The Slayer's Guide to Trolls


The Slayer's Guide to Trolls

Author: Matthew Sprange
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Publish Date: 2001
ISBN: 1-903980-24-0
Pages: 32
Rating: 9 out of 10
Retail Price: $9.95


The eighth in Mongoose Publishing’s line of Slayer’s Guide books, The Slayer’s Guide to Trolls was surprisingly good. Trolls are one of those beasties from the Monster Manual that almost every DM uses at one time or another, but without giving them character levels, trolls are relegated to being difficult opponents at 5th level and easy opponents at 8th level. This book attempts to change that.

Beginning with the physiology of trolls, this book really goes into a great deal of detail about how trolls are put together. Being that trolls have what is probably the most unique physical makeup of any creature in the Monster Manual, I found this chapter quite the interesting read. This was followed up with a few handfuls of troll subspecies, which did a good job of replacing the overdone concept of race-only prestige classes found in most books. I was particularly intrigued by the concept of the bicephalous troll, which is a crossbreed between a troll and an ettin and shares slightly dulled-down benefits of both races.

Troll habitat and society were covered next. New ideas for making trolls into memorable encounters are presented. For example, females are the leaders of most troll groups, and arcane spellcasting is almost unheard of in troll society (any troll able to cast burning hands or fireball has an obvious advantage over his fellows). Along with this was detailed troll methods of warfare, which did much to explain why most trolls forego the use of armor and weapons (excepting if they happen across a flaming weapon).

The last third of the book was meant more for DMs than players. Tips on how to roleplay an encounter with trolls were given, along with several scenario hooks from bringing trolls into the game as more than random encounters. This was followed up with a fully-detailed “trollhole” (a troll lair), which includes full stat blocks on each of the trolls included as well as a map.

As a DM that enjoys the use of trolls as tough opponents for the PCs, I really enjoyed this book. Like most Slayer’s Guides, it’s a very quick read, but it was packed with a lot of useful information that a DM such as myself should have no problem using for inspiration. With a little updating to bring the material up to v3.5 standard, this book would probably be one of the best in the entire Slayer’s Guide series.