Twisted Tunnels RPG

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The rules linked here cover one of the earliest renditions of the game. I’ve done a lot of playtesting and I have a completely revised playtest draft. Contact me at “deeperdelvings” at Gmail if you’d like to check it out!

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The Wizard Wars ended in a spectacular meteor storm that decimated the wizard ghods of old and left the planet in ruins. Humanity survived, and slowly they built new outposts of civilization across the shattered lands. Yet the planet is riddled with underworlds of Stygian darkness, filled with every possible terror, where legends tell of treasures untold and magic beyond measure: the Twisted Tunnels!

In Twisted Tunnels RPG, you and some friends play through adventures in the Twisted Tunnels. One of you takes the part of an impartial referee who maps out an adventure site and loads it with diversions and deviltry for the other players to discover. Everyone else forms a dungeon demolition team, taking the roles of desperate freebooters who descend into the Twisted Tunnels for fun and profit.

Some people will tell you that there are no winners or losers in a role-playing game like Twisted Tunnels. Those people are losers. The object of this game is to survive, and you win if your characters reach level 10 and retire with their fortunes in comfort and security.

In order to accomplish this, you will delve into the darkest, most devil-infested depths of the Twisted Tunnels. Then you must evade, outfox, or eviscerate the threats in your path, and bring back the most glorious treasures and legendary magics hidden below. If that doesn’t kill you, you will recruit allies and lay plans for another descent.

This game is a tribute to the first full-throttle role-playing game modeled on comics and fantasy fiction, created in 1975 by Ken St. Andre and published by Flying Buffalo. At the time, people had to use convoluted “fantasy wargame” rules published by TSR, but St. Andre’s game blasted through the tropes of wargaming and ushered in pivotal mechanics that had a huge impact on the hobby, including ability checks, point-based currency for magic, and explosive combat resolution that emphasized fictional positioning.

Twisted Tunnels RPG started with a few house rules, but feedback and playtests have spurred me to develop it as a stand-alone game. My goal is to hew as closely to the spirit of the 1st proper RPG, extrapolating on the quirks and implications I’ve found in the original text, while simplifying the number crunching and spiking it with my own irrational sensibilities.

My plan is to post pieces of the game here as each section becomes ready for review. I’ll update this post as each piece goes online, to keep a running table of contents.

  1. Playing the Game: Saving Rolls and Clashes
  2. Recruiting Your Delver
  3. The Warrior’s Craft
  4. The Warlock’s Craft
  5. The Rogue’s Craft
  6. Experience
  7. Monsters
  8. Combat
  9. Spells
  10. Character Sheet

Some commentary: Design goals

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