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Tunnels & Trolls

Tunnels & Trolls

Monday 24 September 2018
In September 2018 we presented the Tunnels & Trolls Bundle featuring the 2015 Deluxe T&T rulebook and many solo and GM adventures for the venerable Flying Buffalo FRPG Tunnels & Trolls. Since its 1975 debut — the second fantasy RPG ever published! — the simple, high-spirited, and streamlined Tunnels & Trolls has stayed in print continuously from the same publisher, guided by the same designer, and remained rules-compatible across all editions — an unequalled record of longevity.

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): Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got our entire Gamemaster Collection with nine more titles worth an additional $47: Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to this offer’s designated charity, the RPG Creators Relief Fund. The RCRF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization founded to provide financial assistance to tabletop roleplaying game creators suffering hardship due to medical emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophic situations.

Tunnels & Trolls resources