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Recollect Board Game Review

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× A place for boardgame traitors.

Tunnels and Trolls 7.5

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15 Dec 2008 12:20 #15358 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Any report on the new T&T?

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15 Dec 2008 14:09 #15369 by TheDukester
NeonPeon wrote:

Sorcerer's Apprentice (I think that's the name) was the magazine I had way back in the day. It was kind of like Dragon Magazine but for T&T.

It lasted for 17 issues, for those who track such things. The first nine or so are incredibly collectible: low print run, obscure subject, poor distribution, and all of those other factors that combine to make for $50 eBay sales. The rest are fairly easy to find.

It's a pretty amazing magazine for the time and the subject. There's some great art, good adventures, and it even featured short stories by "name" authors such as Karl Wagner. Good stuff ... if you can find it.

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15 Dec 2008 18:49 #15383 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Jack Hooligan wrote:

Any report on the new T&T?

Heya Jack...

I've been meaning to put together something resembling a full-blown review, but haven't found the time. So let me just write down a few thoughts on T&T 7.5.

The game is more or less the same as I wrote in my initial post: simple, goofy/quirky, improvisation-friendly, deadly, lots of D6 rolls... Since you never played any older editions, it probably won't do you much good to outline the specific rules changes.

About the components of this particular set: The box, and therefore the books included, are small and handy. The rulebook is spiral-bound, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you're leaving the book open for reference, you don't have to worry about the book closing on you, and it takes up little table space. On the down side, one of my pages is already 90% torn from someone sliding the book across the table - guess the pages aren't very tough. The other books such as the magic reference have glossy, magazine-style pages. The dice are pretty nice looking but extremely light - I like some weight to my dice - but these are probably superfluous anyway, as most RPGers have tons of D6s lying around. You'll need more than what's included anyway.

The counters are a nice touch - round, 1" diameter cardboard, so they fit nicely in 1" squares on the Chessex battle mat I purchased. :) One problem I had with them was my dungeon called for groups of zombies, so it sucked having only zombie counter. I wish more were included, but what can you expect? Each player character race is well-covered, at least. Unfortunately the group had quite a few hobbits and leprechauns, for whatever reason, so they were tough to distinguish. :)

Oh yeah - minor annoyance - the author decided to remove all Tolkien references for whatever reason, so hobbits are now called "hobbs", and orcs are "oorukhs" or something silly like that. :angry:

The Monstrum Codex defines a whole bunch of monsters...I'm not so sure I'm going to use this. Part of what enjoy about T&T is that it's not heavily classified - you don't encounter a group of bugbears and a displacer beast, knowing exactly what you're up against. Instead a group of zombie wizards will summon a giant serpentine ghost...You don't know what to expect from that! (Did you know zombies could even be wizards? Ha!) If the players or GM prefer a well-defined, consistent world, they're probably better off looking elsewhere in the first place. ;)

The spells manual on the other hand gives a nice array of spells for wizards and rogues to learn (wizards can buy them - that's generally what their hunt for treasure is for - rogues have to learn them underground). I especially liked that fan-submitted spells got published. Neat.

There are a few bugs in this set. For example, the included character sheets totally neglect to provide a space for Talents. There are minor rules ambiguities, here and there, such as not explaining how the leprechauns' (a playable race) innate teleport ability works. Just minor annoyances - you can look up ambiguities online...or make shit up.

Thanksgiving weekend I ran a game of T&T 7.5 for a group of 6. Character creation was fun and easy. There was some confusion and awkwardness throughout the game, not T&T-specific really, considering there were 3 newbies to RPGs, and the rest of us hadn't played one in at least a decade. Plus my GMing was quite rusty... but overall we had a good, fun dungeon-crawl. The biggest problem was probably that one character was much more powerful then the rest - she started at level 4 when everyone else was 1 or 2, because of a great attribute roll. Two of the characters felt relatively impotent in combat. The starting attribute rolls can make or break a character. In the future, I think I'm going to give the less-powerful guys more helpful items.

Much of...uh...everything...is resolved through the saving roll. If you want to disarm an opponent's sword with your own, the GM makes up the level for the saving roll you must make on 2 dice - a level 1 roll has a target number of 20-attribute (let's say DEX); level 2 is 25-DEX etc. If you have a talent that covers the roll you're attempting - maybe swordplay in this case (GM's judgment) - you can add the talent level to your roll. The DARO rule (Doubles Add and Roll Over) allows for occasional heroics. For example, you might lift a heavy boulder and require a roll of 30-STR, when your strength is a mere 15. But if fortune smiles upon you, you could very well roll a pair of 5s followed by a 7, for a total of 10+7+15=32. Many saving rolls are based on the Luck attribute. We all had good laughs when the unlucky dwarf warrior (tank) led the party, but soon realized he was a magnet for traps and large rocks hurled by approaching ogres. "Hmm maybe I'll take the second rank."

Overall, I'm quite happy with this set. The rules revisions are nice - quickly, one revision is that character level now corresponds more to capabilities. You used to be able to have a high-level wimp or low-level demigod (practically). This is why the aforementioned character started at level 4.

Whether the game is for your group I can't say. The game is whimsical, old-school, and all about search-for-wealth-and-power monster-slaying. The prevalence of solo adventures is unmatched by any other game, and Ken St. Andre still writes some good ones, either killing off your character creatively or rewarding him with powerful items, injecting some humor along the way. If your guy dies in a GM game, you can build up a new character in solos on the side (if you're not up to running out for beer and chips), then jump in later. I can imagine many RPG veterans scoffing at the "roll-playing" nature of the game, as well as the lack of detailed rules, and maybe even imbalance (elves and dwarves are overpowered out of the box, but are very easy to tweak to suit your tastes). I think it's at least worth a try!

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16 Dec 2008 08:29 #15394 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Neon,

Thanks for putting this together. I really like the old school vibe I get from the cover and the various adventures floating around ebay. Does the interior work have the same flavor? What about news of any new adventures? Any idea if this box set is the launching of a new line, or simply a new ruleset, but no new scenarios?

Personally, I like the idea of it being mainly dungeoncrawl/'roll'-playing. I'm not as big a fan of armchair theater, and this looks like it could be a cheaper/more flexible to get in a dungeoncrawl than getting Descent.

Anyway, this looks like one to add to the collection!

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16 Dec 2008 16:00 #15425 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
You're welcome. :)

Yup, the interior art tends to be simple black and white illustrations, but it's got that same old school style.

Outlaw Press is constantly putting out a surprising number of adventures, and I'm pretty sure all the new ones are for 7th Ed. (the 7.5 ruleset is the same as 7)...They also revamp old adventures for 7th ed., for example I bought an ancient solo called The Old Dwarf Mine that they just recently redid for 7th edition.

Just this month so far they put out The Hobbit Hole, their biweekly zine, a new GM adventure and a new solo.

I haven't played Descent - only its cousin Doom - but it's probably way more tactical than T&T, just FYI. T&T isn't really designed for miniatures combat, but you might put counters down to show the general party formation, and to roughly show what's going on.

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17 Dec 2008 08:34 #15452 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Interesting that the mag is called Hobbit hole, but there are no 'hobbits' in the game...

Anyway, I placed my order last night. I'm aware this isn't a boardgame like Descent, or as tactical, but playing dungeoncrawl rpgs on a square map isn't much different and offers more flexibility.

I think it'll be a fun break from proper boardgames.

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17 Dec 2008 09:50 #15458 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Jack Hooligan wrote:

Interesting that the mag is called Hobbit hole, but there are no 'hobbits' in the game...

Haha...I didn't even catch that. :)

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17 Dec 2008 13:53 #15472 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Out of curiosity, did you order any adventures aside from the box?

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17 Dec 2008 15:00 - 17 Dec 2008 15:02 #15473 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
No, I want to look over the rules over my break.

Like I said before, it's not likely I'll get this to the table anytime soon. However, when I do, I'll use the adventure in the box. I don't world create or anything like that, and when we play it'll be a totally beer-and-pretzels affair. I'm not into all the background baggage the 90s dumped into rpgs. I just want to point the heroes to a tower with the evil wizard and go.

Got any suggestions for T&T adventures like that?
Last edit: 17 Dec 2008 15:02 by Mr. White.

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17 Dec 2008 15:49 #15479 by NeonPeon
Replied by NeonPeon on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
I'd be hard-pressed to name anything that isn't like that. :laugh: Actually, for all I know some of the new ones are more plot-driven.

The adventure I ran, The Serpent's Lair, is just a basic dungeon designed for newbies. There's a paragraph or two in the intro about the characters discovering a small town, whose residents know of an unfriendly neighborhood cavern. My group role-played that bit, with the stereotypical tavern and all - they did a little bit of chatting/gambling with the patrons - but you could easily jump right to the dungeon without negatively affecting the game at all.

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17 Dec 2008 15:57 - 17 Dec 2008 15:58 #15482 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Yeah, i can imagine I'd read the background paragraph or two on an adventure, maybe a few off-handed remarks from the pcs, but nothing to involved.

Is this the adventure that comes in the box?
Last edit: 17 Dec 2008 15:58 by Mr. White.

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18 Dec 2008 12:36 - 18 Dec 2008 14:01 #15510 by TheDukester
Jack Hooligan wrote:

Got any suggestions for T&T adventures like that?

There are pretty much all like that. :cheer:

Background was not a huge part of the T&T experience. The solos are pretty much a "here's some flavor text: go!" experience, and the GM-led adventures are usually not much deeper (with the Isle of Darksmoke being an exception).

For a good mix of old-school fun, a solid adventure with some background, and a glimpse of T&T's history, I'd recommend the Dungeon of the Bear first, then Uncle Ugly's Underground. Both are long out of print, so you'd be looking at the eBay option or possibly Outlaw Press; I'm not sure.

(checking ...)

I see UUU, but not the Bear:

www.geocities.com/hobbit_lands/GMAdventures.html

(but the Bear is easier to find on eBay)
Last edit: 18 Dec 2008 14:01 by TheDukester.

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18 Dec 2008 13:16 #15513 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
That's an odd link. It goes to a discussion on Dominion vs CCGs.

Did you have another link in mind?

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18 Dec 2008 14:01 #15516 by TheDukester
Yes, indeed ... I had two F:AT windows open at once.

For lots of T&T goodness, here's Outlaw Press:

www.geocities.com/hobbit_lands/

And here's the page where I found UUU:

www.geocities.com/hobbit_lands/GMAdventures.html

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18 Dec 2008 14:05 #15517 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re:Tunnels and Trolls 7.5
Thanks.

Has anyone tried the new magazine. Looks kind of pricey, but sounds like it has a lot of content.

It's a weird thing, this T&T. There seems to be lots of people that know about it, but it's net presence seems pretty much nil. I mean, like was pointed out, a geocities site? This thread is about the longest one I've seen on the net pertaining to the game. There is that Trollhalla place, but surely I thought there would be more info out and about.

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