Despite common belief, trolls are not one of the Chaos Races created by the giants. They are natural beings, an ancient race. Though all are ugly, hunched creatures with large ears and noses, their personalities vary widely. Some are crafty, some slow-witted, and others are very wise. Some are violent and enjoy the taste of man-flesh, others peaceful and docile and rarely eat anything. Certain types of trolls are more commonly one way or the other, however, as you will see below.
Types of TrollsEdit
The most violent race of trolls by far are swamp trolls, which usually dwell in marshlands and dark forests. They are thin and long-limbed, with dark skin that resembles gnarled tree bark, and range widely in size from shorter than a man to as tall as an ogre. Resting with their arms held high in the air alongside their twisted branch-like hair, they can be easily mistaken for dead trees. They use this camouflage to ambush travelers, as most enjoy the taste of men, elves, and dwarves. Surprisingly clever creatures, many have learned to speak the languages of other races and will trade with the chaos races, and even with tribes of wood elves, and some are skilled in witchcraft. Thick-skinned and tough, they use their claw-like hands to fight, seldom crafting weapons or wearing clothing besides tribal jewelry.
Larger and more tree-like than the swamp trolls are the forest trolls, who have greenish hair like vines or leaves. Thicker and less gangly than swamp trolls, they resemble great broad trees when standing at rest. Most are as tall as a house, though it is said that in the past they grew as tall as mountain giants. They tend to be more peaceful than swamp trolls, and some are very old and wise, speaking with the spirits of their forest homes with more ease than the most powerful shamans. Most live solitary lives and are seldom seen by other races. Forest trolls and swamp trolls usually hate and avoid each other.
Sometimes called hill or mountain trolls, stone trolls look less like trees and more like great boulders when at rest. Their skin is nearly as hard as rock, making them the toughest trolls to kill, as well as physically the strongest. They also tend to be the most slow-witted, usually placid but terrifying when angered. Unlike swamp and forest trolls, who twist plants into simple huts if they bother to make homes at all, stone trolls are a bit more 'civilized.' They enjoy building and eating cooked food (even cooked men). They carve out caves for themselves and collect objects inside to make their homes more comfortable. Some take up residence under bridges built by men, keeping them in excellent repair, but exacting tolls from any travellers who seek to cross. Those who are less greedy - accepting mere trinkets and baubles in payment - are sometimes allowed to remain by local lords (much to the chagrin of Venatori), as they provide inexpensive bridge upkeep.
Not all trolls fall under the categories described above, as their appearances vary widely, though all are close to nature and blend in with their environment. Some tales speak of half-trolls: ugly men, elves, and dwarves with large ears and noses and perhaps a green tint to their hair, signs of trollish blood.
The Venatori consider trolls monsters and hunt them like animals, usually regardless of their tempermant. Like the trees that they resemble, swamp and forest trolls are susceptible to fire and burn easily. Stone trolls, however, are nearly fireproof, and are better attacked with heavy blunt weapons and mining implements, though they are weak in the face - especially at the eyes. All trolls are physically imposing - even the quick and clever swamp trolls are stronger than their gangly limbs would indicate.
Troll blood is thick and greenish and has medicinal properties, as trolls are quick healers. Their flesh, however, is so tough that it is nearly impossible for anything to eat (though dragons actually quite enjoy it). Though some trolls take great pleasure in eating, they can go for months without food, living off sunlight like plants. Because of this, some old trolls will become so rooted in place that they cease to move entirely, becoming little different than other trees or rocks. They call this 'returning to the earth' or 'returning to the stone.' It is their natural death, though it can take them hundreds of years to reach it.