Tunnels & Trolls – old-school fantasy solos + moreby Bundle Operator Monday 24 September 2018
T&T emphasizes roleplaying and gamemaster rulings over charts and reference books. In straightforward dungeon crawls, play is quick and exuberant. T&T is known, perhaps notorious, for its bumptious sense of humor, seen most prominently in its naming of spells, such as “Oh Go Away,” “Alaka-Scram,” “Poor Baby” (a healing spell), “Upsydaisy,” and “Take That You Fiend.” In a December 2009 Grognardia retrospective, Old School Revival blogger James Maliszewski confessed the spell names, in particular, made him snobbish about T&T in his early years: “Whimsy and humor were antithetical to ‘serious roleplaying,’ and so games that evinced either were seen as unfit for play by discerning gamers. […] If I were to pick a single mistake I made in my gaming education to call ‘tragic,’ it would be my rejection of Tunnels & Trolls back when I had the chance to become better acquainted with it. […] I’ve been missing quite a lot. T&T is a very cleverly designed game: complete, simple, and flexible, yet easily expandable. It’s not math-heavy and looks to be quite amenable to the kind of off-the-cuff gaming I enjoy these days. It’s also unambiguously old-school, as its rules demand both player cleverness and referee adjudication for satisfying use. […]
“Older and wiser now, I no longer see silliness as necessarily antithetical to seriousness. Indeed, I often think it’s an important complement to it. My games nowadays are filled with whimsical asides and comedic moments, in addition to grim and perilous encounters and philosophical musings. This isn’t an either/or situation, at least not in the way I used to think it had to be. Gaming is supposed to be, above all else, fun and, reading T&T, you can tell that author Ken St. Andre had a lot of fun with his creation. That’s as it should be with any RPG and, while I don’t think Tunnels & Trolls should become a model for all other RPGs any more than I think that of OD&D, I do think the hobby might be a more enjoyable place for all if the ethos of T&T were more widely imitated. That, for me, is the greatest lesson I took away from my investigations into this venerable game, whose community, while smaller than that of my own preferred system, is no less enthusiastic, creative, and open to newcomers. […] I still don’t like the spell names, though.”
T&T is famous for its solitaire pick-a-path dungeon crawls. Flying Buffalo produced the first solo RPG adventure ever — Buffalo Castle — and followed with dozens more. This Tunnels & Trolls Bundle presented Buffalo Castle and no less than ten more solos — most in their recently upgraded Deluxe editions — along with several gamemastered modules, the 2015 Deluxe rulebook (funded in a powerhouse January 2013 Kickstarter campaign), and Ken St. Andre’s standalone spinoff game Monsters! Monsters!
There were twelve titles in our Solitaire Collection (retail value $47):
- A fun 64-page manga-style set of Tunnels & Trolls quickstart rules, produced by T&T Adventures Japan (where T&T is big) and presented here in English translation. A perfect intro to the game, this booklet gives all the rules you need to play the solos in this collection, plus a solitaire and two gamemastered scenarios.
- Four starting T&T solos: Battle School, Sea of Mystery, Sorcerer Solitaire, and the first solo RPG adventure ever published for any game, Buffalo Castle.
- Three mid-level T&T solos: Agent of Death, Naked Doom, and Sewers of Oblivion.
- Three killer T&T solos: Arena of Khazan, Deathtrap Equalizer Dungeon, and perhaps the most fondly remembered of all the solos, Michael A. Stackpole’s City of Terrors.
- Goblin Lake (previously presented in our November 2016 Old School Revival 4).
- The latest and greatest version of the rules, the complete 386-page Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls core rulebook (2015), plus the Deluxe GM Screen (both previously in the OSR 4 offer).
- Monsters! Monsters!: Ken St. Andre’s standalone spinoff game, based on T&T, that lets you play the monsters, guarding your dungeon home from so-called heroic intruders.
- Adventurers Compendium: An 88-page collection of nine solo adventures and three gamemastered scenarios unearthed from Sorcerer’s Apprentice magazine.
- Four classic T&T gamemastered scenarios: The Complete Dungeon of the Bear, Dwarf World, Seven Challenges of Kartejan, and Uncle Ugly’s Underground Doom.
- NEW! Tunnels & Trolls First Edition reprint (retail $2): A .PDF image scan of the complete, original 43-page T&T rulebook from 1975, sufficient to play any of the solitaire adventures in this offer.
Tunnels & Trolls resources
- The official Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls website
- T&T designer Ken St. Andre’s current Tunnels & Trolls blog and his older blog (well, one of them), Atroll’s Entertainment
- Liz Danforth’s Oakheart website and her Mages and Sages Patreon page
- Gristlegrim’s Floating Fortress
- Vin’s T&T Trollbridge (fan forum)
- Eposic, the Troll Mystic
- Garen’s Tunnels & Trolls
- Darrgh’s Den
- The Radio Free Trollworld Yahoo Group has been running since 2000!