Monday, June 14, 2010

Mythic GM Emulator + Tunnels & Trolls = Great Gaming Experience 2

Last fall, out of sheer curiosity I picked up Tunnels & Trolls 7.5. The day that I got it we sat down and played. It was good. I was pleasantly surprised by the structure and emergent complexity but I have so many titles on my shelf that cater to fantasy that I wasn't sure if I'd ever get back to T&T.

These days the Mythic GM Emulator is the cornerstone of our gaming experience. My wife likes to game but she's hesitant to push story forward when she's the sole player. Using the emulator we can both play and really ratchet up the story telling. We decided to give Tunnels & Trolls another whirl.

The GM Emulator fits together with Tunnels & Trolls much in the way as it does with Swords & Wizardry. There just aren't a bunch of rules to stuff into the working area of my noggin which eases play making it more enjoyable.

At first I wasn't sure how saving rolls were going to work out but I didn't worry too much and we jumped in with both feet. As it turns out saving rolls are handled with ease and are the best part of the experience. Deciding SR difficulty was quickly settled through negotiation using the in-game fiction and the Mythic chaos factor rating as credibility guidelines. Heck, the previous sentence is actually more complicated than the actual process. As in conventional T&T games you set the stakes and roll.

What I like best about the game was that as a player you are rewarded for taking risks. I hadn't appreciated this aspect of the game while sitting on the other side of the dice.

The PCs tracked a party of goblins to an old run down citadel. It was decided that one of the group would sneak in to take a peek around and then egress back out to report what was seen. My character, Alstan had the highest dexterity so he was the guy. We consulted the body of fiction up to that point and Mythic coming up with a SR Level 2 difficulty (25). My roll was amazing with exploding doubles all over the place beating the difficulty by something like 14. I almost forgot to mention that my character was armed with a boar spear which didn't lend itself to sneaking around so he borrowed a sax from another character.

Once inside the citadel Alstan discovered that the goblin's captive was tied up with only a few guards in the room. After sizing up the opposition he decided that they were too strong to take on by himself but with the rest of the party in the fight it should be no problem. But before sneaking out he decided to climb to the top of the citadel to signal that the group should move in. In doing so he was discovered by 5 goblin guards. Of course conflict ensued. Through the first couple of rounds of combat my character was holding his own with only spite damage making it through his defenses but it was obvious that his luck would hold out only so long. Unless he made his own.

I announced that I was going to try a saving roll to use the stairs as a funnel so that only one goblin at a time could engage in combat. The SR was going to be tough (30) but was overcome with ease by great die rolling. The difficulty was again beaten but this time by 20+. Alstan shoved the lead goblin back into the green skinned pack and maneuvered to the nearby steps. It was determined that he could hold off the goblins in such a way for 5 turns, hopefully enough time for Alstan's comrades to come to the rescue. This kind of risk taking that emerges through the use of saving rolls is really what makes Tunnels & Trolls tick.

By the time the rest of the party made it to the fight Alstan was whittled down to less than half constitution. Bleeding from cuts and scratches on his face, holding a bloody war knife he plunged back into the fight that wiped out the remaining armed goblin resistance.

The day and the session was wrapped up with the party saving a hamlet's apothecary from goblin imprisonment and taking refuge to heal wounds.

We're going to be playing Tunnels & Trolls again.


  1. I'd love to hear more about how you determined the Saving Roll levels, if it's memorable enough to post. Did you ever get a chance to play T&T with Mythic again?

  2. We sure did get to play again. The Mythic Chaos Rank served as the baseline. CF 5 - SR 1, CF 6 - SR 2, CF 7 - SR 3, CF 8 - SR 4, CF 9 - SR 5. From the baseline we negotiated any changes based on the in-game fiction.

    It's so simple that I thought that the process would evolve into something more complex.