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.