Glorantha’s most exciting cultural export
Rules devised by Michael O’Brien and Nils K. Hammer, ©1994
Inspired by Chaosium’s RuneQuest supplement Troll Pak, ©1982 and with thanks to John Hughes, the original ‘Bhagwan’
As played at:
- RQ Con I (1994), Baltimore USA
- Convulsion ’94, Leiecester UK
- Dragonmeet ’94, Kiel Germany
- RQ Con II (1995), San Fransisco USA
- German RQ-Con ’95, Berlin Germany
- Dragonmeet ’95, Kiel Germany
- RQ Con Down Under (1996), Melbourne Australia (action pic!)
- German RQ-Con ’96, Bacharach Germany (action pics!)
- Convulsion ’96, Leicester UK
- Dragonmeet ’96, Kiel Germany
- German RQ-Con ’97, Bacharach Germany
- Convulsion 3D (1998), Liecester UK
- German RQ-Con ’98, Bacharach Germany
1. Trollball is a Rolesport
More than scoring goals or dismembering trollkin, roleplaying is what makes this the sport of Heroes.
2. Play begins when the giant referee in the centre throws the trollkin (a rag doll with velcro limbs)
It’s liable to go in any direction – so watch out!
3. The Game is played at WALKING PACE
When moving imagine you’re SIZ 28, lumbered with a huge gut and weighed down by a rock gizzard still digesting that dwarf from last night. Better still, imagine you’re a Ray Harryhausen Dynamation monster – think of Clash of the Titans, or better still Jason and the Argonauts or any of his Sinbad movies.
Move at several frames per second. And don’t forget to growl a lot!
4. Any “Palpable Hit” takes out that location
What’s a “Palpable Hit” you ask? In a nutshell, any hit that gives a satisfying THUD.
- If you get hit on an arm, you drop what you’re carrying (weapon, trollkin body part, etc.)
- If you get hit on a leg, you fall down, and will have to drag yourself around.
- If you get hit on the head or body, you’re down and out – you’ll need Healing. Scream a lot.
Unless you know a Heal spell, any time you’re injured, you’ve got to get yourself to one of the beautiful Xiola Umbar Healers on the sidelines…
6. The Trollkin Ball
The trollkin is considered “alive” if its head is still on. If it “dies”, a new trollkin is brought into play and starts with the giant referee.
7. The Giant Referee
The Giant Referee can punish infractions – real or otherwise – by KICKING the offending player. If you get kicked, you RUN 30 paces in that direction, and then shamble back to the game, shamefaced and angry…
8. Magic. Hey, Trollball don’t use Magic!
Corse it does, just don’t let the Giant Ref catch you!
Magic is incredibly simple – each player gets 3 spells on slips of paper. To cast the spell, take out the paper, shout what spell you’re casting, crumple up the paper and throw it at the target. If it hits, the spell works!
Spells (write these on slips of paper)
- HEAL – Restores one Hit Location.
- BEFUDDLE – Act like you’re on Dreamweed until someone hits you.
- DISRUPT – Destroys the location hit by the bit of paper.
- JUMP (self only) – once cast, play stops and the player is allowed to take 12 paces in one direction. Play the resumes.
- MOBILITY – move at jogging pace for a while.
- SLOW – move at 2 frames per second for a while.
- DISPEL MAGIC – Negate effects of one spell (except Heal and Disrupt).
- COUNTERMAGIC – use if it by an oncoming spell. Negates that spell.
- RAISE ZOMBIE – turns dead troll player into zombie with insatiable appetite for raw flesh. Ignore ball, attack other players including those on own side! (only have a limited number of these)
Here’s me, striding like a colossus in the centre of the pic, in my role as the Giant Ref at the trollball game played at RQ Con Down Under, held under glorious summer skies in Melbourne, Australia in January, 1996. But note the trollkin-sized player on the right, Wes Nicholson’s 4 year old daughter Su. With some well-placed MGF by the Ref, she was the overall winner in our Last-Uz-Standing demolition derby!
This game featured the memorable chant, “Give me a T! Give me an R! Give me an O! Give me an L! Give me an L! What’s that spell?” In unison came the reply: “We don’t know!”.
For more about this epic match, check out the trollball section at David Dunham’s excellent Glorantha site. David’s site also features a bevy of pics from the German RQ Con ’96’s trollball match, held in the courtyard of the almost stupidly picturesque Castle Stahlek in Bacharach, Germany.