Trollworld Revisited

This is the part of Trollworld where I have set most of my adventures during the last  38 years, and even so, it is mostly unexplored.

This is the part of Trollworld where I have set most of my adventures during the last 38 years, and even so, it is mostly unexplored.

In the very beginning there was no map of Trollworld, and the world did not even have a name.  There were a couple of dungeons, and after I made Monsters! Monsters! for Metagaming in 1976, there was the city of Khosht.  Then one day Bear told me that he knew just where all those places were, and he pulled out his map of Ralph the Dragon Continent.  It didn’t look exactly like this.

After the city of Khazan materialized, and Liz had created Knor, I redrew this part of the world in order to have my own map for placing things.  My map looked like this:

Continue reading «Trollworld Revisited»

The Mixed Kindreds

Let’s continue talking about different kindreds and opportunities for roleplaying on Trollworld in Tunnels and Trolls.

 

half troll, half elf, a trelf.

1.7.3  Mixed Kindreds

Half-elves and Urukins (Half-uruks) are listed among the Common Kindreds.  They are examples of Mixed Kindreds.  Trollworld is a very magical place, and with Magic, anything can happen, including the union of unlike species and the production of children from such unions.  Half-elves and Urukin are fairly common and breed true, but it is possible for there to be many  other and different kinds of half-breeds.  In Trollhalla we have a Trolf and a Trelf.  They are both children of a mixture of Troll and Elf.  Trolfs are always male and Trelfs are always female.  Dwelfs are also fairly common–the mixture of Dwarf and Elf.

In general, mixed kindreds occur when two different kindreds mate and have children.  The magic of Trollworld is so great that these unions are often fertile.  Such unions very often have hybrid vigor and produce a character type that may be superior to either one or both of the parents.   Mixed kindreds are created (rolled up) the same way the normal kindreds are, but the attribute multipliers are usually averaged.  For example if a Giant married an Ogre and had children, the resulting Gigre might have these attribute multipliers:  STR X 4  CON X 4  DEX X 0.83   SPD X 0.75   INT X 0.675  LCK X 0.675   WIZ X 1  CHR X 2.875   HT X 3.25  WT X 14.  Note that these numbers are multipliers and that it is possible to get large Gigres that are bigger than medium-sized Giants, and vice versa.

However, this is not an inflexible rule.  Urukin are not the average of Humans and Uruks.  They are stronger than both.  (See the Common Kindreds table above.)  If the player and the GM agree that a certain combination would be superior to either parent, then the halfbreed could be up to 0.25 better in attributes that don’t have the same multiplier.  Let’s combine an Angel with a Human and see what might result:  Angel plus Human = Wingman.

STR X 1.75  CON X 1.75  DEX X 1  SPD X 1  INT X 1  LCK X 1  WIZ X 1  CHR X 0.75* HT X 1  WT X 1.  Note that the Wingman is both stronger and sturdier than either Angel or Human but its Charisma is on average lower than either of its parents.  I did this because I believe every nonhuman should have at least one comparative weakness.

I am not creating a table of multipliers for all possible combinations.  There are far too many possibilities to account for.  Mixed breeds should be very rare, even in Trollworld.  This section is included simply to show you that such things can happen if you want them to, and that your imagination doesn’t have to be as limited as mine.  People have told me about such creatures as mixed dragons and elves–drelves.  I imagined a Fairy mixed with a Ratling to produce a Rat Fairy.

Likewise, some of the beasts and monsters of Trollworld may be the combination of one or more creatures–probably united through some sort of magical fusion instead of through the sex act.  Griffins are a combination of eagles and lions grown larger than either original.  Manticores are combinations of humans, lions, and scorpions.  Pegasi are combined horses and swans.  Turtlegators have the heads, tails, and bodies of alligators, but the shell of a turtle protecting most of the body.  The GM in search of interesting creatures to populate his dungeons can feel free to combine things in any way possible.  Wolf spiders have 8 legs and multi-faceted eyes, but run in packs, live in caves, and howl like wolves from a mostly canine head.  Magic makes such chimeras likely enough to occur in this game.

The manticore is a mixed kindred monster. Part lion, part human, part scorpion. Nasty.

–end

The Rare (Uncommon) Kindreds

I’ll admit that T & T is really set up for people who want to play Humans, Elves, or Dwarves.  Those three kindreds are the closest to our reality.  Other beings get very bizarre.

But you are not limited to the common kindreds.  If your roleplaying is strong enough, your player character could easily be one of these beings.

Ratlings are one of the Common Kindreds, just because there are a lot of them in the larger cities of Trollworld, although, they mostly stay underground and aren’t seen that oftern. First time I ever asked for an  llustration of a Ratling.  This picture was done by Trollhalla artist Charrdd.

 

1.7.2  Uncommon Kindreds

 

Trollworld is a nexus of realities, a place where many universes connect with each other.  There are hundreds, possibly thousands of intelligent races with some sort of presence on Trollworld.  If you are a GM, feel free to include whatever you wish as part of your own adventures, whether it be Gingerbread Men or Hydragons (half hydra, half dragon).  The following table shows a number of unusual kindreds available on my Trollworld.

 

The uncommon kindreds make better monsters and non-player characters, but there is no actual reason why players cannot make characters from any of them.  I cannot list every type of intelligent being on Trollworld, but here is a fairly large sample.  GMs and players may, of course, make up their own nonhumans if they wish.

The table below is based on the Human Standard.  To create a human character, roll 3D6 (TARO).  To create an Uncommon Kindred character, take that 3D6 and multiply it by the factors iisted in the table below.  Thus, an Angel is 1.5 times as strong and healthy as a Human, but only 3/4 as intelligent or lucky.  Balrukhs would seem to be superior to humans in almost everything, but they are very unlucky–bad things happen to Balrukhs all the time.  And so forth.

 

Kindred STR CON DEX SPD INT LCK WIZ CHR HT WT
Angel 1.5 1.5 1 1 0.75 0.75 1 1.5 1 1
Balrukh 10 7 1 1 1 0.5 4 5 3 9
Demon 4.5 4.5 1 1 0.75 0.5 2 4.5 1 2
Dragon(adult) 25 50 1 1 2 0.5 10 5 3 50
Dragon(lightning) 12 24 1 1 2 0.5 5 4 2 25
Dragon(Young) 5 5 1 1 1.5 0.5 2 1.5 1 1
Gargoyle 2 2 1 1 0.75 0.75 0.75 1.25 1. 1.25
Ghoul 3 3 1 1 0.25 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.67 1
Giant 5 5 1 0.75 0.5 0.5 0.5 5 5 25
Gnole 1.5 1.5 1 1 1 0.5 1 0.75 0.75 1
Gnome 0.33 0.33 1.5 1 1.5 1.5 1 0.67 0.33 0.33
Gorgon 1 1.25 1.5 1 1 0.75 1.5 0.75 1 1
Gremlin 0.5 0.5 1 1 1.5 1.5 1.5 0.5 0.33 0.33
Harpy 1.5 1.5 1 1 0.67 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 0.5
Hobgoblin 1 1 1 1 0.75 0.5 0.75 0.5 1 1.5
Kobold 0.5 0.5 1.5 1 2 0.5 0.75 0.75 0.5 0.5
Lamia 2.5 2 1 1 1 0.5 1.25 1.5 1 1
Living Statue 2 4 0.75 1 0.75 0.5 0.5 1.5 1 4
Lizardmen 1.5 1.5 1 1 0.75 0.75 0.75 1 1 1.5
Mummy 2 2 1 1 1 0.5 1 0.5 1 1
Kindred STR CON DEX SPD INT LCK WIZ CHR HT WT
Myrmidon(black) 2 2 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.75 1
Myrmidon(red) 2 2 1 1 0,75 0.5 0.5 0.75 1.25 1.25
Naga 1 1 1 1 1.5 0.75 1.5 0.75 1 1
Nymph 1 0.75 1 1 0.67 0.67 1 1.5 0.67 0.67
Ollyphant 3 3 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.78 1.5 3
Otgan 1.5 2 1 1 0.75 1 0.75 0.5 1 1
Pithecanthopus 1.25 1.25 1 1 0.75 0.75 0.5 0.75 1 1
Pixie 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1.5 1.25 1.5 0.33 0.33
Rock Demon 2 4 0.75 1 1 0.5 0.75 0.5 0.5 2
Sand Imp 0.25 0.25 1 1 0.75 1.25 1.25 0.5 0.1 0.2
Sasquatch 3 3 0.75 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.5 3
Satyr 0.75 0.75 1 1 1 1.5 1 0.75 0.75 0.75
Selkie 2.5 1.25 1 1 0.67 0.5 1 0.75 1 2
Shadowjack 1 1 1 1 1.25 0.75 1 1 1 1
Spider Troll 4 4 2 1 0.5 0.5 0.25 0.75 2 4
Swamp Troll 3 6 0.5 1 0.75 0.5 0.5 0.75 2 4
Talktipus 2 1.5 1.5 1 1 0.75 0.75 0.75 1.5 1.5
Tigerman 2.5 2.5 1 1 0.75 0.67 0.5 1.5 2.5 4
Titan 4 4 1 1 1 0.5 1 1.5 4 16
Toadman 0.75 0.75 1 1 1.25 0.5 1.25 0.25 0.75 1.25
Treeggan 1.1 1.33 1.33 1 0.67 1 0.67 0.9 1.33 2.5
Trollkin 2 3 0.5 1 0.75 1 0.67 0.75 0.5 2
Wolf Troll 3 3 1.25 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.75 1.5 3
Wolfman 2.5 2.5 0.75 1.25 0.75 1 0.5 1.25 1 1.25
Yeti 3 3 0.67 1 0.67 0.67 0.5 0.5 1.5 3

 

1.7.2.1  Quick Descriptions of the Uncommon Kindreds

 

The uncommon kindreds are all playable creature types, but they are unlikely to be seen in ordinary T & T sessions.  Many of these creatures would strike fear even into the denizens of Khazan. Some of these creatures are monsters of my own invention, and others were first described by members of Trollhalla, while others are well known from folklore and mythology.  I have chosen to list intelligent creatures instead of monsters.  I have also assigned them attribute modifiers as I thought best for play balance, based on the idea that Humans are the baseline model for all creatures on Trollworld, and no species is superior to Humans in every aspect.

 

The following brief descriptions are meant to give the player at least vague idea of what the creature is and how to play it.

 

Vampires, Weres, and Zombies are missing from these lists.  Such creatures do exist in types are created by curses.  Zombies are the walking undead, and could be any kindred.  Vampires are created by other vampires via blood transfer.  Any kindred could become a vampire.

 

Angel–a human with feathered birdlike wings capable of flying.  They are not the servants of any particular deity on Trollworld.

 

Balrukh–a large demonic creature that controls flame magic and lives in subterranean abysses.  It has batlike wings and can fly.

 

Demon–magic using humanoid creatures from other planes of existence.  They usually have horns, wings, and a barbed tail, but may vary widely in shape and disposition. Small, immature demons are called imps.

 

Dragon, Adult–generally a large, winged, fire-breathing reptile.  Their skins come in various colors, but the color doesn’t usually matter much.  They are intelligent, have magic, live until slain, may exhale either fire or in some cases ice, and have shape-shifting abilities.

 

Dragon, Lightning–similar to other Dragons, but more serpentine in form, and they exhale bolts of electricity.

 

Dragon, Young–any dragon less than 1000 years old.  Young dragons often take on the form of humans or other kindreds of Trollworld and live among them.  Lerotra’hh employs several as major functionaries in her court.

 

Gargoyle–a bat-winged humanoid  with dark blue or black skin, and a grotesque demonic or simian aspect.  They are commonplace in the eastern parts of the Dragon continent, but rare in the western regions.

 

Ghoul–intelligent, baboon-like creatures who prefer the freshly dead bodies of other sentients for their food.  They are outcasts even among the many monster kindreds of Trollworld.

 

Giant–humans of a size that could only be caused and sustained by magic.

 

Gnole–Hyena-kin, humanoid hyenas.

 

Gnome–Forest dwelling dwarf-sized humans with strong magical powers.

 

Gorgon–a race of magical humanoid beings with hair that looks and behaves much like serpents.  They generallly go hooded and masked as they exude such strong magic that the mere sight of one may petrify other beings. There are both male and female gorgons.

 

Gremlin–small, mischievous creatures midway between elves and goblins.  They are bad luck magnets, and enjoy causing catastrophes.

 

Harpy–a large owl-like creature with the head and upper torso of a human being, but the lower body, wings, and feet of birds.  They live in aeries high in the mountains, but often raid human lands for prey.  There are male as well as female harpies.

 

Hobgoblin–hairless humanoids with scaly skins, snouts, and short stubby tails.  They are extremely warlike, independent, and undisciplined.  There are no female hobgoblins, but they reproduce by fission when they reach their maximum size.

 

Kobold–scaled, tailed, a combination between a man, a lizard, and a fox.  Kobolds are clever, acquisitive, and inventive.  They generally live underground, but in association with other kindreds such as Uruks, Dwarves, or Men.

 

Lamia–another half and half creature, the upper part contains the head, arms, and torso of a human being while the lower half is monstrous serpent.  They have high magical aptitude, and sometime practice the art of illusion or shapeshifting.  There are both male and female lamias, but the females are larger, bolder, and more likely to leave their hidden nests and go out into the world.

 

 

Living Statue–magically animated statues used by the wizard Rodinn during the Wizard Wars, these metallic creatures, usually human in appearance, both reproduce and grow.

 

Lizardman–intelligent, human-sized lizards with crocodilian heads and tails, but very humanoid bodies.  They have scales instead of hair, and are fierce predators.

 

Mummy (or Mumie)–A humanoid species whose flesh is so sensitive to sunlight that they adopted the process of wrapping themselves in interminable ribbons completely covering every part of their bodies, leaving holes in the wrappings only for the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and excretory organs, which are generally covered with conventional clothing.

 

Myrmidon, Black–the smaller black variety of ant-man, having antennae, chitinous exoskeletons, and compound eyes, but only two arms and two legs, and an upright humanoid posture.

 

Myrmidon, Red–the larger red variety of ant-men.

 

Naga–highly magical serpent-men with humanoid bodies, but the necks and heads of cobras.  They can use their magic to transform themselves into other humanoid forms.

 

Nymph–An all female race of what appears to be human or elven women.  They are generally peaceful.  They reproduce by mating with other kindreds, and their offspring are always female nymphs.  Nymphs generally prefer forests and often live inside trees, thus giving rise to the stories of dryads.

 

Ollyphant–a large, powerful humanoid being with elephant-like heads, characterised by a long and sinuous prehensile trunk.  These creatures have villages within the Naga jungles and also on some of the southern islands.

 

Otgan–a cross between otters and humans, generally humanoid in form but with the head and body fur of an otter.  They are chiefly aquatic and live on small islands off the coasts or near the mouths of large rivers.

 

Pithecanthropus (or Pithecan)–a lean, sinewy humanoid with sharply receding foreheads and long prehensile, monkey-like tails.  Their feet look very much like their hands, and they use them interchangeably to grip things.  They build tree villages in the middle terrace of the giant trees that grow in the Naga jungles.

 

Pixie–small female elf-like people midway in size between elves and fairies.  They have wings that wrap around their bodies when they aren’t being used to fly.  Like nymphs, they can mate with other kindreds, but the children are always female Pixies.

 

Rock Demon–small, powerful creatures made of living rock, perhaps akin to rock trolls.  They love alchoholic beverages, have strange magical abilities, and delight in playing jokes on surface dwellers.  They seldom come out of the dungeons and caverns they call home.

 

Sand Imp–tiny creatures the size of fairies, but more reptilian in nature.  They have no wings, and usually live in dry, sandy, or rocky places–or beaches.

 

Sasquatch–large, hirsute, anthropoids with rudimentary intelligence and culture.  They live in small tribes or family units within the deep forests of Trollworld, but have been known to befriend Humans and join remote human villages.

 

Satyr–lower half goat, upper half man, not quite as big as the average human.

 

Selkie–shapeshifting beings that can be seals or sealions in water or indistinguishable from humans on land.  They are attracted to humans and frequently mate with them, as their children need to be born on land.

 

Shadowjack–essentially humans with the inborn magical ability of disappearing into Shadow–a kind of non-physical spirit world that connects to the physical world wherever shadows are cast.  Shadowjacks have no shadows of their own.

 

Spider Troll–a meat troll with 8 limbs, 2 legs and 3 sets of arms, it also hals a spider-like head with compound eyes and a jaw that is mostly mandibles.  Like all trolls it regenerates very rapidly when injured.

 

Swamp Troll–an aquatic troll of the fleshy variety that looks much like a green hairy gorilla with webbed hands and feet.  Like all trolls it regenerates very rapidly when injured.

 

Talktipus–a bizarre aquatic creature with the head and tentacles of an octopus and the body of  man.  They breathe equally well in air or water, are known to be great wizards with their own branches of the wizrds guild, and are generally friendly to land dwellers.

 

Tigerman–combines the form of man with tiger, cat head, fingers and toes ending in talons, furry humanoid body with stripes on lighter fur that may be any color except black–the stripes are black,

 

Titan–a form of Giant, not as large, better proportioned, and more beautiful.  They claim to be refuges from another world where they were once gods.  They do not seem to be gods on Trollworld.

 

Toadman–humanoid toads with large brains, generally repulsive to most kindreds except other Toadmen and women.  They have great aptitude for magic and often enter human society to study with human wizards.

 

Treeggan–savage, intelligent, ambulatory plant-men.  They are green-skinned humanoids about 5 feet tall, generally thin and emaciated in appearance.  Their fingers and toes are long, thin, and sharp–about three times as long as a human’s fingers and toes would be.  They have what appears to be moss or grass growing on their heads, shoulders, wrists, hips and groin, knees, and ankles–not very long, ranging in color from rusty red, ochre yellow, to gray-green.   The head is elongated, more of an oval than a sphere, with large pointed ears, a wide mouth full of dagger-sharp fangs, and only two slits where a nose and nostrils should be.  Their eyes are slitted like a cat’s, and the pupils are either gray or green.

 

Trollkin–miniature trolls no larger than dwarves, they are noted for hairless bodies but extremely hairy heads.  The hair may be of any color but is often green, blue, or purple.  They have snub noses, blunt teeth, and only 4 fingers on each hand.  Like all trolls they regenerate very rapidly.

 

Wolf Troll–meat trolls with the heads, tails, and pelts of wolves, generally gray or brown in color.  They run in packs and howl like wolves when they make their kills.  However, they are quite willing and able to use tools and fire and seem to have great resistance to magic.  They will eat anything they can catch except other kinds of trolls which they strictly avoid.  Their regenerative powers are unsurpassed on Trollworld, and they are greatly feared by most other kindreds.

 

Wolfman–the wolfman has the body of a man but the fur coating of a wolf, even on his face.  He has no tail, and generally behaves more like a human than an animal.  He is a magical creatures and regenerates from wounds almost as fast as a troll, but is subject to silver poisoning, and cannot regenerate from wounds inflicted by silver weapons.

 

Yeti (or Snow Apes)  large anthropoid creatures that live in the high snowy mountains.  They are similar to Sasquatches but have gray or white fur.  They live in villages of houses made from boulders piled on top of each other to make great artificial caves.

 

There are  many other Kindreds (intelligent races/species) on Trollworld.  If you don’t see what you like on Trollworld, add your own.  The guiding principle for designing a new kindred is that nothing is superior to Humans in every way.  If there were such a kindred, it would be the dominant race on Trollworld.  Even dragons have their weaknesses.

I racked my brain to get as many different playable kindreds as possible onto this list, but of course I left some out.  If you see any notable omissions, why not leave a comment and tell me why your monster-kindred should be playable in Tunnels and Trolls?

–end