Trolls are typically large, brutish creatures that have terrorised the tribes of humans living in the river valley region for years.
There are several kinds of trolls: cave trolls, field trolls, mountain trolls, rogue trolls and draggers.
Before Troll MountainEdit
Mountain trolls are the longest surviving members of the troll race as they continue to live on Troll Mountain, while field and cave trolls have mostly died out.
Mountain trolls are the biggest kinds of trolls and are of commanding physical size, often much larger than humans. Unfortunately, despite their large size, mountain trolls have very small brains and are the least intelligent of the troll family. Occasionally runt mountain trolls possess a higher than average intelligence but they are rarely as inventive as field trolls. Despite this, mountain trolls are the most dominant because their love of constant fighting has ensured all other troll societies have been killed or enslaved.
Mountain trolls are led by the Troll King. They have a structured society with high-born trolls, who spend their time drinking and fighting, and low-born trolls, like draggers, who perform all the hard work. High-born mountain trolls spend their time constantly challenging each other to fights to the death. As fighters are highly regarded, mountain troll societies often kill off baby she-trolls or runts in preference for male trolls. These factors all seem to be contributing to a significant decline in mountain troll numbers.
They live in the mountains where they enjoy cold summers and winters. They have inhabited various mountain ranges but in recent times have taken over Troll Mountain in the Black Mountains. Although the mountain’s buildings and structures are thought to have been built by an ancient civilisation, the trolls have utilised them to good effect. They have dammed the water supply that runs from the mountain so that the humans in the river valley are forced to pay the trolls a tribute.
Unfortunately their race is likely to die out soon due to their constant fighting.
Little is known about cave trolls as their communities have died out in recent years.
Cave trolls used to live in caves to the south and east of the Black Mountains. In the east they lived in caves at the foot of a broad mountain range with snow-capped peaks. In the south they lived in caves in smaller rolling hills. Over the years cave trolls found it increasingly harder to keep control of their cave systems as hobgoblins often tried to take over their territory. In time, the cave troll societies collapsed and cave trolls either joined, or were enslaved, by the mountain trolls.
While they were larger than field trolls, cave trolls were smaller than mountain trolls. They tended to be rounder and have hairy feet and legs. Very few cave trolls had tusks and they rarely participated in fighting challenges against mountain trolls.
Cave trolls lived simple lives – eating, drinking and fighting. They are particularly remembered for their fondness for dancing as many troll dances were invented by cave trolls. They seemed to shy away from humans and it is not clear how they managed to find food. It is believed they raided human stores or perhaps even grew basic staples. Those cave trolls who survived in mountain troll societies were excellent chefs and kitchen hands.
Although they are the smallest members of the troll family, field trolls have a reputation as being the smartest and most inventive trolls.
There are no field troll communities left anymore but for generations they lived in the fields to the north of the Black Mountains. Here they lived in small dwellings which had once belonged to an ancient civilisation. In the summer, when the fields were full of sunshine, the trolls would head to the lower foothills of the mountains in search of cold but in general they enjoyed the plains and the wide blue sky.
Unlike mountain trolls, field trolls grew and harvested their own crops. This self-sufficiency is often used as an example of the field troll’s superior intelligence. They also experimented with potions, medicine and mechanical inventions. Increasingly field troll societies moved away from fighting challenges and found other pleasures in life, such as inventing and farming.
Unfortunately the field trolls’ lack of skill in fighting made them easy targets for other trolls and the mountain trolls began to attack them regularly, before launching a final devastating assault that destroyed the entire field troll community and enslaved their people. Not recognising the worth of the field trolls’ crops, the mountain trolls razed them all to the ground.
In troll society, draggers are the lowest of the low, due to their physical features and the nature of their work.
While the bigger high-born trolls have a long snout and a pair of tusks, draggers have flatter faces and no tusks. This makes them vulnerable in fighting challenges and very few draggers have survived a fight with a larger troll. The few that have won a fight are usually quickly challenged by the other trolls’ friends or family to a further fight, which no dragger has ever survived. Although draggers are bigger than field trolls, they don’t possess their superior intelligence. Draggers are generally inferior to all other trolls due to their lack of physical stature and intellect.
Draggers are the labourers of the troll world, dragging heavy stone sleds up the side of Troll Mountain. The sleds are packed with supplies – such as food from the river valley, water from the dam and jugs of mead.
Most of the draggers on Troll Mountain were born into dragger families and are unable to escape their lowly position in society, but some of the draggers are slaves from field and cave troll societies that have collapsed.
Rogue trolls are simply trolls who have fled or been exiled from their community and now roam the wilderness alone. Field, mountain and cave trolls can all become rogue trolls, although the most common rogue trolls come from mountain troll communities. It is believed this is because mountain trolls have the most brutal society with frequent fighting. Many mountain trolls fear for their lives and flee challenges rather than face certain death.
Trolls who flee their societies have difficulty finding enough food to eat and consequently become ravenous and desperate. For this reason, rogue trolls are particularly dangerous to humans as they will take anything they can lay their hands on – especially women and children. When a rogue troll is sighted tribes light fires to warn people, a nightwatch is put on duty, and the tribe’s warriors arm themselves to defend the tribesfolk.
Many rogue trolls live in the Badlands at the foot of the Black Mountains, unable to cross the Broken Bridge, but desperate for food. Some even venture into the home of the hobgolbins – Forbidden Mountain – in search of shelter and food.
- Troll King (mountain troll)
- Graia (mountain troll)
- Düm (dragger)
- Vilnar (field troll)
- Turv (mountain troll)
- Grondo (mountain troll)
Although they are less intelligent than humans, trolls are currently the most powerful group in the Troll Mountain region.
Trolls are generally perceived to be cruel and aggressive. This is partly due to the fact that humans tend to only encounter rogue trolls who are wild and desperate. From a human point of view, trolls are deadly and troll sightings produce great fear and panic. Trolls are known to steal children in the night, abduct women and kill men. Human children are taught that all trolls are monsters bent on creating havoc and devouring human flesh. Most humans would run away from a troll immediately.
Despite a troll’s commanding physical size, their brains are generally small and incapable of complex thought. Trolls think simply: eat, kill, survive. Most trolls are easily led and perceive things in black and white without much nuance. This means that when a troll believes it has been insulted or slighted there is very little opportunity to reason with it.
It is, however, a mistake to think trolls are entirely unintelligent. They are smarter than hobgoblins as they are able to think ahead to some degree. The trolls of Troll Mountain have shown this foresight by damming the river and ensuring the human tribes downstream have to pay for water. It is also commonly thought that smaller trolls, such as field trolls or runt trolls, have a much greater intelligence and inventiveness than the larger warrior trolls. While trolls tend to speak simply, high-born trolls have a larger vocabulary and are capable of reasonably elaborate speech.
Trolls have grey skin and a thick hide like an elephant. Most trolls are taller than humans – usually by a few handspans but some, like the champion Grondo, tower over humans. The average height of a troll is around seven feet. Field trolls tend to be smaller and old field trolls may even be shorter than some humans.
While they are not always taller than humans, trolls are much bulkier and possess far more brute strength. Both male and female trolls have broad shoulders, large fists and thick necks. They can easily throw a human over their shoulder and run off with it. Despite their huge upper body, trolls have disproportionately short legs which are thick and stubby. Their feet and toes are smaller and less dexterous than humans, and trolls have difficulty balancing on small objects. Their heads are squarish and dominated by a large forehead and long jaws. The heads of trolls differ according to their size and social status: bigger trolls have a long snout and a pair of tusks jutting up from a protruding lower jaw; low-born trolls have flatter faces and no tusks.
Due to their size and brute strength, a troll is a fearsome opponent. Their thick hide also acts as a kind of armour making it difficult to defeat them even with a sharp weapon. Trolls do, however, have a few weak points – they have very soft skin under their chin and arms that can be attacked.
Female trolls are known as she-trolls and physically resemble male trolls but are distinguishable by the brown sack-cloth they wear.
Trolls generally live in communities as it is difficult for a single troll to find enough food to survive.
Troll society is surprisingly highly structured. Most troll communities have a leader, usually known as a Troll King, who rules the trolls and oversees fighting challenges. A troll king will have the best dwelling, food and clothes. If challenged to a fight, a troll king also has the opportunity to nominate a champion to fight on his behalf. In more sophisticated troll communities, such as Troll Mountain, the troll king has guards, a throne and many riches. Troll Kings may be the sons of former troll kings, but often the strongest fighter rises to be king simply be killing any troll who challenges him.
Challenges are an essential part of troll society. Arguments are often settled by challenging another troll to combat on the fighting platform. A troll cannot refuse such a challenge and combat is a fight to the death. To decline or flee a challenge is the gravest crime in troll society and will result in exile. Trolls who have fled or been exiled generally become rogue trolls. An exiled troll can make amends by bringing the Troll King an offering of fresh human flesh.
The troll king’s family and favoured friends are seen as high-born trolls and generally live a life of luxury, when not fighting. Low-born trolls work hard constantly to ensure the troll community is supplied with food and drink.
In recent generations trolls have killed baby she-trolls and runts, because they are seen to have no use in troll tribes. Boys are more prized as they can become skilled fighters and win challenges and food. As a result there are a disproportionate amount of male trolls and fights for she-trolls are increasingly common.
Trolls need vast amounts of food to survive but as they do not farm they depend on humans to provide them with supplies. They like cold climates and are well suited to mountains or northern climes for this reason. Rain and snow does not bother them but they find prolonged periods of sunlight uncomfortable.
Although trolls live simple lives, they are keen to partake in pleasurable pursuits. Trolls particularly enjoy drinking, fighting and eating. While low-born trolls work hard to bring supplies of food and water, high-born trolls enjoy relaxing, drinking and challenging each other to battle.
Human meat is a great delicacy for trolls. They particularly enjoy the soft meat of human women or children as the meat from men is tougher and not as nice. Some trolls like the marrow of old human bones and the sinew of heroes is also highly prized.
Fighting is one of a troll’s great loves. Trolls will challenge each other to a mortal fight on the smallest pretext. Fights between skilled warriors will normally attract the entire troll community to watch and cheer. Trolls have little admiration for the underdog and will jeer a weak fighter and cheer loudly when the victor kills the loser.
Trolls usually slept between midnight and dawn, often in a state of substantial inebriation after a day of drinking. They are loud snorers and sleep on the floor packed into rooms or dwellings together.