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    • Posts : 4638
    • Drider

    File Name: Whartstock 2011: Monsters! Monsters!

    File Submitter: BigJackBrass

    File Submitted: 23 Apr 2012

    File Category: Whartstock

    Genre: Fantasy

    Profanity Level: Jolly Sweary Indeed

    The adventure business, seen from the other side

    Click here to download this file

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Fingers and toes crossed that @[member=”BigJackBrass”] and the other Whartsies decide to run some more Tunnels & Trolls at some point in the (hopefully none too distant) future.

    This game, along with the Whartstock 2010 T&T game that BJB didn’t run (it was GM’ed most entertainingly by the august @[member=”Martimus”]), is absolutely brilliant good fun.


    The conventions of adventuring are turned upside down as we give the monsters a chance to shine in Ken St. Andre‘s classic 1976 role-playing game. Bunco Keep is under attack from the combined forces of General Hangnail and Overlord Spleen, but not every monster is a mindless ravening stereotype… just some of them. Quite a few, come to think of it…

    Monsters! Monsters! is available as a download on DriveThru RPG or in print from the publisher, Flying Buffalo Inc.

    The Players:
    Jon: The GM
    Amelia: Benny the Shoggoth
    Nick: Margot the Lamia
    Mark: Jeremy the Dark Elf

    and a late appearance from Martin as Shifty Pitflaps the Goblin

    Hmm, the group in this game was actually a nascent version of the Whartson Aethernauts. 🙂 According to some of the remarks in the Steam Pirates sessions, this game was even recorded in the very same chamber that BJB uses for his current ‘net-mediated RPG larks.

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Check out this thread at a T&T fandom site, where BJB shares racey anecdotes and divulges sundry scrumptious secrets from the Monsters! Monsters! pre-game prep:


    Big Jack, can you tell us what each of the “secrets” that the monsters carried was? i am very interested in running a scenario like this, and i really love the idea of each monster having a secret, but i didn’t catch what each characters secret was just through listening to the course of play.

    Unfortunately my computer died screaming a couple of weeks ago; as yet I don’t have everything properly organised on the replacement. I can tell you what secrets were on the cards, but offhand I can’t tell you which ones were picked by which player:

    Secret agendas:

    • Kidnap Sir Roderick’s daughter and return her to General Hangnail. Let nobody else know.
    • Kidnap Sir Roderick’s daughter and return her to Overlord Spleen. Let nobody else know.
    • Steal the strongbox from the Keep and take it to General Hangnail. DO NOT open it.
    • Steal the strongbox from the Keep and take it to Overlord Spleen. DO NOT open it.
    • There are rumours of a spy in the camp. Root them out.
    • There is apparently a powerful magical weapon hidden in the Keep. You could steal it and take it to your leader… or you’ve had a tempting offer from a Black Hobbit who’ll be waiting in the woods to the North… or you could always keep it…

    If any of these apparently contradict your allegiance (such as taking an item to General Hangnail when you are really part of Overlord Spleen’s army) then remember that you are a monster, possibly not entirely trustworthy…

    Personal secrets:

    • You love flowers, their delicacy, colours and subtle scents, but you can never let the other monsters know this. How you long to talk to someone about flowers, to settle down and raise orchids in a country garden…
    • You love one of the other PCs, completely, irrationally, passionately. They must never know, of course, but you long to be near them and would do anything to help them.
    • You are actually a human undercover officer, Agent Double-Or-Nothing, wearing the latest and most advanced magical disguise, sent to infiltrate the Monster army. If this appears to contradict your special abilities/weakness then work out an explanation (such as sunlight deactivating your disguise instead of turning you to stone if you’re a troll). This secret overrides your Secret Agenda card: you may ignore that and substitute this: learn all you can about the strengths of the enemy, foil any attempt to take the Keep, steal any special magics, items or technology the monster army has. Of course you could double-cross your human masters, but would the monsters believe you?
    • Humans are great. You’ve always really liked them, particularly their children, but somehow you fell in with a bad crowd. If only you could do something to persuade them that you’re really on their side then maybe you wouldn’t have to be part of this horrid army any more. Can’t we all just get along?
    • Hangnail? Spleen? Pah! Cretins, dolts, imbeciles! Scarcely monsters at all. They are not worthy to lick the dirt from your boots. Or toes. Or whatever you have. There should be only one leader of this combined force and somehow you know that this is the moment to prove that it must be you! Don’t hand the victory to those fools, take the keep and the army for yourself! MWAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!

    If any of these contradict your abilities or nature then work out a justification.

    Hope that helps. I think that Margot managed to pick a secret love for humans, particularly kids, which was practically designed to cause problems for her, and Jeremy just wanted to take over the world and have everyone kneel at his feet.

    While we’re at it, here are the character notes:

    Characters: Roll 1d6. Odds, you are under General Hangnail; Evens, Overlord Spleen.

    • Benny the Shoggoth (played in the film by Bernard Bresslaw) (entranced by piccolo music, terrified of fire, can’t read) (plastic body can reform into different shapes)
    • Hefty the Troll (played in the film by Jim Dale) (turns to stone in direct sunlight, can’t read, always peckish) (ignores crushing damage)
    • Shifty Pitflaps the Goblin (played in the film by Terry Scott) (insatiable fondness for fish, cowardly when alone, can’t read but pretends he can) (superbly quiet and sneaky when wearing soft slippers)
    • Jeremy the Dark Elf (played in the film by Kenneth Williams) (easily fixated on being unnecessarily cruel, detests dirt, adores luxury and culture) (can pass for human, can read,
    • Margot the Lamia (played in the film by Fenella Fielding) (Loves to flirt with and seduce humans but especially loves to eat children) (almost hypnotically charming, can read, half of her can pass for human)
    • Tinker the Gremlin (played in the film by Peter Butterworth) (finds it hard to resist tampering with mechanical items, including the explosive mine. Cannot read – nobody ever reads the manual!) (brilliant at dismantling locks etc)

    Feel free to substitute a different actor/actress as inspiration.

    Defenders of Bunco Keep:

    • Sir Roderick Bunco: Lord of the manor, he was unable to accompany his troops due to a gouty foot, so he is on hand to defend the keep but can’t get around too well. Two servants, Ruskin and Hobbes, carry him around in an improvised sedan chair.
    • Brad the Bowman: The grim captain of the archers, Brad has the unusual ability to talk to birds and frequently addresses his arrows too.
    • Prunella, Sir Roderick’s lovely daughter: Wears flowers in her hair and believes that no-one is truly bad.
    • Pembroke the Fishmonger: based on Unhygienix in Asterix, fights with swordfish, turbot, whelks as caltrops, thrown spiny urchins etc.
    • ‘Arry the Spiv: always found smoking a dog-end. He will happily sell the defenders out and then turn around and double cross the monsters, as long as he makes a profit. “Gotta look out for numero uno, know what I mean, chum?”
    • Old Malcolm, the gardener: Sir Roderick insists on flowers and fresh veg in the keep, unusual in this day and age, and Malcolm tends the garden. He is a monk, but his real religion is plants… and Kung Fu.
    • Assorted NPCs: use characters from the Woodsedge Inn.
    • Daniels the Wizard: Sir Roderick’s advisor and sorcerer. When the alarm sounds he will, despite his advanced years, be engaged in rather energetic activity with the scullery maid.
    • Timothy: a small boy who thinks monsters are cool and will stumble across the group as he sneaks out of his bedroom. He’ll do anything to be allowed to follow them on their mission. He asks lots of questions (“Does being a Lamia mean you can’t wear trousers? Why are you so lumpy? Do you always smell of fish?”)

    Once the alarm is sounded the defenders will light extra torches and prepare burning arrows. Handy if you’re carrying, say, a mine full of volatile chemical explosives.

    The name “Shifty Pitflaps” was created in the same spirit as Douglas Adams’ “Slartibartfast”, where he began with something utterly filthy you couldn’t possibly say on the radio and then changed it until it was acceptable. With Shifty the prime motivation was to make it difficult for the players to refer to him without accidentally swearing. Pretty highbrow stuff, I think you’ll agree 🙂

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer
    • Posts : 2288
    • Succubus

    I did enjoy this one! I sooo love playing Evielll… 😎

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Perhaps it’s time to persuade BJB to run some more Monsters! Monsters!, then. 😉


    Coming 2013: Jeremy Returns: His Darker Elf.

    • Posts : 2288
    • Succubus

    Hum, can’t reply to that without saying “Spoilers!” 😉

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer


    • Posts : 2288
    • Succubus

    Maybe not in the way you’ve interpreted it though PM…

    • Posts : 115
    • Orc

    This is hilarious!

    The whole concept, from the secrets to the ridiculous characters.  Absolutely brilliant!

    Well done all.

    • Posts : 379
    • Thri-kreen

    I loved the rapid movement around the courtyard to avoid the fire

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    And their secret entrance via the privy. Don’t forget the privy.


    Come to think of it, it’s pretty hard to erase the image of a Shoggoth being squeezed through the heart-shaped cut-out in a privy door from your memory.


    • Posts : 905
    • Gelatinous Cube

    Hum, can’t reply to that without saying “Spoilers!” 😉



    Maybe not in the way you’ve interpreted it though PM…







    Did no one else hear that?


    I don’t think @[member=”riddles”] can go around saying things like that without providing at least a little more information!




    • Posts : 4638
    • Drider

    I don’t think @[member=”riddles”] can go around saying things like that without providing at least a little more information!


    I bet he can 😉 

    • Posts : 5728
    • Mind Flayer

    Quoted from


    In some ways I think that the D&D vs. T&T debate comes down to a single point:

    Would you rather cry “Magic Missile!” or “Take That, You Fiend!” in combat?

    Mind you, let’s not forgot that D&D didn’t get Magic Missile until the supplements appeared.

    If you find TTYF silly then you’ll probably have a hard time feeling comfortable with T&T. It’s not a silly game, but it has light-hearted, almost frivolous elements and the spell list is the most obvious. I’ve played and run both games and generally prefer T&T, although there’s much that I like about D&D and think that its first edition remains in many ways its best: later editions seemed increasingly to try to justify D&D‘s abstractions in terms of “realistic” mechanics, leading to all sorts of absurdities and contradictions.

    For spell casting characters T&T offers a broad list of spells from the start, able to be used repeatedly, and I find that makes wizards more appealing and vital at lower levels. Indeed, basing character classes on whether or not you can use magic, rather than what your profession is, sits better with me and minimizes justifications for why a particular character can’t do something, or wear armour and so forth. I love the flexibility of the Saving Roll system in T&T and the ease of, well, just about everything. It’s also quite clearly written compared to D&D. A problem you can see in many articles and books from the time is that a good many D&D players clearly learned from people who already played the game. For anyone learning from the book T&T was a damn sight easier to get to grips with; and before long we had solo adventures to help with the process. Here’s an interesting snippet:

    “The combat and magic system of Tunnels and Trolls are slightly more complicated than Dungeons and Dragons but not enough to impede play of the game… All in all, Tunnels and Trolls provides a reasonable alternative to Dungeons and Dragons. The problem, as I see it, is that there is no need to seek an alternative, with the possible exception of economy.” J. Eric Holmes, Fantasy Role Playing Games, Arms and Armour Press 1981.

    Holmes got into D&D early and edited the first basic set. He’s pretty much the only person I’ve heard express the notion that D&D is less complicated than T&T, but if you start out with Gygax and Arneson’s game then I can understand how T&T could look peculiar. It’s not that the rules are actually harder, but they have a very different approach and nomenclature. One more quotation comes to mind:

    “Frankly, if I had to run a fantasy campaign today, I’d probably use the Tunnels & Trolls rules. Yes, they’re dumb, but they’re simple, and they’re adequate to my needs.” Greg Costikyan, letter to Space Gamer issue 76, Sep/Oct 1985.

    “Dumb” is putting it rather strongly, but then this is Greg Costikyan. For all my explorations of and experiments with other games it’s T&T which has most often been the one I could grab and run easily, fitting it to dramatically different styles of adventure with the least bending of the rules and, importantly, without feeling that I needed to add a whole load of stuff in. It has problems, but T&T is simple, and adequate to my needs. Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good game of D&D, of course.

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