Friday, May 01, 2009

Jody Drew Me a Custom Troll for Trollhalla

One of the advantages to having a multi-talented wife is that when you ask if she might have the time to draw a troll dressed like Sherlock Holmes for you to submit as a profile picture on a website -- you get one with lightning speed.

I have recently joined the Trollhalla community. Trollhalla is a website created by Ken St. Andre, the author of Tunnels and Trolls (the second published fantasy role playing game), as a place where supporters of the Tunnels and Trolls game can come together and chat while simultaneously supporting the game they love. As many of you know, though I am a huge fan of the King Kong of mass market role playing games, I am also a very big supporter of smaller press and independent game designers.

I have always thought that much of the most innovative developments in gaming come from the smaller companies. In fact, one of the reasons I like the King Kong of the industry so much is that each edition of that game has responded to innovations in the gaming industry -- either by altering mechanics or hiring people who were innovative designers for smaller companies. The most recent giant behemoth shows influences from a number of my favorite games -- Feng Shui, Savage Worlds, and The Burning Wheel among them -- and I eagerly await seeing how the next "mutation" of D&D incorporates current developments like the "how to run mystery scenarios" systems of the excellent Gumshoe system.

But my support for smaller companies is not the only reason I am surprised that it took me over 25 years to find this group -- they subscribed to a fanzine by Ken before the internet. No, I should have found this group much earlier because when I was younger Tunnels and Trolls was the game I played more than any other. There was probably a time when I had nearly memorized all the encounters in The Arena of Khazan, and my 3x5 library of gladiator npcs for that adventure easily numbered in the hundreds.

When I was young, as today, I liked playing fantasy rpgs with friends. But I also liked playing baseball, playing soccer, wrestling, dating, and I had a part-time job. Marathon gaming sessions with friends were something one could only really do during winter and summer breaks. Tunnels and Trolls solo adventures were something I could do right after I finished my homework and they were a lot more entertaining than a lot of prime time television.

So here's to T&T and Trollhalla, stop by if you want to chat with some people who are enthusiastic about a very fun game.

Now to email Ken to see how I can submit the image.

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