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Friday, May 22, 2009

T&T Solo Combat Matrix

The matrices in Tunnels and Trolls solo modules served many different uses. Common were Spell Matrices, cross-indexing your paragraph number with the spell you wished to use would yield a result. The matrices were used to add some variability to an otherwise rigidly serial format. And in the case of magic, writing down explicit choices to use specific spells seemed a signal that their use was crucial to proceed (or a temptation to doom oneself!)

As the 'golden age' of Tunnels and Trolls solo module publishing matured, the matrices were applied to more aspects of game play. I've been thinking a lot about solo module writing in general and I'm starting to mess around with more matrices.

One way that solo-module play suffers as compared to GM-player(s) sessions is that the negotiation of Saving Roll levels (for anything, but specifically here) for combat tricks/actions/maneuvers is impossible. So I was thinking about a matrix of combat manoeuvres, yielding a Saving Roll level and stat, to allow for more combat flexibility. It's not the kind of thing that is necessary, but it can lead to breaking a stalemate, creating an opportunity for escape, bypassing armor, etc...

Following is a table giving a rough idea, where the columns are 3 creatures (instead of the paragraph in which that creature is to be found...)
MoveSkeletonWolfRock TrollEffect
Desperate Stab(DX)badokbadRoll 1/2 damage and apply it, bypassing armor.
Stunning Bash(ST)goodbadok(good party!)
Trip(DX)ok bad bad Flee or foe at 1/2 CBT next round
Disarm(DX)ok no ok ??
Riposte(ST)ok no ok Deal damage to foe equal to its CBT
Feint(DX)ok no ok Foe at 1/2 CBT next round
Fighting Retreat(IQ)ok bad ok ??
Flee! Flee!(??speed??)ok bad ok ??

Early hashed implementation.
good = level 1 SR
ok = level 2 SR
bad = level 4 SR
no = SR cannot be made.
something I'll be working on some more - along with trying to get my head wrapped around the process of writing solo module in the first place...ugh


Timeshadows said...


May I ask why not simply use the established guidelines for adjudicating your own impromptu 'stunt' SRs listed in 5th edition? (the section number escapes at present, but likely in or around combat elaborations S2.x ?)

Ragnorakk said...

This is for inclusion in a solo module. While I'm running a game I figure out SR levels and stats and such based on conditions. But right now I'm trying to come up with a matrix to include in solo adventures, so that the player of the adventure need not have the onus of adjudicating through their own bias.
Probably a hopeless task...

Andreas Davour said...

Timeshadow, I don't have my copy of 5th ed around. Could you elucidate a bit on what you are referring to? What kind of stunts are there? Is this in the "houserules" part of 5.5?

Andreas Davour said...


This is such a cool idea! Maybe there might be something in the 5th ed rulebook (once again something to add to the list of things missing from 7th ed.), but having something like this in a solo would be wonderful!

I guess I'm not the only one thinking of solo writing?

Josef Mieszko said...

I am, yes. I think I'm gonna post on the trollbridge, dredging for different 'standard' combat manoeuvres.
5.5 doesn't really have any suggestion on how to decide on the level of Saving Rolls. In fact it is just explicitly stated that levels were determined by 'how the GM visualizes the [giant]' in that example. I've never tried to codify these things before, but assumptions have certainly built up over the years...

Andreas Davour said...

I've started a series of posts on how to make combat interesting over on my blog, and now I got more to "steal" and add to the library. Horray! :)

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Have you thought about including conditions for failure i n the last column as well as the success conditions?


Ragnorakk said...

That would have to be the case yes.
Work has proceeded slowly - still letting the idea swirl around, but I have been writing the adventure and will post it (probably without first-hack tables of common actions, combat moves, etc...)