Sunday was the last day of LepreCon this year–I spent all of May 8 at the convention and had very little computer time. That means I missed the D8 blog, but the D8 blog is too important to miss, therefore I’m doing it here late on D9 which was also very busy for me. Heck, it’s probably D10 already for most of the world. I will try to catch up.
8 is for the 8 character attributes in T & T 7 and 7.5. Their order of importance has changed since the 5th edition. The 8 important attributes are: Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Speed, Intelligence, Wizsardry, Luck, and Charisma. They are divided into two groups of four. The first four are physcial attributes–they describe the character’s body. The last four are mental attributes–they describe the character’s personality and innate abilities.
Speed has been the 7th attribute for some time in Tunnels and Trolls–you will find it described in the extra rules in the 5.5th edition of the game. It is very important to understand that Speed is a measure of reflex speed, not a measure of absolute velocity. Generally speaking, the faster one’s reflexes, the faster one can go, but that comparison is only true for beings of the approximate same size. If I had a man who was 6 feet tall with a speed of 10, and a troll who was 18 feet tall with a speed of 10, the troll would move 3 times as far as the man in a race on open ground over the same period of time, and hence would actually be traveling 3 times as fast. The troll simply takes strides 3 times as long as the man’s strides, and he takes just as many of them. In playing T & T I generally use Speed for such things as initiative or saving rolls that depend on quickness.
Wizardry is a new attribute introduced in T & T 7. It represents the number of units of kremm (magical force on Trollworld) available to the wizard. It is also a kind of magical inertia–greater kremm levels resist change by lesser kremm levels. We have toyed with the idea of having a special magic attribute for wizards for a decade or two before the 7th edition came out. Various people called that force such things as Mana and Power. In the end I decided to make up a new unit of magical power and call it kremm (it’s a bad pun–think of creme de la creme). The word Power is too vague for an unit of magical force. The word mana is Hawaiian and is best used in terms of kahunas. Sorry, surfer dudes! Surfing is not a big part of Trollworld culture.
In earlier editions of T & T magic was powered by the character’s personal Strength attribute. This led to the idea of people thinking of wizards as body-builders or incredible monsters like the Hulk. I decided that a paradigm shift was needed–something that would get us back to the Gandalf-Merlin-Zatanna-Circe image of wizards and witches. Thus the change was written into the history of Trollworld, and I bumped the timeline ahead 300 years to account for it. Wizards were really using kremm all the time, but because they misunderstood the nature of reality they were doing it wrong, and taking a Strength penalty for it. Note that the god-wizards have an even better understanding of how magical force works on Trollworld, and don’t really have a WIZ rating at all. They just tap into the world’s kremm force and redirect it to work their sorceries.
Eight is also for the Chaotic 8th edition of Tunnels and Trolls–the one that hasn’t been produced yet. Author Michael Moorcock first explained the connection between the number 8 and chaos to me. He made the sign of chaos as 8 arrows extending to all the compass directions (N, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E, NE) from a central location–symbolizing infinite possiblity extending in all directions. Chaos has often been equated with Bad or Evil, but Chaos itself is neither of those things. Chaos is Possibility. From Possibility arises Change, and from Change comes New Creations. A certain amount of Chaos is a very good thing indeed. Too much, however is usually fatal.
Thus, if I ever do an 8th edition of Tunnels and Trolls, I will change all the rules on the players. I may do away with the idea of character classes and levels. Why have Magic constrained by levels of difficulty and power? Why have spellbooks at all? I’m thinking that 8th edition wizards each have their own spellbooks, created dynamically as they game. The wizard would have a process to go through each time he/she wanted to work magic. If it works, he creates a spell. If it fails, she fizzles and no spell is created. The kremm costs of spells created in this fashion would vary from character to character. Heh! Players might have to keep spellbooks for each character and show them to the Game Master before starting play.
Another idea for the 8th edition is to make weapon effectiveness depend on the abilities of the user instead of the size and weight of the weapon. A tiny dagger can be just as deadly as a 2-handed broadsword when in the hands of the right user. That kind of model would need a different type of fighting style for the game–it would lead to strike ranks. Instead of simultaneous damage, it would be very important to strike first.
Other ways to change the 8th edition would be to re-think the idea of the Kindreds. What if Dwarves really were just short humans? What if Elves were actually humanoid aliens with telepathic powers? What if trolls were super-evolved gorillas?
The trouble with the Chaotic 8th edition of T & T is that there are so many marvelous chaotic ideas available for it, that I will probably never get around to choosing and making any subset of them available as the official Chaotic 8th edition.
Eight is also for D8. We don’t use D8s for anything in Tunnels and Trolls.
Come back tomorrow as I struggle to find any connection between T & T and the number 9. Meanwhile, if you can think of any eightish things that I left out, please add them into the comments.