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Category Archives: Ken St. Andre

Introduction by Ken St. Andre

The following tale of wizardly cunning was created by playing a solo dungeon authored by Scott Grant–a dungeon expressly designed for wizards, instead of those more commonly created for warriors.  Using magic well within a solo dungeon is a difficult task for a game master/scenario writer to manage, and Scott, one of the many rather brilliant members of Trollhalla, has managed it very well.

I did all the writing here, but because Scott created all the situations and characters, and because the members of Trollhalla voted to determine the hero’s next action each time, I have given them authorship credits as well.  An adventure created from a solo may or may not end happily but what I want here is fiction, not an exhaustive retelling of the game. I have decided to leave some of the game mechanics visible (usually in parenthesis) in order for those who are not familiar with Tunnels and Trolls to have some idea what is happening and why.  If I submitted the story for professional publication, I would take all the game mechanics out of the narrative.  It’s really just a short story.  Such a narrative typically only shows a small part of the total adventure. Markus was supposed to retrieve at least 9 out of 10  tokens, but . . .

I have also left in some of the commentary I  wrote while playing through the adventure the first time. This breaking of the fourth wall between narrative and readers is generally frowned upon by the literary establishment, but this tale is a kind of special case.  I am hoping that it will not only give you a few minutes of reading pleasure, but also illustrate some of the gaming principles involved in roleplaying a game like Tunnels and Trolls.

And now, on with our tale . . .

Final Exam

by Scott Grant, Ken St. Andre, and members of Trollhalla

Markus of the Myre looked good in his new dungeon delving gear. He had a complete suit of leather armor with high-topped boots and fingerless gauntlets–protection for the hand, but maximum dexterity for casting spells and fighting. A wickedly curved jambiya was thrust through the belt at his waist–he counted on his armor to keep it from cutting him–and his trusty staff was in his left hand. He kept a serious expression on his face with some difficulty as his gnarled old instructor droned on and on.

“You have one final test to complete your education,” said old Oinkenwartz. “All those who train in Cormac’s School of Wizardry, also known as the Cedar Corral Wizards Guild, must learn to use their training in a very real way. We don’t just send you out into the world with a pat on the backside and hope for the best; we want you to be truly prepared.”

“I appreciate that, Sir,” said Markus, when what he really meant was “Can we get on with this?”

“Follow me.” Oinkenwartz pushed aside a curtain and revealed a stairway heading down to the Tower’s basement. They had gone that way many times before on training exercises. The old wizard muttered a word “Tnalov” and levitated about six inches.  He then floated effortlessly down the stairs. Markus had to walk.

The young apprentice thought he knew everything that the basement had to offer, from the Library of Stone to the Practice Room to the Janitors Closet, but Oinkenwartz put his hand on a stretch of blank wall, muttered something. Then the wall shimmered and disappeared, revealing another stairway leading down into unknown depths.

“I survived this dungeon myself many years ago.  Though it has seen many changes, it is still very challenging—and very deadly.  You will need more than just your magic; you will need to be smart, clever and lucky. Less than half of our students ever make it out. Perhaps you will meet some of them down there.” Oinkenwartz snorted, making a wheezing noise that could have been a laugh, a spell, or perhaps his last breath.

The old teacher pulled a gem out of thin air—actually he reached up and pulled it from behind Markus’s ear. The apprentice wished the old coot wasn’t such a stage magician at heart. “Before you enter the dungeon, you may cast two spells. This gem will allow me to restore your kremm after each casting.  Choose your spells wisely.”

Markus looked at his instructor quizzically.  “That’s a very kind offer, Sir, but what good does it do me to cast a spell now, when I will undoubtedly need it later?”

“Good thinking, lad. Most of the spells would be useless to you now. But surely there are some that might come in handy later.”

“Hmmm, well, hocus focus might be useful, but I already have a staff ordinaire.”

“That was a wise investment on your part.”

“I’d like a Do-Over spell, then and a Ground Rule Double.”

“Excellent, Lad, excellent!” Oinkenwartz extended the jewel toward Markus.  “Cast those now, if you please.” Markus concentrated, did some finger flexing, intoned mystic syllables. The jewel cast off some unlikely glows and remained glowing brightly in the teacher’s hand. “You take it my boy! When you want the Do-Over just rub the gem and say do-over. When you want the Ground rule double, rub it and say double.”

“Thank you, Sir. May I go now?” Markus took the gem.

“Oh, yes, go now!” The old wizard lunged forward and pushed Marcus through the portal. Caught unexpectedly, Markus staggered back a few steps and teetered on the edge of the stairway. The stone beneath his feet flattened out; the stairway turned into a spiral slide, and Markus found himself sliding down into the darkness. He barely managed to hold onto the gem, and he did drop the staff, but it didn’t matter. The staff slid down into the pit with him. Then he found himself flying through the air and falling. [L1SR on DEX—rolls 3, 3 plus 3,4 for a total of 13—makes it handily.]

Markus found himself in a dimly-lit room. One stone just above the chute that had dropped him here glowed weakly. He put the jewel in a small pouch that was tied to his belt, picked up his staff and got to his feet. There was a door in the north wall. The chute was in the south wall. There didn’t appear to be anything interesting, although there could have been something hidden on the walls—the light was really too faint to tell.

[Note: only 3 spells had any result on the gem. Hocus Focus was one of them, but it was a waste since Markus already had a great focus in his staff ordinaire. One person suggested the Ground Rule Double. Nobody suggested Do-Over. Spells like Detect Magic are inherently useless in this solo. Markus is a wizard. He detects magic automatically—he can’t help it. Sligo may think it’s a great joke to kick you out of the dungeon on the first paragraph, but I think it’s a waste of our time, so I gave Markus the only two spells that might help him. In my opinion, Vorpal Blade would have been a possibility if the player had a sword or knife. He does have a knife, but the adventure didn’t allow that to work either.]

Markus got up and looked around. It didn’t take long. Two steps in any direction brought him to the wall. Yes, the stone above the entry chute was glowing, a cool light, and not very bright, but as his eyes adjusted to the semi-darkness, he found he could see well enough. For a moment he thought about casting Will-o-Wisp to get a little more light, but why bother? This dungeon, like all the best dungeons he’d ever heard of, seemed to provide its own light. That made sense. If creatures were going to live down here, they’d have to be able to  see to get around.

He thumped on the walls as he walked, just to see if there were any hollow-sounding spots, but that just scuffed up his knuckles. Solid stone has a way of doing that when you rap on it. When he reached the door he found some markings, all done in the Dwarvish runes that everyone was using for writing these days. He stopped to read it. “Dang! Wasted an Oh There It Is. Nothing here.” And “Trrrommm was here.” And a few other comments with about as much content. It did make him wonder if he had brought anything to write with. A quick check of his delver’s pack ™ showed him that he had two large pieces of white chalk—they would do. He made his own mark by the door, M. M. and the date 6/28/1320 A.K.

Then he opened the door and looked outside. He was at a T intersection.  Dimly-lit corridors stretched off to the left, right, and straight ahead. He stepped out into the intersection and closed the door behind him. As he put his foot down, he skidded a little. Looking more carefully at the floor, he saw that he had stepped in something. Ew!

He drew an M on the door behind him and arrow indicating which way he went.

Markus turned left and set off on his explorations. He took a moment to mark his trail with a chalk arrow and an M.  He walked for a while and came to another intersection. Again he turned left, and walked until the corridor ended in a door. He put his ear to the door, and heard muffled voices. They sounded human.

Having decided to go through every door he found, Markus pushed the door open. He found himself looking into a sort of arena.  The room was a good fifty feet square and well-lighted with several open-sided oil lamps. There was a large ring painted on the floor in heavy black paint, and two armored warriors stood outside of it in opposite sides of the room. One had a sword and shield. The other carried mace and shield. Both wore full plate armor. Shield and armor showed a few dents, and both men were breathing heavily.  It appeared that the fighters were very evenly matched.

Markus stood near the northern door. There were exits to the east and west.  On the south wall was a golden podium with a small trophy upon it. The two men had been talking, but when they saw Markus enter, they lowered their visors and turned to face him.

“Good evening, Gentlemen,” said Markus. “Pardon me if I have interrupted anything important. My name is Markus of the Myre. May I ask who you are?”

The one with the sword said, “Hello, Markus, my name is Scott. Is it evening already?”

“Well, the sun had gone down when I entered this dungeon.”

The one with the mace said, “Greetings, Markus, my name is Grant. We’ll get back to our fight soon. Would you care to stay and watch, just to be sure that Scott doesn’t cheat?”

The question made Markus a bit uncomfortable. “Um, why are you two men fighting? Wouldn’t it be better to save it for the monsters in this place? I could use a bodyguard, or two.”

“Monsters?” Both men looked at Markus like he was crazy and burst out laughing.

“Grant is the only monster around here,” said Scott. “He wants to keep me from the prize I deserve.” He pointed almost reverently at the small gold trophy.

“What makes you think you deserve it?” asked Markus.

Scott puffed out his chest. “It should be mine because I am a gallant and brave fighter, and the trophy would make a nice addition to the long list of honors and awards I have received.”

“You, Scott, are a pompous braggart,” sneered Grant, “and you deserve to be taken down a notch. If I win the trophy, I’ll sell it for gold, and give half the money to the poor.”

“I don’t trust you, Grant. I think you lie, and you would do anything to take away the honors that I deserve.”

Grant shrugged and looked at Markus. “See how he is. Who can trust a man who knows no humility? Someone like him would think it’s honorable to cheat, because he thinks it’s his right to win.”

“Cheat! Me? I would never do such a thing!”

“Hah! You would take every advantage you could get, because you know that a dead foe will never complain about your underhanded tactics.”

“Are you calling me dishonorable and a liar?”

“I only speak the truth. It’s not my fault you can’t deal with it.”

The swordsman raised his blade and rushed into the ring toward his foe. “I’ll show you how I deal with those who challenge my honor.”

The mace wielder charged also. They came together with a clang of armor. Grant blocked the swordsman’s swing easily with his shield and then countered with a blow of his own. The fight was on again.

“Hmph!” snorted Markus to himself. “These guys act like jealous brothers. Well, they are going to fight. What am I going to do?” He paused to think for a moment.

It was a very long fight—it lasted a full hour. (30 combat rounds—I fought it out.) Markus took a seat near the door and watched—one would normally have to pay for this kind of entertainment back on the surface. The fighters were indeed fairly even, but it became obvious after a while that the swordsman Scott had more skill, or perhaps the sword was simply the superior weapon. He seemed to get past Grant’s shield more often, and when he scored, he left a bleeding wound behind. The mace dealt crushing blows that sometimes staggered the swordsman, but he wasn’t bleeding much.

(GM’s note: Scott won 18 rounds, Grant won 8, there were 4 ties.)

For the first half hour it appeared that Scott was oh so slowly winning, and then for about fifteen minutes the tide turned—Grant beat his foe back and back. Then it looked like the mace wielder simply ran out of energy. His blows lacked force. He staggered from side to side. His parries missed. Scott saw his chance, and with a final blow to the helm, smashed Grant to the floor, where he lay motionless—perhaps dead, perhaps too weak to go on.

“Ha! Victory!” gasped Scott. “I told you the trophy was rightfully mine.”  He kicked his fallen opponent, and staggered off toward the trophy. He seemed to have completely forgotten that Markus was even in the room.

Scott sheathed his sword. “That was a glorious fight! I shall now claim my prize.” He went over and picked up the trophy.

Markus thought how easy it would be to cast a Take That You Fiend spell on Scott. Then he could take the gold trophy, and anything else these losers had.

“That wasn’t so glorious,” he muttered. “You had him beat for the last five  minutes, but you had to finish beating him to death.”

“That’s what warriors do,” sneered Scott. “He tried to steal my trophy. He deserved to die.”

Markus could feel the spell forming in his mind.  How easy it would be to take him down.  Then he heard the groan. It was very faint, but Grant still lived. The young wizard turned away from the swordsman and went over and knelt beside the defeated. He pulled off the man’s helmet.

Scott took his trophy and staggered out of the room.

Markus opened his pack and took out his first aid kit. He had a couple of vials of healing potion inside it. He opened  one and carefully dribbled the fluid down Grant’s throat. The part he spilled he rubbed into the nearest cut on Grant’s neck. The man’s breathing, which had been  very weak, strengthened a bit.

Grant opened his eyes. He looked a bit surprised to see the stranger bending over him.  “I lost, didn’t I?”

“You almost died,” Markus answered. “You were on your last gasp when I got a little healing potion into you.”

“Thank you, Markus. If you ever need a friend, I’m yours to command.”

“You’re not saved yet, friend. I am a wizard, but healing isn’t one of my talents. That’s why I carry the potions.”

“Just get me to a door, and I’ll be alright. I have a little magic of my own.”

Markus dragged Grant toward the eastern door. The man seemed to get stronger by the second,  and he managed to pull himself to his feet before they reached the side of the room. As they lurched through the door there was a flash of light and Grant was gone. Markus found himself alone in a short corridor. The hall continued straight ahead, and also went right, with the door behind him.

“Nice trick,” Markus muttered. “I wish I knew it.” He continued down the hall until he reached a four-way intersection. Then he turned left. That left him in a short corridor with a closed door at the end. Markus walked up to it. When he got up close to it, he found a small sign near the handle that said, “If you like adventure, please come in.’

“I love adventure,” Markus told himself. He turned the handle and  pushed the door open. The room was about 20 feet square, and much brighter inside than outside; several of the glow stones bedecked the walls. A handsome young man stood in the center, dressed in chain mail, and with a broadsword on his hip, looking into the mirror and smiling.  When he heard the door open, he turned to look at Markus.

“Come in, my new friend,” said the stranger. “My name is Tragan, and it was foretold that you would come to help me with my quest.”

Markus stepped into the room. “My name is Markus. What quest are you talking about?”

“This portal leads to an ogre’s lair. I must go through and steal its treasure. Perhaps you would be willing to help me.”

Markus looked at the young fool so eager to rush off and try his luck against an ogre. “Well, what kind of help do you want from me?” he asked.

Tragan thought about it for just a second. “Maybe you could teach me a spell to help me vanquish the ogre,” he suggested.

Markus looked at Tragan dubiously. Something about the handsome rogue bothered him. At first he seemed so eager for help, but he didn’t  really offer very much information. Markus throught about where he was—in the Wizards Guild Dungeon. One of the Guild’s most important rules was DO NOT TEACH MAGIC TO OUTSIDERS AND NON-GUILD MEMBERS. Could this just be a trap to see if he would break the rule?

“I’m sorry, Friend,” said Markus. “I have no idea what spell would help you best, and it is against my vows to share my magical knowledge with others. But, I might be able to help by . . .

Markus was wondering if this magic mirror could be his way out of the dungeon. There was only one way to find out.

“I can’t teach you a spell, Tragan, but I’m willing to go along and help you rob this ogre. What are we waiting for? Let’s go.”

The offer didn’t get quite the reaction Markus was expecting. “You can’t go through the portal with me,” barked Tragan, “not even if we’re holding hands.” The expression of disgusted disappointment on his face was very clear now. “Since you don’t seem very smart, just leave this room. Someone else will come along and help me sooner or later.”

Markus felt his anger starting to rise.

Markus seriously thought about seeing how ready for combat this Tragan fellow really was. A Take That You Fiend spell might teach him a little courtesy. On the other hand, it might just make him mad. He decided to write the whole thing off to experience  and simply leave.

There were three doors in the room. Markus had entered by the one on the north wall, and determined to leave via the one on the south wall. He was already near the center of the room, talking to Tragan. He said, “Good luck with the ogre, Mr. Nimblebrains.”

Then he quickly walked to the south door, pulled it open and stepped through. He found himself in another dimly-lit corridor running north and south. He continued in his southward direction. He walked until he reached another 4-way intersection. Once again he turned left and walked on. When the straight tunnel ended, he turned left again.  This eventually led to a door that blocked his path. Listening proved futile, and when he was ready, he cautiously opened it.

The chamber inside consisted chiefly of a pit that extended from wall to wall blocking his passage. On the far side of the pit about 20 feet away there was another door. Markus stood on a narrow ledge next to a free-standing pole—the kind of pole that would be ideal for tying a rope to, Being a well-equpped young delver, Markus looked in his pack to see what he had for such situations. He found 30 feet of silk rope, a piton hammer, and ten pitons.

Markus moved over to the right side of the room, located a seam in the mortal between stone blocks, took out piton hammer and piton, and pounded the piton into the wall. (12 a.p.) Then he tested it to see if it would hold his weight.  (4 a.p.) The mortar crumbled and the small piece of metal came out of the wall and fell into the pit. Markus almost fell in with it, but managed to catch himself in time.

“This is a stupid idea,” said Markus. He put his pitons and hammer back in his pack. Then he looked at his rope. He could easily tie it to the pole on this side of the pit, but how could he attach it to the pole on the other side of the pit. The rope was made of silk. Light. Extremely strong. He couldn’t throw it worth a darn. It was too light. And he was supposed to lasso the top of a pole higher than his head more than 20 feet away. No. That wasn’t going to happen either.

“This would be easy enough if I could fly,” he muttered. He checked his spell book. No. There was nothing there that would enable him to fly.  “Oh, well, no flying today.”

“Maybe I could just jump across,” suggested his daredevil self.

“And maybe you’d fall short of the other side. It’s a long way down. I think I’ll save that attempt for some time when I’m being pursued by the hordes of hell,” wisely counseled his more prudent self.

That only left one reasonable thing to do—turn around and depart the way he had come. He wandered the halls for a good long time, trying not to retrace his steps. Once he heard what sounded like distant roaring. He didn’t go that way.  Finally, he came to another hall that dead-ended at a door.  He opened the door and found . . . a library.

The walls were lined with shelves, and the shelves held hundreds of books. The door was in the north wall and across from it on the south wall was a marble-framed fireplace containing a cheery fire. Near the fireplace was a large, overstuffed easy chair, the perfect place to sit and read. A lovely mahogany table graced the center of the room, and on the table were various covered containers. Something smelled delicious.

Markus investigated the table and found there were a variety of foods available, and a plate, knife, fork, and goblet. He suddenly felt voraciously hungry. He detected magic of some sort, seemingly all around him in this room.  There was no one else in the room with him.

Markus felt amazingly hungry all of a sudden, but he didn’t trust a meal laid out by someone else.  He reached into his pack, got a couple of strips of lizard jerky, took a swig from his canteen, and gnawed off a bite of meat.  As he chewed on that his hunger came under control, and he began looking at the closest shelf full of books.  He was a bit surprised to see a library in a dungeon, and he wondered what kind of books it would contain.

He closed his eyes, reached out and grabbed a book at random, pulled it off the shelf, and then looked at the cover.  He read the title: Curses, and saw a crudely drawn eye squinting at him.  The eye winked at him. He felt a cold shudder move through his body, felt malevolent magic, and knew that he had just been cursed. However, he had no idea what the curse was.

So much for the idea that reading is good for you!  He hastily dropped the book and kicked it across the room.

Then found himself in the same situation as he was before.

Markus continued to ignore the food. He thought it was a trap. He wasn’t ready to give up on reading yet. Libraries are wonderful places, and he was sure there was a book here for him. He picked another book. This one was called THE WIZARD’S DILEMMA. He settled down in the comfy chair. The tale grabbed him immediately—it was about a young wizard named Slip who indentured himself to a mad philosopher. The philosopher set him on one task after another, each involving some sort of moral choice that Slip had to make. Indeed, the book was written so cunningly that it seemed like Slip could not make a choice until Markus made his.  As Markus read, he felt ever more strongly that Slip’s perilous choices were his own. When he finally finished the book, and the hero, Slip lay dead at the feet of the Mad Philosopher, he felt that he had somehow failed, and that both he and Slip had suffered for it. Slip certainly had.  He had a terrible headache.

(In game terms Markus had to make a L2SR on WIZ.  He rolled a 7. With a WIZ score of 17, and a character level of 1, that would have been just enough to make the saving roll, but Markus is under a curse to miss his next 3 saving rolls. He does not get his level bonus of 1. 17 + 7 = 24. He needed 25. He missed the saving roll.  That’s one.  The effect of missing the saving roll is that he has taken permanent brain damage, but not very much. His INT fell from 33 to 31.)

Markus put the book back on the shelf upside down. He walked around the room and admired the paintings on the walls. He gnawed on another strip of beef jerky. It had been hours since he last ate. He thought about how this room seemed like a place where one could stay forever—if only there was a bathroom attached. Just after he had that thought, he discovered a clean chamber pot, discreetly hidden in a corner.  The room definitely had a magical aura to it. He wondered if that were the trap.  A person could just lose himself in a life of reading in this room.  Hundreds of books, a magical food supply, a comfy chair that one could easily fall asleep in—what more could a person want?

“This is all cozy enough,” mumbled Markus. He had been in this library so long now that he talked just to hear the sound of his own voice, “but I didn’t come down here to get stuck in a library. On the other hand, I am kind of tired. A nap wouldn’t hurt.”

He went over and cast lock tight on the entrance to the room. “No point in letting someone or something surprise me while I’m asleep.” Then he made himself as comfortable as possible in the comfy chair and closed his eyes.  In a short time he fell asleep, and he had a strange dream.

But he couldn’t remember it when he woke up. He felt rested. He took an apple out of his pack and ate it. Then went to the door and cast Knock-Knock to unlock it.  Click. He wet his palm from his canteen and scrubbed the sleep out of his eyes, noting that the canteen was now half empty. He needed to find a safe water source. He could take the wine from the table, but he didn’t trust it. It made him think that someone ought to invent a purify spell for such situations to eliminate drugs, poisons, dirt, etc.

Then he pushed open the door and headed out.

The crowette attacked. Markus didn’t realize it, but he had been secretly hoping for a fight ever since he entered the dungeon. He just had time to point his staff and shout “Take that you fiend!” He visualized a bolt of purple lightning.

And got nothing. (L1SR on INT. Rolled 7. Failed because of the curse) The crowette tore into him in a fury of raking claws, flapping wings, and pecking beak. Markus’s leather armor served him well—indeed it saved his life, but he was still hideously wounded. Blood poured off him from a dozen wounds. (Crowette has a monster rating of 12. 2D6 + 6. Rolled a 5 for a total of 11. Leather armor absorbed 6 hits; thus Markus takes 5 points of damage. His CON drops from 13 to 8.)

His magic had failed him. As the crowette broke free of him and circled up towards the ceiling preparing for another attack, Markus wondered what to do next.

The idea of being knocked down from behind caused Markus to discount the idea of fleeing. Although badly hurt, he didn’t want to be beaten by a crow.  As the huge bird dived at him once again he got ready to smack it with his staff.

(Combat roll: Crowette rolled 2D6 + 6 = 12. Markus rolled 2D6 + 7 = 14.  Markus needed a L1SR on DEX to hit. He did no damage.)

The giant crow nimbly avoided Markus swing, but it did not manage to sink its talons into the wizard that time. As he flailed at it, and missed, Markus felt like a heavy burden was lifted off his spirit. He thought he heard a voice saying “The curse has expired.” But there was no one nearby.

The bird flapped its way back up into the upper reaches of the room again.   It landed on a projecting stone and cocked its head at Markus. The man thought the bird might be actually considering whether to attack again or not.

The crowette perched up near the ceiling on a small outcropping of stone. Markus thought maybe it would leave him alone now, having failed twice to take him down. He could feel himself bleeding, and knew he had to administer some first aid to himself quickly. He pulled off his pack and reached for both bandages and the half a healing potion he had left.

When he took his eyes off the crowette for a second, it attacked again. He had been expecting it, and the harsh caw croaking sound the bird couldn’t help but make also alerted him. He closed his eyes for just a second, visualized the purple lighting, and tried his Take That You Fiend spell one more time. (L1SR on INT to cast. Rolled 8, gets 8 a.p. Succeeds.) Purple lighting shot from his staff to the body of the diving black bird and enveloped it in purple flame. The crowing noise abruptly stopped as the bird died instantly. Its dive fell short, and it impacted the floor at Markus’s feet. (12 a.p. for killing it.)

Markus kicked the bird once just to make sure it was dead. Yep. He then finished digging bandages and healing potion out of his pack, and fixed himself up as best he could. The healing potion brought his Constitution back up to its normal value (13). The bandages and astringent stopped the bleeding.  He ate and drank from his supplies, and rested, and in about two hours he felt ready to go on.

Markus took a crowette feather as a trophy.  Then he headed for the west door.  He walked through an intersection and continued down his narrow corridor until it finally ended in another door. He listened and heard nothing, tried the door, and walked in. The first thing he noticed was a very bright, hot light set in the ceiling far above him. The room was so hot that he immediately broke into a sweat.  In the center of the room was a short pedestal made of an unknown material, but glowing redly—perhaps from the heat. Sitting atop the pedestal was an orange token.

Markus looked at the token. His mentor hadn’t said anything about needing tokens, but he had a feeling that he needed this one. He sensed for magic. The strongest source was the light in the ceiling, but the pillar also seemed a bit more than ordinary. The sweat trickled down his face in hot little streams.

“I’m pretty sure this is a trap of some sort,” Markus mused. “But what can I do about it?

Of the 36 spells that Markus knew only a few of them seemed useful in this situation. Finally he narrowed his choices down to five:

  1. Call Water. Costs 8. Briefly summons a forceful dash of water.
  2. Cloud o Dust. Costs 4. Raises a 10 foot wide cloud of dust, obscuring vision.
  3. Complete Drip. Costs 3. Drops 20 gallons of water on the target.
  4. Spit in your eyes. Costs 2. Produces a drop of mildly stinging liquid in the eye of a foe.)
  5. Call Ice. Costs 8. Briefly summons an icy blast of frost.

Markus had figured out that the token itself was superheated. He cast Complete Drip (10 a.p.) and 20 gallons of water materialized and splashed over the token. A flash of steam arose when the water hit  the hot token. He had hoped that the water would wash the token off the pedestal but that didn’t happen. Perhaps it was stuck or attached to the pedestal in some way. The big splash of water cooled it off for a few moments, but because of the extremely bright light overhead, it started to steam and heated up again immediately.

It occurred to him that he would have to do something about the light overhead. There was some kind of magical reaction going on between the light and the token that produced enough heat to make it glow.  It would certainly hurt him to grab the token while it was red hot. Yes, the light up above was hot, but it couldn’t be hot enough to have that kind of effect without magic being involved.

Markus thought about the trap a bit more, and decided that the Cloud o Dust spell might obscure the light enough to allow him to get the token. He had never thought that spell would be good for anything, and he had a hard time remembering how to cast it, but finally he managed to get it right. (4 a.p.) The room filled with a big cloud of dust, making everything kind of hard to see.

As he approached the token, Markus could see that it was still glowing with heat. It occurred to him that perhaps he could knock the token off the pedestal with his staff, and push it out of the room to get it out of the light, but he decided against trying that. This was meant to be a magical test, and if his instructors were watching him, he wouldn’t get any points with them by figuring out a non-magical way of beating the test.

The Complete Drip spell had seemed to work before, and it was the least expensive of the ways available to cool the token. Markus stood far enough away that no steam would hit him, and cast it again. (7 a.p.) The deluge cooled the token enough for Markus to grab it and stuff it in his pouch.

As the dust settled, he noticed that the room seemed to be heating up again, and he decided to make a rapid exit. He saw a door other than the one he had entered by and headed for it. He came out into another hallway.

Closing the door behind him, he sat down, had a meal and a drink, and rested for more than an hour until his kremm was completely restored. He also examined the token. It was a curious coin made of iron—perhaps it was magnetism that held it to the pillar. Markus had noticed that it was difficult to pull it away from its resting place. One side of the coin had a small picture of a well on it. The other side showed a hill with a fortified village on top.  He wondered if the token had a secret message for him.

Markus continued to wander through the walls until he reached another door. Entering it, he found himself in the exit room. On the opposite wall was a portal, and beyond the portal, a fiery pit. In the wall next to the pit were a number of slots of curious shapes meant to hold tokens. Each slot was a different shape and color.

Also inside the room were five of his classmates. They all seemed to be in a trance. One of them held a piece of paper, and on it was a message.

“We have assembled 8 of the 9 tokens necessary to leave this place. If you have brought the 9th, please insert it in its slot, waken us, and let us all leave together.”

“I do have the ninth,” Markus mumbled. He searched the walls until he found a slot where the token would fit.  Before he put his coin in its place he thought, “I haven’t really seen that much of this dungeon. Perhaps I should just keep the coin and wander around a bit more.”

(Khenn’s commentary: having reached the exit room completely randomly, and learning that you need 9 of a possible 10 tokens to get out, I have to say, Scott, that I consider this challenge way too tough.  Three tokens would be fair; five would be tough but perhaps do-able. Nine out of ten?  Yikes!

By all means, O Ye Elite who love a challenge, be sure to get your own copy of Final Exam. It is mappable, and should make you think a lot. If you manage to find the exit room with any tokens in hand, I do think you should give yourself the option of escaping.)

Markus put his token in the slot designed for it. For a moment nothing happened, and then the portal shimmered and changed. The other side now showed an examination room in the tower of the Wizards Guild.

Markus shook his classmates awake. They snapped out of the trance fairly easily.  Holding hands they all stepped through the portal together. They felt an electrical shock that made every hair on their bodies stand up, and heard a loud zapping noise. The portal vanished behind them.

Old Professor Oinkenwartz had been dozing in his chair. He woke with a start when the loud zapping noise told him that someone had found the way out of the training dungeon. He opened his rheumy old eyes to see Markus and five other students beaming at him.

“Here! What’s this?” he snarled. “You’re supposed to get out one at a time, not in gaggles.”

“Why is that, Sir?” asked Markus. “Don’t you think that cooperation is a viable survival strategy in the outside world?”

“NO!” snarled the professor. “Er, well, um, maybe it could be once in a while, but in my day, we wouldn’t . . .”

The sound of Markus and the other students laughing at him further ruined the old professor’s day.

The end.

Gimor Ironfang’s Midnight Adventure

by Mark Thornton and Ken St. Andre and the game players of Trollhalla.


Gimor Ironfang rode into the darkened streets of the city of Caerthaeph’t in his trusty sledge, pulled by his faithful donkey named Guh. As he passed by the Eviscerated Nun Tavern, a fellow forest troll yelled at him, “Hey, Ironfang, come in here and a drink with me. It’s your cousin, Brassfang.”

Gimor was  not the troll to pass up a chance to knock back a few brews, especially if it looked like someone else would be doing some of the buying. He hitched his donkey to a post near the front door of the tavern and swaggered in.

Rogim Brassfang proved to be a doughty downer of draft bitter, and was actually good company. He regaled Gimor with tales of wooden-legged leprechauns and emasculated elves. After quite a few too many, Gimor jerked his head up from the puddle of ale on the table when a serving wench called out that there  was something happening in the street–the street where he had left his faithful four-footed traveling companion, Guh. At that moment Brassfang slapped another tankard down in front of Gimor, splashing a good deal of the bitter yellow brew into his already soggy beard, “Have another one, cuz!”

Gimor snatched up the drink, spilling more of it, lurched to his feet, spilling more of it, and staggered to the door, spilling more of it. Brassfang followed him with a puzzled expression on his face. “Where ya going?”

“My, uh my ass needs me,” dribbled Gimor.

“The jakes are the other way.”

Gimor crashed through the door. It crashed against the outside wall, rebounded, came back and hit him, spilling the rest of the drink.

The donkey and the sledge were gone.

“Izzat your sledge?” asked Brassfang, pointing dow the street.

Gimor raised his eyes and saw his vehicle disappearing around a corner. “Hey!” he blurted and started after it.  Brassfang thundered along beside him.

Donkeys are neither cooperative nor fast, and the drunken trolls gained on the two hoods doing the ass-napping. “Wot’s wrong wiv the beast, Rodney?” asked the short one. “I dunno, Del,” whined his weedy partner. “You’re the one supposed to be good with asses.”

In less than a block the two trolls caught up with the would-be thieves. “Let’s beat them up!” snarled Brassfang. “I’ll teach these human scum to keep their hands off a troll’s ass!” Gimor was seeing double. “They outnumber us,” he mumbled. “Maybe they’ll just give me my donkey back.”

Rogim Brassfang waded right into the thieves, delivering smashing blows with hammerlike hands. Del tried to run, but crashed into Gimor, who delivered an overhand blow to the rogue’s face. In less than ten seconds the thieves were down and out, possibly dead or dying, and certainly non-compos-mentis or in other terms, compostible.  Rodney did manage to blow a whistle before going down.

“That’ll learn them!” declared Brassfang. “Hey, I’m thirsty. Are you thirsty?” he asked Gimor.

Gimor walked up the the head of his donkey and patted it.  “Are you all right, old friend?” he asked. In reply Guh reached out and bit Gimor’s flowing beard and started sucking some of the booze out of it. Being a troll’s donkey, he liked beer as much as his master did.

Gimor gave his animal a love tap that made the poor critter weak in the knees.  “Let’s get on back to the bar,” said Brassfang, already turning to retrace his steps.

“Not so fast,” said the city watchman who trotted in out of the shadows. He looked at the thugs on the ground “What’s going on here?”

“Woops! Gotta go!” Brassfang took off into the closest dark alley at the best speed his short legs could muster. (Forest trolls aren’t that much larger than dwarves–they are just much more powerful.) Two watchmen immediately followed him, but catching up with him proved to be a mistake, as they realized the next time they woke up in the city hospital with many bruises and broken bones to show for their efforts.

Gimor didn’t have much faith in the the minions of the law, and was thinking about jumping on Guh’s back, cutting the traces, and trying to make a speedy getaway, when the donkey abruptly sat down.  That pretty much ended that plan.

His faith in the legal process was immediately justified when the watchman gleefully said, “You’re nicked, Sunshine. Say, you look like that bloke wot dun in the fortune teller!  At least you look like the shape in the tea leaves at the bottom of my cup. There’ll be a promotion for me if I bring you in, you murdering villain, you!” The guardsman then clouted Gimor on the side of the head with his magically charged truncheon and the lights went out.

Gimor recovered his senses just in time to face the booking sargeant at the Big House on the Hill. “Ossifer, Glubbrain, I am not interested in your theory that this person has done in some dodgy clairvoyant. Suspects for that job are a dime a dozen. But the fact that you found this man in posession of a donkey and a sledge while standding over two badly injured citizens suggests he might be one of the thieves who have been stealing vehicles all over town.” The sargeant turned to Gimor and frowned sternly, which wasn’t so easy to do as he was just a hobb.  “Say, fellow, are you a thief?” he asked Gimor.

“Certainly not,” the small troll replied. “I’m a victim. I was just getting my donkey and sledge back when your officer came up and arrested me on some crazy charge of murder. I just got into town a few hours ago. You could check at the city gate. They saw me come in.”

“That’s good enough for me,” said the sargeant. “Then maybe you can help us identify some of these thieves.”  The hobb, by name of Officer Dribble, hauled Gimor off to a lineup while mentioning that a lot of carriages, carts, wagons, and even wheelbarrows had been disappearing in Caerthaeph’t lately.

“That’s exactly what happened to my donkey,” said Gimor. “I hope the officers brought him to the station when they brought me in.” Forest trolls are known for their ability to hold their liquor and recover quickly, especially after being unconscious for a while, and so, Gimor was nearly sober again inside the police station.

The hobb said, “We checked on you and know you are a responsible person from out of town. And you’d be doing us a big favor if  you’d identify one of these suspects as a thief.” And he winked broadly.

Gimor soon found himself looking at three suspects, two women and a duck–not just an ordinary duck, but one as big as the dwarf, as well dressed as the dwarf, and looking quite angry about being there.”

Gimor had never seen any of them before. And he hoped he would never see them again. Still, if he could help the law get a true criminal off the streets, that would be a good thing. And they certainly looked like criminals. One woman was obviously a witch; the second one looked like some kind of tattooed streetwalker, and the third was a duck, a race notorious as troublemakers.

The troll stared at the three suspects. They stared back at him. The witch gave him an evil eye, promising to curse him with something nasty if he picked her out.  The streetwalker gave him a lewd gesture and a suggestive smile, silently promising him a good time if he let her off. The duck looked at him with a puzzled expression on its feathery face. Somehow, Gimor, who had an honest streak in his character that surfaced from time to time, just couldn’t bring himself to falsely identify any of them.  “Sorry, Officer, I have never seen any of them before”

The lawman frowned. “Well,” he said hobbishly, “I’d better ask the duck then.” The duck waddled over and eager young constables made Gimor take his place in line. “Quack!” said the duck. “Really?” asked Officer Dribble. “An insurance fraud, I suppose. Well, then, take him away, lads!” The eager young constables frog marched Gimor into the courtroom where Judge Dreadlocks was presiding.

The judge was busy swishing her hair about, knocking over a glass of some dark, foul-smelling brew, and hitting the usher rather stingingly in the teeth. “Let me see the accused,” Judge Dreadlocks demanded in stentorian tones. “Alas, we have no kangaroos at the moment to make  up a jury so we will employ those upright citizens you had lined up outside, Officer Dribble.”

Before long the witch, the streetwalker, and the duck were sitting in the jury box. The aroma of herbs filled the courtroom and the judge seemed lost in meditation, or at least lost. All waited patiently, except for Gimor who was grumbling as only a railroaded troll can grumble. Finally the judge opened her eyes and said, “Obviously this is a hanging offense if the prisoner in the dock is guilty. Let’s not beat about the bush–jurors, the evidence is writ plain on the accused’s face; make  up your minds, innocent–as if– or guilty?  Thumbs up or down if you please.”

Three thumbs down.

Judge Dreadlock donned a black cap and sentenced Gimor to death. Four constables muscled the protesting troll up to the judge’s bench. She whacked him on the head with her gavel and everything went black.

Gimor woke up at a crossroads, something he had not expected to do. It was night, but there was enough light from street torches and the occasional window to see well enough, especially for a troll used to low light conditions in the dark gloomy forests of Trollworld. There was a sign, marked in entrails on the ground, set in concrete, and presumably remade freshly every hour, which proclaimed it to be the way to Death   (left), Painful Death (straight ahead), or Very Painful Death (right).  Gimor slowly spun in place to see if there were any other choices. Behind him was a drooling group of Rednecks swinging steel bars and carrying nooses. There were eleven of them that he could see, and they all looked angry and meaner than Scrooge on a day when he had lost his wallet.

Faced with almost certain death at every turn, Gimor did the one thing that gave him a chance to survive. He turned and faced the murderous crowd that was closing in on him.

The poor fools had no idea what hit them. Gimor Ironfang was a Champion of Trollhalla. Though far from home, a dozen humans had no chance against him in combat. Every blow from his fist, every kick from a booted foot, slew another redneck. After 6 men had gone down in as many blows the survivors turned, and fled, screaming into the night.

After he disposed of the crowd, Gimor returned to the Eviscerated Nun where he found his trusty donkey, Guh,  lapping up his tenth bowl of beer.  Collecting the beast, Gimor bade farewell to the city of Caerthaeph’t. After the events of the evening he had forgotten why he had come to this remote and lawless burg in the first place. He collected a couple of barrels of ale from the tavern, and departed the city with only a few fists shaken at him by the city watch.

As the sun appeared on the eastern horizon, Gimor Ironfang continued his journey toward the distant mountains.

The End.


Author’s Afterword

The story you have just read is the fictionalized account of a short play-through of a solitaire dungeon written for Tunnels and Trolls by Mark Thornton. I took the role of Game Master and player both, and led the hero, Gimor, through the adventure. Whenever a choice came up, I called for a vote from the members of Trollhalla, all of whom were getting each short episode in an  email about twice a day. Plurality took it. Whatever the greatest number of members chose was what the character did in each situation.

Such a play-thru produced a rough draft with a lot of errors in it. For example, I forgot the character Rogim Brassfang’s name and called him Brasshand for most of the adventure.  Setting it all down here gave me the opportunity to correct that.  Somehow I had not noticed that Gimor Ironfang, who actually is a member of my Trollhalla fan club for Tunnels and Trolls, had listed himself as a forest troll. With a name like Gimor Ironfang, I had thought he was a dwarf–a delusion I’ve been under for years. Tonight when I checked to see how many adds he would have in combat, I saw he was indeed a troll, not a dwarf, and so I corrected that. A few other places in the narrative begged for smoother transitions and more information–I smoothed out those rough spots.  The final result is a very short story of a slice of life adventure on Trollworld.

You won’t find Mark’s city of Caerthaeph’t on any map of Trollworld that Flying Buffalo or Trollhalla Press has ever published. I think it is probably somewhere on the great kraken continent on the other side of the world, which is probably where the Phantog jungles are.  But it doesn’t really matter.  Trollworld is a huge place with room for all kinds of new cities and environments where T & T players can set their own adventures. They don’t have to play in my sandbox all the time. I have always thought it a lot more fun for roleplayers to make up their own adventures, thus personalizing the game. My friend, Mark Thornton is truly excellent at this.

A side note: Mark Thornton is an inhabitant of the North Island of New Zealand. He lives in the countryside about 20 miles from the capital city of Auckland. One night in the summer of 2013, his car was stolen. It remained missing for several days, causing him some hardship, but was eventually recovered. The experience served as the inspiration for his solo adventure: JOY RIDE–a very large solo adventure some 68 pages in length. I can sympathize with him. Once about 30 years ago, while I was visiting  San Francisco, my car was stolen from a parking lot downtown.  I had to get back to Phoenix on a Greyhound bus.  I got my car back too–about a week later, which meant a bus ride to the City by the Bay, and a long drive home the following day.  Having one’s car stolen is no fun, but it’s not the end of the world.

If you’ve ever had your vehicle stolen, or been threatened by a mob at night in a strange city, or just like T & T fiction, why not leave a comment?

–Ken St. Andre


Chapter 1: Jungles of Phantog
. . .
“Master Mage, we are half a day’s trek from Apys, and that is as far as I have
contracted to transport you. We must make good speed now. There is something
that has picked up your trail, and I have not been able to hide your scent from
it. You must tell me now that you will honor our bargain.”

Kennarith Ko frowned. “How do you know that something has picked up my scent?”
he snarled. “If you had told me there was any necessity to hide my scent, I
could have been doing so for days. Perhaps it is you that something trails.”

“Perhaps, but I have been here before. When faced with a choice of taking me or
taking the wizard with me, it has always chosen the wizard. Perhaps it is magic
that the creature desires. You, you are full of magic, and I have none.”

The Huntmaster looked at Kennarith grimly, staring straight into the icy blue
eyes of the foreign wizard. “Think what you like,” he said calmly. “I need to
know. Will you pay me exactly half of the dowry you will gain should you win a
bride from Apys?”

“I told you I would,” answered the wizard, “but let us be clear about this. If
the dowry is money, then you can have it all. If the dowry is magical objects,
then we can divide them between us. but I get first choice, and we take turns
choosing the other objects. If there is an odd number then you can have the last
item. If the dowry is some spiritual thing,” he hesitated to let the concept
sink in, “if it is increased magical ability or souls or something as yet
inconceivable to me, then you get nothing. I am a wizard, yes, but I am no
master, and I cannot divide the intangible, nor set values on unknown objects.”

Krokett the Huntmaster looked disconcerted. No one had ever spelled out these
different possibilities for him before, but than no one had ever paid him
before. “Will you take an oath on those words?’ he asked.

Late afternoon sunlight slanted down through the heavy foliage above them and
stray beam caught the wizard and made him shine for a just a moment in the
general gloom of the forest. “I vow that I will pay Krokett, and only Krokett,
as I have sworn to do with the dowry from Apys. This I swear on my mother’s
head, and on my spirit’s freedom, and on he honor of the Wizards Guild of

“I accept your vow. Try to keep up!” said the rugged huntsman. He strode off
between two trees and promptly vanished, just as if he had become invisible or
were only an illusion to begin with.

“So,” mused Kennarith, “The huntmaster seeks to test me. Very well!”  The bracken fern parted as kennarith swiftly followed after the Huntmaster. His years doing menial labor for his magical training had toughened not only his mind, but his reflexes as well. Indeed it had spared him from more than one mishap with Osrek the Alchemists… accidents. His side still tingled when he smelled distilled essence of flame demons.

Kennarith broke into a trot and followed the Huntmaster. He saw movement some forty feet ahead–something pushing through a tangle of vegetation. In seconds he reached it, and shoved through himself. On the other side were two paths leading in two different directions, and the guide was not visible on either one. How did he move so fast, and why?

One path was fairly open and empty as far as the eye could see. The other quickly clogged with the malodorous shrubbery that infested this jungle. Kennarith chose that one, and pushed rapidly forward.

A strong hand reached out from behind a tree and grabbed the wizard’s upper arm, pulling him roughly to the side.
The wizard breathed a sign of relief.

“Good, you kept up with me. Now get ready to fight. Watch!”

A strange beast appeared on the path the wizard had just left. It had the size of a large cat, the face of a fiend, and the tusks of a saber-toothed cave tiger. Krokett locked his gaze on its slitted yellow eyes, took one step forward with knife in hand and let out an explosive yell.

. . .
Krokett’s yell startled the Fiend, because in the blink of an eye, it was gone.

“Whew,” the wizard gasped. “What was that?”

“Don’t relax!” snapped the Huntsman. “It is only changing the direction of attack.  His head moved from side to side as he scanned the forest. Then he grabbed Kennarith’s shoulder and spun him to face the Fiend as it materialized in a leap coming right at him.

Kennarith Ko had thought about what to do, but when the time came for action, he reverted to the most basic kill spell he knew and he put all his wizardly energy into it.  The wizard’s staff crackled with purple energy and an eye-searing bolt of killing force shot out of it and struck the fiend fully in its tentacled chest.

The Thing fell to earth just shy of the two men because of the magical impact, but then shrugged it off, and gathered itself to continue the attack.  In that momentary hesitation, Krokett leaped on it, flailing madly with the great bush knife. Man and beast rolled across the ground in a cacophany of growling (from the man) and a kind of whistling screech (from the fiend).

For the first minute of the fight the wizard watched with eyes agape as man and creature struggled. He quickly understood that this was more than just a physical fight between a man and a beast–it was more of a spiritual struggle manifested on the worldly plane. Once he saw a fiendish claw rip a gaping hole in Krokett’s stomach, but neither blood nor entrail flew out of it. In the next instant the wound closed again af it had never been.

Then the two moved in his direction and it seemed as if the fiend would break free of the man. Kennarith threw off his horror and leaped into the fight, jabbing at the monster with his staff, wielding it like a spear to poke and smash the horrible creature. Every blow seemed to simply glance off the fiend, but Krokett threw him a grim smile, more of a twitch of the lips as battled. Every little bit helped.

And then it was over. With a final howl the unnatural beast stiffened and lay still. Now wounds began to appear on its body, dozens of wounds where none had been visible before. Dead!

Krokett forced himself to his feet, leaned down and cleaned his gore-encrusted blade on the animal’s hide. His clothing had been torn and slashed in many places. Purple bruises began to rise on his flesh.

“Are you all right?” the wizard asked.

“I will live.”

Krokett knelt and pushed a mass of tentacles aside, then made a deep incision in the fiend’s chest. Thrusting his hand into the bloody opening all the way up to the elbow, he felt around and then jerked his arm back out, bringing with it an internal organ.

“What?” The wizard gaped in amazement.

“Its heart. If I do not take it, the creature will live again. See, it still beats.” The bloody red organ still shivered and squirmed in the Huntmaster’s hand.

“What will you do with it?”

“We should eat it. You helped beat it, so you are entitled to a share. Of course, it may poison us, but if it doesn’t . . .” he left the implications unspoken.

. . .
Kennerith’s mind raced as his stomach churned. The thought of eating a
still-beating heart disgusted him, but the though of facing a beast
immune to his spells a second time chilled him to the bone. Furthermore,
if the heart was unhealthy to eat, then letting Krokett eat it all would
place himself in dire peril as well. He could ill afford to let his
guide die – without his help he would quickly become lost in this
jungle, not to mention the other unknown dangers that could lurk in a
place where monsters had developed immunity to magic.

No, far safer if both he and Krokett became ill, but remained able to travel. of course, this was assuming that a single bite would not prove fatal…

This was no time for dithering. Faint heart never won fair maiden, and winning a fair maiden was what he was here to do.

“We’ll split it half and half,” said Kennerith reaching out his hand, “but perhaps it would be safer to eat cooked?” Fire appeared and danced in the wizard’s palm.

“Are you going to cook it in your hand, wizard? I think I’ll eat my part raw.” Krokett used both hands and tore the still throbbing heart into two pieces. He handed the smaller piece to the wizard, then bit into the larger one. Blood dribbled from the sides of his mouth and into his beard.

Kennarith Ko did cook the fragment of fiend heart in his hand. Spitting the fragment on the point of his own sax, he directed little blasts of flame at the meat until it darkened, stopped bleeding, and actually began to smell good.

(Lest you think that the wizard was fireproof, let it be known that calling flame in this manner is usually the first spell a wizard learns. The flame never actually touches him, but springs into existence far enough from the wizard’s hand to not actually burn him.)

“Mmmmm, chewy,” said the wizard as he bit into the fiend’s heart. When he swallowed it, it felt as if a ball of flame passed through his throat, through his chest, and into his stomach. But even as it went down he felt his body being recharged with the kremm energy of magic.

The huntsman washed his bloody meal down with several gulps from his canteen, then offered it to the wizard. Ko took it, wiped the mouth with the sleeve of his robe, and took a big gulp. He was in for it now, no point in being cautious or timid if he hoped to keep his guide’s respect.

“Let us go on,” said Krokett. We are not that far from our destination.” He stepped back onto the path he had been following and set off briskly. Kennarith grabbed his staff and hastened to follow him.

They walked for a couple of hours as the sky grew darker and afternoon advanced. They climbed, and the vegetation changed, somehow seeming lighter in both color and tone as they gained altitude. At the same time, the ground grew soggier, and the muddy forest floor squelched with every step.

Then they crested a ridge, and Krokett pointed. In the center of a rocky hollow stood a great hive building more than 200 meters in height and twice as broad, a building unlike any the wizard had ever seen before.

“This is it,” said the guide, “the home of the Manukans, the People of the Buzzing Bees. This is where you must go to win the Bride of Nature that you seek.”



Chapter Two: Into the City of the Manukans

Kennarith looked down and saw six soldiers striding up the eastern side of the crater towards him. They walked on stiff-jointed hind legs with a pair of similarly inflexible arms coming out of the mid-point of their bodies. The ebonic sheen of their chitinous skin was swathed with bands of shaggy brown-gold fur. Multi-faceted eyes and twin antenna completed the inhuman picture. Each guard also carried a large pair of diaphanous wings that vibrated as they walked, not enough to lift them into the air, but perhaps it lightened their steps because they approached swiftly. Each guard also carried a long bronze-headed halbard.

“I will leave you now,” said Krokett. “Remember our bargain, and seek me where we first met if you make it out of the hive successfully.” The Huntsman faded back into the jungle.

When they reached his side the leading bee-man looked the wizard over intently. Apparently satisfied, he began to speak in a buzzing version of the Common Speech. It took a few sentences for Kennarith to understand, but the bee-man rejpeated himself until finally Kennarith interrupted him.

“You speak my tongue strangely,” he said slowly, “but I am beginning to understand. You want me to follow you.”

“Correct.” The leader turned and strode away. Kennarith immediately followed him back down the hill. The other five fell in behind him.

In a short time they reached a broad ramp leading up into the hive-building. It led to an arched doorway illuminated by a large sphere that glowed with crimson radiance. Kennarith wondered how many men had passed through this ominous doorway. One of the escorts touched his shoulder and buzzed, “You are the seven thousand five hundred and sixty-first.”

The number seemed absurdly high to the Khazani wizard, but then he reflected that the Manukans were said to have been on Trollworld longer than the men had, and almost as long as the elves.

The soldier continued to speak. “This portal is a means of destruction should our queens decree. The photonic forces it subjugates may be released in any direction they desire. The effect is stark; existence is negated.”

The red light energy made his flesh crawl with a kind of tickling sensation as Kennarith passed through the doorway. The chamber inside held at least a thousand burning beeswax candles, and the air hung heavy, cloying and sweet in his lungs. A wave of sleepiness assailed him, but the wizard clenched his hands and fought it off. It would not be wise to lose consciousness here.

Many more of the soldier Manukans flanked both sides of the atrium. Kennarith could see now that it was but a passageway connecting the exterior with the interior of the structure. A larger, heavier beeman crawled from a passageway above and to Kennarith’s left. He fluttered down to stand directly in front of the wizard.

“You are the thirty-sixth and last of this cycle’s contenders for royal marriage,” he droned. “I repeat, you are the last. This means that the wooing will begin on the morrow.”

“I understand,” answered the wizard.

‘You may rest, take nourishment, and think about what level you would like to compete for.”

Fed with unfamiliar foods, lulled by the humming that seemed to permeate the strange city, Kennarith Ko was taken to a sleeping chamber and left to his devices. He quickly fell asleep.

When he awakened he found cool water and a scroll waiting for him on the bedside table. He washed his face and quenched his thirst. He had eaten so well before his sleep that he felt no hunger. Turning to the scroll he read these cryptic words:


There was a space to indicate his choice, and a pen and ink for writing it.

After some deliberation, Kennarith Ko decided to go for the easiest challenge, and wrote the number 2 in the space provided. As soon as he had done so, the paper magically faded out of his hand. At that moment he realized that he was sensing magic from all sides, and was unlikely to have any warning should enchantment come upon him.

His chamber door opened and in came the large man, or his twin. “Be thou ready for your challenge?” he asked.

“What is my challenge?” asked the Wizard.

“You have chosen to woo Apida the Harvest Queen. It is her duty to ensure that the Phantagonian flowers come to no harm, that they are free from disease, and protected from herbivores that her people may be assured of plentiful pollen supplies.”

“Sounds like a vital task,” Kennarith muttered to himself.

The guide led Kennarith to another chamber deeper inside the hive. Five other wizards were already there. The bee man made introductions and Kennarith Ko met Nux Fractor, Spontaneous Combustius, Perry Stroika, Ali Bongo and Sly Toffand. All were human except for Perry, who despite have rounded ears, was a half-elf.

The bee man led the six contestants into another chamber even deeper inside the hive. There, draped languorously upon a couch reposed the young queen, Apida.

As Manukan women go, Apida was truly lovely. She sported a full and firm thorax, cute stripes of ochre and burnt umber, two lively antennas, and bee’guiling. (Ken’s note: Mark has filled this section of the adventure with as many bee puns as he could come up with, and they are plentiful, but I may skip most of them. If you want to bee entertained by them, get the adventure.)

Apida was besotted with all her suitors. She clapped her four hands together and dismissed the bee man, whose name was Bee’de. “My bee’trothed must have a fine voice,” she buzzed. “You shall all sing for me.” She opened a cabinet and brought out 6 scrolls. “These are some of my most bee’loved songs. Each of you shall choose one and sing for me.”

The six songs are:
1. Honey for my Honey
2. Let it Be’e
3. Be’e My Baby
4. The Buzz of it All
5. Just Can’t Help Be’elievin’
6. Be’e Good to Me


By the luck of the draw, Kennarith Ko got to be the last singer.

The six wizards studied their scrolls for a few minutes. None of them were puzzled by them, though some figured then out a little faster than others. Their bee’havior was very civilized, and they took turns singing for the queen. It took a little about an hour for them all to have a turn.

The queen kept score in her head, but did not give any sign of whose singing she liked it best. (the adventure as written says to give the 6 contestants wooing points. Having made all the necessary attribute and saving rolls this is how it stands after the first round of competition:


When the singing was over Bee’de the bee man attendant came in with a tray upon which there were six golden goblets, each brimming with a thick brown brew. An overwhelmingly sweet aroma rose from the liquor.

“Drink, or do not drink, as you choose,” said the bee man, “but be aware that this is very potent liquor, and it may becloud your thinking.”

Because he was the last to arrive, Kennarith was the last to confront the queen and give her his one word description. Though many ideas had run through his head, the word he finally decided to use was “majestic”.

After seeing what had happened to Sly, none of the other wizards dared even touch the queen. When his turn came, Kennarith simply knelt before the queen and said “you are the most majestic person I have ever met, but then again, I not met many kings or queens.” A line like that would have made most humans smile, at least, but Apida’s face showed no emotion.
The tests had been gentle so far, but Apida’s thoughts turned to the physical.  She feared that her mate might break during the exchange of genetic material  that must eventually come. It had happened in the past, and so, a test of physical capability was developed.

The queen retired through one door, and the bee man Bee’de took the six of you off in another direction. He brought you all to a hollowed-out honeycomb that was a replica of the queen’s nuptial chamber. There were six divans made of sculpted wax, and he told  you all to lie down upon them.  He then began to spurt honey on Perry from a bell-shaped receptacle on wheels with a hose and nozzle attachment.

“Ewww!” said Perry.  When Bee’de finished he was completely immersed except for his head.

“Are we in any danger from this?” asked Ali Bongo.

“You will not be harmed if you do not struggle,” answered Bee’de, “but you may be seriously injured if you resist.”

It occurred to Kennarith Ko that he as a wizard, and that whatever was in store for him when he was coccooned in a Manukan miasma of melted molasses (okay, honey, but the feeling would be much the same), he should not just take it lying down as a warrior would. He might be able to do something to himself as a wizard, and he wondered what spell he might cast upon himself to better his chances.

Because he was the last to arrive, Kennarith was the last to confront the queen and give her his one word description. Though many ideas had run through his head, the word he finally decided to use was “majestic”.

After seeing what had happened to Sly, none of the other wizards dared even touch the queen. When his turn came, Kennarith simply knelt before the queen and said “you are the most majestic person I have ever met, but then again, I not met many kings or queens.” A line like that would have made most humans smile, at least, but Apida’s face showed no emotion.
The tests had been gentle so far, but Apida’s thoughts turned to the physical.  She feared that her mate might break during the exchange of genetic material  that must eventually come. It had happened in the past, and so, a test of physical capability was developed.

The queen retired through one door, and the bee man Bee’de took the six of you off in another direction. He brought you all to a hollowed-out honeycomb that was a replica of the queen’s nuptial chamber. There were six divans made of sculpted wax, and he told  you all to lie down upon them.  He then began to spurt honey on Perry from a bell-shaped receptacle on wheels with a hose and nozzle attachment.

“Ewww!” said Perry.  When Bee’de finished he was completely immersed except for his head.

“Are we in any danger from this?” asked Ali Bongo.

“You will not be harmed if you do not struggle,” answered Bee’de, “but you may be seriously injured if you resist.”

It occurred to Kennarith Ko that he as a wizard, and that whatever was in store for him when he was coccooned in a Manukan miasma of melted molasses (okay, honey, but the feeling would be much the same), he should not just take it lying down as a warrior would. He might be able to do something to himself as a wizard, and he wondered what spell he might cast upon himself to better his chances.

Kennarith thought about the warning–he had been told not to move, and the one spell that would freeze him in his tracks was Hold That Pose.  He cast it on himself at level 3, knowing that would hold him for up to 8 minutes, and hoping that would be enough.

The honey was extremely hot, and beneath it the wizards heated up very quickly. However, all of them had the same thought, and all had cast Hold That Pose. They all endured the heat well enough, and a few minutes later, Bee’de brought attendants to clean them off. He was somewhat surprised to see that all six contestants came through the ordeal unscathed.

The Queen took one look at her wooers and smiled slightly.

“And now, my would-be wooers,” she buzzed, “it is time for us to take a walk in the forest.  Gather what protective gear you may have, and meet me at the entrance to the hive one hour from now.” She departed to make herself ready for the excursion.

Kennarith did not have much in the way of special provisions to make for himself. He had no armor and little in the way of weapons, since he had counted on the Huntsman to protect him in the jungle. Instead he made certain that he had plenty of water in two canteens, some high energy food, and he put two healing potions in the  pockets inside his robe. He wore knee-high boots and a leather cap inside his wizard’s cowl, and hoped that would be sufficient.

An hour later the six wizards stood at the entrance to the hive. Apida appeared with an escort of 20 soldiers, all fully armed and armored.  The bee men and the queen have protections that outsiders such as Kennarith and the other wizards would never dream of. No such protections were offered to the wizards.

“This walk may be extremely dangerous for you,” warned Bee’de. “Before you risk your lives in the Phantagonian jungles, think, and if you wish, you may back out now.”

The bee soldiers escorted Apida, Perry, Ali, Spon, Sly, and Kennarith along a trail visible only to them. Nux had announced at the beginning that he really didn’t feel up to trekking through the jungle that day, and had retired back to the hive. The constantly beating wings of the soldiers did at least provide enough of a breeze to evaporate the sweat off your body, and thus provide some measure of coolness.

After several minutes of walking, Ali Bongo sidled over to Kennarith and began to speak in the Thieves Cant of the Khazan ghettos. “Ey, matey, ‘ow you like der tests zo far? Gotta offer for ya. Innerested?”

Kennarith looked at the other wizard coldly. “Wotch gots in yer mind?” he answered in the same almost unintelligible jargon.

“Look ere, Palzy. Itz gonna be hard ta know how to win dis ere game. Wotcha say we nooj der oddz a bit. Iffin I wins, i do give you a top job ere, an’ you does der same fer me iffen you gets der young missy. And,” he waggled an eyebrow knowingly, “we alzo duz  wut we kin ter ‘elp each udder wen we kin gainst der odders ere. Woddya say? Deal or no deal?”

Kennarith smiled at Ali, and made a
thief’s sign with his left thumb and forefinger. “Deal,
Palsy,” he whispered, “but keep it on der downlow, hokay?”

“Ri-ite!” grinned the other wizard. “Laters!” He wandered
off. As the walk continued, Kennarith noticed that Ali
approached some of the other wizards as well. Sly gave him a
big grin, Spontaneous looked confused and Perry said, “Wut?
Get away from me!”

Suddenly the brisk march through Phantog ended. The party
entered an octagonal clearing filled with luscious
lascivious, lurid blooms of epic proportions.  Another
twenty Manukan soldiers were standing around the clearing to
protect these flowers.

Some workers opened a large wooden chest they had been
carrying and took from it several large goblets carved from
a translucent, jade-like stone. They gave one cup to each

“Go to the flowers and collect the pollen within them,”
buzzed the queen.

The wizards set to work.  For a half-elf, Perry did not
seem to react very well to plants. After only a short time,
he sneezed so hard that he dropped his collecting cup and
spilled what little pollen he had gathered on the ground.
Bee’de approached and told him to stop–his part of the test
was over. The others all managed their tasks with varying
degrees of success.  Surprisingly, Sly was the best at
accumulating flower pollen. When he presented his cup to the
queen, it had half again as much pollen in it as the second
best (Ali) and nearly three times as much as Kennarith had
collected. On the other hand, the other wizards all looked
both tired and dehydrated after collecting pollen for half
an hour, but Kennarith, who had brought plenty of water, and
drank liberally from it as he worked, just felt better and

Just as the queen finished checking Kennarith’s cup, a
strange beast charged into the clearing–a wide-nostriled
mucous wrangler.  It charged, head down, nose down,
firing a shower of snot pellets in all directions.  One
noxious missile hit Ali in the forehead and spattered all
over his face. He went down flailing; his skin turned green,
and he began to vomit, all very quickly.

The soldiers ruahed to attack the elephant-sized beast. It
had already trampled one flower and was bearing down upon
the queen.

With 40 guards coming to the defense of the queen, not to mention three other wizards, Kennarith figured that his best option was to try and save Ali’s life.

His first action was to cast a Call Water spell and wash the poisonous mucous off of Ali’s head, reasoning that the sooner the infection was removed, the less damage would be done. He wished he knew a Too Bad Toxin spell, but he didn’t. It was within his powers to cast it, but a fourth level spell, and as a 2nd level wizard who had recently graduated to 3rd level, he simply hadn’t learned it yet. 4th level spells cost 1500 gold to learn, and the truth was that many wizards learned their higher level spells by getting  more advanced wizards to simply teach them outside the guild offices.

Ali still looked like he might die, his complexion distinctly green and his breath coming in short harsh gasps. Kennarith reached into one of his inner robe pockets and pulled out one of the two healing potions that he had brought with him.  He poured it down Ali’s throat and hoped for the best.

Between the death spells of the other wizards and the furious halbard work of the bee soldiers, the mighty Mucous Wrangler didn’t last long. One soldier was hit by the falling monster and squashed flat.

Queen Apida noticed that three wizards had cast spells in her defense, but that Kennarith had rushed to the aid of the only person in serious danger from the attack. She awarded points to the three wizards who defended her, and none to Kennarith and Ali, but kept in mind that Kennarith had kept his head during the emergency and preserved a life.

When the excitement subsided it was time to return to the hive. The cups full of pollen were closed with lids on top, and the four functional wizards were told that they must carry their cups back to the hive balanced atop their heads in order to leave their hands free for self defense. Kennarith and the other wizards tried balancing the flat-bottomed cups on their heads, and managed for a short time, but they were constantly in danger of falling off.  “This is silly,” Kennarith declared. He removed the cup from his head, pulled open his robe, placed the sealed cup in his largest pocket, and then proceeded along the path with little danger of losing the precious pollen. The other three wizards made similar arrangements.  Sly simply used his hands after the first near mishap, figuring that there were plenty of soldiers to defend him in case of another attack.

Suddenly Apida pointed into the dense lushness of the jungle. “We will take the short cut back. There is something I want to show you. Quick! Find the secret door and we shall be safe and have time to play!”

Perry, Spon, and Sly dashed forward, magic crackling from their fingertips.  Ali remained in the litter that two of the soldiers were carrying. His condition had stabilized, but he was still in no shape for a rigorous walk in the woods.

For the last few days, members of Trollhalla have been seeing me talk about a new T & T novel that I am thinking about writing.  Scenes and situations have been going off inside my head.  Sometimes I have lain awake for hours in the early morning, mentally writing and imagining parts of the new book. 

The book is to be based on a solo adventure that I wrote back in 2010.  It has been a year since I created it, and I think it is just about ready for publication.  Last week it came to me–in that half waking trance between midnight and morning–that the solo was only a preface to a much better work of fantasy fiction that I could do.  And then, this scene came to me, and played itself out in my mind.  I didn’t get a chance to write anything until I got to school, and then I sat for a couple of hours, creating what you will see here.  I am fairly slow as typists and writers go, but I don’t need a lot of revision either.

The best thing with a novel is probably to keep it to oneself, write it, revise it, and try to get it published.  Mostly, that is what I will do.  However, as I have struggled with this idea over the last week, I have also taunted the members of Trollhalla with hints and questions.  Darrgh Tarrho, and Garrlakk, and Moondragon have seen the solo–nobody else has, so they have some idea of what I’m thinking about.  I hope you all get the chance to read and play the solo before the month is over.  Meanwhile, it is time for me to start getting these ideas out of my head and into written form.  They may not come out in a nice orderly sequence.  The story will probably assemble itself like a jigsaw puzzle, but . . . here is the first scene.

Vvvarrr, the dragon that made Lerotra’hh an immortal.
The art is by Miika Spray, also known as Moondragon, a terrific artist and a valued friend and member of Trollhalla.  I hope she won’t mind me showing the first sign of it here.


Vvvarrr looked at her new servant, and wondered if this human man was smart enough to be her servant.  The urukin woman, Lerotra’hh, was already an accomplished wizardess when she came to the dragon and offered herself over seven centuries earlier, but this man, this Neth was only a rogue.  Yes, he had daring and courage, but did he have wit?  She decided to test him.

“Thiss iss your firsst tassk as my sservant,” she hissed.  “Give me everything you own.  Jusst put it all on the treassure heap!”

Neth thought it was a very strange command.  The dragon owned so much, and he owned so little.  Why would she want to take that little away from him.  Perhaps it was some kind of test.  He shrugged out of the straps that held his pack, and then swung it off his back, and pitched it onto the treasure heap.  It didn’t contain anything breakable.  Then he unbuckled his sword belt, and lightly tossed it along with the attached sword and dagger onto the pile of gold.  Finally, he turned out his pockets, producing a few gold and silver coins along with a very small folding knife, some string, and a few pieces of flint.  Tossing that bric-a-brac onto the edge of the pile, he turned to face the dragon.  “I think that is everything I own.”

“NO!” Her voice was louder now, with an undertone of menace.  “I ssaid, give me everything you own.

Neth looked at the great green reptile in dismay.  He had just given her everything he owned, right down to the lint in his pockets.  Pockets!  He still had pockets and clothing.  Could she want that too?  She did say everything.  He hastily took off his fur jacket, and tossed it on the pile.  Vvvarrr watched him, and did not say a word.  She just let a bit of steam escape from one of her nostrils.  After the coat he lost his shirt, his trousers, his boots, his loincloth, tossing each item onto the dragon’s pile, until he stood there naked.  He had no rings, no jewelry to add.

“That is absolutely everything I own,” he told her with hands spread wide.

Vvvarrr roared and a jet of flame shot above the rogue’s head.  The sudden heat made sweat pour out of his body.  Her eyes glowed with hellish red light, and her mighty talons clenched and unclenched.  “I tell you for the third and lasst time!” she bellowed.  “GIVE ME EVERYTHING YOU OWN.”

Neth knew that he was failing his new mistress in some way, but he could not think how.  He had given her everything he owned.  And she wasn’t satisfied.  In that moment he knew he was going to die horribly in the next few seconds.  He could see her inhaling.  The next gout of flame would roast him.  What else could the dragon want?  Did she want his hair, his teeth, his immortal spirit?

And then it came to him.  Maybe she wanted all of those things.  Closing his eyes, Neth threw his body on the great pile of treasure, landing spread-eagled and butt up just as a blast of dragonfire blossomed in the place where he had been standing.
“Much better,” purred the dragon.  “You could have ssaved much time if you had done that at the beginning.  Being a sservant iss new to you, but I expect intelligence and obedience from you.  I gave you three chancess thiss time, but it will not happen again.  If you cannot undersstand ssimple commandss, then you are not worthy of immortality–not worthy to sserve me.”

“Yes, mistress,” Neth answered, remaining on his bed of gold.  “I am sorry.  I did not truly understand what you meant.”

The dragon simply glared at him for a while.  He lay quietly and did not dare to look at her.  Then he felt a human hand smack into his buttocks and heard a silvery laugh.  Looking up, he saw the sorceress who had called herself Rav now standing beside him.  “Dress yourself and take your old weapons and gear, but remember that those items as well as you yourself belong to me now.”  She spoke now without a trace of the sibilance that had marked the dragon’s voice.

He quickly put his clothing back on, all except for the heavy coat.  The cavern had grown much too warm for him to need it.

“We must find a place for you to rest,” said Rav.  “Follow me.  I think perhaps the urukin’s old bedding place might serve.”

(to be continued)

Strictly speaking this is not a Delvers Tale, but it is partially about stories, and thus fits better here than in Atroll’s Entertainments.  This blog is a commercial in which I am going to try and get you to buy something from me.  If you’re not interested in even thinking about buying stuff from me, stop reading now.  Nobody is twisting your arm here.  (Grin).  (I mean, if I could send a giant troll to your house to twist  your arm and get you to buy my stuff, I totally would do it, but that’s not possible.)

The glowing demons just kept coming at the black-armored knights of Mandrikor.

Trollhalla Deals  #1

Trollhalla Deals is an occasional publication by me, Ken St. Andre, in which I try to find good homes for some of the material I have lying around the house.  This material should be of interest to anyone who feels that my writings are in any way worth reading or collecting, and probably not of much interest to anyone else.  It also contains some miscellaneous Tunnels & Trolls material by other people.  I am selling it to get some material to support Trollhalla activities (such as paying the artists for their work in Trollhalla Press publications), and to find good homes for the material among my friends.  No one is under any influence to buy anything here that you don’t really want.  This is the October 2011 edition of Trollhalla Deals.


Auction Items

Auction Rules:  Send your bid for any of the items listed below to me at:  Payment is usually through, but you may pay by check, money order, or cash.  I will estimate a cost for postage when I tell you that you won the item.  If anyone outbids you, I will tell you what the high bid is and give you a chance to beat it.  If you are high bidder, I will tell you.  Any competing bid must beat the previous high by at least $1, and I urge you all to work in integral multiples of $1—let’s not monkey around with bids like $3.42.

  1. 1.       The Amulet of the Salkti (T & T solo #20) designed by David Steven Moskowitz.  Front cover by Stephan Peregrine; interior illustrations by Michael Kucharski.  A Flying Buffalo Blade Production.  First Printing.  October 1984.  37 p.  condition: very good.  Starting bid: $5.
  2. 2.      The Sorcerer’s Scrolls issue 37.  A gaming fanzine produced by Tori Bergquist in 1991.  Tori is a member of Trollhalla where he goes by the name of Tyrrrannosaurrr.  There is some T & T material in the zine including this quote which seems kind of funny 20 years later.  “There has been some talk, most speculation, going on about the possibility of producing the mythical 6th Edition of T & T (A T & T: the right choice . . .)  It is my advice that all great fans of the game and devout die-hards (all nine of us) should write to Rick Loomis at Flying Buffalo, P.O. Box 1467, Scottsdale, AZ 85252.  Believe me, folks; T & T, as fun a system as it is, needs a good shot in the arm (or swift kick in the butt) to get it in step with modern times, and a 6th edition is the way to go.”  This issue also contain material by Trollhalla members Rrramberrrt and Kroommmp (Dan Lambert and Steve Crompton)  38 p.  illus.  Condition: excellent.  Starting bid: $5.
  3. 3.      Photocopy version of Deathtrap Equalizer Dungeon spiral bound in green cardboard endpapers.  Fiendishly designed by the justifiably infamous Ken St. Andre, Outstandingly illustrated by the artistically imaginative Liz Danforth, modestly produced by the humanitarian folks at Flying Buffalo, Inc.—A Cosmic Circle Production.  First edition.  Copyright January 1977.  The cover has a note in my handwriting: “Ken St. Andre—Corrected Copy”  However an examination of the interior fails to reveal any obvious corrections.  The pages are one-sided.  Liz’s illustrations are somewhat washed out—the heavy blacks didn’t come through at all.  Condition: Good.  Starting bid:  $5.
  4. 4.      Buffalo Castle.  2nd edition.  Designed by Rick Loomis from an idea by Steve McAllister; cover and illustrations by Liz Danforth.  Flying Buffalo, solitaire adventure #1 for Tunnels and Trolls.  13 p.  copyright 1982, 1976.  Condition:  Perfect.  Starting price: $5.
  5. 5.      Strength.  June 1998.  (This isn’t T & T at all.  It is the masters for a personal zine I was doing back in 1997 and 1998 for the Tarot amateur press association.  8 p.  It is based on an idea I’ve been espousing for the last 20 years called Found tarot (i.e. tarot images are pervasive within out culture and can be found in many different places).  It features an original short story called Arcane’s Journal: The Four of Coins by me.  The story went out to members of my Crossover Earth superhero writing group back in 1997 or so, but has not been seen elsewhere.  I am thinking of transcribing it and putting it on the web in one of my blogs—I hate to waste my creative impulses.  Condition: some corners are bent, but otherwise good.  Starting Price:  $5.
  6. 6.      Oracle, science fiction and fantasy anthology magazine, vol. 1, no. 1.  About 32 p.  c.1982.  This isn’t strictly T & T either, but there is a T & T connection or two.  This was a startup fantasy zine in 1982—a paying market that never made it as a continuing magazine.  I was honored to be part of the first issue along with: Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Daniel Gilbert, Eve Linkletter, Bruce Boston, Michael Stackpole, Terry L. Persun, and Dave Lillard.  My story was called “Mandrikor” and it is my favorite of all the swords and sorcery stories that I ever wrote.  Earlier this year in February, I adapted my Mandrikor story into a G.M. adventure for Tunnels and Trolls, and I ran it twice this year—the first time for Lezzirf and Trrrommm at DundraCon in February.  Stackpole’s story—The God of Thieves–is also fantasy and has a very T & T like feel to it.  One is a slightly faded news stand edition, and the illo from my story is on the back cover.  The other is a coffee-spotted free author’s copy and the illo from my story is on the front cover.  The interiors are identical, but one was splashed with coffee which I hurriedly wiped off.  Starting price: $3 for each one.  Specify which you are bidding for. 


Store Items

The following items are T & T things that I have that I would like to pass on to other homes, but do not believe them to be worthy of auction.  Many of them are Outlaw Press items produced by James Shipman during the years in which he was a member in good standing of Trollhalla.  These items have a fixed price.  Take it or leave it.  20% of the money raised by selling these items will be donated to Grumlahk’s Transplant Fund.

  1. 1.       Troll Quest, a T & T Monsters! Monsters! Solo, by James L. Shipman and Jack Spencer Jr.; edited by Brian Penn & Jack Spencer, Jr.  (originally developed by Alan LaVergne.)  Muse help by Thomas K. Loney.  Etc.  22 p.  The art looks like clip art, but is skillfully inserted.  <No copyrights, no trademarks 1st edition, May 1st, 2001>  Condition Excellent.  Price:  $5.
  2. 2.      The Hobbit Hole Magazine #6. (4 copies).  42 p.  profusely illus.  This T & T zine was produced in May 2006 and contains material by several Trollhalla members including: Andy Holmes (The Ice Cavern of Isahill—mini solo dungeon) and Mike Hill (The Dungeon of the Rat) and Tom Loney and Christina Lea (Kopfwerks).  Condition: Excellent.  Price:  $5.
  3. 3.      The Hobbit Hole Magazine #13 (1 copy).  March 2008.  88 p.  Color covers.  Profusely illus.  Contains material by Trollhalla members Rob Lotze, Ken St. Andre, Dalton Calford, Andy Holmes, Tim Labor, Mike Hill, Jon Hancock, Jeff Freels, Gynn Stella.  This is very high quality work, probably some of the best that Outlaw Press ever did, but there is reason to believe Jim was already using appropriated artwork.  Price: $10.
  4. 4.      Tunnels and Trolls Free RPG Day Handout 2007.  (Many copies).  Features a short version of the T & T rules.  A reprint of Goblin Lake, the first mini-solo by Ken St. Andre designed for a goblin protagonist with the original interior illos by Liz Danforth.  A great original Goblin Lake painted front cover by Simon Tranter. (Ramsen Triton of Trollhalla).  Condition: Like new.  No.  not free from me any longer, although I will give one to anyone who pays the Trollhalla Troll tax for 2011.  Price:  $3.
  5. 5.      Strange Destinies; written by Ken St. Andre, Covers by David Schumacher and Jarek Gach; interior illustrations by Jeff Freels; edited by Mari Volmar.  Outlaw Press, c2007.  24 p.  This solo dungeon never should have been included with the 7.5 version of the T & T rules—it is much too difficult for beginners.  The intro says it is “written for warriors only: big warriors.  Rock Trolls, Ogres, and Balrukhs are the recommended kindreds.”  Condition: Like New.  Price:  $10.
  6. 6.      The Hobbit Hole Magazine #16.  (1 copy).  July 2009.  Color covers.  Profusely illus.  Contains material by Trollhalla members Brian Penn, Andy Holmes, Robert Lotze, Ken St. Andre, Tom Loney, Andy Holmes, Dan Hembree, David Crowell, Mari Volmar, and Jeff Freels with additional material by other people.  This is a very high quality production, but may contain appropriated artwork.  Condition:  Like new.  Price:  $10.
  7. 7.      The DewDrop Inn; (many copies) imagined and written by Ken St. Andre; illustrated and tweaked by David Ullery; with a sexy succubus by Katje Romanov; interior covers by Robin Stacey.  Trollhalla Press, copyright August 2011.  72 p.  Conditon: New.  Price:  $12.
If this method of redistributing stuff from my collection to yours works at all, there will probably be a Trollhalla Deals #2 in a couple of weeks.  If it flops, this page will probably be deleted from the internet forever.  Today is September 30, 2011.  The auction part of this page is definitely out of date by October 7, 2011.  The store part may be valid after that date, but definitely query me first before sending any money.  I can be reached at, and I don’t care who knows it.  
–Ken St. Andre