Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Vologes - sounds yummy

Not a big post today as I'm hard at work finishing up my dissertation, I just wanted to inform you that Scott from World of Thool has launched a new blog for his new campaign setting Ordained Dominions of Vologes, which may sound like a cult that worships pasta, but is in fact a high fantasy setting inspired by authors such as Tolkien, Andrew Lang and Peter S.Beagle. It's old fashioned green rolling plains and magical adventure, and it's looking damned good.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The results are in: T&T makes top 10 RPGs

The results of the RPG Blog II favourite RPG survey are in and the big question is where did Tunnels and Trolls rank?

Well, it finished in 8th place out of 25, fending off titles such as Vampire, D&D 4e and Pendragon. I'm really pleased that the fans voted to give T&T the recognition it well deserves.

Check out the whole list here to see where your favourite ranked.

The Chronicles of Arborell: Windhammer

As I've mentioned before, I hold solo games very close to my heart. I've got a stack of Fighting Fantasy books I pick up time and again and when I get chance (not very much at this time, damn university dissertation) I hop into a T&T solo. However, if you don't own any of these and would like to do some soloing, then look no further than The Chronicles of Arborell.

I don't know how many of you will be familiar with Arborell, because it has been on the net for a while but I've never heard anyone mention it. Basically, it's a series of free online gamebooks, novels, short stories and diary entries that together spin an epic fantasy tale. There are a few short stories up at the moment and the gamebook Windhammer, as the Chronicles are a work in progress. But from what I've read and played of it, I know it's going to be something spectacular.

In the end there will be three main gamebooks that tell a big chunk of the story, Windhammer being the first of these, and then 11 smaller gamebooks that either tie in with the larger ones or come before them chronologically, outlining the history of the story. Each core gamebook will have a companion series of novels and there are a few novellas already available that tell the stories leading up to the gamebooks.

Windhammer is the only core gamebook available at the moment and can be either downloaded or played online. It is 600 sections long, which is a fair amount, but compared to the other two big books, it's nothing. The second, Earth and Stone weighs in at 1250 sections and the third and final book is The Jotun War, totaling a whopping 2000 sections: that's a lot of game. Bear in mind that almost all of these sections are around a page long, containing amazing description and story-telling to rival other fantasy novels, you're getting quite a lot of bang for your no buck.

Here's the blurb for Windhammer:

In a world on the brink of annihilation a condemned man is given one chance to save himself and his people. Sent by his sworn enemies on a mission to find a legendary fortress, he must delve deep within its labyrinths to restore the one power that can save them all. Through the wilds of Arborell and the dark corridors of Stoneholme, it is only cunning and skill that will keep him alive. In the world that is about to unfold you are that hero, and it will be your choices that will determine your ultimate destiny.

The fighting system is really similar to Fighting Fantasy mechanics, roll 2d6 and add your combat points; do the same for the enemy and dock points off endurance (health) depending on who won and by how much. However, there is an added depth to the game with the inclusion of skills like Bushmastery and talents such as Beast Slayer, which give you advantages in certain situations.

It's a great game to play on a rainy day, curled up on the sofa with a mug of hot chocolate. If you're like me then you'll find yourself eating up the vast and interesting history of Arborell.

Friday, 24 April 2009

A sword and an apology

I hold my hands up, Tom K. He quite rightly called me up on my use of "classes" and "magic users" in my Brooding Trollpunk post. I had been perusing Labyrinth Lord, D&D and other such RPGs before I wrote that, so I had become somewhat deluded and prone to spouting gibberish. What I meant to say instead of classes was "character types", and instead of magic users, "wizards", for these are T&T's variations on those terms. So, I'm sorry my T&T friends, I truly am.

After being so epically humble, I now want to present you with a new sword. Lately I've been researching tonnes of different types of swords from different eras and geographical locations (we all know how much T&T likes to use some weird and wonderful blades). I'll be posting one up every week so watch out for them.

Schiavona - The Enslaver

A type of broadsword with a wider blade than the common civilian rapier and measuring 93cm in length. It has a unique leaf-shaped brass basket hilt to guard the user's hand (in style, might I add) and a pommel that resembles the head of a cat.

Dice + adds: 3+5
Str req.: 15
Dex req.: 11
Cost: 80
Weight: 120

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Play-by-post T&T game part I

Vin's T&T Trollbridge is a smörgåsbord of ideas, new rules and edition discussion. There is also a fairly new play-by-post game started up that I decided to take part in. I made my first post today and I'm looking forward to getting into it. The member who created it, Ragnorakk, is a great GM and it's good of him to take on such a mammoth task for everyone's entertainment.

The character I'm using is a dwarf warrior called Cobble Ripfoot. His stats are here:

NAME: Cobble Ripfoot
Level 1 Male Dwarf Warrior

Height: 4'6", Weight: 196 lbs.

ST: 22
IQ: 7
LK: 9
CON: 16
DEX: 6
CHR: 8
SPD: 14

Adds: 7, Missile Adds: 4

Weapons: Mitre 3d6 (90lbs)
Armour: Leather 6 (200lbs)


Ordinary torch (10lbs)
hemp rope (50ft) (250lbs)
delver's package (20lbs)
2 days provisions (40lbs)

Wt. Possible: 2200, Wt. Carried: 700.0
Dwarvish (native language)

Gold: 25 gp

A curious fellow with a terrible sense of humor. Seriously, don't even try to joke around him, he won't get it and he'll just start growling. His thick red plaited beard sometimes gets in the way when he's trying to move quickly and it's a surprise that he can see through those thick eyebrows of his. However, he's as hard as a rock and courageous to boot.

I will be reporting the game as it progresses, mainly for my own amusement but I hope it might give those less familiar with the game a better idea of how it plays.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Brooding trollpunk

It is widely noted that Emma Bull pioneered urban fantasy with her 1987 book War for the Oaks, splicing the fantastic with modern mundane grit. Since then, writers, artists and game designers have been churning out magical tales set in bustling metropolises, such as the ever-popular Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and C.J. Carella's brooding roleplaying game, Witchcraft. The genre has been shifted right out of the underground in recent years by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of Mike Mignola's Hellboy, and is capturing more imaginations than ever before.

So it would only be natural to cast our beloved T&T fantasy exploits into a time-warp, shooting it into the here and now. Classes can stay as they are: magic-user and warrior (if you're using 5th edition rules) but creating sub-categories in keeping with the modern time frame would be a good idea. If you're a warrior then you could become a fed, a soldier, a cop etc. A magic-user will still be using magic, but warlock, witch or, indeed, wizard, would suit the setting. Of course, you don't have to use subcategories; you can just as well have a warrior and call her a warrior.

Swords, bows, axes and the like all have their place in urban fantasy so they can stay. Guns are obviously more prevalent and advanced so use the same rules for Gunnes in the rulebook but replace flintlock, handcannon, musket etc. with modern variations like 9mm, shotgun and M16. Automatic weapons fire more so use more dice. Similarly, armour is transformed from plate, mail and leather into varying grades of flak jacket, army helmet and riot shield.

For campaign inspiration, check out The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison's The Hollows, and Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales. If you're familiar with Carella's Witchcraft then by all means borrow elements from that universe.

If you do decide to have a go at Trollpunk, let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The alternative to dying could be epic

The final breath of a PC when she meets the cold edge of a blade, all those experience points slashed out of existence like her sloshing innards, is a frustrating time for any player who has put time into carving their character into their own intricate awesome vision.

If the player hasn't already thrust the dice across the room in rage and stormed out, they are either rolling up a new level one or pleading the GM to find a way to resurrect Mindy Bloodletter. Unfortunately, giving in to the player isn't fun and it fails to progress the story, but a friendship could be wire-thin at this time; so what to do?

It is possible to allow the player to keep their PC without totally bending time and space to the GM's whim, no matter how sumptuously fun that can be. It's not all that far-fetched in a world of fantasy that the player's soul has been sucked into a hell dimension where they will have to fight their way into the land oft he living or be caged for eternity in a molten chamber. The GM could set up a separate dungeon for the character, though it would have to be small as to not consume game time for other players, possibly with only one or two ferocious enemies to slay. Or perhaps a quicker way could be to pass a saving throw as a test of will, a success allowing the character to return to life with minimal health, and a fail denoting her fall into the dark oblivion forever. To make the test more fun, after a successful roll the GM could describe the epic fight against the swarming demons, the slaughter of devils and banshees and a description of the hellish domain the character escaped. This tale could serve to develop the character further as well as the story.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Why T&T is a good gateway RPG

Most people seem to stumble into the hobby almost by accident. Whether it was the curiosity switch being flicked when they spotted the little white booklets of D&D or watching a group roll those wacky polyhedrons around and shout words like "magic missile" or "pit trap", there were many who introduced roleplaying to themselves.

The rest of the populous was likely introduced through a friend or relative, and that introduction probably took place in the land lovingly fashioned by one Mr Gygax: that was my gateway drug and it was the game I shared with my high school friends, who I'm sure are eternally grateful.

Although D&D is the most played RPG in the world, it's probably safe to say that under the weight of its rule system, 4th edition or otherwise, it may not be the best game to bring to the newbie table. It's not that people are any stupider now and it's not about this current generation of World of Warcraft digi-geeks not wanting to get their fingers ink-smudged; it's just a scary world to step into when there are two book cases dedicated to D&D supplements.

Tunnels and Trolls, however, is easy to learn quickly (score one for old school transference to instant gratification cyber-culture) and there isn't a vault load of material to wind your head around. Instead of having to deal with various flavours of saving rolls, there is just one simple mechanic, the noble SR. Ordinary dice are used, although they will always be a D6 to me, which makes the conversion from familiar board games to RPGs much less taxing. The magic system is easier to grasp (though, much less in depth) than many other games and combat requires elementary mathematics at the most. Surely T&T is a great game to introduce to new players.

It's not that T&T is for the simple-minded, in fact it can be as complex as the player wishes, but it's a game that can be stripped to its bare bones and absorbed in a single sitting. And it's not that it's a mere stepping stone for "higher" games like D&D or Vampire, because as much enjoyment can be squeezed out of a T&T session as anything else. It's just a nice starting point to those who are perhaps wary of taking the RPG plunge (I'm making it sound like a cult initiation - fuel for Jack Chick) or who may not have the time to absorb a stack of rules, although I would urge everyone to try all games on offer. Moreover, the credit crisis/crunch/downfall/scaremongering has affected people's ability to splash out on big name systems and they may be more inclined to pay for the relatively cheap T&T rules, solos and GM modules.

Many may disagree with this, and it's understandable. But it doesn't change the fact that T&T is a good gateway RPG in these rocky times.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Member of RPG Bloggers Network, yay!

My application to join the RPG Bloggers Network, the awesome place for aggregated RPG blog posts, has been accepted.

I also want to apologize for not updating lately. My internet has been off for a while and has just come back on, so a big hurray for that.

Now I can get the word out about T&T and hopefully get more people playing and loving it.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Whitespire Academy

Continuing my effort to flesh out your campaign with new locations I though I'd create an academy for wizards - Whitespire. You can put the building in any city you wish, but there is only one in the world and it has to be in a large affluent city with a scholarly air.

Whitespire Academy is a beacon of magical education, its white corridors filled with robed students marching back and forth, leather bound books in hand, between classes.

The academy has been around for thousands of years when it was founded by master mage, Dellik Willowood, who set it up to teach youngsters who possessed kremm how to reach their magical potential.

Now Whitespire has grown into a monumental piece of architecture. The sun reflects its pure white surface, making it glow radiantly like a celestial object. It has 500 classrooms, a theater, a huge and famous library, an assembly hall and a beautiful courtyard lined with lush green trees and multi-coloured flowers.

As a prestigious school it only accepts those who show the most potential in becoming great magic-users. The entry exam is notoriously difficult, forcing low level wizards to focus all their kremm into pulling of spells to impress the examiners, of which there are three: Jaro, Como and Porro, three hard nosed brothers who take delight in failing people.

The current Dean is Leaf Frost, a gentle man who wears round shaded glasses and is easily recognizable. He carries the Willowood Staff, which was created by Dellik Willowood himself and contains incredibly powerful spells, including one that can bring back the dead. However, Leaf is usually found studying all sorts of arcana in his office or in the library, rather than out fighting with his staff, which he uses as a walking stick.

Tuition fees are 100,000 gold a term, of which there are two per year, but concessions can be made for those who show incredible talent but lack the funds to attend the academy. Students are either full or part-time. Full timers will spend five years at Whitespire, with summer breaks lasting a month, whereas those on part-time courses will attend every other month for ten years. Once they graduate they are known as Wizards of Whitespire, an honored title in the realm of magic.

Whitespire is linked with the Wizard's Guild and as a result is able to teach every spell in the spell book. Once the tuition fee is paid, the spells are free to learn, but first years only have access to low-level spells. As they progress each year, more spells will become open to them and by the end of their time they should know up to 10th level spells. This training definitely does not come easy, as the annual exams are notoriously difficult to pass, weeding out the weaker students. If a student fails one year, they receive a percentage of their tuition fee back, depending on what year they dropped out.

David L. Arneson dies, age 61

The family has sent out a letter about the death of Dungeons and Dragons co-creator, David Arneson:

Shortly after 11pm on Tuesday, April 7th, Dave Arneson passed away. He was comfortable and with family at the time and his passing was peaceful.

The Arneson family would like to thank everyone for their support over the last few days, and for the support the entire community has shown Dave over the years.

We are in the process of making final arrangements and will provide additional details as we work them out. We will continue to receive cards and letters in Dave's honor. We are planning to hold a public visitation so that anyone wishing to say their goodbye in person has the opportunity to do so.

Cards and letters can continue to be sent:
Dave Arneson
1043 Grand Avenue
Box #257
St. Paul, MN

Visitation will be on April 20th
Time: yet to be determined
Bradshaw Funeral Home
687 Snelling Avenue South
St. Paul, MN 55105

He was a great man who will live on in the memories of all he touched through his magnificent work,

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Brigheim - a new town for your campaign

Located at the foot of the Cascade Mountains lies a small mining town called Brigheim. The town has a population of two hundred and eighty people, most of which are in the mining business, descending into the foot of the mountain to extract coal for trade with nearby cities.

Brigheim was founded three hundred years ago by the Brigheims, a large family who moved to the mountain to escape the war that had come to their home city of Malash, which is now a desolate crumbling wasteland populated by a horde of Hill-Trolls. The Brigheims discovered that the mountains were rich in coal, so they decided to start a mining industry to trade with a number of cities.

The town began to thrive as more people from the cities moved there to earn some gold in mining and soon many houses began to spring up.

Now the town has a pub called 'The Mineshaft' owned by Helen Osrich, a young lady with an acute business sense. She caters for many traders and miners, bringing in a pretty penny. As a result, her pub is now well known in the region for its fine ales (Corsair Ale and Mountain Mead being the bestsellers) and she is soon to have a second floor constructed so it can be an inn for weary travelers.

The blacksmith, Bari Notch, is probably the brightest blacksmith you will ever come across. He has a love for geography, owing to his father's profession as a cartographer, and is able to tell travelers much about the region. He specializes in forging axes, having almost every type for sale, including his own creation, the boulder cutter (6d + 4, ST 17, DX 13), although he does stock a small variety of swords, but no pole arms.

There is a stable, run by Henrietta Willis, that provides horses for trading journeys. They are strong from lugging coal for miles and can be hired out for a tidy sum. There are ten horses in total, four black, three chestnut and three white.
A quaint little book shop has recently sprung up in Brigheim under the ownership of Mr and Mrs Rummykin. They specialize in texts about mountaineering and even have some magic scrolls up for sale. The couple are good friends with the resident wizard, Gofberry, who has a pokey little house near the town hall. His main role is magical adviser to the mayor, John Brigheim, but he also does diplomatic work as well.

John Brigheim is one of the wealthy descendants of the original family, of which there are now five that share the surname. He is a clever mayor who puts his town before anything else, famously including in the law that no person should ever venture into the mines without wearing proper safety gear, which can be bought from Tarrel Offman, along with any mountaineering equipment needed.
The mayor created a crack team of guards to police the city and keep intruders at bay. They are headed by captain Drell Morton, quite a young fellow with a love for apples, indeed, he is rarely seen not munching an apple.

There are plenty of miners in Brigheim who brave the mountains every day, going almost a mile deep into the rock in search of coal. They then pass on their cartloads to Gam Hollett and his traders who travel far and wide, delivering the fuel and returning with money. His caravan is always guarded by a band of stalwart men (and fiery, red-headed woman, Shryana) who fend off trouble when it rears its head.

Delvers should be aware that the Cascade Mountains are incredibly dangerous and potentially lethal for inexperienced mountaineers. It is worth consulting the Rummykins before attempting to climb the mountains. There has been talk of Mountain-Trolls roaming around eating mountain goats and letting out booming roars that echo throughout the town.

Industry trounces WotC, gamers pleased

After the uproar about Wizards of the Coast pulling all their PDFs and cackling around the boardroom, the rest of the industry has responded by having a sale and pledging they will not do the same.

Probably the best statement came from industry giant, White Wolf, who promised to keep their PDFs online and also have a massive sale, including giving Exalted 2nd edition away for free. Needless to say my copy is downloading as we speak.

Other companies such as One Bad Egg, Green Ronin and Paizo are selling their PDFs at discount prices, taking advantage of a cyber world without WotC.

For more offers go to Mad Brew Labs.

Vote for your top 25 RPGs of all time

Zachary over at the wonderful RPG Blog II is holding a competition to find the top 25 rpgs ever. He wants you to send him a list of your top 25 and give some reasons for your picks. He is also looking for sponsors to give him prizes to give away to a handful of lucky people who submit their lists. I've done mine, guess which is at the top.

Thoughts about Deluxe Magic Staves

Of a Wizard's arsenal, the magic staff is probably the most useful. It allows the user to focus her power through it, reducing the cost to cast a spell by the user's level. They can come in all shapes and sizes, some magic-users prefer to have a wand, crystal ball or walking stick.

There are three types of staff: ordinaire, the regular enchanted staff with the powers described above, makeshift, a staff enchanted by the delver but which burns out after time, and the deluxe, a semi-sentient, almost indestructible staff which remembers every spell cast through it. These staffs were created by a small sect of powerful wizards, their construction a closely guarded secret.

Over at Vin's Trollbridge forum, some of the members have been throwing around some good ideas to flesh out the deluxe staff with new rules. Majyc made a good suggestion that the deluxe staff contains the mind and power of the first wizard that made it. This means that a new staff would come equipped with some powerful spells already installed, rather than forking out 5000 gold it only to find there is nothing in it.

A question was raised about whether the magic-user could learn the spells from the staff or do they need the staff in order to cast the spells. I would say that, being semi-sentient, the staff can remember the spells but isn't able to communicate them to the wizard directly. However, Majyc suggested that there could be a way of learning spells from the staff, but it may involve seeking out a great mage from the guild or compromising with the staff to teach the user a certain number of spells. Either way is good, it depends on the GM.

I would rule that any level wizard can cast these spells using the staff, but if the wizard's level is less than the level of the spell being cast they should roll a saving roll on the average on IQ and CHA (mahrundl's suggestion). If they fail the SR, the spell fizzles and the WIZ is used up.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

David L Arneson Lives!!!!!!

Grognardia has now posted that David Arneson is, in fact, alive and being cared for in a hospice. This is amazing news and my spirits are lifted substantially. I do have to apologize though for misreporting this. I'm sorry, but that's the trouble with the internet, when news spreads it spreads fast, even if it's false.

Unfortunately Dave is in really bad health, so we just have to wait and see what happens. It's a great thing that we haven't lost this awesome man, but things don't look good for him.

The Trollgod unearths some treasure

Ken St. Andre has recently come across some old T&T writings whilst cleaning his back room. He has been persuaded by a few people (holds hand up) to preserve these gems and publish them on the web. So he has put the first of his writings up on the web, a script for what would have been the Naked Doom comic book. Naked Doom is a great, if deadly solo adventure you can find at DriveThruRPG.

We want more!

Monday night Labyrinth Lord

So I, along with my good friend Steve, went into the city last night to play some Labyrinth Lord. Yeah, most people our age usually go out clubbing at night and get paralyzed with alcohol, but I find that gaming costs less and is much more fun.

The unfortunate part was that the room was pretty full when we arrived (early, may I add) and there was only one small circular table for us to use. I was hoping that people would come and sniff around the table and ask to join in, but as we were squished in with two chairs around the table, it wouldn't have been feasible to play with more than one player.

We played through the module, a really short adventure, and I scaled it way down and added a cleric NPC for good measure. Hilariously Steve's Dwarf, Bill, died in the first corridor, hacked up by the swinging blades that the cleric, Gorat, easily dodged. As we'd been there for only half an hour I decided to bring him back with 1hp and had Gorat cast Cure Light Wounds on him, bringing him up to 5 (he had a max of 8).

There was an encounter with a bunch of skeletons after that. Gorat was fairing great against them for a while, wildly swinging his mace, but he eventually got caught off guard and suffered massive damage, collapsing in a heap. Bill wasn't too happy about this, but he fought on a defeated them.

Further on there was an empty room that he decided to search. Unfortunately he failed to see the trap door on the ceiling until he was directly underneath it and a big rock was coming at his face. Splat!

He was close to the final encounter so I allowed Bill 2 to appear and take all of Bill's stuff. Anyway, he fought the final ghoul and killed him.

It was short, fun game with character. I'll be teaching him Tunnels and Trolls the next time I see him, so stay tuned for Monday nigh T&T.

WotC are corporate hams

The news has spread like wildfire throughout the RPG blogging community that Wizards of the Coast have ceased selling PDF downloads, citing piracy as their main concern. Way to alienate every single one of the fans you still have left.

I've no idea why WotC/Hasbro thought this would be a good idea. Now there's a big hole in the market people will be downloading their pirated PDFs for free, this whole act completely encourages pirates to put the books online to download.

But what about those people, like myself, who have paid for the PDFs? If we lose any from our hard drive then we're screwed because there's no way of downloading them back.

Piracy has been around for a long time, remember the furore about taping CDs? Those must have been such hard times on the wealthy booming music industry. It's obvious that people want things for free so they will do their damnest to get them. However, the majority of people, and we're talking gamers here, who aren't exactly the most criminally minded individuals in the world, will buy PDFs.

It's like if the police turned around and said, "Well, people are robbing, killing and raping. Let's just put everyone in the world in prison. Problem solved."

And surely this is a lousy decision as far a market competition goes. People who would be downloading D&D can now turn their attention to other games like...T&T.

Maybe it isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Gearing up for Labyrinth Lord

Next Monday night I'll be hosting a Labyrinth Lord game at my local game store. It'll be an introductory session to those unfamiliar with the rules and I'll be using the free module The Tomb of Sigyfel, a short dungeon crawl.

I'm not sure how popular Labyrinth Lord is here in the UK, but I'm sure it will garner some interest in those who come along. Most people there will be playing in an ongoing 4th edition campaign, so the juxtaposition of OD&D and the latest incarnation may lead to some interesting discussion.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Review: Tunnels and Trolls 8th edition

It's been a long time coming but it's finally here, Tunnels and Trolls 8th edition, and for the first time this looks like it could be a competitor in the major RPG market, bashing heads with the likes of WotC and White Wolf.

There are three core rulebooks, all gorgeously illustrated: Trollmaster's Guide, Delver's Handbook, and Tome of Monsters. Although T&T had grown popular in the past because of its simple system that only required one rulebook, to compete with the best Ken St.Andre decided that complicating the rules and endeavoring to make as much cash as possible would be the best way to go.

The Delver's Handbook outlines the rules of character creation and gameplay, both of which have undergone rule surgery to make them bigger and better. There are now seven types of kindred: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Ghastheim, Half-Orc, Half-Troll, and Wolfkin. They have slashed away pesky imbalanced creatures like Leprechaun and Fairy and also got rid of all the rare kindred. But now we have four new kindred who stand much more of a chance of getting through a dungeon than a Fairy Wizard.

Character classes have also been revamped. Whereas before there were Warrior, Wizard, Rogue, Citizen and Specialist, they have gone the D&D route to make the classes stand out more and give greater roleplaying options. The Warrior still remains but under the name Knight, but the Wizard has been split into Sorcerer and Mage. Ranger is now a class of its own, along with Cleric, Paladin, Ninja and Shapeshifter. All the new classes add more flavour to the game, with special powers and abilities that compliment each other in battle.

The system had been overhauled in favour of different polyhedrons rather than the old and used D6 method. Now character creation is done by rolling four d8s and discarding the lowest to find the attributes. Adds are gone, instead there is a set Fighting attribute for each class that you add to attacks. Armour is no longer absorbed, instead the number reflects how hard you are to hit, which is always a winning mechanic. Gone are the 5d6 broadswords, they have been replaced with '+' weapons, such as +3 dagger or +4 axe. The weapon chart is another thing that's been trimmed. It has lost all of those silly exotic knives and spears and now we have seven swords, three axes and four bows.

Magic is now free for every class to use and you don't need to pay to get new spells, they just instantly come to your head. WIZ has been taken out because spells are now once a day powers unless they are level 0, in which case they can be used as many times as you want. All the stupid spell names that Ken thought were hilarious have been replaced with serious labels. What used to be 'Take That You Fiend' is now the much better 'Energy Missile'. This aims to take the childishness out of the game and make it more accessible to serious players who want dark and bloody games.

The Trollmaster's Guide sets out rules for opening locks, sailing ships, making rope, eating round fruit, stroking sheep, close harmony singing etc. Everything now has a rule, instead of that silly universal saving roll mechanic. If you want to climb a ladder and smash a window you must first roll d10 then add your strength minus climbing modifier which will give you the target number on a d12. Once you have that number you must plus your dexterity and willpower, subtracting Common Fears and armour weight to get the final target result. It's fast, simple and effective.

The Tome of Monsters is an exquisite book outlining no less than 6000 monsters to use in your campaign. There are no more Monster Ratings, as they were far too simplistic for super intelligent gamer brains, so we have full stats for each monster with the inclusion of stats for different sizes, ages and weights for each monster. This offers a much deeper game and better encounters.

For £130, the three core rulebooks are a steal. St. Andre has said that there will be many more supplements to come so save your pennies. 8th edition is the game for the new market, with harder rules, less fun and a money grubbing mindset that will keep gamers coming back for years to come.