The Trollshaw Staff is roughly six feet tall, though if the bends in the wood were pulled out straight, the staff would easily be eight or nine feet tall. As it is, it is twisted as a troll itself.
The Trollshaw Staff was commisioned by a now unknown Ranger of the Deepwoods Region of the Midlands. While trolls are indeed common in that region, it is remote and largely uninhabited by humans. The common Madlander knows nothing of thier Trollish neighbors, but as the great towns grew into cities and the farms grew larger and farther away from the soldiers and patrols of the castles, conflict with the trolls and the orcs were inevitable. The orcs were not so difficult to deal with, some were 'civilized' and given the proper faith of the Trinitine Church. The rest were bribed, relocated, or battled with the sword and the spear.
Trolls, being both very hardy, elusive, and almost impossible to communicate with or even to maim proved a greater challenge. A motley of trolls could decimate smaller communities with ease. During the expansion into the Deepwood Swarding, several communities were driven out by marauding bands of newly well-fed trolls. The Ranger sought out an accomplished enchanter to create for him an object of power that would allow him to communicate with the trolls, and to keep them from dashing out his brains on the spot and eating him raw, as trolls are want to do.
The Enchanter took to the task, and completed the item in just about a year. The Ranger took delivery of the staff, and paid the Enchanter. He then took the staff into the Deepwood and tried to contact the trolls, though it would seem that his plan was doomed to fail. THe Staff allowed him to appear as a troll and speak as one, but it doesnt have any sort of compensation for angering a troll, or for understanding trollish humor...
The main power of the Trollshaw Staff is the ability of the staff to make it's bearer 'acceptible company' to Trolls. Most trolls consider humans, and really anything smaller than they are as food. Things larger than them are also considered 'alot of food' by trolls. So long as the staff is wielded, the wielder is considered 'troll' to other trolls. Conversely, the wielder is also viewed as a troll by other humans, though in a social manner, not a physical manner.
The wielder is also able to communicate fluently in Trollshaw, the native tongue of the trolls. Considering the temperament of the average troll, the Ranger thought this was enough. What he did not count on was the fact that despite their bestial appetites and enimity towards humanity, trolls were social enough to have taboos, humor, and other social establishments, even if they didnt build homes, pay taxes, or hang out at the pub. After talking with the ranger for a few minutes, the trolls decided that the new troll was obviously sick in the head, and should be put down, to protect the species.
Well, that is the long and explanatory method. The trolls decided they didn't like the Ranger-Troll and decided to smash him and eat the bits. Unfortunately for the Ranger, he didn't know that trolls were not above cannibalism...
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? Responses (12)
Updated: released 2-6-06 from Works Hidden
I'm a little bit confused as to what humans see in the wielder. You said they see him as a troll in the social sense... do they run, or accuse him of smelling bad? Why do humans see him as any different at all? How would someone dwelling in the desert, who has no contact with trolls, percieve him?
The history is a little bit straight forward. A ranger wants to talk to trolls, contacts a wizard to enchant an item to that end, wizard succeeds. Its workable, its just not very interesting.
I did like your description of the environment, and found it quite effective. Its not often that you read about Orcs being civilized, and motleys of trolls.
The only way I could describe the effect of the staff around humans is that the wielder will be percieved to be nasty, brutish, and boorish. This is a basic reation, not one governed by appearance, or manners, they just radiate an aura that seems 'trollish' to the average person. In game terms it would manifest as a moderate to strong penalty to social interation, or would do something like reduce their charisma trait by 50%
It is fine with that explanation of how it affects the charisma.
As for the history... well, not all magic items can have a truly unique background. But wasn't that enchanter (or anybody) interested in the result of this exploration? Or was it just forgotten as failure? The item has definitely a purpose beyond a simple +X weapon. There could be attempts to manufacture a better version, or find the original to study it better.
And a question: what happens if a troll holds the staff? Will he be even more fitting into the trollish society, possibly become a great leader? Or will he (surprise!) sudenly understand humans, which can also have dangerous consequences for them?
The magic could also become a 'generic enchantment' - for creating items that help with a better integration into a group. Spies and diplomats and others would love a trinket that makes them seem acceptible to certain people.
But of course, heed the warning of the unnamed ranger.
well, the basic inspiration for this item came from the racial items of DnD, such as the Belt of Dwarvenkind, and the Boots, and cloak of elvenkind. What kind of racial item would a troll have? A big stick, of course.
Perhaps it an underlying motive of it's creation was a devious attempt to create an army of trolls to TAKE OVER THE WORLD...
I like it, think it's an interesting idea.
It is a perfectly acceptable item with one of those ironic histories. Sure we could of gone on and on about the details of the enchanter or the brave ranger going to speak with the Trolls, but why? He died ignobly and the enchanter is probably keeping a low profile not wanting to be associated with this apparent failure.
Besides the enchanter made just what they wanted and got paid. He can't help it if the rangers were stupid in its use.
Of course the item will be carried about and be found in some random pile.
Good Job. Saying any more would be beating a dead horse, so... 4/5
An interesting item, though its very niche. It seems that it would best be provided by some NPC to assist in a very specific mission. Otherwise I would add a few more trollish bonuses to the item to have the PCs keep a hold on it.