Tunnels & Trolls : Gristlegrim Room 236--Hairballs in All Sizes

Entering this room from any direction, the first thing you see is a one-eyed Dwarf with jewels laced into his long blonde hair and beard. He is dressed like a sergeant in the Khazani army--leather armor with wide epaulets on the shoulder, blue rank stripes painted diagonallly across his chest, a big shiny black hammer in his hand. "Fall in!" he bellows.

If the delvers immediately snap to attention with eyes facing the Dwarf, who is in reality Gristlegrim, and can do anything to them that he wants to, they will be fine. If they argue, or move to attack him, the floor will disappear beneath their feet, and they will fall in to the pit that suddenly appeared beneath them. It's only a 5 foot drop, so they won't be hurt, but they will land in some slimy stinking mud, getting all filthy in the process, and losing 1 Charisma point until they exit Gristlegrim and get a bath.

"Ten-Hut!" bellows the Dwarf. "Pay attention you geeks!" As the delvers crawl out of the pit they're in, they had better come to attention, or they will find the whole process repeated. Anyone who attempts to cast a spell at Gristlegrim will find they have cast it upon themselves, with potentially lethal results."

"This is the Warrior Training Room," Gris explains, though he does not tell them he is Gristlegrim. "In this room you have a chance to show how good a fighter you really are." He gestures off to the left, and a line of bipedal hairballs appear. Each creature obviously has a compact body from which two muscular legs, and two bawny arms protrude. The body is covered with dense fur of unlikely colors such as red or green. Two large yellow eyes peer out of all the fur, and there is a mouth in the center of the ball that could swallow a bulldog. And they have horns. They range in height from three to ten feet tall. Each is clutching some sort of bronze weapon--a spear, a scimitar, a warhammer, or an axe. The mouths are full of large sharp teeth."

"Anyone who wishes to improve warrior skills may choose an opponent from the line over there," thunders the Dwarf. If you win, you will gain skill magically, and if you lose, well, you will be dead. No one can help anyone else."

Gris gives the delvers a few minutes to think about it, and then snarls, "Well, who's the first to die?"

The mechanics of the room are these: anyone who wishes to fight may choose the monster rating of the foe they wish to face. The monster rating cannot be lower than the sum of the fighter's Strength and Constitution. An appropriate hairball of that monster rating will step out of the line and fight him to the death. If the delver wins, he will get a number added to his lowest attribute equal to the number of combat dice that the monster started with. Example: if the monster had a combat rating of 45, and the delver beat him, than the delver would get 5 points added to his lowest attribute.

Each fight should be one on one, but the Game Master may conduct several fights simultaneously if he wishes.

If everyone declines to fight, Gris will be absolutely disgusted. Everything in the room except the delvers will vanish in a stinking cloud of sulfurous smoke which will leave the delvers coughing their lungs out, and permanently cost them each 1 Constitution point.

If there is at least one fight, then Gris will be satisfied and allow the rest of the party to exit when the fight is finished. If every party member chooses to fight, Gris will be overjoyed, and will personally give each of the victors a disamond worth 1000 gold pieces taken right out of his beard. These are large and beautiful stones to be sure.

For treasure, the delvers may take the enchanted bronze weapons that their hairball uses to fight them. Regardless of what type of weapon it is, it will get the number of combat dice decided by the creature's monster rating. It also counts as a magical weapon in all situations where only magical weapons can do damage to a foe. And they are effectively unbreakable except by magic.

There are doors on all four walls, and a trapdoor hidden in the center of the room. In a small alcove beneath the trapdoor will be a hundred-foot-long rope ladder allowing access to the room below. All four doors require a strength of at least 10 to open.