I have been busy with Tunnels and Trolls for a long time now. At the beginning of 2011 I started my own imprint–Trollhalla Press–just to publish new T & T material I’ve been creating and to revive and reprint some of my older stuff. Do you know that I’ve produced over a dozen solos and GM adventures over the last 2 years? Most of them have been in association with Flying Buffalo Inc., but unlike earlier T & T work for Buffalo, these were produced by me for me, and I own them.
About a month ago, after my friend Steve Crompton helped me produce a really good copy of my 2010 novel: ROSE OF STORMGAARD, certain forces came together and resulted in the four of us: Rick Loomis, Steve Crompton, Liz Danforth, and me deciding to do a new edition of Tunnels and Trolls, and to use Kickstarter to finance it.
People have been recommending Kickstarter to me for years, but I have resisted the idea. I knew it was a lot more complicated than people thought, and with no guarantee for success. While I have been working alone on projects that run about 16 to 32 pages, I could do what I wanted, at my own speed, and produce things that I liked without fear of censure or complications. That allowed me to do things like this:
There were two main reasons why we decided to do a new edition of Tunnels and Trolls. Number One was that the game had gone out of print. The manufacturers, both Flying Buffalo and Fiery Dragon had sold out. Number Two was the production of a really gorgeous edition in French by Pat Geille of Luxembourg. Seeing what Pat had done (mostly on his own, but working with me and Liz and Steve through the whole process) inspired us to see if we could do as well.
The four of us had a supper discussion a couple of months ago, and decided to do it–to make the best edition of Tunnels and Trolls that we could possibly make. Liz Danforth and Steve Crompton (both incredibly talented artists) insisted from the first that this had to be a high quality job. To that end, Liz agreed to be both artist and editor/developer. (Liz was chiefly responsible for layout, wording, art, and production of the 5th edition that came out in 1983 and is widely regarded as the best version of T & T ever published.) Steve took over the position of producer. He is doing art, composition, video, lettering, and every little task that pops up that requires an artist’s eye to look good. Rick is doing publication and kickstarter and the business details. We brought James “Bear” Peters into the group because he is a creative genius with story, scenario, and world design, and he is also the first person I ever tried T & T out on back in 1975.
As for me, I write the rules, and much of the world history and background. Trollworld, as presented in the rules, is my world with some additions from my friends (Bear Peters, Liz Danforth, Mike Stackpole and a few others). Creating a world is a big job, more than one person can do by him or herself. It really helps to have artists and other creative people working with you when you do that. When you play Tunnels and Trolls, you are encouraged to make your own Trollworld. You can base it on mine if you wish, or you can start over from scratch and make any kind of T & T world you can imagine. I’ve said it since 1975–Trollworld is a nexus of realities.
If you are a member of Trollhalla.com, my online club for T & T fanatics, you probably already know all this. But, I’m hoping this journal will reach new people who are not members of Trollhalla. I want to make it clear that the members of Trollhalla have had a major impact in determining what Tunnels and Trolls is currently and will be in the future. Having them is like having scores of genius playtesters at my beck and call. If you are not a member of Trollhalla, but you like T & T, then why don’t you join. The club is open, and did I mention that it’s international?
If things work out, the Kickstarter project for Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls will go live sometime in the next week. It proved to be a lot harder to put the proposal together than Steve, Liz, and Rick thought it would be. (As for me, I was sort of pessimistic from the start, so I’m not surprised that it was hard to do.) But, I want to tell you all, that it is looking better and better each day, and it will be a dynamite proposal once we get it up. That will happen when our overworked (and underpaid) perfectionist editor (i.e. Liz) is satisfied with it.
I plan to use this blog to share with you readers some of the behind the scenes activity involved in producing/publishing this fantasy role-playing game. I’ll be talking to you every Monday with the latest things that I can share. I hope you understand that I won’t be telling you everything I’m doing or planning. There needs to be some surprises left in the rules for you gamers to discover when they are published. I will give some hints, and discuss some controversies, and maybe warn you about some places where the rules are changing. Be here again next week, when I hope the big headline will be that the DT&T Kickstarter is alive, and we’d like to see your pledge.
To paraphrase my favorite humaoid alien: Game on and prosper!
If you have questions or comments on this article, you’re invited to post them now. Who knows? Ask a good one, and I will probably answer you. (Grin.)
–Ken St. Andre, Dec. 31, 2012