Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Trolls are old.  They prefer caves and natural places, often shunning civilization and architecture.  They squat in squalor and loom in gloom, but they are intelligent and much more intelligent than most people would believe.

They all know each other.  Trolls live a long time (and may even be immortal) and have a good memory for names, especially each others.  Although they don't travel very often, they often meet each other to swap news.  If a troll survives its encounter with the party, there is a small chance (25%) that other trolls will hear about them.  Trolls are famous gossips, and many of them claim to have met dryads, demons, and even gods.

Despite being, basically, horrible warty monsters who live in caves, all trolls share a kinship, and are very friendly with each other.  No troll would ever attack another troll; as family is very important to them (except for babies; they only seen as food).

All trolls have tails and have hairy arms (except for elder rock trolls, who instead are covered in lichens).  They blend in with their natural environment (trees for green trolls, rocks for cave trolls, and hair for longtail trolls).  When treated politely, they can sometimes be extremely hospitable (though this depends on the reaction roll).  They are all afraid of church bells (or any booming noise).

Wizards say that trolls correspond to the three natures: animal, vegetable, and mineral.  Naturalists disagree.  Few people are more insistently ignorant than wizards.

Green Troll
HD 6  Armor chain  Move 14
Claws 1d8/1d8  Int Morale 9
Regenerate 3 HP/round, fire/acid halts regen for 1 min, it can even recover from death (though this takes a minute).

Green trolls are thin and rubbery.  They have long noses and hair that looks like broccoli, and their mossy arm hair is long enough to dragon on the ground.  They eat flesh and are widely regarded as the biggest assholes in the troll family.  Even other trolls can barely stand them.

It is known for its powerful regeneration ability.  If it is losing a fight, it is clever enough to escape, regenerate, and return a couple minutes later.  It may even escape by jumping down a pit deep enough to kill it, then returning from death a minute later to resume the attack.

Dying destroys a lot of brain cells, and so green trolls who return from death are always confused, and have a 50% chance to forget what they were doing prior to dying.

Although it is a whole creature, each part of a green troll is alive.  If a green troll is dismembered, each piece will attempt to convert itself into a mini-troll, which will then grow into a full-sized troll.  Unless you submerge each piece in a broth (as some wizards have been known to do) troll pieces do not usually have the energy reserves to turn into a mini-troll (10% success rate, takes a day), although there are plenty of stories about troll hands crawling off after being severed (which can always be reattached, of course.)

Even cutting off a troll's head is not an obstacle.  It merely creates a toothsome head and a clumsy body (-4 to hit).

In theory, you could put a troll through a cheese grater, put the resultant shavings in a nutrient broth, and gain an army of micro-trolls (which would later grow to full size).

Any slashing attack that rolls a natural 19 against a green troll lops off a rubbery limb (random).  Hands continue to fight (as crawling claws) while legs just hop about.  Trolls don't bleed (the arteries seal instantly) but their blood is a potent alchemical fluid.  Drinking it grants regeneration (1 hp / minute) for 3 minutes, but if the drinker is dropped to 0 HP while under it's effects, there is a 2-in-6 chance that micro-trolls colonize the drinker's blood stream, killing them in 1d20 hours unless the micro-trolls are removed (such as by a remove disease spell).

Green Troll Encounters
  1. A forest troll has been impaled through the heart by a lance, pinning it to a tree.  The lance is masterfully crafted (half normal chance of breakage).  It is dead now, but removing the lance will revive it.  Nearby is a dead paladin slumped against a tree, with his mournful horse nuzzling him.  A nearby lord would be grateful to have the body recovered.
  2. A loathsome troll sits here, eating his own head.  Despite the gruesome appearance, this actually has no effect on it's combat efficacy, although it will be slightly easier to surprise.  If it is allowed to finish poking the last of its head down its neck esophagus, it will sit quietly, reveling in the quiet fire of regeneration.  This troll is super gross, guys.
  3. The party is attacked by a severed troll hand.  One round later, a one-handed troll bursts on to the scene.  She was looking for her hand (lost stealing jelly from a beartrap) and will be pissed to discover it being hacked to bits.
  4. After being dismembered, a troll's body parts were separated long enough that they grew into mini-trolls (and are no longer rejoinable).  There are 1d3+1 trolls here (HD 3, claws 1d4/1d4) busy ransacking an abandoned campsite.  The first troll they see will be running around inside a burlap sack.  The second troll is carrying a lit lantern, which it will throw, then flee from.
Green Troll Mutations
Forest trolls with 33 or more HP are mutant trolls.  
  1. Two heads.  Against magic, make two saves.  If only one of the rolls fails while the other roll saves, the spell has only half the normal effect.
  2. Four arms.  Two more claw attacks.  Holy shit.  Tiny legs, though, so it gets -3 movement.
  3. Veins writhing under the skin like snakes, forming and dissolving.  Regeneration is doubled, to 6 HP / round.  Constantly regenerating brain means no long-term memory, though.
  4. Scarificating regeneration.  When hit with a stabbing or slashing melee weapon, the wielder must make a Str check, or the wound will close around the weapon, trapping it.
Horrible Things in a Green Troll Lair
  1. Booger art.
  2. 2d6 of the troll's own faces, removed and hung on the wall.
  3. A severed troll head, halfway regenerated back to a full-size troll.  Crawls around like an alligator.
  4. Wind chimes made from human ribs.

Rock Troll
HD 6  Armor plate  Move 9
Fist 1d8+3  Int Morale 10
Petrified by sunlight.  Save vs petrification each round exposed.

Rock trolls are made are slabs of muscle beneath a heavily calcified skin.  Their inner tectonics gradually make them thicker and more asymmetrical.  Their skin is pebbled with rocky outgrowths, and older rock trolls grow huge crags on their backs reminiscent of mountains.  They eat gems and have prodigious noses that they can use to sniff out gemstones (a good bribe, if you don't mind watching them being eaten).

Rock trolls live in caves and fear the sun.  They believe that they are the original children of the earth, calved off by earthquakes.  They are hungry because for the first hundred years of the world's existence, there was nothing to eat.

Rock Troll Encounters
  1. A rock troll living under a bridge demands a toll from passers-by.  A horse would be sufficient for 4 people's tolls.  It doesn't stand on the bridge when making these demands, but hides beneath the planks.  It is strong enough to punch through the wood and drag people down.  Those who want to fight the troll on the struts beneath the bridge risk plunging into the icy water.  The troll is very careful to stay out of full sunlight.
  2. In a shady part of the forest, a rock troll is visiting his two petrified brothers, and honoring them by putting flowers on their heads and placing a gold coin in each one's mouth.  He is currently sitting on a log, with his head bowed in through.  Unless the troll is surprised, he will freeze stock-still, looking exactly like another petrified troll to a casual observer.  He is here to visit his brothers, not hunt, and will not pursue the party if they leave him alone.
  3. A rock troll seeks the party's assistance in waking up "big brother", a huge stone the size of a six-story building.  He believes that the trick is synchronized dancing.  He will become irate when the dance doesn't work.
  4. While walking through a rocky section, the party overhears two rock trolls shouting back and forth to each other.  One of them is demanding the return of a stew pot, while the other one is alternating between insisting that he needs to cook a small human and claiming that he never borrowed the stew pot in the first place.  (One of the trolls has captured a halfling, now trussed up over the stew pot.  If approached respectably, the troll will offer dinner and safe place to rest in exchange for fresh vegetables, which his stew sorely needs.)
Things Growing on the Rock Trolls Back
  1. Bandywert.  A cross between clover and ivy.  Treasured by fey and trolls, who use it for weddings.
  2. Shovel Mushrooms.  When shaken over a patch of ground, the spores cause buried things to rise to the surface.  Is also an industrial strength emetic.
  3. Singing Lichens.  Horribly annoying.  They sound a lot more intelligent than they are.  Will stop humming if the troll is killed and will accuse you of being a horrible scumdog murderer and could you please put the dead troll somewhere sunny please thank you goodbye.
  4. Dark-veined succulents.  Sucking on them does 1d6 Int damage, but then you gain one of the trolls memories if you succeed on an Int check.

Elder Rock Troll (Galeb Duhr)
HD 8  Armor plate  Move 6
Slam 1d8+4  Int Morale 10
Half Damage from slashing, piercing, and fire.
Charging Downhill will double movement, and can trample multiple targets.
Awakens Stones within 100', which can see, talk, and are loyal to the rock troll.
Animates Stones which act as miniature versions of itself (same stats except HD 3, slam 1d6).  Is accompanied by 1d6 such stones.

Unlike their younger selves, elder rock trolls actually do become stone.  Rock trolls that grow so old and huge eventually turn into galeb duhr.  At this stage in their life, they also get very sleepy, and will slumber for weeks, months, or years.  They are largely indistinguishable from natural rocks at this point.

They claim that all of the notable stones in the world are actually hibernating trolls.  Even mountains are said to be primordial rock trolls, hibernating until the next ice age.

Elder Rock Troll Encounters
  1. Rolling through a village, leisurely demolishing buildings.  Villagers too scared to fight the huge thing.  Plus, they don't like how condescending the bricks are being.  Troll is accompanied by 1d6 stones and an angry bard named Vestra, who has convinced the troll that this town is full of disrespectful teetotalers and would be better off destroyed.  She didn't plan on the troll's laziness, though (it only destroys 1-2 buildings per day, then naps).  She's currently sitting atop the troll, composing a revenge ballad.
  2. Troll threatens to knock party off mountain path unless they pay the toll: 1d6 gemstones.  It has a height advantage on the path above the party, but if the troll isn't careful, it may careen off the mountain and fall.
  3. Roll another encounter as normal and begin it.  1-2 rounds into this second encounter, one of the nearby boulders stands up (it is a troll) and tells everyone present that it is trying to sleep, and will smash the next creature that makes any noise.  It will do exactly that.  Shhhh!
  4. The PCs encounter a huge boulder with 1d6 stones stacked beside it.  The stones have angry faces drawn on them with chalk.  Sticking out of the top of the boulder is a sword (wielder is immune to spider poison, nets, and webs of all sorts).  The boulder is a troll, of course, who has no intention of parting with the sword (it relieves his sciatica).
Rock Troll Treasures
  1. Ring of petrification.  Petrifies whoever places it on their finger.  Can be removed as normal, thereby returning the petrified person to flesh once again.
  2. Mountain Seed.  Looks like a thumb-sized black rock.  Weighs 200 lbs.  When planted, will grow into a small mountain (2d8 x 1000') over the course of a year.
  3. Gloves of Squeezing.  Officially, these gloves let you squeeze water from rocks.  In a rocky area, you can squeeze about a gallon of water per 10 minutes.  Unofficially, these gloves give you a terrifying grip (Strength 19)--which lets you win all handshakes forever--but the strength doesn't extend to other parts of your body.
  4. Pet rock named Gus.  Rock is sentient and loyal, but has no way of moving or communicating.  Gus is a prince among his people.

Longtail Troll
HD 4  Armor chain  Move 11
Claws 1d6/1d6  Int 10 Morale 7
Weakness if their tail is grabbed (AC as plate+2 to grab, free Str check to escape each turn), -2 to hit and damage.
Bouncy.  They take no fall damage.

Fat and hairy, longtail trolls are the friendliest of the trolls (although they are still very likely to eat you).  They dwell among the pines, in groups of 1-4, where they eat travelers, guard treasure, and brew beer.  They are charismatic in their own way, and a few of them have human spouses.

They revel in the trappings of human civilization without really caring much about the effects.  They might have hundreds of forks piled on their dinner table, but still eat with their hands.  They might buy a nice bed with pleasant bedsheets, and yet sleep on a pile of pinecones behind the shed.  They are cultural tourists.

When a female troll gives birth, the first thing she does is climb the tallest tree she can find.  Then, she throws her babies (by the tail) as far as she can, knowing that she'll eat them as soon as she misses a meal.  (All trolls get pretty nasty when they're hungry.  Longtail trolls are no exception.)

Their tails resemble cows' tails.  A longtail troll becomes as weak as a child if their tail is firmly grasped by a living hand (and only a living hand).

Longtail trolls are knowledgeable about a great deal of mythology, and often know things that humanity has forgotten (or failed to learn).  They are sometimes sought for their wisdom.  They can be friendly and social when well-fed and/drunk, but become callous when hungry (even forgetting old friendships).  They are lazy, and will prefer to steal food and beer rather than fight for it.

Troll Encounters

  1. A newborn troll flies out of the trees ahead of the party and crashes into a bush.  It cries pathetically.  If the party brings the troll forward, they will alert a hungry momma troll (who wears a patchwork dress and is named Merle).
  2. Sitting on a stump, surrounded by stumps.  A couple of people are there, sitting in silence.  The troll is challenging people to a stump-sitting contest.  Anyone who can sit still on a stump longer than him wins a secret--the name of the Snow Queen's secret lover.  Anyone who wants to play will have to wager something.
  3. 1d3 longtail trolls jump down from the trees.  They've been charged by their king to keep the woods clear of bandits and robbers.  They expect a tip for this service, and won't take no for an answer.  Ungrateful humans!  (They'll settle for a hot meal and a back rub, but threats won't be tolerated.  Rudeness is adored.)
  4. 2d6 longtail trolls galumph through.  They will try to kidnap the youngest or ugliest party member.  They are going to the Great Rumpus, where a new king will be chosen by whichever non-troll was kidnapped the most recently (and is therefor the least biased).  The Great Rumpus takes 3 days, where the candidate trolls will spend most of their time threatening the kidnapped PC.  When the Great Rumpus is done, the trolls will admit that they were just kidding about the threats.  The kidnapped victims will be given a bag of gold shavings, a sack of magic sausages (each heals 1d4 HP), and a spouse; the new troll king will do the marriage ceremony him- or herself and then shackle the new bride and groom together before leaving.
Longtail Troll Rattles
Trolls with 20 or more HP have a gigantic rattle that they can use as a club (1d12).  Additionally, the rattle can be shaken, creating increasingly strong effects each turn, as long as it is shaken consecutively.

On the first turn, the Cha save is easy.  On the second turn, it is a normal Cha save.  On the third turn and onwards, it is a Difficult save.

The first time a person fails any of the above saves, they become charmed by the troll, and can no longer attack them directly.  The second time, they are bewitched, and can no longer act against the troll.  The third time, they are geased, and will defend the troll in combat.  Once combat is done, the troll will give them some ridiculous (and usually trivial) quest far away, that they are bound to pursue.  The traditional troll punishment.

Longtail Troll Magic
Trolls with 23 or more HP have a single magic ability that they can use at will.
  1. Shapeshift into an attractive human.  They still have their tail, however.
  2. Turn into a stump.  Spends a great deal of time as a stump.
  3. Can turn invisible.  Their stealth is often ruined by their prodigious farts.
  4. Dimension door.  These are the trickster ones.  They are also usually the fattest.
Longtail Troll Homes
Trolls don't like discussing anything of importance out in the open.  Friends and enemies alike are often invited back to the troll's house, to have some nettle tea and meet the spouse.  Trolls have +2 AC and saves when in their house.
  1. Cave full of hibernating bears that are used as furniture.  Gently.
  2. Abandoned brewery.
  3. Behind a waterfall, a longboat has been completely dismantled and re-purposed.
  4. A hilltop cottage.  Surprisingly mundane.  Loving, human spouse.


  1. Good stuff! (I see you there, Gnomes illustrations. There's a nostalgia trip.) I especially like the plentiful and playful opportunities to do things other than fight; you've hit a very nice fairy-tale note for me... more people both making and playing adventures probably need to remember that there are lots of fun things to do in D&D besides tactical combat.

    1. That's exactly what I was going for! I hate it when combat feels like the default.

  2. This is excellent! It's, at the same time, beautiful and useful. Keep it coming!