Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review - Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e - The Rulebook - Part 1

You gotta start somewhere, so it might as well be with the rules themselves.  The first thing you will notice about the book s that its a bit shorter, maybe an inch, then the other two spiral bound books included in the box.  Just figured I'd throw that out there.

The book itself runs 174 pages.  14 pages of which consists of the Armor and Weapons Glossary.  Back in 4e (T&T, not D&D) they basically tell you to look the stuff up that you don't understand on your own (this was prior to the internet).  Now, 14 pages to tell you exactly what it is your character is buying.  I like it myself.

T&T now gives you the following classes to choose from:  Citizen (your average schlep), Rogue (mix a bit of warrior and a bit of wizard - reminds be of the bard class from Dragon 56 / Best of Dragon), Warrior (your meat shield), Wizard (makes things go BOOM and such), Specialist (not really it's own class, but various specialties based on some of the other classes), and Paragon (Warrior / Wizard combo - not watered down like the Rogue - needs exceptional rolls at character generation to be one).

One omission in the rules in my view, is the lack of any real description of the Kindred, or intelligent races.  The main races are Human, Dwarf, Fairy, Hobb and Leprechaun.  There are also 32 rare Kindred races.  Five of them have footnotes on the Kindred Attribute Modifier Charts.  The rest?  Nothing is said about them.  We have the stat modifiers, but I dont even know what a Urook looks like, acts like, anything.  Let alone Urookin.  A sentence or two on each would suffice.

Don't get me wrong, I love choices, and T&T is a game with lots of choices.  I just like to have an idea about my choices aside from a purely muchkin POV.  If they used the same font as the Armor and Weapons Glossary, a Kindred Glossary would take 3 to 4 pages.  Something to think about for the next printing / edition.

I know I'm sounding negative at this point, but don't let it throw you.  I really like this boxed set, and thoroughly enjoy the T&T rules.  More tomorrow about the rules.

Back to Basics

It's funny, but the most annoying part of my current obsession with Tunnels & Trolls is the noticeable lack of GM run adventures.  Ton's of solos, not so many for groups.

Then I realized something.  It's a matter of simplicity to change any Old School D&D module to T&T.  Assign the creature an MR, decide if it has any special abilities that will come into play with the roll of an assigned number of natural "6's" and you are pretty good to go.

I mean, D&D (2e and earlier) is my native born language, but I've become fairly fluent in T&T, and translating between the two doesn't appear to be to difficult (at least from D&D to T&T).

What this means is that with minimal work, I have a nearly limitless source of gaming adventures for use with T&T.  In theory at least.  I need to put the theory to the test.

Anyhow, the 7.5e review will continue, probably later today.  Oh, and some thoughts on D&D B/X (as i have the Expert rules now - never did have it back in the day - AD&D was the big boys' game)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e - The Photo Collection ;)

As requested, I took a bunch of photos of the T&T Boxed Set and its contents.  Without further ado, here we go:

Here's the box full of it's goodies.  Notice how it doesn't want to stay shut?

Here's the enclosed map of Trollworld

Two of the three counter sheets. (I initially forgot there was a third)

The two enclosed adventures, one solo and one for a GM / group

Here's the rulebook, spiral bound

The extra spells and monster book - spirals again

See, I found the third counter sheet.  Also, the character sheet and the SE Monster and Magic book

Here's the whole set, including the dice.

I'll start the reviewing this weekend ;)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Review - Tunnels & Trolls Boxed Set - Initial Reaction

The first thing you'll notice about the Tunnels & Trolls Boxed Set (aside from the very awesome box cover art) is that the shrink wrap can barely keep the box cover on the rest of the box.  Seriously, it is that packed.  I'm looking at a still shrinked copy as I type this (to be given away at the Gathering of Fools Winter Session).  The box is a hair smaller then LofTP Weird Fantasy Boxed set and not quite as deep. 

What does one get in their snazzy box full of T&T?

174 Page rulebook, spiral bound (selling point or a demerit depending on who you talk to).  Everything you need to run a T&T adventure is in the book.  As an aside, it is similar LotFP Weird Fantasy in that you don't have a monster listing in the main rulebook.  Monsters / adversaries are easy enough to draw up - just assign an MR number and you are good to go.  Still, for some, this omission can seem lacking.  But wait!

There is a 43 page Monstrum Codex to give you some sample monsters and unique powers for them to beat your players senseless.  Also spiral bound.

Then we have a 50 page Codex Incantatem.  More spells for levels 1-5.  Again, spiral bound.

Easy to overlook is the 22 page Monsters & Magic (Special Edition) book, or really, closer to pamphlet.  Some basic monster and magic item info.  Not spiral bound.

The Solo Adventure "Strange Destinies"comes in at 24 pages, not spiral bound.  I wrote about this a few days ago.

The GM Adventure "Hot Pursuit"comes in at 16 pages.  No spirals here.

A fold out map of Trollworld.

Character sheets.

Tokens from Fiery Dragon Press (their art always rocks)


See why it has trouble fitting in the box?  I'll do a more indepth review of the actually books over the next week or so.

The PDF version of the 7.5e Boxed Set can be found at RPGNow.

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Collecting Trolls and Trying to Avoid the Ebay Crush

Last week I saw this really nice boxed set of the T&T 5.0 rules.  Black box, gold lettering and art, with a buy it now of 80 bucks.  I watched, didnt buy, saw the sale expire and get reposted at the same price.  Damn it was purty tho.

Thing is, how can a boxed set of the 5.0 rules go for 3 times the price of the 4.0 rulebook (which I grabbed for 26)?  It's not like either was in mint condition.  Well, i waited, and found the same boxed set, slightly dinged (still looks awesome) on the outside but damn near mint on the inside, for less then 17 bucks (plus shipping).  It wound up coming from Troll and Toad even tho' I found it on ebay.  These lads know how to pack!

Yes, working at the Tunnels & Trolls collection.  Must secure as much as I can before I lose sole control of the discretionary funds ;)

I'll be posting some thoughts n the T&T 7.5e boxed set later tonight.

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Elf Free Zone - Talisanta

Every once in a while, when I troll the net looking for interesting sites, one thing leads to another and suddenly I find myself at Talisanta.com.

I remember it being advertised as a fantasy world without elves, and my perception was that it was a D&D variant of sorts. I never knew more then what the magazine ads showed me, but no more.

Talisanta.com offers free and legal downloads of nearly all the books in the Talisanta line and there are many. Others are in the process of being converted for download. It costs you nothing but the bandwidth to take a peek.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mini Review - Green Devil Face #4 from LotFP

Lamenations of the Flame Princess has put out a new (issue?) of Green Devil Face.  GDF #4 is chuck full of OSR goodness.  70 pages for 5 bucks.

Lets see... mini adventures?  Check.  New magic items?  Check.  New class?  Check.  New spells?  Check.  Random tables?  Check.  All that and more fully infected by the Raggi touch?  Hell yeah!

Yes, some of this has appeared elsewhere.  So what?  James has a unique touch when it comes to RPG products, and it shows here.

Alright, now for the word of James himself:

Green Devil Face is back!

The True Finnwegian Old School Role-Playing kult unearths the legendary zine from its 14-month slumber to deliver more madness to lay your players low! This isn't the solidly-composed, somberly delivered material that LotFP normally trades in, this is MADNESS UNLEASHED! Rapid-fire fuel-air explosive blasts of pure energy and creativity which will ignite your imagination because this one's just too hot! If you run an old-school game and you can't find something in here to put in your campaign RIGHT NOW you're just hopeless. You're not hopeless, are you? Then PROVE IT! Buy this PDF RIGHT NOW!

... it's all contained within SIXTY-NINE HOT PAGES... (plus OGL)... how can you resist?

Contents of This Issue:

Knights of Science - A New Character Class by James Edward Raggi IV
The Tower - Mini-Adventure by James Edward Raggi IV (originally presented in Fight On #4 - contains more backstory than the version in Death Frost Doom!)
The Dread Sorceries of Duvan'Ku - New Spells by James Edward Raggi IV (originally presented in Fight On #4)
Fell Magick Items of Duvan'Ku - New Magic Items by James Edward Raggi IV (originally presented in Fight On #4)
Random Inn Generator - Create an Inn and its Visitors from scratch! By James Edward Raggi IV (originally presented in Fight On #2)
Wand of the Weird - A wand of Bizarre Effect by James Edward Raggi IV
House of Snails - A mini-dungeon by James Edward Raggi IV
The Frog Cult - A mini-dungeon by James Edward Raggi IV
The Tomb to Die For/In by R. Lawrence Blake
Random Treasure Generator - The Old Treasure Tables Presented in a New Way by James Edward Raggi IV
A Spell Point Theory - Another Look Adapting the Vancian Magic System to Spell Points by James Edward Raggi IV

Plus Classic Green Devil Face Tricks/Traps:

The Room of Four Pits by Ramsey Dow
The Sneaky Book Room by James Brian Murphy
The Child by Zak Sabbath
The Chamber and the Glass Box by Zak Sabbath
Shrieker Stew by Jonathan Becker
Pool of Testing by Jonathan Becker
Shaggy Dog by Jonathan Becker

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In The Hopper

Working on a mini review of Elric of Melnibone from Mongoose (uses the RQ2 rules).

Working on a full review of the Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e Boxed Set (so full that I can't even close the damn box after taking off the wrap).  I might do a book by book review of the box, like I did with LotFP's Weird Fantasy. Not sure yet.

Was hoping to game some tonight via Fantasy Grounds 2 and Rolemaster, but technical difficulties may be putting a damper on that.  Ah well, there is always next week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

When Old is New - Or Why I Should Stay Away From Ebay ;)

When I arrived home from my extended weekend earlier today, I found my Near Mint Copy of the D&D Expert rules awaiting me.  It was fairly cheap on Ebay, especially considering that it loosk like no one ever opened its pages.

Ebay, and the Flying Buffalo website, are where I've been plugging the holes in my Tunnels & Trolls collection.  Before the Outlaw Press / James Shipman debacle I'm sure there would have been alot more items on my list to buy, but that's okay.  There's more then enough for me to look for (did I mention I bought a 4th edition copy of the T&T rules?  Talk about nostalgia).

I think I'm down to 2 books for my OD&D collection: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes and Swords & Spells.

I need to work on my man cave, so I can display my Classic Gaming Collectibles ;)

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Review - Strange Destinies Solo Adventure (for Tunnels & Trolls)

I'm on a bit of a Tunnels & Trolls kick, so you'll need to forgive me.  Still, before I dive head first into this review, you do realize you can download a free (abbreviated but complete and usable) version of the rules and can get free solo adventures for Tunnels & Trolls here, here, here and here.  Phew!

As I wrote last night, the fiancee played thru a T&T solo last night.  She had fun and got the taste of what roleplaying is about.  We used the adventure Strange Destinies, which was included in the Tunnels & Trolls 7.5e boxed set (I'll give that a proper review shortly).

First the good.  Atmosphere was great.  She really got into the mood when I read the pieces that set the scene.  When the player actually shivers with a description, you hit the right points.  Nice recap in the beginning of the adventure detailing saving rolls and such.  All in all, it was fun...

There is a "but" that needs to be added there.  This is NOT an adventure for the average beginning player character warrior type.  It is lethal, almost to the point of "why bother to roll the dice".  Case in point.  Rachel rolled triples on the score she assigned to STR.  The total was a 26, doubled as a dwarf to a 52.  She was a formidable warrior, and according to the 7.5e rules a 5th level character.  Her first encounter was with 1 Giant Bloodworm (MR 120).  It rolls 13d6 in combat with +60 adds.  The Dwarven Warrior Sheba was armed with a short sword for 3d6 and +48 adds (she also had 10 pts of armor, doubled to 20 for being a warrior).  Average rolls with adds would have been 105 for the Giant Bloodworm and 60 for Sheba.  45 damage less 20 for armor means 25 points of damage to Sheba in the average combat round not including Spite Damage.  Heck there was a 50% chance of here encountering 2 Giant Bloodworms at a pop, which would have been insta death.

My solution was to halve the MR of all the creatures encountered.  Even with that, Spite damage and combat rolls left her with 8 points left of her initial 28 CON when she found her way out.  As written, not a really good way to introduce a new player to the rules or to RPGs. as dying without a chance in the first encounter isn't much fun.  Which is a shame, because the T&T rules themselves are much fun (as was the adventure after I waved the GM Wand of Monster Nerfing).

So, nerf the monsters and you have a viable solo adventure for a warrior with decent combat adds.  It was fun, don't get me wrong, but you need to adjust it to make it work.  Or maybe run it with more then one PC.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Old School Gaming Tunnels & Trolls Style

I picked up the 7.5e boxed set of Tunnels & Trolls to complement my PDF set of the same rules and all the solos I recently picked up. I spent some time rolling characters this afternoon, and it was fun rolling triples and adding another roll.

My dice rolling attracted the attention of my fiancée, who immediately declared the whole thing looked too complicated. I declared otherwise, had her roll a character (roll 4 dice, take best three, arrange as you will) and jumped into the included solo adventure, with myself taking the part of the reader / quasi-GM / monster roller. Even with her choosing a Dwarven Warrior, some of the random monsters had to have their Monster Ratings halved to give her a chance.

With the MR adjustment, the fights were challenging, especially with the Spite Damage (natural 6 is 1 point of unstoppable damage), but she prevailed. I think in retrospect the Adventure Point award was excessive and geared toward the 7e award system, but all that matters is in the end the lady had a blast.

Her big questions? Can I buy more equipment? And Can I only use her in solo adventures?

I might have a gamer on my hand ;)

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Barbarian Bazaar

Barbarian Bazaar is the name of a small shop in the Sugarman's Fleamarket in Dickson City, PA. Much to my surprise I found a 1e Player's Handbook (later cover image), 2 copies of the Dungeon board game and an interesting collection of other RPGs and related board games.

My son wound up picking out a Star Trek Next Generation board game and some used DVDs. I would have picked up a copy of Dungeon! But then I would have need to store it, as I doubt it would get use.

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From the Mouth of Lizzies

Last night was the first back to back Saturday Nite gaming I've enjoyed in over year. Heck, since we hadn't games since May, this was as much gaming as the previous 6 months.

Tenkar, my third level Dwarven Cleric in Castles & Crusades ( via Fantasy Grounds 2) was involved in too long of a discussion as to wether one leaves a sleeping giant lizard sleeping. Apparently, they will awake on their own and try to run off with said Dwarven Cleric. Ouch!

In the end the Lizzie was defeated, Tenkar was rescued and much gold and silver was had by all. Not bad for a nite's work.

I think we are about to hit 2 years with this campaign, and although the group has had much turnover, it has remained a very fun group to adventure with.

Now, of course, my yet to be implemented FG2 campaign first was to use LL, then C&C, but now I am thinking Tunnels & Trolls. Simplicity of system may be best for an irregularly playing group.

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