Lost Lore: Ecology of the Troll
This installment of Frog God Games’ Lost Lore-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 3/4 of a page blank, leaving us with 4 1/4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this pdf with a brief piece of in-character prose, setting the mood…and then dive into the genesis of the troll, here depicted in the telling of a legend, where mighty Eirik, lord of the North, instructed the dark sorceror Inghard to find a way to gain soldiers that would not de – and hence, in truly compelling prose, we accompany these two on the way to the doom that befalls the fools of stories such as this: The undying soon were to practice/become fleischtrollen (an interesting composite of German Fleisch = flesh and trollen = walk somewhere at a deliberate pace) – basically flesh-seeking shamblers. So yes, we have a rather unique background story here, on I actually enjoyed reading, though I couldn’t help but feel that the “trollen” was probably intended to mean “the troll”, but “troll” is a neuter and would thus get the -et ending. But I digress.
The discrepancy between depictions of fat and emaciated trolls is explains and rationalized well in the section on physiology and the explorations of stages of life and sociology further expounds upon interesting details regarding this mythical species. For players intent on hunting trolls, glass sphere tips that can contains liquids and the regeneration halting trollkin-toxin should help – unless the poor sap is mushed to bits before by the large weapon introduced, the devastating troll maul. The pdf also sports 3 new feats for trolls – two to further increase regeneration and one for double rend damage dice – this one has to be carefully monitored and probably shouldn’t be in PC hands – rend in PC hands is already brutal enough.
Interesting: The pdf also expounds upon the precise strategies a GM can use when employng trolls and elaborates on their tactics, which is pretty interesting. The pdf also sports G’Mash, the troll king – massive CR 19 barbarian 7/ranger 7 with a unique, huge-sized magical armor, which, while solid, is not that…wait…Huge? Oh, I forgot to mention that right? If you’re like me, you always wanted trolls to continue growing, to potentially one day reach truly intimidating sizes. Well, this take on the troll assumes just that. Anyways, the deadly troll king ends the pdf on a high note, even though the final page being mostly empty somewhat galls me.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to Frog God Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf has an awesome piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks and while it needs none at this length, they still would have been nice to see.
James Thomas’ prose is excellent -the legend of the trolls depicted herein resonates on a mythological level and makes sense; the pdf rationalizes the vastly diverging pictures and concepts of trolls, which is awesome from an internal consistency’s point of view. The flavor of this pdf is awesome, though it admittedly left me wanting more and somewhat bemoaning the lack of discussion on subtypes etc.. On the crunch-side, as mentioned before the rend-enhancer feat can be problematic and sports very lenient prerequs (Namely, you need a rend attack…that’s it.) and it being a combat feat means it’s be a no-brainer for characters with ample access to them. I can’t help but feel that just doubling the dice rolled feels a bit off. Similarly, the troll maul, as a weapon, is not that interesting. Where this pdf shines, though, is with its great prose, its concise ideas for troll tactics and uses etc. How to rate this, then? Well, what we have here is a rather brief, but sweet ecology that could have used a bit more to reach true greatness. Still, this is a worthwhile addition to your arsenal and well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.