Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How (Not) To Play Dungeons & Dragons


Tunnels And Trolls

The Complete Fantasy Game.
I dug out my Tunnels and Trolls book yesterday (although I forgot to put it in the car) and headed off to Miranda, for what proved to be a most enjoyable day of roleplaying. I played a Hobbit called Clegg the Remarkable, alongside another Hobbit, two Fairies, an Elf and a Wizard. Actually we were mostly spellcasters of one sort or other. Ahmen's character was the only human; Deadly Vapours, a ghostly character barely holding onto existence after an unfortunate magical catastrophe in his Wizardly past.

The only Warrior amongst us was Clegg's cousin, Felen. Upon meeting Clegg she informed him that their entire family had died in a fire. Later this story changed to death by falling cows. Or was that flaming cows? Charlie's character Felen turned out to be a pyromaniac, although she had help keeping this under control.

Gathering at The Jasmine Dragon Tea Rooms, this unlikely party had a Jack and the Beanstalk type adventure that involved all manner of fantasy tropes bent and twisted beyond recognition. A thoroughly delightful day, with Mark Thornton at the helm, an excellent gamemaster and a good friend of Ken St. Andre. It turns out Mark (and his son Charlie), write solo adventures for Tunnels and Trolls.

Obviously with that sort of game mastery, it didn't matter that I'd left my rule book behind! Characters were created with a mix of point buy and dice, resulting in a group of characters that were quick and smart but not particularly tough or strong. Due to the party being low on brawn, some player expertise was required throughout the game - light on combat and heavy on exploration and negotiation. Saving throws were used for the few skirmishes but there was very little in the way of toe-to-toe slug matches that you might experience in a game with more frontline muscle.

Memorable moments include the fairies, Marmaduke and Fay, healing the Elf's head wound. The Elf Gohan had fallen badly through a trap door. Marmaduke applied his 'lucky' first aid talent using straw and bandages with almost fatal effect. Fay then used her 'faith' healing ability and brought Gohan back from the brink. Later the brave Felen killed a charging giant chicken. No mean feat for a Hobbit armed only with a knife! Gohan and the Fairies freed the Giant's wife from a life of servitude and domestic violence while my own character found a magic ring (which can animate bones) and talked the Giant into descending the beanstalk for a cup of tea.

After the game I also played some guitar with Ahmen. All and all a great day with some fine folks!

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