Tunnels And Trolls: RPG History Revisited

deluxe tunnels and trolls rulebook

This last Saturday I went to the release party for the new Tunnels and Trolls rulebook, which was funded via a Kickstarter. I purchased a copy and got autographs from the whole gang (except for Bear Peters, who was busy running a game.)

T&T was the first RPG I played. I got a box set for Christmas when I was twelve years old, and I loved it. A couple years later I was playing Dungeons and Dragons, mainly because I’d run out of solitaire adventures to buy and AD&D had a random dungeon generator.

So when I heard about the release party for the new book at Game Depot just a few blocks away, I had to go!

For five years I’ve shopped at the Sprouts farmers market in the same plaza, and never even knew I was living in the same town and getting my groceries a few doors down from the veritable birthplace of Tunnels and Trolls. Crazy.

Ken St.Andre asked if I played “that other game”. I playfully half-fibbed and said negatory. I was worried he was still bitter, or he would rip up my book or something. Now I wonder what might have happened if I’d said yes.

I’d chosen my answer, and I’d turned my adventure book to page 7b, and I still wish I could peek and see the result of choosing 9c instead – “Yes, I’m a filthy dragon whore.” Tonight I watched a Youtube interview with Ken as a consolation for not having more insistent social skills.

I really do hate dragons and prefer trolls, and I could have said so.

So Ken wrote “Abandon your scruples ye who enter here” in my book. What does that mean? Did I pay too much? Was he calling me on my polite B.S.? I don’t know. I fear I’ll never know the answer to his cryptic enigma.

I’m happy with the book. I’ve read a good part of it, trying to glean ideas for my own RPG. T&T was created as a simpler D&D, but the bell curves and limitations of only using six-sided dice are the real challenge of the system. The doubles, triples, and spite damage are all improvements over the original as I remember it.

Looking at the list of modules published to date, it looks like I’ve played most of those as a teenager over 30 years ago. The old spiral-bound books, which I purchased from Boardroom games in Indianapolis, were much cooler than the new slick printed material.

I love the antique pen-art style in T&T, as shown above! Rob Carver is my favorite T&T artist, but it was a pleasure to meet the talented Steve Crompton and Liz Danforth. I’m following some T&T blogs now, so if a Phoenix rises higher from the ashes, I’ll hope to hear about it.

At first I was put off by the shortage of newer art in the new deluxe rulebook, but I finally decided I like their decision to make the book a more classic, through-the-years presentation. I’m also wondering if I might like a pen and paper game more these days than an MMO.

About Silverangel

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7 responses to “Tunnels And Trolls: RPG History Revisited

  • Vanwall

    Thankee kindly, always nice to hear nice things about my work.

    – Rob Carver

  • Silverangel

    It’s also nice to receive comments! Your work has a visceral surface complexity. I remember admiring the City of Terrors cover when I was a kid. I was wondering if you’d done any new art recently, i.e. for the book, but I dug into Google and found your interview with the answer: https://deluxetunnelsandtrolls.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/artists-spotlight-on-rob-carver/

    Thanks so much, Rob. 🙂

  • Vanwall

    Your work is mischievous and interesting. I like it it a lot.

  • Sylow

    ” I’m also wondering if I might like a pen and paper game more these days than an MMO.”

    I don’t get this question. It’s like you have to choose between.For me it’s one P&P evening every second friday (oki, almost, there are some fridays where it doesn’t happen) and MMOs on other evenings. While MMOs are generally more shallow, they also are readily available and can be easily get into my schedule, while the logistical overhead of P&P (fitting it between work and girlfriend) prohibits me from doing the same here.

    • Silverangel

      I’m currently not playing an MMO, partly because I’ve played my fill of all of the current big titles, I’m working on creative projects, and an MMO aggravates my serious sleeping problems at the moment. So I was just musing if a P&P game would be somehow better, even though on paper it looks like a large, clunky chunk of time invested for less entertainment, from the perspective of not having played a P&P game for over 30 years. That’s great you have time for both.

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