Mike Hill

Tunnel Quest v3.5

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

This is a home-brew game that’s seen about 3 years worth of play-testing (on and off). It’s a generic ‘vanilla’ fantasy game; I know there are a lot of these around but please bear with me.

The design is loosely based on a game by Paul Elliott (Mithras in the RPG.net forums) called Dragons (and used with his permission).

Broadly speaking, it’s class based in that your starting point in the game is defined by the character’s class and certain tasks are easier or more appropriate for certain classes but it isn’t a black and white distinction, your warrior character can cast spells if you insist but that will ‘dilute’ his ability to kick butt in combat.

The game uses a standard 2-dice ‘roll-equal-or-over’ mechanic but keeps the modifiers to a minimum so there are very few numbers to juggle.

The system is ‘pass or fail’ with a slight difference in that if the PC’s roll fails, the opponent necessarily succeeds. So one dice roll determines the outcome of each combat round.

The upshot of this is that the referee never has to roll any dice. The game plays out on the strength of the players’ rolls. Not only does this give the ref. time to focus his or her attention elsewhere but makes the game quite convenient for play-by-board outings.

The magic system is quite strategic with magic-users having access to ‘magic points’ of differing colours. A spell can be countered if you can match it point-for-point and colour-for-colour so throwing an extra point into your spell makes it more difficult to counter.

Creatures are defined with a single attribute (like the Tunnels & Trolls Monster Rating) but special abilities are activated on specific dice roll results to keep the players guessing.

A sample dungeon adventure is included and if you haven’t guessed already the game is a tribute to old-school games in general and T&T in particular.

TunnelQuest 3

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

This is the third incarnation of my rules-lite old school fantasy game. It still draws heavily from Tunnels & Trolls but this time around I’ve tried to make it more of a complete game. I’ve included a character sheet and dungeon crawl adventure, a new colour of magic (prismatic), sample enemies and suggestions for incorporating non-human player characters.

To keep the file size down I’ve stripped out the public domain art and used basic fonts and layout (bit dull, sorry). Given that the adventure runs to 20 pages the game has blown out to 58 but remains easy to play.

On that topic – only the players need to roll the dice, the GM can focus on planning and running the game.

I hope you enjoy this latest version.

Tunnel Quest 2

Monday, December 28th, 2009

TQ2 is a very simple fantasy role-playing game designed for players new to the hobby or those wishing to kick start a game in under 5 minutes.

The GM is not required to roll dice during play (unless he or she really wants to), the outcome of any event or encounter is based purely on the success or failure of the player’s skill roll.

Since the first edition, the magic system has changed (but version 1.0 magic is still compatible), character advancement is presented in a slightly different way and most things just make a little more sense.

There is no world background or fantasy races – that’s up to you. The system can easily be ported to other genres.

TunnelQuest or TQ for short is a brief set of Fantasy Role-Playing rules designed by Paul Elliot (of Zenobia fame) and developed extensively by Mike Hill (Tunnels & Trolls Sixth Edition). Paul’s game was originally designed to provide a simple but compelling set of rules that he could use with his family.

Although the game concepts and mechanics really are simple, it would be helpful if at least one player is familiar with role-playing games in general and such venerable classics as Tunnels & Trolls and of course, Dungeons & Dragons in particular.

To play this game and most role-playing games, you will need some dice; TQ only uses the readily available six-side dice. For ease of reference, dice rolls are indicated by the abbreviation: ‘xd6’ where ‘x’ denotes the number of dice to be rolled. For example, a roll of 3-dice would be indicated by the code 3d6.

Tunnel Quest

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Tunnel Quest is a brief but complete set of fantasy role-playing rules.

The original ideas were spawned by Paul Elliot (of Zenobia fame; if you’ve never heard of it, Google it!) and further developed by myself.

The system favours a quick and easy style of play with limited bookkeeping for the GM – a single dice roll for combat determines whether the character hits or gets hit – no rolling for the GM!

NPCs can be described with a single number or detailed with unique abilities – examples are of both styles are included in the text.

This is a low-power low-fantasy game which uses small numbers and only 2 six-sided dice. Paul originally conceived the game to appeal to his young children but my players range from 21 to 48.


Mike Hill

The Basics

When the result of a character’s action is in doubt, the Game Master (GM) asks for a dice roll to determine the outcome. The player rolls 2-dice and must get equal to or greater than the Difficulty umber. In a fight the Target Number is the Rating of the Foe. Most tasks can be rated in this way (climb portcullis might be 6). A Difficulty Number of 8 would be a typical challenge; 10 or more would be difficult and 13 or more would be formidable for starting characters, at any rate.

In many circumstances, the character may possess a Skill applicable to the situation; in which case, the player may add the Skill level to the dice roll. The character’s Experience Level is usually added to the roll but only if the GM feels the task warrants it, given the character’s calling.

Example: Yuon the Barbarian is hunting small game with a bow and arrow. Yuon has Archery at +1 and the GM allows his player to add the character’s Level (+2, for a total of +3), as the activity seems like the sort of thing Barbarians get up to. Later, Yuon attempts to use his Repair Skill (+2) to fix the hem on Maid Morron’s court gown. Yuon does not get to add his Level in this particularly un-Barbarian-like activity!

TAGS Star Wars

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005

Here’s my Star Wars RPG based on the unnamed Neverwhere system – which I’ve dubbed ‘TAGS’ – the Action Game System because it’s ‘Star Wars style’ action orientated and because descriptive ‘tags’ which describe characters also indicate what they can and can’t do.

Characters begin with one ‘background’ which provides a starting point for tags, skills and equipment. Players then select 6 tags and 4 levels of skills based on a brief one-two paragraph description of the character.

Action resolution is 1D1+applicable tags (and skills, equipment etc.) verses the opponents roll – or rarely, a static difficulty number. The winner of the roll decides what happens. The players should never know how many ‘hits’ they can take, instead the Narrator describes the effects (which become temporary tags) of the wounds they suffer.

Unlike most role-playing games, a Star Wars character in this game is neatly described in one or sometimes two paragraphs. From this brief pr?cis, the player will select six descriptive words or phrases, which we?ll refer to as tags from hereon in, that are used to encapsulate the characters main abilities, characteristics or traits. Additionally, the player can choose 4 levels of skills and a ?background? to round out his character; the background is something of a ?meta? tag which carries with it some bonuses and sometimes a penalty or two.

The easiest way to begin is to think about the type of character you?d like to play then choose a background or make up one of your own with the Narrator?s assistance. Most backgrounds come with one or more free tags which don?t count against your limit of 6 initial tags so it?s often best to start here.

Once you have a descriptive paragraph or two, underline the words or phrases that take your fancy. It?s likely that there?ll be more than 6 tags that you?d like to choose but limit it to 6 and keep the others in mind for future character development.