Tavernmaster Games, a history.

Welcome, gentle reader, to our first blog post, wherein our origins are revealed to a curious world.

Back in the Bronze Age, some among us were sucked into role-playing games and were lucky enough to stumble on Tunnels & Trolls, a pleasingly simple system that encouraged fun and hassle-free fantasy gaming. In the 1980s the field was flourishing and we played many other systems too. Then somebody invented the abacus, and before you knew it computer games had taken over the world. Although we each retained affection for RPGs and played when we could, we believed that the high days of T&T were past. By the mid-90s, the stream of official material had dried up and the fortunes of the game appeared moribund.

But then those computers that had squashed the hobby with their bleeps and fancy graphics turned into our friends again. The world wide web appeared, and slowly but surely gaming sites popped up and user-generated material began to be available. Gradually, as players were able to connect with each other across the world, evidence of continued enthusiasm for Tunnels & Trolls arose. Forums such as Trollhalla and Trollbridge were launched; websites offered solo and multi-player adventures; variant rules and character generators proliferated. Eventually, there were even new editions of the rules and print magazines.

In the midst of all this, your heroes were delighted to find a small but appreciative audience for their own work, and published solos, dungeons and artwork. Initially we used our own websites, with the odd foray into eBay; but here and there we hooked up with other outlets, in arrangements that brought some of us into mutual contact and happily expanded our clientèle. Andy Holmes and Jason Mills had been gaming together since their schooldays. Andy stumbled across Simon Tranter on an Australian website, whilst Jeff was picked up on Trollhalla. Sid was searching for a hollow-point drill (or was it bullet?) on eBay when he made an L3SR on LK and came across Andy’s adventure Tilford’s Hollow, which serendipitously revived his long-dormant interest in the game. Nobody knows how Andy James arrived: rumour has it that he came from somewhere in the dark, frozen north.

After a few years of fiddling around here and there, doing this and that, we looked at our assembly of talents and saw that it was good; and so we decided to launch a single collective outlet for our work, collaborating in the production process to perfect our creations. Thus, Tavernmaster Games was born.

What with busy lives, preparations and the creation of material, it was many months before our project was launched upon the world, with the first incarnation of our website. We put emphasis on getting things right from the start, and Simon, along with M. E. Volmar, put great effort into ensuring presentational quality. Our first products were Sid’s solos Formication and Devotion to Duty, and Tavern by the Sea, an adventure created by Andy Holmes in collaboration with Ken St Andre himself. Recently Andy’s Sideshow (designed for both solo and multi-player use) and Sid’s Rapscallion hit the shelves, only to be snapped up by enthusiastic customers. All these adventures featured splendid illustrations from our resident artists, Simon and Jeff.

In the summer of 2012, the UK contingent of Tavernmaster Games gathered for a weekend at the Beer ‘n’ Pretzels gaming convention, some of us meeting for the first time. This enjoyable socialising energised our creativity, and we have numerous ideas in the pipeline.

Tunnels & Trolls remains a small fish in a big pond, and we would be foolish to expect our creations to make us rich! You can be assured that we are in this for the love of it. We aim to produce the best and most rewarding material that we possibly can, and we sincerely hope you will enjoy playing our adventures even more than we enjoyed creating them.

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