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Ken St. Andre's Tunnels & Trolls

Ken St. Andre's Tunnels & Trolls

Here’s a game that goes way back to 1975. I first ran into a Tunnels and Trolls game back in the early 80’s with a small group of very odd gamers who had a book of house rules about six times bigger than the T&T core rules at the time. I personally only own the 5th and 7th editions of the game. The 7th edition, published by Fiery Dragon Productions (based up here in Canada!), is particularly sexy because it is packaged in a small tin box that gives it both a certain hardcore “METAL” charm, while also being nearly bulletproof, or at least highly resistant to backpack-induced wear.

Tunnels & Trolls always feels… light. Rules light and light hearted. This edition is no different, except that it perhaps feels even lighter in writing style because the author had very little space to write his rules out, and did so in a very conversational tone. Game balance isn’t a primary concern and instead it feels like OD&D where just about every conceivable race of character is available. Including Minotaurs. I do love Minotaurs (which makes me wonder again why I hate Krynn so badly…)

Since I can make a Minotaur, that’s where I decide to head right away. But instead of a combat machine, I’d like a fairly gentle monster, a diplomat among his kin, one who favours diplomatic solutions over violent ones. I’m thinking of the Water Buffalo mutants illustration from Mutants Down Under from the TMNT line.

Mutant Water Buffalo from TMNT Down Under

Mutant Water Buffalo from TMNT Down Under

Stats are generated using 3d6 – which brings up a cool rule that is used throughout the game. If you roll triples on 3d6, you roll again and add to the result. This provides a nice “dice explosion” effect that is still fairly uncommon in play, but can result in some pretty wild characters. Stat generation is done by rolling then assigning the stat, then rolling the next one. It’s a system I appreciate because it gives you some control over stat placement, but you don’t know what your future rolls will be so you are gambling a lot as you place your stats.

Ellurian Skywatcher will probably be a rogue instead of a fighter. A character based around Dexterity and Luck with a fair amount of Charisma thrown in. My rolls come out 13, 15, 9, 13, 6, 12, 13 and just when I thought all hope was lost to see this exploding die thing in action, the last roll explodes with a 23. The results will be modified by my kin (race) choice, but my initial placements are STR 6, CON 9, DEX 13, SPD 12, INT 23, WIZ 13, LK 13, CHR 15. With this surprise boost to INT, suddenly this character is starting to look like he would make an excellent Wizard, except for his 13 Wizardry… so Rogue he remains.

As a rogue, Ellurian starts with the Roguery talent based on his best of Int, Lk and Chr. With a Chr of 30, a d6 roll determines that his Roguery is 35 – and this is what he rolls whenever he has to make a Saving Roll against any of those three stats (way better than his existing 13 luck… sweet). He also starts with a single 1st level Wizard spell. I’ll dig that up later.

With 18 Int (after adjusting for being a Minotaur), Ellurian starts with 6 additional languages that he knows beyond Khaz’ni (the common tongue). I’ll have to dig through the book and figure out which to pick. This is looking good for our bull-headed diplomat. He’s also going to need a weapon, something that can look imposing on his 7’5″ frame, but also look somewhat ornamental (so not an axe or polearm) so I go looking into swords and settle on a broadsword because his low Dexterity doesn’t allow him a lot of choice, but then am scared off by the pricetag, finally having to settle on a sledge hammer… not the most “diplomatic” of tools.

Of course, what really rocks about T&T? Solo dungeons. There are a bunch of solo adventures out there for this game, so I can just take Ellurian and run him through a few adventures without a GM. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Ellurian Skywatcher
Type: Rogue
Kin: Minotaur
Level: 1

STR: 15
CON: 23
DEX: 10
SPD: 12
INT: 18
WIZ: 13
LK: 13
CHR: 30

Height: 7’5″
Weight: 338 lbs

Weight Possible: 1500
Weight Carried: 100

Adventure Points: 0


Roguery 35 (for all INT, LK & CHR SRs)

+6 languages

20 gp
SledgeHammer (4 dice)

Oh Go Away – Cost 5 WIZ | 50 ft | 1 turn | If MR is < INT + LK + CHR then monster flees