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Ten is for money! Ten is the number of Gold!

There’s no getting around it.  I’m just going to have to do 2 days at a time to catch up.

D10 is for the super simple money system in Trollworld.  Basically, there are 10 copper pieces to the silver piece and 10 silver pieces to the gold piece.  10 gold pieces weigh a pound  Now if coins had anything like their real value in today’s world, it would lood more like this: 9 copper pieces to the silver piece and 41 silver pieces to the gold piece.  But the rule for Tunnels & T rolls is KI.S.S. and the ten to 1 ratio is nice and simple.  Besides, nobody ever uses anything but gold pieces in these frp games anyway.  It’s an inflationary world for sure.

(I looked up metal prices this morning.  Copper sells for about $4 per ounce, silver goes at about $37 per ounce and gold is at a whopping $1510 per ounce.)

Back when I was writing Stormbringer for the Chaosium, I wanted to introduce a more realitic and more chaotic monetary system into that game.  I was going to base things on the chaotic number 8.  There would be 8 copper per silver and 64 silver per gold, but they made me drop it back to base 10 again just to keep the money conversions easy to manage.

I have postulated that Trollworld is a very metal-rich planet.  Thus, I have gold pieces serving as the equivalent of dollars.  So, 5 gold pieces for a meal is not unreasonable if you look at it that way.  In retrospect, I should have adopted the silver standard from the beginning.  If gold had been incredibly hard to get in T & T, it would have made the game a bit more realistic, and the money would have had a different standard from D & D.  These are the kind of things one learns over time.  On page 42 of the 7th edition rules I mention that silver pieces are the more commonly used coin.  Having a gold piece would be like having a $10 bill.  (In reality it should be like having a $50 bill.)

Soft ankle-high boots (i.e. tennis shoes) cost 10 silver pieces in Khazan.  A rabbit fur loin-cloth costs 10 silvers; a wolf-fur loin-cloth costs 10 gold pieces.  Little did Conan know that he was walking around in pocket money most of the time.  I wonder if he ever had to sell his loincloth to pay for his next meal.  Thee are lots of other things that cost 10 silver pieces in the 7th edition rules.

Ten is also a convenient range for throwing things.  Ten feet is hard enough.  Ten yards is about maximum and is so listed as the range for throwing daggers like the bich’wa, the butterfly knife, the common dirk, and the hungamunga among others.

D10 is also for Tenth Level.  Tenth level has always seemed like the dividing point between mid-level characters and challenges and high-level characters and challenges.  In 7th edition T & T, a character has to be pretty darn tough to be tenth level.  One of her significant attributes has to be in the range of 100 to 109.  A L10SR is 65 – ATT.

Ten is for 10th level spells–my favorite being the Hellbomb Burst.  It has a WIZ cost of 100 (10 times 10), and a range of 100 feet (10 times 10) and the damage it does is equal to 10 times the combined INT and DEX of the caster.  That is going to be a humongous number for anyone with the WIZ to actually cast such a spell.  It could easily take out dragons.

Ten is also for D10–the ten-sided die.  We don’t really use D10 for anything in T & T, although it can be handy to have a few of them around.  Back in the fifth edition, there is a Languages table based on D100, which is easilly simulated with 2D10, but that table has fallen out of 7th edition.

Ten is also for 10-foot pole–standard dungeon delving equipment back in the 5th edition days.  Back when we drew all our dungeon maps on graph paper, it was very convenient to have each little square segment be 10 feet by 10 feet.  The lead member of the party would carry a 10-foot pole for testing the next sector in the passageway for traps.

It's hard to find a good picture of a 10-foot pole.

Actually, the number ten comes up in Tunnels and Trolls quite a lot.  I’ve been thinking that maybe I should skip the Chaotic 8th edition and the Nihilistic 9th edition of T & T and go straight to the Terrific Tenth editon of T & T, but darn it, 2010 has already come and gone.

Actually ten comes up a lot in Tunnels and Trolls.  If you can think of some good tens that I’ve missed, please post them in the comments below.

Onward to 11!

Eleven is for the 11-foot pole.  It costs 11 gold pieces and is for all those situations where you wouldn’t touch something with a 10-foot pole.  Yeah, I know, old joke.

11 if for 11th level spells.  I could not imagine 11 of them, and settled for 4.

11 is a prime number.  If you include Height, Weight, and Combat Adds as important numbers to describe your player characters, then there are 11 attributes to keep track of.

And that’s about it.  11 isn’t used much in Tunnels and Trolls, or anywhere else that I’ve ever seen.

If you can think of some elevens in T & T, or any frp game, please post them in the comments.  I’ll send a prize to the eleventh poster.




  1. 11 is the rounded-up version of 10.5, which is the average number rolled on 3 six sided dice for attributes…

  2. Here ya go:

    10 is for one of my favorite adventures, Sorcerer’s Solitaire, solo #10
    11 likewise is for Sword for Hire, solo #11

  3. Also in T&T, 10 and 11 are both for the Scimitar, the only 4D sword that a character with attributes in the normal range of 9-12 can use; it requires 10 STR and 11 DEX.

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