Fantasy | Roleplaying Games

Listless in Lorrden Fang, or Avoiding table lookup in Tunnels & Trolls

sean f. smith / he, him
The Ugly Monster
Published in
3 min readJul 11, 2023


book cover spread out to see both front and back ─ on left, a wizard in front of a stained glass window, doing magic above an illustrated grimoire / on right, a fantastic halls of sort with a variety of fantastical creatures

I love the second oldest published TRPG. What’s more, I managed to snaffle a pristine copy of the Deluxe edition hardback for £20 (!). However, as excellent a product as it is, I don’t always have space to carry around an A4 hardback of nearly 400pp.

Luckily, the rules of play are easy to remember. Saving Rolls are made with 2D6 DARO + stat vs a set number. Combat has each side roll all its dice and total them and note how many natural sixes there are (this value can be determined from the Monster Rating of any given monster).

Character generation is easy enough — 3D6 in order for the eight stats.*


But outfitting the character — well that needs lookup on a table.

Instead, I spent much of the day today doing math to work out something sufficiently close to turn dozens of pages of weapon and armour tables into two simple calculation rules.

a screenshot of a spreadsheet. two columns are highlighted and the data is represented in a scattergraph to the right
why yes I am on BGA — find me if you want to play a chunk of push-you-luck or drafting games


  • Find 20% of combined Strength and Dexterity. You may comfortably wield weapons with up to that many dice.
  • Weapons with more than six dice need to be used double-handed.
  • Weapons cost (dice * 20) minus 30 in gold pieces and weigh about the same in weight units (winds me up that you decimalised pounds here, Ken).


  • Hits protected is almost always identical to Strength requirement.
  • Armour that protects ten or more hits is almost always metal.
  • Armour costs hits * 35 in gold pieces and weigh the same — unless the armour is metal in which case it weighs twice that.
  • In Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, armour has a penalty on Dexterity. In general, light armour gives –1 (things like leather), moderate armour gives –2 (things like chain), and heavy armour gives –3 (things like plate).


  • Use the weapons calculations, but instead of damage dice, it’s hits.


* Okay so you might have to modify the prime attributes a bit. If you’re playing a non-human kindred, you’ll typically have multipliers.

My messy method for this isn’t accurate, but it is fast and it is memorable, and that’s just more in keeping with the spirit of Tunnels & Trolls.

Consider your kindred, what is said of them and what is known. Double any prime attribute in exchange for halving any two.

(By average maths, this gives +10 in exchange for –10. T&T isn’t a game about balanced averages and it’s not really an issue if players cheese it. Characters with higher stats take longer to advance anyway.)

Rebellion Unplugged, if you’re reading this, I’m open to work on the new edition of Tunnels & Trolls. I was copyeditor on ORC BORG and the last major release I wrote for, Moonlight on Roseville Beach, was awarded Judges’ Spotlight at the ENNIES.