Troll Talk

 

TROLL TALK

THE TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWSLETTER OF THE TROLLGODFATHER, KEN ST. ANDRE

No. 3                                                                                                                                                 1/20/16

 Colophon: This newsletter is the creation of Ken St. Andre, known as Trollgod to his gaming friends, Trollgodfather on Twitter.com. It exists in order to keep you readers informed as to what is happening with Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls, the fantasy role-playing game, and also in the life of its author, me, Ken St. Andre. This is a place for me to give you behind-the-scenes looks at what’s happening in my gaming world, with both game news and personal news. The newsletter can contain whatever I want to put into it; news, opinions, history, speculation, art, guest-written articles, etc. Although the primary focus is on DT&T, I reserve the right to talk about anything I wish—it could be other games, or people, or news, or anything I think is amusing. You have been warned.

 

Section 1: TROLLGODFATHERISH THOUGHTS: the editorial

 

It’s Inauguration Day in the USA. Donald Trump has taken the office that no one really thought he could win. He rode the perfect storm to victory in an election that showed what is truly wrong with America today. The majority voted for someone else, but this is not a democracy. It’s a democratic republic, and republicanism with its flawed electoral college system carried the day. Fasten your seat belts, trolls, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Section 2: TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWS

 1. Darcy Parry of New Zealand has created a Trollgod miniature, complete with hammer, dice bag, and hat.  He has started a kickstarter campaign to raise money to make a whole run of these monsters. In addition to the St. Andre troll, there is a Tenkar dwarf. Erik Tenkar is a notable roleplayer and blogger who has a regular feature called Tenkar’s Tavern on the web here: http://www.tenkarstavern.com/.  There are also several other minis, and I suspect a person behind each one of them. Details are available here if you’d like to participate in this limited and highly unorthodox offering for trufen of Tunnels and Trolls and also That Other Game.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/darcyperry/star-hat-miniatures-delvers-lost-in-the-dungeons-o?ref=thanks_share

Darcy’s KS funded in 3 days. He is now considering stretch goals. A thing I offered to help is to write a short solo T & T adventure featuring the characters in the sculpt. This would come in the form of a book, available at first through the kickstarter and later at Trollhalla Press on Drivethru.  Let me and Darcy know if you’d like to see that happen, especially if it encourages you to support this KS. It has already funded so you are guaranteed to get whatever you buy in for. Personally, I’d like to see a lot of people getting the troll.

standretroll

 2. MetaArcade.com has expanded their Sneak Peek look at the electronic app for T & T to everyone who applied, but you still have to go to the app store and download it. It’s free. This will get you a revised Naked Doom and a brand new version of Buffalo Castle full of fabulous Liz Danforth art. Getting the new sneak peek is not as easy as it ought to be—in fact I haven’t managed it yet, but I know people who have, so contact MetaArcade if you want it. Early reviews say it’s a lot of fun. The MetaArcade Forums section of their website has also gone live in the last couple days. I’m registering to be on them right now even as I write this story.

 3. Many books have been written about role-playing with most of them concentrating on the history of Dungeons and Dragons, not only because it was first, but it was also the biggest. Jeffro Johnson has written a book about the literary influences of fantasy role=playing as demonstrated in E. Gary Gygax’s Appendix N—a list of great fantasy that all gamers could read to their profit. (In fact, I did something similar in the 2nd or 3rd issue of Sorceror’s Apprentice Magazine.  Jeffro’s book is a very literary examination of the fiction behind the gaming, and guess who got consulted about that fiction. That’s right, the Trollgodfather had read it all and knew all the greats back in the 1970s.  The book is called: Appendix N: A Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons Kindle Edition  You can buy a copy of it here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MUB7WS6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=jeffjohn03-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B01MUB7WS6&linkId=dc284707ed9c3828b3214f46f33ec5af

Section 3: WHAT IS KEN AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TROLL DOING NOW?

 Ken is preparing for Arizona Game Fair to be held Jan. 21 and 22 at the Mesa Convention Center. He will be running a DT & T session both afternoons. Rick Loomis will also be there running Nuclear War.

Section 4: Tunnels and Trolls Art

 The Collect the T & T art feature on Twitter and Facebook has now reached 20 entries. Some of the finest T & T art is cartography. Here’s a map featured last week.

 map-captroll-v1

Section 5:  GUEST ARTICLES

 Nothing this week.

Section 6: MISCELLANEOUS NEWS AND INFORMATION

 Ken is drooling over his copy of TRPG that just arrived from Japan. When Group SNE published Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls, they followed it up with 2 supplements. One is called TtT Magazine. The other is called TRPG. That one is  144 pages of DT&T stuff that American gamers don’t have. It’s all in Japanese. All I can understand is the pictures.

trpgjapan

 

Section 7: LETTERS TO THE TROLLGODFATHER.

 Nothing this week.

 Section 8: THE KITCHEN SINK.

 Efforts to turn this newsletter into a list that you can sign up for and get automatically in your email continue, but haven’t quite come together yet. Maybe next week.  Meanwhile, these newsletters will always be available on WordPress and Facebook.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Keep trying and it will get better with time. That’s kind of where I am with this newsletter right now. Stay with me, friends. I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps here.

 

 

 

–Ken St. Andre

Jan. 20, 2017

 

 

 

 

TROLL TALK

THE TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWSLETTER OF THE TROLLGODFATHER, KEN ST. ANDRE

No. 2                                                                                          1/13/16

 Colophon: This newsletter is the creation of Ken St. Andre, known as Trollgod to his gaming friends, Trollgodfather on Twitter.com. It exists in order to keep you readers informed as to what is happening with Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls, the fantasy role-playing game, and also in the life of its author, me, Ken St. Andre. This is a place for me to give you behind-the-scenes looks at what’s happening in my gaming world, with both game news and personal news. The newsletter can contain whatever I want to put into it; news, opinions, history, speculation, art, guest-written articles, etc. Although the primary focus is on DT&T, I reserve the right to talk about anything I wish—it could be other games, or people, or news, or anything I think is amusing. You have been warned.

 

Section 1: TROLLGODFATHERISH THOUGHTS: the editorial

 

I am too busy. I have so many ideas for things I’d like to do, or should do, but I’m basically lazy and disorganized. I need an overseer. Trolls don’t usually have to work for a living. Sigh. I could live ok as an ordinary human, but I’m having too much fun being a troll. So, I’m too busy.  Lots of good ideas—some of them just aren’t going to get done.

 Section 2: TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWS

 MetaArcade.com is starting to show some all new illustrations by Liz Danforth for their electronic edition of Buffalo Castle. That will be their next release on the MetaArcade game creation app. Liz is drawing stuff as fast as she can for it, and Steve Crompton will be coloring it. 

 Group SNE of Japan has announced that their next DT&T releases will be solitaire adventures: Buffalo Castle by Rick Loomis and Agent of Death by Ken St. Andre. They will probably stick to the same style as the American releases and use all the same art, but I’m still pumped to see that coming out.

 Section 3: WHAT IS KEN AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TROLL DOING NOW?

 Ken has been answering questions for Group SNE to help them make their next publications as accurate and good as possible. He also spoke to a publisher in Finland this morning about new Finnish products of Trollhalla Press products in the future. He also has a scenario in production for John Wick’s 7th Sea rpg—the writing is done, the art and layout isn’t.   

 Liz Danforth is working hard creating new art. She speaks about her plans here: http://www.lizdanforth.com/2017/01/art-lemons-plans/  To really keep up with what the busy Ms. Danforth is doing, you should follow her (LizDanforth) on Twitter.

 Steve Crompton is drawing new cards and coloring the work of other artists for a new tarot deck that is being designed. He is doing coloring work for MetaArcade.com.  He’s supposed to do art for Ken’s 7th Sea adventure, but that’s at the bottom of his Things To Do list. His personal life is also being complicated by family issues. He’s a busy guy.

 Rick Loomis is setting up Flying Buffalo convention appearances for 2017 and trying to deal with income taxes.

 

Section 4: TUNNELS AND TROLLS ART

 I started a new section on Twitter and Facebook where I run a piece of T & T related artwork every day. I started on January 1 with something from the Japanese TtT Magazine. It looks like this:

 T&T art series: collect them all.

 Snorkin, King of the Goblins of Goblin Lake:

jsnorkin 

Section 5:  GUEST ARTICLES

 

I don’t have an article, but there was a really good complete review of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls last week. You can find it here:

https://markrollsdice.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/review-deluxe-tunnels-trolls/

 Section 6: MISCELLANEOUS NEWS AND INFORMATION

 Nothing this week.

 Section 7: LETTERS TO THE TROLLGODFATHER.

 Nothing this week.

 Section 8: THE KITCHEN SINK.

 Efforts to turn this newsletter into a list that you can sign up for and get automatically in your email continue, but haven’t quite come together yet. Maybe next week.  Meanwhile, these newsletters will always be available on WordPress and Facebook.

 If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. Keep trying and it will get better with time. That’s kind of where I am with this newsletter right now. Stay with me, friends. I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps here.

–Ken St. Andre

 

 

 

 

TROLL TALK

THE TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWSLETTER OF THE TROLLGODFATHER, KEN ST. ANDRE

No. 1                                                                                          1/6/17

 

Colophon: This newsletter is the creation of Ken St. Andre, known as Trollgod to his gaming friends, Trollgodfather on Twitter.com. It exists in order to keep you readers informed as to what is happening with Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls, the fantasy role-playing game, and also in the life of its author, me, Ken St. Andre. This is a place for me to give you behind-the-scenes looks at what’s happening in my gaming world, with both game news and personal news. The newsletter can contain whatever I want to put into it; news, opinions, history, speculation, art, guest-written articles, etc. Although the primary focus is on DT&T, I reserve the right to talk about anything I wish—it could be other games, or people, or news, or anything I think is amusing. You have been warned.

 

Section 1: TROLLGODFATHERISH THOUGHTS: the editorial

 

Origin stories are always lame. This is an origin story for this newsletter—it’s going to be lame. I apologize for that, but just let me get through it. Let me start out by telling you how and why the game called Tunnels and Trolls exists.

 

I have always been a gamer. My  father taught me to play chess when I was six years old. I learned every game I could. By the time I was ten, I was making up my own games. I turned Monopoly into a race game with booby traps. I added dice to chess and turned it into combat chess. I fell in with other gamer kids and learned from them. It is important for you to understand that I have always loved games and gaming.  I learned about Diplomacy in graduate school while I was getting my Master’s degree in Library Science, and I invented fantasy diplomacy games in 1973 and 1974—quite a few of them. I was a founding member of Phoenix science fiction fandom—the real driving force behind the growth of science fiction fandom was a man named Terry Lee Ballard, but he and I were best friends, and I was right there with him from the start.  Back in the early seventies the sf fans of Phoenix would meet on Friday nights to eat pizza, talk SF, and play games. Some were established board games like Risk and Diplomacy; some were invented games like my 5 cornered Star Trek battle game—the Romulans were the toughest faction, so I located their home planet in the center of the board. The other factions were the Federation, the Klingons, the Tholians, and the Gorn.  We used different shaped buttons for the ship pieces. It was a terrible game, and is justly forgotten by everyone in the world but me, but the point is that I was always inventing games.

 

In December of 1974 I started to hear about this amazing new game called Dungeons and Dragons. It sounded like something I would like to play, but nobody in Phoenix owned the game. I was a huge fantasy fan at the time. I had been reading Conan stories since I was in high school. I had read J.R.R. Tolkien and Michael Moorcock, and all of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  This sounded like a game I had to learn how to play.  But, I never even saw the D & D rules until late April of 1975. I finally saw the White Box edition of Original Dungeons and Dragons at a Friday night gaming session. Somebody, I don’t even know his name, had acquired the game and brought it with him. Nobody knew how to play it. While everyone else was playing Risk that night, I was quietly reading through the D & D rulebooks. I skimmed through it. There was a lot that I did not understand. Why were they talking about moving in inches? Why was wisdom an attribute? Why did character classes include clerics? I was kind of anti-religion at the time. Why were they using poly-dice that I had never seen or heard of before for so much of the game? So much of the game did not make sense to me. I remember saying out loud at the time: “What a great idea! What a terrible way to do it! I will make a game that I and my friends can play.”

 

I was unemployed at the time. I spent all of 1974 in Library School at the University of Arizona. By 1975 I had my degree, but I didn’t have a job yet. I had time to invent games. I went to the library and did research on weapons and monsters. My ideas about fantasy races came straight out of Tolkien. By Wednesday I had done enough research to start writing—creating tables of weapons, and a system for creating characters—heavily based on that other game, but reinvented to only use six-sided dice.  By the following Saturday I had about a dozen pages of typed material to use as the basis of my own fantasy game. I invited my friends over and ran them into a dungeon that I called Gristlegrim. They loved it.  The rest is history. Tunnels and Trolls was born. It was a healthy baby, and it grew quickly. Perhaps some day I will write a book that tells the whole story; perhaps not. Much of what happened was a long time ago, and I have forgotten the details.

 

Much has changed since then. My eight pages of rough rules has grown into a monster that includes a whole fantasy world as a setting. It has gone through about ten different editions. It has been pirated more than once.  In 2013, Tunnels and Trolls was out of print. My friends and I, the Fellowship of the Troll (thank you, Mr. Tolkien) decided to do the ultimate definitive edition and finance it with a Kickstarter project. The project succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. Stretch goals turned our initially modest plans for making a new rulebook into a whole suite of related products. That project created the modern form of the game that exists today.

 

Well, enough with the history. Much of this material is available on the web or in books, some of it erroneous as people who were never involved with the creation of the game tried to reconstruct what must have happened. You can look it up if you’re interested. Or, you can ask me questions, and I will do my best to answer them in upcoming issues of this newsletter.

 

Section 2: TUNNELS AND TROLLS NEWS

 

This section will feature news about the game from any sources that I find, or make. Right now, the one big story about Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls is that a man named David Reid has started a company called MetaArcade.com, and that company has acquired the rights to use the DT&T rules as a game engine for producing an electronic version of Tunnels and Trolls that you will be able to play on your smart phones, tablets or PCs. Details about that project can be found online at http://MetaArcade.com.  I urge you to visit the site and check it out if you haven’t already done so.

 

 Section 3: WHAT ARE KEN AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TROLL DOING NOW?

 

I’m going to skip past this section in the first week. The big news is that I am starting this newsletter.

 

Section 4: TUNNELS AND TROLLS ART

 

I want to run at least one T & T-related illustration in this section every week. I hope to be able to showcase the work of some of the many talented artists who have contributed to the look and feel of the game.

 

Section 5:  GUEST ARTICLES

 

I hope to fill this section with articles and essays by other people not in my immediate circle of friends. Why should I have to write everything myself?  J  But there’s nothing for this section this week.

 

Section 6: MISCELLANEOUS NEWS AND INFORMATION

 

This section is reserved for anything else in gaming that I want to write about. Nothing this week.

 

Section 7: LETTERS TO THE TROLLGODFATHER.

 

I want your input for this newsletter. If you have something to ask or say, then send your email letter to me at this address: kenstandre@gmail.com.

 

Section 8: THE KITCHEN SINK.

 

The final section of the newsletter is reserved for anything that didn’t fit into one of the sections listed above.

Alright, friends, now you know the plan. This newsletter will always by free. Tell your friends. I hope you’ll come back and see what’s happening here every week.  Comments and suggestions are welcome—keep your criticism to yourself. Ha ha ha. Trolls hate criticism.

 

I reserve the right to change everything completely if this doesn’t work out. Meanwhile, remember, shoot low, boys, they’re dwarves and goblins.

 

–Ken St. Andre

 

 

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Posted January 6, 2017 by atroll

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