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Twelve is the number of difference.  For example: the pages aren’t numbered in the 5th edition, but if there was a page 12, it would have the information on equipping your characters on it.  In 7th edition, page 12 is a description of Warriors.

12A is the random treasure table in Buffalo Castle.  Oddly enough, it only has 6 treasures in it.

12 is the best number you can roll on 2D6, especially when trying to make a saving roll.  Doubles add and roll over.

IN T & T 5.5 we offered the Mike Stackpole system of skills for T & T.  IQ 12 was what you needed to get the First Aid skill.  I don’t know if Mike ever used his Intelligence based system of skills in a T & T game.  I’m sure he used it a lot in Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes.  And we used it in the computer game Wasteland.

In 5th edition it took 280,000 adventure points to reach 12th level.

Section 2.12 describes the various character kindreds in the 5th edtion.

12 is the number that you had to roll for every attribute to gain a warrior-wizard in the 5th edition.  Back in the day, we calculated what the odds were against rolling 6 12s or better on 3D6 in sequence.  A quick calculation shows there are only 9 combinations of 3D6 that total 12 or higher.  9/36 reduces to 1/4.  That means the odds of fairly rolling a warrior wizard 1/4 to the 6th power or 1 in 4096 or 4095 to 1 against it happening.  We love long odds in Tunnels and Trolls.  The odds come down a little if you use the TARO rule to get additional rolls for the triples: one one one, two two two, and three three three.  In the beginning we didn’thave a TARO rule.

Elric of Melnibone was a warrior-wizard, though it could be argued that his STR was normally way less than 12.

If you can think of some good 12s in Tunnels and Trolls, please add them into the comments below, and come back tomorrow when I talk about lucky number 13.



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.


Well, actually it’s day 10 in the mundane world, so I’m still behind.  If I make the D9 blog short, maybe I can catch up with the D10 blog tonight.

Nine is for Death Spell #9.  The name kind of implies that there ought to be death spells one through eight and maybe ten and higher, but there aren’t.  The only one called a death spell in Tunnels and Trolls is Death Spell #9.  I must admit that the inspiration for the spell name came from the song “Love Potion #9”.

Death Spell #9 is a 9th level spell.  It has a range of 100 feet, although in retrospect I should have given it a range of 99 feet.  It happens instantaneously when the magic-user casts it.  The spell cost is 81 WIZ  points which is 9 times 9 for 9 times the deadliness.  You can power it up by making it harder to resist.  Death Spell #9 was a first edition spell, and it was more powerful back in the day.  It was meant to be the spell that would kill almost anything.  The spell description reads:  The target of the spell must make a L9SR on Luck or have all bodily functions cease at once, resulting in instant death for any living being. (DS9 doesn’t work on the undead or on non-living magically animated beings.)  The spell can only target one being at a time.  Before the 7th edition, that spell would kill anything less than a 10th level monster most of the time.  Now, however, the spell has been weakened.  It won’t affect a target with a higher WIZ rating than the caster, and the caster has to make a L9SR on INT or the spell fizzles and rebounds upon the caster.  That’s a serious drawback, and a player character would have to be pretty desperate to try casting the Death Spell #9.

When you see this sign, you die!

There’s another 9th level spell that has some 9s in it. Oddly enough, it’s a life spell called Pygmalion.  The WIZ cost is 99, and it happens instantly.  Yes, friends, it is quite possible to have attributes in Tunnels and Trolls of 99 and above.  You won’t start with anything that high, but you could get there in a year or two of play.  The caster can bring stone statues to life and turn them into playable characters.

If  you know any great connections with 9, please list them in the comments below, and come on back tomorrow when I will be a day late with the D10 section of this blog.


Sorry! I spent the day playing cards instead of blogging.

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.

10th level wizard in 5th edition Tunnels & Trolls.

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.

Trolls are creatures of Chaos. So am I.

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.


Liz Danforth painted a new cover for 7th edition.

I’m getting a late start on the D7 blog today because I spent most of the day at the LepreCon science fiction convention in Tempe.  I played a lot of Shadowfist, and ran a short demo game of Tunnels and Trolls.  I also visited 3 comic book stores today for Free Comic Book Day.  Two of the stores were great: Samurai Comics and All About Books and Comics–the third was kind of a wasted trip, but it was late in the day, and the best stuff was already taken.  I will blog about that separately in Atroll’s Entertainment.

Seven is for Seventh edition Tunnels and Trolls.  That is the current form of the game.  Seventh edition came out in 2005 when Fiery Dragon offered to do a 30th anniversary memorial edition of my game.  When I got involved, the newest version of T & T became a really large project.  It gave me a chance to make some important changes in the rules–the most important being how character levels worked.  In all previous editions of T & T, and of other rpgs that I know about, character levels were based on experience points.  The character compiled X points and went up a level.  In all previous versions of T & T, getting a new level allowed the player to choose some arbitrary addition of points to an attribute.  Everything could be improved, but the rewards varied with the attribute.  Easiest to improve was Luck.  Hardest was Intelligence.  It took a complicated table, and a long list of levels to figure it all out.  7th edition is a lot simpler.  Levels don’t depend on enormous numbers of experience points any more.  They depend on the numerical attributes of the characters.  There is now a pure relationship between how talented the characters are and what level they are considered to be.

(Technically, the current edition is 7.5.  I tightened up the 7th edition rules, and reduced the number of adventure points needed to increase an attribute by 1 point.  It’s fairly easy to increase an attribute by 1 point in low-power games of T & T now.  That is actually a lot of fun for new players, and gives them an immediate payoff for successful action.  It works very well.)

Seventh edition did something neat that I don’t believe has ever been done before in gaming.  Liz Danforth, cover artist of 5th edition, painted a new picture showing what happened to the characters on the 5th edition cover on the following combat round.  They seem to be winning on the 5th editon cover.  They are getting whupped by the trolls on the 7th edition.  On yeah, T & T is definitely a monster friendly game.

Back in the early editions of T & T, seven had another important function.  Rogues could only progress up to 7th level.  After 7th level, the Rogue character had to choose to be either a Warrior or a Wizard if he/she wanted to go on to 8th level.  It was an arbitrary rule based on my early perception that rogues never actually turned into super characters in literature or the movies.  Around 5th edition I realized that was kind of a silly restriction, and either I dropped it, or Liz Danforth dropped it.  Anyway, that restriction on the character levels of Rogues vanished.

There’s not much to say about 7 in Tunnels and Trolls.  I could mention some things that are not sevens.  There are not 7 days in a week.  Seven is not a lucky number.  There is no 7th heaven.  The world does not have 7 seas.

If you can think of any important sevens in T & T, please leave them in a comment.  Members of Trollhalla who leave comments will get 777 extra tvp.


So it


The D6 blog is, of course, about the D6–the six-sided die.

Dice are very important in role-playing games like Tunnels & Trolls.

Tunnels and Trolls is the original D6 roleplaying game.  When I first wrote it back in 1975, I had never seen any other form of dice.  You didn’t buy dice at a game store, back them.  You took them from other games–most notably Monopoly and Yahtzee, but sometimes from wargames like Battle of the Bulge or Civil War.  Even in my earliest dreams of T & T, I knew that dice would be important, and so I decided to use the most common dice of all, the six-sider that came in all my other games.

1D6 is what anyone gets in unarmed combat.  What really makes the difference is combat adds.

Tunnels and Trolls originally had only 6 attributes.  They were–in the order in which I thought of them–Strength, Intelligence, Luck, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma.  And yes, that looks a lot like early Dungeons and Dragons.  The difference is that T & T has Luck, D & D has Wisdom.  There are also differences in how the attributes are used.  T & T uses the attributes directly in the saving roll process–your chance to succeed in anything is proportional to the magnitude of the attribute being tested.  Thus, T & T has more of a probablity factor in play that relates directly to the characters.

6 is also for 6 feet tall.  That’s the ideal height for a man, imho, and I used it as the basis of the height and weight chart in the early rules.  It also happens to be how tall I was back in the 70s when I still had a lot of hair on my head.  Now that I’m bald on top, my height has gone down to 5’11.75 inches.  Rats!

Come back on May 7 for the importance of 7 in Tunnels and Trolls!


Welcome back to the Numerology of Tunnels and Trolls!

When it was all said and done, I realized that I left out an important 4 thing in Tunnels and Trolls.  In 7th edition  you learn that Magic can be divided into 4 schools: (1) Combat Magic  (2) Cosmic Magic  (3) Conjuring Magic, and (4) Metabolic Magic.

Combat Magic deals with all spells meant to be used to  harm foes.  Its most famous example is: the spell called Take That You Fiend!  TTYF does the caster’s INTelligence rating in damage to the foe’s CONstitution rating.  At higher levels it does multiples of the Casters INT in damage.

Cosmic Magic deals with all spells that have a direct effect on the ral universe including “divinatory”‘ magic.  Levitation is a cosmic spell.

Conjuring Magic deals with all spells that summon, banish, or control beings, substances, and energies.  Summoning Invisible Fiends is conjuring magic.

Metabolic Magic deals with all spells that directly affect character health or attributes.  Attributes in T & T are used much more directly than they are in D & D (and its many clones).  For this reason, metabolic magic could be called Constitutional Magic.  Although the 4 C’s of magic sounds pretty good, I used metabolic instead, as I didn’t want anyone to get confused and think the 4th type of magic dealt with writing political and governmental documents.  🙂

Now on to D5:

This is how T & T looked in its prime.

Five is for the classic 5th edition of Tunnels and Trolls.  Rewritten from my notes, organized, and mostly illustrated by Liz Danforth in 1979, back in the days when we honestly thought we might compete with Dungeons and Dragons and get into book and game stores all over the country, the 5th edition was the definative form of Tunnels and Trolls for about 25 years give or take half a year.  At the end of 2004 Rick Loomis decided to increase the size of the fifth edition and add a few new rules and articles.  Although the job didn’t get back from the printer until early 2005, edition 5.5 was conceived at the end of 5 times 5 years of plain old 5th edition.  Many gamers still consider 5th edition T & T to be the best and classic form of the game.

But the truth was we really needed something new to invigorate the game.  In 2005 Jason Kempton and the Fiery Dragon staff proposed a 30 year memorial edition.  They had an idea for a kind of miniatures game based on T & T which they would sell in one of their trademark tin boxes.  When I heard of this, I offered them a complete rewrite of the T & T  rule.  Jason very kindly allowed me to do that, and so the 7th edition of Tunnels and Trolls came into being.

5 can also be for Fifth Level spells which contains the all new Trollgod’s Blessing combat spell.  With little touches like this, I inject a tiny bit of my own wacky, chaotic personality into the rules.  I don’t know if the revered Mr.Arneson or Mr. Gygax ever did anything like that to their frp rules.  (I really haven’t read them.)  The Trollgod’s Blessing spell (created by Trollhalla member Mahrundl who lives in South Australia–isn’t the worldwide web wonderful?) has this description: A large club appears avove the head of the target and “blesses” him–that is, hits him on the head.  The club does 5D6 points of damage plus the caster’s personal adds.  Only head armor may absorb the damage from this effect.  If the caster fails his INT saving roll when trying to cast, the Trollgod’s Blessing hits the caster instead.

I think that’s pretty cool, and it would be absolutely hilarious in a game.

The Trollgod's Blessing just waiting to happen . . .

5 is also the number of Humans and humanoid races.  Human is a 5 letter word.  Oddly enough, Troll is also a 5 letter word.  So is Dwarf.  So is Fairy.  So is Hrogr–the real word for Ogre.  5 is an important number for kindred types.  Humans have 5 appendages on the body–1 head, 2 arms, 2 feet.  Each hand should have 5 fingers.  Each foot should have 5 toes.  5 is a prime number, and the only prime number that actually ends in 5. 

Come back again on May 6, and I’ll tell  you the importance of the number 6 in Tunnels and Trolls.


P.S.  Please feel free to point out any other numerical correspondences in your comments.  I write these blogs fairly fast, and it’s easy to miss things–even important things.


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.



Three is for 3D6 (three six-sided dice).  That’s what you roll to create the beginning statistics for Tunnels and Trolls characters.  That should produce a nice bell curve of numbers ranging from 3 to 18 with average values being betwen 9 and 12.  But it doesn’t!  Because in T & T, triples add and roll over (TARO).  Thus, the lowest possible attribute a character could have is a 4.  Except it isn’t.  Some characters have reduced or multiplied attribute ratings.  For example: a Hobb only has 1/2 X STR.  Thus if you rolled a 1, 1, 2 on your 3D6,  you’d have a 4 times 1/2 = STR of 2.  That’s a terrible attribute, even for Hobb, so throw that character away and start again.

Three is also for triples.  When you roll the same 3 numbers on your dice for an attribute,  you may create a Specialist character in Tunnels & Troll 7.5.  His/Her specialization should be based on the attribute that is a mutant ability as indicated by the triples.  If you tripled in Speed, for example,  you might want to create a Messenger specialist–the character has the unique ability to move around very quickly.  All sorts of specialists could be created–it just depends on your imagination and how much rope the Game Master is willing to give  you.

Three should also be for the Triune Goddess.  I love the Goddess, and she’s in Tunnels and Trolls as Lerotra’hh, the Death Goddess, patroness of the Monster Kindreds, but she really isn’t triple, so that connection simply isn’t there.

Half elf, half uruk, the Death Goddess of Khazan is all hellcat!

Three is for Third Level.  T & T characters are third level if they have one of their key attributes in the 30s.  Thus, a Warrior with a Strength of 35 would be third level; a Wizard with an Intelligence of 39 would still be third level.  Third level is a great level to play–powerful enough to do a few unusual things–not so powerful that the character overshadows everyone else.

Of course, the level thing could be said for any number (grin).  I’ll try not to use it again, but I might have to use it for 31.

There really aren’t that many threes in Tunnels and Trolls, but I can think of one more.  You’ll see it on my site at  The challenge reads:  If a member of Trollhalla you would be, you must answer questions three.

I’ll award a free membership to Trollhalla or 300 trollish victory points to the first person to identify the source of that quote in a comment.

Come back on May 4 to see what I have for the number 4. 

end (a word with 3 letters)

Yin and Yang. So much of role-playing is built upon it.

It’s all about Duality–Twoness.  It took two guys, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax to create Dungeons and Dragons.  See any twos there?  I see two of them.  It’s not just Dungeons.  It’s not just Dragons.   My game, which also has its dual elements (Tunnels and Trolls) was the second role-playing game to come out.  My other favorite rpg is Runequest.  Two elements–runes and quests.  🙂  (Okay, I’m kinda reaching there), but when I think of Runequest I think of two guys again.  Greg Stafford and Steve Perrin.

Once you get into a role-playing game duality is very important.  The universe is built on the double standard.  Man/Woman.  Positive/Negative.  Creation/Destruction.  (You ever notice how the creative principle is usually male–Brahma.  The destructive principle is usually female–Kali.  Even though it is women who actually give birth.  In Greek mythology Zeus is always going around creating new demigods–lusty old Zeus!  Hera is always trying to kill off those sons and daughters of Zeus.  Odin, the male god rules the bright realm of Valhalla–the  place all of us Norsemen really want to wind up in.  Hela, the female goddess rules the cold and barren realm of Hell–the place we don’t want to go when we die.–I could continue this line of thought for a long time, but I’ll leave it to you readers to find more example or even more fun contrasting examples.  There are always at least two ways of looking at things.)

Getting back to important twos in Tunnels and Trolls, we have the Good Kindreds (from whom you should be creating most of your player characters), and the Monster Kindreds, who are actually more fun to play.  Unlike some other game systems that use the duality of Order and Chaos, or Good and Evil, Tunnels and Trolls doesn’t use those much.  Evil is just a point of view.  So is good.  Another important two-ness in T & T is magic-user and non-magic-user.  Some people have the ability.  Some just plain don’t.

Tunnels and Trolls really does use tunnels . . .

Another important duality is Simple/Complex.  We all know that life itself and the universe in general is highly complex.  But you know what?  Your life will be better (as opposed to worse) if you can Keep It Simple, Sam!

and trolls!

Another important thing in Tunnels & Trolls is using 2D6 to make saving rolls.  You roll 2D6 (doubles add and roll again–DARO) and add that number to the base attribute or Talent being tested, then compare it to a target number you were trying to reach–such as 20 for a Level One Saving Roll.  If you equal or surpass the target number, you made the saving roll–hooray!  Good things will happen, or at least bad things won’t happen.  If you go under your desired target–yikes, you’re in trouble!  Saving rolls alway use two six-siders.

This roll on the dice always fails the saving roll, no matter how good your attribute may be.

Come back tomorrow!  And I’ll see if I can find any important threes in Tunnels and Trolls, and maybe rpg in general.