Delvers are people who dig. They are people who go deep into the mountains and caves. In fantasy role-playing, which is what Tunnels and Trolls is, they are dungeon delvers–player characters who explore the pits of hell to bring back treasure.
This blog exists to tell you some of their tales. It will be updated once every couple of days. It will be edited and rewritten to be as story-like as possible, but don’t expect a lot of character development or plot. These are simple games–almost puzzle games. The Game Master/Story Teller lays out a situation; the players say how they would respond. Dice are rolled and results are announced. Repeat as often as necessary until the game comes to an end.
What brings a game to its end. Several things could do it. (1) the game master gets tired of the game, kicks everyone out of the dungeon, and announces the game is over. I tend to do that a lot, unfortunately. It usually means the game was getting dull, going nowhere. (2) the players win–they reach their goal, capture their prize, come back out alive. That’s an optimal ending and doesn’t always happen. (3) the players all die and/or runaway. Sometimes the adventure is just too much for them.
The stories in delvers are all adventures that I (or somebody) ran at trollhalla.com. That’s my site for the trufen of Tunnels & Trolls. That’s where gamers can hang out with me (Ken St. Andre), do things to gain trollish victory points, and learn what’s going on in the T & T world. It’s hard to believe that I started it way back in 2002, but I did.
I have always believed that frp gaming is storytelling. Each game is a story, but since outcomes are determined by dice rolls, you never know which way the story will turn, or how it will end. Regular fiction has certain needs–things like character development and a big climax at the finish. Real life stories aren’t so neat. Sometimes the characters remain the same; sometimes they even degenerate. Things don’t always end neatly–they drag on and on with no resolution. Gaming can be that way too. While I admire great storytellers, and try to be one myself, I don’t admire GMs who have one fixed story to tell and force everything to fall into that pattern. That’s more like play-acting than role-playing. In my role-playing games the characters get to be themselves, no matter how immature or undeveloped they may be.
So, is this going to be a great blog, or great fiction? Probably not. But I do hope it will prove interesting and amusing at times, and that by seeing how other people reacted in certain situations, you will gain the vicarious experience that may help you in your own future role-playing activities.
–Ken St. Andre
March 24, 2010