Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls: Five Things You Need to Know as a Solo Player

"I know it's called the Sewers of Oblivion, but you all wait here
while I go in to check it out alone. If I don't come back,
then one of you should go in alone and find me,
and so on and so forth. Perfect plan."
No one mentions this, and it can get a bit crazy. You can (and should) experience T&T's many solo adventures...they are honestly more fun and satisfying than Sword Coast Legends, Pillars of Eternity or any of that other CRPG drivel we keep ourselves occupied with these days. Some of them are amazing, too...if you can find the Jungle of Lost Souls on Ebay (it's not hard to find), Sea of Mystery, Arena of Khazan and the now in-print DT&T edition of City of'll find some amazing gaming to be had. But, there are five important rules to keep in mind when delving into the realm of solo gaming with T&T! Here they are:

#5. It's All Cross-Compatible. All T&T products are compatible across editions, but remember the little differences. The core mechanical combat works, dice+adds, monster ratings....all of that is the same. Some spells have changed over the years; it might be handy to keep a copy of 5th edition T&T around to compare to DT&T when you're confused about a spell name, maybe. That said.....very little has changed enough that you couldn't roll up a DT&T character now and take them through any existing solo. Just remember that in older editions Strength was used to power spells in place of Wizardry, and Speed wasn't always an important attribute. Easiest way to make sure you've matched a character to a solo's difficulty is to look for the "adds" it suggests.

#4. It's Insanely Flexible and That's Okay. T&T in all incarnations supports weird stuff, such as character attributes spontaneously boosting to ridiculous levels, horrible sudden death events, and magic items of inconceivable power (anyone remember Hellslice, the 42 dice sword from Arena of Khazan?) So don't sweat it....T&T has always worked this way, especially in the solos.

#3. Have a Guild of Fodder Characters. Don't start with one character and go into a solo dungeon. Roll up at least 5-10 characters. Long before Dungeon Crawl Classics codified the concept of the "funnel adventure" T&T had players grinding up delvers like there was a shortage on dog meat. If you start a solo, have several PCs ready to go in as backups when the first character dies. Also, --and this is Really Important!-- let them die. If you want to bring that character back, consider his twin, close cousin, or go run the Abyss solo for dead characters (conveniently printed in DT&T's module section).

#2. Your Guild of Characters are all Plane Hoppers. Every T&T module takes place in a different realm. Many have now been codified to take place somewhere in Khazan's dominion on Trollworld, but not all solo lines do. Some take place over vast distances and times. Assume your character works for or has access to some means of getting to Weird Places and Times and don't sweat the details.

#1. Forge a Campaign! It should go without saying, but you really don't need to roll up a new PC for every can and should try to advance your characters through solos, using the choice of solos to forge a campaign for that character. Play them until they finally strike it rich or gain cosmic power, then retire them for a future day when you can bring them in to a GM-run game as some badass NPCs to make the players' lives miserable. If you stick to this process, you'll find that in no time at all you will have a folio full of tough T&T hombres with some serious clout behind them. (They will be next to the MUCH LARGER folder full of dead and mutilated PCs left behind).

"I may be 87 years old with zero adds but I've got Hellslice
and A fifty-two year old tale of lust with the Death Queen herself,
so watch out sonny!"


  1. Great advice and well-written article! My advice would be to be prepared to lose characters. Its a tough slog out there, so be careful!

  2. Great advice and well-written article! My advice would be to be prepared to lose characters. Its a tough slog out there, so be careful!