Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Trollish Taproom - Let's Pick an Edition

Earlier today I was posting about yet another D&D clone.  It's not really a bad thing, and I'm extremely glad to see the OSR movement is maintaining a lively growth, but there comes a time when too much choice can be detrimental.

Tunnels & Trolls is a bit more cut and dry.  While T&T has gone thru six (or seven) full editions and two "half" editions, in reality editions 1 thru 4 didn't experience much change.  5e was a big jump ahead (and Sorcerer's Apprentice #5 gives a very nice write up of said changes -  that's the Winter 1979 issue for those asking).  Thus it was, unchanged until 2005, when 5.5 updated and added options (and Fiery Dragon released 7e that same year, in honor of T&T's 30 years).

There is the unofficial 6e, which has a few pieces that are worth stealing... borrowing may be a better choice of words... but being unofficial, it will never receive the support of 5 / 5.5e or 7 / 7.5e.

So, which to play?  It's almost like choosing between two different flavors of the OSR... but the Tunnels & Trolls variations are even closer in compatibility.

For me, I think I prefer the 5.5e rules, but I like the 7.5e presentation better.  Spiral binding actually works for me, I never expected that.  In truth, I'd probably wind up with a set of houserules drawing from both current editions if I were to run a campaign.  For solos, I'd probably stick with 7.5e, as its easier to reference when running with a rulebook and a solo adventure at the same time.

Damn, guess I didn't really pick, did i? ;)


  1. Would you be willing to offer a brief gloss on those changes that occurred between 5e and the prior editions? I am fairly certain I played a pre-5e edition of T&T when I was first introduced to the game circa 1983, but I didn't own the game myself then so I am not totally sure.

    In related news, I ordered my 5.5 rulebook today! And if you ever get an online or Skype-based T&T game going, count me in!

  2. I'll post the major changes up over the weekend.

    I'd love to get an online T&T game going. Probably would use Fantasy Grounds (I have an Ultimate license, so no player expense needed) and skype.

    Wouldnt be for at least another month or two at the very least, and if it was more then twice a month either the fiancee or my son would probably beat me ;)

  3. there comes a time when too much choice can be detrimental:
    Um, since when? More options, more likely somebody finds a version of whatever that they like!(They might not have known they wanted this until they saw/tried it!) ;-)

    Is this an example of too much choice? :-/
    There are really only TWO versions, dude!
    5.5(the standby since 1979![unparalleled!]/6th(the best, by far, in my opinion[and those I've introduced it to]; it needs to be commercially available again!) and 7.0/7.5(Ken St. Andre's pick![and I hope he gets some bucks off it; I bought this, too, Ken! ;-)). I mean, I guess since this caused a mini-Edition War the presence of two editions is considered bad?

    @Carter Soles:
    In Brief, overview:

    5.5 is the Rock of the Game, it should always be in print, as should US 1st Edition, UK 1st Edition, and 4th Edition, imo.(Flying Buffalo should really reprint these, at least on demand. I bought mine when Outlaw Press was briefly in their good graces!) Lots of quality material available. This version grew organically from ones before.

    6th Edition offers a compilation of options(class variants, new spells, and especially a simple resolution of ranged combat!), and is written, I believe by a fan from the Trollbridge[One Hogscape])from the 5.5 Edition and other fan suggestions. This kinda exploded onto the scene, and for a short while, was 'official', until later troubles between the publisher(technically Flying Buffalo is the only licensed one, in perpetuity) and the owners of the game. Flying Buffalo should really print this up! I mean they brought back Monsters! Monsters! from around the 2nd Edition of the game!

    Ken St. Andre's re-imaging of T&T after 30+ years.(May be an 8th edition coming, I heard. Wizard Wars.) Outlaw Press heavily supported this, while Fiery Dragon sold the Box Set.

    I'd run down the specifics of versions, but Tenkar's already agreed to do this... Wouldn't want to steal his thunder!

  4. I've got 5 and 7 and while 7 isn't bad at all I'd rather play 5 with tidbits of seven thrown in.

    How's 5.5 different from 5?

  5. @Tenkar: Looking forward to the edition-changes overview, thanks. And once or twice a month would be very doable for my schedule as well, so please do keep me posted if you move ahead with an online T&T game.

    @veteran: Thanks for the brief overview!

  6. I think T&T is best viewed as a game with a few central ideas at its core, and then there have been published a bunch of house rules as different editions. Ken's rules have often been the focus of those, but not always.

    7th+ editions are written for modern sensibilities and some things that were D&D-ism have been ironed out, but I'm not sure I could just pick one and run with it.

    I'm planning a T&T game right now, and will base it off, 5th, 2nd and 7th ed and some personal additions. Go figure. Will it be understandable for anyone used to any edition of T&T? Naturally.

  7. JDJarvis,

    How's 5.5 different from 5?

    Marginally. There's an appendix with some additions, like spite damage on sixes.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition