A Labour of Love

Gianni Vacca

Playing Tunnels & Trolls in Glorantha

Part Three: Adventuring

III – Game Mechanics

All Game mechanics are as detailed in Tunnels & Trolls (avaliable from Flying Buffalo)

IV – Equipment


Timinits & Trolls is an old-school FRP aimed at reliving the thrill of exploring dangerous ruins, killing the horrible monsters living therein, and returning to one’s village full of loot. Weapons are thus the main equipment most delvers will be interested in.
Weapon STR
dice + adds
Axe 17 8 4 40 150 N
Axe, great 20 10 5 + 3 50 190 Y
Bow, composite 15 15 4 + 3 150 60 Y
Bow, elf 15 18 6 + 5 N/A 50 Y
Bow, self 15 15 4 50 50 Y
Broadsword 15 10 3 + 4 50 120 N
Dagger 1 4/10 2 + 1 20 16 N
Footman’s lance 10 10 4 30 120 Y
Hammer, war 16 3 5 + 1 50 300 N
Hatchet 6 6 2 + 3 25 50 N
Javelin 5 7 2 35 30 N
Mace, heavy 17 3 5 + 2 40 200 Y
Maul 19 6 6 + 1 40 220 Y
Pike 15 12 6 30 100 Y
Rapier 10 14 3 + 4 100 20 N
Scimitar 10 11 4 50 100 N
Short sword 7 3 3 25 30 N
Spear, boar 13 8 4 + 2 20 100 Y
Spear, common 8 8 3 + 1 15 30 N
Spear, long 5 12 5 20 120 Y
Sword, two-handed 17 14 5 + 2 150 160 Y


After his weapon(s), armour is often a delver’s best friend. Umathings are limited to chainmail. Malki may wear any armour (provided they can buy it!).

Name STR
Banded mail 13 13 320 450
Chainmail 12 12 250 360
Cuirbouilli 8 7 170 160
Heavy Cloth 3 1 20 30
Heavy Plate 19 20 1300 700
Lamellar 13 9 200 320
Plate 16 18 460 450
Quilted 6 3  50 100
Ring Mail 14 13 435 410
Scale Mail 10 8 210 300
Soft Leather 7 5 50 75


Protection provided by a shield is on top of armour but limits the delver to 1H weapons.

Name STR
Buckler 2 3 10 75
Pavise 14 7 130 700
Target shield 10 4 35 300
Tower shield 12 6 100 500

General Equipment

Prices are per Umathing markets and fairs. Prices in the countryside are higher but usually entail barter rather than the exchange of metal currency; prices are usually lower in large Malki cities, except for animals.

Item Cost Weight
Bow saw 50 30
Crowbar 120 200
Draught hog 350 N/A
Grappling hook 30 50
Lantern 12 20
Oil, flask 15 5
Rations, 1wk 35 15
Riding horse 3600 N/A
Rope (15m) 50 100
Tinderbox 4 2
Torch ¼ 1
Wagon 1000 N/A
War horse 9000 N/A

Horse barding is available at a price of 10× the price of the same armour for humans (e.g., plate barding costs 4600 guilders).

V - Magic

There are four kinds of Magic in Timinits & Trolls: Wizard Magic, Hedge Magic, Cult Magic, and Spirit Magic.

Both Wizard and Cult Magic function with spell lists. Hedge and Spirit Magic are freeform.

Magic is fuelled by the delver’s POW characteristic points.

Wizard Magic (or Wizardry)

This is the magic system as described in the standard Tunnels & Trolls rules. Wizardry is sorcery. It deals in revelations offered by the Invisible God that allow practitioners to manipulate the physical nature of the universe. It allows them to bend nature rather than channel it, which means that Umathings and many other Pamaltelan cultures view sorcery with suspicion and hatred. Wizardry does not need faith or virtue or whatever, just knowledge and the requirements of the specific spell (which may impose specific taboos or requirements).

If, for any reason, a delver who is not a Templar or a Wizard has access to learning Wizardry, than he must learn each level of power-up spells as a separate spell.

Casting a Wizard Magic spell requires:

If the target has a POW greater than the caster’s POW, the spell doesn’t take effect, but the target loses as many POW characteristic points as spent by the spell caster. If the target has a POW less than or equal to the caster’s, the spell takes effect.

Hedge Magic

As written above, Hedge Magic is freeform. Casting a Hedge Magic spell only needs the Hedge Magic talent, and a successful Hedge Magic skill roll.

Use the following guidelines for the spells:

Effect: 1D per level of difficulty of the Skill Roll
Cost: same as effect; if no die is rolled 5 POW characteristic points per level
Duration: instantaneous or one-use, but the GM may allow an extended effect by increasing the Skill Roll level


Hedge Magic spells are often self-centred. Should someone cast a Hedge Magic spell onto an unwilling target, then the following apply:
If the target as a POW greater than the caster’s POW, the spell doesn’t take effect, but the target loses as many POW characteristic points as spent by the spell caster. If the target has a POW less than or equal to the caster’s, the spell takes effect.

Cult Magic

Cults are a very important aspect of the magic-rich world of Glorantha. Joining a Cult is abstracted by spending 500 AP.

In gaming terms, one of the main benefits of becoming a Cult initiate is getting access to Cult Magic spells. With regards to Cult Magic, a Cult initiate becomes an Acolyte. An Acolyte is basically a “dual classed" character – and the only instance of such a character in Timinits & Trolls – the first class is whatever class the character already had, and the second class is Acolyte. The character level of the latter is computed using POW only.

Acolytes are limited to Level 5. Upon reaching the 5th level as an Acolyte, the character must decide if he devotes himself entirely to his cult, in which case he changes his character class and fully becomes a Priest, thereby losing all his previous class benefits (Talents however remain at whatever value they were), or if he remains an Acolyte, ‘stuck’ at Level 5, and continues his progression in his ‘other’ character class.

Acolyte/Priest Description

(greatly inspired by Mirabile Dictu! Priests as Characters in T&T; Dorothy V. March, Sorcerer's Apprentice issue 17) Background: Any (except precluded classes). Requisites: POW & CHR must be equal to or larger than 10. Primary characteristics: POW only. Talents: Whatever Talents the initiate already had. Combat:
Magic: A starting Acolyte is tattooed with the runes of his cult. These serve as the focal points of concentration when casting Cult Magic spells.

A starting Acolyte knows all 1st level Cult Magic spells. Spells beyond that level must be purchased from the temples or churches of the cult.

Casting a Cult Magic spell requires:

If the target as a POW greater than the caster’s POW, the spell doesn’t take effect, but the target loses as many POW characteristic points as spent by the spell caster. If the target has a POW less than or equal to the caster’s, the spell takes effect.

Cult magic spells are described in issue 17 of the Sorcerer's Apprentice; if the GM does not have access to them, he should devise his own cult magic spells for each cult in his campaign, using the wizardly spells as examples, and based on the particular tenets of the cults

Spirit Magic

Spirit Magic is the province of shamans, which in Timinits & Trolls are only available as NPCs.

Shamans channel the power of their ancestors and of the spirits of their land using the following rules (greatly inspired by the following: You Are Chosen).

Shamans communicate with the ancestors of the tribe and the spirits of Pamaltelan nature. Shamans do not normally adventure and hence are used as NPCs in Timinits & Trolls. A Shaman must choose a main ancestor or spirit as his or her main source of channelling power.

Background: Tribal Umathing or Olodo only.
Requisites: CHR must be equal to or larger than 15.
Primary characteristics: STR, CON, CHR, LK.

Combat: Shamans only get half of the calculated combat adds.
Shamans may only cast Spirit Magic. Spirit Magic works as follows:
Whenever the Shaman wants to channel his spirit’s power, he must vocally petition his spirit. The player picks a Skill Roll level on Channelling: if the roll is successful, he can apply that many dice as a temporary bonus or penalty to a specified ability score, Skill Roll, attack, or defence. If the roll is a failure, the Shaman loses CHR characteristic points equal to the Skill Roll level, which the Shaman can only recover through prayer [ten minutes of uninterrupted prayer allow a Shaman to recover one CHR characteristic point] or by performing a liturgy to the Shaman's spirit [the liturgy takes place on a Holy Day and lasts at least one hour but it allows the Shaman to recover any lost CHR characteristic points up to his full CHR score]. On a fumbled roll, the Shaman can’t use Spirit Magic again until he has a chance to pray or perform a liturgy.

Here are some examples of Spirit Magic use:

The effects of Spirit Magic can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the situation. They may even appear spell-like, but their mechanical impact is limited to the bonus or penalty they confer, and whatever narrative consequences the GM deems suitable.

The range of such blessings and curses is constrained only by the deity’s domain and the GM’s discretion; likewise with the timing: a Shaman could utter a blessing that affects events instantly or far in the future. The duration is usually limited to one action or one combat round, but the GM may allow an extended effect by increasing the Skill Roll level.

A Shaman of level 6+ may also Astral Travel, a spell-like power similar to the 11th level spell Ghostly Going, but which only applies to himself. The POW cost of Astral Travel is as follows:

POW spent Effects
10 The Shaman may Astral Travel in the mundane world in a 10km radius
20 The Shaman may Astral Travel in the mundane world in a 100km radius
30 The Shaman may Astral Travel anywhere in the mundane world
40 The Shaman may Astral Travel in mundane world and in the spirit world
50 The Shaman may Astral Travel in the mundane world, in the spirit world, and in other people’s heroquests

Organisation: Shamans are loners and can't join any organisation. However, Shamans from any given tribe form a loose organisation of sorts, and can sometimes call upon their brethren for succour.

VI - Foes

Players used to playing Sartarite characters in Third Age Glorantha will really feel like total strangers in Timinits & Trolls; Chaos is weak in Second Age Glorantha, there is no Lunar Empire, and the Empire of the Land and Sea is on the wane.

Timinits & Trolls adventures are hence going to be rather “old school" in style, which is actually what this game is all about: the God Learners have left many ruins behind, where crazed sorcerers are still engaging in forbidden research, and the Zistorites, despite their downfall, have also left many uncontrolled weird machines.

Chaotic monsters are likely to be replaced by undead in terms of monstrous foes: Nontraya the Spurned is always seeking to harm Ernamola the Earth Sister (Ernalda), and as such is likely to be the main antagonist of the Umathings.

Players used to playing Sartarite characters should also be used to mostly human campaigns with very scarce non-human presence, except for the occasional Uz. Umathela is different; non-humans are very much present and also generally bellicose. Even Timinits, who are friendly to the Malki, are hostile towards Umathings.