The Troll Problem

It began with this scenario…..

You and your fellow players are members of the council of the village of Zmey, which is being threatened by a ravenous troll. The troll has demanded that he be allowed to eat the young son and daughter of the mayor of Zmey to appease his hunger. If the council does not hand the children over, the troll will devour the entire village. Your task is to determine the correct course of action and convince your fellow council members to vote for it, proving that you are persuasive as well as wise.

In addition to being beloved, the mayor’s children are clever and promising and have caught the attention of the Duchess of Kerembor, who has promised to foster them and introduce them to the royal court when they are a few years older. The hopes of the entire village of Zmey, which desperately needs royal aid after several years of blighted crops, rest with them.

“Madness is resisting that which we cannot change” – from The Wisdom of the Fatalist

“Why do they always eat the poor?” – Lito the Bard

Path 1 - Sacrifice

Sacrifice the mayor’s children.

100% chance of saving the village.

Path 2 - Refuse

Refuse and face destruction together. The council won’t hand over innocent children.

0% chance of saving the village.

Path 3 - Substitute

Substitute two other children. (The troll won’t notice.) It’s not fair, but the village has no future otherwise.

100% chance of saving the village.

Path 4 - Bargain

Bargain by offering up two prisoners, an accused thief and an accused spy. The troll might accept.

50% chance of saving the village.

The council refused to accept the options they were given:

𝕄𝐚𝐢𝐳 ℤ𝐚𝐦𝐳𝐚:

My first impulse is to choose path two and refuse to hand over a human being, but…is there any way to justify the consequences?

Sanik of the Dover Stand:

I’ll fight for the dwarves! Troll doesn’t seem that scary.


So you guys would rather die yourself AND have the whole village slaughtered in case you fail to slay the troll?

For council members you seem too eager to kill yourselves and leave the village to fend for themselves or too arrogant to have no doubts in your ability to defeat the troll


I believe trolls like to take naps after a good meal - we'd have a much better chance of killing it while it sleeps so that this dilemma doesn't happen again soon

Sanik of the Dover Stand:

Sounds as though you’re volunteering to be a meal…

Sanik of the Dover Stand:

Maybe we could negotiate down to one child per month. A recurring meal is better than a one-off snack. He can’t eat the whole town, so destroying us would waste a lot of food. I mean, I know he agreed to leave if he gets the mayors kid, but why wouldn’t he come back when he is hungry again. Is this reasoning is beyond a troll’s comprehension?

Grad Birch

Grad has been listening as the council debates what to do about the troll. But this @Sanik of the Dover Stand fellow has hit the nail on the head - if Zmey appeases the troll, it will be back. It will extort every ounce of safety the townsfolk feel here. No one should live this way.

Grad pushes his seat back and gets up slowly. "Your reasoning is correct, @Sanik of the Dover Stand , but I do not agree with your conclusion. Anyone who wants to end this troll menace, come with me. Let us plan an attack on this foul creature and let us get the innocents in this town away from the scene of our upcoming battle. I will not sit by and watch terror take Reda and do nothing about it." Grad walks out the door.

…And now we have to fight a troll.

The meeting ended with the council deadlocked, unable to decide between sacrificing the children, substituting prisoners, and refusing altogether. In the midst of the chaos, the deadline for meeting the troll's terms passed. The village is bracing to face the consequences of its indecision. And consequences there will be....

(The ground shakes. A shadow falls across the dirt road leading to the village square....)

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