Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/07/16/tabletop-review-deluxe-city-of-terrors-deluxe-tunnels-trolls/
City of Terrors is a solitaire adventure for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. It was originally released way back in 1978, and has remained a popular adventure for the system ever since. This is the second adventure release for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, even though the core rulebook for this updated version of the second oldest tabletop RPG has yet to come out. It’s okay though, because the adventure actually isn’t updated AT ALL for Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls and uses the previous rules system (Fifth Edition). There is a page dedicated to converting the adventure to DT&T, which is odd, because it bears the DT&T logo on the cover. As well, the random NPC list has the old system stats rather than the new ones which, again, is equally strange. You would think Flying Buffalo would want to clean this up and change the stats instead of telling the player to do it themselves! Yes, the text actually tells the player to roll 3D6 and write down the new stats for the NPCs when you encounter them. I’m not sure if it’s lazy or sloppy, but honestly, Deluxe City of Terrors should have just been released as a Fifth Edition adventure. It’s not hard to do the conversion, but if you’re going to release an adventure for a new edition, the staff behind it actually needs to do the proper editing and conversion themselves rather than say the adventure is for the newest rules set, but have it be for the previous rules and make the player do all the work. If someone was going to do all the work themselves, they’d write an adventure on their own, wouldn’t you think?
Anyway, small rant over. City of Terrors is a wonderful solitary adventure. There are roughly two dozen adventures that can occur between these nigh seventy pages, some of which are good and some of which are merely mediocre. For example, my first adventure had me go up to some guy on the street, attack him, kill him, then walk to a ship and it was over. That was the entire adventure. Others were much longer, ranging from eventually killing the brother of the Sultan that ruled the city to doing battle with a master of time itself. It’s pretty wild how varied the adventures within City of Terrors can get, but be careful, as there are many instant death options as well, killing you without a chance of a saving throw or the roll of a die.
If you’ve never played a solitary adventure before, think back to things like the Choose Your Own Adventure books or even “gamebooks” like the Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and even Dungeons & Dragons versions that were big in the 80s and 90s. City of Terrors is laid out exactly like that. You start with 33C on page 40 of the PDF, and your choices will lead you to other options. Each choice will lead you to an encounter, a fight, your grisly demise, or all of the above! These adventures are great for when you’re feeling like tabletop gaming but can’t get a group together to play with. It’s just you, a piece of paper, some dice and this adventure, and that’s all you will ever need. There are many different outcomes and so you can replay the same adventure multiple times without repeating much, if any, content. That’s a pretty good deal for five dollars.
I should point out that there is a LOT of potential sex in this adventure, so this probably isn’t an adventure you’d give to young kids learning how to roleplay. Give them one of those aforementioned gamebooks, as you can find them for cheap on Ebay or Paperbackswap.com these days. You can have sex with everything from a gorgon (not advised) to a wizened old crazy cat lady (also not advised), so the usual Tunnels & Trolls comedy is in full effect here, albeit a more R rated version than usual. If you flip through the pages to look at the art, you’ll also see pictures of your potential lovers which, again, if more amusing that titillating or creepy.
Speaking of the art, I absolutely love the myriad of drawings you’ll find on the interior. Rob Carver and Liz Danforth did an excellent job as always, and you can feel free to flip through the art without worrying about reading any spoilers or the like. After all, the text is so jumbled up, you’ll never know if a section you gloss over will be reached by your character in his or her adventure. The adventure also sports a beautiful wrap-around cover that is quite nice, but I have a feeling you need a physical copy to get the full effect here.
Much like with Buffalo Castle, it’s great to have City of Terrors reprinted for a whole new generation of gamers. It’s not as well done as Buffalo Castle, due to some of the aforementioned edition issues that plague this version, but where Buffalo Castle can only be played by a Level One Fighter, City of Terrors can be played by any character class, and they don’t have to be a brand new character either. There’s something for everyone in City of Terrors, and with a price tag of only five dollars, you’re getting a great deal that will allow you to engage in some solo gaming goodness for hours on end. I’d definitely pick it up if you’re a fan of Tunnels & Trolls or are looking for a good system to let you game solo until you and your friends can get together.