25 March 2012

Races and Creatures of Umathela

Some of the many races and creatures of Umathela have already been mentioned on this blog:

  • Iqari
  • Lascerdans
  • Plant-Men (Dryads, True Elves, Black Elves [Voralans], and Red Elves [Slorifings])

Other sentient races:

  • Dwarfs. Umathelan Dwarfs are vegetarian.
  • Grey Giants.
  • Timinits (several sub-species); they are allied with the Westerners.
  • Trolls (Dark Trolls and Trollkin) in the Tarmo Mountains. Hot Trolls do not live in Umathela but further south in the jungles.

  • Boars and hogs; both domestic and wild. And sheep. Swine and sheep are almost the only domesticated meat animals of Umathela. Fowl/poultry are uncommon; cattle non-existent.
  • Horses are not native to Pamaltela and hence extremely rare. Only Westerners own horses, which are exclusively used as mounts, and never as beasts of burden.
  • The Middle Sea Empire tried to introduce mules, but for some reason they all died out in Pamaltela.
  • Draught animals: the standard Umathelan draught animal is the giant hog used to haul carts. In other parts of Pamaltela, wagons are simply dragged by teams of men.
  • Although Theyalan in origin, Umathings do not keep alynxes as companions but dogs (that are similar to  the Catahoula cur).
  • Wolves of various sizes and types. Large wolves may be used as mounts by some monsters.
  • It is rumoured that the Zistorites have managed to domesticate large flightless birds called horseclaws, which they mount much in the same fashion as the Dragonewts mount the (larger) demi-birds.

  • Giant arthropods.
  • Giant insects. Trolls raise and breed all kinds of giant insects.
  • Undead.

From the Gloranthan Bestiary:

  • Charnjibber; a highly chaotic predator whose size and shape are constantly changing. Greatly feared throughout Pamaltela.
  • Gargoyle; lives in the mountains.
  • Grue (large chaotic monster; bipedal, huge deformed head; their blood is corrosive); lives in eastern Umathela near rivers
  • Mountain Trolls (low intelligence)
  • Sabre-toothed Cat
  • Skybull
  • Succubus
  • Titanothere

Mottled Condies

From Trotsky's site:


  • Fright (a degenerate, trollish ape-like creature).
  • Hoon (again, a degenerate, trollish bat-like large monster); lives in the mountains.
  • Shadowstalker (darkness-related, wiry ape-like creature with a long neck); lives in forests.
  • Watchwere (hulking ape-like chaotic horror); have the ability to see through any object as if it were transparent.

19 March 2012

T&T: New French-Language Edition - More Impressions

(still reading T&T 8th ed)

There is a large section devoted to advice for the GM, and another large section that explains when to award experience points, and in what amount.

This latter section is really detailed and provides many many examples. I believe it should be really useful for anybody using the rules as written — which is not my case: I tend to award a set amount of experience points at the end of each session so that the players can improve their PCs by the time the next gaming session starts.

18 March 2012

T&T: New French-Language Edition - First Impressions

OK, after having perused the new French-language edition of Tunnels & Trolls, I must agree that calling it "8th edition" is somewhat of an exaggeration. What Patrice Geille has done beyond translating the rules is mostly re-organising them in a more logical, structured way (7th ed was such a mess!).

Combat is the part that has received the most in-depth treatment, and indeed I can see a rule that I don't remember having seen in other editions (but then I'm not a big T&T expert): any damage inflicted through spells and/or missile weapons at the beginning of an encounter is added to the rolled damage total of the first round of combat, which is actually tantamount of keeping track of said damage twice. Now the rules say this is to reflect the 'shock' value of that damage; however, I don't think I'll apply that rule.

There is also quite an extensive part dedicated to poisons and their various effects, which I don't recall having already noticed in previous incarnations of the rules (possibly as an extra in the 30th anniversary CD).

More in future posts as I continue reading the rules and writing down small notes.

16 March 2012

Voralans in Timinits & Trolls

The following is almost a direct rip-off of Scott's Mushroom People but hey, Scott said it was OK :)

Pamaltela is notorious for its dangerous forests and its death-filled jungles. Many delvers have tried to explore them, few have ever returned, and usually to die a horrible death as plants would burst out of their ears and eyes.
Unbeknownst to most adventurers, deciduous trees and evergreens are not the only perilous plants in Pamaltela — there are fungi of all sizes too! And just like True Elves are basically sentient trees, Voralans are sentient fungi.

Although smaller than True Elves and misshapen, and despite their being loth to combat, Voralans can be just as dangerous opponents as True Elves because of their mastery of noxious spore-based attacks. Whether these attacks are "biological", as claimed by the God Learners, or magical, as assumed by sane people, is beyond our knowledge. Whatever the truth, these spore attacks are destructive and unpredictable.

STR×1, CON×0.75, INT×1, POW×3, DEX×1, CHR×1.5, KNW×0.75, PER×1.5, SPD×1, LK×1.5

Average SIZ: 1.35m

Special Rules:

  • Voralans thrive in the night, so during the day (between dawn and dusk) any SR level is increased by 1.
  • While Voralans are able to use any kind of spell, they are forbidden by their culture to use anything other than metabolic magic, which costs 1 fewer POW per spell level than in the spellbook. Other magic types cost an extra 2 POW per spell level.
  • Voralans are able to take an hour of uninterrupted meditation to heal 1D6 CON on themselves or one other person.
  • Voralans may not wear helmets. They simply won't fit over their mushroom head.

13 March 2012

T&T: New French-Language Edition Available (cont'd)

T&T 8th ed. is at last in my grubby hands! I've only had time to quickly skim through the book. It has 137 pages, a very clear lay-out, numbered paragraphs, and a real character sheet. And of course new illustrations by Liz Danforth on top of the classic ones. What it is still lacking is an index.

07 March 2012

T&T: New French-Language Edition Available

T&T 8th edition (in French!) is available on Lulu at last, apparently in dead tree only, for £17.21. More on this much-expected product as soon as I can lay my grubby hands on it.

Here's the blurb of the French edition of T&T:

Tunnels & Trolls 8e édition
La présente édition française du livre de règles pour le jeu de rôle Tunnels & Trolls est basée sur la 7e édition de langue anglaise. Toutefois, certaines lacunes et incohérences de la version originale ont été corrigées après consultation de l'auteur, Ken St André. De plus, nous avons ajouté certains passages de la 5e édition du jeu qui nous ont semblé utiles, voire indispensables. Cerise sur le gâteau : l'édition française comporte de nouvelles illustrations de la mythique Liz Danforth...

And here's the foreword, by Ken St André himself:

03 March 2012


As implied by their name, Plant-Men are sentient plant beings. While some may appear to be of very human-looking appearance, most feature completely vegetable traits. Some may have leaves or vines for hair, or a greenish hue to their skin, others are covered in bark or have non-animal twists to their limbs. Their eyes have neither white nor pupil. This latter trait renders their gaze particularly alien and unsettling to other humanoids. Cool sap circulates through the body of a Plant-Man, not warm blood. Plant-Man religion is likewise alien to other sentient races; Plant-Men hold animistic beliefs yet a number of named deities are known to outsiders. This is has proved extremely puzzling to the ever-cataloguing God Learners.

Plant-Men are called Wort-Men by the Umathings, and Elves by the Westerners with a further, finer distinction based on colour, as there are several types of Plant-Men. Three of these sub-species (brown, green, and yellow) are called True Elves by the Westerners. Plant-Men obviously do not use these exonyms but refer to themselves with a variety of different endonyms that depend on their plant association (see names in green below).
Plant-men have almost disappeared from Umathela proper, but are quite numerous in the forested lands around it.
Embyli by Dario Corallo

As mentioned above, Plant-Men come in an array of forms and sexes:

Dryads are the female Nymphs of the woods, and are far more magical than other Plant-Men. Each Dryad is the protective spirit of a given grove of trees, which she may control under certain circumstances. The role of Dryads in the reproductive cycle of Plant-Men is often of paramount importance.
  • Green Elves don't rely on them for reproduction, as they have their own females. When a Green Elf mates with a Dryad, no offspring results.
  • Brown elves sometimes rely on them, sometimes not.
  • Yellow Elves completely rely on them as they are all males.

Pregnant Dryads give birth to a large seed, not to a living being. The seed is planted, and it grows into a shrub. After two years, the shrub bears a fruit, which contains the child.

Brown Elves [Mreli]
They are associated with deciduous forests, and with trees such as aspen, birch, and oak.
They hibernate in the Dark Season, looking for a hollow tree or a comfortable hole in the ground in which to remain comatose until the Storm Season.
Brown Elves are both male and female, and also interbreed with Dryads, who hold important positions in brown elf society.

Yellow Elves [Embyli]
They are associated with rainforests, jungle evergreens, and palm groves.
They are wholly male and breed with Dryads for procreation.
They are quite aggressive vis-à-vis humans, especially Westerners. In Pamaltela, Embyli are organised in Dryad-ruled queendoms that resist the encroaching human civilisation. These bellicose Yellow Elves are particularly present in the lands to the east of Umathela, where they have fought many deadly wars against the Middle Sea Empire.

Green Elves [Vronkali]
Of the three races of true elves, the Green Elves are the most human-like, having for instance a similar sleeping pattern to the humans', and living in village-like communities with males and females. Vronkali are taller and stronger than any of the other Plant-Man species.
They are associated with coniferous forests, with trees such as fir, pine, and spruce.

Black Elves or Voralans
Hermaphrodite, diminutive squat humanoids with grey skin, and swollen limbs or heads, who inhabit the rare toadstool forests. They are shy, keep to themselves, and avoid combat. However, they can be formidable opponents because of their strange spore-based biological weapons to which they are immune.

Red Elves
Also called called Slorifings by the Umathings, and Goblins by the Westerners. They are small and stunted Plant-Men who inhabit the great swamps to the west and to the south-west of Umathela, thus far from human civilisation. They are associated with ferns and mosses rather than with trees.
Goblins are known to eat humans and to obey a cruel Sorceress Queen. All Slorifings are male, and need diminutive vile-looking Dryads called Olarians to mate.