Monday, 15 July 2013

It's Not as Bad as It Appears

Blue Frog Tavern is the only Tunnels & Trolls solo I was ever really curious about before acquiring it. This was because I'd picked up a copy of Dicing with Dragons, Ian Livingstone's introduction to RPGs, in the Book Exchange, and the chapter on available games included sample pages from the four systems that got most attention. T&T was one of the four, and the page depicted was page 8 of Tavern. Those seven out-of-context sections from the adventure made me want to see the whole thing, so I was pleased when BFT turned out to be part of the bundle of Flying Buffalo editions I bought in 1990. Not so pleased at having to get it again in order to obtain the Corgi reissue of author James Wilson's earlier solo, Sword for Hire, but it makes sense that two adventures by the same writer were bundled together, especially as the eponymous tavern appears briefly in Sword.

Based on one possible encounter I remember, I'm creating a male character. Magic isn't permitted, so I'll just roll up a straightforward fighter.
Strength 13
Intelligence 9
Luck 11
Constitution 9
Dexterity 14
Charisma 13
Speed 10
Slightly above average, then, but well within the parameters laid down in the book.

My adventure starts when I enter the tavern and chat with the barman. He mentions that the proprietor is looking to hire an adventurer, and comments that the local order of Red Robed Priests have been harassing people in the region. Rumour has it that this is because their treasure room was looted. I also learn that I shouldn't address the Troll bouncer by his given name if I wish to retain my limbs.

There's a sudden, brief outbreak of violence, as a rock demon assaults the dwarf with whom he'd been conversing, and Butterfly-Dances-In-The-Morning-Dew (now you know why the bouncer doesn't like it when people say his name) grabs the demon and hurls him across the tavern. I choose to mind my own business, as I know that not much good can come of interfering in matters of industrial relations, and I remember from past attempts that the demon who just hit the wall is the tavern's new owner.

Then again, maybe I should have intervened, as Quartz, the demon, doesn't think much of my adventuring spirit. I get a chance to prove myself, though, as a couple of the Red Robed Priests burst into the tavern and take an ominous interest in Quartz and me. The bouncer kills one of them with a stool, but Quartz indicates that he wants me to finish the other one off. Which could be tricky, looking at the stats. The Priest does way more damage than I do, but I have armour that almost cancels out the disparity. It'll take some extremely flukey rolls for me to be able to harm him, but he's not necessarily going to find it easy to kill me.

While there's still some debate over the relative mightiness of the pen and the sword, no such uncertaintly applies when it comes to scimitar versus pulsing rune death-staff. It took the priest eight rounds to chip away at my meagre Constitution, as it turned out. Still, compared to my last T&T battle, that's almost like surviving to retirement age.

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