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.

All Troll Hammer Press content, unless indicated otherwise, copyright © Paul Ingrassia 2010 - 2012. Troll Hammer Press 'hammer' logo by Jeff Freels.

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

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 18

Rodentia of the Ork Pits
As reported by Yorrdamma Vrash via ‘Mad’ Roy Cram

Yorrdamma is most pleased to have been able to descend into the Ork Pits and investigate the Rodentia that dwell there. In addition to rats, Brats, H'rats, and Grats, he has reported on the Ratlings and the Rat People.


Rats

Every underground complex large enough to support its own ecosystem will be inhabited by rats. On a kremm-rich world like Trollworld, there will be many different kinds of rats. These hardy little creatures thrive in such environments, despite predation, because they are clever at hiding, they reproduce at amazing rates, and they will eat almost anything.

Rats, generally speaking, are not very aggressive, but they are opportunists if something edible shows any sign of weakness. They will seldom bother a party of well armed, healthy delvers unless they are present in huge numbers, or they are very hungry. But if the party is weakened and many of its members are wounded and bleeding, and especially if there are only a few battered survivors left trying to escape to safety, the rats can become quite dangerous. It is an unnerving sight for someone to hear the sounds of lots of tiny animals behind them, and turning, behold the light of their torch reflected in hundreds of tiny red eyes.

The rats will follow such a wounded group quite closely waiting for one to fall or to stop to rest. They will then swarm in to check the prey out. Persons still able to put up a fight will probably suffer only a few bites before the rodents retreat. Those unable to resist will be overwhelmed and suffer a gruesome demise.

There are tales of parties that left an unconscious or badly hurt member behind, knowing that the rats seldom follow the others in such cases.

Some parties can get experience point bonuses by leaving all their rations and food behind. This will greatly reduce the number of rats that continue to pursue.

In higher levels of a complex, and for low level parties, I use 2-7 (d6+1) rats per party member when an encounter is called for. For stronger parties and deeper levels 8-18 (6+2d6) rats per party member can be used. If the larger species of rats are used, I reduce the numbers and always try to give the players a fighting chance.

Rat Stats

Ordinary Rats: MR 1, one die per rat, armor does protect, they do get spite damage

Brats (Big Rats): MR 6, one die + 3 adds, these are about the size of a cat

H’rats (Huge Rats): MR 12, 2 dice + 6 adds, these are about the size of a dog

Grats (Giant Rats): MR 24, 3 dice + 12 adds, size of large dog and very aggressive

If more than half the rats are killed in an encounter, the rest will run away (d6: 1-5 chance). They will return after the party leaves to eat their dead.

The screeching of Grats can cause fear in party members who fail a level one SR on Intelligence. This makes the affected person lose half his combat adds.

Game masters may wish to add the risk of bubonic plague to persons bitten by rats. If the victim misses a level one SR on Luck, within 24 hours he will become desperately ill, and will die if he misses a level two SR on his Con. If he makes the roll he will survive, but will take 7-10 days to fully recover. He will be immune to the plague after this harrowing experience. A Cure Disease type spell will cure or prevent the disease.

Ratlings and Rat People

Ratlings are small Hobbit-sized creatures that appear to be a hybrid creation of Goblin and Rat. They are quicker and more cunning than some other observers have indicated. They have the power to communicate with and to command all other types of non-sapient rat kind. They are immune to the plague, and can spread this bad disease by their bite, or from licking their weapons before battle. They can see in the dark, and compete fiercely with the Orks and Gobs here for territory. I saw several of them use magic skillfully during my sojourn in the Pits. They are dangerous with a sling or thrown weapons. They are also able to construct cunning traps and infernal devices. I observed some of them riding Grats as mounts. It took all my skill to avoid being detected or caught. These are not creatures to take lightly here in the labyrinth! Their stats are laid out in the studies by the great scholar Khenn Arrth in the 7.5 edition of his great work. (But I believe he underestimated the Speed and Intelligence of the Ratlings).

The 'Rat People' are a very interesting species. They are shape changers, but are not true Weres. They can appear completely human (though they often look a little ratty) and their tail is always present and gives them away if they do not take pains to hide that appendage. In their human form they are like any other person. But, in their rat form, which they can assume at will, they have claws, fur, and a Rat's head which is, of course, human sized. In the rat form they are very quick and very strong. Ordinary weapons do them only half normal damage from which they recover at the rate of one point per hour. However, silver or magical weapons cause them normal damage and the recovery rate is twice as slow i.e. 1 point every 2 days. Rat People can communicate with rats and command them. They retain their intelligence even in the rat form, and can fight with weapons and wear armor. Their quickness makes them dangerous adversaries.

Those found outside the Ork Pits are usually thieves or burglars, and they are very good at these trades. Like Ratlings, they are hated and persecuted by nearly all other species, and they tend to stay with their own kind in groups. They often form the leadership of a group of Ratlings and other rodents. Rare individuals might learn to use magic, though I did not see any examples of this in my limited journey through the Pits.

The Rat People, in their human form, have the same stats as NPC humans. In their Rat form, they should get Str 1.5 x normal and Spd 2x normal, plus their Rat senses, regenerative ability, and resistance to normal weapons damage. They also keep their hands in Rat form, and can fight with weapons, unlike true weres.

Copyright 2011 'Mad' Roy Cram

~~~

Would you like to see your nasty beastie included in Creature Feature? Have you got a new kindred or creature you want to share with the world? Do you have a favorite player or non-player character you want to show off? Send submissions to the_mystic_fool@yahoo.com and include the words 'Creature Feature' in the subject line.

Monday, December 12, 2011

T&T Supplement: Under The Sundered Moon Redux Deluxe



Under The Sundered Moon Redux Deluxe
A T&T 7E Scenario For Citizens
by Tom K. Loney
Published by Peryton Publishing

Most excellent! Tom's ripe imagination draws us into the classic tale of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, T&T-style! Plenty of background detail and story elements to give it structure, yet plenty of room for a GM to mold this into his own unique adventure, or even a campaign. Anyone familiar with the original tale will feel right at home, and if not, no fear, there is still fun aplenty. Tom succeeds in bringing a steam-punk sci-fi classic to T&T7.5, and provides a platform for exploring the underrated citizen character type.

J. Watt, a 3rd level wizard (may be a pc or npc) discovers the secrets of powerful time-travelling magic, and the plans for a steampunk time machine to enhance his own abilities so he may utilize the potent magic. Factor in a tragic accident, and voila, the wayward wizard finds himself 40,000 in the future. Trollworld is vastly changed, with two kindreds having formed from the cross-breeding of all the kindreds of Trollworld over 40 millenia: the Eloi and the Morlocks. The entire world is in the clutches of the Worlock, a wizard with psychic abilities. Teamed with a group of Eloi Citizens (pc characters), J. Watts must find his time machine so he may return to his own era, as well as help the Eloi escape the clutches of the Worlock and his Morlock minions. Tom escorts you through each section of the adventure with plenty of details to get a GM started quickly, and yet, plenty of flexibility to add embellishments as the GM sees fit.

Personally, being a solo player, I think the adventure is ripe for solitary play. I plan to use the Mythic GM Emulator to play the part of J. Watts (or perhaps my own wizard, we'll see), and I will have a party of Eloi npcs. Again, enough detail to provide me with a framework, yet flexible enough for the GM Emulator to carry me through with plenty of surprises.

If you are a fan of sci-fi inspired T&T games, I highly recommend you head on over to RpgNow and pick up your copy today: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=94622

While you're at it, wander on over to Tom's Peryton Publications and check out all his other great products: http://www.perytonpublishing.com/

Copyright 2011 Paul Ingrassia

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 17

A tough, low-level NPC you can insert into any campaign as a random or preset encounter. Brought to you by the one-and-only 'Mad' Roy Cram!

Name: Snagmar
Player: NPC
Kindred: Human (?) (May have Uruk in family tree somewhere)
Ht: 5' 10" Wt: 210 lbs
Type: Warrior Bully Scumbag
Level: 1

Str: 16
Con: 18
Dex: 15
Spd: 12
Int: 10
Wiz: 5
Lck: 13
Chr: 11

Adds: +8

Talent
Throwing knives Dex + 4 double spite damage

Weapons
African throwing knife (4 dice)
4 poniards (2 dice)
Scimitar (4 dice)

Armor
Dbl for warrior
Leather (12)
Helm (2)
Greaves (4)
Buckler (6)

Equipment
Pack, wineskin, purse with 7-18 gold pieces; 1-6 gems

History
There is a 1500 gold piece reward for 'Snaggy's' head. He killed the captain of his military company who caught him cheating at cards. He fled into the woods and lives there now with a group of low level bandits and brigands (MR 6+2D6 each). He is very risk averse and will not be easy to surprise. He will run if able and leave his band to delay pursuers. It is thought that he, on one occasion, met delvers in an encounter, pretended to join them, and left after killing a couple members of the party and stealing all he could carry. This guy is a monster. He will say and do anything to save his life or put a few coppers in his purse. The authorities want his head bad!

Copyright 2011 'Mad' Roy Cram

~~~

Would you like to see your nasty beastie included in Creature Feature? Have you got a new kindred or creature you want to share with the world? Do you have a favorite player or non-player character you want to show off? Send submissions to the_mystic_fool@yahoo.com and include the words 'Creature Feature' in the subject line.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

~now for something completely different~

My first ever attempt at a comic strip. Pardon my terrible artwork, but I do hope you get a giggle anyway. Click the pic for a closer view.

Enjoy!
Paul


Monday, December 5, 2011

Eald Scōl # 3: Tunnels & Trolls 1e

I bought a reprint of the 1st edition of Tunnels & Trolls off of ebay a while back, skim-read it, then put it in the 'needs to be looked at closer' pile of RPGs. Recently, I picked it up again and read it more carefully, and got pretty excited to see how my favorite RPG started off. Amazingly, at its heart, T&T hasn't changed at all. Sure, 7.5 is bigger, and there have been some changes to core mechanics over the editions, but at its mighty heart, T&T is the same game it was back in 1975. I just had to give it a go.

I played T&T1e solo for the better part of a week, running a total of 4 warrior characters (only the 4th still lives) through Buffalo Castle, then Labyrinth. I have early printings of both solos, and they worked perfectly 'as is' with the 1e rules. I had a lot of fun, it wasn't hard to retrofit my brain from 7.5e to 1e.

As I get older (I started playing RPGs around 1979-80), I have been enjoying short, all-in-one rules booklets far more than lengthy, over-complicated foot-thick tomes. T&T1e was the prototype for every short and simple RPG to follow. There is just enough meat to chew, but you don't get the whole cow, you get to make it your own.

There are differences from then to now. There were only three classes: warrior, rogue, and magic-user. Monster dice, as determined by MR, is at a different range scale. All saving rolls are to be made using the Luck attribute. Armor is, in essence, an extension of Con, as armor 'wears out' as it takes hits. Shields, however, do not, they deflect a set number of hits every combat round. Warriors and rogues receive personal adds, magic-users do not receive positive adds, but must incur negative adds. There are other differences as well.

As I played, I developed some house rules for my solo play. Burke's Wild Lands PHB (find it over at the Trollbridge) was inspirational in implementing some of these rules.

~ Treasure Generator from T&T5.5
~ At character creation, humans may roll 4d6 for attributes, but only count the three highest
~ Lost Con regained after a night's sleep. If Con reduced below half, 1 point per day is recovered until back to half Con, then a night's sleep to regain final half
~ Missile weapons may be fired at the beginning of the first round of combat, they do not replace melee combat, and they do not count towards the round HPT
~ Missile weapon ranges:
bows and slings: 100 yards
spears: 20 yards
knives and axes: 10 yards
double range = x2 difficulty to hit
spear throwers double range
~ regain expended arrows:
roll 1d6:
1-3 lost or broken
4-6 recovered
~ 2 weapon combat: character's Str and Dex must exceed the combined required minimum Str and Dex of both weapons

Experimenting with 1e has peaked my curiosity for other early editions, T&T4e and T&TUK1 in particular. I have picked Mahrundl of Trollhalla's brain for clues to reconstructing some info found in T&T4e by using 5.xe rules, so my house rules will be getting an update soon. I also have not yet experimented with magic-users and rogues in 1e, so I look forward to exploring the rules further.

Unfortunately, there are no legitimate sources for getting your hands on a copy of Tunnels & Trolls 1st edition, there are no official reprints being sold today. The original was self published by Ken himself, and only 100 copies of it, as the story goes. So, I suggest keeping a keen eye on ebay, an old reprint may be your only shot at taking the original rules for a test drive.

~ ~ ~

Copyright 2011 Paul Ingrassia

Next: Monsters! Monsters! revisited

Eald Scōl (Old English for Old School) showcases Old School P&P RPGs, first published 1990 or earlier, ranging from rare and obscure games to well-known favorites.