Tunnels and Trolls Deluxe and Alternative Combat Mechanisms

Tunnels and Trolls Deluxe is coming, as Ken St. Andre has announced on trollhalla.com. Much discussion is currently happening concerning what should or shouldn’t be included in the new rules set.

My thought, as I commented on Ken’s post, is that T&T Deluxe might conceivably contain a core set of rules common to all past editions of the game, and a set of optional rules that one can apply so as to effectively be playing any previous edition of the game, or a mix of the rules from previous editions. Throw some new optional rules into the mix, and you have something worthy of being called Deluxe. If I understand Ken, he’s not going to go that route; I think he wants to blaze new territory. That’s cool too.

Possible new rules that have been discussed in various venues is an alternative combat mechanism. A good synopsis of some alternative combat mechanisms can be found on The Lone Delver site. The reasons for an alternative combat mechanic vary. Sometimes the number of dice necessary to roll are too many for some players. Sometimes combatants are too evenly matched, and the combat drags on forever. Sometimes one side of the combat comes out completely unscathed. Continue reading “Tunnels and Trolls Deluxe and Alternative Combat Mechanisms”

More on the Outlaw Press / James Shipman Saga

My previous post addressed my grievances with Outlaw Press / James Shipman. Since then, Outlaw Press / James Shipman has removed my Down Time solo from the “free downloads” section of the Outlaw Press site, and has stopped selling print copies of issues of TrollsZine from the site. Some other infringing materials by other authors have also been removed from the site. These actions appear to have been in response to a message I posted to the Blue Frog Tavern Yahoo group, publicly stating my opposition to Shipman’s practices, especially with regard to his violation of my rights. I also terminated my membership in that group, because it appeared to me that the group moderators condoned Shipman’s illegal activities.

The removal of these materials from the Outlaw Press site is a bittersweet victory for me, because the rights of many other authors and artists are still being violated. I know that Ken St. Andre has publicly asked Outlaw Press / James Shipman to stop publishing Ken’s materials. Yet many materials that Ken has independently published since his split with Outlaw Press can still be obtained as free downloads from the Outlaw Press web site. Some materials independently published by others who have been publicly vocal about this subject are also still being distributed as free downloads from the Outlaw Press site. Hardcover copies of older materials that were never printed in hardcover and to which Outlaw Press / James Shipman clearly has no rights are being offered for sale. Continue reading “More on the Outlaw Press / James Shipman Saga”

Taking Action Against Outlaw Press / James Shipman

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Do not take any statement I make herein as legal advice. Do your research, just as I have, and make up your own mind. Then decide to take action if you will.

As can be seen by performing a web search for the terms “Outlaw Press James Shipman,” much has been said online about the once-great publisher of Tunnels and Trolls gaming fare, who has fallen out of grace with the Tunnels and Trolls community for the alleged theft of intellectual property, publishing said items without permission of the copyright holders. Other Tunnels and Trolls blogs have urged their readers not to buy from Outlaw Press / James Shipman. I now join the call to boycott his site and ask my readers not to buy or download any products from him.

James Shipman not only has taken a very liberal view of his rights to materials I submitted to Outlaw Press in the past, but now is redistributing some materials I never submitted to him, and never gave him permission to redistribute. My solitaire adventure game, Down Time, now appears for download from the “Free” section of the Outlaw Press web site, without my permission. Down Time appears in TrollsZine 4, a digital-only ezine available for free from DriveThruRPG; James Shipman has clearly downloaded a copy of TrollsZine 4 and extracted Down Time from it, formatted the game in Microsoft Word, and uploaded the Word file to the Outlaw Press site, from where anyone can download it. Some might say I should not mind that he redistributes Down Time, since I have agreed to make it available for free anyway as part of TrollsZine 4, but as the copyright holder of Down Time, how I choose to distribute my material is my decision to make, not his. One might say that James Shipman is helping to spread my name and I should be grateful at least for that, but even that is not true; in the MS Word version of Down Time distributed by Outlaw Press, my name has been removed as author of the product. I don’t even get credit for my work.

I have emailed James Shipman at Jimship2@midwest.net, the email address posted on his web site, and demanded that he cease and desist redistribution of my copyrighted material immediately. As of this writing, he has not yet complied. Continue reading “Taking Action Against Outlaw Press / James Shipman”

When Will the Torch Go Out?

This article was previously published on Eposic but has been offline for a while.

Some people find the bookkeeping aspect of role playing games annoying. Some precise bookkeeping is inevitable, such as tracking how much damage your PC has taken. But such bookkeeping can become tedious and detract from the fun for some players and GMs, especially if several effects need tracking simultaneously. But there is a way to reduce the bookkeeping and at the same time add some suspense to the game. Continue reading “When Will the Torch Go Out?”

On Being Human in Tunnels and Trolls

Recently there’s been some discussion at the Trollhalla Inner Sanctum about the advantages and disadvantages of playing human characters in Tunnels and Trolls. I personally seldom play a human character, because I like having a couple of attributes that start out significantly higher than normal. Since I also prefer the magical types over brawny types, I’ve always played more elves than any other kindred, but have played my share of dwarves when in the mood to play the brawny types. So for me, Trollworld’s adventurer population consists primarily of elves and dwarves, with a smattering of other kindred thrown in occasionally to mix things up. Though humans are the baseline, they aren’t the predominant kindred for adventurers in my games.

It might not even be the case that humans outnumber other kindred as NPCs in the solitaires I’ve played. Tunnels and Trolls solo designers like to provide variety in their adventures, and as a player I like it that way. I suspect most other players like a good variety as well. So while there are indeed human NPCs to be found, there are a goodly number of NPCs encountered who are of non-human and monstrous kindred. (The stats for occurrences of each kindred as NPCs in games I’ve played would of course depend on exactly which solos I’ve played, and which paths I’ve taken in those solos. The stats for the game at large, however, would require someone to go through every single T&T solo available for play today and tally the number of times each kindred appears in an NPC role. Any volunteers?) Continue reading “On Being Human in Tunnels and Trolls”

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