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Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
 
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Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by W N V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2020 18:51:40

Great update for a classic RPG!

Relatively simple mechanics, easy to learn, all that's needed are a fistful of d6's and you're ready to go.

As of fall 2020 the softcover is out-of-print and the hardcovers are getting hard to find, a print-on-demand option is imperative to keep this available for gamers, lest it fade into obscurity along with so many other long out-of-print RPGs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/29/2020 13:11:13

Original and Full review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/07/review-tunnels-trolls-troll-week.html

I have owned many different versions of T&T over the years. I have loaned some out, another is just gone (it is with my original AD&D books I think) and still at least one I resold in a game auction when I needed the cash. I miss each and every one. Thankfully I now have the PDF of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls the most recent version and the one that is easiest to get. I will be focusing my review on this version, with recollections of previous editions when and where I can.

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. 2015 Ken St. Andre, published by Flying Buffalo. 348 pages, color covers, black & white interior art (mostly) and a full color section. Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls (dT&T) is a massive volume at 348 pages.
The PDF is divided into Chapter sections, but more importantly, it is split into five larger sections; The Basic or Core Game, Elaboration, Trollworld Atlas, Adventures, and End Matter.

The Basic or Core Game

This covers the first 11 chapters and 160+ pages. This most resembles the T&T game I remember playing sparingly in the 80s. This covers the basics of the game such as rolling up characters, equipping them, combat and magic. T&T uses all six-sided dice for everything, so getting started is as easy as getting the rules and raiding your board games for dice. Because we NEVER did that in the 80s. Character creation is a bit like D&D and other RPGs from the time (or more accurately other RPGs are like D&D and T&T). There are a few quirks that make T&T stand out. Exploding Triples allow for some extraordinary characters. When rolling your 3d6 for stats (like D&D) if you get three of the same number, all "1s" or all "6s" for example, you re-roll and ADD the previous total. In D&D rolling three "1s" is a disaster, but in T&T you then reroll and add that 3 (1+1+1) to your new roll. Roll three "6s"? Reroll and add 18! T&T has eight abilities, Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Speed, Intelligence (IQ), Wizardry, Luck, and Charisma. They all map pretty close to D&D with the others Speed, Wizardry and Luck doing what they sound like. Kindreds, not Race. With all the discussion of the word "race" in D&D (yes, it is old and problematic and yes it should be replaced) T&T "solved" this issue by going with Kindred (and long before Vampire the Masquerade did). This also leaves character creation open to all sorts of Kindreds. Personal Adds. For every point in a physical ability over 12 (the upper end of average), characters get +1 to their personal adds. Physical stats are Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, and Speed. These adds are combined and then used in combat. Saving Rolls. All skills and nearly everything else use a saving throw like mechanic for resolution. The most common is a Luck roll, but others can be used.

There are three basic and one extra character classes. Warriors, Wizards, Rogues and the Specialist. Kindreds include Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Fairies, Hobbs (Halflings), and Leprechauns. Each kindred then gets an ability multiplier. So if you are a dwarf and you rolled an 11 for Strength your multiplier is 2 for a 22 strength! But your Luck multiplier is .75 so if your rolled a 12 it is now a 9. Other attributes effected are height and weight. Fairies have multiples here of 0.1 and 0.01 respectively.

The equipment list is what you would expect with some odd improvised weapons (rocks) and even guns (gunnes) but these are still rather primitive in nature.

Saving Rolls are covered in Chapter 5 and gave us what is essentially a dynamic Target Number mechanic YEARS before anyone else did. You determine the level of the Saving Throw (difficulty) times that by 5 to get your target number. Players roll a 2d6 and yes doubles are re-rolled and added. It's a simple mechanic that works well.

Chapter 6 gives us some talents. Or things you can do other than wack monsters. Chapter 7 cover enemies and monsters and is a whopping 3 pages! But that is nature of T&T monsters can be abstracted from just a few simple numbers. Chapter 8 covers combat. If I remember correctly combat in T&T was a fast affair. The rules support this idea.

Chapter 9 is of course my favorite, Magic. There have been more than a few times I have wanted to adopt ideas from here for my D&D games. In the end though I have kept them separate. Spell levels go to 18 though you need some superhuman Intelligence and Dexterity scores to cast them (60 and 44 respectively). Spells have a Wiz (Wizardry cost) so it works on a spell-point like system. The spell names are something of a bit of contention with some people and my litmus test for whether or not someone will be a good player in T&T. If they don't like the names, then I think they will not be good for the game. Among the spell names are "Hocus Focus", "Oh Go Away", "Boom Bomb", "Freeze Please" and more. I like them I would rather have a fun name than a boring one, but I am also the guy who made spells called "You Can't Sit With Us", "Live, Laugh, Love", "Oh My God, Becky!" and "Tripping the Light Fantastic".

Chapter 10 is Putting it All Together with general GM advice. Chapter 11 covers the Appendices. This constitutes the bulk of what makes up the T&T game.

Elaborations

This section consists of rules additions and other topics. Of interest here is Chapter 13, Other Playable Kindreds. This likely grew out of T&Ts sister game, Monsters! Monsters! In dT&T these stats for playing have been brought more inline with the M!M! book for more compatibility. The attribute multipliers from character creation are repeated here for the main kindreds, and then expanded out for others of the Familiar (or most similar to the Good Kindred, like goblins, gnomes, and pixies) to the Less Common like lizard people, ratlings and trolls! To the Extraordinary like ghouls and dragons. The means in which this is done is so simple and so elegant that other games should be shamed for not doing the same. Later on languages, more talents and accessories (minis, battle mats, virtual tabletops) are covered.

Trollworld Atlas

This section covers the campaign world of Trollworld. A history is provided and the major continents are covered as well as a few of the cities. This covers about 70 pages, but it is all well spent. This section also features some full-color interior art including some great maps.

Adventures

Pretty much what is says on the tin. This covers the two types of adventures one can have with T&T; a solo adventure and a GM run adventure.
Everyone reading this has experienced a GM run adventure. But where T&T really sets itself apart are the solo adventures. This is a reason enough to grab this game just to see how this is done.

End Matter

This section contains the last bits. Credits. Afterwords. Acknowledgments. A full index. Character sheets and a Post Card for the City of Khazan!

I am going to put this bluntly.

Every D&D player, no matter what edition, needs to play Tunnels & Trolls at least once. They should also read over the rules. I don't care if you walk away saying "I don't like it" that is fine, but so many of the things I see so-called seasoned D&D players and game masters complain about has a fix or has been addressed already in T&T.

Like I mentioned with Trollpak who solved D&D's "evil race" problem back in 1982, Tunnels & Trolls fixed it in 1975.

Beyond all that T&T is an easily playable game with decades of material and support and thousands of fans online. If you don't want to buy a copy to try out then find a game at a Con.

Is T&T perfect? No. It lacks the epic that is D&D. If D&D is Wagner then T&T is Motzart. Easier to approach, but no less brilliant.

For under $20 (currently) you get a complete game with enough material to keep you going for years. Plus there is such a wealth (45 years now) of material out there that you will never run out of things to do.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Dwayne S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2020 19:44:58

A weel-put-together book that included enough examples to help a new player like me flesh out their characters. I feel the organization is less than ideal; the index helps. Everything's in there (and it's a lot).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Charles I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/14/2018 18:18:03

I bought my first T&T set in the early 80s. I have loved T&T for years. Light, simple, easy to use, anti-rules lawyers. This is the great sucessor to version 5 which survived for years and still survives well.

the updates in the game are great. more spells. Love the skills. Yes it is big but less than 1/2 is core rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Mark G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/14/2018 05:09:38

Fast Play and Rules Light

I've been playing Tunnels and Trolls since starting with 4th edition and a solo adventure in 1979. This is my favorite and my players' favorite edition so far. It has enough ways to make characters interesting to keep them happy, while still being rules light enough that we can have many encounters in an evening without slowdowns in play.

Among the best features of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls: Attributes are fluid. Experience earned can be immediately used to permanently raise them to reflect character ability. All attributes are used, regularly. There are no 'dump stats' in DT&T. The Saving Roll mechanic is used for practically all forms of resolution--use of skills, social interaction, etc. No more having players wonder 'which dice do I roll?' The combat system allows characters in the group to shine according to their abilities, without a lot of fussy checks. Damage sponges can soak up damage, archers and casters can do their thing. You want wizards in swords and armor? No problem! And they do so without stepping on the toes of warriors. Rogues are more Cugel, less Frodo. And they get spells right away. Dead easy to adapt to any genre. I have run high fantasy, Greek mythology, modern, and steampunk, with a sci-fi campaign in the works.

This book contains the full core rules, campaign options, and the author's original Trollworld setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Paul S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/06/2018 19:00:00

I have been a fan of T&T from the early days. There are times I like a simpler game and T&T has been my go-to for those games.

I started playing T&T back in its early days. I recently picked up the PDFs from the T&T Bundle of Holding deal that is going on until October 15, 2018. I am impressed with the game's latest incarnation. One of my favorite things is the ability to solo play as I don't have many friends into RPGs and even less that are into T&T. I appreciate that I can generate a character very fast. In some other RPGs, it could take me literally hours to go through all the hoops to generate a character.

I don't normally roll too many triplets during character generation, but the TARO (Triples Add and Roll Over) system is unique as it allows to potentially generate an powerful character at the start. In addition to TARO, there is also DARO (Doubles Add and Roll Over) can make something that is normally impossible become possible.

If you aren't sure how you feel, you can get the Free Basic Rules and run through some Solo Adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/07/2016 14:16:08

http://dieheart.net/deluxe-tunnels-and-trolls/

This is a guest review by Wilhelm Person. Thanks for reading.

This Deluxe edition is the ninth edition of a game first released in 1975 by Ken St Andre as a simpler alternative to D&D, that focused on entertainment rather than simulation.

I had to look that bit up on Wikipedia. There has been a T&T based CYOA sitting on my shelf for years, but beyond that Tunnels & Trolls hadn’t really registered on my radar as an RPG. When I got the offer to review it for Sophia’s blog I accepted mostly to see what is all was about. These are my impressions based on reading the game.

The book

I got the game in PDF format, it is a massive tome (file?) of 386 pages US-letter. It is formatted with two columns per page and quite readable, even on screen.

The book is divided into four sections. First the actual game itself of about 160 pages. Then a 60-page section of advanced and alternative rules. 60 pages are devoted to introducing the default setting – Trollworld. The book even includes 40 pages of adventures, one of which is a CYOA style single player affair. Various appendices make up the remainder of the page count.

There are loads of really nice black and white retro styled illustrations breaking up the text.

The rules

The rules are simple, on par with early D&D or most of the current OSR games.

Character generation follows the following pattern: Roll 3d6 for the eight stats, with the neat twist that any triple roll, 1-1-1, 2-2-2 etc, are rerolled and added to the initial roll for potentially infinite stats. Select a class from Warrior, Wizard or Rogue (who is something of a mix between the two others). Select a race from Human, Dwarf, Elf, Hobb (hobbit), Fairy or Leprechaun, which gives multipliers for the stats. Fill in a couple of other fields, buy gear and the character is ready for play.

Saving throws are made against the stats, and also covers skill use. Stat+2d6 against a difficulty level (doubles are rerolled like the stat rolls during char gen) to succeed.

Close combat eschews to-hit rolls, just roll damage directly. Both sides in the combat roll and add up their damage. The party that got the lowest total distributes the difference as they please as taken damage. Ranged attacks involve a saving throw to hit, and if successful the damage goes directly to the target, instead of going into the general pool for distribution.

There is a magic system with a whole bunch of different spells that cost Mana to throw. If the cost is paid the spell is successfully cast. Character advancement is done in baby steps with the player spending experience points to raise the stats one step at a time.

Simple, right? There’s a bit more to it, some various special cases and so on, but I think you could join a game of T&T with the above summary and do just fine.

The setting

The Trollworld setting is whimsical, strange, random and other such things. Here are the first couple of sentences describing the dragon shaped continent of Rrr’lff:

Plate tectonics had nothing to do with it. The major landforms on Trollworld acquired their current shapes through the efforts of the Great Wizards who entered the world from Elsewhere. Rrr’lff, the Dragon Continent, was formed by Shangingshing-shingingshang, the oldest and greatest of all dragons on Trollworld. And so it goes on for sixty pages. Not very coherent, but loads of curious details and strange places. A treasure trove for anyone looking for inspiration for some whimsical and strange adventures.

The setting and rules aren’t heavily coupled, it would be trivial to separate them and use either with other products if desired.

The form

The form is traditional, a GM runs adventures for players.

However, there’s an interesting twist in that the players are expected to play a couple of characters a piece. With the recommendation of two to five players, that means that a party of around 10 characters that waltz around Trollworld killing monsters and looting their treasures shouldn’t be out of the ordinary.

Conclusions

The rules are complete for the genre, and pretty well written. I can see them being used as a drop in replacement for the rules of any OSR game, though stat conversions are a bit more work than usual due to the eight stats and different paradigm of combat system.

I get a retro feel from the Trollworld setting. A certain zany everything goes kind of deal. Just reading a couple of paragraphs at random should give me enough material to run a session without much further planning.

The form is traditional. There are some guidelines for the prospective GM on what to do when running the game though perhaps not much explanation of how to do those things. There are a couple of ready to run adventures included in the book, for anyone who’d like examples of how the game could be played.

Will I play it?

Perhaps …

The friendly names of spells go well with the overall style of the game (e.g. “Oh go away” and “Poor baby”), but they don’t sound very majestic to me. Perhaps I’m too used to the D&D spell names. The setting is random, but I can definitely work with it.

The huge parties of characters seem like an interesting concept. Like an Ars Magica troupe, but everyone goes on adventures together.

The text is incredibly verbose. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an RPG that wraps the mechanics in so much text before. To run the game I’d either have to make my own rules summary, or back up a couple of editions to a time when the book was slimmer. To jump in as a player at a con or join an existing game? Yes, sure, it would be nice to see the mechanics in action.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Robin C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2015 19:05:58

An interested update to the old system. This product manages to add some needed depth to the game without rendering anything overly complicated. It's close enough to the earlier systems that veterans of the game should have no trouble adapting to this one. The mention of alternative rules suggested by the playtesters in the sidebars is a helpful touch, and the new talents system adds a bit more detail to the characters. Rules are set out in a clear manner and provide the reader with plenty of examples. My only significant complaint with it is that I feel there isn't enough on creating monsters/encounters outside of the standard monster ratings and save difficulties. Some suggested special rules might have been nice.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Randall W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/06/2015 23:45:39

While the PDF was great and what I expected, except it had no color - and the PDF was advertised to be in color on the official DT&T website.

The rules were about what I expected them to be. It appears to be version 7.0 with a few changes here and there, but nothing which will prevent playing this venerable game. I guess I will have to wait for the hardbound edition to be available on Amazon for the colored version; I was so looking forward to the illustrator, Liz Danforth's artwork. It look so drab and dull without color.

Anyway, I do like the internal links to navigate within the PDF and thanks for providing these rules on DriveThru RPG!

(Now if you can only get your hands on the hardbound edition! :) )

Best regards and success in the future.

Randall Williams



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
The color (in addition to the cover, of course) is on pages 233 to page 248. I know, 360+ pages is a lot to look through! That would be an interesting thought, tho, to have Steve Crompton go through and colorize all those Liz Danforth drawings, just for the pdf. I wish he had time! Rick
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Moritz E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2015 08:06:11

Reading this newest version of the T&T is like coming home. When I was a young lad I played a lot of T&T, both the solitaire adventures as well as the group adventures. There was always something special about the free-from and humorous approach of Ken St. Andre and his friends, and this has been preserved for this edition. T&T has always been of the most flexible rules systems out there, but it is also never "complete" or thorough. Even in these rules the authors constantly give several possibilities to approach a subject or solve a situation, sometimes even discussing that they had different views on a certain rule. But perhaps this is why it is such an engaging read - T&T is what you make of it, and that the system is still alive is a credit to its simplicity and absolutely unique style. It is great to see so many new illustrations, but also many of the old (and fondly remembered) ones. I especially liked the complete history of Trollworld, which reads as a truly complex history with fascinating personalities - "Game of Thrones" anyone? Even though I am sure we will see an 8th edition at some point this is probably the best and most complete edition the game ever had. Very recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2015 10:35:42

The original T&T came out the year I was born, and I first encountered the game in it's 5th edition when I was twelve, before I ever played D&D. I still find the Monster Rating system far easier than statted foes. This is the best edition of T&T since 5th [and I have all of the post 5th ones]. There are a lot more "clothes" on the rules, but at its heart, it's still the same easy to digest game. The book also contains probably the most comprehensive writeup of Ken St. Andre's Trollworld under one cover. Another fringe benefit to T&T is that the game has had one author at its helm for 40 years, and Ken St Andre and publisher Rick Loomis are still actively engaging us fans. I am looking forward to the hardcover. Now FBI needs to do a deluxe version of Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Johannes A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2015 03:34:09

I like the art in dT&T. It draws a lot from Sword & Sorcery: fighting apes, Dinosaurs, Toad-men and Grey. I also like the timeless art nouveau style. Makes this an art piece itself.

The rules make delvers stronger (there is a paragraph to upgrade legacy delvers), good for soloplayers too. They are really good (5.5 have been my favorite up to now). I especially like that rogues can specialise at level 7.

Also it's interesting to get insight to Trollworld and the successes of Leotrah. This background together with the images gives T&T a strong feeling it never had before (I think).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Don C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2015 10:17:47

I've been a huge fan of Tunnels and Trolls since 1980 and I'm very pleased with this latest iteration. I believe it was originally designed to be a cleaned up, enhanced version of the 5th edition, and that's exactly how it feels to me. There are a few new wrinkles, like the extra saving roll for humans (much needed for the solos!) but it's essentially a more complete, and very welcome, version of the game I know and love. The Elaborations section is especially fab, including masses of new detail on Trollworld and its cities.

I have no complaints at all. The only less-than-elated thing I can say is that I probably won't be using the armour ablation rules (too fiddly for my tastes), but I have no problem with them being there for those that want them.

Well done, the Fellowship of the Troll! :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls 2015 edition
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2015 09:03:20

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/07/17/tabletop-review-deluxe-tunnels-trolls-core-rulebook/

What a long strange road trip it has been for the newest incarnation of the longest running fantasy RPG (under the same system) out there. Back on January 3rd, 2013 Flying Buffalo decided to do a deluxe version of the fantasy RPG, Tunnels & Trolls. I, along with 1637 other gamers jumped in on that crowdfunding initiative and together we raised $125K for Flying Buffalo, which was big bucks on Kickstarter back then. The belief was that the game would be ready for release in August of 2013. Well, nearly two years later we still don’t have a physical copy of the game but we DO have the PDF which came out in early July! Now it’s not like Flying Buffalo has kept T&T fans hanging. There were multiple reasons for the delay besides the usual underestimation of time it takes to complete something. Every Kickstarter has this problem) but there was also sickness and other issues that kept the final product at bay. To their credit, Flying Buffalo kept releasing a lot of adventures for the system along with a Free RPG Day Quick Start Rules set for DT&T. You can take a look at my review of just SOME of the Kickstarter backer freebies here. Even though the game has been delayed, I’m more than received my money’s worth. Of course now it is time for the main event. How does Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls hold up?

Well, quite nicely actually. For longtime T&T gamers, the rules are about 90% the same. The only real big change is that the game is more player friendly in that a lot of negative adds (things that negatively affect your dice roll have been removed) and there have been some changes to the positive adds (things that are beneficial to your dice rolls). Other than that the game is pretty much as it has been for a long time. Only the first 165 pages of this mammoth tome are devoted to the game’s core rules. The rest of the book is dedicated to optional rules (Advanced Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, if you will), information about a campaign world and some adventures. The game is fairly easy to learn, especially if you are a long time gamer. For people brand new to gaming some of the methodology and mechanics might seem a little odd, but the game is heavily invested in its 1970s OSR roots and a few concepts like how magic works and levelling up may take two or three read-throughs as it is very different from your typical RPG< regardless of genre. Perhaps the most important thing you'll note is that Tunnels and Trolls does not take itself very seriously. While the game can certainly be dark and lethal, the game is more comedy-action than GRIMDARK and that is one of the reasons that Tunnels & Trolls is as much fun to read as it is to play.

Chapter One is simply an introduction to Tunnels & Trolls, along with an explination as to how the book is laid out. Chapter Two is only a single page long and is a general overview about how to play a RPG. The next chapter is two dozen pages long and it’s all about character creation. Instead of assuming everyone reading this has PLAYED T&T in the past (which is mostly likely NOT the case), I’ll give a quick break down of stats and classes. Vets, you can skim ahead.

Okay, T&T has eight stats: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Speed, Intelligence, Wizardry, Luck and Charisma. So some very similar stats to D&D. you also roll 3D6 to get your starting stat, which again, is similar to D&D. However if you roll a triple of any number with your dice (says three 4s) you get to roll again. You can keep rolling until you stop getting doubles. So there is a possibility of having a starting stat of say 36. If you roll three 6s, three 3s and then a total of 9 on your next roll, you start with a stat of 36. That’s pretty powerful, right? That’s how it goes in T&T. After that, you get your combat adds. For every point in a physical stat over 12, you get +1 to your personal adds. Physical stats are STR, CON, DEX and SPD. So let’s say that 36 was in CON. You would get +35 adds in addition to anything over 12 you had in the other three physical stats. If the 35 was in IQ (Intelligence), you would not get the bonus to your combat adds, but you would get any for stats over 12 in the four physical attributes. Combat adds are used with your dice rolls in combat and the more you have, the more powerful your attacks will be. This is a nice change from games where only STR adds to damage and attack rolls. With T&T you can have a high SPD and DEX and be a better fighter than someone who is pure brute strength.

There are three basic character classes: Warriors, Wizards and Rogues. The first two are self-explanatory but Rogues are not necessarily thieves ala most other RPGS. In T&T, rogues are simply people who are jack of all trades. They are adventurers but without any formal martial or magical training. As such they can do both, but not as well as the other two classes. There are also Specialists which are simply people in the other three classes who rolled a triple for a stat in character creation. This comes up more in the optional rules though.

Tunnels & Trolls also has different character races than most games. You can choose from the usual human, elves and dwarves, but T&T also lets you play as a faerie, leprechaun or Hobbs (hobbit). Finally let’s talk character levels. In T&T your level is your highest stat divided by ten and rounded down. Sound confusing. Well let’s do this as an example if your highest stat is 3-9, you are 0 level character. If it is between 10-19 (most starting characters), you are a Level 1 character. If you are the example we looked at earlier where you have a 36 stat, you are a level 3 character. So on and so forth. Stats raise as the game goes on (you buy increases with Adventure Points, T&S XP equivalent) and so it is up to the player as to what level they are. If you try to make a balanced character your level will be less than your friend who only puts his increases into the same stat every time, but you’ll have a better chance of surviving a myriad of things. The choice is up to you!

Now let’s get back to the quick overview of the chapters. Chapter Four is about equipment for your characters. This is a lot of lists and mechanics. Weapons, armor, poisons and more can be found in Chapter Four. Chapter Five is a look at Saving Rolls, which are how you avoid danger. Essentially you are given the target number then you subtract the specific attribute that applies to the saving roll. So if you need to make a Dexterity based saving throw with a target of 30 and you have an 18 in your DEX – you need to roll a 12 or higher on two dice. Like with any 2d6 rolls in Tunnels and Trolls though, if you get doubles, you get to roll again and add the new roll score to your previous one. Lots of simple addition in this game! Chapter Six is a list of talents your characters can pick up as the level up and/or start the game with. There are certain talents only Rogues can get, but otherwise this is pretty straightforward.

Chapter Seven is about monsters and how scaled back they are stats-wise compared to PCs. Chapter 8 is “Combat” and it’s probably where you will spend the bulk of your time with this book until you have the basics down pat. Essentially though both sides roll 2d6 and add up their personal adds and other factors. The side with the highest total hurts the side with the lowest total with the damage generally being the difference between the two rolls. That’s a very brief explanation of T&T combat and you’ll actually want to read the book for a better understanding but that’s the mechanics in a nutshell. There explinations of different types of combat here too. Magical, berserk, martial arts and more. Again, you will want to read the whole chapter as combat is notably different from many other RPGs.

Chapter Nine is “Magic” and it’s here you’ll learn how spellcasting work and receive a massive list of all eighteen levels of spells. I know, it is a unusual number of levels, but T&T is a very unique game. You’ll also want to read the spell names. Nothing shows off the sense of humour inherent in Tunnels and Trolls like the magic spell lists. You have names like “Take That, You Fiend” and “Better Lucky than Good.” There are also some spell names which are sure to provide an immature reaction like “Blow Me To…” This chapter also shows how characters learn spells, how you know if a character can cast a spell or not, how spell points (WIZ) recharges and more. Magic-users are extremely powerful in T&T so like chapter eight, you’ll want to spend a lot of time in this section of the rulebook if you are new to the game. You’ll go into the book not knowing the word Kremm and you’ll walk away with it being second nature to you by the time you’ve had a few T&T games under your belt. Finally, Chapter Nine contains information about magical items, wards, power storage batteries, and how to create your own spells. Like I said, you’ll spend a LOT of time re-reading this chapter.

Chapter Ten is “Putting it All Together” and it’s essentially wisdom for GMs on how to run a good cohesive game that everyone has fun with. Simple but sage stuff. Then you have Chapter Eleven which are a few pages of spell appendices and you’re done. That’s the rules. Well…mostly. Remember the rules are only the first 165 pages of the Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls book. Now it’s time for the “Elaborations” which are optional and/or advanced rules you can either use or ignore in your T&T game. The book assumes you will NOT use any of these for a list of reasons provided at the start of Chapter Twelve but you’re more than welcome to if you think any of these will improve your game.

So what is in “Elaborations”? You’ll find the concept of training, which actually determines a character’s starting age. There are more abilities added to each class, such as weapon of choice for warriors, racial magic for wizards and rules for Specialist classes. Chapter Thirteen gives you new races to play as. Many of these are usually monsters or antagonists and there’s a huge list of options. You have vampires, werewolves, gnomes, gremlins, minotaurs, lizard people, ghouls, trolls, dragons and even demons! It’s pretty crazy. The reason for all these different races is Monsters! Monsters! – the sister game to Tunnels & Trolls where you play the bad guys. Chapter Thirteen essentially fold the concept into DT&T along with a description of their races and how to play them. Very cool.

Chapter Fourteen is about languages. It’s four pages long and gives both a list of languages in Tunnels & Trolls as well as how you learn them (mechanics-wise). Chapter Fifteen is “Extended Talents” and is essentially a continuation and more in-depth version of Chapter Six. Chapter Sixteen is “Accessories.” Here is a frank discussion on using miniatures with T&T and how the game was never designed for that. Nonetheless the creators talk how miniatures and various computer programs or apps can be integrated with the game. It’s an interesting read. Finally we come to Chapter Seventeen which is entitled “The Kitchen Sink” since it is a massive hodge podge of odds and ends that simply didn’t fit anywhere else. There are lots of charts, a page on guilds, commentary on dice and more. It’s short, but the topics are quite varied. It feels disjointed but at least the chapter is named appropriately.

At this point we are done with the rules parts of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls but there are still two more sections. Yes, this is a HUGE book. The Trollworld Atlas is the next section of the book and it easily could have been a supplement on its own. Sixty pages go into the Trollworld Atlas. That’s more than a third of the pages devoted to the core rules section. It’s that long and detailed. If you use your own homebrew you can skip this section but for everyone else, this is a fine look at the fluff/creative side of the game. There’s a timeline, maps, world history and continents shaped like animals. It’s a lot of fun to read and there’s even a 16 page color gallery slapped in the middle.

The last eighty (!) pages of the book are devoted to Tunnels & Trolls adventures. I was really happy to see the sheer amount of adventures in the book as these days only Chaosium includes actually adventures in the Core rulebook. This is a great slice of old school. There is a traditional GM led adventures where one person takes the role of GM and guides other players (that use characters) through adventures. There is also a Solitaire adventure similar to “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. It is with the Solitaire adventures that Tunnels & Trolls really has made a lasting name for itself over the decades and it’s fantastic to see some of each in the core rulebook. The adventure doesn’t include any beginner adventures though, so don’t look for a simple adventure designed to help teach you mechanic. In fact the very first adventure in the compendium is “Abyss” and it is designed for after your character dies. The next “Into Zorr” is a GM led adventure for four to eight characters between Levels1-5. “Into Zorr” is used in conjunction with the TrollWorld Atlas and give you a taste of the official world for T&T. It’s extremely long and will take several play sessions to get through. It’s a mini-campaign in its own right.

So 2,500 words later, we’ve had a nice long look at Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. It’s pretty fantastic if you’re a longtime fan of the game. Younger gamers or people new to T&T with this latest incarnation might be a bit stymied at first with how different the game plays (and reads) compared to most other high fantasy RPGs, but the game has stood the test of time for a reason. It might not be your favorite RPG ever, but it’s one you’ll definitely have fun with and even laugh out loud because of at least once. I really enjoyed what was here and think Flying Buffalo’s team did an excellent job. If you didn’t take part in the Kickstarter and you’re a longtime Tunnels & Trolls fan, you’re going to want to snatch up DT&T as soon as it is available to the general public. Newcomers can afford to be a bit more hesitant. Like with any core rulebook I suggested getting the PDF or playing a few adventures with people that know the system before making a large financial commitment to any system. The good news is that T&T is VERY affordable compared to most other gaming systems (especially on the PDF front) and so if this review has piqued your interest you won’t break the bank trying out Tunnels & Trolls.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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