10 September 2015

Return of Tunnels and Trolls

The new book!
A couple of weeks ago I attended the release party for the new deluxe edition of Tunnels & Trolls, this volume appropriately named Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. It was held at Game Depot in Tempe, AZ, and it was a packed house.

The creator of the game, Ken St. Andre was there, and he even ran an adventure which I participated in, and died early in; nine spears through the chest. That is what happens on an important critical failure, but I was happy to die because it was such an old school death. I love to play in games ran by creators, because you get to see how they envisioned their game to be played, which may differ to the way you play it (who is right: both of you).

Ken is a legend in RPGs. He wrote the first real competitor to D&D (T&T was published in 1975), but took a radically different approach. Instead of lots of rules, he made his simple and based on the idea is that the players are at the table to have fun. It also allows a wide variety of character types. In my group there was a dwarf, human, faerie (who was very small), Minotaur, elf, and a couple of gnomes.  Other races in the book cover just about everything, including FREAKIN DRAGONS!

The spell system is also different from the fire and forget D&D style. This one is based on power points and a large selection of spells, many with strange and funny names. Spells include "Poor Baby" for healing, "Glue-You" to stick opponents in place, and "Breaker Breaker" which has nothing to do with CB radio; it is a spell to break ordinary weapons.

That is Ken St. Andre. The one with the hat.
While continuing to refine the T&T game (without complicating it), Ken also wrote one of the first sci-fi games, Stormbringer for Chaosium, and even a few novels. All this while being a librarian, a job from which he recently retired after thirty-six years of service.

What is cool about this game is that it is really an old school game. It is not a game that plays like we think old school games played (like Dungeon Crawl Classics, which is a hoot in itself, or D&D 5e, which they say is old school but it is nothing like the old D&D), it is the same game from 1975 but with added coolness. So if you are looking for old school, check out the new book at your FLGS.

For more information, see the Tunnels and Trolls page.


  1. Its epic!!!! I so love my Minotaur. She is ready for more adventure!

  2. Glad you h ad a great time. It was a lot of fun for us as well. We are hoping the have the hardcovers back any day now. Thanks for coming to the party!