Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cool things in first edition

As you might have read, I recently became the proud owner of a copy of the British 1st edition of Tunnels & Trolls. It's virtually identical to the American 2nd edition which should be the same as the first one apart from the cover. At least, that's my understanding. Ken or someone else might tell me I'm wrong, though.

In any case it's a marvellous peek into the culture of gaming back in the olden days, regardless of you play T&T or not.

First it starts with some advice on "Digging the tunnels". Tunnels being the word used instead of Dungeons. Yes, this is a game about dungeons. the rules even say about CON and STR that they are automatically restored to their previous level if and when the character returns to safely to the surface! That's a healing rule for you! These are the general rules (paraphrased somewhat) apart from the suggestion that you create a vertical cutaway.

1. Let the imagination run wild
2. Put in as much as you can think of. Nobody likes to mess around in a tedious tunnel.
3. Use as much humour as you can.
4. Deeper in the tunnels mean tougher.
5. Traps and spells should be avoidable.

This goes counter to the Empty Rooms Principle, and I'm not sure I disagree. The principle looks good on paper, but will it lead to players zoning out until something fun happens? Maybe sometimes. Some of the other points I just think is worthy of repeating.

Characters then. Some interesting points. Rogues have to change class after level 7! They have to choose to walk the path of the Magic-User (yes, that's the term. I like it) or the Warrior. Interesting. It would be an interesting hack of D&D to really only have two classes, with magic or without and if you mix you sooner or later have to choose.

Naturally there are rules for combat. As someone who have seen some editions come and go know, inflation hits most games. Everything is smaller in this edition. No weapons doing 6d of damage! Some things worthy of note is the small reminder that you can not fight and hold a torch, and yes all monster get double the amount of dice in a fight in darkness. Ouch! Then there's rules for capturing monsters, which brings back memories of OD&D. Subduing dragons, anyone? I like the variant of the Splintering Shields, where the Warrior (only the Warrior) gets to multiply his level with the armor rating, once, before it is destroyed. Interesting.

When it comes to XP, suddenly we see the gold for XP rule! I like that. Also, multiply by level seem to be a popular mechanic in this part of the rules. Combat XP is Monster Rating x dungeon level / level of the victor. XP for saves are also multiplied by your level, and not by the level of the save. Levels, levels. There's even level titles! Yay!

In general there are many rules in here that I think is better than the newer ones. But, the many subtractions, divisions and multiplications feels a bit old. In any case it's clear that level 7 was something to write home about, and a weapon doing more than 2d is cool again.

4 comments:

  1. One Empty Room out of every 100 rooms sounds about right to me.

    I never did like the rule that Rogues had to become something else at level 7. I forget which edition of the rules allowed them to change to a Wizard-Warrior (or is that Warrior-Wizard?) at level 7, instead of choosing one or the other.

    Thanks for the post!

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  2. They got to choose WW? That was a quaint variant! I kind of liked the way the Rogue acted like the elf of OD&D. Quirky and very seventies. ;)

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  3. I'm pretty sure in either 3rd or 4th edition Rogues were allowed to choose WW at 7th level. Unfortunately, I lost possession of both those editions of the rules many years ago, so I can't double check now.

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  4. Since I have only 1st. 5th, 7th and 7th rev. I am missing that particular oddity. Cool to hear about.

    I wish I had more T&T editions in the collection.

    I do have all editions of DragonsQuest! I have not ever played that game...

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