Tunnels and trolls RPG – that that you fiend!

Every few years I wonder out loud ‘I wonder how things are going in the tunnels and trolls RPG world?’ And now in the early stages of 2023, it’s time to update that wondering!

Yes now that I’m happy to see the classic board game Heroquest back in action, let’s see how this game has fared.

This post includes a couple of flashbacks moved from Almigo’s Adventures, my blog project before this one and I have kept them as they were to enjoy the dated references like Kanye still with Kim and a great time before covid, enjoy!

Tunnels and Trolls RPG – 2014 musings

Well it’s been a pretty monumental week this one – Kim and Kayne came to Melbourne to do…er…something, a bloke in Queensland who was thought to have Ebola actually didn’t have Ebola, Jeremy Clarkson pointed out that unless he was ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs he would be back to host the next series of Top Gear and in no relation to any of those other events, I wondered this week what ever happened to the role playing game system Tunnels and Trolls.

Tunnels and Trolls RPG
Whatever happened to Naked Doom?

I mean did the Tunnels and Trolls RPG ever become a video game? And if not, why the hell not?

Yes I know that’s a truly bizarre thought after a truly exhaustive week battling against a cold, an army of emails and the return of Big Brother on my TV but if you read these books as a kid you’d understand, they were awesome.

I used to borrow them from Carringbush library (now Richmond and Abbotsford Library) and while away many hours as a kid creating wizard warriors who could swing the most dangerous weapon available (the Battleaxe from memory) or blast baddies with their minds (‘Take that you fiend’ was a spell that particularly comes to mind) while travelling through exotic locations, earning a hand made of crystal, a body made of gold and a chest full of whatever the random jewel generator could give me.

So many saving throws, so little time.

Of course in my time leaving that library vicinity (that’s a good 15 years now), I have only seen ONE of these books floating around and that was in a second hand bookstore about five years ago. As much as I wanted to add it to my collection for nostalgia sake, the owner of the store also realized their rarity and priced it out of reach accordingly.
Did they just die out or have I just been everywhere they have not?

Well..I’ve just stumbled across the official website and according to one of the latest updates from earlier this year, they’re working on a new version!
The Tunnels and Trolls RPG lives on from 1975!!
Yes Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls beta is out courtesy of a recent Kickstarter effort and the team have been busy updating a few classics including the awesome Deathtrap Equalizer! Everything old is revised again! (And if I didn’t have a mortgage I know where most of my money would be going…)

And for the ultimate question, did T&T ever become a video game I didn’t ever hear about or stumble across? Well yes it did, but not recently. According to wikipediaIn the 1980s, a ColecoVision adaptation was announced but never released.

Tunnels and Trolls RPG

A quick Googling reveals that it’s now Freeware and if you have a spare 30 seconds you can download it here. I’m really hoping that someone updates it like they have with the books as my laptop would probably refuse to even look at it being from the turn of the 90s. 

Still, it’s all good news for Hit Points and Monster ratings and I feel like I can be a little kid again, awesome!

Now to find out what happened to the Final Fantasy series…

Tunnels and Trolls RPG – 2017 musings

When my wife and kids are away for the weekend, what do I do? What ultimate chaos do I get up to? I open a beer, break out a role playing game book from my youth and start rolling those dice with mad abandon.

Out of control I am, I tell you…

(Now in case you’re wondering what beer goes well with an afternoon of revisiting rpg memories, you can check out my write up of Mornington Lager here.)

A few years back I was reminiscing about this system and now I finally have one of the books in my collection! Yes the last time I had a flick through a similar game book to this one I was roughly…er…10. Maybe 12. Which makes this a revisit of 25-27 years in the making. So would it be a rose tinted glasses walk down RPG lane or more than likely a chore complete with pen and paper?
It was indeed the latter…but there was a reason why:


Unlike my childhood where I flat out ignored any rule or book event I didn’t like, this time around I followed things to the latter. So I had to accept my stats no matter what, took the opening gold I rolled and only bought the equipment that my fighter could wield properly, could afford and could carry….which wasn’t much. So instead of the armed to the teeth war wagon of justice, my first Rook walked into the nearest dungeon with a mid ranged sword and a metal cap. Not even cheap leather or cloth armour because there wasn’t any money left over.
So I was well and truly behind the eight ball before I ever started.


Only to be met by a grinning pair of skeletons. Now any RPG player worth their magic powder will know that skeletons are supposed to be a warm up on the way to bigger and more dangerous things but no, these were a bit of a time sink. Using a bladed weapon meant any damage I caused would have to be halved and with my basic stats, I wasn’t about to create massive wounds straight out anyway. So killing these things took quite a while. I came out unscathed (must have been the metal cap) but gah, what a chore. I ventured into a corridor, open the door and walked into impending doom..


Which took my sword and metal helmet right off. So I pushed the lever the wrong way and it propelled my gear into the nearest wall, obliterating them both. Great. So I tried the switch the other way hoping a mythical Gatling gun to drop from the ceiling. No such luck – two hungry orcs appeared from a hidden door and murdered my bare fisted and bare headed idiot. That was quick…


So I rolled up another character and this time decided to try the second part of the book, the Arena battles. And wouldn’t you know it, my idiot this time around managed to fail his very first Luck saving throw on the first page, got caught by slavers, had all of his equipment taken off him (including the shield I wisely bought for him) and then got thrust into the arena with just a short sword and some cheap leather armour (well at least that was something). Incredibly I managed to roll up a massive ogre with a club the size of Texas as my opponent and I was destroyed before I could say ‘Man, I haven’t even started this beer-‘


So what started off as a fun mission back to my childhood ended up as a long winded battle with skeletons and a book that wanted me to suffer with every page turn in record time. And unlike all my favourite role playing games on PC and Xbox 360, I couldn’t just restore an earlier save point. In the second case I spent more time creating my character than actually using them. So much writing, recording and rolling and it can all be undone by turning to the wrong page number. I might give it one more go for old times sake before the book goes back to the bookshelf but it better be nice to me next time…  

Tunnels and Trolls RPG – 2023 questions and answers

Okay, so now we’re six years on from the last time I played the classic Tunnels and Trolls RPG (and got slaughtered), so let’s see what’s changed since then!

There was a 2015 update to the game that I was obviously unaware of back in 2017.

There was an app! Yes, the Tunnels and Trolls RPG system in some kind of app form for Android and IOS! Joy! Only it doesn’t exist anymore, stopping operation back in 2020 it seems. Boo!

Thankfully most if not all of the game books have been converted to digital copies now which means like me, you don’t have to trawl dusty second hand bookstores for overpriced battered copies for that whiff of old school gaming nostalgia, not when there’s a massive range of stuff at places like Drive Thru RPG and the like.

And nowadays there’s far more online about the Tunnels and Trolls RPG universe than there ever was before, especially on YouTube:

Hopefully when I next muse about this system (which seems to happen randomly every few years) there will actually be an updated video game version of this and maybe even a movie?

Why not? It seems to have worked for the Warhammer 40K universe..

2024 Edit – Interestingly a quick peruse of the hard working Google Analytics shows me that the search term Al Bana RPG might land you here to this page. Having no idea what an Al Bana RPG is all about, I can only assume it’s something to do with a rocket launcher of a similar name? And while I haven’t played T&T in a while, I reckon there’s a very slim chance your Lv 9 Warrior Wizard Dwarf will get to wield a Al Bana RPG (Rocket Powered Grenade) – so now you know!

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