-> ''"This book is dedicated to Dave Arneson and Creator/GaryGygax, who first opened Pandora's box, and to Ken St. Andre, who found it could be opened again."''
--> --''TabletopGame/{{Runequest}}'', 2nd edition rulebook

In April 1975, Ken St. Andre borrowed a 1st edition ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' set from a friend. He found that he liked the concept but disliked the miniature wargame style of play, the use of polyhedral dice, alignments and clerics. He decided to write his own rules set and play the game with that instead. After two months of playing the game with his friends and rewriting it based on experience, he printed the forty-page 1st edition rules book in a first run of one hundred copies[[note]]until that point, the rules had been referred to as "Dungeons & Dragons", and since Creator/{{TSR}} hadn't trademarked the name at that time some playtesters argued for simply taking over the name; in the end the community decided against it: KSA's favored name was voted down and the rules were published as ''Tunnels & Trolls''[[/note]].

Up to the beginning of the 1980s, ''T & T'' enjoyed moderate success, reaching its classic 5th edition in 1979. Then competition from a large number of new games, as well as significant rewrites of older games like ''D & D'', pushed it into obscurity. According to Wiki/TheOtherWiki, in 1999 ''Pyramid'' magazine named ''Tunnels & Trolls'' as one of The ''Millennium's Most Underrated Games''. It still has its loyal followers in many countries, though. In 2005 a 30th Anniversary Edition (aka 7th edition) was published with modernized rules.

''Tunnels & Trolls'' uses only six-sided dice for game mechanics, and the principle of simplicity and uniformity permeates the rules. Compared to the infamously convoluted and cryptic 1st ed ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' rules, the ''Tunnels & Trolls'' rules were clearly laid out and well-explained. ''T & T'' was also less serious-minded than ''D & D'': the tone was lighter, gameplay was oriented towards having fun, the spell names are mostly cute or punny, or both. However, the game is not joke-oriented as a whole -- it is a sound RPG.

Some of the significant innovations of ''T & T'' were:

* Armor reducing damage, not probability of hitting.
* Spell points instead of a VancianMagic system.
* Attribute-based saving rolls
* The solo adventure format

In January 2013, it was being funded for a [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/994700393/deluxe-tunnels-and-trolls Deluxe Edition]] on Website/{{Kickstarter}}. The funding reached almost five times the original goal.

!! This game provides examples of:

* AnAdventurerIsYou
* CastFromStamina: Casting spells drains a magic user's Strength. Later editions avert this with a separate Wizardry stat.
* CharacterAlignment: Emphatically averted.
* CharacterCustomization
* CharacterLevel: In editions up to 5th.
* CombatMedic: Healing (properly ''Poor Baby'') is a wizard spell.
* DamageReduction
* DungeonCrawling
* ExperiencePoints
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The oldest editions have some quirks.
** The Rogue class was [[AbsurdlyLowLevelCap capped]] at 7th level, after reaching it that character had to [[ClassChangeLevelReset change class]] to either 5th level Warrior (losing any and all spellcasting abilities) or 3rd level Wizard (greatly reducing combat ability, but retaining all his learned spells).[[note]]As the system is mainly stat-based than level-based, the loss wasn't as harsh as in Dungeons & Dragons, but character's development was slowed for a while.[[/note]]
** Instead of [[DamageReduction reducing received damage per combat round]], armor counted as a [[BodyArmorAsHitPoints bonus]] to [[HitPoints Constitution stat]]. Player would decide how much damage was absorbed by breakable armor.
** Ranged attacks were always accurate on their own, if they were possible to be made. Targets would instead evade them completely by making saving throws.
* FighterMageThief: Almost, but not quite. There are the ''types'' Warrior, Wizard, and Rogue (and Warrior-Wizard), but they're not classic classes and the Rogue is not a Thief but a free-lancing Wizard.
* FiveRaces: Except it's six: there are two Fairy races[[note]]probably to avoid a loaded term, races are actually known as ''kindreds'' from 5th edition on[[/note]], actual Fairies and Leprechauns.
* GameBreaker: In earlier editions, there was a spell allowing to permanently triple any given weapon effectiveness. A single Wizard could enchant all of his party weaponry during a TimeSkip. Later [[{{Nerf}} nerfed]] by making the effect temporary.
* GameMaster
* GenderIsNoObject: at least since the 4th edition[[note]]from 1977[[/note]], and likely earlier, the rules have completely avoided gender discrimination[[note]]having a female editor for the 5th edition might have helped, but Ken St. Andre seems to been equality-minded for far longer than it's been fashionable[[/note]]. Female warriors are common in rulesbook examples and in published adventures; the 4th edition introduction describes adventurers as "[b]rave men and women".
* HeroicRROD: In both physical and magical varieties.
** Using a weapon without sufficient strength will temporarily drain that strength by the difference per combat round. It accumulates pretty fast. If strength is drained to 0, the character passes out, and any excessive drain is converted to actual damage - it's completely possible to tire yourself to death by trying to swing that {{BFS}}.
** Draining your Strength to 0 by spellcasting kills you.
* HouseRules: Strongly and actively encouraged by the designer, and fan-submitted house rules have found their way into the official set on a number of occasions.
* LinearWarriorsQuadraticWizards
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRules: Averted.
* LuckStat
* MagicAmpersand
* MagicKnight: Rogues, and especially Warrior-Wizards.
* MagicWand: Or rather Magic Staff.
* TheMagocracy
* PoisonIsCorrosive: The mist in one room in the Solo Dungeon #4 ''Naked Doom''.
* TheSixStats: Nearly; replaces Wisdom with Luck.
* SwordAndSorcerer: It's easy to make the abilities of a warrior and wizard (or rogue, which is another kind of magic user) work together.
* TropesAreTools: Although it started off as a SerialNumbersFiledOff version of TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons, it introduced the concept of Skills which eventually made their way back into D&D, solving a long-standing problem of how to deal with things like picking locks, disarming traps, and pretty much anything else that wasn't strict wargaming. The skill system was also the basis of the skill system in {{VideoGame/Wasteland}}, which had a considerable impact on stat-based computer roleplaying.
* UniversalSystem: Two spin-off games, ''Monsters, Monsters!'' and ''Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes'' used the same basic rules.
* VancianMagic: (Mostly) averted. ''T & T'' has spells arranged into power levels, but capacity is governed by [[{{Mana}} spell points]].