Meanwhile . . . Somewhere South of Zkaria

I had some fun today.  Got together with the Man Called Bear and Steve Crompton (krooomp of Trollhalla) and designed a GM adventure for the Trollworld section of the Deluxe T & T rules.  I’m not going to tell you about the adventure, but I did get permission to post Steve’s sketch of the area map, which covers the region between the city of Zkaria and the Fire Dungeon of Z’tpozz. For  your viewing pleasure, here it is, and feel free to set some of your adventures in the area.  I will tell you that this part of Zorr is like the Lost World, there are many different survivals of the original Trollworld rock-based lifeforms abundant here including the great lizard-like yotts and obsidian spiders.



I must say that as a fantasy cartographer, I find it a lot of fun and very satisfying to go from the continental scale to the local scale and start to really put a lot of detail into the maps for the adventures. Even more fun when I have a real artist to turn my ideas into something that actually looks pretty decent.


In the Beginning

One of the stretch goals offered for the DT&T kickstarter was a reprint of the first edition of Tunnels and Trolls.  In the beginning I only made 100 of those.  I reprinted it in another 100 copy edition during the 90s, and that’s all there was.

Now we have copies in print again, and since I take care of Trollhalla first, I want to make you all a special offer.  If you’d like to see what the original Tunnels and Trolls rules looked like, you can get an autographed (reprint) first edition from me.  Steve Crompton has digitally cleaned it up a bit, but you’re still getting the original game, complete with the battered typeface of my old 1917 Remington Paragon typewriter.  We will sell copies at GenCon for $10 each.  Members of Trollhalla in the USA can get it for $10 with the postage included.  People in other countries will have to pay $12 for one.

Not a tunnel or a troll in sight.

Not a tunnel or a troll in sight.

This is a call to see how many copies I will need.  For tvp, please tell me, will you buy a 1st edition autographed reprint from me?  If you want one, send $10 in the USA or $12 outside the USA via Paypal to

A close examination of the contents will show just how much T & T changed between my first edition, and the 5th editon.  Talk about Old School!  This is as Old School as it gets.

Back to back on the back as we go back.

Back to back on the back as we go back.

That’s the first half of my offer for anyone who sees this page. Here comes the second half.

As part of the KS incentives, I wrote an original solo dungeon to go with the first edition rules.  That had never been done before.  We were already into the 2nd edition before the idea of making solo adventures for them was born.

The solo is called SAVING FANG FROM THE PITS OF MORGUL, and it arose from a throwaway line in the first edition text.  It stars two of my favorite T & T characters.  Cherry was the first female character I ever role-played.  Slather the Troll was just a fictional creation for my first ever T & T short story: “Murder at the Ruptured Troll.”  These two are sidekick characters for your character in Saving Fang.

For the first time ever, I’m offering Saving Fang, either separate, or included with your order for the 1st edition.  It is written for 1st edition rules, and you sort of need the first edition to play it, but you could wing it with any other edition.  I’m offering it at the same great deal as the first edition.  $8 for the solo and $2 for postage.  $10 in the USA and $12 outside of it. These are both 48 page books, so I won’t save much on postage by putting it in the same envelope, if it will even fit.  But I think it would be kind of cool to get not only the first edition, but the only first edition solo at the same time.

So for double tvp, tell me if you want a copy of Saving Fang also.  Your answer can be NO, and you still get the points.  What could be fairer than that.

Once I get a count on how many copies I need, I’ll start putting together the mailing for First and Fang.  Oh yeah, Simon Tranter (Ramsen Triten in Trollhalla) did the art for Saving Fang.  I am very pleased with it.  Here’s the front cover:

Hordes of the Undead will be your foes in my first necromantic adventure for Tunnels and Trolls.

Hordes of the Undead will be your foes in my first necromantic adventure for Tunnels and Trolls.

You don’t have to pay me right now.  But you do have to tell me if you want one.

This is a good time to be a T & T fan.  A lot of exciting stuff is happening all at once.  I’ll have more news for you next week.




Rogues in Deluxe T & T

There has been much discussion lately in the Inner Sanctum of how Rogues should be described in Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls  I wanted to tell you all that I had anticipated much of the argument before I ever wrote the deluxe character description, but I have modified it a little more so that players won’t feel constrained in how to describe their roguish characters. Here is the text I hope will appear in Deluxe.

* * * * * * * *

The Grey Mouser has always been my idea of the archtype Rogue character in Tunnels and Trolls.

The Grey Mouser has always been my idea of the archtype Rogue character in Tunnels and Trolls.


         Rogues are loosely modeled on Fritz Leiber’s Grey Mouser or Jack Vance’s Cugel the Clever.  Both magic and weapons may serve them, but they live best by their wits and luck.  Players are encouraged to make characters with initial high Luck or Charisma scores into Rogues.

Rogue does not necessarily mean “thief” on Trollworld.  In many cases, the term is considered short for “rogue wizard”—a wizard who operates outside the formal structure of the Wizards Guild.  Many rogues are characters who have the inherent power necessary to cast magic spells, but who never received the years of formal training needed to learn how to use it.  Hedge wizards would be rogues.

What could cause a character to become a Rogue (as opposed to a Wizard)?  He or she might not have had the necessary Intelligence or Dexterity to join the Wizards Guid.  The Rogue character might not even want to be a Wizard, preferring to live by his or her wits. A Rogue might be a noble’s lazy child who would not apply himself to his studies.  A Rogue may have grown up in a backwater settlement too far from the Guild to find a teacher.  There are a thousand reasons; Rogues often come from the poorer classes of society, who generally cannot afford Guild tuitions, and may have ended up thieves, gamblers, or tricksters as a result.  They are used to living by their wits.

For whatever reason, Rogues grew up without the dedicated training of Warrior mentors or tutelary Wizards, and generally pick up all kinds of knowledge on their own.  They can use both weapons and magic, but get no special advantages in either.  The player who creates a Rogue character may explain the character’s history any way he/she wishes.

Roguery:    Because they rely so much upon their Intelligence, Luck, and Charisma, all Rogues start with a special Roguery Talent based on the highest of those three attributes.  This Talent may be used in place of any Intelligence, Luck, or Charisma saving roll (See Saving Rolls) unless the Game Master specifically requires the attribute saving roll.  (Sometimes the G.M. might want to specifically test one of those attributes, rather than one’s ability to cheat through a situation.  In general, Roguery is best used as a Talent when using it with or against other characters, and should not be used when a pure attribute test is needed.)  The Roguery Talent is in addition to the Talents generally given out for character levels.  Thus a level one Rogue would usually start with 2 Talents: Roguery and something else; Acrobatics, for example.

Magical Aptitude:  Each Rogue may start play knowing at least one spell for which he/she has the necessary INT and DEX.  She should not have the full complement of Wizard spells for her level. It doesn’t have to be a first level spell.  He may learn any spells for which he has the necessary attributes, example a Rogue with INT of 16 and DEX of 15 could start with a third level spell like Fly Me.  She may buy or learn more spells as opportunities present themselves, but the Wizards Guild will not teach her spells for any fee.  That’s okay—the Rogues Guild will gladly take up the slack, but at double the cost.  To learn any new spell the Rogue must make an INT saving roll on the level of the spell, or else the teaching failed.  Rogues must always pay the full listed WIZ cost of any spells that they cast.  Higher level spells are different spells as far as Rogues are concerned.  A Take That You Fiend spell costs 6 points of WIZ on the first level and does damage to living beings equal to the caster’s INT.  To cast a second level TTYF and do double damage costs 12 points and requires a L2SR on INT.  And so forth.  Unlike Wizards, Rogues may not reduce a spell’s casting cost by their character level.  Magic will never become second nature for a Rogue the way it is to a true Wizard; no Rogue can invent new spells.  Furthermore, the use of magic staves or other focusing tolls is impossible for Rogues.

Some private Wizards are not so scrupulous as their Guild, and thus over the years most of the known spells have become available to Rogues through one fashion or another.  There is a Rogues Guild that is a secret organization willing to mentor and sponsor Rogues in much the same way as the Wizards Guild does for Wizards.  There is also a Thieves Guild for thieves, a Merchants Guild for merchants, a Smiths Guild for blacksmiths, and so forth for almost any type or class of character.  These guilds have gained knowledge of spells useful to their profession and are willing to teach them to guild members including Citizens for exorbitant prices.  These guilds are mostly human institutions, although it is quite likely that nonhuman kindreds may choose to join them. Some of these spells are virtually the same as Wizards’ spells, while others have developed in different directions.  Thus the Carters Guild knows a spell for controlling draft animals; the Smiths Guild knows one for heating and softening metal; the Farmers Guild knows one for making it rain, and so forth.  Magic is ubiquitous in Trollworld.  More will be said about that later.