Tunnels & Trolls – System Mastery 171

The year is 1975.  The hair is stupid.  The clothes are stupid.  The music?  Mostly stupid.  The movie scene was okay (Rocky Horror?  Jaws?  Come on now).  And the RPG scene was… heartbreakers already!  Tunnels and Trolls sure was an attempt to fix D&D by doing things differently for once.  Let’s look back, shall we.


15 responses to “Tunnels & Trolls – System Mastery 171

  1. Remember when you guys reviewed Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All and were perplexed by his constant references to characters in D&D running around dungeons accompanied by slaves? And then later you guys discovered the creator had most likely not actually played D&D, but a cheaper heartbreaker like Tunnels and Trolls and assumed it was D&D? A lot of things about FW:THLoA make a lot more sense now…

  2. I know Ken St. Andrew. He is a fixture here in the RPG community in the Phoenix area along with a surprising amount of others. He actually ran a ga!e of it I was in when the Deluxe Edition was released a few years back. I liked it for a one shot. Was not into it as a campaign, but a least it was not a direct rip off the DnD rules. Sadly, he pissed off everyone here a couple f weeks ago by going on a Facebook tirade saying shit like, “sure, lots of people will die, but we will get over it and life goes on” and basically said we should stop caring. So, fuck that guy.

  3. “yassa massa” hahaha. A lot of the spell names seem like pretty clever puns but, yeah- that one took a wrong turn into racist town.

  4. Pingback: Avsnitt 68 – Frankensteins rollspel | nordnordost.se·

  5. Wow. How happy I was to find reviewers of all sorts of games.

    How impressed I was to see they have 7 years of experience.

    How dosappointed to find a complete lack of content, material, information or …. anything.

    Terrible waste of my time. You kids should take abyear off to improve the value of podcasts and watch boardgame reviewers to see how you could start making a quality product instead of this dribble. Terrible trash.

    I am so sorry I ever found your waste of time uninformed chatter. Sad you are in this hobby. How about you take up fishing. Goodbye

    • I’m so glad you found this podcast! There’s a great community of fans who enjoy their podcasts here and everyone’s welcome.
      I hope you found it a useful way to spend your time leaving a review. Happy listening!

    • I’ve noticed that whenever System Mastery reviews a bad, old roleplaying game or movie that has particularly offensive messages or attempts at humor more often than not there’s some comment that attacks Jon and Jef. I’m glad the community these two have built up is full of nice, friendly people who are willing to call out the jerks.

      I wonder if there’s some beacon that goes out to awful folks whenever someone rightfully calls out offensive content.

  6. Funniest part is were you tell Cugel story , but in a made up version.
    Love the show, makes the pandemic thing goes easier. Wish you all the best!

  7. So, basically, if you do not like the show it is bad? Got it.

    But, you know what, I love this show. I don’t always agree with them, sometimes totally disagreeing with them, but that is fine. YMMV. One thing they should not do copy other podcasts because they do something original.

    I have some advice for you… go enjoy what you like. I will stick with listening to Jon and Jef.

  8. Without seeing it, I think the ‘hilarious’ female helmet is probably a big ol’ hard bonnet-style hair dryer.
    I remember my mom had one – very 70’s style.

  9. When it comes to offensiveness in 1970s games, you might have to grade on a curve.
    Dragon magazine, for example, had a “Woman” class for D&D, assuming ALL other characters were male. It replaced Charisma with Appearance and gave them a special seduction power. Gary Gygax wrote in say … that they had too many hit points.
    It wasn’t good.

  10. Having just read through the two Cugel collections, I just wanted to chime in to give a little bit of additional information on the books: While “Cugel does a thing, then gets in trouble for fucking all the women-folk” is a thing that happens multiple times throughout the books, it’s not necessarily a constant throughout. Cugel’s kind of an asshole, and also nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is, so a lot of the stories are Cugel attempting to run a con on someone he meets in his travels, only to have things blow up in his face.

    That said, there definitely is an element of him being kind of a creep to women in general, though the less savory aspects of this are usually alluded to rather than shown outright. There’s also a couple of instances in the stories where women specifically use his tendency to think with his dick to pretty effectively outsmart him. Basically: Cugel’s behavior with women is definitely objectionable, but the book doesn’t necessarily try to present it as acceptable.

    I’d definitely give Vance a strong recommend, especially for the fact that his prose makes a lot of Gygax’s more…florid tendencies make a bit more sense: Vance had a habit of frequently peppering his work with obscure, sesquipedalian words, which Gygax very much picked up on. The difference between Vance and Gygax, though, is that Vance coupled this with a very snappy, to the point writing style that made his work flow with a very brisk, natural pace, while Gygax had a tendency to pontificate at length about nothing. It’s also noteworthy that, at least in the Dying Earth novels, Vance usually had the characters who most consistently used big, esoteric words also be the biggest jackasses.

  11. I decided to go looking for articles that might mention the very out-of-date spell name used in the older editions of T&T. I found your review (for the first time – its now 2020) and I just wanted to add that we have changed that spell name in all the PDFs of T&T that we are selling. (Deluxe T&T which was published in 2015, did not use that spell name) The spell is now called “Obey Me!” so it more like what an angry wizard or mad scientist might say to someone who they are trying to hypnotize and now has no racial connection. T&T was written in 1975, the same year as Blazing Saddles. It was a different time and if we ever republish any of the older edition the old editions we will change the name. We are sincerely sorry for anyone that was offended by that very badly named spell.

  12. Incredibly obnoxious and immature podcast. Nothing of value was said, just making fun and tearing down a creator from a time long ago.

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