Once upon a time, there was one role-playing game that broke all the rules. Where the other games (not mentioning any names) advocated the great myth “game balance” above anything else (including playability and fun), there was one set of rules that let you go really, really wild with your characters. If you wanted to play a STR 158 demon (this on a scale of 3-18), then it was no problem. Neither was an INT (ok, IQ) 46 vampire, a STR 2 fairy or anything in between.
Game balance was for wimps, and damn, it was fun. At a time when deviating from the norm meant playing a Paladin instead of a Fighter, this game – Tunnels and Trolls – was a real breath of fresh air. The characters were larger than life, completely OTT in their abilities, and the whole thing made for one stomping great time.
T&T also had a number of innovative tricks up it’s sleeves too. As the rules themselves were so simple, it competed with the popular Fighting Fantasy games of the time as solo gamebooks – allbeit ones that demanded more intelligence and skills to play. Ken St Andre, the creator of T&T, had designed an all-in-one system that allowed players to game with a GM, then take their characters through a few solo dungeons to improve their characters between game sessions. This meant the gaming was something ongoing, not tied to just one evening a month, or whenever the group were fortunate enough to meet.