I thought it might be fun to lay out a list of the Tunnels and Trolls products that I have personally written and are currently for sale. So here it goes, more of a catalog than a blog. These are just the games available on http://drivethrurpg.com. I’ll also give you a bit of background on each one.
Deathtrap was the first solo I ever wrote, way back in 1976. So early in my role-playing career, I had already gotten tired of all the wandering around in tunnels and passageways. It seemed to me that all the action was in the rooms, so why bother with passages. I give the delver a ring that magically transported him in and out of the adventure. There were two rings. The Frog Ring took the delver into a single room in the dungeon. Solve that room and the player got out with a treasure. Fail and die. It wasn’t called “Deathtrap” for nothing. The four-armed demon on the cover and the blade-handed bandit inside were actually “borrowed” from Marvel’s Conan comics as scripted at that time by Roy Thomas. This dungeon produced a lot of characters with hands made of living diamond. It was perhaps the least dangerous trap in the adventure. The other ring was called The Lion Ring, and it sent you on the Trip of the Lion. The character had to go through every adventure, one right after the other. I don’t know if any character or player has ever been good enough to go through all the traps and dangers of Deathtrap Equalizer. Certainly, I could never do it.
The second solo adventure I ever did also shattered a stereotype–the one of the heavily armed adventurer or group of adventurers venturing into the monsters’ lair to slay vermin and take their stuff. I was all about shattering stereotypes back in the seventies. (Now, it seems, I may be all about perpetuating them. heh!). It seemed to me that adventures took too long to get going because the players needed to “buy” stuff and equip their characters. T & T offered lots of choices for equipping characters right from the very beginnning. How could I speed that up? One way would be not to give the character anything at the beginning of the adventure. It’s a time-honored technique going back to such heroes as John Carter of Mars, who arrived on the planet in his birthday suit. My artist, Rob Carver, took me at my word and drew the title character in full frontal nudity. Back in the day there were plenty of books and magazines featuring nude women in peril. I figured if it worked for naked women, it should be the same for naked men. Flying Buffalo publisher Rick Loomis was scandalized and disagreed. Reluctantly, Rob altered the picture and drew in the loin cloth. Adventure modules were in their infancy. I think I may have been the first game designer to throw characters into an adventure with nothing but their wits to save them. I may have also been first to tie two modules together. Deep inside the Naked Doom Gauntlet of Criminal Rehabilitation there is a place where the player can find a Frog Ring. If you put it on, the character was magically teleported out of Naked Doom and into a Deathtrap Equalizer Adventure. I still like that trick, and you’ll find it again in The DewDrop Inn that was written in 2011.
A short solitaire adventure intended for Tunnels & Trolls. Do you have what it takes to be an Agent of the Death Goddess? Khara Khang’s Random Rainbow Maze is a simple test for warriors who want to serve their Empress. Show that you have what it takes by getting through it alive. Two simple strategies will serve you well–Fight! and Flight! My personal goal for 2011 was to publish as many T & T solos as I could. I wanted to start with something short and sweet. I found a simple maze and filled it with simple traps and monsters. Your task was to go in one end and come out the other. I had also been dreaming about these walls where the colors faded into each other–orange to red, blue to green, sort of like a rainbow. I had an idea of coordinating the colors with the difficulty of the traps–red being the easiest and violet the most difficult. Oh, yeah, let’s tie it into the Khazan mythos somehow. The result was Khara Khang’s Random Rainbow Maze, a mazingly illustrated by David Ullery. The printer screwed up the first edition, and just photocopied it all on plain paper. Grrrrr! This is a good adventure for people just learning the game.
The classic Tunnels & Trolls supplement that lets the players play the monsters, defending their dungeon dwellings and other holdings from marauding adventurers! Originally created for Howard Thompson of Metagaming, this twisted variant of T & T in which players were supposed to be the monsters, and to behave as evilly and chaotically as they could, only lasted for a couple of years there until Steve Jackson created The Fantasy Trip. Not willing to publish 2 different fantasy rpgs, Metagaming decided to lose Monsters! Monsters! I bought the rights to the game back for $300 and then cut a deal with Flying Buffalo to republish it. Flying Buffalo did a low budget reprint with Liz Danforth’s beautiful cover reduced to two colors. Rick sold out of his copies in a year or two, and Monsters! went out of print for at least a decade. Rick Loomis often made noises about updating and reprinting it, but somehow there was never enough money for it until about 2009 when a reprint edition finally came back into circulation. A reviewer has pointed out that this is a Tunnels & Trolls variant, but that it features the original 2nd edition T & T rules. Heh! Will it ever get updated to the current 7.5 edition rules? I don’t know. I wouldn’t count on it. So reading and playing Monsters! Monsters! is like time travel back to roleplaying as it was in 1977. I’d like to point out that my idea of having the players be the monsters predated White Wolf’s World of Darkness monster-based rpgs by about a decade at least.
Well, that’s 4 of my products available at http://drivethrurpg.com. I was just going to keep going until I had talked about everything currently available from them, but I’m tired of typing, so this is part one. It is the usual chaotic St Andre product–in this case 3 oldies and one fairly new item. Straight chronology is ignored. I’ve added a few notes that you might not have known about, and certainly wouldn’t have cared about, and when I can’t think of anything else to write about, I’ll probably do part two.
If you have any comments about these adventures, the early days of roleplaying, or what you’d like to see me write about next, then please leave a comment.