The name 'Troll Hammer Press' was inspired by, and is an homage to, the three magic Trollhammers of Trollhalla, and was additionally inspired by the song Trollhammaren by Finntroll.

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Tunnels & Trolls written by Ken St. Andre, copyright © Flying Buffalo Inc. All hail the Trollgod and his Champions of Trollhalla!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Other P&P RPGs #6: Fabled Worlds RPG System: Part 4

Spotlight On: Jeff Freels and his Fabled Worlds RPG System

Part 4 of 4: BEAN! The D2 RPG

“Grumlahk (Jeff Freels) is the Beangod. I'm signing up for a good spot in the new religion."
~ Ken St. Andre, The Trollgod, Creator of Tunnels & Trolls

The crown jewel of the FW line is the recently released BEAN!, a fantasy rpg that is simple and flexible, great for beginning gamers, and best of all: you get to toss your beans! The highly playable D2 Rules System, derived from the Fabled Worlds Core Rules, is a breakthrough in RPG simplicity, without sacrificing any of the fun.

BEAN! uses only three attributes and three character classes, yet the system still keeps a depth to it. Add the fact that a single, simple mechanic is used with just minor variation to determine all possible resolutions, and you quickly realize the rules set becomes almost invisible during play, leaving more time and energy to playing than reading or searching rules.

Wildly popular overnight, everyone is getting BEAN!ed! Shortly after the release of the core rules, two awesome freebies appeared: a GM adventure by Mike Holcomb and a solo adventure by Ken St. Andre, both available for download at the BEAN!page or DriveThruRPG.

Interview Part 4

Q: I know the core rules have a section on the origin of BEAN!, but would you like to share a brief version of its genesis for the benefit of those poor souls who do not yet own this game?

A: Sure thing. Rub some Vaseline on the lens and let's get into flashback mode. It all began with a comment on where Tog (John Stout) was talking about how he'd like to be able to play RPGs inconspicuously at work. He thought if there was a system that used beans rather than dice that he could get away with it. I think the likelihood of getting sacked for tossing beans in a corner is probably roughly equivalent to that of getting sacked for tossin' dice, but the idea still really resonated with me. Any single bean tossed has a 50% chance of coming up on either side, and I thought if we used a variable bean pool, scaled the game down for quick resolutions, and fast paced little adventures that it might be perfect. A few days later I had the rules mostly worked out and began play testing with my wife, niece, and nephew. BEAN was born!

Q: Tell us a bit of the meat-n-potatoes of BEAN!, what makes it tick, what makes it so simple?

A: At its core BEAN is a dice pool game, but uses beans (or any d2 ) rather than dice. The more beans you have in an Attribute the better your odds of success there. I wanted a game with very consistent rules so that people will never spend half a game reaching for the rule book to become "rules lawyers" arguing over tiny little details. The concepts are basic, and easily adaptable for whatever situations you'll find yourself in. The basic idea is that gaming should be fun and easy enough that you can spend your time actually playing the game!

Q: How does it feel to have BEAN! attract so much attention so quickly?

A: It kinda blows me away! I love the fact that so many people have seen how much fun this simple game can be. The game is encouraging others to tap into their own creativity and to share that with others, it's great!

Q: How about a few words about the freebies by Mike and Ken?

A: I really love the fact that people have had so much fun with BEAN that they wanted to offer their own adventures for others to have fun with too. Mike Holcomb sent me his "Princely Ransom" adventure, and generously said that I could do what I wanted with it. It's a really great little adventure with a variety of challenges. It's great for an introduction to RPGs in general, as well as a fun night's romp for seasoned players. My friend Ken St. Andre (an esteemed game designer for many years and creator of one of the best FRPGs: Tunnels & Trolls) liked the idea of BEAN and wrote an adventure called "Death Phrogg Attack". It's wonderfully silly and provides a variety of challenges such as fighting giant Death Phroggs, moral dilemmas, and a phish Takko challenge. After playing this mini-solo you'll have an idea how to tackle any challenge as a GM! These are both well written games, and I hope that by offering them as freebies they'll inspire others' creativity!

Q: OK, and my standard closing question, what does the future hold for BEAN!?

A: People are sharing their ideas for BEAN and I think with the Fabled Worlds Yahoo Group that you created people will be able to continue inspiring new ideas to keep the beans rollin'! I'm putting together a History of Beanworld book to give people ideas for settings and adventure seeds. I think BEAN is sprouting into something really cool, and there's really no reason it should stop growing.

Be sure to visit the BEANpage for more info, ordering details, and lots of cool freebies! Many thanks to Jeff for agreeing to be interviewed, it has been great fun, and I hope a good read.

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Other P&P RPGs covers current RPGs, generally small, independent releases, all-in-one rules sets, and/or freely available pdf copies. Do you have a rules set you would like to see discussed here? Submit a pdf copy to

Copyright © 2011, Paul Ingrassia

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