At the Gen Con gaming convention in Indianapolis last week, developer MetaArcade debuted a prototype of Tunnels & Trolls on mobile, which it hopes to release later this year.
First published by Flying Buffalo in 1975, Tunnels & Trolls is a tabletop pen-and-paper role-playing game set in a fantasy world. In addition to group adventures, the game offers a series of solo adventures, which users can play on their own, rather than in groups. On mobile, users will have access to the Tunnels & Trolls solo adventures, which are played like “choose your own adventure” stories.
Gamers will choose a hero for each story, each with different stats and strengths. As they read through each story, players will be able to make choices that may change the way the story unfolds. For instance, players may come to a fork in the path, and they may be able to choose which path to take. Some choices may have negative outcomes and could result in the end of the game.
As gamers progress, they may come across battle encounters and other situations that require them to roll digital dice. The results of these dice rolls may impact the way the story continues.
As users successfully complete adventures, their heroes will collect treasure and become stronger, allowing players to take them into more difficult adventures later on.
Speaking with SocialTimes, David Reid, founder and CEO of MetaArcade, said the company hopes to have all 30-plus solo adventures from Tunnels & Trolls available in the application at launch.
While the app will be available to download for free, and it will offer a selection of free content, users will be able to purchase additional adventures via in-app purchase. While the details haven’t been finalized, Reid said there will “probably” be a way for users to try premium content before they purchase it.
These Tunnels & Trolls adventures will be part of the larger MetaArcade Adventures Platform, which will allow users to create their own adventures for other users to purchase and play. Creators will earn a share of the sale price as their adventures are purchased.
When creating an adventure, users will be able to enter their own text and upload their own images, and they’ll also have the option to pull images and audio from MetaArcade’s database into their projects. In addition, if users upload their own art to the platform, and other creators use their art in stories, the artists will receive compensation as part of the platform’s revenue-sharing model.
In terms of encounters and setting dice roll requirements, Reid said the platform will offer suggestions to users based on the kinds of characters they may be creating adventures for or the difficulty levels they may be trying to achieve.
To start, Reid said the team will manually moderate each user-created adventure to flag copyrighted material, plagiarism and inappropriate content. During this initial period, Reid said MetaArcade will “learn the patterns of how this works” and that it will eventually be able to automate the moderation process.
We’re hopeful that this could be something where, if people are successful at writing their own narrative, that MetaArcade can give them a new job—where that becomes what they do. In the same way that Twitch has allowed certain people to become streamers for a living or WordPress allows people to become bloggers for a living. You could always do those things, but you had to have a certain amount of technical know-how to do it before these platforms came out, and that’s how I feel about the storytelling side of this.
You shouldn’t have to be an engineer to write a narrative-driven game. You shouldn’t have to pull in an army of artists and audio engineers to do it. If you can write the story, you can build that game and publish it yourself on the platform.
Readers: Are you interested in playing Tunnels & Trolls on mobile?