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Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 08, 2003, 11:27:41 AM
Hello,

See previous threads [Tunnels & Trolls] Killed me a player-character (spit)  (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6272) and [Tunnels & Trolls] Second level characters (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6355). We've played a couple of sessions since my last posts about this game.

The mayhem continues, room by room. All the characters can see third level kind of winking in the darkness ahead of them. Me, I liked the fight in which the vampire picked up one of the dwarf characters by the ankles and and used her to beat the shit out the other dwarf character. Kind of a fun in-game justification for why, in T&T combat, damage gets split evenly among members of the losing side ...

What else to tell you about the events? Karn the dwarf warrior got cursed into a troll (Monster Rating and all) who's compelled to keep the first level clean. Henk the hobbit is just as psycho as ever; I especially liked her muddy bare footprints all over the vampire's clean white table linen and polished flatware. Julie has learned always to announce that Dorcas the dwarven wizard picks up her staff after dropping it. They've figured out quite a lot about the background of the dungeon, but are currently negotiating and fighting their way about the second level, among weird ancient ghosts, a tribe of pacifist trolls (who do not consider hunting and eating "food" to be violent, regardless of the food's opinion), and a really annoying, vicious vampire with a werebat sidekick.

Now, I'm not used to running long-term, dungeon-oriented play. I was afraid it would be too much like I (probably wrongly) imagine video game design to be, which is to say, map & stock, carnage, map & stock, repeat. However, that's not what it's like at all. I'm learning quite a lot about how to be a GM whose mandate, frankly, is "kill the characters within the parameters of these rules." And yes, in Tunnels & Trolls, they're not kidding. That's what you do.

You see, that dynamism I mentioned in an earlier thread applies even more generally than I thought. It's not only about simple encounters-logistics like how does this trap work, how much cover are the half-elves shooting their arrows from, etc. That's pretty straightforward in this game. The larger-scale strategy issues are much more important than mere tactics. A lot of you are probably going to find the following obvious and old-hat, but it's new to me in terms of having fun instead of degenerating into the Hard Core.

1. Now that the first level has been largely "pacified" by the characters, control of the dungeon space is now a priority. They're setting traps to waylay newcomers after a bad experience with punkish half-elves doing some delving of their own. After all, people have noticed that our heroes keep heading out into the woods with goats in tow (don't ask), and coming back with no goats and lots of money ... Let's see, they also have set up some personal headquarters in a defensible area of the first level and established control over certain resources like the firebelch mushrooms. And of course, dungeon denizens nearby are eyeing the newly-cleared real estate as well.

Now, expand this issue into a multilevel situation, and it's clear that controlling access from level to level is also a major issue. In many ways, the characters aren't just exploring the dungeon, they're conquering parts of it as well - and holding what they've gained is just as important as venturing into new territory, or even more so.

2. Getting back and forth between dungeon and town, once you're delving deeper and deeper, is a big issue! In T&T, you also get EPs based on what levels you visited, so hitting the exit periodically is a really good idea. Oh, and you don't regain CON, except through magic, unless you get back to town, and the wizard is always hot to get there so as to buy new spells. So it's always wise to think in terms of "turnaround point," which is to say, not going as far or as aggressively as you might, because you know you need to get back to the surface. This becomes much more difficult to calculate as the group delves further down, both in terms of timing (i.e. resource management) and in terms of assessing risk (who knows who doing God knows what in the levels above you, before you come back up).

3. As Tod put it during our last session, "The trouble with allies is that you don't get EPs for not killing them," or something like that. In other words, in T&T, it's wise to try to get at least a couple of the potential foes on your side, to help out in terms of both points above. But it's also crucial to keep killing things in order to keep the advancement going. I'm kind of interested to see whether the players start strategizing in these terms, i.e., whether they assassinate allies who don't seem too useful any more.

4. Players have to be careful to work toward their characters' strengths, which means being aggressive about stating actions that'll call for Saving Rolls. GM-originated Saving Rolls will almost always be based on LK, DX, or IQ, which really aren't this group's best side. They do way better with CON, STR, and LK, which means they have to remember to announce stuff like, "I brace my back against the support pillar to crack it and bring rubble down on them!", or "I leap about shouting more nancy-elf slurs!" (That's a paraphrase; I'll spare you the actual slurs generated by my three diversity-insensitive players), or else be hosed.

5. Here's a question for those of you who've honed your skills over the years with this mode of play. Say you're one of the players, and that the in-game mortality is such that everyone should probably have a stable of characters, not just one guy. How do you cycle PCs in and out, to keep the "new guy" up to snuff?

Right now, we have three second-level characters getting really close to third, and two of them have unused backup characters they haven't touched since the initial character creation session. Do you think the players should give Karn, Dorcas, and Henk a bit of a rest and take up with their green "alternates" for a while, so as to beef them up? That way, they can strategize "which guy to use" with each stopoff back at town as well as have a solid fallback character available should any particular one of them bite the dust (which is quite possible next or any session, especially given what they did to Baron Blevic the vampire's dinner setting).

See, I really hate the technique of suddenly finding a fourth-level character when your fourth-level dies, because that event should be a loss in Gamist terms, dammit, not a cha-ching, keep playing with New Guy For Free. Similarly, I also hate the idea of keeping a bunch of NPC party members around for the players to take over when their PCs die (I've seen whole parties ending up composed of GM-originated characters). I want strategy in there, based on "stable management," in full knowledge that a dead player-character (a) is likely, (b) represents a lost investment, and (c) requires a little thought to the stable. The higher-level the PCs become, the more important all of this gets - the player who rockets one guy up to 8th level is going to be mighty pissed at starting over with a 1st-level rollup, whereas the player who's husbanded three or four PCs to third-or-fourth level each is in much better shape in the long term.

6. And finally, one major GM consideration I've discovered is how to keep the heat on as the characters improve. I'm not 100% satisfied with merely scaling Saving Rolls and foes upward. I mean, that's part of it, but if that's all, then you might as well forget about advancement and play 1st level against 1st level foes forever. No, it's gotta be based on that expanding dynamism principle. The band of half-elves is a good start, as is the inevitable inspection (by whom? heh-heh) of whether Karn is doing a good job of keeping the first level squeaky clean (he's cursed, remember?).

All comments and questions about these issues are welcome, because I'm still learning. We're talking about whacked-bastard Gamist play, with a lot of intra-party cooperation and an above-board, adversarial players/GM relationship, but not Hard Core at all. Negotiations about the rules are completely absent, and "can I try ...?" questions are extremely rare. Played a lot of this? Wondering when and how it can be fun? Ask & tell.

Best,
Ron


Title: Re: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on July 08, 2003, 11:57:03 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
See, I really hate the technique of suddenly finding a fourth-level character when your fourth-level dies, because that event should be a loss in Gamist terms, dammit, not a cha-ching, keep playing with New Guy For Free. Similarly, I also hate the idea of keeping a bunch of NPC party members around for the players to take over when their PCs die (I've seen whole parties ending up composed of GM-originated characters). I want strategy in there, based on "stable management," in full knowledge that a dead player-character (a) is likely, (b) represents a lost investment, and (c) requires a little thought to the stable.


Do it like it's done in videogames. Allow players to spend (EP? Gold?) resources in order to "save" a character. If the character dies, they can restore to their save point (or plunk up a new character equal to the "saved" character in ability).


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Paul Czege on July 08, 2003, 12:10:35 PM
Do it like it's done in videogames. Allow players to spend (EP? Gold?) resources in order to "save" a character. If the character dies, they can restore to their save point (or plunk up a new character equal to the "saved" character in ability).

Car Wars used to have this. There was an initial cost to have your character cloned, and then whenever you felt like paying more money you could have the clone updated with your current memories (i.e. skills). There may have been an upkeep cost as well, for keeping the clone alive in suspended animation.

Paul


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: hanschristianandersen on July 08, 2003, 12:42:22 PM
Have you considered having the "backup" characters come along and act as a rearguard patrol that keeps the upper levels pacified while the "main" characters delve ever downward?  

I don't know much about T&T, so I suppose this might violate the game's assumptions about the meaning of one town->dungeon->town round trip.  But if it's fair game, it would give the backup characters some more screen time (and experience points!), as they "admonish" those poncy nancy-boy half-elves for their trespasses.

This doesn't even have to change the "turnaround point" dynamics much - the first time the players start to take their rear-guards for granted, you just flash your best evil GM grin and say "Everyone, roll spot/perception/notice-the-big-nasty-sneaking-up-on-you checks for your backups..."


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: GreatWolf on July 08, 2003, 01:01:43 PM
Jared's suggestion is exactly what is done in Rune.  Robin Laws doesn't even bother to justify it in-game.  It's pure metagame.  My biggest concern for Rune was that it was (IMHO) too cheap to save your character.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf


Title: Re: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ADGBoss on July 08, 2003, 01:05:29 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

5. Here's a question for those of you who've honed your skills over the years with this mode of play. Say you're one of the players, and that the in-game mortality is such that everyone should probably have a stable of characters, not just one guy. How do you cycle PCs in and out, to keep the "new guy" up to snuff?

Right now, we have three second-level characters getting really close to third, and two of them have unused backup characters they haven't touched since the initial character creation session. Do you think the players should give Karn, Dorcas, and Henk a bit of a rest and take up with their green "alternates" for a while, so as to beef them up? That way, they can strategize "which guy to use" with each stopoff back at town as well as have a solid fallback character available should any particular one of them bite the dust (which is quite possible next or any session, especially given what they did to Baron Blevic the vampire's dinner setting).

See, I really hate the technique of suddenly finding a fourth-level character when your fourth-level dies, because that event should be a loss in Gamist terms, dammit, not a cha-ching, keep playing with New Guy For Free. Similarly, I also hate the idea of keeping a bunch of NPC party members around for the players to take over when their PCs die (I've seen whole parties ending up composed of GM-originated characters). I want strategy in there, based on "stable management," in full knowledge that a dead player-character (a) is likely, (b) represents a lost investment, and (c) requires a little thought to the stable. The higher-level the PCs become, the more important all of this gets - the player who rockets one guy up to 8th level is going to be mighty pissed at starting over with a 1st-level rollup, whereas the player who's husbanded three or four PCs to third-or-fourth level each is in much better shape in the long term.

6. And finally, one major GM consideration I've discovered is how to keep the heat on as the characters improve. I'm not 100% satisfied with merely scaling Saving Rolls and foes upward. I mean, that's part of it, but if that's all, then you might as well forget about advancement and play 1st level against 1st level foes forever. No, it's gotta be based on that expanding dynamism principle. The band of half-elves is a good start, as is the inevitable inspection (by whom? heh-heh) of whether Karn is doing a good job of keeping the first level squeaky clean (he's cursed, remember?).

Best,
Ron


With regard to Point 5.  The most succesful part we had with this was a RuneQuest campaign where we had captured a cave complex and set up shop.  (Gloranth fans, it was the Newtling Complex, my character became their king).  Players who were not present and Second teir characters lived in the base camp, as opposed to Pavis so that they could go out on their own and gain experience or be there if our primary characters were off doing whatever.

What I might suggest is that the backups spend all their time in the newly acquired base camp on level 1. That way they are there if needed, and can not only be used as a quick backup in the case of doom, but also can be slowly shunted into the Plot.  The lower level guys can get captured, leave the camp undefended to get drunk, all sorts of things.  

As a word of warning (which you may not need but I always throw it out there) is that Players, in my experience, always LOVE their backup more then the original.  Especially true if the back up was created with a better understanding of the game system then the original.

For reading purposes, check out the original Dark Sun world setting books for AD&D 2nd Edition.  A Character "Stable" was the recommended mode of play for that particular setting.

Concerning Point 6

In traditional experience, there are two methods of uping the voltage:

A) Food Chain.  In the fantasy world, there is a food chain of species that are increasingly fewer in nmuber (generally) but more powerful in stature. A Kobald is weakest, Goblin ext weakest etc... and this is true to an extent though one wonders why the lower levels have not all been exterminated.

B) Named NPC. This is how Everquest and many MMORPGs do it. YOu have Goblin Whelps, Scouts, Punks, MEanies, Sergeants, Warriors, and Goblin Elites, plus Shaman and LEsser Shaman and Great Shaman, same type of creature but like the PC races they gain levels or power and move on up as it were.  This seems more plausible.

However, far more satisfying is altering the nature of the threat.  One group of goblins may move in to steal valuable gems or mine them. Hobgoblins may be awakening a dark god.  Were-Turtles may be hunting for a lost treasure or their young.  Variety of opponents with a variety of tactics combined with a few solid advesaries who grow with the Players, maybe a Troll that stays one level ahead of the PC's.


Just my 2 Lunars


Sean


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Alan on July 08, 2003, 04:10:11 PM
Hey Ron,

I found this in T&T 5th ed. Section 1.2 The Basic Game, column 2.

"...it is recommended that the GM keep the number of players in his party small - two or three players with up to four characters apiece is ideal.  "

"... the GM should query each player separately for *each* character." (My emphasis.)

I read this to mean that each player brings more than one character into the dungeon at once.  This seems supported by the file-card size of the character sheets included with the game.  

This would then provide a stable of characters which all advance at the same time.  

I was thinking of playing the game with 3 players and 3 starting characters per player, all entering the dungeon at once, for a total of 9.  When two of a character's stable is killed, they can bring in one 1st L character the next time they go to town.  

How's that?


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: jdagna on July 08, 2003, 04:39:57 PM
I don't know much about T&T, but my classic solution in WFRP was to let hirelings be a PC-replacement stable.

This has two distinct advantages.

First, it let the player take over NPCs, but not just any random GM-created one.  If the player wanted a human mage for his replacement character, he hired one.  If he wanted someone orphaned by an orc attack, he looked around for one and hired him.  I was fairly generous with letting players pick their replacements, but really unusual requests might take longer to find or be unavailable.

Second, the stronger the hireling, the more you had to pay him.  In WFRP, the book gives a cost of 10 GC a day per career.  Since most PCs don't make that much money themselves until they're fairly successful, having anyone of real talent in your "stable" was a costly investment.  Having someone equal to the character could cost 20 or 30 GC per day.  The money paid to the hireling then got used by me (the GM) to buy that character sensible equipment (with an appropriate amount spent on ale and whores).  Thus, the money wasn't entirely lost, but it was made unaccessible to the PC.

Hirelings mostly sat around and guarded whatever home base the PCs had.  If they got brought along on adventures, I played them, and they would demand a share of the loot (making them that much more expensive).

And I also found players becoming more fond of the stable characters than their original.  In fact (to throw out a total tangent) it was this realization that made me favor random character generation in the first place.  The "otherness" of a random character (or an NPC taken over by a player) seems to build them up as a much more defined individual than a character made by the player from scratch.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ethan_greer on July 09, 2003, 05:23:31 AM
Shadowrun has a service that characters can buy that basically keeps a clone on retainer for if you die.  You stop in periodically and give them a brain tape, and then if you die they retrieve the body and restore you to your last save point.  If these details are fuzzy, that's because I've never read them - just saw a guy in a Shadowrun game get dusted and subsequently restored.

So, for T&T, couldn't there be a similar organization that serves this purpose?  When they go into town, they stop off at the Ressurectionists Guild, magically save up their experiences (for a fee, of course), and then when they croak, their companions (assuming there are some survivors) lug the guts back up to the surface, pay another fee, and viola - restored character at last save point.

Just a thought.

Oh, and using the service would be optional; not all players might want to spend the money.  In which case the other ideas mentioned here might come into play as well.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Lance D. Allen on July 09, 2003, 05:45:32 AM
Quote
If these details are fuzzy, that's because I've never read them - just saw a guy in a Shadowrun game get dusted and subsequently restored


Brief comment on this before turning to the main point: Unless this was something new, or something old (1st Ed. and got dropped) it's not canon. You can get replacement limbs and organs from a clone, but you cannot be cloned entire with the intent of "total replacement". Shadowrun is Sim, not particularly gamist, where a character would particularly want to be replaced in this manner. It was likely the particular GM's solution to the same sort of questions that Ron is asking here.

For what it's worth, I'll add my own experiences on the main topic at hand. I've never run any sort of game where the idea was to actually kill the PCs, but I've played in some rather high-body count D&D games. The DM's solution, when a character died, was to roll a die whose sides numbered closely with the deceased characters levels. What you rolled was what level the new character was. This meant that it was possible to get a character of the same level as what you had before, but it was iffy, and the likelihood was of something lower, possibly even 1st level.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 09, 2003, 08:21:51 AM
Hi there,

I should explain a little. Here are my parameters for my last couple of points.

1. No rules changes. I'm playing 5th edition T&T, period. So that means anything goes within what's offered.

2. No breaks from me. I'm not going to invent a "clone spell" and make it affordable. All strategies, rules-use, and insights are going to have to come from them.

So ...

No "taking over" NPCs by players, whether hirelings or introduced by me.

No starting new PCs at ramped-up levels. You wanna be tough in T&T, you play that character and earn it.

But! All kind of cunning is welcome. Whatever the players decide to do, as long as it's rules-consistent, is OK by me. They've already surprised me a few times with their cleverness, even with the limited resources available to low-level characters.

The suggestion that seems to make the most sense at the moment is to start playing more than one character simultaneously, right there in the party. It's not prohibited by the rules, and Alan even found a couple of textual points to support it.

What I really want to do, you see, is turn the heat way up. That means a few NPCs with full attributes, not just Monster Ratings; using spells against them, especially in vicious combinations; in general, making up terrible stuff that can numerically kill their PCs with no particular "solution" that I've carefully hidden somewhere. The more details and the more variety I throw in, the more likely they'll come up with entirely novel solutions through sheer ingenuity and guts. Like I said, they do this already, but I wanna unleash The Tunnels & Trolls Experience on them in pure gangbuster style.

Oh yeah! One more point. T&T play is rife with pure meta-puzzles, posed as barriers and/or potential death-traps. You know, "There are four doors, one red, one white, one green, and one blue. George wants the maiden behind one of the doors, but needs the Dragon-slaying Sword to kill the dragon guarding her. It's in the room with the troll, and ..." Anyway, the point is to name the doors in sequence, and you get clues like, "The troll's room is not next to the vampire's room," and "the maiden's room is at one end of the row," and "the Sword is not behind the red door." You know - standardized-test-qualitative questions.

In T&T, these are usually combined with hideous puns and all manner of cartoony fantasy jokes. It's pure metagame, you see. Characters don't roll IQ Saving Rolls; the players have to puzzle it out.

Well, they don't like it much. To be fair, when I play a character, I actively hate it - but that's looking back on situations when I was playing stealth-Narrativist in largely railroaded scenarios. So my goal, rather than to eliminate this aspect of play (it is so heavily encouraged in T&T, after all), is to make it damned fun somehow. Kind of an interesting challenge.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Mike Holmes on July 09, 2003, 09:44:59 AM
This is a classic imponderable, Ron, as I'm sure you're aware if you think about it in those terms. Specifically, how does one make it so that one can pose dramatically threatening (i.e. life-threatening) situations to characters and not have the downside of characters dying regularly? No answer. Either the loss condition has to change in which case the the drama is lost ("eh, just drag me to the temple for a resurection") and as you say it's no longer really the loss condition it ought to be, or the players have to accept character death which is a drag, and can lead to players falling out of the game. Because going back to first level won't work given the level differences.

Why should a player rotate his characters through if he doesn't care about this, however? That is, it's a gamble to play the same character over and over and never to beef up the backup character, but that's what's fun, right? We want the drama of that gamble. How undramatic is it to go back to play the first level character up a couple of levels knowing that they're only a safety net anyhow, and not the character "in the lead"? And how many backups can I prepare? As many as I want? Basically characters just become a resource that you are building up via play to ensure...what? That I'll be able to continue to play? That's no fun. "Winning" is going up levels, and that means pushing the same character to new heights, not making backups.

Besides, if I run out of characters, can't I just start over playing again from first level? Nothing wrong with that in the player's mind, you see. The only problem is that he won't be able to play with the same party due to the level diffferences. Basically, backup characters are being introduced as a safety net to maintain play with the same group. Which seems an odd part of the win condition. Basically backups become good conservative tactical play, something that I don't believe the text is implying should be part of play. Wouldn't that be drift?

And, heck, if all the players play without backups, as they seem to be doing in this case, if the majority fall to first level via death, won't the players with the high level characters just make up backups and play with the lower level characters again. This is what I've observed happens in effect in most games like this. That or players are just expected to suffer through playing with the high level characters.

Here's a sorta solution to illustrate inductively. IIRC, there's no win condition in T&T (or is there one already). Meaning that, like D&D, you're playing a Gamist game with no end in sight. How about this? Players play to be the first to score a five player point score (modify to taste to suit the campaign length desired), or have the highest score when any character reaches level 10. Points are scored for going up a level. One is lost for each death. Deaths are followed by the player recieving a new character of the same level. So it's a setback in terms of winning, but not in terms of power.

Or, if you want team play (and less players assasinating each other), make it a team goal to score points equal to 5 times the number of players, and that the team loses if it occurs that all the original members have died.

The point is that in this case, death is problematic and undesirable to the players without it affecting their ability to participate. As you require, death becomes a "loss". OTOH, it's not at all part of the game as written, so if you don't want to go outside the rules as you've stated, I think you're stuck with an impossible to solve contradiction. If you don't create a metagame reason to avoid death, then the only way to penalize it is by allowing it to be the potential game-ender that it is in normal play as written.

Mike


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Rod Anderson on July 09, 2003, 09:57:00 AM
Ron,

Quick response to the "puzzles" thing. My first instinct is to suggest making the puzzles not-so-pure metagame by making their content relevant to the backstory or assorted mysteries of the dungeon. In my most successful D&D3 dungeon, which was the temple/hive city of a reviled cult, a couple of puzzles had the rationale of being contingency plans for the cultists to gain access to potions, scrolls and money in case they needed to escape. So you have this cycle of "PCs learn backstory, which gives them clues to solve a puzzle, which pops out a cash reward as well as more backstory".   Even in the more traditional "whacked-out wizard builds gonzo dungeon" scenario, word puzzles can be platforms for him to air his grievances in crabby rhetoric. That's a possible direction to go.

If you have any interest in learning about puzzle design from videogames, I would point you to the '97 game "Riven" (sequel to Myst) for some of the best puzzles in my experience. Play it, or simply flip through the published hint book to get the goods on how its puzzles work. Admittedly, Riven takes lengths to make puzzles seem like a congruous part of the environment that may be out of place in T&T -- it's more "austere and classy" than "bawdy and outrageous".


Rod


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Alan on July 09, 2003, 10:22:32 AM
Hm.  How about letting players run more than one character at once, but awarding Adventure Points on a per player basis?  The player decides which and how many characters to take on each run, and how to distribute AP earned among them.

Thus grooming a replacement (or cannon fodder) becomes another kind of resource to be managed.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on July 09, 2003, 12:33:26 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
No starting new PCs at ramped-up levels. You wanna be tough in T&T, you play that character and earn it.

That's the hard one - in D&D, the solution I've seen work best is to make death hurt - you come back with a character a few levels below everyone else - but it's just not practical to always start 'em at 1st level.

Now, I don't know how linear the T&T XP system is, but another trick I"ve seen used is that if you are below the rest of the party in levels, you gain XP at an accelerated rate.  A sufficiently non-linear leveling system doesn't even need a accelerated rate - if a new 1st level dude can survive even one fight mixed in with the 6th level folks, he'll gain a level right there.

On the puzzle solving - my only helpful advice here is know your players, and give 'em puzzles in areas that they like and/or are good at.  Like, maybe I'd put some kind of Genus/Species/Family puzzle in a game that Ron was playing in.

Gordon


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Lance D. Allen on July 09, 2003, 12:56:29 PM
Hm. It really does look like you're kind of in a quandary. The only thing I can suggest is similar to what I do with new players in UO: Power leveling.

Generally, the more experienced characters take the "back-ups" to fight fights that the other characters know they can handle easily enough, but that are a challenge to the lower levels, so they gain more experience. Any experience/loot/whatever the higher characters is a drop in the bucket, or nothing at all, but the lower level characters gain nicely under the protective wing of the others.

However, this ignores the over-arching plot. I can take a newbie to fight lizardmen in the same place over and over again until the newb gets good enough to fight something else, and the lizardmen never care. In a table-top RPG, the lizardmen might eventually be exterminated, or flee when they see the same people coming, or get angry and use mass tactics.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Hunter Logan on July 09, 2003, 01:11:20 PM
I have always liked the Dark Sun solution to the dead character quandary. If characters can die, then players may need more than one character. So, Dark Sun formalized the arrangement. Each player had a "character tree," a stable of characters the player could rotate in and out of play. The character in play earned full experience. Then a portion of that experience went to the other characters. I forget the exact arrangement, but I suggest a 2 to 6 character tree. All characters in play earn full experience. Each character in waiting earns 20 - 50% experience. That way, the player has an incentive to rotate characters and has a logical backup in the (likely) event that a character dies. The other benefit here is a player can try out lots of different character possibilities in the same game. Of course, the dead character is replaced with a fresh character maybe equal to the weakest character in the tree.

edit: Numbers adjusted, rhetoric softened.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: jrs on July 10, 2003, 06:20:37 AM
Being one of the players in this T&T game, I'm not certain what would be a satisfactory way of dealing with character death.  I don't think I would enjoy cloning or buying up levels for a new character; it doesn't really fit the spirit of the game.  I also do not like the idea of separate forays with the backups; although the incorporation of the backups as additional party members would be okay.    

I have played countless hours of nethack without using backup saved games, so that when the character dies ya start over from square one with the only possible benefit being that you might encounter the dead character's ghost and treasure.  This has put me in pretty much the same mindset that Mike describes-- it's a gamble and that to me is the point of this type of game.

Julie


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Mike Holmes on July 10, 2003, 08:39:22 AM
Quote from: jrs
I have played countless hours of nethack without using backup saved games, so that when the character dies ya start over from square one with the only possible benefit being that you might encounter the dead character's ghost and treasure.  This has put me in pretty much the same mindset that Mike describes-- it's a gamble and that to me is the point of this type of game.
Heh, funny. I was just posting what works, not my own preferences. I play Angband, but "cheat" by saving. The way I figure it, one four hour session of play is all that one ought to risk in terms of real life time spent in play. Other day's progress is sacred. :-)

In T&T terms, I would prefer to be allowed to come in with a character at the same level. Sure there's no loss condition in terms of advancement. But there is one in terms of attachment to the character in question. And I'm not talking in Narrativist terms. I'm talkin in terms of their current level being a work of art to have gotten them there. Having that work die, and be relapced, and not saying that that's a loss condition is like saying that building a kit car, and having it destroyed in a fire and replaced by insurance with an already built car is an equal replacement. Just not true.

BTW, Half-elves Rock, and anyone who says otherwise is a scum-sucking sewer-rat! Sorry, the signal to noise ratio had gotten too high in this thread.

Mike


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: contracycle on July 10, 2003, 01:59:28 PM
In similar sundry D&D style games, I also the used the new character a few levels down.  I strongly agree with Mike about the fact that character loss is bad enough, we didn't feel it warranted the extra burden of starting from scratch, simply due to the logistical difficulties mentioned above.  This is where we employed the "PC glow" because the frequency with which this happened meant that new introductions became implausible.  I'm afraid we never found an elegant solution to this problem.

Some other observations.  Apart from the PC glow, I think this sort of thing has also produced a lot of the discussion of balance, for precisely these reasons.  Not usefully, I hasten to say, but I think that there was a part of this dilemma which prompted it, i.e. the need to keep a 'Fair' reduction of the losing players new characters abilities such that the new character was a 'junior' partner in the group - otherwise the other players would be denied the satisfaction of their own survival, or at least have it devalued.

We too used thwe hireling approach with occassional rotations into action; this occurred more or less accidentally when the characters acquired sufficient material wealth that they needed someone reliable to guard it while they were off killing people and taking their stuff.  When they got to the longer delves with a basecamp strategy (and this was often planned from the outset) they took retainers down with them to cover night watches and carry lanterns and haul loot and so forth.  So the retainers were close to the thick of it, often fell down holes or got eaten, and tended to develop lives of their own.  Anyway, what this meant was that as others have mentioned, the retainers were the obvious candidates when the PC glow was not invoked.  But coupled with the sense that a re-starting player was not going to be at the same level as existing players, and that this was sufficiently fair in terms of the levelling ethic, it worked pretty well.  Furthermore, while the retainers are in backup status, raher than activley played, they are fair game for the GM's machinations and can turn traitor or be mind controlled or bitten by lycanthropes and so forth; in fact I fairly freqently used retainers as the exemplary fall guy who gets the magic trap full in the face so that I could present a credible threat.  

Another thing about new characters is that if the player has really enjoyed a character, the next character may well be radically different.  This is why the retainers were not the perfect solution, as they are already established and none my suitable.  Again, I have no elegant solution, this was why we kept falling back on the PC glow (although at times the party incorporated itself and publicly hired; Forgotten realms sometimes had spots were adverts could be posted).


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 11, 2003, 07:08:58 AM
Hello,

I think that the T&T text, my players, and I are agreed that playing more than one PC at a time is perfectly all right. Whether they are being run simultaneously (i.e. "my warrior dodges right, my rogue dodges left") or across-scenes seems fine, either way. That should solve any and all issues I've raised about it, and it'll also let us see a bit more variety in spell-tactics and (I hope!) inter-player Rogue-Wizard interactions regarding spell costs.

Regarding the puzzles, I think the disconnection between puzzle content and the in-game world is actually supported by Tunnels & Trolls texts, both the rulebook and the adventure modules. I think the attitude is, "Look, anyone can roll better than the orc band. Screw your character; can you figure out which door George should open first? If not, yer a Loozer!" As I said, given this rather harsh approach, my goal is to make the puzzles as independently funny as possible.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Rod Anderson on July 11, 2003, 07:19:20 AM
Does the text address the inevitable situation of a player making a rogue AND a wizard? "They're twin brothers, see, and they're really tight -- the wizard gives all his spells to the rogue. Yeah."


Rod


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 11, 2003, 07:22:24 AM
Hi Rod,

Yup! A rogue may only purchase spells from another player's wizard character. The text is most definitely explicit about that. It's also gleefully explicit about the potential inter-player wrangling over this captive economy.

In-game justification? None at all. 'S a rule.

Best,
Ron


Title: PC Glow
Post by: efindel on July 11, 2003, 07:46:35 AM
All this stuff about "PC Glow" and the likes reminds me of something completely unrelated...

Once upon a time, I was running a Torg campaign, and a couple of former members of the group dropped in one night, and wanted to play as well.  The group was in the middle of a city, on a mission, and I didn't want to spend half the session working in two characters "logically", when they wouldn't even be here for the next session.

So I had a bit of mad inspiration, knowing that one of my players was always quick to catch on to puns:

GM (me):  "As you're walking into the building, two guys pull up in a small, foreign car.  They get out, wave as if they know you, and walk up to you."

David:  "Hi... uh, do we know you."

GM:  "The first one says, 'We're here to join you,' and points to the manufacturer's logo on the car."

Craig:  "I walk over to take a look at it."

GM: "There's something odd about it... the car looks like a Fiat, but the logo says GM."

Craig:  <nods, then yells back to the rest of the party> "It's okay, guys.  They're here by GM Fiat."

Yeah, I know... it's bad.  But I felt a need to share.  :-)

--Travis


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 11, 2003, 08:12:33 AM
Hello,

That's a funny story, Travis.

But - just to make it absolutely clear for this discussion - the players are getting no breaks in this T&T game. Levels result from EPs, EPs result from stated stuff in the rules. No free levels for any player-characters, ever.

So the only solution seems to be the stable, which, by the way, is both recommended and called a "stable" in the T&T rules. I'm emphasizing that to establish its precedence here in the late 1970s in T&T rather than in the Dark Sun rules, which is where everyone seems to have encountered it.

The only difficulty, which isn't much of one, is that T&T doesn't make it clear just how a stable is "managed" by players and GM during play itself. The text Alan quoted offers a few hints, but that's all. As Hunter pointed out, Dark Sun's "character tree" concept provides some experience to characters who aren't being played at the moment, but T&T doesn't support that idea, or really, any particular idea except that gaining EPs seems to be one-character-one-reward.

I plan to permit multiple characters per player (which is to say, to accord with the rules), and for EPs to be granted just as if each character had its own player. The only tricky part is when a player gets EPs for fully-metagame stuff, which does happen in T&T to a small extent; and my inclination is to permit the player to assign those points to one (and only one) character per award, of his or her choice.

Best,
Ron


Title: T&T rules and "backup" characters
Post by: efindel on July 11, 2003, 09:04:10 AM
A few random thoughts and questions for Ron here...

On Adventure Points for combat, are you using the system where all participants in the combat get the full MR of foes slain, or where the MR is divided by the number of participants, and each gets that many APs?

It seems to me that the former case encourages having multiple PCs... there's less of a drawback to it.  In the latter case, if everyone has 2 PCs in a single fight, then each PC gets half as many APs.

On the other hand, going the second way could influence players to want to "split up" their parties... that way, they can explore the dungeon faster, and APs generated from combat don't have to be divided up as many ways.

A second bit to note is the gaining of APs from saving rolls.  Combining this with the fact that SRs can be player-generated from using interesting tactics, this gives players an extra incentive to use interesting tactics (more APs!) and, in the case where each player is keeping a stable of characters, adds a resource-allocation bit on SRs called for by the GM.  For example, if the "point man" for the party is always the same, that character will tend to get more APs by virtue of having to make more SRs.  Of course, this can lead to a viscious circle -- someone gets put out in front because they have the best SRs for most traps, they gain extra experience from those SRs, and because of that experience, their advantage on SRs increases even more.

This, though, is a resource-management challenge -- do I constantly use my best resource, or do I take a chance by using a lesser resource, and thereby allow it to advance?  To me, having to make those sorts of decisions seems like it would actually contribute to my enjoyment (assuming I'm in the right mindset for T&T at all).

(Editing; forgot the other question I meant to ask):  Ron, could you be kind enough to tell where you found the mention of multiple characters as a "stable"?  Section number preferably; I have the Corgi edition of 5th edition, which has different page numbering from the "standard" version.

--Travis


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Hunter Logan on July 11, 2003, 09:20:59 AM
Hunter can definitely get behind Ron's solution. On occasion, Hunter has played the whole f'in party and really liked it. Hunter has no idea why he is referring to himself in the 3d person.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 11, 2003, 10:14:22 AM
Hi there Travis,

A list of questions? Oh boy!

Quote
On Adventure Points for combat, are you using the system where all participants in the combat get the full MR of foes slain, or where the MR is divided by the number of participants, and each gets that many APs?

It seems to me that the former case encourages having multiple PCs... there's less of a drawback to it. In the latter case, if everyone has 2 PCs in a single fight, then each PC gets half as many APs.


As mentioned in my first T&T thread, we're using the full-MR method; my thinking at the time was simply to run the game on "high" so we could enjoy the levelling-up. Your point makes a hell of a lot of sense as well, and fortunately supports the choices I made earlier in this thread.

Quote
A second bit to note is the gaining of APs from saving rolls. Combining this with the fact that SRs can be player-generated from using interesting tactics, this gives players an extra incentive to use interesting tactics (more APs!) and, in the case where each player is keeping a stable of characters, adds a resource-allocation bit on SRs called for by the GM. For example, if the "point man" for the party is always the same, that character will tend to get more APs by virtue of having to make more SRs. Of course, this can lead to a viscious circle -- someone gets put out in front because they have the best SRs for most traps, they gain extra experience from those SRs, and because of that experience, their advantage on SRs increases even more.


As it turns out, the SR increases are fun, but they are piddly in comparison with the combat rewards. You get, usually 2d6 from SRs, whereas (in our game) a solid monster fight gets each player-character around 100, at this point. The SRs are worth just enough to keep people motivated to do nifty things, working toward their PCs' strengths as I described above, but not enough to override plain old combat acumen.

Also, characters can change a lot between levels in T&T, especially once you're past 3rd level. Say all this time you've been poking along with a Luck at 10, then you make 4th level ... increase LK by 8! Whoo, all of a sudden you're Luck-boy. Based on the published adventure material, characters with insanely high characteristics are common if they live long enough.

Quote
This, though, is a resource-management challenge -- do I constantly use my best resource, or do I take a chance by using a lesser resource, and thereby allow it to advance? To me, having to make those sorts of decisions seems like it would actually contribute to my enjoyment (assuming I'm in the right mindset for T&T at all).


H'm ... are you assuming that you increase an attribute by using it? That's not the case. Every level, you pick an attribute to improve. LK is the cheapest (add 2x new level #), IQ and DX are most expensive (add 1/2 new level #), unless I'm mis-remembering.

In other words, you can mainly use your best attributes and, when increasing in level, increase your less-good ones.

Quote
Ron, could you be kind enough to tell where you found the mention of multiple characters as a "stable"? Section number preferably; I have the Corgi edition of 5th edition, which has different page numbering from the "standard" version.


It's in the Adventure Points chapter (quoted it in the Gamism essay, by the way). I *think* that's section 1.9, but I do know it's in the first chapter.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Hunter, Ron thinks that Hunter referring to himself in the third person is perfectly reasonable if Hunter is (a) Cerebus or (b) the Hulk. "Cerebus thinks rich people are rich people first and whatever else they are second." "Hulk smash!" Which one sounds more like you?


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: efindel on July 11, 2003, 12:27:58 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
A list of questions? Oh boy!


And I get answers even!  How cool is that?!

Quote from: Ron Edwards

As it turns out, the SR increases are fun, but they are piddly in comparison with the combat rewards. You get, usually 2d6 from SRs, whereas (in our game) a solid monster fight gets each player-character around 100, at this point. The SRs are worth just enough to keep people motivated to do nifty things, working toward their PCs' strengths as I described above, but not enough to override plain old combat acumen.


I take it most SRs in your game are 1st level, then?  The only thing I really have to go on for what's "normal" for T&T is the few solo adventures I have, and they seem to have a lot of 2nd level SRs.  I've been told that once upon a time, it was considered "normal" to have most SRs match the level of the character(s), but haven't seen that.

As a side note, I find it interesting that while the two options (everyone gets full vs. divide it up) are given for APs gained through combat, there's no equivalent "switch" for APs gained from SRs... so for people using the "everyone gets full" option for combat, APs from SRs count less proportionately than going the other way...

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Quote
This, though, is a resource-management challenge -- do I constantly use my best resource, or do I take a chance by using a lesser resource, and thereby allow it to advance? To me, having to make those sorts of decisions seems like it would actually contribute to my enjoyment (assuming I'm in the right mindset for T&T at all).


H'm ... are you assuming that you increase an attribute by using it? That's not the case. Every level, you pick an attribute to improve. LK is the cheapest (add 2x new level #), IQ and DX are most expensive (add 1/2 new level #), unless I'm mis-remembering.

In other words, you can mainly use your best attributes and, when increasing in level, increase your less-good ones.


I'm thinking more in terms of a player choosing to mainly advance a character in those things the character uses most.  It seems to me that, especially if players are allowed to have multiple characters, specialization of at least some characters might become the order of the day.  Then again, since the attributes are very broadly useful, that might be less likely.


Quote from: Ron Edwards

It's in the Adventure Points chapter (quoted it in the Gamism essay, by the way). I *think* that's section 1.9, but I do know it's in the first chapter.


Thanks!  It is indeed near the start of 1.9.

--Travis


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 11, 2003, 12:49:56 PM
Hi Travis,

Something seems horribly wrong with our discussion of Saving Roll mechanics.

It doesn't matter what level the Saving Roll is: you still only ever roll 2d6. And the APs you get are always equal to the value you roll. The dice do explode (on doubles, add and re-roll), but the level of the SR is totally irrelevant.

To clarify: the TN of the 1st level SR is 20, of the 2nd level is 25, etc. You always roll 2d6 and add the result to your Attribute.

So the AP reward for SRs is always the same, from 1st level on. This does have the interesting consequence of devaluing the SR as time goes on (as it takes proportionately more APs to make higher levels), but it also makes your comment about 1st level rolls nonsensical. No matter what the level of the required SR or of the character making the roll, it will always yield 2d6/exploding APs.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Jeff Klein on July 11, 2003, 02:25:50 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

It's in the Adventure Points chapter (quoted it in the Gamism essay, by the way). I *think* that's section 1.9, but I do know it's in the first chapter.


And in 4th, it's the last paragraph on page 9:
Quote from: Ken St. Andre

Most of the people in Phoenix current playing this game have from three to fifteen characters in their stable.  Thus, if one or two of them get killed on any particular expedition, they are not too heartbroken, and are able to carry on with hardly a pause.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Bankuei on July 11, 2003, 03:14:33 PM
Hi Ron,

Whatever House-rules-ed bastardized copy of text I managed to snag off the net has the SR rules as providing AP = to the roll X SR level.  I'm not sure if this works for you, but it makes me(as a player, and as a GM) eager to see a lot more Saving Rolls fly about, and it makes non-combat guys a little more functional.

Chris


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: efindel on July 11, 2003, 04:29:20 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Something seems horribly wrong with our discussion of Saving Roll mechanics.

It doesn't matter what level the Saving Roll is: you still only ever roll 2d6. And the APs you get are always equal to the value you roll. The dice do explode (on doubles, add and re-roll), but the level of the SR is totally irrelevant.


Quote from: Bankuei
Whatever House-rules-ed bastardized copy of text I managed to snag off the net has the SR rules as providing AP = to the roll X SR level. I'm not sure if this works for you, but it makes me(as a player, and as a GM) eager to see a lot more Saving Rolls fly about, and it makes non-combat guys a little more functional.


My copy of 5th edition T&T also says that AP for SRs are equal to the roll times the SR level (Corgi "Pocket" edition, section 1.9, page 50), so that's what I've been going on as well.

--Travis


Title: APs for SRs
Post by: rafial on July 12, 2003, 09:31:38 AM
Quote from: efindel
My copy of 5th edition T&T also says that AP for SRs are equal to the roll times the SR level (Corgi "Pocket" edition, section 1.9, page 50), so that's what I've been going on as well.


I can confirm for the Blade edition as well, section 1.9, bottom of the second page, first column.  It's even in italics...


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 12, 2003, 11:56:50 AM
Ooooops. Y'all are right. I just read that section of rules in my 5th edition again.

Which makes Travis' point about the scaling of the rolls make more sense.

Which also means that my players have been shorted a fair number of points, especially lately since the rolls got a bit harder in the last couple of sessions.

Which means I'm feeling sort of dumb, because I only read those rules about eighty times ...

Best,
Ron


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ejh on July 13, 2003, 05:40:21 PM
Quote
In T&T, you also get EPs based on what levels you visited


I like the term 'APs'.

You're making that sound a lot more "hard and fast/written in stone" than it is in the rules, there, Ron.

Section 1.9:
Quote

DARING

Game Masters should evaluate the difficulty and danger of their tunnel complexes, wilderness areas, cities, etc. and award EPs accordingly to those player-characters who survive a session.  A general guideline to this is to award 100 points for each level of dungeon or difficulty.  

(.....)

Although most games are likely to take place underground where such assessment of level is easy, the same principle applies to surface challenges.  However, only the gamemaster can determine how much daring it requires to penetrate his haunted forest, withered heath, or the City of Terrors.

Under this category there are experience points for doing something unusual, even foolhardy.  If a character walks into a dragon's lair to suggest a riddling contest for safe passage through the room, he should be given some small reward for trying it (...) Actions coming into this category tend to be those which, if they fail, are very likely to kill the character outright -- there should always be the element of a wild gamble if the character involved is to receive points for the action.


The "points for levels of dungeon" thing is only if you happen to be playing in a stereotypical dungeon with a stereotypical progression of levels.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ejh on July 13, 2003, 05:59:23 PM
Quote
Which means I'm feeling sort of dumb, because I only read those rules about eighty times ...  


Dude, I lived Tunnels & Trolls for about a decade of my life.  A formative one too -- I lived and breathed Tunnels & Trolls from grade school on through high school and into college.

Of course, my Tunnels & Trolls play was a lot like my high school love life -- largely solo adventures.  But you got any rules questions, you run 'em by me.  :)

And if you even feel a need to settle a duel of honor with me, I'm choosing Tunnels & Trolls Rules Trivia at 50 paces.

Quick, what's the dice + adds for a broadsword?  Falchion?  Scramasax? African Throwing Knife?  What's the deal with a Kris?  How many hits does leather armor stop?  What's the strength cost for a Take That You Fiend?  Hell, what's the complete first level spells list?  What's up with the fact that in Sorcerer Solitaire it talks about letting you cast a Hidey Hole even though only first level wizards are allowed to play it? (they seem to have changed Hidey Hole to a higher level spell between rules editions.)

Strength multiplier for Trollish characters?  (Trick question!  Do you mean the Monsters!Monsters! derived chart, or the chart in the advanced rules?)

How many of the long list of monsters in the "Creating Monsters" section written by Ken St. Andre can you name?

What is the complete text, both in Orcish and English, of the inscription on the bizarre door to Trollstone Caverns?

Can you complete the phrase "May the magic be friendly...."?

Yes, I know, it's a sickness.
[/quote]


Title: T&T!!!!
Post by: ZenDog on July 16, 2003, 07:35:02 AM
Hi this is my first post at the forge, just got back into the hobby after a long (Decades have past) break.

T&T was my first game and I remember it vividly to this day (even down to the armour and weaps my character had). I got to this thread from a link at RPG.net.

Reading your three T&T threads has been a welcome trip to nostalgia land.

Here are few ideas on your comments based on my experience of GMing T&T

1: Character stables and parties
As our player group was usually smallish (me and three sometimes four players), the players always played multiple characters with party numbers between 6-10 the norm.
Any other way would of resulted in quick games indeed.  If there are only three characters as soon as they lost one (ie after the first combat/trap/devious puzzle/insane dwarf wizard ect) things would get very difficult very quickly for the remaing two.
The rest of the stable characters hang out at the 'Town' and can join the party as and when (and if) the party get back to town.

2: Monsters and levels
Someone mentiond a food chain but then theorised that the upper levels would be eaten by the lower levels.  
I always used a heirachy of bullying which seems built in to the source material and feel of T&T.  
At the bottom of the pile are the gremlins, the gremlins are bullied by the goblins, who are bullied by the hobgoblins, who are bullied by the orcs, who are bullied by the ogres, who are bullied by the Trolls, who all cringe in fear at the mere mention of the GM's name (when I say GM I mean whatever Superpowered alter ego you have as you dungeon owner).
Then of course you have the one offs who nobody want's to mess with (like your vampire) and the magical beasts like giant spiders ect that might not be very happy about being relocated to some strange dungeon.
Of course no dungeon is complete with out the GM's pet monsters (like your janetorial Troll).
If you want to challenge the delvers by more than just upping MR's with subsequent levels roll up some Monsters using the table in 2.41.2 either give them simulated high levels or run them like characters and give them AP's for slaughtering characters.
Other parties as mentioned can be a challenge but for a real nasty fight create magical doubles of the party and see how they deal with themselves.
As for food well if there aren't enough dead delvers to feed everyone well there is always the carrion they leave behind and if your monsters are too ethical to eat their fallen comrades (call themselves monsters bah) there are always more than enough spare gremlins to feed everyone.


The vampire using the dwarf to attack another dwarf  is classic T&T and reminds me of  one room in my dungeon that the players used to love as much as me because it was alwasy such a hoot.

The players enter a room via a door the room is split in two by a chasm to wide for the average character to jump.
On the otherside of the chasm is a mixed group of Gremlins and Trolls.
The party realise they'll have to deal with the monsters first so that they can figure out a way across the chasm at their leisure with out being harrased by said beasties.
So out come the spears, Bows and arrows and the wizards and rouges start picking spells.  
It is at this stage the Trolls start using the Gremlins as Missile weapons.
The Trolls make SR as per the normal missile weapon rules if they miss the gremlins make luck SR's  (failure could result in falling to their doom or being spatted on the wall behind the delvers) if the gremlins make the SR on luck they land ready for combat. If the Trolls hit the Gremlins do  damage as a missile weapon then engage in grappling (I used the rules in the Arena of Khazan for Gremlin grappling which I can't now remember but I'm sure ejh can).

And finally any T&T player soon learns to be very very wary of puzzles.

OK so that's my first post out of the way, now I think I'll go read some sticky posts and see what the score is here at the forge before I post anything else (I felt I could safely post the above as I had read all the three treads and almost knew what i was talking about). I ought to start thinking of my game design (wonder if Ken St Adre would mind me using his SR system?).


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 16, 2003, 07:55:27 AM
Hi Zendog,

Welcome to the Forge! These are helpful comments.

I've taken a fairly classic approach to the dungeon in that (a) someone built it, (b) stuff has happened since then, and (c) some degree of "dungeon management" is going on. Without getting too involved in the back-story (or physics or economics), I have at least some justification in my mind for every level and every room. So why there are "easy things" on the first level and "meaner things" on the lower ones is ... well, it's justified, if not entirely logical or nailed-down.

I'm 99% sure that we're going to emulate the "stable" approach from now on, in exactly the way you describe, but I'll leave the final decision up to the players.

Best,
Ron


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ZenDog on July 16, 2003, 08:01:49 AM
Cheers thanks for the welcome.

Your Trolls should crack the whip at the lesser minions and organise a counter attack on the players Level 1 HQ. I'm sure your Dungeon's owner won't be happy about the situation.

I just have to say Liz Danforth really made the T&T come alive for me her art work is great.

Right thats it! I really am going to read some sticky post now.


Title: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: ejh on July 18, 2003, 11:03:23 AM
Quote from: ZenDog
Cheers thanks for the welcome.

I just have to say Liz Danforth really made the T&T come alive for me her art work is great.

Right thats it! I really am going to read some sticky post now.


Liz's art is worth the price of the books themselves.


Title: Re: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Danforth on June 09, 2006, 10:48:32 AM
Quote from: ZenDog
Cheers thanks for the welcome.

I just have to say Liz Danforth really made the T&T come alive for me her art work is great.

Right thats it! I really am going to read some sticky post now.

Liz's art is worth the price of the books themselves.


You folks are much too kind... I can only hope you're still reading these older forums since I only just discovered this site. I think it's fascinating that you're not only playing T&T but that you've been putting so much thought into it! That is exactly the kind of thing we wanted to happen, rather than load people down with every rule we could imagine... because we knew we wouldn't get everything, and situations would ... should! ... come up that we hadn't anticipated.

I'm very glad you made the game your own. And thank you for the kindesses about my artwork. It was a joy to work on the game, both as artist and writer/editor.

Now I'm off to go see what else I can read! Not only the T&T egoscan either -- this looks like a very interesting site overall.

Liz Danforth
www.oakheart.com (although it is pitifully out of date!)


Title: Re: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Storn on June 09, 2006, 12:20:48 PM
Hey Liz!

Nice to hear from you.  I think that it is cool that you found your way back to this nutty-ness.

big fan.
--storn


Title: Re: [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 09, 2006, 12:40:46 PM
Hi Liz,

It's wonderful to see you at the Forge. Your art has been an inspiration from the first.

Posting to old threads here isn't done, however. Unfortunately, I'm running into a software glitch and cannot split this one properly.

So everyone! Do not post here. Recognize that this is a three-year-old thread. If you read the first two posts and post impulsively, I will moderate you in a moderator fashion.

Liz, please do browse the site, check out the posting rules in the Site Discussion forum. Remember, you are always welcome and 100% encouraged to start new threads, referring to old ones no matter how old.

Best, Ron