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Tunnels and Trolls exists in more than one form.  The two major renditions available right now are T & T 5.5 from Flying Buffalo and T & T 7.5 from Fiery Dragon.  Although it’s basically the same game, there are some important differences and some people prefer one–some prefer the other.  (Personally, I prefer 7.5.)

Hence, I’ve decided to mention something from each edition for today’s blog–both important occurrences of the number four in Tunnels and Trolls.

Conan, the warrior proficient with weapons and armor.

Fifth edition (or Classic T & T) features 4 different character classes for players to choose from.  There are Warriors, Wizards, Rogues, and Warrior-Wizards.  Warriors are classic types like Conan the Barbarian.  Wizards are modeled upon Gandalf the Grey.  Rogues are most like Cugel the Clever.  Warrior-Wizards are most like Elric of Melnibone.  If  you don’t know who any of these characters are, get thee immediately to and look them up.

Things were simpler back in 1979 when we released the 5th edition.  In the previous 4 editions, there were only 3 types of character classes.  In the 7th edition I have added 2 more character classes: Citizens and Specialists, and have changed Warrior-Wizards to Paragons.

Gandalf the wizard is a Spelling champion.

In T & T 7.5 Four is the number of Combat.  Actually, it is the number of the attributes that contribute to a character’s combat adds.  I guess I should explain combat adds here.

In T & T a character’s fighting prowess depends more on its personal abilities than on its weapons.  Yes, some weapons do more damage than others, and the dice values for the different weapons reflect that, but once you get beyond the first few levels of character development, what really becomes important is the character’s combat adds.  These adds are calculated from 4 attributes and I’ll show you the reasoning.

When rolling 3D6, the average range for an attribute falls between 9 and 12.  Actually, dead average is 10.5, but you’re never going to roll a 10.5 on 3D6.  This range is average for Humans, and I use Humans as the standard for all other player Kindreds in T & T.  It then follows logically (and most of T & T is quite logical) that attributes with values higher than 12 are above average and have greater effects.  Attributes below 9 are inferior and have lesser effects.

Cugel the Clever lives by his wits.

When we are talking about combat, four attributes are the most important: Strength, Dexterity, Luck, and Speed.  Characters get combat adds for Strength because if they hit harder, they do more damage.  Dexterity is important because if one is skillful enough to place blows in unguarded places, they will do more damage.  Luck: heh!–it’s better to be lucky than good!  And Speed–Speed is reflex speed.  Reflex speed controls how often you will be able to hit an opponent.  Someone who hits you 3 times to your twice is likely to be doing more damage.  Thus, these four attributes make up the ones that give T & T characters most of their fighting ability in the game.

Elric is equally familiar with swords and sorcery.

A character with 20 combat adds is more deadly than one with 5 combats adds and a 3D6 weapon.  Think about it.  An unarmed character always gets 1D6 for combat–even hands and feet are weapons.  The average combat roll for the guy with 20 adds is 23.  The average roll for a 3D6 weapon is about 11.  If he has 5 combat adds, the total is only 16.  Totals are what count in T & T.  Higher total subtracts lower total and the loser takes the difference.

Come back on May 5 and I’ll talk about the importance of the number 5 in Tunnels and Trolls.




  1. Here’s a little proofreading help.

    You wrote: and have changed Warrior-Wizards to Paladins.
    You meant: and have changed Warrior-Wizards to Paragons.

    I seriously doubt you want to introduce Paladins to T&T any more than Clerics/Priests as a separate class.

    Cheese and biscuits!

    • Mahrundl told me. I just fixed those errors. Glad to see you guys are so sharp! Thanks! Khenn

    • Gratuitous Saxon Violence
    • Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm
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    • Reply

    Paladins? I thought Warrior-Wizards were Paragons. Should I scrub that knowledge from my brain with a rock?

    Stoo Rahht

    • Gratuitous Saxon Violence
    • Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm
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    • Reply

    Ignore me! Pretend you are a woman.

    Missed the first comment.

  2. You wrote:

    “Elric is equally familiar with swords and sorcery”

    …that is, not TOO familiar with either one (vs. a Wizard or a Warrior)!

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