Here’s one of many things I’ve been up to during the past two or three months. This is a Tunnels & Trolls game played at Spelens Hus begun as a family group, a dad and two pre-teen/early teen sons; we met during Augustifesten during my “learn about role-playing” presentation there. It’s our second game; we began with a few sessions of The Pool first which I’ll write about in another post some time.
We’re using the book as literally as I at least understand it, e.g., the players each play two characters simultaneously), so we began with six characters. They were a notably short bunch: two hobbits, a leprechaun, a fairy, a dwarf, and a human. (This turned out to be pretty funny more than once, in terms of line-of-sight across a bunch of allies.)
At this writing we’ve played six sessions, completing a rather solid dungeon-adventure if you want to call it that, and the group has shifted a little here and there. Another player joined for a single session, and then one of the boys’ friends joined and has remained.
Quick note: all of these characters were rolled by me beforehand and assigned kindred and class, for ease of pick-up and play, and most of them had been given arms and armor as well. See the attached files for some examples. I used the numbers I rolled and was reasonably tactical without obsessing over it. A given player named and otherwise rounded out each character.
As for the adventure, it showcases my typical dualism for fantasy content, partly as reliable fallback. I grabbed a cool Dyson map (one of his “fives” if you’re familiar with his work) and put half-a-god at the top and the-other-half at the bottom. Check out the prep notes for the details. We began with the totally sketchy mandate to “stop the bandits, you start here.”
A few minor notes before you watch
Fairies are beasts. The phrase I used to title this post is not an idle threat. I will never do anything as a T&T character without at least one fairy in the party.
Don’t fear the dice. The failures may be spectacularly disastrous but the low-probability successes are more than worth it, as when Remi’s 4th-level Saving Roll bowshot saved the fairy from the hypnotic grasp of the spider priestess.
Content, content, content! I grant you that this is by no means the socially-charged, highly individually motivated situation you’ve seen me play in the past (Sorcerer, Trollbabe, Circle of Hands, my methods for RuneQuest, et cetera). The driving concept is straightforwardly dangerous ground … but that still means enough backstory to backstop and extrapolate from it when needed, enough NPC personality to allow for playing what they prioritize in changing circumstances and judging the difficulties in dealing with them, enough problematic magical goings-on. Enough for what? For play, as opposed merely to being a “you see this, you see that” + attack-dice rolling bot, as GM – which in turn opens the door for the players, not me, to arrive at solutions in the heat of the moment. As you may see, both here and in many of the games I play, I begin with intriguing geography and architecture, which provides my impetus for all the “enoughs.”
Regarding treasure, I began with the rules’ random tables, but after some boring results, I decided to go a bit more logically while still using at least most of their rules. I chose which treasure type went with each section (e.g., coins for the bandits’ pockets, gold for their storage; gems at the two altars), then rolling for those. The results were non-trivial, as getting the two pieces of ivory, one at each altar, sparked my imagination about the broken halves and “tied the room together,” as it were.
Characters quickly mature into personalities, including those being played by the same person. Our regulars turned out to be Remi the heroic human archer, Kri the jumpy leprechaun wizard, Trej the cautious hobbit warrior, Tinalin the outrageous fairy rogue, Wox the notably incautious hobbit warrior, Tolex the steady dwarven wizard, Sten the morbid and disturbing human warrior, and Sten Två the tactically-minded dwarf warrior.
As a corollary, character deaths are mournful affairs. I discuss an illustrative exception in the video.
Regarding the video: I describe the events of the sessions, raise a few more points about “how to play,” and go over ordering-of-action in some detail. I hope you like it!