Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Tunnels & Trolls

Tunnels & Trolls is another good game that I rarely got the chance to play.

It has spent it's entire life being unfavorably compared to D&D which, while somewhat merited, is disappointing all the same.   T&T was the SECOND RPG ever created.  It came right on the heels of D&D, written by amateur game designer Ken St. Andre. Ken saw D&D and decided that it was poorly done, so he went home and wrote his own rules.
You can read about his recollections here, but what I want to do is talk about mine.
I have talked about Tunnels and Trolls in the past, mostly dealing with the whole Outlaw Press affair.

I think one of the reasons my group avoided Tunnels & Trolls, other than the appearance that it was "D&D Little Kids" was the humor.  T&T had a humor about it absent in D&D.  Today I can look at it and appreciate it for what it is, but then that was too high a mountain to climb.  This roleplaying stuff was serious business to my 12-13 year old mind.  And there was the whole status deal.  I learned early that if you were not playing "The Right Game" you could get shunned.  Yes social elitism from a group of social outcasts (read: nerds) but it happened.  So even if I was so inclined to try T&T, I doubt if I could have gotten anyone to play it with me.

Looking back today I can say while I am disappointed that didn't give T&T the chance it deserved back then, I can certainly make up for lost time now.  I make an effort to go to the Flying Buffalo booth each Gen Con and buy something, even if it is something small. The T&T fan communities, Trollhala and Trollbridge are the two largest I know of, are very active.  Truth be told, maybe even more active these days thanks to the OSR.

Anyone familiar with D&D will recognize a lot in T&T.  Same sorts of creatures, same sorts of adventures. Players have levels, races and classes.  Plenty of weapons, spells that go 20th level and magic.
I would love to play this a couple of times with my kids, or even sit in on a Convention game.

You can still get official Tunnels & Trolls products from the Flying Buffalo website.


Fun at the Library said...

It looks like I'll be at Origins again this year and probably GenCon also. And OSRcon in Canada. Everyone is invited to come by and play T & T with me. Of course you'd have to find me, but I won't be far from the Flying Buffalo booth most of the time. And both Trollhalla and the Trollbridge are free and open to all who wish to join.
--Ken St. Andre

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Having done more reading today I think I am going to have do more T&T.

Carter Soles said...

I don't know if it would be feasible for you or not, but Ken will be running T&T games in person at OSRCon this year!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah, not so close to Gen Con.