Ken’s dTnT Journal, Post 7

I have often described Tunnels and Trolls as a cross between Lord of the Rings and superheroes from Marvel Comics.  Surely anyone familiar with fantasy can see what an enormous influence Tolkien’s epic has had on my own Trollworld.  It shows in the presence of Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Goblins, Trolls, and Hobbits.  From the first edition T & T all the way up through fifth edition had them all.  The honorable Mr. Tolkien only invented Hobbits, and he took them pretty much from English folklore of small creatures that lived in close association with men.  Hobbits may have started out as Hobgoblins, which are not just big goblins, but a different creature entirely.

It is fitting, therefore, that we conceived our fellowship of creative people trying to do a big T & T quest in terms of the Fellowship of the Ring, and called ourselves the Fellowship of the Troll. None of us has pushed the analogy further than Steve Crompton, and it is he who posted the clip from Peter Jackson’s movie below where Aragorn claims the kingship of Gondor.  During the month of the kickstarter project Steve has posted a number of movie clips from the Lord of the Rings, by way of analogy for what we were doing at the time.  Bringing out the deluxe editon of T & T is seen as a kind of personal quest for us, where we must deliver the Ring (the next editon of Tunnels and Trolls) to Mount Doom in Mordor (you fans and game players).  Our quest is quite a bit less arduous and dangerous, and altogether happier in tone than Frodo’s was.  But, we humans tend to exaggerate the importance of everything in our daily lives and invest it with Significance however we can.

One of the games we have played among ourselves is to ask who we are in the fellowship.  Which of us is Gandalf, Aragorn, Frodo, Samwise, etc? Is there a Sauron? a Saruman? Are there Nazghuls that must be defeated?  I’m not sure we would all agree on who is whom, but let me pose the question to you readers.  You are the citizens of Trollworld (Middle Earth).  Who do You think We are shadows of?

(Another one of the analogous mythologies that some of us think about is Roger Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber.  Roger said that Amber is the one true world, and everything else including our Earth is but a Shadow of it.  In those terms I might be a Shadow of some greater personage from a world of greater reality–like Middle Earth for example.)

I’ll tell you one thing.  I’m not Frodo Baggins.  He’s too short, too doom-haunted, and too much an instrument of fate.  On the other hand, I might have once been Bilbo.   Bilbo was an adventurer, writer, and friend/protege of wizards (at least one wizard), and I have been all those things in my life.  However, in the video down below, I believe I’m lucky enough to have another role than that of hobbit.

And who are you, my friend?  Make no mistake.  If you supported the dTnT project in any way, then you are in the story–you are in the shadow movie.  I think that we tend to focus too much on central characters.  Everyone has a part to play in the various dramas that make up our lives. Getting back to the Lord of the Rings analogy, Gondor falls if Eowyn doesn’t slay the Nazghul outside the walls.  Rohan falls and Saruman may have become as great a menace as Sauron if Merry and Pippin don’t befriend the Ents.  If the Riders of Rohan don’t come to the aid of Gondor, the city falls.  Could you be a rider, an Ent, an Elf to help the fellowship through a dangerous part of the journey?  Everyone had a part to play, and if some of them failed in their parts, then the quest would fail.

The Kickstarter is over–you raised more than enough money for us to complete this quest, but THE QUEST ISN’T OVER YET!  We still have to deliver the gold ring.  There are still many who must contribute to make this quest succeed.  We will be calling upon craftsmen, printers, artists, writers, and others to help us finish this task.  Some of you who read this message may be called upon before we’re through.  Some of you have done your part, and now need only endure and keep the faith until the end.

This is not and will not be my triumph.  It is and will be Ours!  I have always quoted the Beatles, and have said, “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  In this case, I get by with help from Rick Loomis, Liz Danforth, Steve Crompton, Bear Peters, Mike Eidson, Susan Davis, Mark Thornton, Mark Evans, Simon Tranter, Mari Volmar, Jeff Freels, Roy Cram, Chet Cox, David Ullery, David Moskowitz, Stefan Jones, and hundreds of others.  I cannot list you all here, although you will be listed in the final edition of Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls.  I wonder how many pages it will take to print the over 1600 names of those who came through for us when we asked them to.

You are in the movie, my friend.  Do you see yourself in the credits?  Do you see yourself on screen?  Take a bow!  Thank you for  your support, and let’s bring the next part of this quest to a triumphant conclusion.


If you’d like to find out what I’m up to, and it’s always something, you could visit  You could join the Elite of the inner circle who interact with me all the time.  You could follow Trollgodfather on Twitter.  You’re invited.  I know you have your own busy and important life to live, but you should know, you are invited to the party.

There are members of the Fellowhip in this picture. Can you spot us?

There are members of the Fellowhip in this picture. Can you spot us?


Categories: Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls News, fantasy role-playing games,, Trollworld | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Ken’s dTnT Journal, Post 7

  1. Damn, love that Liz-art! (One of my characters got “stoned” in the room depicted earlier this afternoon!)

  2. Ronster

    Liz is Galadriel– no doubt about it. I love her art–there can never be enough of it. The 4th ed. cover is still my fave cover art for T&T. The piece shown here is pretty awesome, too.

  3. SSCrompton

    What a great post Ken! Thank you for picking up on the video clip I posted last time. As for who we all are Well that changes from time to time. When I was putting together the video that was posted on the main kickstarter page, it was a very difficult task and at the time, I felt like Frodo carrying the heavy burden of the ring. I had recently been given that ring by Ken (who I think of as Bilbo or Gandalf). After all, for the last 20 years, Ken has carried the ring, much like Bilbo.

    Don’t get me wrong here – we all contributed to the video as we all contributed to each aspect of this great project, but at various times, one of us ends up carrying the burden of the current task at hand (i.e the ring) After I was done with the video, Liz took to ring to create the final text for the kickstarter pitch. I tried to be her Samwise then, as Bear has been my Samwise a few times as well, as has Liz, Rick and Ken) So our role varies from time to time – which actually gives us a lot of strength as a fellowship. Odds are there were time when they thought I was Gollum! – lol

    Anyway, odds are this is more than you probably wanted to know, but it is a wondrous journey and I’m so glad that all of you are a part of it all. As you saw from the video clip in the last post, you are all there too, cheering us on or having helped us along the way. When I posted that, I was thinking that Aragron (the King) was Tunnels and Trolls itself and we are all its loyal subjects! And Arwen is Kickstarter! lol Anyway keep in touch – We have much more to show you as the book develops!

  4. First, massive congratulations to all of you. I have no idea “who’s who” in the Tolkien mirror since I’ve been away from all of you for so many years. But I can definitely say that my contribution puts me on the level of a soldier of Gondor. I always play male human characters in games and have never been attracted to playing another race. So the concept of an alt-me running about in Middle Earth sticking orcs and other weirdos is about right.

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