True Trolls - A New Take On Trolls
I was spending some time reading some Rune Quest, Changeling, and Castle Falkenstein material and remembered why I hated most of the Trolls found in the majority of “Psuedo Medival, Eurpoeanesk Fantasies”. So once again, I charged up my rant muscles and….
True Trolls are mighty humanoids related The Fey. They are creatures of Chaos. Their origins come from the same tumbling pseudo void that spawned the various Kith and Kin of Fey creatures. Unlike most of their Kith and Kin, they do not just visit this plane… to just dally with this stuff of matter and space. They were inspired, some say loved, this material world. They took to it like a duck to water. They took their cue from it to define their form. As they spent more time in the material world, they began to take power from it, rather than the rolling void of Fey.
True Trolls are bind themselves to a territory or region. They act as its protectors because in a way they are defending themselves. They draw strength from it as well as the Raw Chaos of the Fey. They will sometime charge travellers to pass their their territories, or challange them to see if they are worthy. After all, everyone let through the region is can effect the True Troll by effecting the region. True Trolls have fey powers. They have the ability to blend into their evironment (superlative camoflage or even invisability), to move through it with no trace (this is beyond mere fieldcraft, they can merge with their environment, passing through it, and with effort appearing anywhere in the environment). They have senses that are total, for they know what is happening in their region. Since they are chaos creatures, they regenerate. Unlike chaos creatures, they can heal any damage eventually… as long as they are part of their environment. For it a True Troll leaves its territory or region, it loses its ability to regenerate and some of its strengths. Eventually it will begin to lose its ability to be material, slowly dying… until it turns to chaos dust and is lost in the wind.
If something changes their environment, it changes them as well… potentially killing them off
There is no typical description for a True Troll, other than they are humanoids that are man-sized or larger. They take their cue from Humanity, but it is only a suggestion for their apperance. Their description is dependent upon their environment. Examples:
1) True Trolls in a Redwood Forest will be larger than even most True Trolls. They will be tall and long, rather than stout and wide. Their skin will be similar to that of bark. Their head hair resembles the ferns that fill the undergrowth, while their body hair the needles of the various trees in the area. Their features like the mushrooms that are present on the forest floor. The Trolls will be longer lived than most Trolls and patient like the sun.
2) True Trolls in an Mountainous Alpine Trail will take its cue from the Stones. Its skin will be that of the local stones (with a hardness to match). Its hair akin to the litchen on the stones. It will be squatter and squarer. It will even be able to roll itself up into a ball and appear as a boulder.
3) True Trolls in an river underbridge will be pale drowned rat appearance. It will have river greens for hair and be flexible to fit inbetween the stones of its bridgge. It will be aquatic as well, for the river is as much a part of its area than its bridge.
4) GrassLand TrueTrolls will look the the humans that live on their plains. Yet their hair will be the color of their golden grass, their eyes the color of the soil. They will be thin, inhumanly so, as they are grass like. They will be able to conceal their size in even short grass, as they can merge with the soil of the plain and appear anywhere.
Trolls are immortal, if they choose to be. If life gets tiring, they will simply merge into their region and go to sleep… forgetting things.. then emerging again some time later as a newer True Troll. While they can be destroyed by force, the chaos dust they turn into simply blows into the wind and finds a new place (or some other part of the same old place) to become material again.
True Trolls are band creatures. There will normally be a group of them in a region, their numbers depending on the size of the region. While they are part of the group, each member acts fairly independent… like a hand of a greater organism. So the discorperation of a single True Troll is not a big deal, as they will just reincorperate later. Yet when their is a threat to the region, the whole band will respond. Since True Trolls are big, strong, and able to use their environment to its fullest, they become a serious threat to armies.
True Trolls might use artifacts of civilization, such as weapons or tools. These items will come from the peoples of their region, rather than booty they have taken from people who were not part of their region (all that will be discarded, with their bones in a garbage pit somewhere). Like all Fey, they do not understand the concept of material possessions, so they will borrow anything they want without regard to ownership. (They expect you to do the same). The only exception is bound items, those things that are nearly part of you. Those are left alone.
Trolls are hunters and meat eaters. Not that they need to eat, they just like hunting and killing things. Eating what you kill is just a sign of respect that what you killed was worth killing. They will kill intelligent beings more often than animals because intelligent things are more interesting to kill and more likely to have done something offensive to the True Troll’s region.
Sometimes new trolls will not fit the place where they come into being. These trolls are questers, they travel to find their new place. This new place becomes their region and they become part of it.
I imagine the dressand tools of trolls to be also very similar to what can be found in their region - awoodland troll might have a huge club, and be dressed in fern or wood, while a mountain troll will use stone and metal...
a troll of the grasslands would have weapons of bone or horn, and clothes of hides.
A questing troll might be interesting - imagine a village. A troll arrives, and finds it to his liking, proceeding to drive out all the inhabitants.
Given their meat-loving predatory natures, trolls could be somehow linked to the natural predators of the area... I'm not sure how.
This are my $0.02 worth for the moment.
Trolls with a wide variety of physical appearances... grouped according to location... true natives of the land... borrowing bits from the other people nearby... this sounds awfully familiar somehow...
You mean RuneQuest/ Glorantha Trolls? Nah, these are different. they are more magical. These are Trolls based upon their mythic roots - large, not quite giants, bound to their region or are territorial - who force people to show respect for their place, who just like to break things... eating being optional. They can eat things whole. They are in the category of tied fey (being tied to a person/ place/ time).
Remember, I have only read through your rule mechanics, not your seting material (except as a cursory glance).
I am tired of trolls being seen a big, green, slimish humanoid piles, who regenerate. Though the Changeling view of Trolls is better, it is still not even close to the myths.
These trolls have Landpass (the ability to move through their territory (or similar environment) without restriction by becoming part of it). They can use this ability to phase through things or even teleport by entering the terrain and exiting it at another place. They are near invisible, being camoflauged for their terrain. They are big, strong, and regnerate as long as they are in their territory (or in a similar one).
The trolls would be borrowing bits of culture from the locals. So if your locals are Stone Age Hunters, they would have stone age hunter gear. If your locals are bronze age Celts, then they would wear torqs and similar things. These items should be made out of local materials, but that is not a requirement. (THough mockery materials, so instead of bronze swords, their swords are made of local stone... or fabric made of moss... could be cool.)
However, let us not confuse natives with people who are currently living there. So if the Colonist come in and wipe out the locals, the Trolls will still look like the true inhabitants. (In fact, the Colonists might eventually think that the Trolls were the original inhabitants).
Though if the colonists learn proper respect for the Land, the True Trolls will adopt them.
These are more material than spirits. Though they are magical, they are material. They are not really spirits, they are creatures magically alligned with the region. The source of all their magics is the land. To harmonize with that power, they take on traits of that region.
Hmmm. While the True Trolls are magical, perhaps they have to learn each 'spell'. Troll Culture teaches them the magic. So they are the most effective of primative hunters, as they use magic rather than stone tools and have exceptional LandCraft (Woodcraft, etc).
I was kidding; it was more of a cheap plug than an accusation. Midianite Trolls were taken from a wide variety of sources: historic myth, *D&D, other games, comic books, movies, and treasure troll dolls. With such a large assortment of sources, there's bound to be similarities with other versions of Trolls.
I like this version. It's very primeval & elemental. These Trolls straddle the border between flesh and spirit.
The Left Turn
You could take this in another direction.... I am begining to like it, so I will pose it as an option:
I sort of like this Neanderthal option. Their base stock is Human, or Human variation. So maybe they have a craggy/ heavy brow, wide nose, pronounced jaw. They are humans who look a little funny.
True Troll culture is that of a magical primative. Instead of technology advancing (they are pre-stone age innately), they advanced magically only. So they have learned magical skills to aid in their naturecraft, hunting, and making. There magical technology is highly honed 'primitive magics.' They draw from the environment, rather than more 'advanced sources'. They use primitive spell threads, instead of symbolic flows of modern magic. Yet, as with any primitive, do not confuse primitive with simple. Theirs is a complex and deep magical tradition. Everyone in the tribe knows magic to some degree. The tribe initiates members into higher mysteries, with them taking on innate enchantments. This builds up their 'elemental'/'natural' appearance. They do not use their own personal power, as do 'modern' mages/ wizards. They draw power from their land (or terrain type). So while they can pass outside their native terrain type (and become less effective as their magics are tuned to that environment), their powers will only be strong when they either return or find a similiar environment and perform a short binding ritual to join the local land.
I like this option because eventually, there will be Trolls who turn from the ancient ways and become good peasant farmers... wearing clothes, playing with tools, and scratching out a living. That way you can have Trolls that are halfway between the 'new' ways and their 'old ways'. So when an army comes along and wrongly destroys their village, the Trolls will give up on this modern crap and revert to the old ways.
Another possibility is that someone of Shaman blood might be born in a city. Their Shaman spirit guide might lead them to be a shaman here. They might adapt the 'old ways' to the city. You will then have City Trolls, people of incredible power in the dark corners of the urban environment. Trolls as adapted to a city, as their cousins are to the forest.
Perhaps Wizards (and those with powerful aptitude with magics) have some Troll blood in their veins a few generations back.
Though a people might persecute troll folks, they are actually the source of their 'power', their magical might... a few generations back... people willingly forgetting that they had such humble/ disgusting origins... if they know at all.
This is cool. I like it. It is very 'left turn' from the direction of this thread, but it is something to think about.
Dire Trolls - Corrupt True Trolls
Force of Evil: A powerful Evil spirit or a Being of great power dedicated to their own needs. This could be a lesser Evil God, a Major Demonic type, or a Evil Bad Ass who wants to conquer the world. You know these people, they are the ones your characters oppose. It really does not mater for this thread's purposes which one it is.
There will come a time when a 'Force of Evil' will corrupt a region. They may do it on purpose to promote their own power or it may be a byproduct of their own drives. The Force of Evil will then wish this to be the way of the land. Their will is strong and powerful, thus it will be so.
And the as the Land changes, so will the True Trolls. They will adapt to the sulfuric pits and animated Evil trees... and so on. Their appearance will change, and some of their magics as well. They will slowly become 'evil' as the land will be charged with negative energies. These trolls will be larger, meaner, and more selfish.
Since the Force of Evil will force their will upon the land, so it will be forced upon the True Trolls. They will follow the Force of Evil. As the land grows in negative power, the general level of energy of the Land will increase. Thus more sleeping trolls will awaken (and adapt to the new land) and even new trolls may be spawned. Soon the Force of Evil will have a formitable army of Dire Trolls.
Sure they will get weaker as they leave the Evil Tainted lands. However, Dire Trolls have two power sources... The Tainted Land AND the Force of Evil. Thus they can operate outside the Tainted Land in any land the Force of Evil touches... or has strength or will in... at full power. Thus in the Evil Lands (or border of the Evil Empire) they are at full strength, but they are weaker when the cross the border. (Of course the border could be more mobile, when the Human Minions of the Force of Evil come across the border... they can extend the Force of Evil's border... thus allowing the Dire Trolls to come along.
Dire Trolls could be infectious. Pump enough Evil energy into an area and the Trolls will respond. Sleeping Trolls can awaken as Dire Trolls and new Trolls can be spawned. The local True Trolls which could originally oppose the Force of Evil can be turned as well.
Eventually the Good Guys may have to commit genocide against all True Trolls to prevent the Force of Evil from using them against the Allies of Goodness.
Hmmm... How to Trolls die a final death? I must ponder this.
This is still applicable to the Left Turn True Trolls.
check out this post or the entire thread... it dovetails nicely
A way for humans to rid a land of trolls for a time could be 'trauma' - when their physical forms are shattered, they take a time to re-form...
A Ground Seal is an essential element in keeping a piece of land free of trolls - it eaths excess magic, and fortifies the land against magical influence, but also keeps sleeping trolls asleep, and prevents new from spawning and the old from reforming.
Now, the Seal could be an excellent plot device - either its importance is forgotten, and someone topples it, or someone aware of its importance destroys it on purpose.
It is an objective to be guarded or taken.
If they die when their envioroment is changed enough, then building a big city would kill them.
Knobbly flesh resembling a brick facade, hair like cobwebs or ashes. Wears human clothing, perhaps?
An urban troll would have torn clothes, jeans or baggy trousers, a hat to hide his face, shaggy hair, a t-shirt withgraffiti on it, and several heavy gold chains around his neck, as well as a few rings. He'd always have a trusty baseball bat or lead pipe by his side.
uhhhhhhhh No. This post continues after whacking Echo upside the head, then curbing his ass.
I have been contemplating City Trolls. Alot. I am not sure how they work out. Each city's trolls would be a bit different, based upon the culture of the city and the apperance of the city.
These trolls would be smarter and more dangerous. After all Urban Trolls would need to know more and do more than rural/ wild trolls... as they would need to know Human/ city culture, urban survival, plus urban troll magics, plus all the history associated with the place. So their skill set would be greater than a standard trolls.
So I think their magics and skills would be greater, with greater magics and having to live amongst the urban folks, I think they would have more abilities.
The first of which would be a more variable apperance. Depending on their needs and mood, their form would have to fit the city. Cities have personalities and their own looks, and neighborhoods inside cities are as distinctive as finger prints on the Hand of the city as well (work with the metaphor with me...). So each region might be smaller than the city proper, but actually a classic neighborhood.
With that said, the Troll will have appearances that change within that spectrum.
1) City Bones: They take on the average look of the buildings here in terms of skin color and textures. In this mode they will nearly invisbile against most buildings (and will probably chameleon in against others). They will be able to move through walls, fall into roads and pass through like their wild cousins. They will also have that stone strength and resistance. They will have an 'awareness' of what happens around the buildings as well.
(I could imagine trolls having great spiderman esk skills of jumping around walls and buildings, sticking to them, and being able to move along rooftops like we would move through a street. I do see it more like a City Runner (or other extreme sports sort) than a super hero, but your taste might vary) I could imagine them being able to see int he dark/ gloom/ shadow of a city.
2) Human mode: They will look like a non-descript member of the human population. Maybe they will have some identifying features like a flat borad nose or bushy eyebrows, or have a slighly stockier build. But you could easily pass them on the street and ignore them as a poorer street person for the neighborhood.
3) Monsterous: They could be a humanoid adapted to urban life. They are a pale and pasty human (with perhaps some odd features listed in #2) They can probably fit themselves into almost any space and through any opening. Given such elasticity, they could probably strech - elongating limbs as well. They have the ability to stick and climb, jump and run like stated in #1.5. They probably have the ability to see in dark and shadow as well, as such things are common in the city. They will find themselves in odd places, so they can be adapted to the walls, sewers, or other odd places where people don't bother them too much.
Plus these people will have urban magics... finding things, tracing people, knowing your own location, stashing stuff in walls/ shadows to get later, creating alleys/ bending space, and other cool effects.
They are adapted to the urban enivronment morso than any mere human... though Humans created the environment.
City Trolls would be a powerful force once they exist.
Now imagine a being that can do all these three forms, or pick or choose elements... as things they can learn. Various tribes of Trolls might exist in a large enough city... each one mantaining their own look/ style and region in the neighborhood.
(And if there is a central park... you can even have a wildish troll with some urban troll skillz.)
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? Responses (3)-3
City Trolls would have many jobs open to them...bouncers,labourers,guarding Wee Ones,City Guards, ect
You have two species here, More Fey True Trolls and the more Human Right Turns. I like the Right Turn ones better. They are something you could add to the world to add drama. Your poor trolls living in the cities, not yet adapting to be empowered urban trolls.
The True Trolls are just fairy monsters. Well thought out fairy monsters, but just monsters.
I like this discussion and the back and forth discussion of the trolls. The fae nature of Trolls is something I'd adopt as well. The rubbery regenerator of AD&D is so much more shallow then these folks.