The idea behind this campaign started with the fact that I’ve never had the chance to try T&T7r, the version of T&T created by the Fiery Dragon team and designed to play even simpler than Ken St. Andre’s design. It turns out that two of the players had never played T&T, and the other had played once a few decades ago. So, we decided to play a couple of one-shots to compare 7.0 to 7r.
I decided the first session should be 7.0, so the players could see Ken’s design first. During character creation one player remarked that the game was definitely old school, as the character sheets were only a half page. The idea of kindred attribute multipliers/divisions instead of additions/subtractions was notable to several of the players. Despite the system’s simplicity, it took half of the session to create their characters. So, I have decided that each T&T edition we try should be two session long to cover the 1/2 session of character creation each time.
The player characters started off as slaves captured in the Danthforz Forest and brought to z’Zmoppopp to begin the trek up the mountain as the annual tribute to Stoneclaw the Mad. Once they saw that there were no guards going up the mountain, the characters began to devise escape plans. Kharlah Ironhoof was the first to make a sudden break for it, but once she narrowly avoided an arrow she retreated from the dwarven slavers and back onto the path up the mountain.
Next, Eero decided to slow down his climb up the mountain, until eventually the rest of the caravan was long out of sight. Once he spotted a game trail that branched off at a switchback, he continued straight onto the game trail unnoticed thanks to his Talent in Roguery. Eventually he found a sapling from which he could make an effective staff sling. Now armed, he decided he would parallel the road when he heard a bear roar. He turned around to see that it was on its hind legs and looking right at him. Eero’s player commented that such a thing seemed highly unlike a real bear, which would never go so near a road. Another player remarked that it would act like that if it was a mother and the character was near it’s cubs. I tried to keep a poker face, as the tagline on Obsidian Portal for the bear read, “Mother Bear Protecting Her Cubs.” I did find it rather humourous, though. Had the player not backed off carefully, he might have spotted the two cubs whose path was getting dangerously close to his quite by chance.
Ret-Slath decided that he, too, would make use of the flora along the caravan’s path. Crafting a staff ordinaire, he spent his time in solitude in one of the horse drawn carts. Once they arrived to the treeline, the slaves discovered that the top third of the mountain was covered in crystal. Kharlah and Ret-Slath hoped that they could make an escape into the woods from there, but dwarven archers were spotted hidden within the treeline. Some of the slaves decided to start taking the goods into the mountainside, despite no visible overseers to force such obedience.
Kharlah decided to attempt to cave in the mineshaft, after warning the other slaves to come back out. When some refused, she reared up and bucked a support beam. It easily cracked, and that’s when some of the other slaves attacked her. Within the first combat round she easily slew two of her fellow slaves, which rallied more against her. Rather than killing them all, which was not her intent, she chose to retreat.
Meanwhile, Eero backed into a dwarven sentry, surprising them both and causing the dwarf to drop his bow. The player then wanted to maneuver behind the dwarf, get the dwarf in a stranglehold with the staff sling, prevent him from making any struggling sounds or strangling sounds, and pass out without killing him, all before the dwarf would get to make an attack. Considering how they both surprised the other, neither had a surprise attack. It would have been cool, but his Roguery was not high enough unless DARO exploded really well for him. Instead, he fumbled. The players seemed rather surprised at the statistical odds of fumbling a Saving Roll in T&T. I don’t think it endeared them to the system. The rest of the dwarves heard the scuffle, and he fled (successfully, thankfully).
Meanwhile, Kharlah was unhappy with being stuck atop the mountain with a meditating naga and a bunch of other slaves who wanted her dead. She decided to attempt to rally the slaves into a revolt. She also fumbled. The slaves drove her off with crystal fragments, refusing to even listen to her because she had already killed two of her fellow slaves. As night fell, she decided to patrol the mountaintop perimeter, in the hopes that she might find a way to escape down the mountain. So, too, did Eero. They both succeeded in staying awake through the toughest part of the night, but Eero did not make it to town nor did Kharlah find a way down through the treeline before grey dawn came. A mild cliffhanger for the evening.
The players seemed somewhat concerned that the party was broken up into three separate areas, but they each felt that they had to play their characters properly rather than sacrifice the integrity of the roll just to keep the party together. I told them that I wasn’t concerned, a new day would present them new challenges and that I had been prepared from the start for them to either stay in the town and explore it, escape on the way up the mountainside, or explore the mines. Each two-shot storyarc in a different edition of T&T has the characters start differently, but the theme will always be about the annual tribute to the mad dwarven wizard. I actually have enough ideas to run it through four or five different editions of T&T if I (and they) wanted to do so.