Monday, 17 June 2013

Print And Play Gaming: My New Passion

Okay, passion may be a bit of a strong word, but I am certainly getting a kick out of it. It's not exactly new to me either.

I have been playing them in dribs and drabs for sometime, but the effort that it took to actually produce some of them didn't seem worth it in the return that you got from gameplay. Don't get me wrong, these are free print and play games that we are talking about but, free shouldn't mean poor quality.

For clarity though, I'm not using quality as a measure of a games aesthetics, but rather the quality of the game overall. Has it been well thought out? Do the mechanics work? Does the game still have bugs? These are all things I consider when weighing up whether or not to print out a print and play project.

As well as quality, design is also a big consideration when I'm looking at a print and play project. I don't think that anyone wants to be sitting there printing and trimming reams of paper / card and, preparing specialised components (I certainly don't).

So when designing a game, keeping it brief and the use of common components (such as standard D6 etc) are big pluses in the print and play arena. They are big considerations for me at least. Also as I plan to start reviewing the print and play games that I play, it seems only fair to have a set of common considerations to measure them by. Factors that I think matter to the player.

Friday, 14 June 2013

An Amazing Month!

It's taken a while to get around to this, but a short break before work is plenty
enough to report back that last month, was an amazing month for the blog :0).

In fact, we broke all previous records for the number of folks visiting us by a clear 600 visits, over which I am quite stoked. Veteran bloggers may think, "well, that's not much" but, when you put that in the context of the relative youth of this blog and the previous record of 1,435; it's pretty damn impressive!

So, as ever, a big thank you to everyone that's dropped by. :0).

By this point, I imagine that at least a few of you are beginning to wonder, why exactly I am so obsessed with the figures? Let me say, it's more than a measure of success. Sure, I love to see that hit counter running up, it's a sign that I'm delivering content that you want, but it's also through the figures that I get a good idea of what's not working. Knightmare Re-Run being the most recent example.

Personally, I quite enjoy the show but, the subject as a whole has garnered little to no interest here. So, I figure, why waste space? If there's no audience for the content, then there's very little point in continuing to run it. The figures (and of course any comments you leave) are very important with this kind of trending, especially when I consider that the blogs remit is as wide a field as "gaming".

That's a whole lot of subject matter, and I only want to deliver the best.

As a result things are pretty much always up in the air here. It's not a bad thing. It just means that we're still feeling our way. Eventually we'll likely settle into a few regular features.. Once we work out what they should be.

So have your say! If there's something you like, dislike, would like to see or, like to see consigned to oblivion. Feel free to drop us a comment, they're always welcome.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Another Break

The 13th of the month and, only just getting the first post in.. Oh dear.

In fairness it was pretty much unavoidable though. All the rabid running around of the past month or so (both in and out of work) took it's toll, and facing absolute burn-out I took some downtime.

In truth, I am still physically pretty exhausted but I have enough steam about me to carry on (not to mention the fact that doing nothing drives me up the wall, being "somewhat" of a workaholic) and, am ready to take my blogging to task.. Although it'll likely be a couple of days yet before I provide any real updates, as work beckons, and lengthy shifts loom on the horizon.

Briefly though, my immediate plans for blogging are:

  • An update and run down on last months achievements (we did good!).
  • Print and play gaming: my new passion.
  • Feature Abandon: Knightmare Re-run (It wasn't popular, it had to go).
  • Print And Been Playing: A new feature, replacing Knightmare Re-Run. A review section for the print and play games that I have been playing, with a positive bias towards free print and play games.
Hope to see you all there! :0).

Monday, 27 May 2013

Fighting The Power Creep: Part The Second

Carrying on from my last Tunnels & Trolls post, where I set out to slay the power creep; an evil creature from the Mountains of Dice, and with attributes running into the thousands; I have created a couple of more house rules that can significantly help alter the tempo of game play..

I have also come to notice that what initially started out as a series of quick fixes is fast becoming / may well become its own rulebook!

AP scaling and the "Goldilocks Zone"
One of the biggest problems with the 7.x rules as they are written is the amount of AP it takes to raise any one attribute, a mere 10 times the current value of the attribute. This seems way too generous to me and, takes a lot of challenge out of the delving experience. Especially when you compare this to older editions, for example 5.5.

Example: A truly average character, Generic Erik has a score of 10 in each and every attribute. The 1000 AP that it would ordinarily take to raise one attribute under 5.x by at best two could equally raise five separate attributes by one point a piece using 7.x.

The other end of the scale that I have seen amongst the rulebooks (7.0 I believe), costs increasing any attribute at 100 times its current value in AP. This seems way too harsh to me. It bogs down character development, and can detract from fun and spontaneous play. Players need a measure of their progress and, their characters are it.

My solution would be to set the AP cost of increasing any given attribute by one at 50 times the current attribute value. You can of course set the value to whatever you wish but, I find that 50 works best for me. It keeps play moving, but doesn't remove the element of challenge from the game.

Whatever value decide to elect though should be carefully considered, as it will have a HUGE impact on your game.

Modified Modifiers
Not a big problem but, a common criticism of Tunnels & Trolls is how the modifiers massively effect play and, player choice. Let's face it, you'd have to be mad to play as a Human off the bat, especially in solo land where survival is the name of the game.
It's not that Humans are a bad choice (an extra Talent is nothing to be sneezed at) but, when the modifiers given to a Dwarf make them excellent Warriors, and Warriors are the only character Type that can play through most solo's, it's clear to see why most players pick them.

This also creates a problem with the way that level is measured in 7.x. Whilst it makes more sense to me to have level measured against your actual ability (your attributes), the scale used to measure your level is set to a "Human Average". So starting play as a Dwarf in 7.x can often mean that you roll up a second level character, which just doesn't "feel" right.
My solution, convert the multipliers in the rulebook into more manageable modifiers, akin to those in the "other game". Here's what I have for the Common Kindreds so far:

New Common Kindred Modifiers

CON: +3, LK: -1, STR: +3

CON: -1, CHR: +3, INT: +2, LK: +2, WIZ: +3

CON: -3, CHR: +3, DEX: +3, LK: +3, STR: -3, WIZ: +3

CON: +3, DEX: +2, LK: +2, STR: -2

DEX: +2, INT: +2, LK: +2, STR: -2

I'm still working on few further house rules to accompany the new system but  my current thoughts are that no attribute should ever drop below three at creation. If it does, it's value becomes three. The alternative to this is to say that if the modifier would drop an attribute to below three, that character cannot become that Kindred. Favoring freedom though, I much prefer the former.

I'm also considering a number of other options related to Kindred, including inherent powers, where for example a Minotaur may be better at charging his foe, whilst Skeletons take less damage from slashing weapons (but more from smashing ones). There's also the matter of drawing a line between "natural" and "created" Kindreds, along with any number of other loose ends..

Yup, there's a lot more in the power creep yet but, that's all for now folks.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A Short Break.. Sort Of

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When I say short break it conjures up images of days spent by the seaside, candy floss and, fairgrounds.. Well, it does for me, but alas this is nothing of the sort (not that I actually like fairgrounds, with the exception of hook-a-duck).

Nope, my working week begins in about an hours time, which with the long hours that I actually work (9 hour stints without a break) leaves me little time for anything else that isn't eating or sleeping. So it's not likely that I'll get another post in till late Saturday / mid-afternoon Sunday at the earliest.

Still, we are going great guns for the month so far, and I still have pages worth of notes to make tangible and post.

So, we're looking at a couple of days break as it stands, maybe an extra day or so as I catch up on my sleep, but that's all it is. A break.. Of sorts, and I look forward to seeing you all on the flip side. :0).

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Fighting The Power Creep: Part 1

My most recent Tunnels & Trolls post looking at different ways of handling
Personal Adds and Talents has given me food for thought. Primarily about Talents in general and, how they are handled in-game but, also how far can I "push" my new way of handling Personal Adds? How much of the game can it re-write?

Progressive Talents

In my original post, I wrote: 

My solution is to open up the option of weapon Talents, something that was also discussed in during the Talents conversation over at the Google+ group. Instead of rolling a dice for the bonus though, I would simply set the value of the bonus granted by the Talent to the number of character levels that the weapon has been continually wielded for plus one.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian takes a Weapon Talent in "Clubs" as he loves to bash things over the head and take their stuff. As Bobby is new to adventuring his bonus is +1, meaning that he'll roll an extra dice when wielding any sort of club in combat. The bonus only applies to one weapon, so even if he were wielding two clubs, he'd still only roll one extra dice.

For every level of his career that Bobby from the previous example uses a club predominantly as a weapon, he can boost his Clubs Talent by one as he increases in level (going from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 etc), in addition he still gets to pick a new Talent.

After further deliberation, I have come to think of this as an example of what I have termed a "Progressive Talent". Talents that only initially give a small bonus but, can improve with time and practice. Which made me think, isn't that EVERY talent?

People don't get better at something without practice, so why should characters? So my new take on Talents is that they should all be considered progressive, granting the delver an initial bonus of +1, which goes up as the character goes up in level, IF they effectively used the Talent at that level.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian has been adventuring for a while now, and as much as he loves his club, he has found that the two-handed sword that he recovered from the body of a fallen foe is much more effective in hacking and slashing his way to fame and glory. In fact, Bobby who is not far from advancing to level 3 has little else in combat of late.

Bobby's player realises this, and also that as he doesn't have a Talent relating to the two-handed sword. So when he advances in level shortly he will receive no bonus to his Clubs Talent and even if he took a Two-Handed Sword Talent it would only begin at +1.

As you can imagine, this massively down plays the power of Talents, which now all begin at the lowest possible result of a D6 roll (but do increase over time). I have given this thought though, and balanced it out with two other house rules.


Calling back upon my previous idea of professionals within Tunnels & Trolls, it is my thought that they could be introduced here to help offset the power drain created by the introduction of Progressive Talents.

Instead of the +1 bonus normally granted by a Progressive Talent, Professionals begin with that same Talent at +2 but, only if it is a Talent that is within their stable. This represents foreknowledge of the skill at hand before actually bringing it into practice, so even if a Talent from that Professions stable is selected later on in the delvers career, it still begins at +2.


Also in my previous post looking at combat, I created a new system for handling Personal Adds.. Well, doing away with them completely, and replacing them with something that I felt better represented the effects of various attributes on combat:

Strength Adds: Each point of STR beyond 12 adds +1 to your combat total.
Dexterity Adds: Roll 1 extra dice in combat for every point of DEX you have beyond 12, and then drop that many.
Speed Adds: Each point of SPD beyond 12 grants you one hit of "natural armor".
Luck Adds: Re-roll up to 1 dice for every point of LK you have beyond 12, once per combat round. You must accept the second result.

Applying a similar logic to Intelligence, I have decided that the number of Talents a character begins with should be equal to their INT bonus (1 for every point of Intelligence beyond 12) plus their level, and that languages should be considered Talents (because being a skilled linguist certainly is a Talent). So a new 1st level character with an INT of 14 would begin with 3 Talents.

The big issue (problem) that I can see arising from the relation between Intelligence and Talents is that Kindreds with significant modifiers in that area could begin the game as walking, talking, encyclopedias. Which really isn't what I set out to achieve.. So I've had to house rule on this one too in my efforts to fight back the power curve.

More to follow...

Monday, 20 May 2013

The Bard's Tale

Last night / early this morning I finally got to completing The Bard's Tale,  a video game that has taken me the better part of a few months to best. Not because it was difficult (although it certainly had it's moments), not even because it was all that long. No, thew reason it took so long to complete was because the second-hand disc that I had bought let you play 80-85% of the way through the game before crashing...

This was suffice to say infuriating as by this point you've probably contributed about 10 hours of play-time. So, it sat there incomplete, which also deeply annoyed me, but as you say no cloud is without a silver lining and, mine came in the form of a friend kindly lending me his copy when I raised the problem I'd had in passing conversation. Cheers Phil. :0).

So, being a little concerned that I was too rusty just to jump in where I left off, I started over and about 10 hours later I again reached the problem area, this time powering through without incident.

None of this is the point of the post though!

It's all just back-story before I discuss point at hand, and we're still not quite there but bear with me.

The plot of The Bard's Tale is a mix and match of your standard clichés. Save the damsel in distress, wizards in towers, darkness sweeping the land.. Yada yada yada. The game makes good use of this though to subvert player expectations before delivering the twist in the tale.

You've battled your way through three remote towers, slain their guardians at the summits and, upon confronting the final wizard who holds the Princess Caleigh captive, he tries to reason with you..

That's right, reason with you. Up until this point Caleigh through her magic and followers has been feeding you information to the effect that she is being held captive and that should you rescue her, you'll be rewarded with wealth beyond your wildest dreams. By and large, the story adds up and, Fionnaoch, the head of the druidic order that has been hounding you since you found your way to the first tower, with a clear view to see you dead.

He however, tells quite a different story. Caleigh, he claims is a demon queen whom he and three other wizards bound after her attempt to throw the land into darkness 1000 years ago. There is also plenty of evidence to support this case. From the point that the first guardian fell, undead have been sweeping the land in their droves, getting worse as each subsequent guardian fell. There is also the fact that the magical transport Caleigh sent to rescue The Bard was a giant flaming stingray with the power of flight. Even before Fionnaoch's plea this had me suspicious.

This is where the game throws you a curve ball however, you can CHOOSE who to side with!

Which brings me to the whole point of this post, who would you choose to side with? On one hand you could remain loyal to Caleigh. Fionnaoch's tale does have a ring of truth about it but he has spent the better part of your journey plotting your demise. His pet killed your pet and, his moves have been calculated if not successful. Even if Caleigh is a demon queen, responsible for the undead legions, they've not been attacking you directly.. They've just been plaguing the land in general.

On the other hand, if Fionnaoch is telling the truth it doesn't seem unreasonable that he would do everything in his power to stop the towers falling to Caleigh and her followers, even to the point of killing a hapless adventurer. Siding with him however does make financial reward unlikely, and death at the hands of a demon queen in battle highly likely. Fionnaoch is by no means the combatant a demon would likely prove to be.

The game also offers a third choice.. Walk away. Yup, after all you have been through, you can decide it's really not your problem, call it a day and head to the nearest tavern instead.

Caleigh, Fionnaoch, The Bar. Which gets your vote?

So my question is simply, what would you do? Side with Caleigh, Fionnaoch or, head down the pub instead?

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Geeks Do It Better #6: Papers And Paychecks

What better way to follow-up on my favorite Will McLean piece than with Jerry's. So who's up for a game of Papers and Paychecks? ;0).

Tim Strikes Again!

Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor has put up another great post for the aspiring GM, this time focusing on building a small campaign.

Having never actually run a game that's ever lasted beyond a one-shot, Tim's advice both in his new post and the one before it have given me plenty of ideas to work with, helping me bring form to ideas I already had and, all being well, allowing me to put together a campaign of my very own.

Now if I can only get beyond the root of all my GMing based headaches, mapping.

Knightmare Re-Run #2: Bad Hair Day

Part 1

Part 2


Part 3

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Further Thoughts On Combat

Recently I looked into an alternative way of handling combat in Tunnels and
Trolls, which involved using saving rolls as the combat mechanic and, not just as a mechanic within combat.

Since then Dan over at The Lone Delver has really taken the idea (which was inspired by an earlier post of his) and, run with it. It's looking great too. So setting my original idea to one side (as too many cooks spoil the broth) I have been thinking about what else I can do with combat system to take it to new and interesting places, and I have a couple of ideas.

The first has sprung from the Talents conversation that I sparked over at the Tunnels and Trolls Google+ group, and seeks to address what I consider the dual-wield issue, where it is almost mandatory for a starting character to take two daggers as their initial weaponry.

It kind of bugs me if I'm honest but I can't deny the logic of it. On average two daggers are cheaper to buy and, more effective in combat than nearly any other weapon that a new character can realistically afford. Tunnels and Trolls doesn't penalise you for fighting with an off-hand weapon either, so why wouldn't you invest in a pair of daggers?

Maybe if there was an incentive not to. Notice I say incentive and not penalty, as the easy option would be simply cut down the dice and adds granted by your off-hand weapon.

My solution is to open up the option of weapon Talents, something that was also discussed in during the Talents conversation over at the Google+ group. Instead of rolling a dice for the bonus though, I would simply set the value of the bonus granted by the Talent to the number of character levels that the weapon has been continually wielded for plus one.

Example: Bobby the Barbarian takes a Weapon Talent in "Clubs" as he loves to bash things over the head and take their stuff. As Bobby is new to adventuring his bonus is +1, meaning that he'll roll an extra dice when wielding any sort of club in combat. The bonus only applies to one weapon, so even if he were wielding two clubs, he'd still only roll one extra dice.

For every level of his career that Bobby from the previous example uses a club predominantly as a weapon, he can boost his Clubs Talent by one as he increases in level (going from 2 to 3, 3 to 4 etc), in addition he still gets to pick a new Talent.

Whilst this may not seem to do a lot to offset the benefits of duel-wielding daggers from the word go, it does open up an interesting alternative. Now if a character instead chooses to invest in say your average Short Sword and a Short Sword Talent to go with it, they could be wielding the four dice normally granted by duel-daggers whilst leaving a hand free to take a shield into combat with them. Given that Warriors get to double the hits absorbed by armor that they are wearing, and a shield counts as armor, this is a good deal!

My second idea does away with Combat Adds completely (but not Missile Adds as of yet), replacing them with a more tangible alternative.

Whilst I like the simplicity of the Tunnels and Trolls combat system as it stands, I feel that Personal Adds could be so much more if you break them down, or as I have replace them completely with the following:

Strength Adds: Each point of STR beyond 12 adds +1 to your combat total.
Dexterity Adds: Roll 1 extra dice in combat for every point of DEX you have beyond 12, and then drop that many.
Speed Adds: Each point of SPD beyond 12 grants you one hit of "natural armor".
Luck Adds: Re-roll up to 1 dice for every point of LK you have beyond 12, once per combat round. You must accept the second result.

Personally I feel that this better represents the effects of the various attributes than the catch all, Personal Adds. Strength inflicts greater wounds, Dexterity allows you aim your blows with greater accuracy, Speed lets you dodge out of the way and, if you're going to rely on Luck, you'd better be lucky!

Both are just works in progress at the moment but I do think they show promise, if I do say so myself.

First Look: Mag Blast

As I mentioned only two post ago, Mag Blast, which I purchased less than 24
hours ago has already seen table time, and poor pun wholly intended we've had a blast with it.

It's light, fast-paced and, win or lose highly enjoyable. It's a perfect filler game, with only one major drawback that we have found so far. Your initial draw can make or break your game, with two of the three that we played yesterday lasting all of five minutes from start to finish.

So we've house ruled our way around this by introducing a mulligan style mechanic:

House Rule

If you are not happy with your initial draw of 6 Fleet cards you may shuffle them into the Fleet deck and draw 5 replacements, of which
you must choose 4 for your initial set-up.

If this still doesn't work out for you, you could theoretically drop down to 4 cards using the same method but, no more than that and even then you are really pushing your luck. That really does seem to be the name of the game though, luck.

You have to be lucky with the initial fleet that you draw, you have to be lucky with the action cards that you draw and, if you want to cause catastrophic damage, you have to be REALLY lucky! This isn't such a bad thing though (particularly in the case of the latter).

When I initially looked over the cards prior to the rules I was a little concerned just how easy it seemed to blow a ship out of the sky instantly, which can end a game just like that.

This was however an error as it's actually very difficult to achieve a "critical hit" along those lines as you need at least three cards to pull it off and, you only draw up to five every turn (unless you draw something that lets you draw more) at the most. There are still plenty of devastating attacks that you can throw out there though, for example the name-sake Mag Blast, which will happily take out the majority of fleet ships.

Overall, play is of the fast and furious variety, so if a fast-paced space skirmish sounds up your street you can't go far wrong with Mag Blast. If you're looking for deep strategy though, this really isn't going to be the game for you.

Let Me Thrill You With Tales Of Mundane Adventure

Let me thrill you with tales of mundane adventure.. Said no GM ever.

That's because there is a lot of onus on the GM to weave an intricate and engaging story that leaves their players crying out for more. They have to be original, but what of the players?

There is no real pressure on the players to create  fresh and original characters. Obviously those that do get a lot of enjoyment out of the new opportunities that they open up to themselves but by and large it's a lot easier just to stick to the familiar archetypes. The rules are geared that way, so why would you do anything different? Well, because it just doesn't make sense.

I mean, think about it. Your warrior has just spent days risking life and limb to haul back that sack of gold, and what does he do with it? He spends it on weapons and armor like some kind of survival nut. In real world terms that is the equivalent of someone who works to work, which in my opinion a rather joyless existence but why would the player do anything but? They need those weapons. They need that armor.

Back to putting the onus on the GM.

So what to do? Well if you're players are the kind that fixate on draining every last copper piece for all that it's worth, I would recommend introducing what I loosely refer to as hobbies and obsessions.

It's only a work in progress at the moment but, essentially what you are creating is a means of spending gold and time between adventures that helps flesh out the character a little more. Quite how I would implement this I'm not sure as of yet but I would suggest relating the reward given for the activity to the cost, availability and, legality of the hobby in question.

For example, Olaf The Drunk likes ale. He LOVES ale! So every GP's worth of ale he consumes (which is a fair bit given how cheap it is) gains him 1AP, because his particular is vice cheap, readily available and, generally legal. It's also only a hobby, not an obsession, so Olaf can go without if more pressing needs present themselves.. He just wouldn't be happy about it.

This is only a quick example of a common activity, turned hobby but it already adds more dimension to the character. No matter the quest at hand he has a reason to delve and, the impairing effects of alcohol gives the GM something to play with in return.

In Space, No-One Can Here You Scream PEW! PEW!

It's been a while since I paid a trip to my FLGS, mostly because times are hard in
the UK and, gaming (well professionally produced board and card games) has and have become a luxury that can't always be easily justified.

Sometimes though you have to treat yourself, and buying new doesn't have to cost you the earth. There are plenty of great games out there that are inexpensive and, nothing I bought yesterday set me back more than £20. Which when you consider the overall cost of gaming in general is more than reasonable.

The first two items that I picked up were the Rebel vs Imperium and The Brink of War expansions for Race For The Galaxy. Whilst it may seem a little lavish to fork out close to £40 on expansions (for which I could have bought a whole new game), I have been playing a lot of Race For The Galaxy solitaire of late, and getting a lot of enjoyment from doing so. The expansions also bring a lot of new bells and whistles to the party (not to mention close to doubling the number of cards in-play), so if I had to make the choice again; the expansions or a new game; I don't think my decision would be any different...

This isn't to say that I didn't buy a new game however, as sitting in the corner of an alcove on a low-shelf a little box caught my eye. Mag Blast.

Without a doubt, the thing that drew me in was the Kovalic art and, upon seeing the price-tag, I was sold. Even if the game was a bust, less than £20 for a game where every card is a full-color Kavolic piece of art is still a win in my book. I think it must be a Munchkin thing. :0).

As it turned out though, the game was actually great and in the few games that we have played so far, we have had a hell of a lot of fun. I'll review the game in more detail in a coming post but suffice to say I think it's well worth owning and if you ever happen to see a copy in a FLGS of your very own, it's well worth checking out.

Monday, 13 May 2013

What's In Box 13?

The current play-by-post adventure going on over at Gems and Giants, combined
with my general Supernatural fandom has set me thinking about curse boxes, and why they might make an interesting addition to your game.

In the slip of reality that is Supernatural curse boxes are, well, boxes, built with the express intention of binding the magic of the item contained inside.

Usually this is because the item inside is cursed in some manner but, generally speaking it could be said that this has a lot more to do with how magic is portrayed within the Supernatural setting and the mythos surrounding it. It's generally a bad thing, being one of the main paths that leads a human to become a demon.

It's an interesting idea but, high-fantasy is of course a million miles away from this in it's perspective. Magic being wide-spread and relatively common place. Even settings that are not jammed to seams with spells and incantations are generally populated by a wealth of magical beings. Which, if you think about it, creates an even greater need for curse boxes.

But why might you introduce them?
  • "Radioactive" Magic: Occasionally a magical item may become unstable and, unable to hold it's own power, leaking it's effects into the surrounding area. Such items, even those with purely beneficial effects would become abhorrent to magic-users in this instance as the chaos created by the radiation would make any magic used within it's vicinity high unpredictable. A curse box in this case would work a lot like a lead container.
  • A Fiendish Trap: Delver love nothing more than looting a ruin and finding a magical object. It's their big score. That's probably why cursed objects were invented by GM's in the first place if truth be told.. So why break with tradition? Maybe the next chest that they find contains a dancing sword.. That attacks whosoever is close by, be they friend or foe.
  • A Quest Of Duty: This one comes straight out of Supernatural, where hunters often keep such boxes locked away so that the item within can do no harm. Now if we ramp that up to a high-fantasy level of magic, the item within could be truly devastating. What would your party of adventurers do if they came across what is effectively a Pandora's Box? If they're smart, they won't open it but, how will they keep it safe from others? They can lock it away, but thieves may break in. They can drag it to the end of the known world but someone may still find it. It's quite the dilemma!
There are obviously many more reasons to introduce such items, but in the interests of time (and not rambling on) I'll just keep to those three, that illustrate a few likely possibilities.

Geeks Do It Better #5: The Helm Of Rodent Enchantment

This particular piece of art has to be one of my all-time favorites ever to feature in a roleplaying manual. A big thank you to Jerry over at The Delving Dwarf for both tracking it down and, pointing me in the right direction of much more by the same artist (Will McLean).

Expect to see much more of his work here, as his superb art combined with his rapier sharp humor really is proof that Geeks Do It Better!

Saving Throws AS Combat, Not Just In Combat: Revisited

Following on from my previous post, where I looked at the possibility of long since been picked to the post by Dan over at the Lone Delver.
introducing SR's as a combat mechanic, and not just a mechanic within combat, I soon found that I found that I had

Despite my being massively behind the times, unearthing the topic has heralded some interesting things as Dan has begun to explore the topic once more, progressing his earlier work and, creating something very functional that has also been described as pulling missile weapons into a much more even playing field.

Personally, I like it. Combat becomes a lot more deadly and, especially so if you're not a Warrior. Which makes perfect sense to me. It's still a work in progress, I feel but, one well worth checking out. :0).

Hiatuses & Hold-ups

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Just a quick post to say that due to an unexpected bout of food poisoning,
coupled with a bad case of physical exhaustion I'm running a little behind on where I want to be, and what I'd like to have posted up here to the tune of a day or so.

I am fast on the road to recovery though and, a master at playing the game of catch up. So it shouldn't be too long before we're back in blogness. :0).

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Knightmare Re-Run #1: Bad Things Happen In The Dark

This feature is for anyone who were hoping to catch Knightmare on Challenge the other day but due to time, geography or, prior commitments, were unable to do so.

The good news: I have been able to find the episode that aired with no great difficulty, and the quality is amazing.

The bad news: As I'm not actually uploading the episodes myself, this feature could fall flat on it's face at anytime. Good quality also means three links per episode, which does disrupt the flow slightly.

The (not really that bad) bad news aside however, enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Friday, 10 May 2013

R.I.P: Ray Harryhausen

Taking a lead from Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor and his idea of a
blogfest in honor of the late, great Ray Harryhausen, I felt I would be amiss not contributing when his work has not only brought such great joy to the masses but, also touched me on a personal level.

What can you say about such a great man in death though that has not already been said in life?

The sad truth is not a lot. Unlike many artists, he was greatly appreciated in his lifetime, and he influenced a great number of people who followed in his footsteps. So I can state with no level of uncertainty that he will not be forgotten and that he was one of the great pioneers within his field. On a personal note, I can say that Ray's interpretation of  The Children of the Hydra's Teeth and, the battle that ensued with them was iconic for me. It's why I nearly always include animated skeletons in my adventures, and why only recently I bought a big box of plastic ones with every intention of modeling them in the Ray Harryhausen style.

You will be missed but never forgotten.

R.I.P: Ray Harryhausen
June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013

Knightmare, Now Only Hours Away!

Since my last post I have been able to nail down some of the fine detail, thanks in no small part to the Knightmare fan page over at Farcebook.

Knightmare will be airing at 10:30 GMT (Challenge only originally gave us a time slot of somewhere between 10 and 11) and, will begin by showing season 1, episode 1. I had expected this but it's great to have it confirmed, making it very likely that they'll be showing all 4 seasons! :0).

If you're not familiar with Challenge, you can find it on Freeview channel 46, Virgin channels 139 and, Sky channel 145. If you're not lucky to have access to any of these services however, there are a lot of episodes to be found on Youtube, including this parody which I found quite entertaining.. Just don't watch it at work.

It does contain humor intended for mature audiences, although no actual maturity is needed to appreciate it. ;0).

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Knightmare Returns! Tomorrow

After much anticipation on my part, Knightmare is only hours away from
returning to the small screen.. And I couldn't be happier!

For those unfamiliar with this great show that was way ahead of it's time, Challenge, who are also broadcasting the show have been good enough to write up a synopsis that bring you up to speed in little to no time. Not that there is really a lot to take in, being essentially poorly acted LARP in a computer-generated environment.. Which granted as descriptions go, doesn't really help sell the show.

Well not if you're looking for a deep fantasy tale with rich characters. If you take it at face value though, and look at it as being more akin to a child writing dungeon hacks for children, it is quite compelling. It's a piece of nostalgia that takes you back to a simpler time when GM's cared more about the dragons hoard than the social and political implications of a players actions. When dungeoneering was essentially a lot more two-dimensional, being a flight of fantasy and not a book of rules.

No matter how you choose to look at it though, it certainly had something about it, spawning several gamebooks and, attracting a large fan base even to this today.

This fan for one sure can't wait!

Geeks Do It Better #4: Who Remembers This Classic?

Good Reads: One For The GM's

It's was only just over a week ago, at the beginning of this month that I found myself posting up links to articles on other blogs that had caught my eye, and here I am, doing it again! Keep this up and we may well have another regular feature on our hands. :0).

I digress though. Today's posts come with a theme, which is food for thought for the GM. Not that your average GM doesn't already have more than enough to think about. ;0). The first article by Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor however goes a long way towards relieving the harrowed GM, showing you how it's easily possible to create a quality nights entertainment in the space of an hour. Not only does this article really hammer home the points that you need to consider, but it is also quite inspirational. I highly recommend it.

The second article over at the Trollish Delver explores the ethics and morality of adventuring, and does it very well indeed. It is a subject that I have touched upon here before, and I do think it's very important. Not so much for the ethical implications it can throw up at the table but because as Scott rightly point out, it opens up a lot of avenues for adventure. Choices can come back to help or hinder players, and players can effectively give you the seeds to shape future adventures. It's sandbox thinking at it's best and again, I highly recommend giving it a read.

Loot-O-Matic: A Couple Of Tweaks, And More To Come

Loot-O-Matic: Try new Magic Zero
With all of my recent work on Talents within Tunnels and Trolls it seems that I
"may" have got a little distracted and, put the Loot-O-Matic on the back burner. I've not forgotten it though. In fact I have had a few more thoughts on it and, how I'd like to tweak it even further.

My first thought is to create two standard initial tables. Both set to the silver standard, one offering magical treasure, one not. The reasoning behind this is that whilst a solitaire player may want the opportunity to loot the occasional magical item from fallen foes, a GM using a random generator probably doesn't want to distribute magical objects willy-nilly. Of course the GM could just ignore any magical treasure rolled up but, that tips the balance of the table as I have written it. It just wouldn't be fair.

So, the idea that I am working with at the moment will increase the general value of non-magical treasure rolled (on the non-magical table), whilst maintaining balance if magical treasure is a possibility. It's still a work in progress but I should have something to post up soon enough.

Secondly I have been giving some consideration to the coins used in the game world. More accurately who mints them? There are guidelines in the original treasure generator as to who uses what but, I am thinking more along the lines of the real world issues surrounding currency. I mean, you can't spend Dollars in the UK anymore than you can spend GBP's in the US. Now when dealing with valuable metals this is less of a concern but it's unlikely that Elves will be all that interested in a handful of Iron coins when the standard that they deal in is Silver pieces.

To this ends I am generating a series of mint tables (one for each type of coin) that you can roll on optionally to determine the coins origin. When spending the coin with the Kindred that minted it, say Iron coins with Orcs, it is worth it's face value. When spending the same coin with a Kindred that didn't mint it but do use it, say Goblins, it is worth 3/4 it's face value. If you try to spend that same coin with a Kindred that neither minted it or generally uses it, it'll only be worth half it's face value.

This is all still very much at the drawing board stage however, but updated tables for the type of treasure being generated (replacements for the 7.5 initial treasure table) shouldn't be too far away, replacing the the replacement that I originally posted here.

We also now have a Loot-O-Matic tag that'll make finding posts on this subject much easier.. Which I should have done a lot sooner.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Thrift Store Score: Stargate SG-1

I really love my local thrift stores. Not only do you get to help someone out but, you also get something shiny into the deal. Last time for example, you may recall that I won big, picking up a copy of Ticket to Ride: Europe for a fraction of it's retail price.

Today was pretty good too.

It's been a while since any new stock hit the shelves as times are pretty tight in the UK and everyone's feeling it, but given what I picked up, I'm going to say it was worth the wait.

But what did I find that was so great?

Well as you've probably already guessed from the pictures and the title of this post, it was the Stargate SG-1 Board game, which funnily enough was the program that I happened to be watching before heading out to the thrift store.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not an uber-fan of the show. I do enjoy it, if it's on and I'm home I'll usually switch over to it but, I don't go out of my way to make sure I never miss an episode. I guess you could say that I'm a casual viewer. The game did peak my interest though, as looking on the back of the box I could see there was an absolute wealth of Risk scale components. I like Risk. I collect Risk, so for me that was reason enough to buy it.

As it turns out the game itself has a lot in common with Risk too. Hell, it's not much more than glorified Risk, so in that respect it was a double score, a treble score if you account for the fact that all of the components where in mint condition. The cards hadn't even had the shrink wrap removed!

So a great find, even better when you consider the price:

Approximate Value: £16
I Paid: £3.99

When it comes to gaming without blowing your fortune, thrift stores definitely seem key. Why not give your local store a go, they could sure use your support.

Saving Throws AS Combat, Not Just In Combat

It came to me in a dream (quite literally a T&T themed dream that I had last
night / this morning). In the dream I played Tunnels and Trolls but, the combat mechanic that I happened to be using was the SR.

The dream itself was also prophetic as I can remember how the system worked, which means I can make it happen, thus play it and fulfill the prophecy.. A person can go mad thinking of such things though, so without a further ado, down to business.

The system was quite simple. Every combat round consisted of two phases, which could be likened to the "to hit" and, "roll for damage" steps in D&D. The to hit roll was a SR with the target number being the monsters MR, followed by a roll for damage (Weapon dice + Adds) if you were successful.

Looking at this system objectively in the cold light of day, I really do think it has legs but, I know it's going to need work before it's ready for practical usage. For one, I think that Combat Adds would have to serve a dual purpose with this system. They could either be used to increase the chance of a hit (before rolling), maybe on a 1:1 basis. So you drop 1 point of potential damage and in return you gain +1 to your SR, or you simply take your Combat Adds as a bonus on the "damage roll".

Other matters that need consideration are whether or not to reinstate the "death spiral" effect that was removed with 7.x, and the viability of this system outside of 7.x (the AP increase granted by more frequent SR's offsets the generally high nature of MR rated monsters but, 5.x requires a lot more AP to increase attributes).

It's on these matters that I could really use some input and some feedback. What do you think to the idea guys? How might you tweak it to make it work for you and your group?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Shipslam #1: Hobbit Hole #24

Shipslam? What is a "Shipslam"?
Cover art by Jeff Freels

Well as many of you in the Tunnels & Trolls fraternity will know, one of the biggest problems that your average troll faces isn't a maddened Dwarf with a bright orange mohawk, it's a mad hobbit. James Shipman (hence Shipslam) to put a name to the shame.

Not content with pirating the work of hard-working creatives, he also pillages the web for anything he can find of a Trollish nature to fill the pages of his now widely defunct magazine, The Hobbit Hole. No self respecting Troll would ever buy it but, respect has never really been a consideration of the party in question, so he pointlessly persists. Personally, we think it's just because he likes seeing his name in print.

So what is a Shipslam already!?

Shipslam is a new feature that is going to show you just where he has lifted "his" new material from. He wants you to pay for it, we want you to have it for free, just as the original author had intended. We also want all of his Internet traffic too, but one thing at a time. ;0). So without further ado, here it is, his original advert for The Hobbit Hole #24, with hyper-links directing you to all the original content, gratis. Enjoy!

T&T NEWS -- (NOW IN STOCK) The Hobbit Hole #24 (T&T Magazine). This huge 120+ page, 8-by-11 sized magazine is packed full of T&T goodies we know you will love. How could you not? This is the only full-sized T&T paper magazine being published today! REGULAR FEATURES: Of Hairy Feet and Taters... Editorial. T&T ARTICLES: The Creating Wizard – By Ken St. Andre, Writing T&T GM Adventures, Magic Items and Enchantments, A Monkey Throwing Stones at Monsters, Novels that remind you of T&T, New T&T Character Types:Barbarian / Marksman / Huntmaster / Starwatcher / Storyteller &Minstrel, New T&T Spells To Rule Them All – By Ken St. Andre, Dragon Parts, I Live In Geekdom, Solo Gaming Record Sheet, The Trollish Tribune – By Ken St. Andre, Shippy's Interview, Writing Solo Adventures – By Ken St. Andre, Miscellaneous House Rules. SOLO / GAMING: Shipy's Cheap Ass Old School ASCII Solo, The Great Forest [A T&T GM Adventure], Zombie Apocalypse [A T&T Solo], Rock Monster Mayhem and Roll [GM/Solo]. FICTION: Reborn From Ashes [A T&T Short Story]. COMICS / OTHER: Trollwood, Sprite Chaos, Misunderstanding, Lonely Walk, Limericks, C&C Ash the Rogue, New T&T Character Sheets. This new brand new magazine is now selling for-- PRICE: $13.00

Swordplay You Say? The Debate Continues

Following up on my recent post, the debate continues over at the Tunnels and Trolls Google+ group with much division on the subject.

Check out the latest update below or, if you've only just come across this blog you can catch up with the debate to date here, along with the original question, here:

Mat Fowler: My game is all about story telling, and anything that helps nudge that along is a bonus. Talents are meant to be ambiguous to give your imagination wiggle room to use them. Some talent examples from my players are 'breaking things', 'magical detective', 'golden tongue', 'annoying', 'distraction' and 'nine lives'. They have been used for a wide variety of situations, all requiring some skill to convince me that they would work. They havebeen used in combat but normally as a way to create a situation or escape route rather than to kill. I try not have sessions become long periods of hit damage attrition, but find it more fun to solve interactions in a fresh way each time - when possible. If it sounds good I go with it. If you want balance then T&T may make that difficult as people 10 times stronger than others is common place - how do you explain that other than 'its a magical world'? That works for me. Scrawny young farm hands can become muscle bound heros, given enough Adventure Points.

Geoff Sears: I feel that Talents offer a few avenues for exploration. I am ambivalent about improving combat since the example provided to me violates that notion, and in the long run the +1-6 benefit does not equate to a huge benefit, especially combined with a 1 in 12 change of a talent test coming up "3" and automatically failing, with I would assume some significant downside for the attempting PC.

I think the main intention of talents is to provide for some backstory, and a way to distinguish one Warrior, Rogue, Wizard from another. When I asked one of my kids what did they want their "Vampire Wizard" to be talented at doing, she surprisingly said something which got boiled down into Carpentry. She wanted him to be able to make boxes I think was the gist. When she and her sister started talking about Vampires turning into mist, it dawned on me that talents were a way to capture special abilities as well, so... "Turns to Mist" came up as a Talent based in her case on WIZ.

The other imagined utility of Talents was to make sense of the Saving roll mechanic which was left intentionally ambiguous from previous editions. Everyone I have read seems to use SR's differently in combat, and by having specified Talents, you are in effect predefining those mechanics for your character, and throwing a benny their way. Is your trademark move tumbling behind your opponent to strike from behind, then Tumbing (Dex) is your friend, and if I was running it, I would give them a one turn bonus based on how much they made the test by on their Hit Point Total for that round. I'd set the difficulty based on either the level of their opponent, or perceived difficulty in getting past them, etc...

I am hot/cold on the changes made in 7th edition. When I flirt with running a T&T game again, I waver between the streamlined effectiveness of 5th edition, and the more pragmatic advancement scheme of 7th edition. I think the original rules through 5th edition were responding to a different set of expectations on the part of players, than 7th edition is. While I can relate to those expectations, I think there is some benefit to changes like Talents. 

Me: I think that works quite well in group play but my view point is more that of a solitaire player. I do like the idea that a Talent can be just about anything you like but, I would like to see them become more functional in respect of their application when it comes to the lone player.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that combat is the begin all and, end all of solitaire play (or play in general) but, it is certainly a BIG part of the game (just look how much of the rulebook contains rules on combat, weapons, armor, combat magic etc). Instead of just looking at +X adds in combat though, maybe some spell-like abilities as Talents would help.

Nothing beyond low-level magic, and nothing that causes direct-damage (so no TTYF!).

So as well as Talents within combat, how do we feel about spell-like abilities as Talents?

Mat Fowler: For no other reason other than I worked out our in my session yesterday, i want to mention that the chance of getting a 1 and a 2 on two d6 is 1:18, or just over 5 percent.

Geoff Sears: stand corrected. I had transposed numbers in my head incorrectly. They point is that the change of fumble is there, and for something used with great regularity, there is a consequent chance of "bad things" happening such as not contributing at all to rounds HPT, (just like the chance a spell doesn't get off)

Chris Palmer: On the topic of solo adventures, I do wonder if having a list of 'standard' talents would help with some of this.  I know that one author has done this (used the same list of talents for a couple of solo's and provided that list at the front) and I liked it a lot.  Unfortunately I just flipped through a bunch of solo adventures and can't remember or locate that author.

Talents are so free-form right now that's unlikely you'll see the same one used in two different solo adventures so they end up mostly being background narrative for solo gamers.  It's not uncommon for solo authors to add in combat stunts to their games, and I could see talents coming into play pretty well there.

I could put together another page and let authors collaborate on common talents there, I suppose.  But my experience has been that not many authors would use it.

Me: I believe that the author you are referring to is Stuart Lloyd, and I have to agree that having a standard list of solos at the  beginning of an adventure does help you. It gives your character more of a sporting chance. There is of course the downfall that as not all solos are using the same list, some of the Talents you pick may not be the most useful later in play.. That could be said of any Talent though.

Chris Palmer: Yes!  You're right, it's Lloyd.  I do think a more standard list of some core talents would help alleviate their uselessness in solos and make their lack of direct combat influence less of an issue.  But I also don't have an issue with someone taking Archery as a talent and having that be applicable to their to-hit SR's.  That seems perfectly reasonable, especially if missile adds aren't being used.

Me: I got to thinking about standardised Talents last night after reading your post Chris and remembered that someone had done just what you proposed. Well sort of. Thinking about the matter at hand I recalled a pre 7.x web page that converted the MS&PE Skill list for Tunnels & Trolls use. It's pretty good and, can be found here:

However in Googling for that page I also came across these two which set out to much of the same but, look as if they have been written since the advent of 7.x:

Monday, 6 May 2013

Toxic Talents

Continuing on with my current theme of Talents within Tunnels & Trolls, I've
had another brainwave that I thought was worth sharing partially inspired by the Dungeons & Dragons supplement, Complete Scoundrel and, partially by the fact that I have never (ever EVER) like the poison rules as they are written for Tunnels & Trolls.

As presented in the rules all poisons are pretty much instantaneous in producing their effects and, most of the effects only cause additional damage.. Which is pretty dull, not to mention inaccurate. Most poisons take time to take effect and the actual effects of poisons, venoms and, toxins varies greatly.

How does this tie into our Talents theme though?

Well inspired by Complete Scoundrel, a Talent that I thought might be fun to play with would be Poison Master. Which is the same name as a Feat in the supplement but, my implementation is quite different. In the original supplement the Feat simply makes the poisons that you brew more deadly, where I envision the Talent being much more wide-reaching. Allowing you to both create your own toxins, and affording you a degree of resistance against poisoning due to your extended exposure to hazardous materials.

So for me, Poison Master looks something like this: Poison Master (CON / INT). To really work though, I need to change the nature of how poisons are handled. Given that I have never been too happy with poisons as is though, this really isn't an issue.

So what's the plan for poisons?

It'll take sometime to re-write all of the various toxins present in the 7.5 rulebook, but the plan is that every poison will be statted out something like this:

Name: The name of the item in question.
Type: Venom (generally naturally occurring and delivered through injection or contact), Toxin (venoms can be considered toxins by definition but this classification will be used to cover ailments such as diseases that can be delivered through open wounds or by ingestion), and Poisons (Almost exclusively consumed to be effective).
Cost: The cost of the materials needed to prepare one unit (one dose) of this poison.
Craft: The level of the INT SR required to manufacture one unit of this poison safely.
Save: The level of the CON SR that needs to be made by someone exposed to this poison to resist it's effects.
Failure: If you fail to safely manufacture the poison you suffer this effect unless you make a CON SR at the poisons level (the "Save" value of the poison).
Critical Failure: If you roll a fumble when preparing the poison or trying to resist it's effects you suffer this effect with no further SR allowed.
Effect: This is the effect of the poison when successfully delivered.

I'm also hoping to create more diverse poisons too, moving away from the purely vanilla nature of poisons causing a few more hits in combat. Effects such as nausea, hallucinations etc. Before I get too involved though I really do need to playtest the idea to see how well in pans out under scrutiny.

Swordplay You Say?: The Feedback So Far

When I threw this question out there yesterday, it wasn't just here that I Tunnels & Trolls Google+ group that I joined a few months ago. I haven't been too active in the group since joining but, wanting to get more involved I have been posting there more frequently and, the more viewpoints that I can get regarding the question at hand, the better.
decided to ask. I also shared the exact same post over at the

So here's the feedback from the group. It's not vast but there are some good points raised, both for and against Talents having a direct bearing on combat:

Tiefling Swashbuckler by D MAC
Andreas Davour: I think that there are problems, bigger and smaller, with most of the rules introduced as new in 7th ed. I have some hopes that Liz can iron out those oddities with her significant skills latest shown in 5th ed. Talents have potential, but like you write, some questions marks are left.

I actually let it be said in my game that Talents were all different from magic and combat, since we already had rules for that, and Talents were everything else.

If that feels like a cop out, which I can see why you would feel, maybe use the character level for something? Add that much as a bonus to one roll per adventure/session or something along those lines? Then it could get applied to combat/magic if you wanted.

Me: That's an interesting take. As you can guess, I had considered using Talents for combat and, more recently, even Talents as spell-like abilities (with limitations) but, I hadn't considered working level into it, which is an interesting idea.

The only problem that I can see there is that a Talent gained later will get bigger bonus instantly if I allow character level to be added instantly to certain Talents. So less experience but being just as good seems a little wonky. As I say though, I still think it's a good idea.

I think maybe that I'd say upon every level increase you add +1 to all Talents you already have in addition to aquiring a new one. It'd also offer an incentive for players not to hold back on their Talents.

Joshua Macy: I like Talents as a catch-all for things that aren't relevant to combat; there are enough ways to get combat adds, I don't see anything gained by having an arms-race of Talents... and I do foresee pressure not to "waste" Talents on things that can't help in combat. 

Andreas Davour: I'll confess that I'm mostly channelling Ken here, throwing odd ideas out there and see what happens. :)

That being said, I think levels, as far as they should be there in the first place, should be used for something. I have never had any problem with getting a big bonus from the get go if you pick up a Talent at high level. But, your suggestion +Tom Grimshaw with the +1 sounds workable. 

Me: I am inclined to agree that I wouldn't want to see all Talents going into combat abilities but, by the same token I don't think that they should be excluded. Being a predominantly a solitaire player and, with most solos being geared towards Warriors, it seems a little off that Warriors wouldn't have at least one or two combat abilities. Especially when you see the arsenal of spells Wizards get with 7.x.

Andreas Davour: Good points all. The question as I see it, is how to make it something more than just a +2 extra adds, which feels kind of bland an effect.

Naturally, special effects like disarms and suchlike (which feels like something you do a SR for, and a Talent could help with) are notoriously hard to handle in a solitaire situation. I'll have to think a bit, for once.

Sunday, 5 May 2013


Continuing with my current theme of Talents, I figured I would post up an idea that I have toying with for a while now. It's had several incarnations, but it's most recent (and current) is that of the professional.

It runs along the lines of when you're selecting your type, you may also select a profession. Your profession is representative of how you have been spending your time up until the point you set out on a career as a delver. Typically this will be a job title but it's also conceivable that your character has spent years in study (if they're a Wizard for example) or, made a living from crime. This are the details that I am still ironing out.

Whilst being a professional will offer your character no immediate bonuses, years of training won't go to waste, and each profession will come with a list of associated Talents. Should your character select one of these Talents from the word go or, when leveling up they instead get to roll 2D6 (DARO) to determine the bonus granted by the Talent instead of the standard 1D6. A BIG bonus but, limited to their field of knowledge and their experiences to date.

I would be the first to admit that this idea still needs a fair bit of work and, is a long way from completion but I do think it has legs. It's a new way of playing with the existing rules that leads to more rounded characters (a sticking point of 7.x amongst a lot of Tunnels and Trolls players).