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PAX Impression - Tunnels and Trolls


PAX West

During RPGamer's visit to PAX West in Seattle, Anna Marie Privitere had the chance to try out an upcoming title called Tunnels and Trolls. See how this tabletop RPG fared being played on the mighty Kindle Fire.


RPGMaker has opened up a whole genre of gaming, but it still has a pretty fierce learning curve that turn away some people with cool gaming ideas.  If you’re one of those people, there may be an alternative coming in the near future!  Have you ever thought "It would be cool to make my own D&D-style adventure game with branching paths like a choose-your-own adventure story, but I don’t know how to program… :("

If so, then Tunnels and Trolls is definitely for you.  Tunnels and Trolls was a tabletop gameplay system that existed alongside the original dungeons and dragons and was considered to be a less complex alternative; still relying on dice and some player stats, the idea was to have a comic-book style fight mechanic – fast and furious – so the player could get back to the cool, story-driven adventuring part of the game.  Now reinvented as a modern engine, Tunnels and Trolls plans to support all of the classic campaigns from the original campaigns, beginning with what we sampled, ‘Naked Doom.’  Don’t worry, you’re not actually naked, but you are quite doomed.  In the course of my adventure I was killed by bats, a lethal fall, and a powerful enemy who squashed me for five times as many hit points in damage than I had — ouch.  The developers were keeping track of all the deaths; those bats had sure taken down a lot of people.  

Chris suffered his fair share of deaths as well, falling to the same bats and then…drowning in beer?  It made me curious what decisions he had made to get him into that situation, and the crazy thing was, dying didn’t feel like the end of the game.  Much like a choose-your-own-adventure style book, each time I learned something about my choices, and how to either avoid them or just deal with the consequences of the actions I wanted to take.  

I never did complete ‘Naked Doom,’ but I wanted to take it home and keep playing it.  Currently available for android tablets (we played it on a Kindle Fire), the developers plan to expand out the game to PC as well, with the idea in mind that most players will develop adventures on the PC but most adventures will be played on a tablet.  The adventures submitted by users will be curated by hand at first, with automation coming later, to ensure adventures aren’t wandering into copyright infringement territory but the developers want the players to decide whether an adventure is quality.  It’s a very cool idea, and I look forward to seeing more of the Tunnels and Trolls adventures both by the development team and fellow players.


(Ed. note — the original blurb erroneously gave the impression the game was created using RPGMaker, which is not the case. Our apologies for the confusion.)

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