most exciting cultural export
Rules devised by Michael O'Brien and Nils K. Hammer, ©1994
Inspired by Chaosium's RuneQuest supplement
and with thanks to John Hughes, the original 'Bhagwan'
As played at:
RQ Con I (1994), Baltimore USA
Convulsion '94, Liecester 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
German RQ-Con '96, Bacharach Germany (action
Convulsion '96, Liecester UK
Dragonmeet '96, Kiel Germany
German RQ-Con '97, Bacharach Germany
Convulsion 3D (1998), Liecester UK
German RQ-Con '98, Bacharach Germany
Special Coaching Tips by Bhagwan
Broobasher, Line Backer of the Bogside Wanderers, Current holders of the
Oztralian Trollball Ashes
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Urgghh!"
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)
BHAGWAN SEZ: "It's the
chants, the insults, the songs, the rubber chickens, the facepaint, the
Kyger Lager t-shirts and the random attacks on spectators that make Trollball
such a satisfying experience. In Trollball you learn to appreciate the
beauty and poetry that dwells in the heart of an Uz".
It's liable to go in any direction - so watch out!
3. The Game is played at WALKING PACE
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Please do
not eat the live part of the trollkin until after a point is scored!"
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
Move at several frame per second. And don't forget to growl a lot!
4. Any "Palpable Hit" takes out that location
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Moving too
fast results in getting kicked by the giant referee!"
What's a "Palpable Hit" you ask? In a nutshell, any hit that gives a
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
If you get hit on the head or body, you're down and out - you'll need Healing.
Scream a lot.
BHAGWAN SEZ: "To test
your weapon, you've gotta belt yourself over the head for 3 minutes. If
you're still standing at the end, the weapon is okay to use in the game!"
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
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Get at team-mate
to 'drag' you, if you can't make it over to the side under your own steam!"
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
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Australian
experience has found that using small humans (eg. 13 year old MagicTG players)
proves to be unsatisfactory - Humans are difficult to dismember and it
became hard to recruit further volunteers..."
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!
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Hey Spectators!,
Don't forget to pelt those rulebreakers!"
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
Spells (write these on slips of paper)
BHAGWAN SEZ: "Spells are
only usable once, so make 'em worth it!
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?"
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 Bacarach, Germany.
Lewis Jardine took these fine photos.
Live Action Trollball
is brought to you by
The troll beer that reaches
the parts human beers can't!
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