Trollworld Fairies

Trollworld fairies are not Disney fairies. People have this image of fairies being like bugs, but they are considerably larger, more like mice or rats. The T & T rulebook says they are 1/10 the height of men and 1/200 the weight. Actually, using the square cube law of animal size and weight they should be about 1/100 the weight of a man, which puts them from 5 to 8 inches tall and between 1 and 3 pounds for most of them.

The other thing is that fairies aren’t tiny humans with wings.  They have six limbs–two arms, two legs, two wings. What animal do we know that has six limbs? Right! Insects! Fairies are actually a form of insect, and that means they have exoskeletons.

(I’m not the only person to think that fairies might be bugs. If you search insect fairies images on Google  you’ll find quite a lot of art depicting fairies as insects. I’m not showing any of it, because I don’t have the rights to grab that art.)

So, if fairies are insects, why do they look so much like humans? Actually, they look more like tiny elves with wings, which has led to the speculation that fairies are actually elven children, or perhaps a larval form of elves. They aren’t, but they are associated with elves and entered Trollworld along with elves in the distant past.  The truth is that fairies are to elves what dogs are to men–pets and servant beasts. The elves (who are weird anyway) have bred their fairy servant-pets over tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands–who knows how long they were at it before they came to Trollworld?) of years to resemble elves.  Selective breeding and elven magic have done the rest.

The multipliers given for fairies in earlier editions of T & T are incorrect.  This is what they should be for an adult male fairy.  STR 1/4 CON 1/4 DEX 3/2 SPD 1, INT 3/4 WIZ 1 LK 3/2 CHR 2  HT 1/10 WT 1/100.  Female fairies are actually tougher and stronger than the males, but not enough to change the multipliers. To create a female, roll up a normal male first, and then add 1 to its STR, CON, LK, and DEX.

Fairies generally live in swarms, like bees. They have a queen for each hive. Any female fairy can lay eggs, but the queen generally produces the best offspring. She is always their greatest wizard. Should a greater wizard arise, the better magic-user would displace the lesser and assume the queenhood.  Fairies have three sexes–sort of–males, females, and drones.  Female fairies may be quite beautiful. Males and drones are often quite grotesque.

There are wild fairies and tame fairies.  Wild fairies live on their own, usually in forests, but any relatively abundant habitat will serve. They are often savage and dangerous, carnivorous and blood-drinking. Wild fairies are considered extremely dangerous and are hunted to extinction whenever they get too close to civilization. Tame fairies live in close association with either elves or men. They generally speak the Common Tongue of Humans or Elvish, although they don’t usually have large vocabularies.  Tame fairies sometimes join adventuring groups. They have been known to wear clothing although they do not need it.

Fairies are either rogues or wizards, as they all have the ability to work magic. They could be considered a class of specialist as some of their magic seems to be instinctive, including many illusion and flight spells.  Tame fairies often wear clothing and wield miniature weapons created for them by men and elves. They can also make do with weapons fashioned from natural materials such as thorns and bones. Over time they have learned to make many different poisons and dusts from the plants and animals of their environments.  Fairy weapons are always poisoned for greater effect.

Fairies follow the example of elves and men, and like to domesticate and live in association with other creatures. Fairies and bees get along just fine. They also do well with smaller snakes, toads, frogs, and bats, and are often seen in company with them.

The elves say that there are as many different types and tribes of fairies as there are types and tribes of men.  With an average lifespan of ten years or less, fairies evolve rapidly into whatever form is best for their current environment. The different types are distinguished by coloration, grotesqueries, and culture.

Players who wish to have fairy characters may do pretty much as they wish with their characters, but they should remember that they are not tiny humans with wings. They are meat-eating, blood-drinking insects who resemble tiny humans with wings.


3 votes, 3.33 avg. rating (72% score)

Trollworld Weapons

Q and A about Weapons on  Trollworld

            by Ken St. Andre


Some of the many swords available to Trollworld fighters.

Some of the many swords available to Trollworld fighters.


Where do weapons come from?

 Somebody makes them.


 Someone with the resources, knowledge, and ability.

 In terms of Trollworld kindreds who would that be?

 Mostly humans, dwarves, elves–a few other kindreds.

 Not Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, Ogres . . .?

 They don’t have the technology or culture to do much in the way of weapon making.

 Since those kindreds are generally well-armed, where do they get their weapons?

 They trade for them, steal them, take them in conquest, perhaps make a few of the poorer weapons like stone knives, bow and arrow, spears, tomahawks.

 Previous editions of Tunnels and Trolls have assumed that the characters could buy anything they wanted at fairly  reasonable rates.  Is that true?

 Logically, it would only be true in fairly large cities and towns, some place with a large population of humans or dwarves, some place where metal is easily obtained and worked.

 How are weapon prices determined?

 Completely arbitrary numbers pulled out of thin air based on the idea that larger weapons requiring more knowledge to make would cost more. However research has shown that these numbers bear little or no relationship to reality of weapon costs on the only world we really know about, our own Earth.

 Should weapons have an arbitrary cost?

I don’t think so. The truth is that in a place like Trollworld, every weapon would have an individual cost ranging from free to thousands of gold pieces depending upon location and situation.

 So where do characters get their weapons in the game?  Do they just go to a smith or an armory and buy them?

 Logically, that could only happen in the largest towns and cities. Even then, choices would probably be extremely limited. A swordmaker is going to specialize in one or two kinds of swords and knives. A gunsmith will only make guns. Anything out of the ordinary will be a special commission.

 Humans in the game have something called Heritage–that is a beginning character can inherit a special weapon or armor.  Similarly, warriors often get their weapons from their employer. When some overlord creates an army, that army must have equipment which the overlord commissions and pays for. Soldiers and warriors who muster out of such armies generally retain their weapons. The weapons of those who are slain, defeated, captured, etc. are generally gathered up and re-used or sold to those who are willing to buy used weapons.

 What shall we do about the cost of weapons and armor in Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls?

 I don’t think they should have a cost. Under the new rules I favor starting characters at some point in a career they have already established. They already have things like weapons and armor because they have been living and adventuring for years. What they have would logically be determined by what they can wield. Thus, I would give characters almost any basic weapon that they have the necessary STR and DEX to use.  Players should make up a story about how they obtained the weapon if that seems important to them. Example: “This double-bladed axe? I took it from the corpse of a minotaur warrior that I killed with an arrow in his eye during the raid on Silverhold that the Broken Horn tribe made last year.” 

 In special cases, I would require a saving roll from the character who wants a weird or very expensive weapon.  Gil the mad hobbit wants razor-wire bolas . . . well, he can have them if he can find a kobold bola maker, and that requires a level six saving roll on either his Luck or Intelligence. (Level of saving roll could be determined by GM fiat or rolling dice for it.–I think rolling 2D6 might be fair to determine what level saving roll it would require to find a particular weapon.)

 What is a basic weapon?

 A basic weapon is any non-magical weapon that can be mass-produced or is made to a common pattern.  A broadsword, a scimitar, a sax, a waraxe, a spear, a self-bow or a crossbow, a single-shot musket–these are all basic weapons. Most of the weapons in the Tunnels and Trolls game could be considered basic weapons.  Special items like the mithril weapons of the elves would not be basic weapons. 

 What about kindred specific weapons?

 Some kindreds have weapons that are unique to their kind, generally identified by putting the kindred name in the weapon name. Example: the urukish scimitar–specially made weapons for uruks (by humans), the trollish warhammer, the dwarven spike shield or greataxe, the centaur lance, the goblin fishspear and flensing knife, the elven hunting knife, and so forth.  Most weapons–about 80%–are made with the average human in mind and just have a common name; i.e. broadsword, battleaxe, tower shield.

 So do we have enormous extended lists of weapons for players to choose from?

 We’ve always had pretty great lists in the past, but I think we should discourage the idea that anyone can just walk into a store somewhere and find any weapon they want. That isn’t true even in our own world of super technology. A person has to search and be willing to pay a lot of money for anything unusual.

 Any other questions?

to be continued?

A nice modern weapon shop such as I have never actually seen. Bet things are not so well organized in Trollworld.

A nice modern weapon shop such as I have never actually seen. Bet things are not so well organized in Trollworld.

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (95% score)

Meanwhile . . . Somewhere South of Zkaria

I had some fun today.  Got together with the Man Called Bear and Steve Crompton (krooomp of Trollhalla) and designed a GM adventure for the Trollworld section of the Deluxe T & T rules.  I’m not going to tell you about the adventure, but I did get permission to post Steve’s sketch of the area map, which covers the region between the city of Zkaria and the Fire Dungeon of Z’tpozz. For  your viewing pleasure, here it is, and feel free to set some of your adventures in the area.  I will tell you that this part of Zorr is like the Lost World, there are many different survivals of the original Trollworld rock-based lifeforms abundant here including the great lizard-like yotts and obsidian spiders.



I must say that as a fantasy cartographer, I find it a lot of fun and very satisfying to go from the continental scale to the local scale and start to really put a lot of detail into the maps for the adventures. Even more fun when I have a real artist to turn my ideas into something that actually looks pretty decent.


1 vote, 4.00 avg. rating (85% score)