<+Ken> Hello, world, hello everyone. I’m Ken St. Andre, known as Trollgodfather on Twitter and Instagram.
<&Silverlion> Hi Ken! (I follow you on facebook..)
<+berniesalti> Hi Ken, nice to read you!
<+DLB_CHUCK> Hi Ken! Big fan of your T&T work!
<+Cowbell> Welcome, Ken!
<+Ken> I’ve been lucky enough to either be the main designer on a few role playing games. You might have heard of them. Tunnels and Trolls, Monsters! Monsters!
<+Ken> Starfaring, Stormbringer, and Wasteland.
<+Ken> I’m glad to be here.
<+Ken> Thanks to everyone who came to talk to me.
<+DLB_CHUCK> Did you consult on the new Wasteland sequels?
<+BillR> T&T was either the first or second RPG I ever played
<+Ken> Not very much. I had a tiny part in Wasteland 2. Would have hoped to do more, but I really didn’t get along with the producers and project leads.
<~Dan> Heh. Looks like the floor is open to questions. 🙂
<+Ken> Not involved in Wasteland 3 at all.
<+Ken> Heh, T&T was definitely the first one for me. :’)
<~Dan> Monsters! Monsters! is a spin-off of T&T, correct?
<+Ken> Yes, I think of it as the flip side of the coin that is T&T.
<~Dan> Cool. In that case, perhaps you should give us a high-level overview of T&T before we turn to M!M!?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Chris_BVG!)
<+Ken> I’m changing and upgrading it just a bit for the kickstarter I’m running now. Enough to make it a slighly different game than T&T
<+DLB_CHUCK> Will the mechanics change?
<+Ken> Does anybody not know the difference between Tunnels and Trolls and That Other Game? 🙂
<+JamesGillen> So is there anything new to promote?
<+Nick_Zachariasen> Honestly, I’m not familiar with T&T, though I have heard of it.
<+Ken> Minor changes in mechanics.
<~Dan> Well, I’m vaguely familiar, but I could use a refresher. I’ve only ever played the iPad version.
<+Nick_Zachariasen> To answer your question, that is.
<+JamesGillen> me too
<+Ken> okay, let me talk about T&T.
<+Ken> Tunnels and
<+Ken> Trolls is a roleplaying system that can be used in virtually any setting, but is primarily designed for the Middle Ages style games that the other game
<+Ken> was doing back in late 1974, early 1975.
<+Ken> I wanted desperately to play a game like that since I had always been a super fantasy fan.
<+Ken> When I finally saw white box first edition D&D rules, it gave me a double reaction. On one hand I understood what they were trying to do, and I loved that idea.
<+Ken> On the other hand, I thought the way they did it was totally stupid, and not a game I could play.
<+Ken> I didn’t come from a miniatures background..
<+Ken> I came from heroic literature and comic books.
<+Ken> So I decided to write a game I could play. One that just used six-sided dice, because in April 1975 I had no way of getting D20s, and had never even heard of them
<+Ken> I gathered resource materials at the library, books on mythology and medieval weapons.
<+Ken> I reworked the character creation process. I threw out the attributes that didn’t make sense to me, along with character types that didn’t make sense.
<+Ken> I didn’t need clerics, wisdom, hit points. If you have a Constitution attribute, that is your hit points.
<+Ken> I made a combat system that was fast and easy to understand.
<+Ken> the good guys roll their dice, the bad guys roll theirs. Totals are compared, and the loser takes the difference in damage.
<+Ken> I made it so the attributes mattered. You needed certain amounts of Strength and Dexterity to wield weapons. You needed certain amounts of
<+Ken> Intelligence and dexterity to wield magic. You needed certain amounts of luck to survive, and certain amounts of charisma to lead.
<+Ken> and developed what i called the saving roll system wherein your attribute plus whatever you got on a roll of 2D6 determined success or
<+Ken> failure in any difficult task. To always make success possible, I made it so that doubles add and roll over.
<+Ken> With a friend named Steve McAllister I made up a magic system that used your Strength to power your magic, and a series of spells of
<+Ken> varying difficulty that could be acquired in levels. Some were for combat, some were for healing, some were for special effects such as being
<+Ken> invisible or opening locked doors.
<+Ken> I made a weapon system where bigger heavier weapons did more damage, and an armor system that always protected the wearer as much it could.
<+Ken> All in all it turned out to be very very different from That Other Game, henceforth known as TOG.
<~Dan> Heh. 🙂
<+JamesGillen> The Other Roleplaying Game.
<~Dan> (wb, DLB_CHUCK!)
<+Ken> Over the years, the game has evolved, gotten a bit more complex, and has considered coping with things I didn’t originally think about.
<+JamesGillen> Serious question, why does Strength power magic and not Intelligence?
<+Ken> T&T has always been nonsexist. There is no difference in attributes for men and women.
<+Ken> Strength powered the spells because I thought magic would weaken the caster, something like Elric with Stormbringer. Intelligence was necessary
<+Ken> to even be able to know the spell. So it was already in use.
<+JamesGillen> So that’s the mechanic instead of Vancian spell slots?
<+Ken> T&T always had the idea that attributes were variables and could go up and down depending on the situation and the action in the game.
<+Polyhedralknight> Ken I got to say I’ve always loved your work. I been gaming for 40 years and just wanted to say thanks for all you’ve done.
<~Dan> That eventually changed to a magic-related stat, correct?
<+Ken> Yes. In T&T once you know a spell, you know it forever..
<+Ken> You can power it up to higher levels.
<+Ken> But you need to expend some power in order to make it work.
<+Ken> Physics. Everything requires energy and direction.
<+Ken> in the current game, I have added two more attributes: Wizardry and Speed. Wizardry is now a store of magical energy that can power spells.
<+Ken> Speed is reflex speed or how fast your character can react to things.
<+Ken> Is that enough overview for you all? I can take specific questions.
<+Ken> We used to joke about how T&T wizards had to be like Arnold in order to be strong enough to cast any higher level magic.
<~Dan> What races are available to play in T&T?
<+JamesGillen> I was gonna say, it should be a separate stat because otherwise Thundarr would be a better wizard than Ariel
<+Nick_Zachariasen> And Ookla better still!
<+Ken> Dozens, maybe hundreds. Originally I just had humans as the good guys and everything else was a monster.
<+Ken> But within a week my friends Bear Peters and Steve McAllister hit me with the idea that players could be any one of the 6 good kindreds:
<+Ken> human, elves, dwarves, fairies, leprechauns, and hobbits. hobbits have evolved into hobbs now in respect of the Tolkien estate.
<+Ken> When I did Monsters! Monsters! for Howard Thompson of Metagaming, it became obvious that monsters could have attributes too. So now
<+Cowbell> Does Wizardry replace Strength in powering spells or is it an alternate source? For example, might a young wizard have a high Strength and low Wizardry, while his mentor has the opposite arrangement – the “Age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm” idea?
<+Ken> you can play trolls, ogres, goblins, centaurs, minotaurs, youwarkee (angels) and dozens of other sentient races.
<+Ken> We don’t call them races any more. We call them kindreds. T&T is not a racist game.
<+JamesGillen> That’s kindrist.
<~Dan> So as I recall, in T&T, monsters just have a single stat, correct?
<+Ken> Wizardry does replace Strength in the current rules for most kindreds, but in truth, magic can be powered by anything. What powers it is a f unction
<+Ken> of the beliefs of the caster.
<+berniesalti> I didn’t know your work until this Q&A (sorry) but I would like to ask you: is there a mechanic that let you manage the narrative side of the game? For example key words? Flaws and Features related to the background and so on?
<+Ken> So uruk (orc) magic is still powered by Strength. You can get a collection of uruk spells in the uruk spellbook I sell on drivethrurpg.
<+Ken> Different kindreds power their magic in different ways–but that’s all supplemental. To keep things simple for players, the deluxe Tunnels & Trolls
<+Polyhedralknight> Sounds great. Sorry but I gotta run. Take care guys.
<+Ken> rulebook only gives the main spell casting system.
<+Ken> Bye, Poly . . .
<+Cowbell> The variety is good to have, though – will check out the Uruk book.
<&Silverlion> I need to grab the spell books…
<+Ken> The narrative is managed by simple conversation betweem the GM and the player.
<+Ken> The GM sets the scene and asks what you want to do.
<+Ken> The player tells him how he does it.
<+Ken> If dice rolling gets involved, the GM tells the players to roll combat, or roll a saving roll at a certain level using a certain attribute.
<+Ken> For example a L4SR on INT to understand that ancient writing you found would require the player to hit a target number of 35.
<+Ken> Attributes are not limited to a 3D6 range. They could always expand and contract. So if the player has an INT of 25, she would need to roll
<+Ken> a 10 or better on 2D6 to read that book. Hard but not impossible considering there is a 1 in 6 chance of rolling doubles and almost any double
<+Ken> plus another roll will get you at least 10 points most of the time.
<+Ken> There are 6 different spell books now, showing 6 alternate ways to power magic.
<~Dan> You mentioned monsters having stats in Monsters! Monsters!… As I recall, monsters had only a single stat in T&T. Do monsters in T&T have actual stats now?
<+Ken> and also giving background information about the kindreds not found in the regular rules.
<+Ken> Yes, they do now, and have ever since 4th editon back in about 1978.
<+Ken> but we can also go with the single stat called monster rating.
<~Dan> And that’s a single stat that’s used for everything the monster does?
<+Ken> So, you all need to understand that T&T combat or M!M! combat is simultaneous and takes place in what I call combat rounds.
<+Ken> To do that, it’s convenient to be able to total up all the monster dice at one time. Thus if 10 uruks are attacking 5 player characters, and the uruks
<+Ken> have monster ratings of 20 each, then their total MR is 200. 200 gets them 21 dice and 100 combat adds. I can do that very quickly by rolling
<+Ken> 7D6 and multiplying by 3 and adding 100. The five characters each roll their own weapon dice and add their combat adds. Within a minute or two
<+Ken> I know how much damage both sides did–we allocate damage and move on to the next round. As you might imagine, combat goes a lot
<+Ken> quicker than it does in TOG.
<+Ken> There are complications, of course. With magic, missile weapons, and spite damage it is possible for both sides to take damage at the
<~Dan> How do you handle circumstances where some members of a group can’t be counterattacked? For example, let’s say one member of a group is hanging back and sniping with a bow, and the other side has no missile weapons.
<+Ken> same time, but it’s still so much faster than the initiative system of one strike at a time.
<+Ken> Players decide who takes the damage among themselves. If the players have to absorb 20 points of damage, and one guy is totally protecte
<+Ken> then the other 4 divide the damage among themselves.
<+JamesGillen> T&T was also supposed to be set up for solo play. How does that work?
<~Dan> I see. And what is spite damage?
<+Ken> In T&T the main thing to remember and judge actions by is: Under the circumstances, what would logically happen next.
<+BillR> So , I don’t know which individual(s) my character is fighting?
<+Ken> Spite damage is damage that gets through to a character in spite of everything. It came in with T&T 5.5..Whenever a 6 is rolled in combat, that
<+Wyorot> THere are solo adventures kinda like a choose your own adventure books
<+berniesalti> Bedtime for me, thank you for your work and explanations Ken!
<+Ken> is a point of damage that cannot be blocked. Sometimes it activates a special effect.
<~Dan> Sleep well, berniesalti!
<+Ken> Solo adventures were the brainchild of my friend Steve McAllister. He was an aircraft mechanic and used books of programmed
<+Ken> instruction to do complex repairs. When he explained it to me, I could see using the same system to create adventures.
<+Ken> Basically, you simply write a description of what’s going on and then give the player a choice to make that will send them to the next
<+Ken> section of the adventure.
<+DLB_CHUCK> I loved the solo aspects of T&T
<+Ken> If combat or saving rolls are involved, the book and the rules tells the player what dice to roll.
<+Ken> One can do a lot with solo T&T play.
<+JamesGillen> Was this before Choose Your Own Adventure?
<+Ken> Yes, we were about 2 years ahead of the first Choose Your Own Adventure. And ahead of Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy too.
<~Dan> Interesting! I didn’t know that.
<+Ken> Few people do.
<~Dan> Do the solo adventures use pregen characters?
<+Ken> But check copyright dates and you can see I’m telling you the truth.
<+BillR> Solos were great, untll the door slammed and the room filled up with water LoL
<+Ken> Not usually. though they can. What makes solos fun is you can use your own character and develop it in the solos and then bring it into
<+Ken> a face to face game.
<~Dan> Ah, that’s cool.
<+Ken> Early solos did have a lot of instant death paragraphs.
<+Ken> in my own defense, i will say the players had already made enough dumb choices to deserve the death they got.
<~Dan> Quick aside: Do I remember correctly that Trolls are the only native kindred to the setting of T&T?
<+Ken> more modern ones usually (not always) give the player more chances to avoid the instant death effect.
<+Ken> but it can still happen after a terrible choice or a really bad dice roll.
<+Ken> Yes. that’s right. It
<+Ken> It’s called Trollworld because the silicon/rock based life that lived there first were the original trolls. Everyother kindred either came from elsewhere
<+BillR> I thought it was funny when it happened and I still do
<+Ken> (dragons and elves and fairies and humans and dwarves) or was evolved/created by wizards as servant races.
<+BillR> My mistake was playing unti 4am
* +danhunsaker shakes a fist at wizards
<+Ken> The original Naked Doom adventure had a room that filled up with beer to drown your character.
<~Dan> See? Corona CAN kill you!
<+Ken> T&T was meant to have a sense of humor from the beginning. Anything can happen.
<+Ken> If you fail your CON saving roll, corona can kill you.
<+BillR> We were ALREADDY filled up wiith beer
<+Ken> In an early adventure I had my players crash their
<+JamesGillen> Tunnels & Trolls: COVID-19 Edition
<+Ken> Traveler spacecraft on Trollworld. They needed to find some mithril to power it back up and escape. The only mithril available
<+Nick_Zachariasen> I have to say I appreciate a game not taking itself too seriously.
<+Ken> was inside the Gristlegrim dungeon. In an epic game they fought their way down through 9 levels of increasing difficulty, using mostly rayguns
<+Ken> to fight the monsters, got the mithril and escaped out the bottom
<~Dan> That’s pretty cool. 🙂
<+Ken> only to be told it was night and they saw 2 moons in the sky. No one had ever asked before how many moons Trollworld had.
<+Ken> Everyone assumed it was like earth with one big moon.
<+Ken> Thinking that they went back into the dungeon and tried to fight the way back to the top.
<+Ken> TPK before the night was over. And ever since Trollworld has had 2 moons. I didn’t switch universes on them at all, just played on their assumptions.
<~Dan> Nice. 🙂
<+Ken> thank you. I think I’m a prety fair game master.
<~Dan> So if monsters are playable in T&T now, what makes M!M! different?
<+Ken> Your goals. Monsters! Monsters! was orignally like Rampage, only long before Rampage was invented. The goal is to do as much damage/evil/
<+Ken> harm as you can and just totally let your socially unacceptable desires run free.
<+danhunsaker> (So it’s specially designed for DammitViktyr, then.)
<+Ken> It has kind of evolved away from that over time. Now it’s just T&T with a different cast of crew members.
<~Dan> How many kindred are available to play in M!M!?
<+Ken> Although the new version in the kickstarter has a new Chaos factor that monsters have and the “good kindreds” don’t.
<+Ken> I think it’s at 38 right now but will probably have 50 or more when the ks finishes, as one of the stretch goals was to allow players to create
<+Ken> their own monster kindred. If it’s good (il.e. meets my standards) I’ll put it in the rules with a note saying who created it.
<+danhunsaker> (Dan loves a good bestiary; if they’re playable characters, all the better.)
<~Dan> Indeed! Speaking of which, does M!M! have a bestiary, or are all the monsters PC kindred?
<+Ken> I’d like you all to take a look at the kickstarter. You can find it here: (Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stevecrompton/monsters-monsters-rpg-andtoughest-dungeon-in-the-world-solo?ref=discovery&term=Monsters!%20Monsters)https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stevecrompton/monsters-monsters-rpg-andtoughest-dungeon-in-the-world-solo?ref=discovery&term=Monsters!%20Monsters
<+Ken> Both. Monsters have been divided in the new rules into playable kindreds like ogres and beasts like obsidian spiders. Beasts have descripitions
<+Ken> and powers but usually just a monster rating.
<+Ken> There is no reason why a player can’t play a monster that just has a rating. If you want to be a giant spider with a monster rating of 60 (7D6 +30 adds)
<+Ken> we can handle it. The game is narration and the GM has to adapt to whatever the players throw at him.
<+Ken> It’s not a board game or a miniatures game. It’s a movie in your mind.
<~Dan> In its current form, who are the “bad guys” in M!M!/
<+Ken> there are no bad guys. I have come to realize that in life. It’s just us and them. In any given situation, wouldn’t you prefer to be part of the us
<+Ken> instead of part of the them.. The players are protagonists.
<+Ken> The obstacles are antagonists.
<+Ken> Uploaded file: (Link: https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/3f68b8e07a6b267d3d4097457c00abf9/KickstarrterCovers3.6.20.jpg)https://uploads.kiwiirc.com/files/3f68b8e07a6b267d3d4097457c00abf9/KickstarrterCovers3.6.20.jpg
<+Ken> So has anyone in this group ever played T&T face to face?
<~Dan> I have not. As I mentioned, I played the iPad version at GenCon… 2017, I think? I saw you there, and I think we talked briefly.
<+Cowbell> I did – it’s been a long, long time, but T&T lured us away from D&D in the early days – mid seventies.
<+Cowbell> We had an underwhelming experience trying the competition, and our GM owned a game store – Alexandria Arts & Crafts back in the DC Metro area.
<+Ken> I have a mind-boggling thought for you all.
<+Ken> Consider the styles of play. TOG moves characters around on a battlemap and makes everyone do things in turns. T&T tells a story and conjures
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<+Ken> up a picture in your mind of what’s happening. Isn’t TOG
<+Ken> just a miniatures game with a veneer of roleplaying? Wouldn’t T&T be the first true roleplaying game? What do you think?
<+Wyorot> I I have
<+Ken> Do you still play, Wyorot?
<+Wyorot> yes with my kids
<+Ken> good for you. T&T is a lot easier to teach a 10 year old than TOG is.
<~Dan> Ken: That’s certainly one way of looking at it!
<~Dan> What is that chaos factor you mentioned?
<+Ken> You know I have a fan community on FB for T&T players. It’s called Trollhalla.
<+Wyorot> mine are all teens but we have done this since they were old enough to comprehend
<+Ken> The chaos factor is a special power that activates for the monster when the forces of good become too overwhelming. It’s kind of hard to exploain
<+Ken> but there’s more about it in the ks documentation.
<+Ken> Excellent. It can be really fun to game with one’s kids or kids in general
<~Dan> The KS mentions “stunting”. Can you say a bit about that?
<+Ken> My 2 children grew up knowing how to play T&T.
<~Dan> (And I need to step away for just a sec. brb!)
<+Ken> Stunting is the true essence of roleplaying.
<+Ken> Stunting is what you do when you can’t win by ordinary methods.
<+danhunsaker> How does it worj?
<+Ken> So, you’re totally surrounded by enemies and they’re gonna kill you on the next combat round. They’re gonna get 50D6 +250 combat adds and you’re
<+Ken> gonna get 5D6 + 12 combat adds. Can you think of a way to save your life?
<+Ken> C’mon. Are you gonna just let the foes kill you?
<~Dan> I bluff them.
<+Ken> Ok. how?
<~Dan> I convince them that I am more than a match for all of them.
<+Ken> Roleplay for me here, Dan. What do you do? Here comes the biggest, ugliest gorilla of all and he intends to kill you.
<+Ken> They don”t believe you. What do you do that convinces them of anything?
<~Dan> I make a great display of swordsmanship.
<~Dan> Well… can I make a Dex save to do that?
<+Ken> Yes, a DEX save is exactly what you need, perhaps combined with Charisma.
<+Ken> So since the GM is feeling merciful, tell me what you DEX is.
<~Dan> Oh, let’s say 16?
<~Dan> (Howdy, archon_ascendant!)
<&Silverlion> I learned from the Naked Doom, IIRC. 😀
<+Ken> good. that’s within the range of a level 1 human. To impress this horde you need to make a L3SR on DEX and a L3 saving roll on CHR.
<+Ken> I have a couple of dice here. Let’s roll and see how you do. You need a total of 14 on 2D6 to do this. I rolled 4, 4 for a totall of 8 and roll again for
<+Ken> a 5, 1, giving you exactly 14. Now what’s your CHR rating?
<~Dan> (CHR = 14, I mean.)
<+Ken> 14. Okay, Now you need to roll a 16 on 2D6. You rolled a 5,6. So close.l If you had made double 5s or double 6s, you’d probably have done it.
<+Ken> Orc no. 1 to Orc no. 2. ”
<+Ken> That guy is pretty good with a sword, he might kill some of us.”
<+Ken> Orc no. 2 to orc no.l 1. “Yeah, but I’ve seen better. Let’s just shoot him.” Orc no. 2 pulls out his bow. So do 5 or 6 others. In about 2 seconds you’re
<+Ken> going to be a pincushion full of arrows. What do you do?”
<+danhunsaker> Time for me to break in with the 15 minute warning question. What is your LEAST favorite thing about M!M!?
<+Ken> And that’s how stunting goes.l
<&Silverlion> Luck saving roll to dodge and HIDE!
<~Dan> Cool. 🙂
<+Ken> You almost made it.
<&Silverlion> Anything but magic, and straight up crazy melee is saving rolls.
<+Ken> Right, and then I give you another saving roll challenge to see if you can pull off the dodge. But there is no place to hide. You’re totally surrounded.
<+Nick_Zachariasen> You mentioned changing hobbits to hobbs because of the Tolkien estate. Is that also why orcs are uruks?
<+Nick_Zachariasen> If so, did they actually threaten legal action over it or was it merely a proactive measure?
<+Ken> actually one of the subtle details I work into the game is change over time.
<&Silverlion> (A wizard did it. Litterally.)
<+Ken> Tolkien actually called his evil soldiers uruks. Remember Saruman’s fighting Uruk-Hai.
<+Ken> Every other medieval fantasy uses the term Orcs, and I used it at the beginning, but I wanted something more distinctive and original.
<+Nick_Zachariasen> Ah, right.
<~Dan> Ken: Did you catch danhunsaker’s question? 🙂
<+Ken> No, the Tolkien estate doesn’t know I exist.
<+Nick_Zachariasen> The same concern (and wanting to take a good-natured poke at Games Workshop) is why I used Orkk, with two Ks.
<&Silverlion> T&T will let you take just about any monster and make it a PC too, though now it impacts character levels. So dwarves always start at level 2 (cheaters) 😀
<+Ken> but it seemed a good change to make.
<+Ken> Good for you, Nick.
<+Ken> it’s possible a dwarf could start at level 1, but you’d have to roll 9 or less for the attributes that get doubled, STR and CON.
<+Ken> That’s another more modern innovation, since 2005.
<+Ken> Character levels are determined by attribute levels, not by experience/adventure points.
<+Ken> pretty much just like real life.
<~Dan> Ken: Did you see this? <+danhunsaker> Time for me to break in with the 15 minute warning question. What is your LEAST favorite thing about M!M!?
<+Ken> Heh, I don’t have least favorite things about my own games.
<~Dan> Fair enough!
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you’d like to bring up?
<+Ken> Not to be immodest, but (Ken makes a foolish face), my games are all logical, brilliant, and funny.
<+Ken> There are a million things we haven’t covered.
<+Ken> please take a look at the kickstarter.
<+Ken> take a look at my inexpensive games available throug drivethrurpg.com
<+Wyorot> I have most of them
<+Ken> consider reading my T&T fiction. There are 2 novels. Rose of Stormgaard and Griffin Feahers.
<~Dan> Usual reminder: If you’ve enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe . Anything’s appreciated! 🙂
<~Dan> Thanks so much for joining us, Ken!
<+Ken> Come follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You wil probably be amused.
<+Ken> It was my pleasure. I hope I made some friends tonight
<~Dan> If you’ll give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you!
<+Ken> and we could do it again some time.
<~Dan> And I’m sure you have. You’re always welcome here!
<+JamesGillen> All right
<~Dan> You needn’t wait for a Q&A. We’re always open for general RPG chat. 🙂