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Rebellion Acquires Tunnels & Trolls

Flying Buffalo’s entire game line acquired along with the classic first published in 1978

Rebellion Unplugged, the new tabletop division of UK video games developer Rebellion, has acquired Tunnels & Trolls, a fantasy RPG which was first published in 1978.

T&T publisher Flying Buffalo’s CEO passed away in 2019, and the company was purchased by management and holding company Webbed Sphere in 2021. Rebellion has acquired the whole of its game line, which also includes well-known properties like Grimtooth.


World-renowned independent creative studio Rebellion is delighted to announce the acquisition of Tunnels & Trolls, one of the trailblazing games of the fantasy genre, and the second roleplaying game ever published.  

First published in 1975 by Flying Buffalo as a more player-friendly alternative to Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls introduced roleplaying to new audiences through its streamlined mechanics and pioneering approach to solo roleplaying. Now, almost 50 years after its original publication, the Rebellion Unplugged team is bringing Tunnels & Trolls into a new era. 

“Tunnels & Trolls is an unrecognised trailblazer in the games industry”, said Duncan Molloy, head of Rebellion Unplugged. “The team at Flying Buffalo responded to an entirely new medium by focusing on how roleplaying could be more approachable, more accessible, and more fun. So much of the modern era of roleplaying from old school hacks, to streamlined systems, to solo play, can directly trace its roots directly back to this series. We’re very excited to channel that spirit in bringing Tunnels & Trolls into the modern era.”

“When I first discovered Tunnels & Trolls in the mid-1970s, I didn’t realize I was unlocking a life-long interest in fantasy roleplaying games, books, movies, and all things genre-based” recalled Rebellion CEO and Creative Director Jason Kingsley OBE, “The game has remained with me throughout my life, and I can’t wait to see what the team have in store for it!”

After the passing of Flying Buffalo founder Rick Loomis, the company had been taken over by Webbed Sphere Inc. “We are very excited to see Rebellion expand this rich property” added Jon Huston, president of Webbed Sphere. “As a long-time fan, I always felt that the Flying Buffalo roleplaying lines had such incredible potential.”

As part of the acquisition Rebellion have taken over Flying Buffalo’s entire line of roleplaying games, including the cult classic Citybook, Grimtooth, and Merchants Spies and Private Eyes series. The entire back-catalogue of Flying Buffalo PDFs will remain available to purchase online, with future releases coming directly from Rebellion Unplugged. 

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Ken never left it... He was directly involved in every US commercial edition except the 7-AltRules, which was copackaged with Ken's 7.0. The French 8th edition was done under license; anything labeled 6th is a fan work, and labeled such with Ken's blessings. The Corgi sub-edition differed only mildly - most notably in the spell names (but not effects), and was UK; the first few UK versions were by GW (pre-Warhammer) with only new layout. As yet, there's no US version that hasn't had ken involved.

Until now... and M!M! is promised to support non-monsters in a year or two. (implied strongly by Steve Crompton on Trollhalla, and explicitly mentioned in Monsterary.) Ken doesn't appear to be unhappy with the deal - the new version of M!M! is going to be more robust than even the 3rd M!M! (which has not only Ken on it, but also Steve, and possibly also Liz, Bear, &/or Mike).

And we don't know that they won't ask Ken back - we only know that Rebellion bought out the rights Webbed Sphere didn't give back to Ken. And that Ken and WS had worked out an amicable split.

My recollection is that he said he going to be working on Monsters! Monsters! exclusively about the time Webbed Sphere got the rights. I'd be happy to see that proven wrong under the new ownership, though. Not that I dislike M!M! or anything.

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aramis erak

So what are the difference between M!M! and T&T and why the split?
A minor difference in how MR converts to combat dice. Specifically, the rounding. I can't remember which is which. So I'll look it up before hitting send.

T&T has Types: Warrior, Wizard, Rogue-Wizard, Paragon, later editions have specific types enabled by a particular stat open-ending in character gen.
Both have Kindreds -- the current list is over 30 in each. The T&T core are Human, Elf, Dwarf, Hobb, Leprechaun, and Fairy. There's a list of 30 or so in the options, which can be used either as NPCs with full stats, or even as more PC kindreds.
M!M! reverses the placement of the two lists. And gives a special power to each monster. Each Monster kindred is essentially its own type. The older edition on DTRPG has the same list as T&T 5, because T&T 5 cribbed from that older M!M! for it's monstrous kindreds - but left out the special abilities for many of them.

The spell lists are slightly different, but they work the same in general.

Many NPCs (spearchuckers, etc) are not fully statted - in both - having an MR -- Monster Rating or Mankind Rating. The MR generates HP, combat dice, and combat adds. HP = MR, Combat Adds = MR/2.
M!M! "2e" (which is actually the 3rd ed) Combat Dice are MR/10 round up.
DT&T is 1+MR/10 round down.

DT&T (but not earlier editions) has a setting -- Trollworld -- which is also the setting of the official solo modules.
M!M! does not, yet. Monsterary is a setting and kindreds expansion for M!M! A hundred kindreds, most with full stats, but not all.

Theme: T&T is essentially a D&D theme clone, but without priests (unless one has Sorcerer's Apprentice 15).
Monsters! Monsters! is a reversal - monsters raiding Human, Elven, Hobb, Dwarven, and Leprechaun settlements...
Or dungeons. Or other monster's villages. Or, heavens help one, the monster cities...

aramis erak

Why the Split?
Well, originally, it was thematic and complimentary rulesets - T&T 4 was the good guys, and M!M! was additional detailed kindreds either for use as PCs in M!M! "reverse the tropes" games, and for use in T&T 4 as full-stat NPCs.

Currently? Webbed Sphere showed why... they bought the rights to resell them. And resell them they did. FB hadn't actually owned M!M!, so it was properly Ken's. The issue is that it was technically derivative, but Webbed Sphere gave him free and clear rights on it, If I understood Steve and Ken correctly.

They then sold T&T copyrights and trademarks to Rebellion. And Rebellion's not published decisions on direction.

Which one?
The GW one?
The Mongoose d20?
The Mongoose Traveller?
The EN Publishing one?
Something else?

(Looking at the Rebellion site, no, they aren't resurrecting the RPG. They've resurrected the boardgame.)
I don't know enough about Dredd as an RPG to know. What I saw was this and assumed it was probably the RPG:

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