Hello. I've created this new thread as a place where we can all discuss Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls (dT&T), whether it be rule changes, the book itself, its layout, descriptions, illustrations, etc.
I am slowly reading my way through the tome and find myself eager to talk about the game as I encounter changes. Prior to rediscovering T&T, I had been away from the game since my last T&T campaign ended sometime in the very early 1990s. That campaign used the 5.0 Edition rules and I have never seen nor played any version since then until I purchased dT&T about a month ago. So, for me, dT&T contains many changes, although I acknowledge that some of them may have first appeared in version 5.5 or onward.
In the main, I find that I like most of the changes but until I actually play-test them, I am withholding a final opinion.
This is just the thread introduction. With my next posting, I'll dive into some of what I like and don't like in the rules thus far (I'm currently up to page 60). Of course, feel free to jump in with your own observations in the meantime; I'm often dealing with real-world stuff and may experience times when I cannot log-in for several days or longer.
Post by kkragthorrr on Jan 26, 2016 12:02:55 GMT -5
The version of T&T I played before dT&T was 5.5 version, so like yourself some of the changes I have noticed may not have originated in dT&T. I have found that my group has loved most of the new rules and that it is quickly becoming our favorite game for tabletop night.
One huge change I noticed is how AP is handled. So far I have found that my players love being able to apply AP immediately and love the freedom that it gives them to customize their character. I was concerned at first that the new system would cause players to jump in power to quickly, but so far that does not seem to be the case.
Another aspect my players have enjoyed is Talents. Now I'm not sure how talents worked in previous editions but to my group they were completely new. They have proved a useful way for players to make their character unique without complicating character creation. They have definitely enjoyed it better than D&D 3.5 skill system.
One thing I did notice right away about DT&T is that characters start out much stronger than their 5.5 counterparts. Now that characters also get adds from their speed and no longer get penalties for attributes under 9 I am now finding players have many more adds. Personally I think adds for speed make sense but I'm not sure how I feel about removing the penalties.
Anyway these are just a few things that stuck out to me. I''m not sure how much of it was a change that occurred in dT&T and how much of it occurred in an earlier edition though.
Talents, increasing attributes on the go and Speed giving adds were all in 7e. I certainly like Talents and the fluid attribute increases. I don't especially see the need for Speed, but that change goes back to 5e/Arena of Khazan, so is part of the game now.
The no penalties for low attributes is all new, though it does harmonize with monster rating (no monster ever had negative adds with an MR).
Post by peterpanda on Jan 27, 2016 21:18:25 GMT -5
Hello! I'm back (temporarily - real-life if so d**n intrusive...)
Thanks to all of you for getting this thread going. I want to echo the comments of kkragthorrr. I think the new way of conceptualizing and using APs is quite interesting and exciting. I haven't test played it yet, but find myself quite intrigued by this approach. My first thought was that this method can actually slow down ridiculous attribute progression (which becomes a problem, especially when playing the original solos) by simply allowing the Game Master to award AP in small amounts - not unfairly, but not to the point where characters are becoming too powerful after just a couple of sessions.
The first new rule that I didn't care for was eliminating negative adds and I believe that in my upcoming dT&T campaign, I am going to restore negative adds for any prime attribute 7 or lower. To me, negative adds make sense and I didn't find the justification for eliminating them to be particularly persuasive. If someone is below the bell curve in ST, DX, LK, SP then, to me, this is going to have an obvious (negative) impact on how well they fight in combat. A weak character shouldn't just be limited by the type of weapon they can wield, they are also going to tire out more quickly and deliver weaker blows (hence negative adds). A notably clumsy person isn't just going to be limited to certain weapons, they are also going to likely miss their target or fail to deliver a blow where it does the most damage (hence negative adds). I could go on with examples for LK and SP, but I think you get the point even if you don't agree with me. To me, it just makes sense.
Besides, I once had a character with -3 Adds survive Buffalo Castle (he avoided running into the Octopus which would have killed him) and this sticks in my mind after all these years because of how fortunate I was to have the character overcome such a liability, survive, and eventually become more powerful. I also once rolled up a character that had something like -7 Adds (worst character I ever rolled) who promptly died at his first combat. These are enduring memories made possible only by the presence of negative adds.
I'll chime in more on other things I like in another post. Life calls me away yet again.
I do like the classic rationale for "negative Adds", and I agree that the explanation for removing those penalties in Deluxe doesn't address the merits of the old system or offer why this is better.
My impression, from Ken's comments elsewhere, is that removing "negative Adds" expresses his interest in running T&T as a "fantasy superhero" game. That reason could justify it for everyone who favors that style. But the classic game has a "zero-to-hero" style—in consequence of the rules, if not by the author's intention—that has it's own appeal. The "zero-to-hero" approach is definitely my preference when it comes to T&T, and this wouldn't be the only rule change that pushes Deluxe in the "fantasy superhero" direction:
There's also the attribute TARO rule, the Warrior's extra weapon dice, Second Chances on Saving Rolls, Specialists, Talents and Schools of Magic, and a pervasive emphasis on "backstory" that wasn't anywhere to be found in previous editions. Classic T&T strongly implied that your Level 1 delver was just starting out, and basically disposable, at least until the character survives a few runs. But the expectation that characters have "backstories", and an appropriate backstory can win you better equipment (p30), or special fighting powers (p80–81), encourages the notion that these characters are already proven, even "special". Beware: My dungeons will pop your characters like the balloons full of blood that they are.
There are two definite benefits to nixing "negative Adds", though: Removing the penalties makes it a lot easier to compute Adds, and to explain how it's done to a batch of new players at the table. The algorithm is a lot simpler, with fewer steps.
The other benefit is negligible: Without combat penalties from low attribute scores, we don't have to say awkward things like "negative Adds" or "Negs" anymore.
Post by peterpanda on Jan 30, 2016 10:04:14 GMT -5
Thanks gaptooth for clarifying what appears to be a paradigmatic shift in dT&T toward more heroic styles of play and away from what you so poetically put it: from "zero to hero." I am firmly more in the zero-to-hero camp than I am in the faster, "superhero" approach to playing. As a result of this, I intend to weigh each new rule change with careful consideration; thankfully, T&T encourages its players to modify things and create house rules, so being religiously faithful to the core rules is not a driving principle.
An example of where I'm proceeding cautiously is with the new Warrior rules. On the one hand, I do like the overall idea that Warriors should be given some kind of benefit for selecting that class instead of it being a default option when the character fails to qualify for anything else. On the other hand, I'm worried that an extra die and do-over SRs might imbalance the game and lead it closer to that "superhero" ethos that I don't fancy.
It is less clear to me if Talents and additional schools of magic simply add flavour to the game or slide it further down the "superhero" slope. I will play test it and see what happens.
I think the idea of a backstory can be okay, provided not every character has some interesting family history and/or amazing heirloom - that just doesn't seem particularly realistic, at least not in a zero-to-hero world nor in a classic medieval/ancient social order where the lower classes vastly outnumbered by the upper and led mostly lives of toil. In my old T&T campaign, I tackled the backstory problem by breaking from the d6 orthodoxy of T&T and allowed my players to role percentiles when creating their characters to determine their social class. The social class chart was heavily weighted toward the lower classes, starting with destitute and going as high as nobility, which was only a 1% probability. In all the years we played, only one character ever rolled close to nobility, getting as high as Lower Nobility. The roll on this chart was used to determine what their starting cash would be and helped the player to write their backstory.
Anyway, I'll chime in some more on weapons in my next post.
After further thought, I think it was imprecise to say that Talents and Schools of Magic push the game toward super-heroics. My quibble with the way they are presented in Deluxe is that they push the game toward bean-counting.
The Talents offer two very different things: sockets for fictional differentiation that can enhance fictional positioning, and scaling numeric bonuses. The first is something that can certainly enhance play with very little effort. But for T&T, I don't think the scaling numeric bonuses add anything interesting to the mix, and the mentality of striving for More And Bigger Numbers detracts from the raw simplicity of the game. I could play GURPS or Pathfinder if I wanted a character sheet that looked like an accountant's ledger.
The thing is, scaling numeric bonuses isn't the only way to make Talents interesting in the game. The simplest way is implied by classic T&T: Fairies can fly. They can just fly. Their flying ability isn't governed by spending magic or a Talent bonus; it just works based on the fiction with few, common-sense mechanical limits. But it can have an immense impact on how the character interacts with the fiction. Likewise, the were-creatures of classic T&T can just change shape, without casting a spell or making a roll. Talents could work like that: Each talent could simply give you a distinct way of interacting with the fiction that is unavailable to delvers without the talent.
Before Deluxe, my house rule was to give Talent-related Saving Rolls three dice, and letting the player pick two after the roll. There was no bonus to their raw ability score, but this gave them a much better chance of rolling doubles. A roll of 3 (3 ones), still counted as a failure. This added an interesting mechanical dimension to being Talented, without making it an accounting exercise to invest AP in skills with varied bonuses.
Unlike some rules of Deluxe, it's not easy to simply rule out Talents, because Talents are the Rogue's main advantage now. If you drop Talents, you diminish the Rogue. It might work to play Talents without the bean-counting, though, using one of these options (or something else).
The new "cast and fight" rule in Deluxe is a "fantasy superhero" shift that I left out in my post above. Like the Warrior's bonus weapon dice, casting spells and fighting in the same round propels the game into a more super-heroic feel, and it fundamentally alters the tactical flow of combat for casting characters. But I'm not sure it's fair to say Talents do that.
Post by kkragthorrr on Jan 30, 2016 19:43:38 GMT -5
I really don't think Talents push the game too far in a bean-counting direction. After playing too much of That Other Game Talents seem simple and refreshing. They area simple way to make characters unique and more customizable without evolving into some convoluted skill system. That being said I agree with gaptooth in the sense that I like to avoid the mechanical aspect when I can. Not every action needs to be rolled for, if a player has a talent then they ought to be able to accomplish simple tasks in that field without rolling.
I think Talents are a modest enough extension in complexity that they add to the game rather than taking away from it. At the simplest level , +3 to a few relevant rolls, or GM deemed success for a relevant talent (as kkragthorrr outlined) it is simpler than the skill system in MSPE or proposed for 5.5e.
I think the tendency to superherodom has been present in T&T from the beginning in the solo adventures. Many of them, particularly the Ken St Andre ones, would have you gain attributes very rapidly, and perhaps other changes such as metal skin or a hand of living diamond. Perhaps these kind of changes mimic the origin stories of classic superheroes such as Spiderman.
For many players of T&T (myself included) it was first and foremost the solo game, secondly a game I came to play in face to face. I was excited by how much fun it was face to face, but it probably helped me as aGM that I had already had experience with games such as Feng Shui, so I was disposed to encouraging that narrative play style.
For solo players , dT&T is perhaps going to be the easy mode. Higher dice for warriors, and casting AND fighting for spell users. I imagine this will make those adventures more survivable. I think I will prefer that - at my age now , the joy of solo's is in the exploration more than beating the maths.
My copy will be arriving soon I hope - just waiting for the local dispatch.
As I think more about what's being discussed here and the whole idea of Talents, I find that, in general, I like the idea of having them in the game. Furthermore, as I see it, how they have been written about in dT&T strikes me as pretty loosey-goosey from a strict rules perspective, thereby making their impact highly controllable when used in a tabletop, GM setting. They also seem to fit the zero-to-hero ethos, with the assumption that even zeroes had some occupation or knowledge base prior to embarking on their quest for fame, glory, riches, and power.
While I'm not yet clear on whether I'll modify how they are used in the game for my players, I really like gaptooth's approach of allowing three dice to be rolled and letting the player pick the two that they want - not necessarily for use with Talents, but perhaps to replace the do-over SR that Warriors get (I'm worried that this benefit creates too great of an imbalance). I'm not a mathematician, so it's not clear to me which approach creates more of an advantage - completely re-rolling an SR or rolling 3d6 and taking the two you prefer (but keeping in place some combination that equals an automatic fail).
While my first encounter with T&T was via a sit-down game using 4th edition, it didn't take long for me to discover the solos and those became a well-used outlet for my gaming habit throughout a lot of the late 70s into the mid-80s. Sit-down sessions could only occur when the timing was right whereas solo play was readily available. Except in a few rare circumstances, I always kept my solo characters separate from my sit-down session characters because there was usually a huge difference in power between them - the solo characters tended to be much more powerful.
What do folks here think about getting rid of Missile Adds? When I ran my T&T campaign, I actually did the exact same thing in the interest of keeping things simple. That was, of course, before Speed was made into a Combat Adds attribute - I could justify my simplification on the grounds that Strength, Dexterity, and Luck all played a role in firing most missile weapons. With Speed, however, I find it harder to accept unless there's some correlation to the number of shots you get, like Legolas at the Battle of Helm's Deep in the LOTR movie. I'm not sure if it's a big deal and if I should just keep it as written in dT&T or restore Missile Adds but with a formula that eliminates Speed but double counts Dexterity.