Among the older games I love is Tunnels & Trolls. Created by Ken St. Andre as a faster, simpler D&D, Tunnels & Trolls is currently in its 7th edition. It underwent rapid evolution in the early years, until the 5th edition, currently the most widely played, was released in 1980. The differences between that one and the current are minimal, which means that much of the material released for one can be used for the other.
The game uses similar stats to D&D, but ditches Wisdom and adds Luck. The combat system is dead simple: both sides in a combat roll up their combat total using a number of d6s based on their weapon or (in the case of NPC monsters), their "Monster Rating", adding whatever bonuses to this number that they have; the lower number is subtracted from the higher, and the difference is applied to the losing side; armor reduces this.
Magic is much freer in T&T than in D&D; wizards have access to a lot of spell early on, and by basing it off of a recharging Strength attribute, the game allows for many castings. The spells also have silly names, which has apparently turned off a lot of people off to the game. It just doesn't seem "serious" to blast an enemy troll with a spell called Take That, You Fiend.
To which I say...hmm. I actually agree with them on that. I'm not fond of T&T's spell names either, although that hasn't stopped me from playing and enjoying the game. I also think the game is a bit "swingy" when it comes to magic, having effects that turn the tables, often decisively, with the casting of a single spell.
For that reason, I set out writing a set of my own house rules, that would allow non-magic-using types to moderate and attenuate the combat effects of magic, and, in the process, rewrite the names of spells.
Others have also done their own take on T&T. Lances & Labyrinths, for example, is an effort to add more D&D-style classes to T&T. And over at Vin's Troll Bridge, people discuss rule changes and additions constantly. So I don't believe this rule re-working is in any way disrespectful to Ken St. Andre, contrariwise, I think this kind of personalization and expansion is an extension of the creative spirit that caused him to create his own rule set in the first place.
In future blogs, I'll talk about some of the T&T rule changes, and eventually post a list of spell names. But I recommend people check out the base rules of T&T, if you haven't already. It's a rules-light system that affords the player and GM a lot of flexibility and creativity.