THE TROLL RACE ("TRULTRUL")

APPEARANCE -TERRITORY - MODE OF LIVING
FAMILY, SOCIETY & CULTURE
- DIET - BELIEF - TRIBES - ORIGIN - LANGUAGE

Trolls, known as "TRULTRUL" in their own language, are a minor race within the world of Caelereth. That is, as a people they are considered to be minor due to their lack of sophisticated culture or any influence in history and politics, but if one were to meet a Troll face-to-face the adjective would scarcely seem to apply! Their brutish appearance and great size lead many members of the other races to avoid Trolls whenever possible, though the Trolls’ voracious appetite may also be a reason for such evasion. They are believed to be myth by many, but a confrontation with a Troll would convince any skeptic of the reality of their existence.

The Forest Trolls

View picture in full size Image description. A bunch of Forest Trolls in search of prey... Image drawn by Isilhir.

According to many human legends, a Troll will turn to stone under the light of day, and the many oddly-shaped rocks and what appear to be actual statues of Trolls seem to bear these legends out. However, upon investigation Compendium researchers have found that sunlight does not actually harm living Trolls. Rather, a trollish corpse does not rot, but will slowly petrify into stone under direct sunlight. Apparently the Trolls believe that the spirit of the deceased will thus return to the earth from whence it was born.

Appearance. Trolls are among the largest of the giant races, second only to the giants themselves, and are feared for their frightening appearance. They stand at an average of three to four peds at the shoulder, with the females being shorter and more slender than the males. The shoulders of the males span over a ped in width, and are normally covered with bulging muscles developed during their violent lives in the wilderness. Appearing almost delicate compared to the males, though their strength surpasses most males of any other race, the females have round curves that somewhat resemble those of a human female and their shoulders are not quite as broad as those of the opposite gender. Though Trolls are known to exhibit some shame, females do not attempt to cover their breasts which sag more than those of human females. Trolls rarely walk completely upright, preferring to hunch their shoulders and lean forward slightly as they walk. Whenever they are hunting, or simply running, Trolls move on all fours and have been known to run as swiftly as wolves.

Their facial features could be compared to that of a human, if said human were grotesquely disfigured. A long bulbous nose protrudes from a Troll's faces and resembles the snout of a beast more than anything else. Their ears are exceedingly long, often reaching a fore in length though their width is only a third of that. Thick tusks curl out of the corners of their mouths, growing on either side of the lower row of teeth. The eyes are small compared to the rest of their features, and a spark of intelligence can be seen lurking within. Females wear their hair in long greasy braids or twisted, knotted 'troll-locks' that often descend slightly beyond their waists. Males are not as concerned with grooming and simply wear their hair loose. The hair and skin color is determined by the heritage of a Troll and varies depending upon the tribe.

The fashioning of clothes is beyond the Trolls' technological capability as a race, and they are often seen in simple loincloths crafted from animal hides. Only the loincloths and their long hair cover their otherwise naked bodies, though they do exhibit discomfort that appears to be shame whenever they are completely nude. Due to their thick skin, Trolls are immune to naturally occurring heat and cold, and they are almost impervious to most weapons. Nails up to three palmspans long extend from their lanky fingers and resemble claws in that they are incredibly sharp.
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Mode of Living/Habits. Trolls settle in nomadic bands of up to thirty members in a variety of environments. It is suspected that their voracious appetites are the cause for such a nomadic lifestyle, as a band of trolls will consume the entire food supply of an area before moving on to find new prey. Unlike many other nomadic cultures, trolls do not have temporary homes that they take with them. Instead, they will create rudimentary dwellings in an area, the materials used to build them varies from tribe to tribe, and only leave that area once the food supply runs low. Trolls prefer to live in caves whenever possible and will often consume the former occupants of the cave. A few tribes are even known to live underground.

Trolls are often underestimated by the other races who consider their brutish appearance to represent a lack of intelligence. However, despite having no permanent residences and very little 'culture' from a human perspective, they are more than simple beasts. They communicate through a series of grunts, growls, and words that are known as the Trullish language. Trolls have even been known to tell stories of their past around a bonfire, though scholars that discovered this fact could not get close enough to hear the individual words. They seem to be able to comprehend the usages of simple tools such as flint knives they use to skin their prey. In general one could say that Trolls may lack the intelligence of other races such as humans, but they thrive within their native habitats.

The Snow Trolls
View picture in full size Picture description. The enormous snow trolls common at the icleands of the continent of Cyhalloi. The picture shows them in a fight with the ulvur, the legendary shapeshifting humanoid wolf-race. Image by Isilhir.

Many Trolls do not live beyond their first century as their lives within the wilderness are often violent, though a few have been known to reach the age of one hundred fifty years. Only the hair of a Troll alters as he ages, growing longer and lightening in colour until it eventually turns white. It is rumored that the Trolls' amazing healing abilities prevent their skin from aging, as they can even regrow a lost limb in a matter of days. Death does not frighten them, as they view it to be a chance to join their ancestors and forever guard the Troll race against insane spirits. Return to the top

Territory. Trolls can be found in a variety of environments and are able to adapt to the harshest of conditions. They are content in forests, mountains, caves, and even the fierce tundra of Cyhalloi, as it is their thick hides that protect them from the elements. Thriving in nearly any environment, Trolls are versatile and are only uncomfortable in the settlements of the other races.
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Family, Society and Culture. Within each band, males and females appear to be more or less equal and are respected for the unique talents they bring to a hunt. The greater strength and endurance of the males are influential in hunting larger prey. Females are considered to be more agile and cunning, and they are often the ones that lead the band as it hunts. Unlike many other races, Trolls do not have lifelong partners and will mate with different members of the opposite sex each month. The cycles of the females seem to be governed by the phases of the moon with each female of a band becoming available as the full moon rises in the night sky. It is then that each female will claim a mate by slashing her prospective mate across the chest, as if to mark him as her own. She then grabs him by the hair as she leads him to the nearest secluded cranny that is not already occupied. Humans may whisper sweet endearments into their lover's ear, but this is not the case with Trolls. They fight each other as they mate, rolling around and injuring each other with tooth and nail. Such a rough manner of reproducing would kill any other creature, but the monstrous brutes seem to enjoy the sensation of mingled pain and pleasure.

After a pregnancy of nearly a year, a single cub is born that is quite small compared to adults of its kind. The cub will only be about a ped high after his fifth year and will not be fully grown until half a century has passed. Several predators prey upon any cubs unfortunate enough to wander from the band though the cub will not be helpless once his tusks begin to grow during his tenth year of life. Cubs that have not yet grown teeth rely upon the females of the band for sustenance, suckling upon their breasts as hunger gnaws at their young bellies. A young Troll is taught and guarded by each and any member of the band, rather than by the two Trolls who sired or bore him. Each cub is unaware of the identity of his parents as the band has become his family very early on. As soon as the cubs can walk on their own, they will band together in mock hunts of small creatures as they attempt to mimic the hunts of the adults.

The culture of Trolls is one that respects strength with weaker creatures being viewed as food. Trolls will not care for another of their kind whenever they are injured, instead any wounded Trolls separate themselves from the band as they heal. However, the shaman, whose blindness renders him nearly helpless, is cared for by younger Trolls, also known as cubs, as they guide him and tend to his every need. Light is the only thing the shaman can truly perceive, and his blind eyes see the inner fire burning within each Troll. It is the inner fire that reveals every detail about a Troll, and the shaman will sometimes perceive glimpses of a Troll's life, both past and present, as he scrutinizes the inner fire with what researchers call his Inner Sight or GHOAKOL in Trullish. A shaman is able to sense when his death is approaching, and during the last decade of his life the shaman will choose a pupil from among those that care for him. The pupil will become the sole caretaker of the shaman as the other young Trolls join the hunts of their elders. The pupil will learn the complete lore of the Trolls during this decade. Such knowledge is only for shamans and their pupils as other Trolls live in their blissful ignorance. The Inner Sight is passed from shaman to pupil at the exact moment of death. Extensive burial rites are performed for the deceased shaman by the recently elevated one as the rest of the band watches in somber silence.
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Diet. Trolls will hunt nearly any creature that can be found within the world of Caelereth, the only exceptions being those known to be poisonous. Only the shaman and the cubs that care for him will not accompany the band as they hunt, as the shaman cannot successfully track prey due to his lack of sight. He must rely upon the other Trolls to hunt for him, and they gladly offer him the best portion of every hunt, believing that the care of the shaman is their sacred duty. Adolescent Trolls shadow the rest of the band as they eagerly watch the hunt, awaiting the day they will be able to join their elders. Whenever possible, Trolls will raid a human settlement for both livestock and humans. They make no distinction between the two and will roast a man as quickly as they will a sheep.

Troll diet is not restricted to meat, as they gather fruits and vegetables that grow wild near their homes. Such fruits and vegetables are often stored within their caves or homes, set within crevices high off the ground to prevent beasts from stealing their food stores while they are hunting.

Their methods of preservation are not sophisticated but are sufficient to ensure that they will not starve during the winter months. Meat is smoked by hanging it within caves that are too small for Trolls to reside in as a fire is set just within the entrance. A boulder is rolled to block the mouth of the cave and will not be removed until enough time has passed for the meat to be smoked. Berries are often left to dry on a flat rock underneath the blazing sun, these will be stored within the crevices alongside the nuts and roots that they collect as the winter months approach.
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Belief. The words of the Trolls themselves are not sophisticated enough to convey the deeper meaning held by their beliefs, and the account below was recorded by a researcher as he attempted to translate it into words that could be comprehensible by the general public.

The worship of Trolls is dedicated to their ancestors that reside within statues that were once their living bodies and does not recognize any deities. Trolls are said to believe that each member of the Troll race is animated by an inner fire, other races would call it a spirit. The inner fire, known as the GHRUAGHKOL in Trullish, cannot be destroyed by death and will remain within the world of Caelereth as it awaits the summoning of a Trollish shaman. Such a shaman is known as the KLOHMAGHI ("great listener") in their own language. The shaman will not be born blind as the Inner Sight is passed from each shaman to his pupil at the exact moment of his death. It is suspected by researchers that blindness of the mortal world is required to allow for a second yet greater vision that allows him to perceive the ethereal forms of the ancestors. It is the duty of the shaman to seek their guidance in every decision made for the welfare of the band. A summoning of the spirits is performed by the shaman by staring into an open flame as he separates his inner fire from the corporeal body. The ancestors answer the call of the shaman and converge upon the fire as the rest of the band watches in awe, unable to truly perceive the summoning.

The fate of an ancestor whose dwelling place, the statue that was once his living body, is destroyed, is seldom mentioned by Trolls, believing that just mentioning such a disaster can bring horrible luck to the entire band. Even though the Trolls were reluctant to reveal such information, Compendium writers have managed to learn the supposed fates of such ancestors through tireless research. Trolls believe that any ancestor whose statue has been broken will be slowly driven insane as they wander among the living. The concerns of the dead are often beyond the ken of mortals, but such spirits that have lost their dwelling places are believed to be doomed to remember the lives they once had. Unable to reconcile with their bands, these spirits punish their descendants with various natural disasters as they attempt to take the life that they cannot reclaim.

The ancestors do not directly protect their descendants from insane spirits; instead they bless the shaman with visions of the future, making him into an occasional seer. The visions are not triggered by a certain event as they may afflict the shaman at any given time whether it is day or night. It is said that the dead have forgotten that slumber is required by all living creatures and will not hesitate to disturb the sleep of the shaman. The visions are always of the future, but their usefulness to the shaman depends upon his ability to interpret them. Also, the ancestors seem to have forgotten the concept of time, and a vision may reveal a future that will occur ten days hence or ten years.
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Tribes. Trolls are divided into six separate tribes with each tribe inhabiting a different territory. Most tribes may be found on the Sarvonian continent, but some inhabit Cyhalloi and Nybelmar as well.

CAVE TROLLS, THE ("GHEREGHUT")
Possibly close to a thousand Cave Trolls live in caves, hence the name, within the
Tandala Highlands. Rarely exceeding three peds and a fore in height, Cave Trolls are the smallest of the six tribes and are often forced to fight with Ban-Yuk ogres, who are only slightly smaller, over the caves the trolls reside in. They often make their homes by enlarging natural caverns with their great strength and sharp claws - the claws of Cave Trolls are believed to be able to cut through stone with ease. Such caves are often rough and lack any decoration. They trade with the Gob-Oc orcs that live to the north, trading hides for orange quartz, a crystal they consider spiritually significant. Such trade has allowed them to become more sophisticated than the other tribes, and a few have even learned to speak Kh'om'chr'om, the orcish grunting tongue. Return to the top
 

The Forest Trolls

FOREST TROLLS, THE ("NIKNIUT")
Forest Trolls are known to live within the Forest of Souls upon the Isles of R’unor. They number only a hundred at the most and are thought to make their homes within the heart of the forest and beneath massive roots. The trolls live in isolation and have little to no contact with any other races. Any attempts to locate the trolls typically fail as the trolls disappear into the forest they know so well.
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MOUNTAIN TROLLS, THE ("KLOGHUT")
Hundreds of Mountain Trolls, or “Kloighut” (“Mountain Tribe”) in their native tongue, reside within the Troll Mountains of northeastern Santharia. The mountains find themselves aptly named for the troll raids upon any merchants foolish enough to venture into this ominous range. Raids upon the villages of Acht and Holm are uncommon, though desperation will drive a troll to plunder outlying farms. The Plain of Sorrow, to the east of the Troll Mountains, provides wild game for the trolls, the plain nearly impassable to any other race with its rugged terrain and rampant insect population. The trolls grow to be a fore taller than any of their kin among other tribes and are feared for both their size and the size of their appetites. Return to the top
 

NIGHT TROLLS, THE ("MARGHOGHUT")
The Night Trolls of the Caaehl Mountains in Northern Sarvonia are named not for a nocturnal lifestyle but for their worship of chaos and of destruction. In times past, the
trolls were enslaved by dark elves and have since incorporated aspects of the dark elven worship of Coór into their own beliefs. Death plays a pivotal role in these beliefs, as is shown partly by the way a Night Troll will use white face paint in the likeness of a skull. Any captured victims are kept on the brink of death for days with the trolls sinisterly taking pleasure in the suffering they endure. The trolls live underground in the ruins of what were once corridors and palaces carved by the ancestors of the Osther-Oc orcs that inhabit the mountains. Wars between the Osther-Oc and the trolls are common, as the Night Trolls possess an unrelenting hatred for the orcs. Return to the top
 

The Snow Trolls

SNOW TROLLS, THE ("IGHMESHUT")
Snow Trolls roam the northern half of the continent of Cyhalloi, their number unknown. Their exact territory remains unknown as well, as the trolls seem eerily capable of vanishing into the snow and ice. Sightings of the trolls occur mainly on Folasch island. They've been seen briefly in the tundra of Guldor and in the northern areas of Dorolak as well, but the sightings are so fleetingly short that doubt remains as to whether or not the trolls were ever there. Tracking them borders on impossible. Cyhalloi snow white paint adorns the faces and bodies of the trolls, aiding in their disappearing act. There are stories of the Snow Trolls fighting the supposedly mythical ulvur, but the truth of these stories proves difficult, if not impossible, to confirm. Return to the top
 

The Stone Trolls

STONE TROLLS, THE ("IGHUT")
Maybe a thousand Stone Trolls live underground within the
Stone Fields of Peat, feeding mainly upon the cragok goat. They reside in a warren of underground caverns and passageways, ones which are difficult to find by any other than the Stone Trolls. It is rumoured that a massive lake exists below the surface and is the source of the Stone Trolls’ water. They are perfectly adapted to live within the Stone Fields of Peat, as their jewel-hued eyes can perceive slight changes in the texture and colour of rocks, though they are sensitive to bright colours, and their limber bodies allow them to move among the rock formations with ease. The colour of their skin may range anywhere from black obsidian to grey granite. Return to the top

Origin. Little is known about the cosmological origins of Trolls, but scholars argue that they are mentioned in the Books of the Beginnings of the elves. According to the Cárpa'dosía, when the world was young the Rain of Life fell upon the Tree of Life to create the four main races: humans, elves, dwarves, and orcs. Each one was created from a separate element, and it is indicated that combinations of the elements created the minor races: “One larger being arose from the earth, wreathed in flame and imbued with the endurance of stone (Cárpa'dosía IV, p. 17).” This quote may or may not indirectly refer to the trollish race, but it seems to hint at their nature: Trolls are said to cosmologically derive from the elements of earth and fire, a sign for strength and violence as dominating principles in their lives.

Ghat Nysissrak, a Gob-Oc miner, actually learned a few words of the Trullish language as he traded jewels and other precious stones to the Cave Trolls for hides of animals that only they could easily hunt. Admittedly, any other tribe would have eaten the goblin instead of trading with him, but the GHEREGHUT are known to be more sophisticated than other tribes and thus have learned to tolerate goblins, though they claim that their refusal to eat them is due to their terrible taste! The smith was kind enough to provide Erián'Melór, an Injerín scholar, with his version of the myth though several sans changed hands before the goblin would speak. The tale of their creation is something like this, though much of the meaning may have been lost in the very free translation from Trullish to Kh'om'chr'om to Styrásh and finally to Tharian...

How Trolls Were First Created. "When the world was first young, only fire lived upon her surface. It raged as it consumed the essence of the earth herself, and it burned to the heart of stone as it infused that which could not move with the spark of life. The statues that had once stood unmoving within the fiery womb of the mother began to stare in amazement as they beheld the wonders of life. None of them were alike, yet they knew that they were kin. They spoke with one voice as they questioned their newfound existence, and one without sight possessed the wisdom of eternity. He spoke with the assuredness of time as he told them of his vision and revealed the world that was theirs to consume. The Trolls left the embrace of the mother as an inferno blazed within their blood."

-- Vesk Lyricahl: "The Reality of Myths", p. 2
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Language. The language of Trolls, known as TRULTRUL, like the race itself, consists of a series of grunts, growls, and guttural words. A whisper is a foreign concept to the Trolls, as most conversations between Trolls can be heard several peds away. More details on the Trollish tongue can be found in the entry dedicated to the subject. Return to the top

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