Friday, December 30, 2011

The Furthermore Adventures of Jherrrii the Great, Nay Good

On my first visit, I almost got my head popped off by the bouncer-troll Big Burp when I initially refused to give up my weapons. I ordered and drank from a 5GP bottle of wine. I then turned down an offer to join some cult, survived a bar fight, and escaped with a magical eye patch. Including saving rolls, I picked up 616 AP and netted a few silver pieces. The gold I found was negated by the bottle of wine I purchased.

Magic Leather Eyepatch: if worn during the day, can be taken off at night granting 'Catseyes'
13 SP

AP: 616

I figured I would head back there one more time...

This time, I knew not to mess with 'Big Burp', I happily surrendered my weapons and saddled up to the bar and spent 5gp on a bottle of wine. I get bumped into by an Urukin, who threatens me - I pull my dagger and quickly gut him. A quick search nets a parchment rolled up and tied with a red ribbon. I quickly leave the bar to look at the parchment in private - this has the map to the second part of the adventure.

The map leads to a rugged cliff path and up to a cave mouth. Right away, I know that I am in trouble if I stick around - some large monster is casting its shadow and flexing its muscles - I am able to rush past it into a side passage, but I know this is something I will not be wanting to fight. I soon run into a large group of screaming cannibals and fight my way through them with no real problem. They leave behind a golden statue of a hideous serpent worth 450 gp which I snatch up. I soon come upon a pool that seems to be a way out, which I am glad to take, swimming out and away from this death trap.

Golden Statue (450 GP)
(-5 GP spent)

AP: 432

Still feeling kind of lucky, I decided to visit the 'Dewdrop Inn'... (to be continued)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

T&T: Stay Alive!...Research

I have been immersing myself with all things zombie lately, trying to play out and plot some ideas I have for a survival horror game using the T&T rules as my system.

Others have frequently mentioned the 'Lovecraft Variant' from a long out of print issue of Sorcerer's Apprentice #7. I have located a copy of it online here if you are interested in purchasing it. From what I have found, it really is not going to give me what I am personally looking for.

Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes (MSPE) has also been mentioned as a source for real world T&T rules...I am just about ready to pull the trigger ordering directly from the Flying Buffalo site. I really just want to see how some modern weapons have been handled in T&T rules.

I have been a ardent fan of Robert Kirkman's wonderful comic book series The Walking Dead. The TV series has been a very good adaptation, albeit a bit slow going in its first two seasons. The one thing that Kirkman does a wonderful job of expressing is that the 'Walking Dead' are not the zombies that surround and constantly threaten the characters, but the living.

I also found an enjoyable read via my Kindle: Joseph Talluto's Zombie Series: White Flag of the Dead. He also expands a bit on the notion that mankind becomes the bigger threat to what is left of civilization after such a catastrophic event. While the writing style is not what you would call prose, it is an entertaining read full of many good ideas that would work well within a RPG campaign. I have read some reviews of the 3rd and 4th books in this series, and I am frankly not too keen on where the story is going to justify spending $6 per volume.

I will be starting a new series via my kindle - the first two chapters are free as a Kindle download in the form of Jailbreak by Steven Booth and Harry Shannon.

A few months back, I had started, but never finished, Max Brooks' World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Like both the Walking Dead and White Flag of the Dead, Z delivers with some good tales of survival in a zombie world. The problem with it though is that it becomes very repetitive - getting pretty much the same story from different characters in different parts of the world.

Right now, I am going to attempt to stay awake to watch the new movie on Chiller based on the Steve Niles comic book, "Remains". I never read the comic book, but have really enjoyed his other work including 'Thirty Days of Night' and one of my all time favorite comic book characters, Cal MacDonald (Criminal Macabre).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 4 - Combat (Critical Hits?)

Combat in T&T seems to be more of a narrative than a blow by blow record like in AD&D. This made me start thinking, as I sometimes do, about one possible situation that you would tend to not have in T&T; the against all odds, call it a lucky shot, or call it divine intervention blow, that defeats the mightier enemy.
  • David slew Goliath with a single stone.
  • Indiana Jones dropped that sword guy with a well-placed shot.
  • Elric defeated Karandenus with a single swing of his sword.
OK. Elric was my PC that was very much a complete and utter rip-off of the Moorcock's 'Elric of Melnibone'. We played in a very cool campaign where the DM (One of the best - Chris S) used a lot of PC's from his other games as his NPC's. The DM was also very into city adventures which rubbed off on me; a lot of warring guilds, corrupt guards, and dueling wizards.

Karandenus was the bad-ass guy that just sat in the street wearing his oriental straw hat (coolie hat). I believe he was a master for one of the assassins guilds in the city. At any rate, for whatever reason, Elric decided it was time he took this guy down and challenged him to a fight.

I rolled a natural 20, a critical hit. We used a modified 'Critical Hits' chart that appeared in Dragon Magazine #39, reprinted in Best of Dragon #5.

There was about a 6-7% chance that on a Critical Hit, your opponent was going to be dead (decap, throat slit, heart pierce, and so forth). I made a roll to take off his head, and then ran for my life as his buddies and friends started chasing me through the city. It is another story what happened next to that character.

By my math, I had a 1 in 20 chance to roll the Critical Hit, and another 1 in 18 chance to roll the death dice. This gave me about a 1 in 360 chance to pull off an amazing attack.

Karandenus was a very high level NPC. In T&T terms, I would estimate that he was a character with at least 50+ more adds than my PC's T&T equivalent. If I decided to pull the same nonsense in T&T, there would be no question of the aftermath of the battle. It would be very cool to hear from the T&T GM just how the better skilled fighter in some gruesome way dispatched my moronic arse. Regardless, it seems there is no chance at all in T&T combat rules that I could even crack a 50+ combat add difference.

The one place where I can see in the rules where this could play out is the 'Surprise Attack' phase of T&T combat, where the defender does not get to roll for defense. But I guess this would be more of a 'Cold Cock' attack, not so much of a face off, I challenge you to a duel type of event.

So in T&T, if you are knowingly thinking of messing with something that by far outclasses you, you best not do it. The law of averages and the reality of the situation should be enough to steer you away.

Unless I am missing something.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review - The Tavern by the Sea

I picked up the Trollhalla Press version of 'Tavern by the Sea' from Ken St Andre at Origins in 2011 at the Flying Buffalo booth (28 pages - 8.5'' x 11''). Written by Ken St. Andre, Illustrations by David Ullery, and a credit to Andy Holmes (imagined by).

The UK edition, published by Tavernmaster Games, is labeled as a Special Edition that I picked up a few months later via Lulu (40 pages - 6'' x 8''). Written by Ken St. Andre and Andy Holmes, with illustrations by Jeff Freels.

First things first, I love the smaller size book. I know that most of the Trollhalla Press books that I have purchased are 11x17 printed pages folded in half and stapled, which for obvious reasons will make in-house or small press printing a bit more cost effective. However, the cover of the larger volume is just another standard sheet of paper, while the Lulu printed UK edition feels more like a book with a heavier cover stock and a binding.

The main difference between the two books is that in the Trollhalla Press edition, the solo adventure is followed by a GM version of the adventure - each of the main story lines that can be explored in the solo are detailed individually for a larger party. In the UK Tavernmaster Games edition, I am presuming that Andy Holmes wrote the follow-up solo that appears that will spin out of one of the outcomes of the main solo. So for the solo gamer out there, the UK Edition gives you two adventures, while the US Edition gives you the single adventure.

The artwork is also different, handled each by two different illustrators. Since both artists were able to effectively capture different scenes and characters from the book, it would be nice to see a volume where both artists' work is featured, but I am sure that makes things a bit more complicated for the small press publisher. Regardless, I do prefer Jeff Freels' style and the layout of the UK Edition. The US Edition does seem to use the same images over and over - most of the artwork is re-used 2 or 3 times throughout the volume on different pages and different sizes.

As for the adventure itself, I think it is well written and appealing, but unfortunately most stories tend to quickly end with a tavern brawl, which quickly makes replay very limiting. I have played it twice now, and in both cases I have pretty much had one encounter with a tavern customer, followed by a resolution that is pretty much unavoidable, ending with the aforementioned brawl. Also, with the frequency of the tavern brawl being so high, it would have been nice to see a bit more difference in possible endings, but there seems to be only three: death, knocked out and waking up in an unfortunate situation, or the last one standing with the same loot each time.

I would like to find a way to the second solo adventure by way of playing the adventure legally so to speak, but I don't know if that will be possible. It seems that once you have embarked on a certain route, there is no turning back to the bar to get another drink or going to another table to start up another conversation. It will only take you a few minutes to finish a trip to the 'Tavern by the Sea', but it will seemingly take 10-15 different trips to see everything it has to offer, and more than likely you will get into 10 tavern brawls in the process.

Delving Dwarf Rating: 3.5 (out of 5) Mugs of Ale!

12/12/11 Edit: Almost every time you are called upon to make a saving roll in this adventure, it is against Luck. There has to be other things that a writer can use for SR's in various situations other than Luck.

Friday, December 2, 2011

T&T: Stay Alive!

So this is what I am playing around with in my head for a possible 'BASH CON' Event...

T&T Horror: "Apocalypse Kinda Now"
You are having a good old time at the BASH Con convention, but something does not seem to be right at the end of Saturday Night. The security guard is trying to get your group out the door, but others seem to be trying to get back in. Will you survive the night?

Has anyone tried to use T&T statistics to create a character that would mimic a real person/real world stats?

I know 'Outbreak Undead' did this...but I want it to be a bit more simple and straightforward.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 2.5 - Monster Rating Redux

Setting something straight before I go any further - I am in no way questioning or challenging the T&T Monster Rating (MR), how it works, or how it is interpreted in gaming terms.

The point I guess I have been doing a poor job of making when corresponding on other blogs is this: if you cater the monsters to match the strength of the party to pose an appropriate or 'real' challenge to the party, what makes a monster unique?

You have an Orc, a Goblin, a Bugbear, and a Gnoll...they are all MR60...what makes each monster different? If you are constantly changing the MR to match the party strength, what makes a unique monster a unique monster other than changing its name?

Some monsters should have a minimum MR in my mind. A dragon is something that you see and you either run away or you draw your sword knowing full well, in general, what you are getting with a 'dragon'. Meanwhile, a goblin is generally a goblin. Should you have a MR 30 goblin and an MR 30 dragon? Maybe...I personally don't think so, but that is just me.

I also believe some monsters should have some special ablities, whether it be via unique SPITE or other such things, that give it some personality and set it apart from something else.

Now to some, I believe where they are coming from is that is what the GM's job is, right? To present the scenario and the encounter in a way the you would be able to tell an Orc from a Goblin from a Bugbear, from a Gnoll - I get that.

Where I am coming from is that ultimately, some monsters should have some things that set it apart from others. Otherwise, you have an MR50, MR100, MR150, MR200 monsters that are statistically the same whether you call them a goblin, or a dragon, or a gnoll, or a bugbear, or a death knight, or a....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Further Adventures of Jherrrii the Great, Nay Good

Updated my 'Chronicles of Jherrrii' page with some details and more than likely false memories of games past. My dwarf has now played in three of Kopfy's games; noticing pretty quickly that he is putting his life on the line for very little reward.

I have faced acid traps, various crazy critters, and perilous chasms of doom, but have no magic items and very little gold to show for my delving. Is it just Kopfy and his stinginess?

I did take Jherrrii into 'Strange Destinies' a few months back and was promptly killed by a band of wandering super colossal giant enormous ants...more on this fun event can be found here.

"OK - the solo mission that came with the boxed set - 'Strange Destinies' - is it a typo, or does the wandering monster table actually have the Giant Ant correct with a MR of 100 each???

So - when I rolled the number appearing as 3 - my lone dwarf Jerry the Great (nay Good) had a snowballs chance in hell to even damage something that is rolling 11d6 + 50 combat adds for a single ant. So technically - Jerry the Great (nay Dead) - has been killed, while he was able to dodge two of the ants while fighting the third - he was quickly ant food - in the FIRST DAMN ROOM!!! My weapon and adds are 4d6 + 49."

Talking on the 'Walla, even Ken agreed that Strange Destinies is a very difficult solo adventure and I quickly called 'Not Fair' and the dwarf is officially still breathing.

So now - I have a copy of 'The Tavern by the Sea' as well as some other solos that I think are more suited for a lowly but great 3rd level Fighter...we shall see how it goes and what riches I should discover.

So, I am headed to....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Delving for a good time...

In an earlier post, I took a stab at creating my version of a common monster for T&T rules - the Zombie. Horror is something I have always loved, but more so the supernatural-monster suspenseful horror, not so much the hack and slash psychotic-killing-machine horror.

I had been running a horror game based on the Rippers setting using the Savage Worlds rules. My blog covering that short lived experiment is located here. While I liked the Rippers theme and also in theory like the Savage Worlds system, there is something about it that does not seem to work for me. I really need to play in a game with an experienced SW GM, that way I can see what I may be doing wrong.

So - full circle - I am thinking of doing a modern horror game based on T&T rules. Has anyone done something similar?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Boycott Outlaw Press

Over at Troll Hammer, Paul tells the whole story better than I could ever even try...just don't buy anything from Outlaw Press.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meandering Monsters: Minotaur

I really have no clue why I have always liked minotaurs. More than likely, they have always had some very good miniature sculpts - from Ral Partha to GW to Reaper. Also, they are relatively easy to paint and we always had a rule that if you are going to use a monster, you have to have a miniature for it and it better be painted. One of my favorite NPC's that I have ever created, and actually still has the distinction of never being killed by my PC's, was a Minotaur I named 'Kaz' who was the first mate on a merchant ship.

(That reminds me - I need to convert my AD&D adventure ' Press Gang' to T&T - note to self...)

So - looking through both the Monstrum Codex I (7.5 Boxed Set) and Monstrum Codex II (Delver' Pack Boxed Set), I noticed there was not a write up for a Minotaur. I then checked the Monsters and Magic book in the 7.5 boxed set and found a few more monsters, including a minotaur. With a MR of 245 and a special power of 'befuddle' on a SPITE 7 roll, this design is more in line with the Greek myth regarding labyrinths and the ability to never get lost.

Checking the AD&D Monstrous Compendium, a bit more detail is spent describing the ecology of a Minotaur, more than anything referring to aspects of the Greek Myth regarding Minos and his maze. The Minotaur is a magically altered human, basically in some way being cursed into the form of a large human with the head of bull and a fondness for human flesh. There are some versions of the minotaur miniatures that I have that depict cloven hoofs instead of human feet, and a more animal like body in general. It also mentions when a minotaur mates with a human female, the offspring is always male. This would probably explain why this 'true' minotaur is always so angry - there are no females.

This time, I did try to find something in regards to prior work done on Minotaurs in T&T by searching the internet. 'Trollish Delver' had a post a few years back regarding Minotaurs as PC's, and there looks like there was an Outlaw Press book o entitled 'Minotaur' by Shipman. I also found another solo adventure 'Labyrinth' by Lee Russell. Alas - I could not find any write up on a Minotaur's stats that I could get without dropping some money for the downloads.

Looking at the 7.5 Rulebook, the Minotaur is listed as a rare kindred with attribute modifiers:

STR: 2.5, CON: 2.5, DEX: .75, INT: .75, LK: 1, CHR: 2, WIZ: 1

So this is for a standard non-player character/monster Minotaur who is out in the wild or in his cave somewhere minding his own business and just trying to find a good morsel to eat. I am calling this a 'True Minotaur' reflecting the monstrous offspring, and not the cursed human.

Please - respond with your thoughts or opinions...

Minotaur (True-Offspring) by Jerry Teleha

MR: 200
Combat Dice: 21d6+100
Special Abilities: Gore, Bull Rush
Special Damage: 3/Gore
Special Hindrance: Fondness for Flesh, Lust
Appearing: 1-3
CON: 200
WIZ: 30
(artwork from the T&T 7.5 Boxed Set - Creature Tokens - Claudio Pozas)

The Minotaur (True) is the offspring of a magically created Minotaur (by curse or other magic) and a human female and is always male. While the magically altered Minotaur retains mostly human features with the exception of the head of a bull, a True Minotaur will tend to appear more monstrous and could have more animal-like features such as cloven hooves and more fur on its legs, arms, and chest. The average Minotaur will also be a few heads taller than an average man, about 8-10 feet in height. Although like any race, you could see some that are smaller or larger.

True Minotaurs tend to live in small communities located in isolated places. These places are where a captured human female would be taken. The captured female would be kept alive long enough to help wean the minotaur child. She would then be set free, or eaten.

The magical nature of the creation of the original minotaurs has found its way into the ecology of a True Minotaur. They do have some natural Kremm Resistance (WIZ 30) and while they can have a taste for human flesh, they are carnivores and will eat most anything.

Some True Minotaurs in Trollworld have been known to venture away from their isolated communities and become delvers. More common, True Minotaurs are sought out as mercenaries and guards. In combat, Minotaurs are relentless, whipping themselves into a battle fury. Minotaurs will almost always fight to the death, never giving quarter unless knocked unconscious. If given the opportunity, a minotaur will 'Bull Rush' or charge into an opponent it would deem as its biggest threat at the start of a melee. It will also use its head and horns to gore opponents in combat.

When a gore occurs (SPITE 3), the Minotaur has pierced the armor and flesh of an opponent with its horn. If 3 sixes are rolled, one opponent is considered to be 'Gored'. If 6 sixes are rolled, then 2 different opponents would be considered 'Gored', unless there is only one opponent, in which case he would take all the special attacks. As with normal T&T rules, who takes the damage from a 'Gore' can be determined by the delvers after damage from the round has been determined. Then, roll on the table below to determine SPITE damage.

  • Roll of 1-3 (Knocked Back): 5 Damage, LEVEL 2 SR vs DEX to stay on your feet
  • Roll of 4-5 (Armor Punctured): 8 Damage, Body Armor (if worn) damaged by puncture (Reduce 2 hits)
  • Roll of 6 (Head Butt): 10 Damage, LEVEL 3 SR vs CON to stay conscious

Bull Rush
In the first round of combat, the Minotaur will choose one opponent to concentrate its attacks on, a furious charge resulting in a 'Bull Rush'. All damage (if the melee round is won by the Minotaur) and SPITE affects will be applied to this single opponent. If the Minotaur has been surprised, then the 'Bull Rush' should not be used, unless attacked in the surprise round by missiles or spells. If there is ground to cover for the Minotaur to join into the melee, then the 'Bull Rush' can be applied.

Fondness for Flesh
Minotaurs are carnivores, but they have a taste for human flesh as a part of their ancestry. If encountering a group of minotaurs and the party consists of at least one human or elf, the minotaurs will be more apt to attack on sight if the odds are in their favor.

Females are a Minotaur's weakness. If possible, a minotaur will go out of its way to avoid killing a human or human-looking female because he would like to make her his mate. Damage that is distributed in combat should not be applied to human or elf females unless they are the only opponents left for the Minotaur to fight.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meandering Monsters: Zombies

Everywhere you look it seems, we are now seeing zombies - television shows, movies, video games, and books. In movies, we have the classic Romero flicks (slow zombie) and the newer Romero flicks (faster zombies), the '28 Days Later' not dead but diseased zombies, and many other movies like 'Shaun of the Dead' and 'Zombieland'. In video games, non are better than 'Left 4 Dead' which introduced 'special' zombies like hunters, spitters, smokers, tanks, jockeys, and chargers. More like 28 Days, these zombies are more so the diseased and mutated type - quick moving and agile since they are technically not 'dead'.

Max Brooks' World War Z and Kirkman's classic comic book/tv series Walking Dead take a bit more 'realistic' stance on the genre. With the dead coming back to life, the shear numbers overwelm and destroy society as we know it. The zombies carry a disease with their bite and if bitten, you are doomed to eventually die and turn into a zombie as well...unless you cut off the diseased arm or leg in time before it spreads (Walking Dead).

The AD&D zombie was pretty simple - they did not carry or transmit a disease, they always attacked last in a round, and they did decent enough damage. They were just animated bodies that were programmed to guard something. The 'Juju Zombie' from the MM2 gave a version a bit more agile since the creation was a result of a 'energy drain' and the body is very recently dead. The JuJu also enjoyed a bit more spell resistances than the normal zombie. The 'Yellow Musk Zombie' from Fiend Folio introduced a non-undead zombie - a poor soul that has been injected with a seed by the Yellow Musk Creeper. He would be controlled by the plant as a guardian for a few months, then wonder off and drop dead-dead - thus transporting the new plant to a new location. It was a curable condition though.

The zombie listed in the T&T Monstrum Codex is very basic - the typical monster with an MR and nothing the separate itself from any other monster with the same MR. The Aquazombie listed in the same book delivers a bit more as a diseased zombie, not undead, but able to transfer its disease if having rolled enough SPITE damage. The afflicted can be cured by a combination of spells. While the basic zombie in the T&T MC offers a range of 25-150 for MR, I don't think that should be the case. A dead corpse is a dead corpse - regardless of how big it was when it was alive. There should be no single zombie that is more powerful than another zombie.

I have not done any research other than reviewing some of the classic AD&D monster listings mentioned above. If someone else has already done something similar to what I have below, it is totally without my knowledge. 

Please - respond with your thoughts or opinions...

Zombie - Animated Corpse by Jerry Teleha

MR: 50
Combat Dice: 6d6 + 15*
Special Abilities: Zombification, Zombimemory, Zombisenses, Zombiherd
Special Damage: 1/Zombification
Special Hindrance: Zombiweakness
Appearing: 1-100+
CON: 50 (or less depending on any missing body parts)
(artwork from the T&T 7.5 Boxed Set - Creature Tokens - Claudio Pozas)

An 'undead' zombie is pretty much what it animated corpse that has no care about pain or fear and only has a singular desire to eat/destroy the living. They don't care about breaking limbs or pulling muscles, so they will have an unnatural strength since they no longer have a brain that will try to prevent injury.

Movement of the zombies should vary based on how decomposed the body is. A zombie that has recently been zombified could have a bit more spring in its step because its muscles are in a bit better state than a zombie that could be a few weeks old. Also, a zombie without its legs could only crawl and thus would be moving a bit slower.

*A zombie by itself should be fairly easy to take down. Since combat adds are normally determined by adding Strength, Dexterity, Speed, and Luck, I think a zombie combat adds should be a bit reduced based on the loss of speed and dexterity due to its undead state - so I reduced the combat adds for a zombie to 15. However, a zombie's combat adds will always stay at 15 no matter how much damage it has taken

Zombies attack by both clawing and biting. A bite will result in the victim to be potentially infected with 'Zombification'. The number of 'SPITE' damage inflicted by either a single or multiple zombies will need a SR (saving roll) vs CON or LUCK with a level equal to the number of SPITE damage taken  +1 (Level Two for 1, Level Three for 2, and so forth). If infected with zombification, some form of realistic spell combination should be allowed by the GM to cure the disease, at the GM's discretion. Or, you can go with the 'cut off the limb' option. Regardless, any individual being bitten should or could be considered 'infected' by other party members. Insert likely melodrama in the roleplaying.

Some zombies will retain some memories from their former lives - this is 'Zombimemory'. For example - when confronted with a closed door, 'Zombimemory' may kick in and the zombie may try to open the door instead of trying to pound it down or try to walk into it.

Even a low level character should have little trouble taking out a single zombie. But, if other zombies are around, loud noises or bright lights could alert other zombies to gather and move towards this location. This is called 'Zombisenses'. Saving Rolls reflecting the situation should be utilized to sneak around or through groups of zombies - a base Level 1, that could be affected by 'Zombiherd' below.

If a large number of zombies gather together, then you have to deal with the 'Zombiherd'. It really is quite simple - take the number of zombies that have gathered and now you have that many fighting the party instead of just 1 or 2, with that many more chances for SPITE 'Zombification'. Also, with a 'Zombiherd', any Saving Rolls against 'Zombisenses' should be doubled or even quadrupled because of the herd mentality - the zombies are more following the leader than doing anything else.

When fighting a zombie, any SPITE damage rolled by the character/party should considered a re-roll for bonus damage - reflecting additional damage caused by hitting the zombie in the head. Example: a character rolls 4d6 and gets a 1-3-6-6 = 16; re-roll 2 dice and add to the total. If you roll another 6, keep re-rolling until you do not get a 6. Again - this is reflecting a successful attack to the zombie weak spot - its head.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 3 - Magic Items

I have played in high magic games, and I have played in low magic games. I think the best situation for both the GM and the Player is to have a campaign that is somewhere in the middle. Players need to have some items of varying power to get them through those early levels and really, keep their interest in the character.

I prefer to run campaigns with a lot of NPC interaction. As a result, my NPCs are more often than not the antagonists in my adventure and will come to blows with the party. A high magic party will need to go up against an equally powerful NPC group. When and if the party defeats the bad guys, they are now the owners of the new magic items.

A balance somewhere in the middle is where I like to be.

Regarding T&T, it seems the original design of the game and its magic items revolve around putting existing spell effects into the item. Just a I have started experimenting with creating some monsters for my eventual T&T campaign, I will also be heavily playing around with magic items. In the 7.5 rulebook, there are the tables for the Random Treasure Generator, but I also have been busy reading spells and trying to figure out which make sense for converting into some form of magic item.

Enchantments on the 'Magic for Weapons' (pg 72) table include many effects that double combat adds or different attributes. There are also effects that grant invisibility, increases armor, and doubles weapon damage as well. All really just basic stuff...which again I believe is the idea. The system is meant for you to do with what you like without the restrictions you may experience with other ones. I think in this case, it works for Magic Items because that has always been an area that comes naturally - creating items that make sense for a particular idea you have regarding an NPC or a situation.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Delving Dwarf

Well - I still wanted to be able to write and create regarding Tunnels and Trolls, but my main blog kind of got away from me with more 'my life' kind of stuff. So, I transported over all my T&T stuff to this new Blog and will now concentrate here all my current and future T&T related junk.

Since I may be the only person on Trollhalla with a dwarf kindred character, I figured naming this blog after my character in Kopfy's game would fit nicely. So the Delving Dwarf does just so happen to be 'Jherrrii the Great'.

Some of the Pages on this blog:

Chronicles of Jherrrii - campaign logs from the travels of Jherrrii the Great in Kopfy's campaign
Meandering Monsters - some the monsters that I will maybe eventually create/design/adapt for T&T
Thyris - details on my settlement/city that I am in the process of creating
The Bazaar - some magic items that have/will be creating.

I created the background for this blog using the images of the various T&T books that I have purchased...

That's about it for now...will be back soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 2 - Monster Rating

As I continue to tackle the issue of MR and monster toughness, the one thing that continues to trip me up is the lack of consistency within the published T&T rules system, at least in my mind. I may be alone in this. Some conversation about this can be found here.

A few things that are crossing me up are:

1. The Adjustable MR theory

I understand that basic premise of MR within the T&T rules; for any monster that you want to use, add up the number of dice your party of delvers is rolling and base the monster rating off of this. If you have a party that is rolling 20 Dice with their weapons, make your Troll a 192 MR Troll that would be rolling 20 Dice +96 adds because this would represent a fair fight or challenge. But - should a troll ever be a 200 MR monster? Is a troll a base 100 MR monster, but a well trained Troll could be a bit higher MR, or 200MR?. The 'adjustable' MR system makes some sense, but it is overly simplistic, especially when considering that based on these rules, the number of combat adds is equal to half the MR for the monster.

To me, an orc is an orc, an ogre should be an ogre, and a giant ant should be a giant ant. A minimum for a monster should or needs to be consistent, or at least it will be in my game. Which brings me to my second point...

2. Lack of consistent description of size

How big is a troll? How big is a giant? How big is a Giant Ant? It is a common, oh so common, trait in T&T rules to leave things very vague, I am assuming by design.

Amphisbaena, MR 98
A 'large, two-headed serpent...': that is it. 30 feet long, 40 feet long? How large is large? It has a monster rating of 98, so it must be pretty freaking large, right? But wait - it gets better. "If captured, tamed, and subsequently worn by a pregnant woman, a live amphibaena guarantees healthy children, most likely twins".


A 98 MR monster can be worn around the neck of a (what I am assuming) a normal sized woman for a healthy child? So that brings this wonderous snake back down to a size between what, 5 and 10 feet?

There is no consistent description of size whatsover in this book (Monsters and Magic Book, Special Edition) that came with the 7.5 boxed set. Below is a list of the first 10 or so monsters (non-human) in the book along with the closest thing to describing size in the text:

Amphisbaena (MR 98) - "large"
Barghest (MR 196) - "monstrous"
Cerberus (MR 145) - "three-headed watchdog"
Chimera (MR 147) - "fearsome mixture of lion, goat, and serpent"
Cyclops (MR 245) - "giants"
Dire Bat (MR 95) - "these giant bats often have wingspan of 5 feet or more"
Dire Lion (MR 148) - "massive creatures nearly 9 feet tall at the shoulder"
Dire Wolf (MR 95) - "massive"
Dragonling (MR 25) - "humanoid...diminutive"
Goblinkin (MR 294) - no description
Harpy (MR 245) - "lower body of predatory bird with head and chest of a terrible woman"

From this short list - I have 2 monsters I definitely know how big they are. From the rest I know that I don't want to mess with a Goblinkin because "they are evolved and warlike unlike their hunchbacked cousins" (and then some obviously with a MR 294) - I just don't know how big they are?

My point - is there a point? I know that 'Massive' means 9 feet tall at the shoulder, and giant means a 5 foot wingspan - but that is about it...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Converting to Tunnels & Trolls - Part 1 - Lots of 6-sided dice

Whether it be work or play, I have a tendency to try to understand something from top to bottom before I can really move forward. I have played T&T a total of 3 sessions with Tom 'Kopfy' Loney as my GM. As a T&T player, I am still a novice. As a GM, I am a mere babe. I have been running AD&D campaigns for over 20 years.

My first hurdle as a GM (in my mind) is the whole d6 thing. If I am running a party of 4 delvers and they are facing a group of monsters that total 30MR - I as the GM would be rolling 15-18 d6 for every combat round. As a player - it is OK to individually roll your attacks, add up your hits, add to that your combat adds, and then discuss with your party what your total is. As the GM - rolling 16 dice, adding them all up, counting all the spite - seems to me that it would get quite tedious as the rounds click by.

So - my first official work for my T&T game (I am sure this has been done by someone else with much more experience) was to create a table to simplify the dice rolls for the GM in combat.

I need to test it a bit - roll some big groups of dice and see if what I have represents a realistic range of rolls. My thought is that if I can roll 2 dice instead of 15 dice - it will make things move a bit smoother.