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Flying Buffalo -- United States
Complexity Level : Advanced (Full Game System)
Complexity Level : Solitaire RPG (External Rules Required)
Format : Paperback
Genre : Fantasy
Product Family : Tunnels & Trolls
Target Age Group : Adults
Target Age Group : Teenagers
Writing Style : Present Tense
Writing Style : Second Person
Schwerter & Dämonen (German)
Tunnel e troll (Italian)
Tunnels & Trolls (French)
One of the earliest competitors to Dungeons & Dragons, Ken St. Andre's Tunnels and Trolls role-playing game carved out a niche by being somewhat less complex than the competition and by providing a long line of solitaire adventures. Indeed, Tunnels and Trolls was the first role-playing game to support solitaire play, and a number of its adventures still remain in print. Many of the adventures have gone through multiple editions (and sometimes dramatic rewrites), evolving from amateurish efforts into professional-looking products. Several adventures were released in England in 1986 in two-book combined volumes (except for City of Terrors, which was released by itself). These editions were edited to remove some mild sexual content and had simplified rules included so that they could be played as stand-alone gamebooks as well as solitaire role-playing adventures. In more recent years, many titles have become available in electronic formats as well.
Tunnels & Trolls has the distinction of being the second Fantasy Role-Playing Game published (the first was, of course, Dungeons & Dragons).
According to designer Ken St. Andre, he liked the alliterative nature of Dungeons & Dragons's title, but realized he couldn't use it, so he sought after something similar - his first suggestion, Tunnels & Troglodytes was soundly pooh-pooh'ed by his friends, someone suggested Tunnels & Trolls, and the rest is history.
In addition to being the 2nd FRPG (the designers of RuneQuest, a highly acclaimed FRPG, credit E. Gary Gygax for opening Pandora's box... and Ken St. Andre for proving that it could be opened again), T & T has the distinction of being possibly THE first to have a universal task resolution system, what was (and still is) referred to as "saving rolls" (possibly due to D & D's initial inspiration) but are actually attribute checks by which a character's chance of performing a task was dependant on an appropriate attribute and an assigned "difficulty rating" of the task.
T & T is now in its 5th edition (which came out sometime in 1979) and has been out of print for a while but a new version of the 5th edition rulebook (called version 5.5) will be published sometime in 2005 and will include Buffalo Castle, the first solitaire adventure for T & T.
Differences between the earlier editions (the 4th edition being the most common) and the 5th edition were fairly minimal: earlier editions had less powerful "normal" weapons while the 5th edition added the warrior-wizard as a fourth character class (before the 5th edition, the only classes were warrior, wizard and rogue... and the rogues had to make some difficult choices once they reached 7th level, being forced to choose between becoming a warrior or a wizard). The only "glitch" in using one version of the rules over the other are the fact that adventures designed for 5th edition characters might have monsters that are a bit too powerful for earlier edition characters.
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