Tunnels & Trolls House Rules

Posted: 2023-06-12
Last Modified: 2023-06-15
Word Count: 938
Tags: rpg tunnels-and-trolls

Table of Contents

Here are some house rules I put together for a game back in 2011.

This is a work in progress; my notes from back then are a mess1, so as I dig up new ones (or come up with something today) I’ll add them.

Character Generation

There are three ways to generate characteristics.

Roll Dice In Order

The 8th Edition specifies this method: roll 3d6 using the TARO2 rule for all attributes in order: STR, CON, DEX, SPD, … Then apply Kindred multipliers and continue with character generation.

This yields a character with about average characteristics, usually, with unexpected highs and lows.

Roll Dice Then Assign

Another method from the 7.5 rules let the player roll 3D6 TARO but assign those numbers to characteristics as the player likes. This has the advantage of letting a player create the character they want by making CHR their dump stat if they like. On the other hand, putting your highest roll in, say, STR, and then choosing to play a Dwarf who gets 2×STR might be a little abusive.

Therefore, I’ll rule the following:

  1. The player must state the Kindred they’ll play before they roll dice.
  2. Alternatively, the player may restrict their choice to the “good” Kindreds – Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Fairies, Hobbs, and Leprechauns – as they’re not too abusive.

Assign Points

Finally, 7.5 had a point buy method where the player assigns 100 points among the eight characteristics. That has even more abuse potential than Roll Dice Then Assign, so this limits the player’s choices.

Sword & Sorcery

I never got a chance to try this, but back then I had an idea for running T&T as a Sword & Sorcery game.

The Rules

First off, only the following types would be allowed:

I.e., no Wizards, Paragons (Warrior-Wizards), or Specialist Wizards.

Second off, the “sorcery” wouldn’t use T&T spells. A character can use ritual magic – system perpetually yet to be defined – to call up things from other worlds a la Moorcock’s early fantasy. Or I could adapt the Barbarians of Lemuria_ Sorcery and Alchemy systems for Talents or straight attribute rolls.3

Consequently, the WIZ characteristic would be removed, maybe replaced by WIL (Willpower) to resist mind control and (if I’m being Lovecrafian) mounting dread and sudden bursts of panic.


This will alter game play, no doubt.

Less Magic

Players will still have access to healing potions and temporary items, but magic items will be even rarer and probably cursed, to fit the genre. True warriors don’t rely on fancy swords anyway.

Less Magical Monsters

With less magic on the players’ side, most monsters will have only a Monster Rating: no powers save maybe one really unsettling one. If the players can’t use magic, neither can the monsters.

Weird Rituals

Magic won’t be a matter of “Take That You Fiend!” and “Poor Baby” spells. It will be an involved, messy affair of strange rituals taking far longer than a combat round. Barbarians of Lemuria is the quintessential source for this type of magic.4

Nearly all rituals will either call up some eldritch entity, enchant some person or thing with unholy power, or offer some dark god a sacrifice, usually a scantily clad maiden.

Coming Soon

New Kindreds?

I may add new Kindreds from my old campaign, which admittedly I never used. Many were creatures under the Trolltooth Mountains, site of a three-sided war between the Dwarfs, Trolls, and Dark Elves, and of a secret war between the Dark Elves and darker things deeper down.

That said, I transplanted that section of Trollworld, Daronia, to the world of the Kingdom, so I don’t want to give away too much.

Some of the odder Kindreds I invented, which I may post, include:

Those BoL in T&T Rules?

Maybe they’re not crap. I’ll read through them and decide.

Talents Something Something

Something tells me I should have done more with Talents, but I don’t think I ever did.

Other Possible Topics

  1. Not like my new notes are any better. ↩︎

  2. Triples Add and Roll Over, i.e. if you roll triples (1 in 36 chance) keep that value and add the result of the next roll. If that’s triples, you add that and roll over, and so on. ↩︎

  3. Apparently I’d written rules for this, but they probably used BoL2. And they may be crap. Again, I never used them. ↩︎

  4. Why not play that then? Partly because T&T is the point, and partly the simultaneous clash of sides in T&T fits swords & sorcery somehow better than the longer swing-hit-urgh, swing-miss-hah pattern in traditional RPGs. ↩︎