Your Calling is at Hand in The Ascendant

Greetings, adventurers! It’s another exciting week here at MetaArcade as we proudly introduce our latest (and recently re-christened) adventure, The Ascendant: an origin story inspired by the original work of classic Tunnels & Trolls™ author, Michael A. Stackpole.

In last week’s blog, you may recall that we briefly teased our upcoming adventure, “Kingmaker,” which was being built as a launching point for players just jumping into the Tunnels & Trolls universe. Stackpole's Kingmaker was a good foundation: offering an engaging setting and story for players to learn, practice, and master the mechanics necessary to rise to greater challenges in Tunnels & Trolls Adventures.

Interestingly, the more we made changes to Kingmaker, the more we began to realize that it had become a story of its own—certainly one inspired by the original Kingmaker adventure, but with far more changes than similarities. This is when we started to think that a new name was in order—an idea that solidified when our newest adventure designer, Sam Riordan (@justsamplease), realized that “Kingmaker” has a sort of old-school, 70’s, “overly-masculine” ring to it. Not wanting to exclude our aspiring heroines of the world in the story of their origin, the decision was made and voila: The Ascendant was born!

Starting TODAY (right now, in fact), you can jump in and play the adventure for free—no Hearts or Gems required.

As an introduction to Tunnels & Trolls Adventures, The Ascendant introduces your hero as they take their first steps into a larger (and more dangerous) world:

Grey Barrow: the village that you grew up in, and the village that you begin to think you’ll die in…

When you were a child, you dreamed of the adventures that lay beyond the lands you know all too well, but for many reasons—whether out of fear, obligation, or simply circumstance—you never ended up leaving Grey Barrow. The nearby Kladish ruin turned out to be the only place where your imagination could wander: in the ancient home of your ancestors, rumored to be a great barbarian tribe immortalized in so many of the stories told over the years.

As time passed, however, you began to doubt the legends…that is, until unearthing a key to your past that may very well unlock the door to the future.
— Foreword: The Ascendant

The Ascendant is a great place for new players just getting started in the game, replacing both our tutorial adventure and offering a refined experience to the oft unforgiving rolls of Naked Doom. Don’t fret: Naked Doom is still available and unaltered, and remains a fantastic adventure for veteran players starting new characters. It will still offer all the perilous rolls, spectacular deaths, and big rewards for those of you who want to take on the challenge!

We’re also excited to announce that The Ascendant will be the first story in a series that will ultimately form our very first CAMPAIGN ARC. This is a new approach to storytelling that we’ll be working into Tunnels & Trolls Adventures, where each solo adventure will play into a larger storyline that follows your character’s adventures through the world.

Our first campaign arc, ‘The Crown of Klade,’ explores the origins of your character: a humble peasant from Grey Barrow embarking on a path of adventure. The Ascendant is followed by Buffalo Castle – a great delving experience for starting adventurers that better prepares them for dangers that lie ahead.

Of course, there are more adventures to be revealed in ‘The Crown of Klade’ as your character leaves the remote valley they call home and experiences the splendor of the big city for the first time. Here’s a teaser of how this first campaign arc ends; you may recognize it:

One night you find yourself on the run after making a terrible mistake – killing the son of an influential noble. Fleeing your persecutors, you end up on the edge of a cursed forest which may be your one chance at salvation as you search for refuge...
— A strangely familiar adventure...

We’ll talk more about the campaign arcs over the next few weeks, though we’re excited to unofficially kick off the journey with today’s release of The Ascendant. Be sure to stay tuned here and on our official social channels for more details in the weeks to come!

That’s it for this week! Join us, dive in, and let us know what you think about The Ascendant! And as always, don’t forget to visit and follow our social channels for more news and updates. We hope you enjoy our latest adventure, and we’ll see you in the dungeon!

-The MetaArcade Team