and therefore there are no guidelines for how powerful your character should be; no mention of level or adds. Nor does it provide any stipulations on character type or kindred. I'll just have to hope that Ulthor has what it takes to make it out alive. The introductory paragraph does say that the maze is a "magic free zone" but for the sake of this experiment with Specialist Mages, and my own fun, I'll ignore that one rule.

I played using the 7.5e rules which means I used spite damage, did not reduce the number of dice used by opponents as their Monster Rating decreased, used the Wizardry attribute to power spells, and required an Intelligence Saving Roll to successfully cast spells.

Be advised that the following play report contains a lot of spoilers about the Random Rainbow Maze.


Ulthor the Conjurer walked down a long and winding path toward a large square stone building. Lining the path were highly detailed statues of all of the various humanoid kindreds; they were all delvers by their appearance. Many were sculpted in posed of rage or surprise. Ulthor noted the statues, but kept his eyes focused on the building ahead. Here was the famous Rainbow Maze, built to test the skills of delvers and reward those who were worthy. He tried not to think about what happened to those who were not worthy.

Ulthor finally made it to the end of the path. He stood before the great building facing two doors. Suddenly a man appeared in front of him. He was a small man with skin the color of polished ebony. Ulthor could feel strong magic emanating from him; he must be a powerful Wizard.

"I am the Maze Master," the Wizard said. "Do you wish to enter the Rainbow Maze?"

"Yes," Ulthor said without hesitation.

"The task is simple," the Maze Master explained. "Simply enter the Maze, kill any creatures you may meet, and exit at the other end. Any treasure you find along the way is yours to keep. You won't need your lantern inside; the walls glow in different colors so you'll be able to see well enough."

"Sounds simple enough," Ulthor replied.

"Indeed," the Wizard smiled, but there was nothing friendly about it. "Start when you are ready."

Ulthor looked at the two doors. They were identical. Ulthor shrugged, drew one of his banks and opened one of the doors.

Ulthor stepped through the doorway and into a 20' square room. The walls glowed with a deep red color casting an eerie light. On the floor in the center of the room was a strange-looking animal carcass. Ulthor slowly approached the carcass drawing his second bank as he did so. Suddenly the 'carcass' rose to it's feet! It was a bizarre creature the size of a dog with the body of a spider, the head of an eagle, and the claws of a lobster.

"What sort of of demented creation are you?" Ulthor exclaimed.

Suddenly the creature attacked! Ulthor gripped his banks and defended his life. For all of it's horrific appearance the monster was a pathetic thing (MR10), so Ulthor quickly put it out of its misery.

[Ulthor won the fight in a single combat turn.]

Ulthor inspected the now most definitely dead creature to see if he could learn anything about how it was created. In doing so, Ulthor found a pouch containing three gold coins. Ulthor pocketed the coins then began to search the room. There were no obvious exits other than the door he came in and that was now locked. After carefully searching for concealed doors Ulthor finally went to the locked door and knocked. Ulthor heard a click and the door opened. Standing there was the Maze Master.

"It took you long enough," the Maze Master said. "Come on out. Would you like to try the other door?"

"That wasn't much of a maze," Ulthor commented as he walked out. "But yes, I will try the other door."

Ulthor promptly opened the second door and entered the Maze once again. This time Ulthor found himself in a long corridor with glowing orange walls. As he advanced, the passage turned at sharp angles several times but kept to the same basic heading. Finally Ulthor came to two more doors, one in the wall to his left, the other ahead of him at the end of the corridor.

Ulthor decided to go left. He opened the door and entered a small room with glowing yellow walls. Inside was yet another bizarre creature, this one appeared to be half frog and half goblin.

"Fascinating," Ulthor said in admiration of the Maze Master's skills.

The creature held a jagged bronze knife in its hand and approached Ulthor with obviously ill intent. Ulthor steadied himself. Fighting this creature would be tough, but perhaps he could bind it to his will. He would need to be quick. Ulthor focused his mind and reached out to the froglin. The froglin rushed in with knife raised. As the blade descended, Ulthor grabbed the froglin's wrist and forced his will upon the creature. The froglin did not have the strongest mind so it was a brief struggle. Soon the froglin stood looking at Ulthor intently waiting to do his bidding.

[Ulthor cast Spirit Mastery to bind the froglin to his will. The spell requires touch to be effective, so he first made a L1SR on SPD13 by rolling a 7 (+2 for level) to grab the froglin's arm before it could attack. He then made a L2SR on INT14 to successfully cast the spell by rolling a 25 (three sets of doubles!) (+2 for level) costing him 4 WIZ.]

"Is there any treasure here?" Ulthor asked the froglin.

The froglin quickly presented Ulthor with a small pouch. Opening it Ulthor was happy to see six gold coins.

"Good boy. Now lets be on our way."

Seeing no other doors or exits, Ulthor led the froglin back out the door he entered and into the twisting corridor. Ulthor decided to push on with his new bodyguard and tried the door at the end of the passage.

The door opened to reveal a long corridor with a glowing green wall and a glowing blue wall. There was a new door near him and two more doors at the other end of the corridor. They all looked the same.

"Now this is more like a maze," Ulthor remarked. The froglin did not comment. "Ah well, let's try this one."

Ulthor opened the door and entered a large chamber. Standing in the chamber was a massive 8' tall humanoid with the head of a lion wearing leather armor and carrying a broad bladed spear. The lion man roared and attacked without hesitation.

Ulthor once again focused his will, this time attempting to hold his foe in place.

"STOP!" he commanded and the lion man froze in place. "Get him!" Ulthor commanded his froglin.

The froglin happily charged forward and plunged his knife into the lion man's gut. The lion man roared in agony, then broke free of his magical bonds and attempted to skewer the froglin. Ulthor charged forward with his banks and fought side by side with his new companion. Even with the horrific wound the froglin inflicted, the lion man was a formidable opponent. But finally Ulthor and his froglin were able to bring the beast down. Panting, Ulthor checked himself over; somehow he had make it though the fight unscathed as had his froglin.

[Ulthor cast Hold That Pose in the first combat turn. He made a L1SR on INT14 by rolling a 13 (one set of doubles!) (+2 for level) to cast the spell costing him 2 WIZ. The froglin got a free attack on the helpless lion man scoring 21 hits. The subsequent fight lasted six combat turns. While they never lost a combat turn, Ulthor and his froglin took 2 points of spite damage each.]

"Not bad for a Mage," Ulthor said as he set about searching the carcass. "Watch the door froglin."

The lion mans armor was ruined but his spear was not. It was a heavy thing so Ulthor gave it to the froglin to carry. Then Ulthor found a hefty pouch hidden in the lion mans mane. Inside were 200 silver coins.

With no other way to go, Ulthor left the chamber and went back to the corridor to pick a new door. He decided to try the door next to the one leading to the lion man.

The door opened easily and revealed an L-shaped corridor with dully glowing gray walls. There were three new doors, one just opposite the door he entered and two more at the opposite end of the corridor.

"This is getting tiring, let's just try this door."

Ulthor opened the door in front of him and stepped through, only to be attacked by a huge jungle troll!

"COME NO FURTHER!" Ulthor shouted exuberantly. The jungle troll froze in place and the froglin happily rushed forward and stabbed it with his bronze knife. Confident in victory, Ulthor rushed forward with his own daggers hoping to bring down the fearsome troll in hand-to-hand combat. At first things went well; both Ulthor and the froglin wounded the troll even further even if Ulthor did receive a large scratch across his face for the effort. But then Ulthor noticed that some of the trolls wounds were healing even as he fought. The jungle troll then got the best of Ulthor and his froglin delivering more wound while fending off their dagger. As more of the trolls wounds healed, it grew stronger. Seeing his own imminent death, Ulthor steeled his mind and commanded the troll once again.

"STOP!" he shouted with much more desperation. The troll froze in place. Ulthor could see the rage and panic in the trolls eyes as the froglin attacked again. This time the troll had been weakened too much. Ulthor moved in to join his froglin and the troll fell while trying in vain to ward off their combined attacks.

[Ulthor cast Hold That Pose in the first combat turn once again (it's a very potent spell). He made a L1SR on INT14 by rolling a 7 (+2 for level) to cast the spell costing him 2 WIZ. The froglin got a free attack on the helpless jungle troll scoring 22 hits. Unfortunately, the troll regenerated 1/10 of it's current MR each combat turn. Ulthor fought with his daggers for two combat turns then, facing a likely defeat, decided to cast HTP again, rolling a 5 (+2 for level) on his L1SR on INT14. The jungle troll was frozen in place again allowing the froglin a free attack who inflicted 25 hits leaving the troll with a MR of 14. Even after the troll regenerated, the fight lasted just one more combat turn. In the end, Ulthor took 1 points of spite damage and his froglin took 1 hit.]

Ulthor stopped to bandage his wounds then quickly search the troll but found nothing of value.

"Let's get going," he then said to his froglin. "It may get up again."

Looking around Ulthor saw two doors at the other end of the corridor. He picked one at random and stepped through into another corridor. The walls glowed a bright yellow and a bright blue. There was just one door at the other end of the hall.

"This could be good or bad," Ulthor commented to his froglin.

Opening the door, Ulthor was greeted by sunlight and fresh air. He had made it out alive!

The Maze Master was standing there smiling.

"Congratulations," he said. "You surprised me; I did not think you would make it through. I see you have made a friend. I'm afraid that I will have to return him to my maze though."

The Maze Master snapped his fingers and the froglin vanished.

"Now for your final reward," the Maze Master said. He reached into his robe and pulled out a pouch that he pressed into Ulthor's hands. The bag was full of gold, silver, and copper coins.

"Do you wish to try again?" the Maze Master asked. "The challenges will be twice as difficult but the reward will be twice as great."

The Maze Master's smiled evilly and waited for Ulthor's reply.

"No, I think I will need to rest," Ulthor answered, "but thank you for the offer."

Ulthor bowed to the Maze Master and walked back down the statue-lined trail grateful that he did not encounter whatever had doomed the scores of delvers around him.


Thus ends the adventures of Ulthor the Conjurer in the Random Rainbow Maze. Ulthor racked up quite a few Adventure Points from casting magic and combat, but I only gave Ulthor half the MR rating of the lion man and jungle troll in APs since he had help in those two fights. In addition to the APs earned from defeating monsters and making Saving Rolls Ulthor was awarded 1D6 x 100 = 600 bonus Adventure Points for successfully completing the adventure! In all, Ulthor earned 795 Adventure Points. He did not get a lot of treasure out of the ordeal however, only earning 43 gold pieces worth of coins in addition to the lion man's spear. Using my house rule table for selling items, Ulthor made a L1SR on Luck and was able to get 16 gold pieces for the spear. I assumed the large 6D6 spear was roughly equivalent to a pilum and worth 40 gp.

Ulthor's magic was quite effective. I intended to use Spirit Mastery as soon as possible to obtain some more fighting power. Hold That Pose was another incredibly effective spell; it allowed Ulthor and his froglin servant to defeat the lion man and jungle troll. The real challenge of magic in 7.5e is that it requires the caster to make a Saving Roll on Intelligence at the level of the spell being cast. That can make magic a bit of a gamble, especially when delving solo. I got really lucky with some of the magic saving rolls. The casting of Spirit Mastery was especially risky; if Ulthor missed the SR, that froglin would have gotten a free attack and likely killed him. But getting a bodyguard was essential if Ulthor was to have any hope of in the maze success, so the it was worth the risk. The same is true of the Hold That Pose spells. If Ulthor had missed those SRs then the froglin would have history and Ulthor likely would have joined him in short order.

But as it was Ulthor successfully navigated the maze and emerged alive and victorious. With the Adventure Points he earned Ulthor was able to increase his Intelligence to 17, his Luck to 14, his Dexterity to 13, and his Charisma to 9 with 15 APs left over. With the money he acquired, Ulthor decided to invest 30 gp in a kukri to give himself a little more power in combat. The rest he held onto to keep himself fed and sheltered.

Name: Ulthor the Conjurer

Type: Specialist Mage - Conjuring
Gender: Male
Kindred: Human
Level: 2

STR 12
DEX 13
CON 10
SPD 13
LUK 14
INT 17
WIZ 28

Adds: +4

Talent: History 18 (INT+4), Arcane Symbology 19 (INT+5)

Adventure Points: 15 (795)

Money: 35 gp

Weight Carried/Possible: 352/1200

Spells: Call Flame, Call Water, Dem Bones Gonna Rise, Hold That Pose, Oh-Go-Away, Sparkle, Will-o-Wisp, Spirit Mastery

Weapons: Kukri (2D+5), 2 Banks (2D+3), Common Sling (2D)

Armor: Soft Leather (5 hits)

Equipment: Cotton trousers and shirt, leather belt, hooded cloak, ankle-high hard boots, sling stones, backpack, belt pouch, lantern, 4 flasks of oil, flint and steel, small mirror, parchment (10), quill pen, ink bottle, chalk (10), small sack, water skin, first aid kit