An overview of the changes that I’ve noticed between T&T v5.5 and v7.5 All the comparisons phrased in terms of what 5.5 has/lacks vs. 7.5, since I read 7.5 first and went over it extensively. Also, some of the changes in 7.5 appeared in 5.5 in a couple-page appendix of Ken St. Andre’s house rules:
- No WIZ stat, spells are powered by STR. Advantage: 7.5 STR to power spells isn’t a deal-breaker, but it makes the archetype of the frail old but nonetheless mighty wizard a problem.
- SPD is an optional stat only used for movement rates, which are fairly complicated. It can’t be increased. Advantage: 7.5 Even if you view Speed strictly in terms of how fast you can run, that’s certainly something you can improve with training, at least as much as you can improve your Intelligence or Charisma.
- No Triples Add and Roll Over. Advantage: 7.5 Not a big deal, but it’s kind of cool. (This is one of the KsA houserules.)
- Weight Possible and Weight Carried emphasized more in 5.5 including rules for how long you can carry how much. Advantage: 7.5 I’m not enough of a Grognard to value the added bookkeeping. It’s good to have a rule-of-thumb, but I don’t like tracking it.
- No Specialists or Citizens. Advantage: 7.5 Anything that increases the number of viable archetypes without unduly burdening the system with complexity is a win in my book
- Warriors don’t get Level adds in Combat Adds. Advantage: 7.5 Something besides the armor bonus as a reward for leveling up is nice to have.
- Warrior-Wizards instead of Paragons. Toss-up. It’s harder to be a Paragon (you need a triple somewhere in your roll-up, not just everything >=12), but the 7.5 advantages are better: they get to double their armor instead of add 1, they get to invent new spells once they reach 10th level, the Wizard’s Guild will sell them spells. Both versions are rare enough that I doubt it matters which you use.
- No Talents. Advantage: 7.5. I like Talents…maybe the most out of any skill system I’ve seen published.
- Saving Rolls have a minimum for success of 5, and are calculated as the SR – Luck = number to beat (instead of roll +Luck > SR?). Advantage: 7.5 The mechanical result is the same, but roll+add is easier for most people; whether it’s better to have 3 is an automatic failure or <=5 is a toss-up, but I’d personally give the edge to the players succeeding more often.
- Monster dice as well as adds get reduced as Monster Rating goes down during combat; this produces a much sharper death-spiral effect. Advantage: 7.5 I don’t really see any advantage to having nearly every combat the PCs win end with several anti-climactic rounds that are rolled (if at all) just to see how fast they can finish.
- 5.5 Makes it clear that armor doesn’t subtract from hits for magic (though a magic amulet might). Advantage: 5.5
- Missile fire isn’t added into the side’s Total Hits, but some magic is–at least up until the point when it would double-count hits. Advantage: 7.5 This rule actually puzzles me in 5.5. If you’re worried about double-counting damage, why does magic get to (semi) double-count and not missiles? There’s a sort of explanation that Take That You Fiend! jars or shocks nearby foes and makes them less effective, reducing their attack up until it makes them lose the round but never delivering more hits than the magic’s damage, but Freeze Please and Blasting Power are spread out, while other spells don’t, and…It’s far simpler to my mind to just add everything up, and that lets your rear-rank guys like archers and wizards actually figure into whether you win or lose the round. The whole “the monster can lose the combat because of magic adds, but not take extra damage” calculation makes my eyes water.
- Damage is divided evenly between all the losing side, except that if it doesn’t come out evenly the Wizard (if any) can take the smaller parcel. Advantage: 7.5 Dividing the damage up is one of the few tactical decisions that the party gets to make during a turn, and I like the idea that the fighters can choose to bear the brunt of it and protect the weaker party members. I can see play-by-post going with even splits to reduce the back-and-forth, but flavor-wise I think 7.5 is much more interesting.
- Missile weapon fire requires multiplying a distance factor by a size factor to get the SR level, but archers get twice the DEX adds when firing a bow. Advantage: 7.5
- Dodging is handled by an SR against Luck if the players agree that monsters get the same SR. Advantage: 7.5. There are several points in 5.5 where the rule to be used is negotiated with the players, which I kind of like, but the 7.5 version of just doubling the SR level if the target is dodging or moving erratically is easier and quicker.
- No spite damage. Advantage: 7.5 Even a stronger party bears some risk of injury in combat, and combats tend to get resolved faster because spite damage bypasses armor.
- Rules for too-heavy weapons. Advantage: 7.5 While it’s nice that 5.5 has an answer to what happens if you try to wield a weapon too big for you, the answer being that you knock yourself out in short order (your STR is damaged by the difference each round, with it increasing each round as your new STR is even less) is probably worse than just saying you can’t use it effectively.
- Rules for Movement. Advantage: 7.5 The 5.5 rules are simultaneously complex, with varying formulas based on encumbrance and type of activity (looking carefully, normal dungeon speed, sprinting) and fatigue rules based on CON and abstract, yielding nothing more than a rating of feet/minute traveled.
- No special abilities for monsters. Advantage: 7.5 The whole spite-damage activates special monster abilities like stoning gaze or fiery breath makes them a lot less bland, IMO.
- Wandering monsters. Advantage: 5.5 5.5’s rules are vague, but at least it has some.
- Monster reaction chart. Advantage: 5.5 Another inexplicable hole in 7.5 is no discussion at all of anything monsters might do except attack and fight to the death.
- No Kremm resistance. Toss-up. I don’t really know whether the whole kremm resistance thing is worthwhile, and I suspect I won’t until I’ve played a bunch.
There’s more, including stuff on learning languages, berserk fighting, a really elaborate set of optional marksmanship rules, hirelings and slaves, some nice discussion of designing a dungeon, and so forth, but that’s the gist of it. There’s also a fairly substantial (and controversial) change in how experience is allotted, going from advancement in level granting you the right to improve one attribute by an attribute-specific formula (e.g. +your new level to your STR, but only 1/2 your level rounded down if added to your DEX) to a uniform spend your current attribute x 10 xp to raise it by one, with level back-figured from changes to one of your class’ primary attributes, but I haven’t yet bothered to figure out what that would mean for a typical character at various levels. I suspect 5.5 would tend to preserve initial differences in stats more, since you can only pick one stat to advance per level, and levels take more and more XP to achieve as you advance.
As you can tell, by and large I think V7.5 is an improvement in most ways. I think 5.5 is a better introduction to RPGs…I’m not sure somebody new to RPGs could really understand what to do with 7.5, and certain things are either cryptic or accidentally ommitted in 7.5 (such as what the 2nd figure for DEX under DEX required for knives meant), but most of the individual rules changes in 7.5 are in the direction of making things simpler and more uniform, and where they add complication (Talents, Specialists) they get a lot of bang for the buck. Still, I’m very pleased to have both sets of rules now, and I like T&T even more for having read where it is coming from.
update: Commenter G’Noll points out that I was confusing the requirements for Paragon with the other Specialists; Paragons in 7.5 have the same basic requirements as in 5.5: 12+ in every attribute before Kindred modifiers are applied, though that’s much harder to do with an extra two attributes.