The name 'Troll Hammer Press' was inspired by, and is an homage to, the three magic Trollhammers of Trollhalla, and was additionally inspired by the song Trollhammaren by Finntroll.

All Troll Hammer Press content, unless indicated otherwise, copyright © Paul Ingrassia 2010 - 2014. Troll Hammer Press 'hammer' logo by Jeff Freels.

Tunnels & Trolls written by Ken St. Andre, copyright © Flying Buffalo Inc. All hail the Trollgod and his Champions of Trollhalla!

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Eald Scōl # 3: Tunnels & Trolls 1e

I bought a reprint of the 1st edition of Tunnels & Trolls off of ebay a while back, skim-read it, then put it in the 'needs to be looked at closer' pile of RPGs. Recently, I picked it up again and read it more carefully, and got pretty excited to see how my favorite RPG started off. Amazingly, at its heart, T&T hasn't changed at all. Sure, 7.5 is bigger, and there have been some changes to core mechanics over the editions, but at its mighty heart, T&T is the same game it was back in 1975. I just had to give it a go.

I played T&T1e solo for the better part of a week, running a total of 4 warrior characters (only the 4th still lives) through Buffalo Castle, then Labyrinth. I have early printings of both solos, and they worked perfectly 'as is' with the 1e rules. I had a lot of fun, it wasn't hard to retrofit my brain from 7.5e to 1e.

As I get older (I started playing RPGs around 1979-80), I have been enjoying short, all-in-one rules booklets far more than lengthy, over-complicated foot-thick tomes. T&T1e was the prototype for every short and simple RPG to follow. There is just enough meat to chew, but you don't get the whole cow, you get to make it your own.

There are differences from then to now. There were only three classes: warrior, rogue, and magic-user. Monster dice, as determined by MR, is at a different range scale. All saving rolls are to be made using the Luck attribute. Armor is, in essence, an extension of Con, as armor 'wears out' as it takes hits. Shields, however, do not, they deflect a set number of hits every combat round. Warriors and rogues receive personal adds, magic-users do not receive positive adds, but must incur negative adds. There are other differences as well.

As I played, I developed some house rules for my solo play. Burke's Wild Lands PHB (find it over at the Trollbridge) was inspirational in implementing some of these rules.

~ Treasure Generator from T&T5.5
~ At character creation, humans may roll 4d6 for attributes, but only count the three highest
~ Lost Con regained after a night's sleep. If Con reduced below half, 1 point per day is recovered until back to half Con, then a night's sleep to regain final half
~ Missile weapons may be fired at the beginning of the first round of combat, they do not replace melee combat, and they do not count towards the round HPT
~ Missile weapon ranges:
bows and slings: 100 yards
spears: 20 yards
knives and axes: 10 yards
double range = x2 difficulty to hit
spear throwers double range
~ regain expended arrows:
roll 1d6:
1-3 lost or broken
4-6 recovered
~ 2 weapon combat: character's Str and Dex must exceed the combined required minimum Str and Dex of both weapons

Experimenting with 1e has peaked my curiosity for other early editions, T&T4e and T&TUK1 in particular. I have picked Mahrundl of Trollhalla's brain for clues to reconstructing some info found in T&T4e by using 5.xe rules, so my house rules will be getting an update soon. I also have not yet experimented with magic-users and rogues in 1e, so I look forward to exploring the rules further.

Unfortunately, there are no legitimate sources for getting your hands on a copy of Tunnels & Trolls 1st edition, there are no official reprints being sold today. The original was self published by Ken himself, and only 100 copies of it, as the story goes. So, I suggest keeping a keen eye on ebay, an old reprint may be your only shot at taking the original rules for a test drive.

~ ~ ~

Copyright 2011 Paul Ingrassia

Next: Monsters! Monsters! revisited

Eald Scōl (Old English for Old School) showcases Old School P&P RPGs, first published 1990 or earlier, ranging from rare and obscure games to well-known favorites.

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