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Here I continue the strange tale of Yorrdamma Vrash.  Actually, Roy Cram continues it.  Let me emphasize that I, Atroll, am not writing or making this stuff up–I’m just passing it along. 

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Yordamma Vrash, part 2

   After Urdammu fled into the forests near Castle Gedokrist she found herself in a place completely foreign to her experience. But, thanks to Aylgamer’s magics she was pretty smart and a troll can eat most anything. She was able to find fruits and berries to subsist on and baby Yorrdamma had his mother’s milk to sustain him. At first her main goal, and a wise one, was to put as much distance between herself and the Castle as possible. She was lucky too, that she did not encounter any large or really dangerous creatures during that that time.   After about a week of hard travel thru the woods Urdammu heard roaring and cries for help. She went to see who was in danger, and in a small clearing, found two Hobbit women in a small tree threatened by a large brown bear.  The bear then made a bad decision and attacked the 8 foot tall 500 pound she troll, and Urdammu made good use of her big ironwood cudgel and dispatched the creature. When the Hobbit men arrived they found their ladies teaching the huge troll how to skin and field dress the bear, while they held the tiny Yorrdamma.  After explanations were made the Hobbits were grateful and invited Urdammu and her child to stay a while with them. While most of their previous experience with trolls had not been good, Urdammu’s intelligence and docile nature to those who did not offer her harm won them over. In the days that followed the big she troll proved to be a huge help to the little folk, helping them with the heavy chores like tilling, and chopping wood and clearing brush. She also kept away large creatures that might otherwise find a Hobbit an easy prey. The Bobbin family decided to take her and her baby in, and she was happy there with them.

The Bobbins consisted of Grandpa Bobbin and his wife, his two sons and their wives, and a boy and girl Hobbit. They lived together in a nice cave which they had made into a comfortable Hobbit hole.  Yorrdamma grew up here in this pleeasnt and peaceful environment, and all were amazed at how quickly he grew (Aylgamer’s meddling made him develop quickly), and they were even more amazed at his amazing memory and intelligence. By the third year he could speak Hobbit and Common tongue and had learned to read (and had memorized) the few books the Hobbits owned. At that point Grandpa Bobbin began to teach the little fellow (who was now as large as an adult Hobbit) all he could. Grandpa Bobbit had delved for a good while as a Rogue and done well. He taught Yorrdamma all he could of the basic Rogue skills. He also taught him, along with the Hobbit children, how to fight with a knife, a sling, and a club. In addition, both Urdammu and Yorrdamma learned to throw rocks from their Hobbit friends who were masters of that skill. In Yorrdamma’s fourth year the Bobbins became friends with an ageing Crone who lived nearby. They helped her with food and with chores she could no longer perform herself due to age. And here Yorrdamma learned his first magics. The Crone was a powerful witch and saw the potential in the little troll. Like Grandfather Bobbin she taught him all she could about the plants of the woods and how to use them for healing and other purposes. She was amazed at how quickly he picked up the knowledge and the ability to use the few spells she was able to show him. Here he learned to cast: Detect Magic, Bug Plague, Got a Match?, Hello Sunshine, Nofeelums, Psychic compass, Spit In Your Eyes, You Clot, and Will-O-Wisp.

   Alas, Yorrdamma and Urdammu could have lived out their days with the Bobbins happily, but the Gedokrist, having failed to overthrow and conquer Valesia, now sent out the Servants of the Withered Arm. And one awful day, when Urdammu and Yorrdamma returned to the Bobbin Hobbit hole, they found it pillaged and ruined, and the Hobbits all dead except for the two youngest Hobbits who had been hidden away by their grandfather when the SWA attacked. Urdammu and her cudgel made short work of the few SWA goons, except for one that escaped. Urdammu realized that they would come back in force, and she gathered her child and the two young hobbits and what they could salvage and fled for the nearest settlement a two day journey away. They tried to talk the Crone into coming, but the old witch sent them on their way. She gave Yorrdamma an old magic wand that had belonged to a wizard friend, and then went back into her little house to prepare a warm welcome for the SWA.

   Thus ended the days of Yorrdamma and Urdammu’s halcyon stay in the woods

Part 3

About a day’s journey to the east of the Hobbit’s home was the small village of Inyerface. Here a few hundred hardy souls made a living from the woods, trading mainly in furs and wood  products. Urdammu and Yorrdamma and the two surviving Hobbits arrived there and were admitted only because the Hobbits had relatives in the town. Urdammu, however, was able to find work moving freight for a local merchant. The people of Inyerface did not trust or like Trolls though, and were not friendly to the big she troll or her offspring. After Urdammu busted a couple heads of locals for teasing and tormenting her son, she joined a merchant’s caravan as a guard and headed east again.

   They finally settled in another stockaded hamlet where an old Wizard had established a trading post and infirmary and dealt in magic goods. The wizard, Boniface, was pleased to gain the services of a Troll since he used small amounts of Troll blood in many of his healing remedies, and he took Urdammu and Yordamma into his house. He was also fascinated by the remarkable differences in these Trolls which did not fit in with the characteristics of any Trolls he was familiar with. Here Yorrdamma began his education in earnest. Boniface and his wife were astonished at the young trolls memory and intelligence and began to teach him spells and other essential skills. Here he was taught Take That You Fiend, Hold That Pose, Knock Knock, Lock Tight, Oh There It Is, Oh Go Away, Vorpal Blade, Dura Spell,  and Poor Baby. He also became adept at making potions and charms.  In addtition, he was educated by a grim old warrior, whom he tended and helped heal, to fight with two knives at once, and got a thorough education in the nasty art of Brawling which stopped the locals from teasing and annoying him. Soon the yound Troll was a full fledged member of the infirmary’s healing staff and an expert in first aid and treatment of all kinds of diseases and injuries.  In the four years he spent here he reached a height of five feet and weighed a stocky two hundred pounds.

But Zekrim Gedokrist continued to work his evil on the world, and one dark day, the Servants of the Withered Arm fell upon Boniface’s little community and overran it. Yorrdamma was not present as he had left early in the morning to gather herbs and plants for his medicines in the woods, but Urdammu and Boniface and the rest of the town fought desperately. As Urdammu battled furiously with her great cudgel, a wizard entered the fray and attacked Boniface with his spells. Urdammu recognized this new foe as Aylgamer, the one who had made her and her son. Boniface managed to disspell Aylgamer’s shield spell but was overcome by his vicious response. However, his back was turned on the field as he throttled the old wizard, and Urdammu took a large round stone the size of an orange from her belt pack and threw it with great force. The Hobbit’s teachings and years of practice served her well; the stone embedded itself in the back of Aylgamer’s skull. Thus perished the evil monster maker of Castle Gedokrist.  Urdammu fought bravely on, and was the last to fall in this battle, using an orc as a club as the rest dragged her down, pierced by many weapons.

   When Yorrdamma returned he was horrified to see what had happened. There were only a few orc SWA still there looting the ruins. They attacked the young Troll wizard and he dispatched them with his powerful spells and his flashing blades. Then he found his mother surrounded by heaps of the SWA whom she had slain. She opened her eyes and smiled at her son, then died in his arms. He had exhausted his kremm fighting the orcs and could not help her, and he wept bitter tears of grief, Later, as he stood before the cairn under which he laid her body, he swore an oath that some day, some how, he would make Zekrim Gedokrist regret that he had ever been born. Them he gathered his meagre belongings together and headed east again, making his lonely way in an unfriendly world.

 to be continued

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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.

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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.

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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

 


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: kenstandre@yahoo.com.  Payment is usually through paypal.com, 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.
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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 kenstandre@yahoo.com, and I don’t care who knows it.  
–Ken St. Andre

The Trollgod talks about the Way Things Are Meant to Be

Some question has come up about what I might have meant when I say the GM is
God. It’s a common principle in all role-playing, so let’s talk about it a
bit.

Some GMs like a free form game. They set up a situation and let the
players do whatever they can with it. I’m like that most of the time.

Other GMs have a story that needs to be told. The characters become
actors in that one story, and have very little freedom. Certain things have to
be done or the story doesn’t get told.

In the first case you don’t have
to mess with the rules much at all. The only thing that can trip you up is the
unspoken/unwritten rules. If the player misses a saving roll and dies, let him.
If he takes on a monster that’s way too tough for him and dies, too bad. The
players have a responsibility to make good decisions and have a good game.

In the second case the story is paramount. If a player gets himself
killed, and the story needs that character, then the god GM can fudge the
results. What should have been a killing blow to the head turns into a glancing
blow that only knocks the character down. Unconscious and left for dead, the
character lies there and takes no harm while the fight moves on. This is good
storytelling. It can make for a great game. It ignores the fact that the GM
threw the game rules out the window in this one case. A skillful GM would never
even let the players know what he had done. After all, it is the GM who narrates
the action, and if he narrated a knockout instead of a kill, then that’s what
happened. That is what I mean when I say the GM is God.

Another
example–could happen in my kind of game. The party is dying, down to its last
few hit points and surrounded by Uruks. You know that the way the dice are
rolling, they will die on the next combat turn. So, suddenly the GM says, “You
hear a loud whistling noise. The Uruks look startled. They turn and run for
their lives, completely ignoring the party. Some of them even drop their
weapons. The party looks around in astonishment. What the heck was that? They
may never find out, but they are alive, and not dead. The game can continue. Did
I break any rules there? No. But the GM played God and saved everyone. The game
continues, with the players wondering what saved them. It may even turn into a
plot hook for later.

The GM has a responsibility to his players–he’s
not there to either pamper or torture them. He’s there to provide a good, fun,
challenging game. Show off the game world. Display your GM creativity. Make
people laugh! Believe me, it takes godlike powers to do all that, so . . . the
GM is God.

T & T can be played mechanically, obeying every “rule”,
but such a game has no “heart”. I want you all to invest your own creativity in
play and in game/world design. Trollworld is my world. You’re welcome to play
there, but you don’t have to. Other worlds may work a bit differently–voila!
House Rules!

You will forgive me if I spend most of my time and effort
working on my own world. When I go play on Beanworld, or Glorantha, or Middle
Earth, it’s different, and I play by the local rules. You should, too, and if
you don’t care for the local rules, don’t bitch about it. Just don’t go back.
I’m a big believer in voting with your feet. The object is to enjoy your gaming,
not to make others unhappy.

Go forth and do great things!”


Once upon a time, 18 was the best number you could roll on 3D6 when creating a Dungeons and Dragons or Tunnels and Trolls character.  Triple sixes, the Venus throw in ancient Roman dice gambling–it’s the epitome of a perfect die roll.  Now T & T uses the TARO rule–six, six, six or 18 is a really good roll and the start of an incredible Specialist character.  So, 18 is for Specialist in T & T 7.5.

18 is for really tall, or really heavy under 5th edition rules–7 feet 2 inches or 350 pounds.

level 18 requires 4 million adventure points under 5th edition rules.

18 is the STR necessary to use the infamous Beak of a Crow weapon–the warhammer especially made for cracking open armored helmets.

18 is a great age to be–still a teenager, graduating high school, entering college.  I wish I was 18.

If you have any notable 18s to add, please put them in the comments below.  Today is May 23, and the blogging challenge is fading now.  Still, I will flog this dying blog as long as I can.

–end


17 is for Morning Star.

My apologies, brave ones–as the d numbers get bigger, it gets harder and harder to add anything significant about T & T.  I’m really just continuing this because of the challenge I set myself.

17 is for Trollworld basketball player.  When rolling 3D6 for a human character’s height, a 17 generates a height of 6 feet 11 inches tall.  It generates a weight of 310 pounds.  And that’s all pure power-packed barbarian muscle.

17 is the Strength required to bend an extra-heavy bow (one with a draw weight of over 100 pounds.  17 is also the Strength required to wield a heavy mace or a morningstar.

It seems to me that 17 was a magic number in 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons, being the number of character levels possible.  In my naivete circa 1975, I thought 17 was as high as levels needed to go in role-playing games.  Thus, my ultimate magic spells in 1st edition T & T were 17th level, and they were Summoning, Banishing, and Deluxe Staff.  The Deluxe Staff spell is kind of special: the text reads: This is a spell you can’t do, folks.  You may buy deluxe staves from the (Wizards) Guild (5000 gold pieces), but they are actually made by a small, very secretive clan of wizards who like their privacy.  There is no such thing as “deluxe staff material” for weapons or armor.  Considering that the deluxe staff is described as absolutely indestructible, that’s a good thing.

If you know any other good 17s for Tunnels and Trolls, feel free to list them in the comments below. I’m a day late on these blogs already, but I’ll catch up some time.  (ha! and if you believe that, I have some swamp land I’d like to show you.)

–end


Liz Danforth's picture of a goblin in goblin Lake has always been the way I visualized these little 2D6 monsters.

Sixteen is a good number for Goblins–they like to run in packs, and 16 is a good monster rating for them, too.  A monster rating of 16 gets the goblin 2D6 + 8 combat adds–average combat roll around 15.  Almost any first level T & T fighter can beat a single goblin in a fight, but 16 of them at a time might be a bit much.  Time for strategy, tactics, and a quick retreat if you meet 16 Goblins at one time.

In 5th edition, Level 16 magic is for anti-magic spells and Exorcism.

16 is the Dexterity required to use heavy bows in combat effectively.  It is also the Strength needed for a hand and a half sword–sometimes called a bastard sword.  They called it that because they hated what it, not because they couldn’t find its father.

Sixteen is also for sweet 16–a very good age to start role-playing.

If you have some sweet 16s to add about Tunnels and Trolls, please put them in the comments below, and come back tomorrow to see if I have anything for 17 in Tunnels and Trolls.

–end


The Troll's treasure hoard.

Fifteen is for the Troll’s Hoard in Trollstone Caverns.  TC is the short GM adventure that I wrote for 5th edition T & T.  While much of the text in 5th edition actually came from Liz Danforth, the Trollstone Caverns is all mine.  The map has 18 key locations, but location 15 is the deepest point, and the spot where any adventurers are most likely to get good loot.

Fifteen is a number widely used in the weapons tables of the 5th edition.  Medium self bows and medium longbows both require a DEX of 15 to use them.  I took 2 semesters of archery a million years ago when I was in college.  It’s harder than it looks.  Really light bows don’t have much penetrating power.  Heavier weapons that take more strength to draw tend to wobble.  Modern bowmen all want to be sharpshooters–too much of the Robin Hood legend, I think.  Ancient and medieveal bowmen didn’t worry so much about shooting straight.  They were grouped in companies, and they laid down barrages of arrow fire by making high arcing shots.  The bow was the artillery of its time.

15 is also the number of weapon adds that all the early forms of pistols get in combat.  If your character gets shot with a gunne in T & T, he/she is gonna get hurt, and hurt pretty bad.

Yes, there are guns in Tunnels & Trolls. They are rare, but deadly.

There is one 15th level spell in 5th edition T & T.  Air, Earth, Fire, and Water allows the caster to conjure an elemental to use as a servant for 5 game turns.  Its monster rating will equal the total of the caster’s attributes times two.  That will usually generate a humongously powerful servant.  300 years later in 7th edition T & T, this spell has been lost.

If you can think of any other fine fifteens used in Tunnels and Trolls, please list them in the comments below, and come back tomorrow to see what I can do with sweet Sixteen.

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Oz, the god wizard of the land of Oz. Being a god can be a lot of work.

Fourteen is for fortnight–a term never once used in Tunnels and Trolls.

Fourteenth-level Spells and Beyond: Spells of 14th level and higher are not sold by the Wizards Guild in the Empire of Khazan.  There are rumors that they can be learned from the Nagas, but they are generally considered to be god-level magic and should be distributed only at the discretion of the GM.

Which leads me to talk for a little bit about god-level wizards.  Originally, there were no gods postulated for Tunnels and Trolls.  The game developed in a religious vacuum.  As far as I know, no human society yet has ever existed without the idea of gods.  The gods might be benevolent, malevolent, or indifferent, but there were always gods.  On some basic level, people need to believe in powers greater than themselves.  They need explanations for such questions as “why is there lightning?”

Well, we all know the answer to why questions.  The answer is because.  There is lighting because Zeus is throwing thunderbolts at things on Earth.  Or if not Zeus, then Thor.  How can they be powerful enough to hurl lighting?  They can do it because they are gods.

On Earth we made up gods to explain the unexplainable.  In Trollworld, there are people–wizards–who can do unexplainable things.  They can fly.  They can cast lightning bolts.  They can disappear and reappear in different places.  These people are wizards–magic users.

And some wizards are clearly more powerful than others.  Some wizards like Gristlegrim or Loopo the mad mage are so powerful that they have created whole new races/kindreds to be their people.  Gristlegrim literally made the Dwarves of Trollwold.  He carved them from stone and brought them to life.  Loopo made the uruks.  He warped and twisted the basic nature of elves into a vile parody.  Yet, elves and uruks can mate–Lerotra’hh, the Death Goddess of Khazan, is one such example of what happens when such a mating takes place.

Wizards who have learned to transcend any imaginable limits of power are known as god-wizards.  They can do anything.  They use the natural kremm energy of Trollworld itself to get their effects.  The only ones who can oppose them are other god-wizards.

You should have noticed that I’ve avoided giving these so-called god-wizards any other supreme titles.  None are known as all-wise, all-loving, all-evil.  That is because they are not supreme gods–not even real gods.  They are just beings of such power that they might as well be considered to be gods.  Some of them even think of themselves as gods.

They aren’t gods.  There are no true gods on Trollworld.  There are, however, a lot of god-wizards.

That’s all 7th edition theology, or lack of it.  There is a 14th level of spells in 5th edition T & T, though it only has one spell.  Force Shield is the 14th level spell in the old days.  A force shield is a wall of colored light that cannot be penetrated by any lower-level magic or weapons.  The wizard can shape and move the Force Shield as he wishes.

Fourteen is used frequently in the weapons tables as STR or DEX requirements for various hard to manage weapons.

If you can think of any notable uses of 14 in T & T, please add them in the comments below.  And come back tomorrow to see if there is anything good to be said about the number 15.

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Hey, wow, it’s Friday the 13th!  I haven’t seen one of those in a long time.  On this day associated with bad luck I’ve had one really bad leg cramp at 3 in the morning–I’ll be limping for the rest of the week, and I’ve experienced a bit of lethargy, but that’s all.  However, your bad luck is just beginning.  Read on!

You could be born again in Tunnels and Trolls buy you might come out looking like this.

Thirteen is the highest level of spells available from the Wizards Guild in Trollworld.  There is only one spell, and it is the Born Again spell.  The fifth edition featured two level 13 spells: Invisible Fiend and Wizard Speech.  Ot the three, I’d say Wizard Speech is the most useful–it is a universal translator for the wizard.  The Born Again spell has to be cast in advance, and it allows the character to re-materialize in a younger form when he dies.  Only high level wizards capable  of spending 208 WIZ at a shot can cast it.

Tunnels and Trolls never had the endless reincarnations so prominent in D & D.  Dead is pretty much dead in Tunnels & Trolls unless the G.M. wants to bring your character back to life.  Yes, characters come back sometimes as zombies or vampires, but you can’t just haul the body to the nearest temple and come back to life.  The gods could do that for characters, but mostly they don’t, so be careful when you’re playing.  Dead is dead in T & T.

Dead is usually dead in Tunnels and Trolls. Try not to die.

One of my favorite swords is the falchion–a kind of wide-bladed sabre with a heavy slashing head that bends backwards a bit towards the swordsman.  It requires a DEX of 13 to use it effectively.  So does the black-eagle blade and the fish spine sword.  All of these weapons do more damage than the standard broadsword, but the falchion is the best of them.

As warrior maids go, she could use better armor, but she has a real nice sword.

If you know any good 13s that I’ve missed for T & T, please list them in the comments below, and come back tomorrow to see if I can do anything with the number 14.

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