Trollbabe

By: Adept Press

Type: Softcover

Product Line: Role Playing Games (Adept Press)

Last Stocked on 5/26/2021

Product Info

Title
Trollbabe
Publisher
Author
Ron Edwards
Publish Year
2009
Pages
108
Dimensions
9x11x.75"
NKG Part #
2147528017
Type
Softcover

Description

The game takes place in a vaguely defined fantasy world largely populated by humans and trolls. The humans are (roughly speaking) of Germanic/Norse cultural types. The trolls are, well, big and hairy. Three maps of the setting are included, but very little detail is given. The expectation is that each gaming group will flesh out the setting around the needs and exploits of each trollbabe's saga, starting small and growing the scale slowly over time. More on this below.

There is only one character type available: the trollbabe. What is a trollbabe? Trollbabes are tall (7' or so) female half-human/half-troll hybrids. They are inhumanly strong, deeply magical, and a fulcrum of conflict between the races. And they have horns.

The Trollbabe mechanics have a single goal, and that is to promote the construction of a cool, dramatic story surrounding the trollbabe. There is no effort to accurately model some fictional world, nor to provide play balance. For example, the level of magic a trollbabe can use is determined by the scale of the adventure, not on any intrinsic abilities of the character. In an epic scale adventure, epic scale magic is available. In a narrowly focused adventure concerning a few individuals, lesser magic must be used. There is no attempt to "make sense" of such differences, only that the logic of the story hangs together properly.

Correspondingly, there is a focus on player empowerment, as it is the player who will make key decisions regarding how his trollbabe's story unfolds. The GM's power, on the other hand, is limited in specific ways. For instance, the player decides where an adventure will take place by stating (in between adventures) where his trollbabe will be travelling next. The player also decides the scale of the adventure. The GM then decides the "stakes", which is simply the ongoing situation confronting the trollbabe. This division of power is found through the rules: the GM "frames" scenes, either the GM or player can call for a conflict resolution. The GM narrates the exact effect of a successful outcome. The player, on the other hand, narrates the outcome of failed conflicts.

This division of power will seem odd, of course, to gamers used to the traditional "GM is god" approach, but it is a very deliberate design choice meant to avoid certain common pitfalls in other "storytelling" type games. Namely, situations where the GM generates a complex story with his NPC's as the protagonists, and the player characters merely the supporting cast. In Trollbabe this situation is impossible. The players have great power in driving the narrative.

Why play Trollbabe?

Because a trollbabe is neither troll nor human - she is functionally apart, yet tied into the fates and interactions of both peoples. Trolls - big, shaggy, horned, grotesque, people-eating monsters - and humans - plain old humans - simply don't get along, and their conflicts are escalating. The trollbabe may be perceived as an automatic friend or an automatic foe by both humans and trolls, yet her perspective is not identical with either one. Her presence cannot help but destabilize the status quo in any particular situation, which makes for an interesting life. Ultimately, she may also become the means of resolution.

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