Sunday, April 11, 2021

Die and die again

As I mentioned back in January, the main gaming I've been doing over the last year has been Tunnels & Trolls solos. Sitting around a table with folks has felt like a health hazard, while my entire job moving onto Zoom has reduced the appeal of online gaming. But I got my second dose of the magic juice today, so maybe I'll get back to a tabletop game sometime soon.

Meanwhile, I have killed a lot of characters in various T&T dungeons. Here are just some of the deaths that survive in my recent notes:

  • Hundfric the Bold - killed by bloodbats
  • Tandok the Soggy - gnawed to death by giant rats
  • Rikulf the Dim - slain by a bored troll
  • Nelatu One-Hand - turned to stone by a giant floating eye
  • Kundrag the Exile - shivved by an Elvish gambler in a tavern
  • Oon the Outlaw - murdered after getting drunk with a wench
  • Gorp Scroggin-Schmogle - fell in a duel with a necromancer
  • Myrric the Slayer - walked into a room full of lava and died
  • Humot of the Blue Mountains - drowned by a giant octopus
  • Rankin of Khazan - soul trapped in a painting forever
  • Viktor the Shark - cut down by two undead knights
I've killed dozens more poor pitiful adventurers than just those listed. Very few have made it to second level before their untimely demise. Nelatu One-Hand up there is my only PC so far to achieve third level, although he lost his left hand to some very nasty monkeys prior to his unfortunate petrification.

Some things I have learned making all these T&T characters in batches and getting most of them killed:
  • I don't mind sending waves of these poor bastards to their deaths, so long as the death isn't boring.
    • I've lost a lot of PCs to bloodbats, which appear in multiple T&T solos. I'm getting to be like Samuel L. Jackson and snakes, only vis-a-vis bloodbats.
  • One of the reasons I don't mind losing so many PCs is because I genuinely enjoy rolling up new characters. Sometimes I use the random function in a spreadsheet to roll up a ton of stats for a bunch of dungeon fodder, but sometimes I just roll dice 3d6 in order. Either way, I enjoy seeing the adventurers that emerges from random generation.
    Truth in advertising: You start
    the adventure butt naked.
  • Also, all of those deaths really add a sense of accomplishment when you get a PC through an entire adventure. In my notes I have 17 PCs that I sent into the adventure Naked Doom. Only 3 made it out alive. I didn't stop at one success because I wanted to find out if there were multiple nonlethal end states. There's at least one branch of the adventure that I still haven't full explored.
  • Despite my love of making characters and sending fourteen-seventeenths of them to their deaths, I've been repeatedly reminded how much I dislike buying equipment for new PCs. It just feels like a chore, especially for the seventh goon in a row you've sent into Buffalo Castle or Deathtrap Equalizer Dungeon or whatever. And in T&T you can't just buy every fighter a sword (normal) like in Basic D&D. Every weapon has a Strength and Dexterity minimum, so you need to look at the extensive weapons lists to find a weapon that you can both use and afford.
  • As a result, I am drawn to T&T adventures that do the equipment selection for me. That's how I got on a such a Naked Doom trip. The premise is that you have been convicted of a crime in the city of Khazan and condemned to a trip through their punishment dungeon. You begin the adventure with no equipment or clothes even. No thought needed. Just lots and lots of deaths. Then there's Goblin Lake, in which you play a goblin equipped with a flint dagger, a ragged loincloth, and a little net suitable for catching normal-sized frogs. Gorp Scroggin-Schmogle above is one of the two goblins I got through Goblin Lake in one piece.
  • There's also a couple of modules that come with a completely pre-made PC. Beyond the Silvered Pane and Sea of Mystery both come with pre-made, fully-equipped 2nd level rogue that you can name and let loose on the adventure. I haven't played them much though, as starting at 2nd level feels a little like cheating.
Goblin Lake features both a great
Liz Danforth cover and the excellent
Bluebeard font.


  1. Could you see yourself running T&T with other players, not just solitaire?

    1. Yeah, I think I could run it. I have a draft players handout I've been tweaking. I think I'd just need to find a GM adventure I'd like to get the game off the ground. Oh, and players.

  2. I've been running a lot of T&T solo as well, mostly Goblin Lake and Buffalo Castle. Since I'm doing this with PDFs, I created a nice google sheets workbook for with a character sheet and a tab for every character.

    I really like the system for solo adventures, and would love to run this as a one-shot or at a Con. Not sure I can see doing a long term campaign in this system.