Friday, June 11, 2010

Flying Buffalo call for new material!

Flying Buffalo have issued new submission guidelines for aspiring T&T authors.

This is good news not only for T&T writers, but also for T&T players.

I will be polishing up my "Sailing the Wine Dark Sea" module and submitting it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wizard Duels

Ah, the crackle of arcane energies. Two wizards of great power face off against each other, wands and staves at the ready. Then...Check your WIZ and "You've Got a Bad Feeling."? Seems a bit anti-climactic doesn't it?

That is the view of Wizards' duels under T&T 7.5 that seem sto have become wide spread. I think it is wrong. We may not see battles like Gandalf putting the smackdown on Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy shouting "Expelliamous!" while wands go flying, but 7.5e Wiazards' duels need not be boring either.

Single combat duels, especially between evenly matched oponents, are often actually quite boring to play out in RPGs. They consist of both opponents rolling to strike, calculating damage inflicted (if any), adjusting character sheets, lather, rinse, repeat. Rules to add stunts, tricks and detail to combat often get complex and slow down play. The result is that duels are either fairly quick, but bland and devoid of detail, or detailed but slow. T&T's Saving Roll rules and freeform combat system strike a middle ground. Either combatant can at any time declare a special tactic, and make an apropriate SR to see if they succeed or fail. Works great for armed combat. But what about Wizards?

According to many Wizards are completely nerfed by the 7th edition magic rules. They have to maka an INT SR equal to the level of the spell just to cast it properly, and they can't directly affect anyone with a higher current WIZ.

Let's look at these two points in detail.

First the INT SR. Looking at the maths, and don't worry I am not going to post lots of formulae here, after the INT and DEX to cast 9th level spells is aquired the Wizard will always fail his INT SR only on a roll of 3. For lower level mages the required INT to cast successfuly except on a 3 is higher, but still well within reach, starting at 15 for 1st level spells, and progressing up to 47 for 8th level spells. Considering that a minimum INT of 45 is required to cast those 8th level spells it is hardly burdensome. A Wizard with an INT of 30 will fail only on a roll of 3 to cast any spell of 4th level and below. To cast spells of level 6, the highest he can cast, he will need to roll a 12. So a Wizard should be fairly confident of getting his spells off.

Second the Kremm Resistance. The rules state that "a character with a lower Wizardry score can’t normally cast spells directly upon beings with higher Wizardry scores." That is the rule. Not, as many seem to think, "cannot effect beings with higher Kremm with a spell". This is the key to Wizard Dueling. If your target has a higher WIZ do not target him directly.

How do I use indirect targeting? Don't use Call Flame in an attempt to sear your enemy, use it to set his robes on fire instead. Cast Slush-Yuck on the ground beneeth his feet. Followed up with Hard Stuff this is particularly debilitating. Upsidaisy can be used to levitate a large, heavy object, say a boulder and whack your opponent with it for damage.

There are a few tricks to give better odds in all out assault as well. Cast Doublke Double on your self and boost your WIZ score... Then let fly with TTYF or Death Spell #9.

Any of the defensive spells will protect in magical as well as mundane combat.

Summonings can be effective.

In short unless you are very high level, think subtltey instead of force in spell combat.

I will be writing up a longer and more detailed version of this article, including a blow-by-blow, or should that be Spell-by-Spell account of a Wizards' Duel for Trollzine.

Friday, June 4, 2010

"Tunnels&Trolls Specialist Classes"

The title of this entry is in quotes because I am not talking much about specialist classes in general, but rather about the new T&T supplement from Postmortem Studios.

"Specialist Classes" is a 13 page pdf available from,, etc. It is light on text, one page is the cover, one the publishing information, and the remaining pages have large illustrations and copious white space. It is however well worth the price of admission.

Included are 5 new specialist types, one each for the attributes of Strength, Intelligence, Constitution, Luck, and Speed. These are respectively the Brute, Tinker, Defender, Trickster, and Swashbuckler. Each has a different style and provides a nice expansion to character options. None of them seem to be so powerful or so weak that they will unbalance the game. With the partial exception of the Tinker all could be fit into almost any campaign background with little or no trouble.

The Brute, Defender, and Swashbuckler are the most combat oriented of the new types. Each takes a different approach, and along with the Ranger provide for fighting characters of many different styles. The "Warrior" remains the best overall Jack-of-all-Trades.

The Trickster has some very clever mechanics for using their Luck to influence the world around them. These are card-sharps, gamblers, but also confidence men and smooth talkers.

Tinkers are characters who rely on technology instead of magic. They are able construct gadgets that produce effects similar to spells. The Tinker is perhaps the most weakly developed. The weakness comes from the lack of rules for developing new constructs and devices. Several pages of clever examples are given and it should be easy to create new ones following their example, but a few guidelines would have been useful. Obviously Tinkers will be a poor fit in worlds with lower than a late medieval technology level. Not impossible though as the example of Archimedes demonstrates.

Overall this is a usefull addition to T&T games. I hope that we see more specialist types in future.