Skip navigation

Category Archives: Trolls


Gimor Ironfang’s Midnight Adventure

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

Joyride

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


Part 4

For several weeks Yorrdamma wandered alone in the woods, living off the land.

 He was now nine years old, and because of Aylgamer’s enchantments, had already

 reached physical maturity, standing about six feet tall and weighing around two

 hundred and fifty pounds. His bones were ogre-hard, and his trollish muscle made

 him twice as strong as a man of similar build. Given the spells he had learned and

 the fighting and brawling skills he had been taught, he was not to be taken lightly in any kind of fight.

So, when one night, he was set upon by a small patrol of SWA consisting of six orcs,

he gave an excellent account of himself, slaying five before their leader finally wounded

 and overpowered him. As the big brawny orc cursed him and prepared to deliver a fatal

 stroke with his sword, an Elf arrow suddenly pierced his thick neck, killing him instantly.

Throwing the body of his foe off, Yorrdamma struggled to his feet. Out of the trees and bushes

 around the scene of the fight came a group of fighters, all applauding him. After cautious

 introductions had been made, they bound up Yorrdamma’s wounds, and took him back to their camp.

This was a small group of mercenary fighters dedicated to making war on Zekrim Gedokrist

 and his evil servants. All of them had been injured, and/or lost friends or loved ones to the

 depredations of the Withered Arm, and were sworn to vengeance. Their chief and leader

 was a wood Elf named Feyanor who was master with the Elf bow. The others included:

 Barlow, a Hobbit Rogue and Assassin; Mikallus, a grizzled veteran of many wars and

 conflicts who was deadly in battle; Hogar, a hulking Berserker and one man wrecking

 crew; and a female half-orc named Zunda, a Rogue both woods wise, and skilled in the

cantrips and hedge magics known to the forest peoples.

When they had heard Yorrdamma’s sad story, and shared their own tales of woe,

 they voted to adopt him into their little company. Yorrdamma’s ability to render

 first aid and healing served him as well as his fighting prowess, and his ability to

 throw a good sized rock like a small cannon ball amazed them. Over the next year

 he served well and faithfully in the group, and was, in turn, taught many useful things

by each of the members. With his eidetic memory he soaked up new knowledge like a

 sponge. For twelve months they labored to kill and harrass the SWA wherever and

 whenever they could, and they became a major thorn in the side of the commander in charge of the area.

Finally, tired of having to report this nuisance to his superiors at Hari-Na-Gregulden,

the commander put together a squad of his best warriors and sent them out to rid him

 of these pests, or not to return! In an ensuing ambush by this large and terrible force,

 Yorrdamma alone was able to extricate himself from the trap and flee. Grieving his slain

 brothers and his sister-in-arms (she had taught him more that just magic and Rogue skills),

 he fled from the friendless and now deadly Fenwood, and headed out onto the great plains

 of Valesia, looking for a city somewhere where he might finally make a life for himself.

Part 5

To understand the world in which Yorrdamma Vrash struggled to survive,

 it is necessary to give a bit of the history of the kingdom of Valesia. This nation

 was founded by the Priest Kings of the City State of Mora who ccnquered their

 neighbor states and united them into a single large kingdom. They then built in

Mora a great temple to their deity Omvar who sent them a stone tablet containing

 laws and spells to ensure their sovereignty.

But, in the far west, the Gedokrist family, who worshipped dark gods,chafed under

 the rule of the of the Valikor monarchs, During the reign of Valikorin VI,

Diskorjia Gedokrist came to Mora and used her dark sorceries to seduce the king.

But, when it was learned that she carried the king’s child, she was forced to flee

back to the fortress on Mount Angwich, and her dreams of becoming the queen of the land were dashed.

Here she festered, full of hate and frustration, and she gave birth to Zekrim Gedokrist whom

 she swore to vengeance. It was also at this time that she began the experiments in Troll husbandry

 that produced Urdammu and eventually, Yorrdamma.

When Zekrim reached maturity he and his mother took their army and set out to attack Mora.

(This was the time when Yorrdamma was born and his mother escaped from the castle).

 Diskorjia’s agents had stirred up much unrest in the nation over the years, and she had

 pursuaded the Duke of the city of Kardyak to attack Mora promising him aid (which never came).

While the army of Mora was off crushing the hapless forces of Kardyak, Zekrim and his host entered

 Mora at night through the vast sewer system beneath the city. They stormed the palace and slew the

 king there. They then took the crown and went to the great temple. No one could be king of Valesia

 unless crowned in the presence of the Holy Tablet. But, Falordin, the High Priest, would not crown

 Zekrim, and, when he received word that the army of Mora was returning in haste, in his rage he

 slew the stubborn priest, and then threw down and shattered the Holy Tablet. Immediately

 the temple was rocked by an earthquake, and with a great peal of thunder the Deva Aramvolt

issued forth from the broken tablet, and smote Zekrim with his rod of Divine Retribution. ” Withered forever

 in dire agony shall remain the arm that dared profane the tablet of Omvar”, said the Angel. He then gathered

up the shards and disappeared.

Zekrim was carried away in great pain by his minions. As they fled from Mora,

 the cavalry of Mora entered the gates in pursuit. Diskorjia stayed to delay them,

but her act cost her her life. Hard pressed, Zekrim’s group fled west, hotly pursued.

But as they climbed the western hills the stricken wizard found enough strength to

 destroy with a Hellbomb Burst the stone dam that held back the lake in the hills above

 the Mora flood plain, and the pursuing cavalry and the city of Mora were overwhelmed

and buried in a sea of mud and debris.

So Zekrim returned, defeated, to his castle which he named Hari-Na-Gregulden,

the House of Bitter Torment. While Valesia broke again into many small city states,

 he tried to relieve the agony of his withered arm, but to no avail. No remedy could

 abate its pain, and, if removed, another like it grew back with terrible pain and suffering.

 Finally Zekrim became a lich, but even this did not win him respite. He then took a vow

 that he would not rest til he had conquered Valesia, and all the world of Kaball, and all creatures suffered as he did.

Thus he gathered his resources and began to create the Servants of the Withered Arm which

 were to cause so much grief and trouble for Yorrdamma and for all the people of the former nation of Valesia

Mad Roy Cram channelling Yorrdamma Vrash

———————————————————————————————————————–

And here I thought that Mad Roy had promised me a short biography of Yorrdamma Vrash.

Apparently, this semi-biblical narrative will go for a long, long time.


The following strange tale comes to me from a member of Trollhalla, one Roy Cram by name.  Back in the day he published a couple of solo dungeons with Flying Buffalo.  He mentions places I’ve never heard of, and mating practices that seem unlikely to say the least.  He seems somewhat confused, but I’ll let him tell his tale.  The troll mother he describes must be one of the fleshy trolls and not a true rock troll as rock trolls do not mate and reproduce in the fashion he describes.  Aside from that I suppose we should believe most of this delirium–after all, we do actually have Yorrdamma Vrsash himself as proof that some sort of miscegenation produced him.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

combination Goblin and Troll--guess at the appearance of Yorrdamma Vrash.

Yorrrdamma Vrash’s story part one

Oh Great Khenn Arrth:  I, Yorrdamma Vrash, crave Your attention. Attend me I beg you. Here,  on this crude stone altar that I raised, I offer You the life blood of this Goblin who, with his companions, now dead, tried to murder me as I rested here in the midst of the Mistywood (Sound of squealling cut short by the Whack! of a Sax severing a neck). Long I have wished to tell my story, and since the recent battle with the goblin thieves has made sleep impossible, I now propose to narrate the tale of my life. May it please You to hear it.

If not, You are a Deity, and can do as You please. If I displease You, pray do not smite me.

Ignore me if I am beneath or unworthy of Your notice, but my life passes burning through my memory now, and tell the tale I must, if only to these four dead Goblins and these mist enshrouded trees.

Yorrdamma was born in the Troll warrens beneath Castle Gedokrist on Mount Angwich. This was in the days before Zekrim Gedokrist buried the great city of Mora beneath a sea of mud. It was in this time that the Gedokrist was busy raising a huge army to make war on his half-brother, King Valikorum of Valesia. Zekrim was determined to have a large contingent of Trolls in his army for ‘shock’ troops. Since the hill and rock trolls of this region were unruly and mostly opposed to serving as his vassals, Zekrim assigned the wizard Aylgamer to ‘recruit and train’ a group of Troll soldiers. To this hard task Aylgamer diligently applied himself.  He rounded up a large number of trolls and began to ‘train’ them, using magic and harsh discipline. In addition he started a series of experiments in selective and magic enhanced breeding to produce a creature more suitable than the rough and hard to control feral Trolls. His efforts began to create a race of Trolls that were smarter, tougher (!), more tractable, and able to sustain exposure to sunlight. All seemed to be going well.

Yorrdamma’s mother was one of the first generation progeny using Rock Trolls. She was impressive physically and relatively docile, but smart enough not to let on to her masters that she was a good deal smarter than they thought she was. When she reached the age of bearing young she was impregnated with Troll semen laced with traces of magically enhanced human, Ogre, and Demon seed.  Her gestation proceeded at a rapid pace, and Yorrdamma came into the world early and unattended. He was tiny and ugly, a ‘runt’ troll or Trollish equivalent to a human dwarf. But Urdammu’s heart was overwhelmed with love for this tiny ugly helpless creature. She had seen the progeny of her Troll sisters removed from them at birth, and knew that this babe would go straight to the kitchen to enrich some pot of stew. This was the first thing in her life that she felt really truly belonged to her. So, when Aylgamer’s Orc assistants saw she had borne offspring and tried to take the whelp from her, she tore the arm off the first and beat the second one to death with the bloody end of the amputated limb.

Now at this time Zekrim was mustering his army for the assault on Valesia and there was much confusion in the camp.  Urdammu wrapped her baby in a blanket, put him in a box of supplies, found a big cudgel and took off through the camp looking like she had business to attend to. She left in her wake, with crushed heads, a couple of orcs who dared to try and hinder her with questions, and made it to the woods before her escape from the warrens was noticed and an alarm raised.

This is the end of part one – part two to follow soon.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here the narrative breaks off, although the writer has promised me more of this weird tale.  Note the antique language–orc instead of uruk, also the antiquated notion that gods require blood sacrifices.  In these modern times blood isn’t that much good to us.  Money is the sacrifice we really want from our followers.

Well, we will see what comes of Yorrdamma Vrash’s autobiography.

end