Love this. Nice T&T style spell names without being derivative; potent spells but costly; very evocative and clear descriptions of the spell categories. I particularly like the description for ranged spells, and the clever distinction between ranged and 'sight'
It's almost feature-complete! Still needs Equipment, Monster Reactions, Wandering Monsters, and Elaborations, though.
Thanks for all the feedback!
Some responses to the questions I left unanswered earlier:
"Combat Adds" and "Tech Dice" both got dumped in favor of "Combat dice". Combat dice replace the idea of weapon-based attack dice. Delvers generally use the same dice for a dagger or a pole-arm, but fictional positioning determines whether they can get attacks in. For example, swords might be useless against enemies charging with pole weapons, but pole-arms might be useless when you are mobbed in hand-to-hand combat. Duels, melee, close combat, and grappling all might privilege different kinds of attacks, and make other kinds futile.
I didn't notice Luck being "king" in my playtests, but I still use Saving Rolls on other abilities when it makes sense. Playing Swords & Wizardry definitely made me appreciate the idea of a single Save, though, and it made Luck a lot more important in my games than it had been.
Oh yes, Combat dice would be re-examined when abilities go up or down, using the same formula: median of DEX, LCK, and STR for Rogues and Warriors, lowest for Occultists.
Yes, Power fuels both spells and smackdowns, and also plays into the minimalist encumbrance rules!
Please let me know what is still confusing! Thanks again!
I think I get it now-Combat Dice instead of Weapon Dice, possible Bonus Dice for situational and/or Weapon Type Modifiers, and Power as the 'kung=fu' that powers Heroic Feats and Magic both...still loving it!
Sig Under Construction...please reduce surfing speed.
order99: Luck is kinglier now. Like in the original, it can be advanced faster than the other abilities, and it is more emphatically the default ability for Saving Rolls. It also plays a bigger role in defense against missile attacks (inspired by 1st edition T&T, but without the "roll to miss" mechanic).
Here's an example of making a delver, rolled up right now in authentic random fashion:
1st roll: ⚀ ⚄. 5-1=4. I put it in LCK. 2nd roll: ⚃ ⚁. 4-2=2. I put it in DEX. 3rd roll: ⚀ ⚄. 5-1=4. I put it in STR. 4th roll: ⚁ ⚃. 4-2=2. I put it in CON. 5th roll: ⚀ ⚀. 1-1=0. I put it in INT. 6th roll: ⚀ ⚂. 3-1=2. I put it in CHA, the only blank left.
With those abilities, I'm hoping this character will make a good warrior. Let's call him Ernie.
As a warrior, Ernie gets Combat dice equal to the median of DEX, LCK, and STR, which is 4. Not bad!
Next, we roll 2d6 (DARO) and add STR to determine starting Power. This will determine Ernie's reservoir of stamina for feats of speed and strength: I got ⚃+⚃ (Doubles!) +⚂+⚃, + 4 (STR) = 19! Wow. Ernie has really been taking care of his Qi lately, meditating near waterfalls and hot crystal massages I guess.
Languages: Hold it! What does Ernie look like, some king of Norman Chompsky? Let's just stick with the common trade tongue.
Ernie get's Quick Adventure Gear for a warrior: Traveling clothes, backpack, rations for 1 day, a pike (heavy, reach), a rapier (light), a flanged mace (very heavy, buster), and leather armor (light, 2 armor). Oh and 3d6 pocket coins: ⚄+⚃+⚄ = 14 jingling bits. Let's just stow those in his shoe—since he doesn't speak One-eyed Goblin or Bearded Internet Troll, he might need some jingle to mime a negotiation if the old bashy-bashy doesn't work.
Counting up the Heavy stuff, Ernie is carrying a Load of 3, but he still has room for plenty of treasure before he has to worry.
1st roll: ⚀ ⚀. 1-1=0. This goes to CON. 2nd roll: ⚄ ⚀. 5-1=4. This goes to INT. 3rd roll: ⚁ ⚅. 6-2=4. Pop it over to STR. 4th roll: ⚃ ⚃. 4-4=0. I put it in DEX. 5th roll: ⚀ ⚄. 5-1=4. I put it in LCK. 6th roll: ⚁ ⚂. 3-2=1. This goes to CHA.
With these abilities, I'll try a warlock this time. I'll call him Cuthbert, or just Bert for short.
As a warlock, Cuthbert gets the lowest rating of DEX, LCK, and STR for Combat dice. Yikes, that's zero! Better hope your spells work, Bert! Otherwise, you're a sitting duck!
Power: That's 2d6 (DARO) + STR: ⚀+⚄ + 4 (STR) = 10. Not phenomenal, but not terrible either.
Languages: It goes without saying that Cuthbert is fluent in the trade tongue, and he gets 4 additional languages. Not only does he pick up the aforementioned One-eyed Goblin or Bearded Internet Troll dialects, but he also knows the secret ritual language of the Priests of Wazoo. I decided to leave a language slot open until I learn more about the factions vying for dominance in the Twisted Tunnels. The referee gets some ideas for adventure hooks based on the languages I picked, and scribbles them maniacally into her notes!
Bert gets Quick Adventure Gear for a warlock: Traveling clothes, backpack, rations for 1 day, a wicked-looking silver dagger and a staff. Both of these can be used as light weapons, but the dagger is a magical instrument, and the staff can be charged as a makeshift instrument in a pinch. Rolling 3d6 for Bert's pocket coins gives me ⚄+⚅+⚄ = 16. Unlike Ernie, Cuthbert's dealings with dark powers has given him a healthy respect for the dark depths that await, and he buys 10 torches, 20' hemp rope (heavy), a butterfly net, and a useful bottle, leaving him with 3 coins to spare. He gives that to a gibbering one-armed veteran of the Twisted Tunnels for a treasure map.
Bert's Load is just 1, for the rope, and he's hoping to excavate some serious coin to fund his obsession with new spells from the Cabal.
Ernie gropes blindly through the tunnels. So far he has just faced a few One-eyed Goblins whose unintelligible squeals give him no pause as he bashes them into pulp like so many puppies.
Peering ahead for any signs of treasure or trouble, suddenly there is some! The tunnel opens into a large, torch-lit chamber, where moving shadows and voices show some promise of adventure! As his eyes drink in the dim light, he sees a columned arcade, with a jeweled mosaic covering a patch of wall between two columns.
There, under an archway, a large but badly-bruised Bearded Internet Troll holds a torch to the mosaic for his companion: a sallow, pointy-headed hoodlum who closely examines a scroll, side-by-side with a symbol on the wall. Closer still, two tattered One-eye Goblins lean on spears, gawping silently at Ernie as he approaches.
Ernie readies his pike, belching out his battle cry: "I'm going to kill you!"
The sallow-skinned hoodlum turns and says, "Destroy him!"
The goblins turn their spear-points toward Ernie and advance, while the sorcerer shouts out a spell: Evil Eye! Ernie is knocked down to 0 CON, and suffers two hits to his Combat dice! He is reeling when the goblins strike. The sorcerer looses 3 Power: That's 5 for the spell, less 2 for using a magical instrument.
It's a clash! The goblins have Monster Ratings of 1 each, giving them 2 Combat dice against Ernie's 2. The goblins roll ⚀ and ⚀ versus Ernie's ⚃ and ⚃ (I am not making this up). That's a score of 2 and 0 hits for the goblins; and a score of 8 for Ernie with 0 hits. Ernie's advantage for using a reach weapon is moot when fighting enemies who are armed with reach weapons too. But Ernie wins the clash anyway, dealing 1 hit of damage to the goblins. The referee drops the MR of one goblin to zero, and the goblin falls. His guttural squeals of agony echo through the arcade.
The troll lumbers up swinging his spiked club into a column as he approaches. Ernie and the remaining goblin must make Level 1 Saving Rolls to dodge the towering stone trunk. Ernie rolls ⚃ + ⚂ + 4 (LCK) = 11. Made it! The goblin rolls ⚁ + ⚅ + 1 (since it's an insignificant monster, the referee uses the dungeon level for its LCK) = 9. Made it!
Ernie and the goblin are on opposite sides of the column now as the troll winds up for another swing. Is the disabled goblin still alive? ⚅ + ⚄ + 1 says he is. The shrieking continues.
From the shadows of the columns, the sorcerer shouts out another spell while holding his instrument: Skedaddle! His Power drops by 3 again.
Ernie is gripped with fever-dreams of terror, and he bolts for the passage into blind darkness. His panic escalates, as he can no longer concentrate to navigate the tunnels in darkness, and he turns right, left, right, right, right, stumbling right back into the same arcade by another entrance! Feeling like a trapped animal, he goes berserk!
The goblin is hunched over his caterwauling comrade in the shadows, and the troll is loping back toward the sorcerer. Ernie charges the troll with his pike. Unable to respond in time, the referee rules that the troll is flat-footed, getting only his LCK (in this case, the dungeon's level) as a defensive score.
Ernie rolls his two Combat dice, +1 (the current dungeon level) as a berserker bonus. This time he can add his STR to the score for charging with a reach weapon. The dice hit: ⚅, ⚁, and ⚄. Taking the highest die, and adding his STR gives him a score of 10, and the remaining dice give him 2 hits.
The battered troll is nursing wounds already, with a Monster Rating of 3, and this pike wound gores him severely.
With the troll blocking Ernie from the sorcerer's sight, the magic-user is unable to target him with another Evil Eye. Seeing that his ally will be defeated, he casts Wiggling Wisp on his instrument and flees down a side tunnel to fight another day.
The troll rolls a single die to attack with his massive club: ⚄. That's a score of 5, and zero hits. Ernie rolls 3 dice to drive the pike home again, while dodging the troll's attack: ⚂, ⚄, and ⚀, giving him a score of 5 and 2 hits. Since he is defending against the troll's reach attack, he doesn't get the STR bonus to his score this time. Their scores for this round are tied, but the Clash goes in Ernie's favor since he rolled more hits.
The 2 hits are enough to defeat the troll. Not understanding any meaning in its low, labored grunts, Ernie smashes its head with his mace before recovering his pike. Then he lifts the troll's torch: The goblin seems to have dragged his injured companion away, and there's no sign of the sorcerer.
Ernie survives, having defeated 2 enemies with Monster Ratings of 1 and 3. He earns 4 XP immediately for his victory. But now he has a chance to pry some jewels from the mosaic, which may win him much more XP if he can bring them back to the outpost!
Oh, and the sallow-skinned sorcerer was none other than Bert the whole time! He shadowed Ernie for the rest of the delve, and then arranged a friendly meet up when they got back to the outpost. They're buddy's now!
One of the fascinating features of early T&T was an attitude toward monsters that presaged games like Pokémon and Sorcerer, including explicit mechanics for capturing and taming the monstrous opposition! This feature was all but erased by the publication of 5th edition in 1979, but one can still find its vestiges if one knows where to look!
Instead of concealing or eliminating this atavistic oddity, TTYF! embraces it! Thrust into the hostile world of the Twisted Tunnels, most level 1 delvers can't afford the luxury of hirelings for their expedition. Being a resourceful lot, some will settle for the next best thing…
Thanks, ProfGremlin! That looks right up my alley and I'll definitely check it out. Lately I've been reading the original weird tales Conan stories by Robert E. Howard, which I was never exposed except as the character and setting were later filtered through other media.