Port St. Andre Campaign #2 — Sibling Rivals

Last day of vacation and the boys wanted one more game of Tunnels & Trolls. This time Miles joined his brother, Jack, adding a dwarf warrior, Brendan, to the party. This second game in reminded me of some of the inherent chaos and ridiculousness of T&T (and I mean that as a good thing, mostly). For instance, there’s no real reason to ever play a human in this system — the starting attribute advantages afforded to elves and dwarves are just too powerful to ignore. The dice can give crazy outcomes, too. The height and weight table decreed that Miles’ … Continue reading Port St. Andre Campaign #2 — Sibling Rivals

Port St. Andre Campaign #1 — The New Frontier

Calling a single game of Tunnels & Trolls with my 11-year-old son Jack the start of a “campaign” is overstating things, but I think he’ll want to play again and it gives me joy to write about these things, so here we go. As mentioned in previous posts, Jack wants to role-play but has several times bounced off the side of D&D. After some prodding, we broke out Tunnels & Trolls, and in no time at all Jack had created Calanon, a slightly stout eleven combat wizard with startling, all-white eyes and natural talents for language, leadership, and smelling danger. … Continue reading Port St. Andre Campaign #1 — The New Frontier

A Lifetime Of Experience

I have a long history with Tunnels & Trolls and a deep emotional attachment to the game. Someday I will blog about the crazy ant-trail path that saw me drop out of high school in 1980 and wander out to Phoenix, Arizona, where I went to work for Flying Buffalo and ended up editing (and largely writing) Grimtooth’s Traps. That was the beginning of a thirty-year career in creative work that now finds me a partner in my own iPhone game development studio. I owe a lot to this game and the people who made it, especially author Ken St. … Continue reading A Lifetime Of Experience

Blast From The Past

To my surprise, Jack asked to continue his D&D game today. After a bit of discussion, though, it became clear that while he wanted to role-play, he really didn’t want to play D&D. He wanted a game that played faster, with simpler mechanics, with an easier-to-understand character sheet, and with more focus on narrative/free-form play than tactical, map-based encounters. He still wanted canonical elves and dwarves in an orc-killing world that would be familiar to a World of Warcraft player, but he didn’t want encounter powers, dice roll modifiers, healing surges, multiple (and different) actions per round, or ten or … Continue reading Blast From The Past

Monsters & Minions

As part of the fight at the Bridge of Four I threw a wave of thirty-two goblins at four heroes. Thirty-two goblins. That number is pretty staggering for a number of reasons. Those goblins were matched against first level characters, who weren’t greatly challenged by the attack, which says a lot about the power level of starting characters (and the importance of taking advantage of defensive terrain!). But more interesting, to me, is how easy it was to run that mob of monsters. A weakness of many RPGs is a failure to scale. Monster details that make individual creatures interesting … Continue reading Monsters & Minions

Essentially Speaking

We didn’t set out to buy in to the new line of D&D Essentials products. It just kind of ended up that way. It started as a vague itch to run a D&D 4e campaign, then kind of snowballed into pre-ordering the newest wave of D&D products. I’ve enjoyed RPGs for a long time, starting with Tunnels & Trolls in the late 1970s. My first pro publications were role playing articles in Sorcerer’s Apprentice magazine, and Grimtooth’s Traps, which I edited and largely wrote back in 1981, remains in print to this day and has opened a lot of doors … Continue reading Essentially Speaking