Guestwriter: John Enfield
Playing roleplaying games is a blast with friends new or old, but what do you do when you want to scratch that RPG itch but cannot get a group together that day? You play a solo adventure, of course. Many game systems have solo adventures written for them, but only a few are designed for solo play to start with, such as Tunnels and Trolls, created by Ken St Andre in 1975.
You can play Tunnels and Trolls (T&T) adventures solo, a bit like a Choose Your Own Adventure style of game, only with difficulty checks (which T&T calls ‘Saving Rolls’ or SR) in which you roll two six-sided dice (2D6) and add their result to stats from one of eight ‘Prime Attributes’: Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Dexterity (DEX), Speed (SPD), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIZ), Luck (LK) and Charisma (CHR). The result is then compared to the level of challenge you are attempting. If the adventure says that it is a Level One or (L1SR), the number to beat is 20. This goes up by five for each subsequent level of difficulty. A Level Three or (L3SR) would be 30, for example. The adventure then tells you what happens if you succeed or fail when you turn to the respective paragraph for each. If you succeed, what your 2D6 roll was is also your adventure points gained unless the adventure says otherwise. In this way, the rules and adventure books act as the dungeon master. This relatively simple system (compared to many other RPGs) works for all encounters except for combat, which is slightly more complicated. For playing Trollhammer, all you’ll need is the adventure booklet in paper or .pdf form, paper, pencils with erasers, at least three six sided dice and maybe a calculator. We suggest also downloading and printing off the T&T rules book that can be had free from DriveThruRPG.com. In fact, many other T&T adventures and game aids are on there free or low cost, so you should check it out. Also, check out FlyingBuffalo.com and deluxetunnelsandtrolls.com for all sorts of other T&T info.
Many things in T&T are similar, but not quite the same as they are in many other RPGs. For example, your Constitution is also your health, so when you are fighting, you use your CON attribute number plus your D6 rolls plus ‘Combat Adds’ for whatever weapon you are using to see if you hit your opponent but it is also like your health or HP. When you take damage, your CON number is reduced. If it reaches zero or below, you are dead. Some people play with the rules variant that says that CON of zero is unconscious and at -10 you are dead. If your CON is low but you survive the battle and are still conscious, any class of hero can apply first aid which increases your CON by 1D6/2 (roll one six-sided die and divide the result by two, rounding up to the nearest whole number if you get a fraction).