Review Rating: 5 stars (out of 5) – a number I don’t give out easily or lightly. It’s a great game and I suggest you check out some of the reviews at the bottom of this post as well as on Amazon, DriveThru RPG/RPGNow, and any RPG gaming review site for the game.
In an earlier post, Bundle of Holding – Tunnels and Trolls RPG Bundles, I mentioned the Tunnels and Trolls (T&T) bundles available on the Bundle of Holding (deal ends October 15, 2018 so you still have time. In response to so many people buying the Tunnels and Trolls bundles, Ken St. Andre, made all of the Trollhalla Press PDFs free (this only applies to Trollhalla Press PDFs on both sites) on DriveThru RPG (DTRPG) (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/9559/Trollhalla-Press?term=trollhalla+&test_epoch=0) and RPGNow (https://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/9559/Trollhalla-Press?term=Trollhalla+Press&test_epoch=0) for the rest of October 2018: All Trollhalla Press PDFs Free Through the End of October. You don’t need to purchase a Tunnels and Trolls Bundle of Holding to get the free items. I also included some other information from the Bundle of Holding site:
Here are some T&T resources listed by Bundle of Holding:
Tunnels & Trolls resources
- The official Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls website
- T&T designer Ken St. Andre’s current Tunnels & Trolls blog and his older blog (well, one of them), Atroll’s Entertainment
- Liz Danforth’s Oakheart website and her Mages and Sages Patreon page
- Gristlegrim’s Floating Fortress
- Vin’s T&T Trollbridge (fan forum)
- Eposic, the Troll Mystic
- Garen’s Tunnels & Trolls
- Darrgh’s Den
- The Radio Free Trollworld Yahoo Group has been running since 2000!
Not listed above, but you can join a Facebook group, Trollhallans, https://www.facebook.com/groups/876448375868280/. Ken St. Andre is part of the group and is more than willing to answer questions about the game. You can also learn more about the game at Flying Buffalo (sometimes abbreviated FBI, not be confused with the law enforcement agency with the same acronym; gaming company that produces T&T): http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/tandt.htm (good place to get printed copies of the books if you like having a hard copy of the rules). From the FBI link above for T&T:
Tunnels & Trolls is the second ever fantasy role playing game published. A fantasy role playing game is a game where a leader, usually known as the gamemaster, has created an adventure for a group of friends, and the friends play the game and try to solve the problem or rescue the princess or kill the dragon or whatever. Ken St Andre read and tried to understand That Other Fantasy RPG, and decided that he could invent one that was easier to understand and so T&T was born, over 30 years ago. The game has gone through several editions since then, but it remains popular and is played all over the world. A group of five of us created the latest version: the Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls.
If you want a quick and dirty explanation, you can use Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnels_%26_Trolls.
You may also see T&T referred to as dT&T or DT&T, which is the Deluxe version of the game.
I am a member of the Facebook group Trollhallans mentioned above. I don’t remember when I first started playing T&T, but it was in the mid to late 1970s. I wasn’t familiar with Flying Buffalo, the company that sold T&T, but I was open to trying a new game. One huge advantage T&T has over its competition was the ability to play the games solo, i.e., without a Gamemaster (GM). They offer a number of solo adventures: T&T Solo Adventures. For somebody without a vehicle and who lived within walking distance of a game store, the ability to solo play was great. The game store – Middle Earth Hobbies, a part of Gamescience, only stayed open late on the week-ends, but had a large gaming area in the back where you could play RPGs, wargames, board games, miniature gaming, card games (like Nuclear War, also made by Flying Buffalo) and just about any game you can think of. I later upgraded my T&T games to later editions, but think I stopped around 5th edition, the non-boxed edition.
Here’s a list of T&T PDFs available on DriveThruRPG (DTRPG): https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Tunnels%20and%20Trolls&test_epoch=0&page=1&sort=3a (some of the PDFs are free, including some that are priced Pay What You Want (PWYW). The link includes T&T compatible PDFs offered by companies other than Trollhalla Press. If you want a free short copy of basic T&T rules you can find it at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/54407/Tunnels–Trolls-Free-Rulebook; it’s not the full rulebook, but allows you to do the solo adventures and give you a feel for the game.
I will keep my review to the details of the latest version (DT&T) that is part of the Bundle of Holding bundles.
While there are some changes to the current version of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls from the 1st Edition (both are included as part of the Tunnels and Trolls Bundle of Holding Gamemaster Collection) as well as changes from the last edition, the changes won’t matter if you aren’t familiar with any of the earlier editions of the game. I am also going with the theory that you have some experience with RPGs, be it online RPGs, computer RPGs, or the old fashioned pencil and paper RPGs. If you don’t have experience, then the free Basic Rules available in the link above should give you more than enough information to figure it out.
Rolling up a character is fairly easy, unlike some games where it can take a fairly long time. Your Prime Attributes (often called Stats) are Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Dexterity (DEX), Speed (SPD), Luck (LK), Intelligence (IQ or INT), Wizardry (WIZ), and Charisma (CHA). These are pretty standard across many RPGs although some use different terms for them. To generate the stats for your character, you roll 3d6, applying a special rule called TARO (Triples Add and Roll Over):
When a player rolls a natural triplet on at least
one prime attribute when creating the character,
that character is a specialist. That’s why we said to
put an asterisk (*) beside the attribute to remind
yourself that this attribute began as something
unusual, even if attributes change through the
character’s life span.
TARO is an interesting concept as I don’t recall any other major RPG offering a similar concept since you can have one or more stats that are far above the 18 maximum a typical 3d6 roll generates. I am going to skip most of the character generation rules as they generally tend to follow similar patterns across RPGs. GMs will often place certain limits on things, but each GM is different on what they allow and don’t allow during character generation. Another great option is DARO (Doubles Add and Roll Over) for times when you use 2d6 instead of 3d6.
For Character Kindreds (sometimes called races in other RPGs), the choices for players are Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Hobbs (think Halflings from Middle Earth), Fairies, and Leprechauns. All but the last two Kindreds are standard for most RPGs. Each Kindred has advantages and disadvantages.
If you are creating a character without a GM for solo play, go through the optional rules for character generation and decide which ones you want to include in your game. You can always change your mind later if you think something doesn’t make sense for your setting.
I ran through some of the Solo Adventures and found them to be as good as when I did them decades ago. I haven’t had a chance to GM a game, but hope to get an opportunity in the near future.
For some other reviews on DT&T, try https://markrollsdice.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/review-deluxe-tunnels-trolls/; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6lf__kibUY&feature=youtu.be (there are several related YouTube reviews on the right side panel of the screen – I didn’t check them out). Here’s the link to Amazon‘s reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Tunnels-Trolls-Rulebook-Andre/dp/094024490X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538870267&sr=8-1&keywords=Deluxe+Tunnels+and+Trolls#customerReviews. If you need a print copy of the rulebook, I would avoid Amazon since the copies there are way overpriced and you can order it much cheaper either as a PDF from DTRPG or RPGNow or for print copies, direct from Flying Buffalo: http://www.flyingbuffalo.com/tandt.htm, or your local gaming store.
If anyone has specific questions or need more information, let me know and I will respond in the comments as well as add the information in the body of this blog post.