[Let's Read] Tunnels & Trolls 5th Edition

Xylarthen

No, not THAT Xylarthen.
I am a bit taken aback by some things that seem to blow many minds.

SRs, for a start. Now, there is something sort of innovative in the complication of 2d6 DARO: the open-endedness. Theoretically, you could roll 100 or higher (although the chance is less than 1 in a billion).

Just "make a dice roll", though? Not innovative in the least, and it is just laughably incredible to me that anyone should seriously believe that I needed Ken St Andre to enlighten me with such brilliance. Did it in D&D; did it before D&D; nothing novel.

"T&T Types are a lot looser in definition, than classes"? Okay, I'll admit that -- because you don't give it in the first place -- I have no idea what your definition of classes even is. Considering the things in themselves, though, they look to me like this:

D&D Fighting Man/T&T Warrior = good at fighting (not so much, in early versions of T&T)
D&D Magic-user/T&T Wizard = good at magic
D&D Cleric/T&T Rogue = combines fighting and magic
 

ZenDog

Take That, You Fiend!
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2.2 Magick

2.21 The Logic of Magic
You know I’ve been reading this book, off and on, for years, and I swear it’s only whilst doing this ‘Let’s Read’ thread that I noticed that Errant ‘K’ tacked on to the chapter heading. Weird. Unless it’s Magick! Right, no. Hmm, oh yeah The Logic of Magic . . .

There are two assumptions behind magic in T&T. The first is that some people are psi-sensitive (Rogues, Wizards, and Warrior-Wizards) and some aren’t (Warriors and all the civilians). In T&T the ability to use magic is an innate talent. However, the skill and knowledge isn’t and the second assumption is that there is a powerful Wizard’s Guild who control access to that knowledge.

Wizards in T&T start with all (10) the first level spells and must learn higher level spells one at a time from the Wizards guild. At a price. 2nd level spells cost 500gps each. By the time you get to the 20th level you’re paying 9,500 gps (although there is only one 19th and 20th level spell.
Warrior-Wizards also start with the 1st level spells, but the Wizard’s Guild will not teach them higher level spells. Neither will the Wizard’s guild teach Rogues (who start with no spells) or the poor unfortunate Leprechauns, who can only be Wizard’s but who the guild won’t teach! Rogues and Leprechauns must learn all their magic, as mentioned earlier, from another Player’s Wizard Character (or learn it on adventures).

In T&T Magic is powered via a character’s Strength attribute. This is another element that has largely been house ruled out of the game. A lot of 5th ed player favour a Power/Wizardry/Mana attribute instead. The reason for this is the whole “Buff Wizard” argument. The idea that Wizards would need to spend all their level raises on ST and end up looking like Arnie. I never got this. If the range of attributes was a concrete 3-18, yeah maybe I’d get it, but stats in the hundreds are possible in T&T and going by many of the Solo’s not that unusual to get magical raises beyond 300. I don’t for a minute see players imagining their warrior getting a magical stat raise from ST 15 to say 150 and imagining he’s suddenly become unfeasibly muscle-bound in a direct correlation of 1 point of ST = a certain amount of muscle mass, so why would a Wizard with a very high ST be considered a game breaker? Ho-hum.

Anyway, a Mana stat works well enough, but lacks a downside (I like there to be a downside to magic). If ST is used to power a Wizard’s magic as it decreases so do his combat adds, the weapons and armour he can wield, and the amount of gear and treasure he can carry. On the negative side, it does mean that Fairies and Leprechauns, races you'd expect to be magical, are weak spell casters because of their Kindred’s ST modifier.

The last section details the use of Magic Staffs (or as Ken points out Staves for the grammatical). Staffs help reduce the cost of spell casting for wizards (allowing them to deduct their level from the cost of a spell). There are three types of Staff available. A makeshift staff which any 1st level wizard can make with a stick and a spell (although it will explode if he’s unlucky). A Staff Ordinaire available for a very modest 100gp or for 5000gp a top of the range indestructible Deluxe Magic Staff that has a Demon bound into it and remembers every spell cast through it.

One of the main criticisms of T&T is ‘silly spell names’ we’ll take a look at them in the next section 2.22 The Spell Book.
 
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zanshin

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I am a bit taken aback by some things that seem to blow many minds.

SRs, for a start. Now, there is something sort of innovative in the complication of 2d6 DARO: the open-endedness. Theoretically, you could roll 100 or higher (although the chance is less than 1 in a billion).

Just "make a dice roll", though? Not innovative in the least, and it is just laughably incredible to me that anyone should seriously believe that I needed Ken St Andre to enlighten me with such brilliance. Did it in D&D; did it before D&D; nothing novel.
It was the first universal resolution system (for everything outside of combat)

Given that it was the second fantasy roleplaying game ever, it was a pretty impressive breakthrough. It does encourage a very different style of play. So i believe it is worthy of note.
 

Shadowjack

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Just "make a dice roll", though? Not innovative in the least, and it is just laughably incredible to me that anyone should seriously believe that I needed Ken St Andre to enlighten me with such brilliance. Did it in D&D; did it before D&D; nothing novel.
Yes, but you didn't publish it. He did.

He who publishes first gets the credit. ;)
 

Xylarthen

No, not THAT Xylarthen.
"Magick" with a "k" came (if memory serves) from occultist Aleister Crowley, who meant to distinguish the "real thing" from the art of stage magicians/illusionists (to whom such a thing would be "cheating"!). I think Dave Hargrave also used the spelling, in his Arduin Grimoire game books.

It was the first universal resolution system (for everything outside of combat).
It is that for you, if you arbitrarily choose to make it so. Ken laying down such a restrictive rule? No, that I do not see! (Maybe there's some line about "how it works in Troll World" in 7th ed., but AFAIK there's nothing of the sort in 5th or earlier.) IIRC, mention of it being used at all with ratings other than Luck was an edition or four in the coming.

It was a pretty impressive breakthrough.
Not to those of us who considered and rejected "one size fits all" approaches. What is the great advantage in refusing to use whatever method actually produces whatever odds seem meet?

Yes, but you didn't publish it. He did.
"When in doubt, roll dice?" A lot of people published a lot of games, over decades and centuries! The war-games hobby in particular had boomed in the 1960s under the influence of popular works from a number of writers. That's how Arneson and Gygax got basic ideas for D&D. St Andre read D&D and got some ideas from it; so did many other people! That ability scores could influence all sorts of determinations was discussed in D&D. No rule that you had always to roll dice in a particular way was laid down there -- but I don't recall seeing it in T&T either.

The variety of methods that Ken actually did suggest by example is about as varied as what I find in other early RPGs.

D&D most commonly used 1d20 and 1d6 rolls, with 2d6 (straight up, not DARO) for curves.
RuneQuest most commonly used d%, but with different methods of working out % chances.
(In Call of Cthulhu, one can use d8 to "do the math" for range adjustments to chances to hit.)

Both of those, along with T&T, went sooner or later to variable damage by weapon. D&D and RQ made use of the various dice types available, while T&T stuck with multiple d6 and adds.

Traveller, on the other hand, used 2d6 for almost everything except some weapons' damage -- and later supplements put that essentially on the same basis, too. (1d6 rolls remained in common use with career tables for character generation.)

In Fifth Edition T&T (which post-dates Traveller '77 and RQ '78), there is a table for language generation that uses d%. I seem to recall something other than SRs for NPC/monster reactions, maybe even the same 2d6 (not DARO) used in D&D, or maybe 3d6. Then again, there is the whole deal of the combat system.

There was yet another completely different system -- table of dexterity versus range yielding chances to hit on 1d6 -- for missile fire, in at least one early edition. Spell effects get determined in various ways, including (e.g.) summing ability scores and comparing with target's scores or MR.

So, the only way you're really getting much (or any?) more a "universal system" than in D&D is arbitrarily ignoring a whole lot of things with a definite double standard. (Never mind that D&D used d20 for melee and missiles and saving throws.) And to go one step beyond, you've got to read between the lines a restriction that -- to me -- seems quite contrary to a "do it your way" ethos I see as more explicitly and repeatedly stated.

Color me still rather amused by the much ado!
 
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Xylarthen

No, not THAT Xylarthen.
The idea that Wizards would need to spend all their level raises on ST ...
... ignores their requirements for DX and IQ. Meanwhile, Warriors can invest in LK to rack up combat adds, and CON, and CHA.

ST requirements for spells rise so quickly that trying to go the "brute force" way is likely to limit a Wizard severely. What's the point of being an umpteenth-level mage if all you do is shoot your wad on low-level spells? Get some teamwork going to share the load, and some ST storing capacity, and definitely the best Staff Deluxe to be had for love and money. If it's not already available, then put some gold into creating a spell that lets apprentices (or slaves) aid you with their ST without needing to know the spell you're casting.
 
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Mark Mohrfield

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It seems to me that what the T&T saving roll method offered was a level of consistency that D&D rejected in favor of several different ad hoc approaches. One method for saves, another for thief skills, etc.
 

MachFront

Ugly is IN!
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IIRC, mention of it being used at all with ratings other than Luck was an edition or four in the coming.
Not explicitly, no. However, SRs on attributes other than LK are present even in the very first solo, Buffalo Castle (published only one year after the very first edition of T&T). What's more, Ken and Rick and "Bear" and Stackpole and others have said over the years that it took them only a few plays to see that SRs could logically and easily be used on other scores besides LK. I highly doubt they were the only people bright enough the world over to see that until 5th ed. actually stated it. In fact, one would have to be incredibly dim not to get that.

In Fifth Edition T&T, there is a table for language generation that uses d%. I seem to recall something other than SRs for NPC/monster reactions, maybe even the same 2d6 (not DARO) used in D&D, or maybe 3d6. Then again, there is the whole deal of the combat system -- with yet another completely different system (table of dexterity versus range yielding chances to hit on 1d6) for missile fire, in at least one early edition. Spell effects get determined in various ways, including (e.g.) summing ability scores and comparing with target's scores or MR.
Oh, you mean the language table in the "Elaborations" section. The section that isn't part of the core rules? Yes.
Also, yes, the missile system was a completely different subsystem for a while, in UK 1st ed. and 4th edition only though. Before there was no missile system for PCs, but instead they avoided being shot by making an SR.

I'll further note that I actually don't think of Saving Rolls as an actual "universal mechanic", but that it's similar to such is an easy way to explain it in comfortable and loose language so people have a handle on what you mean.
 

Xylarthen

No, not THAT Xylarthen.
Oh, you mean the language table in the "Elaborations" section. The section that isn't part of the core rules? Yes.
If you say so. You can also say what that's supposed to mean.

Then you can note that "thief skills" were in D&D Supplement One.

Also, they were (with the exception of climbing nearly sheer surfaces) in the same 5% increments as the attack and saving-throw rolls. Climbing was done differently because the thief was to start almost as good as possible in the T&T SR system, and get better than possible with 1d20 (while retaining a chance of failure).

In fact, one would have to be incredibly dim not to get that.
Or that, say, one could roll a twenty-sided die in any of those same circumstances?

No, that was not hard at all to get long before T&T was published, from what I have read and heard. (A bit trickier to figure out the odds of making any given roll with DARO, eh?) Not everyone thought it was such a great idea to get so hung up and complicated for the supposed sake of uniformity (a dubious "virtue" in the first place) -- but there was no rule against it.

What was and is quite "unclear" is where Ken laid down some kind of rule requiring everyone to do everything that one particular way. That would have been some kind of new and impressive -- almost as much as the "D20 System".
 
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MachFront

Ugly is IN!
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If you say so. You can also say what that's supposed to mean.
I have to explain it?
You mentioned the table as an example of yet another sub-system. I just simply pointed out it doesn't really matter/count as it's not part of the core rules.

Then you can note that "thief skills" were in D&D Supplement One.
You keep comparing T&T to D&D, particularly OD&D in this thread, which is not the point of this thread. Plus, you're picking and choosing this and that edition of both only when it's convenient.
In this case, comparing 5th ed. T&T (1979) with D&D's 3LBBs + Supp 1 (1975).

Or that, say, one could roll a twenty-sided die in any of those same circumstances?
Yep. No one's claimed you couldn't.


I don't know why you insist on being so argumentative and accusatory instead of simply debating/discusing, but hey, thanks for the thread crapping.
 
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