What is Tunnels & Trolls?

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What is Tunnels & Trolls?
« on: April 01, 2017, 03:49:45 AM »
V.I.A. Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_%26_Trolls )

Tunnels & Trolls (abbreviated T&T) is a fantasy role-playing game designed by Ken St. Andre and first published in 1975 by Flying Buffalo. The second modern role-playing game published, it was written by Ken St. Andre to be a more accessible alternative to Dungeons & Dragons and is suitable for solitaire, group, and play-by-mail gameplay.

St. Andre, a public librarian in Phoenix, Arizona, liked the idea of fantasy role-playing after reading a friend's D&D rule books but found the actual rules confusing, so he wrote his own. The first edition of Tunnels & Trolls was self-published in April 1975.[3] In June 1975, publisher Flying Buffalo Inc. released a second edition of the game, and Tunnels & Trolls quickly became D&D's biggest competitor.[4] Tunnels & Trolls had similar statistics, classes, and adventures to Dungeons & Dragons, but introduced a points-based magic system and used six-sided dice exclusively.[5] According to Michael Tresca, Tunnels & Trolls presented a better overall explanation of its rules, and "brought a sense of impish fun to the genre".[5]

The game underwent several modifications between the original release and when the 5th edition of the rules was published in 1979. This edition was also translated and published abroad in the United Kingdom, Germany,[6] France, Italy, Finland, Japan, and it entered these markets before Dungeons & Dragons did in most cases.

In 1999 Pyramid magazine named Tunnels & Trolls as one of The Millennium's Most Underrated Games. Editor Scott Haring said of the game "everybody knows this was the second ever fantasy roleplaying game ... But to dismiss it as just an opportunistic ripoff would be grossly unfair. Flying Buffalo's T&T had its own zany feel – it was much less serious than D&D – and a less-complicated game system."[7]

In 2005, Flying Buffalo updated the 5th edition rules with a "5.5" publication that added about 40 pages of extra material. That same year, Fiery Dragon Productions produced a 30th Anniversary Edition under license in a tin box complete with CD, map, and monster counters, and two new versions of the rules. Ken St. Andre used the opportunity to extensively update the style of play and introduce new role-playing concepts, such as character level determined by character attribute statistics instead of arbitrary numbers of experience points. The 30th Anniversary rules are generally known as the 7th edition. One of the most significant innovations of 7th edition is the introduction of a skills system. The 7.5 edition was released in 2008 by Fiery Dragon, being an update and clarification on the 30th Anniversary Edition.

In 2012, Tunnels & Trolls was re-introduced in French-speaking markets by Grimtooth under license by Flying Buffalo. The French rulebook, which is officially the 8th edition, is based on the 7th edition, but includes elements taken from the 5.5 edition as well as clarifications by Ken St. Andre. The interior artwork includes the illustrations of the 5th edition, plus new inks by Liz Danforth. Several other products (solos and GM adventures) have already been released via Lulu.com and others have been announced.

The production work for the 8th edition prompted Flying Buffalo to start working on a Deluxe (9th) Edition of the rulebook.[8] As Rick Loomis, head of Flying Buffalo Inc., put it, "The French edition came out so beautiful that now that I have run out of 5.5, I am not satisfied to just reprint 5.5. I wanted to have a deluxe edition even better than the French one. (Competition is what drives us to be better!)". Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, written by St. Andre with additional design input and editing from longtime players Liz Danforth and James "Bear" Peters, was published in August 2015.[9]

The 5th editionTunnels & Trolls core ruleset does not detail a specific setting, saying only that gameplay occurs in "a world somewhat but not exactly similar to Tolkien's Middle Earth." In an interview in 1986, Ken St. Andre stated that "my conception of the T&T world was based on The Lord of The Rings as it would have been done by Marvel Comics in 1974 with Conan, Elric, the Gray Mouser and a host of badguys thrown in."[10]

The current Deluxe Edition includes Ken St. Andre's house campaign setting, Trollworld. Along with additional material by early players Jim "Bear" Peters and Liz Danforth.

Prime attributes[edit]
Eight prime attributes define characters in Tunnels & Trolls:

Strength (ST) determines which weapons the character can use and how much the character can carry. It also serves as magic points in 5th and earlier editions.
Intelligence (IQ) measures the character's ability to think and remember facts.
Luck (LK) affects combat results and saving throws.
Constitution (CON) measures how healthy the character is and how much damage the character can take before being killed.
Dexterity (DEX) represents agility, nimbleness and affects marksmanship.
Charisma (CHR) represents attractiveness and leadership ability.
Later editions add the following prime attributes:

Wizardry (WIZ) replaces Strength for powering magic points. Also called Power (POW) in the 5.5 Edition.
Speed (SPD) represents reaction speed and, in some editions, movement rate.
A new character begins with a randomly generated score for each attribute, determined by rolling three six-side dice.

Character races
The rules recommend that novice players create human characters, but also offer the options of elves, dwarves, and hobbits. Other races, like leprechauns and fairies, serve as additional character options. A character's race affects his or her attributes. A player may also choose to play as a "monster race" such as a zombie or vampire.

Character classes
Players also choose a character class for their character. The two base classes are Warriors and Wizards. Wizards can cast spells but have combat limitations. While Warriors cannot cast magic, they are allowed the full use of weapons and armor is twice as effective in blocking damage. Rogues and Warrior-Wizards are also available as character classes. These two classes both combine the abilities of the Warrior and the Wizard. Rogues in Tunnels & Trolls are not thieves, unlike the Rogue classes in Dungeons & Dragons, but could be more accurately described as 'Rogue Wizards'. Rogues are limited in their spell-casting abilities, can utilize the full range of combat weapons and armor as a warrior but do not receive the Warrior's armor bonus or the Wizard's spell-creating ability. Warrior-Wizards are not so limited, but the player must be lucky with the dice when creating the character: high minimum attribute scores are required. Later editions include new classes such as Specialist Mage, Paragon (a renaming of the Warrior-Wizard), Leader, and Ranger.

Starting equipment and money
New characters begin with a number of gold pieces determined by rolling three six-sided dice and multiplying the total by ten. These gold pieces can be used to buy weapons, armor, and other equipment.

Combat is handled by comparing dice rolls between a character and his opponent. Both sides roll a number of dice determined by which weapon is in use, then modify the appropriate result by "personal adds". Totals are compared, with the higher roll damaging the opposing combatant by the difference in totals. Armor absorbs this damage taken, and any amount remaining is subtracted from the Constitution attribute.

Tunnels & Trolls is unusual among roleplaying games in conducting mass combat resolution with one set of rolls, as the above system applies to combats between any number of opponents.

Personal adds are determined by Strength, Luck, and Dexterity. For every point above 12 possessed in each of these attributes, the character receives a one-point bonus to his personal adds. Similarly, for every point below 9 possessed in each of these attributes, the character receives a one-point penalty.

In the 7th Edition, the formula was changed to include Speed in the personal adds. This also applies to the Deluxe Edition.

The 5.5, 7th and Deluxe edition include 'spite damage' whereby each "6" rolled on the combat dice causes a minimum of one damage to be inflicted on the opposing side, regardless of armor or the respective combat totals. This helped resolve the interminable stalemate that could occur between evenly matched, heavily armored opponents.

Saving rolls
The Saving Roll (SR) is used during combat to break a stalemate or overcome the characters being outmatched as well as for use of ranged weapons. The SR is also used in all other tests of skill or luck the characters may be presented with by the GM or solo adventure. Checks are made using a character's attribute plus 2d6 (doubles add and roll over) against a difficulty level based on the task at hand. For every level of saving roll the formula is 10+5x, with x being the level of difficulty. This was one of the earliest uses of this mechanic in RPGs.