Tunnels & Trolls: Monsters

Here’s a stat-block for a monster from Tunnels & Trolls:

Basilisk MR 78

Here’s the same monster, with the initial Combat Adds prefigured:

Basilisk MR 78  Adds 8d6+39

Here’s a Basilisk with special damage:

Basilisk MR 78 Adds 8d6+39
4/Medusa

4/Medusa means that any turn when it rolls four 6’s in its damage it also uses its gaze to turn someone to stone (as if it had cast the 9th level spell Medusa, though costing no WIZ to invoke).  As far as I can tell, there’s no save…the only thing protecting adventurers from the gaze is the monster needs to roll well in order to use it.

And with some more special abilities:

Basilisk MR 78 Adds 8d6+39
4/Medusa
Healing Feeling (self only), immunity to poisons

Partially Statted:

Basilisk MR 78 Adds 8d6+39
4/Medusa
Healing Feeling (self only), immunity to poisons
INT 27  WIZ 19

Fully Statted:

Gidorah the Basilisk

Basilisk MR 78 Adds 8d6+39
4/Medusa
Healing Feeling (self only), immunity to poisons
STR 18  DEX 32 CON 78  SPD 14  LK 20 INT 27  WIZ 30 CHR 14

I think you get the picture.  Monsters can be described in a single number, or be as elaborate as a player character (not that PCs are all that elaborate), or anything in between as is convenient for the GM and suitable for the adventure.

Run of the mill monsters generally have only one attribute: Monster Rating.   From their Monster Rating you derive their CON (HP) (same as MR), their Combat Adds (MR/10 d6 + MR/2), and their WIZ (MR/10 round up).  As they take damage, their MR drops as do the pluses they get to their Attack, though not the dice rolled.  Unlike adventurers, that means that monsters do have a “death-spiral”–the more you damage them, the weaker their attack becomes.

They can also have additional special abilities to spice things up, like armor, spells, gaze weapons, and so forth. Armor is usually constant, but other special abilities generally trigger when a certain amount of spite has been generated (e.g. the basilisk being able to use its petrifying gaze whenever it rolled 4 or more 6’s on its 8d6 attack).

T&T has a simple rule of thumb for balancing combats… a fair fight is one where the monsters have about the same number of dice of damage as the adventurers.  That might be one monster, or ten.

T&T gets another A from me for the way it handles monsters.  Who needs to “shemp” when you can describe a monster in as little as a single number, or give it a bunch of special abilities, name and personality in one or two lines of text?  For that matter, who needs rules for ganging up, swarms, or over-bearing when a hundred MR 10 goblins are mechanically almost as dangerous as an MR 1000 Titan?

One thought on “Tunnels & Trolls: Monsters

  1. Andreas Davour says:

    Not only does it make hordes easy, it also make it easy to describe how you take down an enemy by thrusting and feinting without havening it being ruined by the dice. It’s abstract enough that it works just fine to have that happen. Narrative combat, I love it!

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