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Monthly Archives: March 2010


Boozer thought about it for ten seconds or so. Then he grinned an evil grin. “I do like to kill and destroy things,” he said, “as long as I get to choose my targets. Yes, I will join the worship of great Grethgash!”

“Excellent,” said the High Priest! “Come forward and accept the sign of Grethgash!”

 

“The sign?” asked Boozer.

“Oh yes,” cackled the High Priest.

Boozer gulped, but walked forward. The priest put a couple of tentacles on his forehead and a lightning bolt of pain shot through his brain–two lightning bolts.

“Welcome, brother Boozer,” said the biggest wolf troll. “Do you feel like killing something for the glory of Grethgash?”

“Yes, I do,” said Boozer. “I feel like killing whoever stole the village’s food supply. Can you help me with that?”

“Yes, take this wand,” said the Chthuloid thing. It pulled a short wand of black wood out from under its robe and gave it to Boozer. If you have the favor of Grethgash, it will always lead you to your next victim.”

Boozer took the wand. It almost jerked out of his hand pulling back toward the forest.

“Before you go,” said the Priest, “Let us give you something.” He handed Boozer a bag of gold lions (90 g.p.) and a surge of power went through the goblin (900 a.p. for joining the cult of Grethgash.)

Boozer stashed the cash and let the black wand pull him to his destiny. As he re-entered the woods, the sun was rising. He ran through the forest, following the pull of the wood in his hand. At one time he came to a stream and stopped for a drink of water. In the morning light, he could see his reflection. Two short curly horns now sprouted from his forehead–the mark of Grethgash.

An hour later he burst through the trees and saw 6 elves in a wagon–the same wagon that usually brought the food to the village. But they were wary and alert–they saw or heard him coming. “Ware, Goblin!” one shouted. Two reached for their bow and arrows; three reached for swords, the driver whipped the giant beetle pulling the wagon into a lumbering run.

Did Boozer: (1) try to dodge the arrows being aimed at him, (2) charge straight at the elves swinging his new mace, or (3) decide that 6 elves against one goblin was too long of odds and disappear into the underbrush before they could get a shot off?


Boozer thought about his options. He could rush in and slay them all, but . . . there were at least 5 in there. Maybe he couldn’t. He could turn back and get on with his job for the village, but . . . after being twice assaulted it didn’t seem right to leave without finding out what this place was. Soooooooooo . . .

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. “In the holy name of Grethgash the Grisly, may I come in?” he shouted.

“In the grisly name of Grethgash the Holy, you may!” shouted the High Priest.

Creeee-ackkkk! Boozer pushed the door open and walked inside. He found himself in a kind of enormous chapel, eighty feet long, fifty feet wide, thirty feet high. At the far end of the room was a huge altar of black obsidian, and behind it was the most horrific statue Boozer had ever seen.

“Ar har har!” laughed a creature unlike any Boozer had ever seen before. “The mighty warrior is just a goblin!”

“A goblin who could kick your ugly butt,” said Boozer with a mean smile.

The chapel held four warriors and a priest. The warriors looked something like wolf trolls, but they were albinos and had short curly horns growing out of their foreheads. The tallest was 18 feet high and swung a flail from one hairy paw. The shortest was only 15 feet tall and had a mace. They were all wearing some sort of strange silvery armor that protected their torsos, but left the rest of the body unguarded.

The high priest was unlike anything Boozer had ever seen or imagined—a giant squid with legs wearing a blood-stained red robe. It had two unusually long arms ending in a two-digited claw, and a multitude of tentacles sprang from the bottom of its gray-green head. No beak like a true squid, but a wide shark-like mouth full of revolting green fangs was set near the bottom of the head with large yellow eyes set near the top. It spoke:

“I am Y’y’y’snotfun, though that is only the short form of my name. I am High Priest of Great Grethgash the Grisly, Greatest of Death Deities.”

When Boozer compared the High Priest to the statue of Grethgash, he noticed a definite similarity, except that the statue seemed to be the same creature made entirely of bone. Even the tentacles were bony.

“I am Boozer, though that is only the short form of my name,” said the Goblin sardonically.

“Boozer, we have been impressed by your sheer fighting ability. Grethgash can always use a good fighter. How would you like to join our cult? The rewards are enormous.”

Boozer wasn’t expecting an invitation to join these guys.

“Think carefully now,” said the high priest. “If you don’t say the right thing, we might just conclude that you’re too dumb to live, and so we’d have to kill you.”

[Did Boozer: (1) say he’d be honored to join their cult of Death and Destruction, (2) tell them he was on an urgent mission for his village and skip back out through the door, or (3) lose his temper and attack them by surprise?]


Boozer hefted the light mace (5d6) and boldly walked down the dark corridor. His eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, it wasn’t much worse than outside.

Suddenly he came to a door blocking off the corridor. Deep trollish voices were coming from the other side of it. Boozer heard one say: “Something killed our guard outside.” Another answered, “And it chased off our ghostly guardian at the door.” A third said, “I hope it turned back at that point–it might be mighty enough to slay us all.” A fourth sneered, “Nah, impossible, there are four of us, and we are each twice as strong as the strongest guard.” “If that isn’t enough, I have a mighty death spell prepared, but . . .”

“But what?” the other four asked ominously.

“But if anyone comes through that door, I am minded to let him join the Death Cult of Grethgash the Grisly. We could use another mighty warrior.”

Boozer knew there were at least five enemies on the other side of the door, but he also knew they wouldn’t attack him at once. From the sound of the voices, four of them were trolls and one was something else–long odds for a single goblin, no matter how deadly. He wondered if he could take them in combat, or if he could outwit them–few trolls could match wits with a goblin and win, or if he should just turn around and beat a hasty retreat.

Did Boozer: (1) storm through the door and attack with the benefit of surprise, or (2) knock politely and ask permission to enter, or (3) turn around and get out of there as fast as he could?

[Now that the consequences are getting more serious, the votes are getting a bit tighter. A rational player might have turned around and left at this point, but the members of Trollhalla want to see what will happen.]

(Boozer’s normal appearance)

[Final vote on part 5: rush in and attack–9,
Knock politely and be tricky–10
wisely run away–4.
Bwa ha ha, I called for extra votes, and got 2 more run away votes. Ha! So it was the closest vote yet. Sneakiness carries by a single vote.]


Boozer looked at the smashed up bony fragments that was all that was left of the skeleton warriors. He found no sign of internal organs. These were not skeleton men, but magically animated skeletons, and a trace of evil magic lingered on the fragments like a stench.

“I wonder what these guys were guarding,” he mumbled to himself. “Let’s have a look.” Sticking the ham beetle in a carry-all sack attached to his belt, Boozer advanced on the doorway.  Now that he looked closely, this was a very weird house to be out in the forest.

As he walked into the building, he felt a psychic assault as if something were tearing at his mind and spirit. “Arrrrggggghhhhh!” he roared as the nonphysical pain washed over him, and he felt an overwhelming urge to just give up and die.

“No, no, no, no!” Boozer bellowed. “I won’t die that easily! (Level 2 luck saving roll–got an 11–made it easily).

[T & T saving rolls are made directly on the attributes involved. I don’t remember what Boozer’s Luck attribute was back then, but for him to make a L2SR on Luck meant that his dice roll on 2D6 plus his attribute value had to total 25 of more. He rolled an 11, so his attribute was 14 or higher, probably much higher.]

As suddenly as it had come, the magical assault vanished, and Boozer stood just insi the darkened doorway. “What was that?” he muttered. “Something evil inhabits this house. The question is: should i go inside and destroy this menace, or mind my own business and get back to the trail?

[Did Boozer: (1) continue into the house, or (2) return to the trail?


Boozer saw the armored skeletons start toward him, and he grinned his sneaky goblin grin. Big and slow and scary-looking they might have been, but clearly they didn’t know who they were dealing with. He began twirling his staff and accellerating toward them.

(Combat: Big skeleton 40 plus no spite. Smaller skeleton: 38 plus 1 spite)
Boozer: 299 plus no spite.)[Tunnels and Trolls combat is somewhat faster and simpler than Dungeons and Dragons combat. No rolling to hit, for example. Each combatant has a number of combat dice, usually determined by his weapon, and a number of combat adds determined by his toughness and attributes. Although goblins are usually puny monsters, Boozer is a T & T goblin, and he’s quite powerful. Subtract the low total from the high total and the loser takes the difference in combat hits off his/their Constitution attributes. Constitution is the direct measure of how much damage a creature can take in T & T before dying or being destroyed. Once the winner has been determined, the Game Master can give a juicy description of what happened, or the players might be talked into describing the situation. We usually try to make it amusing and cinematic–see below.]

By the time Boozer reached them his spinning staff resembled a buzz saw more than anything else. Darting nimbly between the two oversized undead thighs, he broke their ankles, knees, thighs, hips, and ribs before they hit the ground. He shattered their spines and punched holes in their skulls, and knocked their teeth out. One flying chip of bone nicked his left shoulder and left a little bloody gash, and then the fight was over.

“Stupid Skellingtons,” said Boozer, a little miffed because he was bleeding just a bit. I wonder what’s inside that house. He went back and picked up his ham beetle.

Does Boozer (1) enter the house, or (2) return to the trail, or (3) eat the ham beetle?


Troll (er . . . Goblin) Quest part 2

When the shouting and thumping died down, the elders lined up on different sides of the room. Boozer’s side had 11 supporters while Dandelion only had five.

Then it is decided, said old Arrth. Boozer the Goblin shall go and investigate why the food is late. Someone run down to the Hobgoblin Tavern and roust him out. Tell him to gather his weapons, and get over here so we can give him instructions.

[Hobgoblin’s tavern is Boozer’s own Tunnels & Trolls site on the web, and it can still be found right here: http://web.ukonline.co.uk/angora/]

An hour or so later, Boozer appeared. Someone had explained the whole situation to him, but he elected to come in his usual homespun clothing with naught but a staff (2d6) and a carving knife (2d6).

Speed and subtlety, said Boozer, that’s how I’ll do it.

Most of the trolls had no idea what subtlety meant. Dekhurrrsio, the other goblin in the group tried to explain it to them, but it was hopeless. The trolls liked the idea of speed. Though there was still plenty of food in town, some of them felt hungry already.

Boozer knew roughly where Ogmar’s house was, so with a burp and a hiccup he was on his way, quickly vanishing among the towering forest giants. He walked for half the night, and in the wee morning hours he crested a low hill and started down on the other side. After all this walking, he was beginning to feel rather hungry, so when he saw a ham beetle, he immediately went after it.

The oversized bug led him a merry chase, and when he finally caught up with it and slew it, he found himself far from the trail on an unfamiliar hillside.

Off to one side and partly concealed by some trees, Boozer spotted a large stone house. Beside it he saw two standing skeletons of large humanoid size–certainly bigger than a goblin. Their bones were protected by armor and the held maces and shields. The heads turned in Boozer’s direction, and they clacked their jaws.

Three possiblities occurred to the goblin. He could turn tail and try to run back to the path. He could throw something (like the ham-beetle or his dagger) at a skeleton and see what they did. Or he could approach boldly, ready to fight if they proved hostile. [what did Boozer do?]

[After getting this far in the quest, we had a little byplay in Trollhalla which I include here because I think it’s mildly amusing.

Rrraff said…

What does a ham-beetle taste like anyway? Chicken?


Quoghmyre said…

Smells like fish, tastes like…


Khenn Arrth said…

Ham beetles taste like ham, of course. With some extra chitin to provide roughage. ]


 


This is part 1 of a continuing Tunnels and Trolls adventure played by the members of Trollhalla back in 2005.  The rest of this adventure will be published in blogs to follow at no more than two day intervals.

Trollhalla is an online club for the greatest Tunnels and Trolls players in the world and can be found at http://trollhalla.com.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Deep in Mistywood Forest lies the Troll and Monster village of Srak Arhan. It is a fairly prosperous town as troll centers go with about thirty huts built from stone, wood, and a relatively high class of debris and mud. Among the inhabitants is a powerful shaman and several warriors with fierce reputations.

At the moment, the town leaders are concerned. The weekly shipment of ham-beetle meat and turnips has not arrived. Ogmar has always been prompt, so foul play is considered a possibility. The elders are considering who to send to determine the reason for lateness. Several warriors have been nominated: Gimor, K’jherr, Skaat, Dekhurrrsio, Dandelion the Ogre, Boozer the Goblin, Verdius, and Khayd’haik. After much debate, the choices have come down to Dandelion and Boozer. The final arguments sound something like this:

Ogres are stronger!

Goblins are sneakier!

There is much table pounding as the merits of the two candidates are considered.

Ogres are bigger!

Goblins are smaller and hide better!

Ogres smell better!

Than goblins? I don’t think so!

Judging by the dents in the table, the issue would be decided soon.

[What makes this adventure interesting? A couple of things. This was the first play by email adventure that I tried to run at Trollhalla. Interestingly enough, it’s not a dungeon adventure, but an outdoors romp in the woods. All the characters mentioned above are members of Trollhalla who volunteered to be the player. The final player was chosen by a vote of the membership. The actions taken by that player will also be determined by a vote of the membership–although characterization is supposed to be provided by the player. I attempted to run this adventure on a daily basis, so each of the turns is relatively short.]

[Note to any artists reading this blog. I would love to have illustrations for these episodes. If you will draw something and email it to me, I will add it to the blog, and then refeature the blog so that all the readers will have the opportunity to see your work.  No pay for this. Simply fun and glory.–Ken]


Delvers are people who dig. They are people who go deep into the mountains and caves. In fantasy role-playing, which is what Tunnels and Trolls is, they are dungeon delvers–player characters who explore the pits of hell to bring back treasure.

This blog exists to tell you some of their tales. It will be updated once every couple of days. It will be edited and rewritten to be as story-like as possible, but don’t expect a lot of character development or plot. These are simple games–almost puzzle games. The Game Master/Story Teller lays out a situation; the players say how they would respond. Dice are rolled and results are announced. Repeat as often as necessary until the game comes to an end.

What brings a game to its end. Several things could do it. (1) the game master gets tired of the game, kicks everyone out of the dungeon, and announces the game is over. I tend to do that a lot, unfortunately. It usually means the game was getting dull, going nowhere.  (2) the players win–they reach their goal, capture their prize, come back out alive.  That’s an optimal ending and doesn’t always happen.  (3) the players all die and/or runaway. Sometimes the adventure is just too much for them.

The stories in delvers are all adventures that  I (or somebody) ran at trollhalla.com.  That’s my site for the trufen of Tunnels & Trolls. That’s where gamers can hang out with me (Ken St. Andre), do things to gain trollish victory points, and learn what’s going on in the T & T world. It’s hard to believe that I started it way back in 2002, but I did.

I have always believed that frp gaming is storytelling. Each game is a story, but since outcomes are determined by dice rolls, you never know which way the story will turn, or how it will end. Regular fiction has certain needs–things like character development and a big climax at the finish. Real life stories aren’t so neat. Sometimes the characters remain the same; sometimes they even degenerate. Things don’t always end neatly–they drag on and on with no resolution. Gaming can be that way too. While I admire great storytellers, and try to be one myself, I don’t admire GMs who have one fixed story to tell and force everything to fall into that pattern. That’s more like play-acting than role-playing. In my role-playing games the characters get to be themselves, no matter how immature or undeveloped they may be.

So, is this going to be a great blog, or great fiction? Probably not. But I do hope it will prove interesting and amusing at times, and that by seeing how other people reacted in certain situations,  you will gain the vicarious experience that may help you in your own future role-playing activities.

–Ken St. Andre

March 24, 2010