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Monthly Archives: October 2010


Run, you fools!



 SilverHorn ran around a corner in the tunnel, and saw a rough area with rocks and loose boulders and also what looked like a hole off to one side. As quick as thought, he moved into the hole, which was deeper than it looked, and had a turn in it. In fact, it seemed to be another passage.

The Troll came around the corner, didn’t see SilverHorn, and pounded on down the tunnel and around another corner, making a scary noise somewhere between a growl and a bellow. SilverHorn couldn’t see any of this, but he could hear the Troll fading into the distance. The question now was whether to continue to explore the little passageway he was in – it was very tight – or to come back out and head back toward the entrance . . .

Taran saw Mahrundl slip into the hidden passage on the room’s wall. He now felt that he had fallen behind everyone, except perhaps SilverHorn, who had decided to go back. He considered the fact that if he thought he was dying from drinking the water, he could always take the Trollgod’s magic ring off and be out of the race where he could get some help and curing. With this alternate plan in mind, Taran dipped his snout down and slurped up some water from pool number three.

The water tasted absolutely horrible – even to an Uruk. It was slimy and bitter, but magical without a doubt. He could feel his body changing. His skin grew red, and began to puff up. His eyes watered copiously. A feeling of heat grew along his esophagus and stomach, and he began to retch. A wave of red washed across his vision and . . . he passed out, falling to the bone-littered floor . . .

Rrraff saw the shortcut to the cavern closing up in front of him. He dashed toward it and dove through just as the stone closed up behind him. He found himself in a large cavern, but he really couldn’t see too much of it, as various stalactites and stalagmites blocked his vision. He heard a noise – you couldn’t call it a roar exactly – and saw a distant figure diving down out of the sky toward something.

He picked himself up and began to run in the direction of the distant figure, but he quickly lost his way in the maze of stalagmites that blocked him. He did try to always move downwards and towards the center.

Coming around a corner suddenly, he bumped into a Balrukh. It was sitting on the ground ripping apart a huge insect and obviously eating the meaty parts. Rrraff fell down, and when he looked up, he saw a huge shadowy face with flickers of fire around the edges staring at him.

“Wat arrrrrr yuuuu?” asked a thick voice. At the same time, a huge 4-clawed hand wrapped itself around his shoulder and upper arm.

Meanwhile, many thoughts passed through Tmuwo’s mind as the giant cockroach pounced on him. For a fleeting instant, he even thought he could lure it away with music from his kalimba, but there wasn’t time. Running, casting a spell like Hold That Pose, and fighting with his bony club all occurred to him. There was no time. All he really could do was swing his club and defend himself. [1]

Tmuwo’s club glanced off the insect’s chitinous carapace. Its mandibles sank into his Trollish flesh, gouging out a large piece of rocky flesh. Acidic blood oozed from the wound and smeared the insect’s mandibles. It begins to sizzle and burn into the insect . . .

Mahrundl emerged from the passageway, and not too far ahead of him on the path, he saw Tmuwo confronting a huge insect. The insect attacked and took a chunk out of Tmuwo . . .

A giant cockroach pounces toward Gimor who dives beneath it and rolls to his feet beyond it – ready to fight or flee. Suddenly, Middleclaw appears from above, and swings his sword at the cockroach. The bug turned just in time to snap at Middleclaw’s foot, tearing a streak of fire along the leg near the ankle.[2] The sword slashed through the insect as if it were made of paper. The cockroach spewed ichor and died.[3]

Middleclaw pulled his sword out of the carcass and landed. “Lucky for you I came back,” he told Gimor.

“I was doing alright,” said Gimor. “It never laid a claw on me. But thanks.”

“It scratched me,” said Middleclaw. “I hope these things aren’t poisonous.”

“They are always poisonous,” said Gimor. “What are you going to do about the wound?”

[1] Combat: Cockroach gets 2D6 + 5, and is poisonous. Tmuwo gets 3D6. Cockroach gets 15. Tmuwo gets 9. Tmuwo takes 6 hits of damage and is poisoned.

[2] Spite damage—bug rolled 6, 2.

[3] 15 A.P. to Middleclaw.

“‘Chariots of Fire’ starts to play as the racers enter Turn 6 and everything slows down . . . beads of sweat are gracefully flung from Tmuwo’s brow, and you can just catch a string of goo trailing from Taran’s fang before it flies free . . . “

– Verdius. February 3, 2007 AD.

Middleclaw flapped through the doorway, brandishing his new sword in Rrraff’s direction. Rrraff dodged out of the way and back into the room with the sword. Middleclaw pumped his wings and rose into the air. He immediately noticed that this was perhaps the biggest cavern he had ever seen, and it was comparatively well lighted. Actual sunlight came in through several cracks in the roof.

Gimor came into the cave behind him and noticed that there were a lot of stalagmites rising up from the floor, and stalactites above them. They made the walking difficult, and though the cavern was obviously large, he couldn’t see very far into it. Still, he made his way toward the center of the cave. As he walked, he began to hear a strange sort of clicking-clacking noise.

Middleclaw flew toward the center of the cavern. Every once in a while, he would circle to see what else he could see about this place. On one circle, he saw Tmuwo, carrying a bone club and his kalimba, entering the cavern, perhaps 500 feet from where he and Gimor had entered. On his second circle, he saw a giant insect of some sort making its way toward an unsuspecting Gimor. On his third circle, he saw a similar creature making its way toward Tmuwo who still seemed to be unaware of it. On his fourth circle, his wings began to tire, and he looked for a good place to land.

As he fluttered down Middleclaw wondered if either Gimor, who was unarmed, or Tmuwo, who seemed to have a club, would be a match for a bug that was bigger than they were. He wondered if he should help one of them . . .

Tmuwo’s tunnel opened wider and wider and he found himself inside a huge cavern, lit by sunlight coming in through cracks in the ceiling. There seemed to be a sort of path that he was on leading toward the center of the cave. As he followed it, he began to hear a kind of clicking-clacking noise. Then he came around a corner and saw a creature from his worst nightmare. It was a giant cockroach – about 7 feet high, and rushing toward him with mandibles clacking . . .

At about the same time, Gimor rounded a stalagmite and saw a similar sight. A huge cockroach was waiting on the wall a little ahead of him. When it saw him, it pounced . . .


Meanwhile, back in the sword room, Rrraff made an attempt to pull the large sword out of the stone. A voice in his head asked, “Do you think you are a hero?” He felt the tingle of magic run up his arms. The voice began to chant, “Strength: unworthy! Constitution: unworthy! Intelligence: unworthy! Wizardry: unworthy! Luck: unworthy! Dexterity: just barely worthy! Charisma: unworthy! Speed: unworthy!”

Rraff felt a shiver of magic course through his body, and he knew that he had magically gained something.[1]

“Definitely not a hero,” laughed the voice. “I warn you not to try again.” As the voice quit speaking the wall blocking the passage back toward the entrance began to slide out of the way, and the entrance to the big cavern began to close. Rrraff would have to run as quickly as he could to get into the cavern before the entrance vanished . . .

SilverHorn saw that a Troll was stalking him, and he turned and ran. He dashed blindly ahead, ironically thinking that up until this had happened, he had thought Trolls were his friends. SilverHorn was not slow, but his pursuer was faster. Moving around a corner, the Shadowjack noticed some loose boulders and a small hole going down into the bedrock. He could possibly dive behind the boulders and hide in the hole. Or he could keep running and probably be caught within seconds. Or he could snatch up the heaviest loose rock he could find, and fight for his life.

Meanwhile, in the room full of fountains Mahrundl found the exit that Tmuwo had found not far from the third pool with the three skulls in front of it. A few seconds later Taran came up and saw Mahrundl and the pool.

“Looks like you found the way out,” said Taran, and you took SilverHorn’s cape. “But I have this handy club and you don’t.”

“Something else you should know,” said Mahrundl. “You know, I’ve practiced alchemy in the past, and it taught me a little about magic. I can sense magical things.”

“So?” said Taran.

“These pools are magical. I’m pretty sure the water would do something magical to anyone who drank of it.”

“So, why aren’t you drinking some of it?” asked Taran.

“I’m thinking about it,” said Mahrundl. “Frankly, I was waiting to see if you would drink first.”

“The pools could be poison,” Taran pointed out. “Skulls generally mean something bad. Three skulls – this could be the worst of them all.”

“Or it could be a simple counting device,” Mahrundl offered. “Or maybe, just indications of power.”

Taran stopped to think about it. Mahrundl slipped into the exit, and began to blindly make his way through the tunnel as fast as he could go. Taran had a choice to make. Drink from the third pool and take a chance that the magic wouldn’t kill him, or hurry after Mahrundl . . .

[1] Dexterity increased by 10.

Racer Profile Number 7

Mahrundl – “?”

Variously known through Trollhalla as: Mahrundly, Mahrundle, Meowrundle, Maorundle, Marumble, Mooruncle, Markedunderwear . . . Not much is known about this Troll of mysterious, secretive character, although he has been heard saying: ” . . . if there’s one thing I’m any good at, it’s breaking things! ‘Never underestimate the power of brute force and ignorance’ is my motto . . . ”

Official talent: Alchemy

The audience was enthralled.

Tmuwo made his way cautiously through the dark, and then had a thought: I think I can cast a spell. He concentrated on the flickering pattern that was Will-o-the-Wisp, and channeled his kremm energy. “Son of a Troll! It worked!” A flickering blue light appeared at one end of his kalimba. With the added illumination, he was able to move a bit faster. After a while, his spell-light went out. He made his way on, and noticed that the tunnel was widening and tending upwards. He came around one more corner, and noticed that the darkness wasn’t so deep ahead of him. The darkness lessened until he could see the walls. And the passage widened and widened . . .

Mahrundl snatched up SilverHorn’s cape as he ran by it. “Hmm, this is nice.” He slowed to fasten it around his neck and Taran passed him and got a bit of a lead.

Taran came out into a large room. The floor was strewn with bones. The Uruk had a thought: A hefty bone could make a decent club. He searched around toward the left, passing a fountain with a skull in front of it. It didn’t seem to be an Uruk skull, so he had no interest in it. About the time Mahrundl entered the room, Taran found a bone that would work.[1]

plenty of bones to choose from

Mahrundl split off to the right. He passed a fountain with 2 skulls in front of it. He really didn’t feel like taking a drink. He searched diligently for a way out of the room . . .

SilverHorn slipped into the crevice he had found. It was tight going at first, but then widened. As he walked along, he noticed the dimly glowing moss on the walls – just enough to provide light to see by, not enough to make any useful shadows. His foot slammed into something. “Ow.” Looking down, he saw that he had just kicked a human skull. More careful examination showed various other bones all around.

Then he heard a growl behind him. Looking back, he saw a small, filthy Rock Troll leering at him. At first, he thought it was Gimor, but this little Troll actually had muscles and was much uglier. “Hello, food,” said the Troll, advancing menacingly . . .

Meanwhile, in the room with the swords, Middleclaw grabbed the small sword almost as soon as Gimor let go of it. He heard a voice in his head saying, “Are you truly hopeless? You shall be tested.” He tugged at the sword, trying to pull it out of the stone, feeling that tingle of magic going up through his hands and arms.

The loud voice that everyone can hear began to chant as Middleclaw smoothly but slowly pulled the sword out of the stone, “Strength: unworthy! Constitution: unworthy! Intelligence: unworthy! Wizardry: unworthy! Luck: unworthy!” Dexterity: unworthy!” Charisma: unworthy! Speed: unworthy! You are truly hopeless!” booms the voice, “and the sword is rightly yours!” [2]  “I have the sword!” howled Middleclaw. But just as he turned to flourish it, he saw a wall of rock slide across the tunnel behind him, and heard another wall moving. In front of Rrraff, an opening was appearing – an opening that led into a large, rather brightly lighted place . . .

Gimor had wasted no time in trying to grab the Hero sword. “He heard a voice in his head saying, “Are you truly a hero? You shall be tested!” He felt a surge of magic run from the sword up his arms, and a voice began to chant, “Strength: unworthy! Constitution: unworthy! Intelligence: unworthy! Wizardry: worthy! Luck: unworthy! Dexterity: unworthy! Charisma: unworthy! Speed: unworthy! You are far, far from hero material,” boomed the voice with a nasty laugh. Still Gimor felt as if magical energy was entering his body, and it was.[3]

Middleclaw has emerged the clear winner in this room . . .

[1] He now has a 3D6 bone club.

[2] Middleclaw missed 8 L1SRs and gained 62 E.P. He has the Hopeless sword – it is powerful magic and gets a large number of hits in combat, modified only by Middleclaw’s personal combat, adds 0.

[3] Gimor gains 10 more points of WIZ from the one saving roll that he made, and gets 60 A.P. from the saving rolls. Wiz becomes 24 for Gimor.

Racer Profile Number 6

Rrraff – “No, you’re Racer!”

He’s a little short for a Troll, but that’s because so much is bent under. His large feet help him move fast, or at least repel enemies via the stench. Not an odds-on favorite, but this plucky Troll might just have a few tricks up his sleeve. Too bad that he won’t actually get to have any sleeves.

Official talent: Running



All kinds of creatures were watching the race.

Taran and Mahrundl were really mad at SilverHorn. They leaped at him, fists flailing. SilverHorn warded a couple of blows, then slid past them, turned and ran, leaving his cape behind.

“Should we go after him?” asked Mahrundl.

“No, we have a race to win,” said Taran. “Besides, he’s running the wrong way

They turned to pound on down the left tunnel . . .

SilverHorn fled madly at the beginning, bouncing off walls and running on. He emerged from the left tunnel and finally noticed that no one was following him. He stopped and looked around. Now that he wasn’t running, he decided to look more carefully. He saw the right tunnel, and he saw a crevice in an area slightly behind. It seemed to go fairly deep into the rock. SilverHorn had a new dilemma . . .

Meanwhile, in the sword room, Middleclaw and Rrraff eyed Gimor with evil intent. The smallest and nakedest Troll put up his hands and whined, “Let’s be reasonable here. It is much too early in the race to be fighting among ourselves. These swords are magical. How do you know you can even take them? How do you know they aren’t traps?”

“Traps!” said Rrraff and Middleclaw as one. “We hadn’t thought of traps. Maybe touching one would kill you.”

They all looked at the swords with apprehension. Middleclaw finally spoke, “The big one is probably a trap,” he said. “Traps are always set to catch the greedy one. But I wanted the little one. You guys can fight over the big one.”

“But I wanted the little one,” said Rrraff. “I just made up my mind.”

“No, the little one is mine,” said Gimor. “I’m sure I’m not strong enough for the big one.”

“Then we’ll have to fight for it,” said Middleclaw. He took a deep breath . . .

“Yeah,” said Rrraff. “Rock, paper, knife. Loser goes first.”

He and Gimor threw down on each other. Fist, fist, knife for Rrraff. Fist, fist, rock for Gimor. Rrraff lost.

Gimor turned to duel Middleclaw, only to jump back from a little snort of flame out of the Dragoll. “I win,” said Middleclaw. “You go first!”

“Eeep,” said Gimor. He cautiously moved to pull the small sword out of the wall. When his hand gripped the hilt, he felt a surge of magic run through him, and a voice in his head said, “Are you truly unworthy? You shall be tested!”

Gimor pulled and yanked and tugged, but the sword remained fixed in the wall. However, a voice began to chant. It was a deep scary voice, “Unworthy in Strength. Unworthy in Constitution. Unworthy in Intelligence. Oops! Worthy in Wizardry. You are not entirely hopeless. The sword can never be yours!”

Gimor felt more magical.[1]

Gimor still has the initiative. Middleclaw has the chance to go next. Rrraff would be going last . . .

Meanwhile, in the room of the fountains, Tmuwo thought about the skulls. Skulls were a standard symbol for death. “I’m not that thirsty,” he said. He went to the small opening in the wall and entered.

Tmuwo left the fountains room through a small opening in the cave wall.

It was darker. So very dark in fact that not even darkness vision helped. He felt his way along through a twisty passage, testing every step ahead of him with his new club. At one point, he felt only air ahead of him. Carefully searching, he found a ledge off to his left that he could edge along. It was only a short distance, and then he was back inside a constricted tunnel. He moved cautiously on . . .

Mahrundl and Taran reached the fountain room. They saw all the bones. They saw the three fountains . . .

[1] In fact, his WIZ Attribute just went up by 10 points. Gimor gains 54 Adventure Points.

Racer Profile Number 5

Taran Dracon – “Know Your Winner, er, Victim”

He is a male, standard Khazan Orc/Uruk. Doesn’t mind being naked. He is stinky and has big tusks poking out from his face, which usually dribble Orc-spit. He likes to spout haikus, and memorized all twenty of Arahk Gnahk’s “The Three Laws of Dungeon Delving” and plans to use them to his advantage during the race. He wants to impress Arahk Gnahk, the great Orc shaman, so much that he sometimes does risky and not-well-thought-out things. Wants you to bet on him because he thinks it will make him famous.

Official talent: Find Hidden


The crowd of spectators hasn't chosen a favorite yet.

 SilverHorn snatched up his hat on the run and vanished into the left passage. Taran and Mahrundl chased after him, neck and neck, throwing elbows and shoulders into each other as they ran.

Middleclaw entered the right passage and sank to the floor. His wings were tired. Once he got around the first corner, he waddled on as quickly as he could while still recovering his breath.

Gimor had decided to follow Rrraff. He charged into the right passage, almost brained himself on the first sharp corner, and slowed to a walk. He was only about 20 feet behind Middleclaw, but couldn’t see him, and barely heard him.

 Meanwhile, Tmuwo looked at the room full of bones. “Hmmm,” he mused, “I don’t suppose having a club would hurt.” He began to search. Most of the bones were cracked, or split, or broken, but he finally found one that seemed stout enough to act as a club –looked like the femur of an Ogre. “Problem,” he said. “This will leave me carrying something in each hand.” He plinked a couple of notes on his kalimb . . .

Tmuwo found himself in a room full of bones.

 Rrraff stared at the two swords and scratched his head. Big one? Little one? First, he wanted one, then the other . . .

 SilverHorn skidded to a halt around the fourth corner. An idea had occurred to him. Taking off his cape, he carefully spread it across the floor of the tunnel, and then hid in shadows at one side while holding the edge of the cape. The next person to come along would get quite a surprise . . .

Taran and Mahrundl thundered along side by side, neither gaining any ground. Mahrundl started to get ahead, but Taran reached out and yanked him back. Half-running, half-scuffling, they came around the fourth corner in the tunnel together.

SilverHorn heard them coming. The smack of leathery flesh on stone, a muffled curse word, “Dang you, Taran, let me go!” They came around the corner and SilverHorn jerked the cape out from under their feet. At least that was how it was supposed to work. In reality, the two of them were much too heavy to be upset in this fashion, and SilverHorn nearly lost his fingernails as his hands slipped free of the cape, which barely moved.

Taran and Mahrundl stopped elbowing each other and looked at the Shadowjack. It was hard to see him hiding in shadows like that, but his hat was a deeper, hat-shaped darkness, and they could see that.

“Did you just try to trip us?” snarled Mahrundl.

“I think that was his evil plan,” said Taran. “Let’s get him!”

Thus, Taran and Mahrundl, their own quarrel forgotten, took a menacing step toward SilverHorn . . .

 Rrraff was still scratching his head and trying to decide which sword to try to take, when Middleclaw waddled into the room.

Rrraff looked at the sword in the wall. How could he get it out?

“What are you doing?” asked Middleclaw.

“Ummm, magic swords,” said Rrraff, “stuck in the wall. I can’t decide which one to take.”

“Lemme see those,” said Middleclaw. “Oh good, one for each of us – you can have the one I don’t take.” The Dragoll examined the big sword and the little one.

At that moment, Gimor came into the room. “What are you doing?” he asked.

“Go away,” said Middleclaw. “We got here first, and there are only two swords.”

“Finder’s keepers,” said Gimor. “You don’t have either one of them yet.”

The three eyed each other malevolently . . .

 Meanwhile, Tmuwo thought if he held things just right he could hold both items in one hand at the same time. “Now, do I want a drink, or should I get going?” he asked himself as the sound of angry voices drifted to him through the tunnel behind him.

(to be continued)

Racer Profile Number Four

Middleclaw – “Know Your Victim”

A strange creature of unusual proportions, standing only two-and-a-half-feet tall with a wingspan of three feet, he is the only one in the race to have the ability to fly. His background is unknown, thus the nature of his heritage is obscure. What is known, however, is his parentage: the offspring of a mating between a Rock Troll and a Great Dragon. How this came to be is still unknown. What is known is that, despite his size, he carries an additional threat to his race opponents: he has retained the ability to breathe fire with the strength of his Dragon parent – mother or father side is still unknown. His size and his natural weaponry make him a feared opponent.

Official Talent: Exceptional Sight


(Monster art by Jeff Freels, coloring by Ken St. Andre )

 As the racers lurched away from the underground dock, Khayd’haik casually reached out and touched Gimor, secretly casting a Little Feets spell. It worked, but took one 5-second turn to cut in.

 Meanwhile, Tmuwo skidded around the corner, had an evil thought, and stopped cold. He could hear the pounding of Shadowjack feet right behind him, and at the last second, he stuck out his arm and cloths-lined SilverHorn. SilverHorn was taller than Tmuwo, but he still took the blow right in the neck, and went down like a head-slugged chicken, collapsing into folds of billowing cape while his hat continued on down the tunnel without him.

“Gotcha!” chortled Tmuwo. He then kicked it into gear and charged off down the left tunnel.

 SilverHorn was still lying there, trying to catch his breath, when Rrraff rounded the corner and stepped in the middle of SilverHorn’s stomach. This threw him off his stride, and he wound up somersaulting down the tunnel up to the edge of the right entrance.

 Middleclaw flapped around the corner and saw the two entrances . . .

 Mahrundl and Taran thundered around the corner, and stumbled over SilverHorn. Now there was a three-body pile-up at the corner.

 Gimor came to the corner, stopped, and shouted back toward the dock. “Hey, you stupid guards, this is what I think of you and your arrows!” He turned his back on them, elevated his naked rump, and did an obscene little dance, mooning them but good. He didn’t think that he was also mooning the Trollgod, the Death Goddess, and all the rest of the spectators. Blowing a last raspberry at all those behind him, he calmly stepped around the corner, trod of Taran’s hand, and then sprinted forward with renewed speed.

 Groaning, SilverHorn, Mahrundl, and Taran got to their feet. “I’ll get Tmuwo for that,” said SilverHorn, kicking himself back into a run. He headed off into the left tunnel.

Rrraff picked himself up and entered the right tunnel. He slowed to a walk. These tunnels were darker, and it was harder to see.

Taran and Mahrundl pounded up to the two entrances . . . Gimor was ahead of both of them now.

Meanwhile, Tmuwo found himself in a very long, down-sloping corridor. It wasn’t exactly a straight line, but it only zigzagged a little. Slowing down to about half speed, he still extended his lead. By the time SilverHorn entered that tunnel, Tmuwo was out of sight . . .

 Rrraff found himself in a tight twisty passage that zigged and zagged all over the underworld. He had to take it cautiously.

 Tmuwo jogged along the tunnel until suddenly it opened up into a wide grotto. It was a grotto liberally strewn with bones of all sizes and shapes. There were also three fountains of clear cool water gushing forth from the stone of the floor. In front of the first fountain, he saw there was one skull; in front of the second, two skulls; and in front of the third, there were 3 skulls. Tmuwo saw all that water and immediately felt thirsty, but he was cautious. The skulls gave him pause. The bones gave him ideas. He prowled through the grotto looking for an exit and finally he found it. It was time for a decision . . .

 Rrraff found the passage that he was in very twisty and turny indeed, but working at a steady walk, he made his way through as quickly as possible. Suddenly, the passageway widened out into a kind of circular room. Sticking out of the walls on the far side was a couple of long thin things that looked like levers. But when Rrraff got closer, he found that there were two swords set into the stone. One was a relatively small short sword, and the other was a very large two-handed great sword. Runes carved into the rock beneath the small one said, “Hopeless.” Beneath the big one, it said, “Hero.”

Rrraff instantly knew that he had found some magic swords. The trouble is they were stuck halfway into a wall of rock. Still, having a sword would be an advantage, if he could get one. He looked all around. There seemed to be no other way out of the room other than the way he came in . . .

(to be continued)

Racer Profile Number Three

Gimor Ironfang – “Know-Yer-Foe”

Named for his really bad dental work; he won’t say if it was done in the USSR or the UK (not that there’s much difference). Renowned worldwide – at least in his own mind – for his outrageous boasting – usually true, though – and general disdain for anything ‘politically correct‘: “cuz PC ain’t – I’m offended that you’re offended by something that didn’t offend the person it was directed at!” Self-proclaimed “Keeper of Lost Lore” for all of Trollhalla!

Official talent: Forgotten Lore



An enormoud crowd of monsters, Uruks, Goblins, Trolls and more, came down into the Caverns to watch the Trollgod's race.

The Race

Turn 1

It was a strange procession of monsters and manlike beings that made its way down the long, long stairs beneath the Royal Khazan House of Justice. Several hundred feet underground, they emerged from the stairwell and lined a long stone dock overlooking an entrance to a wide tunnel. It was here that the Trollgod ran into his first problem.

 “What do you mean we don’t get to shoot at them as they run?” bellowed the Khazani guardsmen stationed down here. “That’s about the only fun we get, and it’s traditional – to give the prisoners added incentive.”

“They’re not prisoners,” growled the Trollgod. “They are racers, and you don’t get to shoot at them.”

Grumble, grumble!

“I’ll turn you into frogs,” said the Trollgod.

 The Trollgod’s right-hand monster, a humble troll called Ak Ptui bustled about, pushing the racers into their places at the edge of the platform.  It was like herding cats.  He repeatedly announced, “Racers! Take your places!”  

Khayd’haik, the Trollhalla wizard also stepped to the line. He was a Trolf–a homely combination of Troll and Elf, better known for his magical tricks than his combat ability. He carried a musket, ready to fire and start the race.

 These were not the mightiest monsters ever seen on Trollworld. There were four Trolls, and the largest of them, Tmuwo, wasn’t more than five-feet tall. There was also an Uruk, a Shadowjack, and a Dragoll – weird crossbreed between dragon and goblin.

 “These are the rules,” said Trollgod, as he handed a ring bearing a purple stone in it to each racer. These rings record your adventures on this race and send them back to me, and from me to everyone in Trollworld watching the race. If you feel that you are about to die, or that you can’t go on, take off the ring, and you will be teleported instantly back to Trollhalla. The racer who finishes first, or gets the farthest will be the winner. Once you turn the corner,” he waved at a bend in the tunnel some 50 feet away, “all is fair. You may fight each other, or play tricks, or just run like hell – it’s up to you. May the best racer win!”

 The seven racers stepped to the edge of the dock, prepared to jump down and start the race when the gun went off. They were an odd assortment: Middleclaw, the Dragoll, with his stumpy little wings and occasional snort of flame. He wore a loincloth and carried some string wrapped around a tiny arm. Next to him was a sickly-looking Uruk named Taran Dracon. He had a sharp and shiny ring of steel piercing his snout, and a stick of chalk clutched in one hand. Third in line was a short, gaunt Shadowjack. He looked almost human except for the pointed ears and glowing red eyes. He was elegantly attired in black top hat and black velvet cape. Incongruously, from time to time, he also seemed to be wearing a sundress covered with green and yellow polka dots, but if you looked at it closely, the dress faded away. Then came four Trolls: Gimor Ironfang carried nothing but a sneer on his misshapen countenance. Mahrundl wore an old bloodstained lab coat and carried a round metallic disk with a hole in the center – a cymbal by all appearances. In fact, it was the Holy Cymbal of Trollhalla, and he hoped it would bring him luck. Next to him was Rrraff, looking buff in buckskin breeches and with a lodestone swinging around his neck on a string. Last, and largest of the racers, was Tmuwo, wearing baggy blue pants and carrying a kalimba. Apparently, he thought music would give him some advantage, or maybe he intended to use the instrument as a staff.

 “On your mark, get set!” POW! Khayd’haik’s musket went off. The racers leaped off the dock and sprinted toward the corner.

Tmuwo took the lead immediately and quickly vanished around the corner. The Shadowjack was right behind him. A few seconds later, Rrraff also cleared the corner. The other four were somewhat slower. The flying Dragoll was fourth, while Mahrundl and Taran ran neck and neck a few feet behind it. Bringing up the rear, and well back, was Gimor.

 Tmuwo loped around the corner. It was darker here, but all the racers had excellent darkness vision, and he could still see very well. Ahead of him, the tunnel split into two tunnels, one going off to the right, and one to the left . . .

(to be continued)

Racer Profile Number Two

SilverHorn – “Soooooo, anything goes. Nice. Perfect milieu for a Shadowjack like myself.”

He is a male, Shadowjack, chaotic and Silly. This feisty competitor has no concept of winning or losing, he just goes mad and has as much fun as he can. A risky choice to bet on since ‘winning‘ is not his priority. Expect major weirdness, gut-wrenching jokes and Zen reversals at every turn. On the other hand, he’s highly motivated to give a good show, and always does his best to amuse the punters. If winning will garner a few chuckles, he’ll make it a goal.

Official talent: Dancing Fool


The Trollgod proposes a race through the caverns under Khazan.



 Monsters need action. Minions need entertainment.  Champions need testing.  Rulers need spectacle.  To accomplish all these things, the Trollgod decided to have a race through the caverns beneath the City of Khazan.  He set the wheels in motion, and one day a large group of citizens trooped down through the Khazan Hall of Justice to the pits that lay below the streets.

As the celebrities filed in and took their places of honor, one of the contestants strolled around and did his impression of a minstrel. 

 Tmuwo said . . .

I’ll sing us a song called Loneliness

As I strum my sturdy kalimba

A song about gaming Troll entertainers

Who had been compared to the Roomba

They had cleaned up the competition

In a T&T Wacky Race

So none would further challenge them

And that was a total disgrace

For to disappoint the mighty Trollgod

Is a sin most vile and foul

This game is for the daring and valiant

Not those who would cower and kowtow

Please break our loneliness, Trollhallans

Join us in this race of four rules

Drop your excuses, we need not these abuses

For to the winner go fame, gold, and jewels!

The song left most of the listeners mystified, but that was fine with Tmuwo.  He was making it up as he went along.  He had a pleasant voice–for a troll–and a random sense of music–he plinked and plunked on his instrument as a sort of counter point to the half-chanted poem.  Members of the crowd similed indulgently, and didn’t really pay much attention.

Another one of the racers took a corner position on the platform and declaimed a bit of poetry for himself.

Gimor Ironfang said . . .





Who knows what’s in store?

Naked Doom awaits your Troll gang!

In your race for survival, let the chaos begin!


 The wizard of Trollhalla was chosen to give pre-race commentary.  Although the competition had been open to all, most of the members of Trollhalla had chosen not to compete, and he was no exception.  He did, however, want his 20 seconds of fame, and so  . . .

Khayd’haik said . . .

We are here beneath rhe Khazan Hall of Justice where the tension is as thick as the hide of a hobb past his “eat-by” date. The racers scramble to outfit themselves as poorly as they can before the great race begins. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest events in Trollhalla history, and everyone that’s anyone in Trollworld is expected to be in attendance. It is rumored that even Lerotra’hh, the Death Goddess, may be here incognito to see who performs the best, that she may take them as her personal bodyguard when this is all over. We will bring you more on this story as it develops.

Middleclaw said  . . .

What do you mean, incognito?  There she is, right over there, talking to the Trollgod.

Khayd’haik said . . .

You’re messing up my monolog, Middleclaw.  Cool it, or I’ll turn you into a frog or something. (Then in more official tones)  Yes, the Death Goddess, Liberator of the Monster Kindreds here in Trollworld, is indeed in attendance.  What an honor it will be for our brave contestants to perform for her and the Trollgod today!

Taran Sniperuruk said . . .

Do you suppose there’s any truth to the rumor that the Death Goddess is trying to get the Trollgod to hire us out as gladiators in the Arena?

The gossip and speculaton raged on.  Meanwhile, a group of Gristlegrim’s Dwarves were setting up large screens of quartz crystal in various corners of the large stage.  The Dwarf God had recently perfected a new method of scrying that provided both sound and picture as if seen and heard by an overhead observer. Part of the fun of this race would be that the audience would get to watch every bit of it.

(to be continued)

Know Your Racers

Tmuwo – “Know Your Wacky Racer”


 Tmuwo is a male Troll. When not playing Naked Doom, he can often be seen wearing a red pointy hat, a blue baggy dress shirt with red vest, blue baggy pants with a black belt, and black boots. He likes to sing, whistle, and play various musical instruments while adventuring. He’ll trade news from the various lands in exchange for room and board in civilized lands.  He also likes to fight with spell and sword in dungeons deep. Those who have adventured with him have noticed that he prefers to cast spells while playing his favoured kalimba, and that when he does he seems to have more spell power than when he is without.

Official talent: Performance