There is no question both games have a different feel to them. As this writer sees it, OD&D works better for grim, dark fantasy; while T&T has a definitely lighter tone. While it should be noted both games lend themselves easily to customization, it is equally obvious many players feel constrained by the rules and rarely deviate from them. This problem seems especially common among D&D hobbyists.
This essay, by the way, is written in the here and now. The 1970’s and all the free time I had back in those days is gone. So please, there is no need to remind me but Piper with a little time and effort you could do that yourself you knob lolzer! Now? I’m lucky to have an evening free to run or participate in a game. So hours of prep time are out the window. I need to be up and running with a minimum of work, and the time I have I wish to put into adding imagination and fun into the game.
Okay, okay ... so, how to merge the two? Well, I have found it easier to borrow the concepts of T&T than the actual mechanics. Combat, for example. In T&T you roll dice + adds and compare those to your opponents roll. I do not care for damage absorbing armor as in T&T, though I think piecemeal armor is a nice touch, so what to do? I use the AAC of Mythmere Games’ “Swords & Wizardry” (S&W). This speeds up combat tremendously, giving it a much more fluid feel. Also stolen from S&W is the single saving throw, another boon to quicker play and less bookkeeping.
I like T&T’s kindred. Adding fairies to the mix is easy as pie. Same with weres. I do not like the implied elfin allergy to iron (as from folklore) so I leave that off. I like D&D’s racial variation so I add various types of humans and few different demi-humans from which to choose. With regard to classes, the two systems are similar but I disallow the T&T’s warrior/wizard combo class. That is not within my vision for milieu. I import the idea of the wizard’s staves, I think that’s a dandy addition, but leave D&D’s wands and miscellaneous magic items in the mix.
I love T&T’s varied monsters, implied by the relative lack of statted creatures in the rules. I could emulate this by throwing the D&D book out with regard to a fiendish folio and writing my own. Heck, I could even completely reskin some of my favorites from D&D and other FRPG systems. Take that, you players who’ve memorized the whole unprintable book!
So, what else? Much of the remainder is flavoring. T&T’s varied weapon damage? Thrown out, in favor of a much simpler weapon damage system. Spell casting? Hmm ... it might be interesting to see how that works in a D&D setting. I think we’ll fold that into our mixture, but that will take some fiddling. There is some work I’ve been trying, as referee, to avoid but it will simplify play and I believe my players will enjoy it.
At any rate? That’s a few ideas off the top of my head. I don’t know if I’d advertise a game as a D&D/T&T hybrid, but I’d certainly run this game! If you’d like specific questions answered or suggestions on how to merge these two games, please let me know.