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 - 2014. 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, February 25, 2012

T&T Supplement: TrollsZine #4

After a seeming eternity of waiting, TrollsZine #4 has finally arrived! The verdict? WELL worth the wait! Following are a few of my humble thoughts about the contents of this issue.

Truckloads of cheese and biscuits to the editors, past and present: Dan Prentice, Scott Grant, and Dan Hembree. Thanks for all the hard work guys! I'm looking forward to #5 and beyond.

The artwork was exciting and provided by over a dozen talented T&T artists, including TWO full color pieces by the amazing Liz Danforth, and a bunch of work by two of my personal favorites, Jeff Freels and David Ullery. All under a great cover by Chad Thorsen (I love it). 'Nuff said!

Each piece of writing had a certain amount of value and appeal for me.

The Delverton piece, by Lee Reynoldson, continues to deliver the quality of its preceding entries in earlier issues with a general store that can certainly provide some fun. Good adventure hooks here.

Tori Bergquist’s Thalindar Vokaryane is an interesting character, indeed, with a colorful background and an ultraviolent future in the making. It is amazing how just a few paragraphs of rich background detail can add so much to a character. Well done!

I enjoyed Al McDougall’s Survival Kit very much, but then, I enjoyed it when I picked it up at RPGNow a while ago as well. This version differs in style and layout, and is one table short, which makes sense since the RPGNow version is still for sale (last I checked, anyhow). This is a cool little cheat sheet, essential for new players just learning the rules, and handy for old timers who don't feel like flipping pages looking for tables.

When I first saw the Horses article by Justin T. Williams, I groaned through my teeth and thought 'How many pages of rules? For horses?' I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. While I don't think it is critical for my general style of play, it is absolutely great if you happen to have a character whose horse is almost like an extension of him, or a game in which horses play an essential role. The rules are easily integrated into a game, and as the author reminds us, just strip down the info to what makes sense for your own style of play. It could be fun to role-play a cavalry unit with these rules. Great job!

I haven't played Mike Eidson’s Down Time solo yet. I just might run Warrax through this one; he has been in a sort of limbo since he won ten combats in the Arena of Khazan a couple of years back. Mike’s solo about off-time between delves sounds like just the ticket to get Warrax back into the game. Of course, we’ll have to see if he survives.

Zachary and Joshua Ullery treat us to the mouthwatering Unlucky Unicorn menu which certainly gave me a few chuckles. I’ll start with an order of Nymph Nuggets, followed by Hobbit Hash, with a Bloody Mary (Type O Negative, of course) to wash it all down. Mmmm. Oh, and a Brownie Brownie, gotta have one of them!

Cristina Lea’s fiction could easily be turned into an exciting wilderness/urban adventure. Some really great ideas here, but I don’t want to go into any detail and spoil the story for those who haven’t read it yet.

The How to Write a Solo Article by Simon Rafe was interesting, however the overall process seems complex to me. Everyone has a different writing style, and I enjoy pieces describing a writer's process. I need to go back and re-read the earlier articles, then read this one again. I look forward to future installments.

My two favorite pieces were Patrice Geille’s Mass Combat, and The Wild Woods GM Adventure by Russ Westbrook and Scott Grant.

There is so much I could write about Mass Combat, it is a topic I enjoy, and as any of you regular readers know, I am particularly fond of running skirmish setups. I have been thinking of using T&T rules for a few skirmishes to see how they would work, and this article articulates many of the thoughts that have been bubbling in my brain. Strange, I've been playing T&T for over 25 years and I never set up minis and skirmished with the rules. Funny, T&T is probably the only game that I have played with any regularity that I've never used minis or counters with. But that's going to change, soon. Yep, this article was right up my alley.

There's a pretty good chance that Wild Wood is going to be that stomping ground where I bring T&T and skirmishing together on my solo table for the first time. This scenario is so ripe with ideas it's ready to bust open! It brings together two of my other favorites: goblins and fairies. I have a bunch of Heroquest goblin figures, and the T&T7.5 counters will do just nicely to keep track of where the tiny little fairies are.

OK, and now the best part of all this? TROLLSZINE IS FREE!?!?! All this T&T goodness by an assortment of incredibly creative people, FREE.



I could really go postal with this one, but, in all seriousness, swing by Dan Hembree's great blog: for a very important message.

When you're done there, go to and get your FREE copy. Oh, and don't forget to nab issues # 1, 2, and 3 as well. Guess what? They're FREE, too.

So that's it! My brief reflections on TrollsZine #4. A great issue, filled to brimming with talented writers and artists.


(Sorry. Just got a few more in me, then I'll be over it, really. Maybe.)

Copyright © 2012, Paul Ingrassia

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Other P&P RPGs #8: Awesomesauce: The Roleplaying Game

I have come to love the PocketMod format, and I have a whole stack of PocketMod games that I've downloaded, printed, and played or will play, and they are all just waiting to make appearances here at TROLL HAMMER. I guess you could say I think PocketMods are Awesomesauce.

Speaking of Awesomesauce, this leads to me explaining the source of my sudden infatuation with this silly word:

Awesomesauce: the Roleplaying Game, by Mark Meredith of Dice Monkey.

Mark originally created the rules on Twitter in just a few minutes. What he accomplished with Awesomesauce is minimalist Roleplaying at its minimum. So much so, that if I attempted to explain the game, I would have told you the rules in total. So, with his kind permission to reprint them here, I will let Mr. Meredith tell you the rules himself:

Awesomesauce: The Roleplaying Game


Name your character. They begin the game with 1 Awesomesauce. Play the game.


When faced with any challenge, your character will roll a number of d6's equal to their Awesomesauce value. They roll a competing roll against the monster or object they are in conflict with.

Example: Dave the Barbarian has 1 Awesomesauce. The Orc he’s facing also has 1. They roll their dice against one another. Whoever rolls higher wins.

If you lose, you lose one point of Awesomesauce until you rest. If you are reduced to 0 Awesomesauce, and are in combat, you are unconscious. If you aren’t in combat, you cannot attempt that roll again until you’ve rested.

Example: Bill the Rogue wants to pick a lock. He has 2 Awesomesauce. The lock has 3. Bill rolls, as does the GM. Bill has a 7, while the GM rolled a 12. Bill’s Awesomesauce is reduced by 1. He can attempt to roll again, but it’s going to be even harder this time.

If you describe doing something awesome, your Awesomesauce will go up by 1, permanently. That’s how you grow in power.

Awesomesauce describes everything you do. A mage uses Awesomesauce to cast spells. A barbarian uses Awesomesauce to hit people with swords.


That is the basic rules set in its entirety. Nothing ground-breaking or innovative, but elegantly simple, just grab some dice and play, dang it! Awesomesauce is very suitable for fast-play tabletop skirmish battles (see below), it has excellent beer and pretzels potential (even sloshed you can remember these rules), and has a built-in, essential need for tweaking and house ruling. It works for a one-offer, particularly solo skirmish battles, which I am very fond of. The question arose in my mind: can it withstand continued play and character advancement with so few rules?

Almost immediately after the initial rules, a supplement was created: The Awesomesauce Fantasy Bestiary, also by Mark, and also reprinted here (with permission) for your perusal:

Awesomesauce: The Fantasy Bestiary

The following monsters are listed by their Awesomesauce level.

1 Awesomesauce
Kobold, Goblin, War Dog, Eagle, Green Slime

2 Awesomesauce
Orc, Giant Bat, Skeleton, Wolf, Zombie, Bullywug, Darkmantle

3 Awesomesauce
Gelatinous Cube, Gnoll, Pegasus, Tiger, Ghoul, Lizard Man, Cloaker

4 Awesomesauce
Ogre, Hippogriff, Warg, Wight, Grey Ooze, Draconian, Roper

5 Awesomesauce
Hill Giant, Gryphon, Displacer Beast, Wraith, Ochre Jelly, Mimic, Yuan-ti, Grell

6 Awesomesauce
Stone Giant, Peryton, Ceberus, Spectre, Doppleganger, Naga

7 Awesomesauce
Fire Giant, Chimera, Mummy

8 Awesomesauce
Cloud Giant, Sphinx, Vampire

9 Awesomesauce
Storm Giant, Roc, Lich, Illithid

10 Awesomesauce


Aside from reminding me of early D&D, this short list went a long way to causing my questioning further the 'If you describe doing something awesome, your Awesomesauce will go up by 1, permanently. That’s how you grow in power' rule. I thought 'If a dragon is only 10 Awesomesauce, it must be a long ride for a character to get to 10 Awesomesauce'. And thus was born my first Awesomesauce house rule, which adds to the 'grow in power' rule:

House Rule #1: If you describe doing something awesome, your Awesomesauce will go up by 1, permanently. That’s how you grow in power. Characters are limited to earning 1 additional Awesomesauce per adventure. They do not necessarily receive one every adventure, only on adventures in which they do something that is awesome.

Thus, even if someone does something truly Awesomesauce every adventure or even multiple times per adventure, it will take at least 10 such adventures to reach the power of a dragon. Still pretty quick, in my estimation, but this is a minimalist RPG, after all, and there has to be some gratification from advancement.

Another supplement was then released by Mark, and, with his approval, I provide it here for you as well:


Your character still has just one stat: Awesomesauce. However: You can now do things that are AMAZEBALLS! At any point, you may choose, when you roll the dice, to expend a certain number of Awesomesauce to do something that is Amazeballs. If you do, first describe the amazing thing you do. You then choose a number of points to reduce your Awesomesauce by, and if you succeed at the roll, rather than reducing the enemy by one Awesomesauce, they are reduced by the amount you were reduced by.

Example: There’s a big, scary dragon. Dave the barbarian decides to do a roundhouse kick to the dragon’s face, something that is truly Amazeballs. He has five Awesomesauce. The dragon has been reduced to six Awesomesauce. He decides to expend four Awesomesauce. When he does his Amazeballs thing, he rolls, beats the dragon’s roll, and now has reduced the dragon to only two Awesomesauce! Now his companions can beat the dragon to a pulp. Unfortunately, he’s now reduced to only one Awesomesauce. Poor, poor Dave.

And that’s all there is to it! AMAZEBALLS!


So simple! This led me to another tweaking:

House Rule #2: Successfully accomplishing something that is Amazeballs qualifies as awesome and earns the character his additional permanent Awesomesauce point for that adventure.

So, now I've read the rules, absorbed them, and added a few house rules for advancement. I'm ready for the solo play test.

Awesomesauce Play Reports

I decided to go with a few solo tabletop miniatures skirmishes to test drive the Awesomesauce rules.

Battle #1
February 19, 1862
Two confederate soldiers, Matt Cooper and Justin Smith, have been separated from their battalion and are on the run from Union forces. They stumble upon a small, hidden cave and decide to duck in. Once inside the tiny crevice, they discover a flight of carved stone stairs heading down into the darkness...

Matt Cooper
Awesomesauce: 1
Stuff: 2 pistols, sword

Justin Smith
Awesomesauce: 1
Stuff: 2 pistols, knife

They descend the stairs and come upon a room with tiled walls, marbled floors, and a well at the far end. The walls are curved into a somewhat clover-shaped footprint. The room is lit by two small stone braziers upon two-foot-tall stone pedestals. The two men notice two small chests and about a dozen clay coffers. As the two Confederates reach the midpoint of the strange room, a band of four goblins (Awesomesauce 1 each) leap out from the shadows by the well and charge.

The surprised soldiers manage to fire off a few rounds at the charging goblins, killing two. They did not fare so well in melee, however, as when the goblins closed they made quick work of our intrepid heroes.

After Battle #1, I had an idea for an Awesomesauce supplement, so without further ado, here is my first offering for the Awesomesauce RPG:

An Awesomesauce RPG Supplement

by Paul Ingrassia

Amplescrew works just like Awesomesauce, but is not expended with use, is only available via an item to which it is permanently linked, and is only usable under a defined set of circumstances.

Example: After defeating the Orc he was facing, Dave the Barbarian found a Magic Sword (Amplescrew 1) hidden among a pile of bones. The sword will grant him 1 additional, non-expendable Awesomesauce point (one extra d6) for every melee combat roll with it.

Another Example: Fizz the Wiz found a gnarled stick in an abandoned hut. It turns out to be a powerful Magic Wand (Amplescrew 2) that grants him 2 extra Awesomesauce points (2d6) whenever he rolls to cast a spell with it!

Yet Another Example: Bill the Rogue bought a 'Skeleton Key' lock pick (Amplescrew 1) on the black market. Every time he uses this specially crafted tool while attempting to pick a lock, he gets 1 extra Awesomesauce point (1d6) for his roll.


Now I have a vehicle for magic items, special weapons/tools, and weird science devices. Now THAT is Awesomesauce!

On with the play reports...

Battle #2
For this battle I decided to go a little more straight fantasy, with experienced characters, and I wrote the Amplescrew supplement for it. Abel and Agonn, two renowned warriors down on their luck, have discovered the entrance to an ancient tomb. They decide to check it out for treasure and slowly descend the rough-hewn stone stairs.

Awesomesauce: 4
Stuff: Magic Sword (Amplescrew: 1)

Awesomesauce: 2
Stuff: Magic Sword (Amplescrew: 3)

Note: Abel and Agonn's Awesomesauce and Amplescrew were determined by random die rolls of 1d4

They discover a dark, dusty room with two stone sarcophagi. They stop to examine some stone jugs and hear whispers of movement all around them. What first appeared as stone statues are now moving, and are revealed to actually be five skeletons (Awesomesauce 2 each) closing in on them from all sides.

The mighty warriors almost get surrounded, but they manage to position themselves to fight one opponent each at a time. They easily defeated the skeletons in just a few combat rounds.

Battle #3
I decided to send Agonn from the previous battle into the same room against four skeletons that are identical to the skeletons of the previous battle.

When Agonn reached the center of the room and the skeletons attacked he was quickly engaged by two. I decided to roll the skeleton's Awesomesauce together for battle since they were attacking together. Agonn won the roll, so each skeleton lost an Awesomesauce point.

The next round found Agonn surrounded. Again, I combined the Awesomesauce of all four skeletons (1 each for the wounded ones, 2 each for the 'fresh' ones). Our mighty hero once again rolled higher, and two skeletons were defeated and the other two knocked down to 1 Awesomesauce left apiece.

Agonn made quick work of the remaining two in the final combat round.

More House Rules

Battle #s 2 and 3 led me to incorporating a few more new tweaks:

House Rule #3: Multiple allies may add their Awesomesauce scores together for melee combat rolls, but if they lose, each of them loses an Awesomesauce point. If they win, the loser(s) lose one Awesomesauce apiece for each of the allies who attacked.

House Rule #4: Tie rolls for challenges or combat indicate a stalemate and nobody loses an Awesomesauce point. The roll may be attempted again.

House Rule #5: During ranged combat, if the shooter misses, he does NOT lose an Awesomesauce point. I could not justify the next shot being harder, or a character falling unconscious, just because he missed a ranged attack.

I went on to play two more battles, much lengthier. The first was a steampunk fantasy sort of setting, humans armed with black powder weapons vs. goblins with integrated steam-enhanced weaponry (sort of steam-borgs) led by a mighty orc warlord. The humans won. The second, inspired by The Walking Dead, was a strange alternate history sort of setup, zombie apocalypse in 1864. The American Civil War ended when the zombie apocalypse began. Our intrepid hero, a highly experienced Confederate Veteran (Awesomesauce: 5) is holed up in his remote forest cabin trying to survive the apocalypse. Little does he know, a zombie horde is approaching. This was the most fun scenario, and the longest, and it gave me a few opportunities to try Amazeballs feats. It was tough, but in the end, our hero survived, and he killed a total of 15 zombies before the area around his cabin was cleared.

So there you have it, a spartan set of rules that are easy to remember and use. Will this be the next RPG rage? Probably not, but it sure has value, for those times when you just want to grab some dice and play, rules be damned! I just might have to try a sustained solo campaign, just to see how it fits and what other house rules I can dream up.

Be sure to swing by Mark Meredith’s most excellent site, Dice Monkey, to check out the original rules postings, as well as to find out where to get a free PocketMod version of the rules.

Article Copyright© 2012, Paul Ingrassia

Awesomesauce: The Roleplaying Game, Awesomesauce: The Fantasy Bestiary, and Amazeballs! are Copyright© 2011-2012, Mark Meredith

Amplescrew, An Awesomesauce RPG Supplement is Copyright© 2012, Paul Ingrassia

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 23


Another subterranean beastie from the Ork Pits Journal of Yorrdamma Vrash (as channeled by 'Mad' Roy Cram).


Goo is a large colony of amoeboid protists which is always found in or around standing water. If it dries out, it dies. In appearance it looks like skim milk. When any creature or person approaches it, the Goo will creep out and flow onto the victims and begin immediately to dissolve their tissues with powerful, acidic digestive enzymes.

Goo colonies are usually small, but can grow to enormous size if food is plentiful. If not immediately noticed they can quickly engulf even large persons or creatures and suffocate them. They especially are drawn to and infiltrate the moist parts of the body.

This creeping horror is really only hurt by fire or extreme cold. The Monster Rating may vary from as little as 10 to several hundred. Fortunately, really large Goos are rare.

They get no adds for their MR, but rather, in the 1st combat round, they do one die of damage to the victim. In the second round, they do two dice, and four dice in the third round, and double again each round up to the maximum dice allowed by their MR.

Goo can digest leather and clothing, but not metal or stone. Experienced delvers know to beware if they find empty armor suits and metal weapons lying about in watery environs. Even so, Goo is hard to see, and very dangerous if you are wading in any body of stagnant water it lives in.

Goblins and Orks know where the Goo lives and avoid such places. Most delvers get a level two saving roll on Intelligence to notice the stuff flowing toward them (Dwarves and other subterranean species get a level one SR). If you have someplace to run away to, Goo is easy to avoid; it is not very fast or smart. But, once it gets on you, you have a real problem.

Sometimes pits in the Ork Pits may contain large Goos in the bottom. If you fall into one of these, you are Goo-screwed.

Yorrdamma Vrash

Copyright © 2012, Roy Cram
Artwork Copyright © 2012, Jeff Freels, used with permission


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 and include the words 'Creature Feature' in the subject line.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

MARZ: Part 1

Part One: Under the Two Suns

Yet Another Sphere Fantasy Setting for T&T from "Kopfy"
By Tom K Loney

You know, it might seem odd, but I like strange fantasy. As if fantasy RPGs weren't already strange, with T&T being one that revels in not being a typical game. Even when I spiced that into space opera with New Khazan(TM), I still like to go a little stranger. The notes I've been making for a Marz campaign have been being compiled since about 2000; but being busy with other works has always meant that it has been dumped to the back burner more often than not. Now I am looking to present something unique for Troll Hammer, so I think I have the venue to get the soup ready for the dinner table.

With the initial John Carter novel having been made into a movie and being released this year, the time seems right for some pure fantasy with the trappings of science fiction. There will probably be a heavy Dark Sun (That Other Game's setting from the 90s) influence as well. This first piece, I think I'll stick to the planet and Kin that inhabit it. These serialized articles are appearing only at Troll Hammer, so I hope you enjoy the rare dish.

Marz is one of four inhabitable worlds orbiting around a binary star system. The stars are called Pholux and Helios, by their viewers. It is the most outward planet, and has been colonized by the other worlds. In over 60% of the realm, the air is very thin and the temperatures get very cold. Still, with some planet-forming, the colonists were able to create self-sustaining habitats. The habitable areas are home to a varied group of intelligent species, called Kin. The colonizing worlds went silent some three thousand years ago, after something called The Core War. Called Arzoom by its natives, the name "Marz" is what appears on all star charts that are found from ancient times.

Psychic abilities have superseded technology, and the prevailing view of the world is similar to that of a fantasy world. Once mythical qualities are attainable to the psychic-endowed individual, including immortality, telekinesis, elemental manipulation, and many others. Some can use just the forces within themselves, and others must utilize rituals that, in effect, can be called spells. Still some follow the ways of Tek, but not many. Some who have mastered both psychic forces and rituals have undergone drastic physical changes. Basically this means that the T&T rule book is applicable for the setting, and the character Types are the same.

Apps- (Same stats as Human in the T&T rules) Baboon-like species that wear masks that increase their visual acuity and allow them to see in the dark. The nation known as the Opei are the co-belligerents of the Argoxi Hegemony.

Argox- (Same stats as Dwarves in the T&T rules) Blue-skinned humanoids whose hair grows into natural mohawks. They have grown into the dominant, most known peoples of Arzoom, under the dictatorship of Jafox. They make up most of the Argoxi Hegemony.

Heliotropes- (Same stats as Elves in the T&T rules) Vegetable humanoids that do not have mouths and absorb light, moisture and minerals through their greenish skin for sustenance. Some of the best scientific minds on Arzoom are of this Kin.

Juts- (Same stats as Hobbs in the T&T rules) Red-skinned pygmy-sized humanoids that dwell in the frigid wastelands of the world. Masters of ambush and very stealthy.

Laggomen- (Same stats as Hobgoblins in the T&T rules) The wild and war-like rabbit people of Arzoom. Despite their rustic traditions they are indeed semi-civilized. Fiercely independent, they are the largest opponents to the Argoxi Hegemony.

Tardar- (Same stats as Centaur in the T&T rules) Four-armed, eight-eyed humanoids that tend to have furry shoulders. They are often barbarians in the wildernesses of the world. The historic enemies of the Laggomen, but the enemy of the Argoxi Hegemony as well.

Vileaks- (Same stats as Ogre in the T&T rules) Purple-skinned ogres that run the plains and act as the Argoxi hegemony's scouts and frontier guard. Alternately antagonistic with the Laggomen and Tardar.

If you think this is trippy, wait until you see some of the flora and non-Kindred fauna in the next article.

Copyright © 2012, Tom K. Loney

Friday, February 10, 2012

T&T 7.5 Creature Feature # 22

I give you another bare bones NPC you can toss into your adventure or campaign for a little spice.

Name: Cronos Punkidus
Aliases: Cro the Tinker; CronoPunk
Kindred: Human (male)
Ht: 5'6" Wt: 170 lbs.
Type: Specialist Tinker
Level: 3

Str: 16
Con: 9
Dex: 12
Spd: 21
Int: 31
Wiz: 14
Lck: 16
Cha: 15

Adds: +17

Tinker: Int+5=36
Tinker Devices: Goggles, Tinker's Vest, 2 'Sploders, Pepperbox Pistol

Warhammer (5+1)
Katar {Punch dagger} (2+4)
Pepperbox Pistol {5 barrels} (5+15 per barrel)
2 'Sploders {10 yd range, 3 yd radius} (2)

Tinker's Vest, 1 Bracer, Leather Pants with greaves sewn in (6 hits)
Buckler (3 hits)
Steel Cap (1 hit)

Misc. Possessions
7 SP, 18 CP
10 shots for Pepperbox

The son of Cron, a village tinker, Cronos learned his father's trade, and learned it well. But Cronos was restless, and grew bored of helping his father create, maintain, and repair the various devices to make life easier for the people of their tiny village. Cronos decided it was time to leave. He discussed his plan with his father, who reluctantly consented, then he departed for no place in particular.

Copyright © 2012, Paul Ingrassia
Tinker Specialist class by Postmortem Studios


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 and include the words 'Creature Feature' in the subject line.