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Speak to me of...Tunnels and Trolls

Wulf Corbett

The Beast without
Menteroso said:
I've heard little of this game. Please tell me about it.
It's very very old, and includes a spell called "take that you fiend!". What more do you need to know :D

Actually, although I played a few games of it back when first edition was current, I have never actually owned a copy, so now is my chance...

Wulf
 

Cerulean Lion

Social Justice Christian
Validated User
It was originally meant for players who liked the idea of RPGs, but thought DnD was too complex, and/or badly designed. Hence the simplified rules, and the "MR" system for monsters.

Tunels and Trolls made a bit of a specialty out of Solo Dungeons, whcih allowed players to run themselves through an adventure in the absence of a GM.
 

joshua neff

Story-Based Imperial
Wulf Corbett said:
It's very very old, and includes a spell called "take that you fiend!". What more do you need to know :D
It also includes a spell called "Yassa Massa." *sigh*

It's one of the older RPGs, a reworking of many D&D ideas, but with a slightly different attitude. In fact, a lot of T&T was based on 'tude. It was, generally, jokier than D&D, funkier, snarkier.

I didn't play loads of it when I was younger, but I played it a bit, and I loved the attitude presented in the rulebook.
 

Cerulean Lion

Social Justice Christian
Validated User
Classes: Warriors, who can use all weapons and get double value out of armor.
Wizards, who can use all spells (eventually), begin with all the first-level spells, but have very limited weapon use.
Rogues, who can use both weapons and spells, but aren't as good with either as the specialists. Rogues don't start with any spells, but can learn them if they find a teacher.

There are Warrior-Wizards, who are what Rogues want to be when they grown up. You need lucky dice rolls at chargen to have one, and they are rare.

Combat: add the dice for your weapon to your Combat Adds, compare to your opponent's total. High total wins the round. Loser takes Hit Point damage equal to the difference in totals.

Magic in combat: The spell generates its own total which applies to the enemy separately from the weapon total. The target takes the hits whether or not the wizard wins the round. The wizard still has to take the hits if the enemy wins the round, but the spell total counts in determining who won.
 

Cerulean Lion

Social Justice Christian
Validated User
Monsters: Use the Monster Rating, a single number that defines the monster in combat.

The Monster Rating defines how many dice the monster gets in combat, and also serves as Hit Points. This means the monster gets weaker in combat each time it takes hits - a Death Spiral effect.
Monsters may also be defined using the rules for characters - a bit more complex but allowing more choices for the monster's abilities.
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
T&T is a dynamite game. A rules-light dungeon crawl? Somehow, it works... this little game has a lot of attitude.

Very fast character creation - you can probably bang out a character in about five minutes. And don't be fooled by the simplistic character classes and attributes; you can do a lot with this game. I've seen characters from dwarven berserkers to giant semi-intelligent slugs.

Very easy rules make it a good pick-up game. It's sometimes TOO easy - the basic combat rules are boring as hell. It took me years to realize that was the point. T&T had one of the first universal task resolution systems - what it calls "Saving Rolls" - and they're almost completely free-form. You are actively encouraged to fast-talk the GM into letting you make a Dexterity Saving Roll to avoid all your enemies' attacks, or a Charisma Saving Roll to seduce their leader, or anything else than actually fight straight up. You even get experience points for doing so.

The game isn't a comedy game, but it has a bizarre and sometimes wicked sense of humor. It's very...aggressive. Wizards start with a powerful blaster spell (the aforementioned "Take That, You Fiend!"), every type of character can go berserk under the right circumstances, gold and experience points are openly the way to power, and GM's often have an alter-ego character of their own who is the proprietor of the dungeon (and thus the player characters' nemesis).

T&T has a large body of solitaire adventures available, in and out of print, of various kinds: solitaires for warriors or wizards, combat-heavy or intrigue-heavy solos, and, of course, joke adventures.

And since the rules are so simple, it's very easy to add house rules.


Famous Independent Game Designer Ron Edwards had a number of good Actual Play threads about the game over at the Forge:
"Killed Me a Player Character" http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6272&highlight=tunnels+trolls
"Second Level Characters" http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6355&highlight=tunnels+trolls
"Half-Elves Are Poncy Nancy-Boys" http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=7104&highlight=tunnels+trolls
"Gamism Ain't For the Faint of Heart" http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=7863&highlight=tunnels+trolls
 

joshua neff

Story-Based Imperial
The spell "Yassa Massa" makes the subject of the spell the mental slave of the caster.

"Yassa Massa" is a very bad reference to the interpretation of the dialect of African-American slaves and their descendants. In this case, "Yes sir, master" becomes "yassa massa."
 

Shadowjack

Cartoon Poet
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Argonath said:
Yeah, everybody complains about that. What does it mean?
Why are we talking in spoilers?

Yassa Massa was a charm spell - if you've beaten a monster down low enough, you can use the spell to enslave it.

Many people find that spell name offensive because it is, racist stereotype has it, what shufflin' step-and-fetch-it black slaves would say to their owners. "Yes sir, master," only in a horrible Southern drawl.

The joke it implies seems so out of place in the book that I chalk it up to different senses of humor or cultural awareness. Certainly there are no other racist or other -ist references in the game, that I'm aware of.

Some printings of the rules change the spell name. I sometimes call it, "Oh Boy, Obey," but I may be confusing that with another spell.


EDIT: Beaten to the punch, 'cause I'm too wordy.
 
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