Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Melody In Your Name

I call everyone "Darling" because I can't remember their names.
-- Zsa Zsa Gabor

One of the things that has turned otherwise interested parties away from Tunnels and Trolls is the silliness of the spell names. One of the reasons Ken St. Andre gives for the names is that, at the very least, they are more memorable than their counterparts in other games. Although that may be true, it can ruin the atmosphere of a gritty, swords-and-sorcery flavored game if, when faced with some shadowy apparition from the netherworld, your wizard calls, with a flourish: "Oh, Go Away".

(As a side note, it seems like it's easier to make a 'serious' game silly than the other way around. Worth pondering, that.)

Following is a list of Level 1 Spells from the 5th edition, along with suggested translations.

Detect Magic: Sense Magic
Lock Tight: Holdfast Portal
Will-o-Wisp: Glimmerlight
Knock Knock: Unbind Portal
Oh There It Is: Expose Hidden
Take That, You Fiend: Vexing Smite
Vorpal Blade: Keen Edge
Oh-Go-Away: Repulse Foe
Teacher: Instruct
Hocus Pocus: Ensorcel Staff

Some of the names aren't so silly, as you can see by the list above, but if the impetus behind "silly" names is to make them more memorable, I suggest that these alterations would do that, without compromising the atmosphere of the game.


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