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Troll Culture

Vindictive, sadistic monsters that enjoy torment, it may be fortunate for the other races of the Palladium World that they are relatively few in numbers. With such low numbers Trolls have never formed much of a culture. To compound the issue the rare times when enough Trolls gather in a single area it tends to be wrought with fighting amongst each other which sooner or later results in them going their separate ways. Regardless of this fact there are certain similarities that can be found among most Trolls no matter where they are found in the world, even with such little interaction.

Some anthropologists theorize that this means Trolls are predetermined to act a certain way from the moment of birth and upbringing plays little part on their personalities. Using this theory the rare good Troll is a birth abnormality and not the product of free will. While this theory can be interesting it is most commonly dismissed by learned men. It is more likely that a lack of society is responsible for their similarities. Without a society to shape the lives of humans, Elves, and others it is likely they would still be little more than barbarians relying mostly on primal and base instinct to survive. This may describe the Troll culture better than anything else.



The Troll language, also known as giantese, is series of single syllables words. Each word is pronounced separately, distinguishing each syllable and sound. Despite only being one syllable, a number of the words are longer than one would think. This is done by combining several consonants in succession forming a fluent sound that often resembles more of a grunt than speech. The longest word in the Troll language consists of thirteen letters, a sacred number to Trolls. It means "holy warrior" and is spelled schrauwlgtszk. Although the word is rarely used it is well known to anyone familiar with the Troll language.

When speaking a word in the Troll language the first letter of the word is always held for a second to accent it from the rest of the word. To not accent the first letter is considered a sign of disrespect. If someone dares to accent the last letter instead it is viewed as a direct insult to the one being addressed and likely to quickly lead to a fight. These rules make for a unique language that can be easily recognized. However, due to the entire language consisting of single syllable words it makes it difficult for Trolls to learn other languages. They are +10% to learning the Troll language. Additionally they suffer no penalties when learning Wolfen even if they've had no prior experience to it, but are -5% to all other languages.


Children and Aging

Trolls, though slightly smaller than most true giants, do follow similar child bearing rates (see Monsters & Animals, page 82 for more details on true giants and birth rates). They don't reach child bearing age until the age of 30 and pregnancy can last up to two years! After giving birth a Troll female needs at least six months to recover before she can become pregnant again, though a year or more is safer. These small giants simply cannot compete with most of the other races in reproduction rates leaving their numbers far smaller.

A baby Troll is usually between one and two feet (0.3 to 0.6 m) tall and weigh somewhere between 20 to 40 pounds (9 to 18 kg). Trolls are born with their first set of teeth already. After only three days these birth teeth are sharp enough to actually chew through thin pieces of meat. While Troll mothers are capable of breast feeding few rarely do so. This is in part due to risk of baby bites, but also due to the fact it is preferred to feed the baby other types of food. It is a common Troll tradition to starve the newborn baby for the first three days. Then on the third day they make a sacrifice in an archaic ceremony and feed it to the baby.

The sacrifice is typically humanoid, preferably Gnome, but an animal is acceptable if other food sources are not available. This "meal" is often kept in captivity for a few days before the ceremony and sacrifice so that a delicious prey will not be too hard to find at the last moment. At the ceremony allies of the Troll, typically Kobolds and sometimes a few other monster races, gather for dancing, heavy drinking, and the feast. Since they can keep the sacrifice captive for a few days or weeks before the ceremony there are incidents of adventurers who will attempt to raid the Troll lair to rescue any captives before it is too late.

Trolls grow at an alarming rate. By the age of one a Troll has usually doubled in size and grown their second set of teeth. These teeth are much sharper and able to chew and rip through much thicker meat than before. At the age of four Trolls children have usually grown to around five feet (1.5 m) and weigh between 100 and 200 pounds (45 to 90 kg). They have grown their third set of teeth, the child's "warrior teeth." This set is not as strong as the last set, but are enough to inflict 1D6 damage from a bite.

By the age of eight Trolls tend to be about the same size as an average adult Ogre with much the same physical capabilities. Their fourth and final set of teeth will have grown in. The full abilities and strength of a Troll have not yet developed. Strength (P.S.), agility (P.P.), durability (S.D.C.), and even natural abilities (including damage) are the equivalent of an adult Ogre. It is around this age the growth of the Troll starts to slow down. It is not until close to the age of fifteen that the Troll will reach full adulthood and power.

Many speculate that Trolls were specially bred to be a race of warriors and that is the reason for their rapid growth rates. Since no one knows the true origin of Trolls there is no proof supporting or denying this theory. Even Trolls do not know where they came from, nor do they care. After all history is just something that lines parchment and that only interests the foolish, such as humans and Elves. For a Troll it is simply enough to be. It is also important to note that despite their rapid physical growth, their minds do not develop as quickly. It still needs time to mature the same as any other race.



Trolls don't typically worry about trivial concepts such as "honor." Honor is only a fancy word that people use to try and sound important, but it has no place in real life. Of course, any wise Troll knows honor is for something else: lulling a foolish opponent who believes in it off guard. A fight, or duel, is more a matter of winning as opposed to following some silly code of rules. After all, rules only get in the way of all the fun. When a duel starts, whether it is the result of boredom or an insult, it is not meant to be lethal. Instead Trolls prefer to humiliate rather than kill.

Fights are usually treated more like a game than a duel. It is more fun to slap an opponent around than simply cutting his throat with their massive and powerful claws. Trolls will commonly waste attacks doing things like spitting in the face, flicking an ear, pulling down an opponent's pants, or any other type of attacks meant to embarrass as opposed to hurt. When the game finally gets boring the Troll will pummel the opponent senseless, but try to avoid killing. After all, a dead victim can no longer feel shame.

Once the opponent is effectively incapacitated the Troll may add further humiliation such as relieving himself on the person, stealing their clothes, putting the victim into embarrassing positions, using charcoal to draw on the person's face, etc. Despite their violent nature Trolls tend to have an interesting sense of humor, even if most others don't find it as amusing. In addition the Troll is likely to loot any gold, weapons, and other valuables that are of interest. When they fight it is usually with a "winner takes all" mentality.

Just because a Troll does not always kill an opponent does not mean that a Troll will not. If worrying about multiple opponents, or one very powerful one, killing can be quicker and safer. Should the Troll become angry during the fight the fun can quickly turn to savagery, with the death of the offender being as brutal as possible. Humiliation is usually only used in a one on one fight, one the Troll is confident in winning, and when the Troll can keep his good humor. Unfortunately the mood of Trolls can be unpredictable and it is hard to know what to expect.


Favorite Weapons

Trolls love hand to hand combat and prefer to use their natural claws and fangs above all else. Particular favorite fighting methods for Trolls are boxing and wrestling. Most are also trained in a variety of other weapons, usually preferring weapons with large blades and lots of damage. Favorite weapons include sickles, scythes, axes, picks, and large swords. Many unsuspecting adventurers believe due to their size and power they are slow moving, but a Troll is amazingly agile and maneuverable allowing them to make mincemeat out of those who are not careful.

Because Trolls love hand to hand so much they will rarely use any type of ranged weapons. They avoid weapons such as spears or other missile weapons like throwing knives, the exception being a large thrown boulder which is more acceptable. A Troll which uses a bow and arrow will be the joke of his race and laughed at, beaten, and humiliated in any number of ways. Due to their immense size Troll weapons will weigh three to five times as much as a human sized weapon of the same type, but deal an extra die of damage in addition to any P.S. damage bonus.



A Troll name will follow the same rules as the Troll language. That means their names are only a single syllable that often contains an odd mix of consonants strung together. The name changes throughout the Troll's life. At different periods in life the Troll will be renamed to best suit the current position in life. Early in life the name is usually changed during each new set of teeth. Once the final set of teeth come will also signal the final name a Troll will carry through life. The early names are typically softer names to indicate they are still young and have a long way to go. Sometimes it will even be an insult to motivate the child to grow up strong and fierce to avoid such a name again. Most of the adult names are rough sounding and have meanings that are fitting for a warrior most times.

Troll names are almost always real words in their language. For example, the name Krosk is the same word as killer and the name Org means shadow. When spoken in another language the name and translation are said together so everyone knows what the name means, such as Krosk the Killer or Org the Shadow. This is something other races have picked up and sometimes use for their famous heroes and leaders, such as the human from Timiro being called Marcus the Wise even though Marcus does not mean wise, not realizing that it is a misunderstanding born from a Troll custom.


Other Races

When motivated, Trolls can get along amiably with other races. The primary reason for this being the might and ferocity of the Troll race is so well known few wish to anger them. As a result most others are on their best behavior around Trolls and will take minor abuse in favor of it becoming more serious. Humans and Elves are both the natural enemies of Trolls and are their most hated. Trolls have very little respect for any other race, including other monster races or true giants, but there are still varying degrees of acceptance.

There is an ancient and bitter rivalry with Ogres. The two very rarely work together with the possible exception of teaming up against humans and/or Elves. These are the only two races that Trolls hate more than an Ogre. It is the way things have been since any race can recall. The reason for these seething hatreds is unknown, but even if the source were discovered it would likely change nothing in their relations. This hatred has become as much a part of their people as breathing.

Despite their physical strength and clear physical advantage in one on one combat Trolls rarely pick a fight with these races. If they do they know they will soon become vastly outnumbered. Ogres, humans, and Elves all have greatly superior numbers. While the other races often travel in large groups, having entire cities and tribes, the Trolls remain segregated usually traveling alone or in a pair. To find even 3D4 Trolls is a rarity leaving them easily outnumbered by a band of one hundred Ogres with twice as many Orc allies.

This does not mean Trolls are cowards; simply that they are smart enough to not get into a fight they cannot win. After all, if one dies in a futile battle, then there will be no fun to be had later. If a Troll can ever find one of those races alone a fight is far more likely. Of course, some Trolls have given into their anger and get into a fight with any number of opponents without fear. While this temper has led to many Troll deaths they rarely die alone and, if they can kill enough of the enemy, they can even strike fear into the enemy causing them to scatter and run from a single Troll despite the numbers.

Among the favorites are Kobolds and Gnomes, but for two very different reasons. Gnomes are considered a delicacy and one of their favorite meals. This makes Gnomes great allies because there is always a delicious meal close at hand. Trolls have an actual affinity for the company of Kobolds, and vice versa. For this reason it is common to find a small band of Kobolds in the company of a Troll or a Troll living near a Kobold community.

Orcs, Ratlings, Goblins, and Hob-Goblins will be their second choice for minions. Unlike Ogres, the Trolls do not bear any ill will upon the Orcs for their choice in allies. If an Orc wishes to work with a Troll they are usually welcomed. Even an Ogre will be accepted as an ally if one were ever willing, though such a thing is a rarity. Goblins can be fun allies to a Troll because when they get bored a favorite game among Trolls is Goblin Tossing. This is a contest between two or more Trolls to see who can throw a Goblin the farthest, or sometimes throwing them into a wall like a game of darts. While fun for Trolls it isn't as fun for the Goblins involved.



Trolls predominately dwell in rocky areas such as mountains, ravines, caverns, gorges, and the bases of cliffs and large hills. These types of places are well suited to support the immense size of Trolls. It is usually set up near a crossroad, bridge, or mountain pass where they can extract outrageous tolls or humiliating deeds from all who wish passage. The locations are selected because they are sturdy, can be easily defended, and travelers cannot easily go around without the Troll's permission. Fair miners, they are known to carve large tunnels and caves into mountains or large hills for better positioning.

These lairs tend to be inhabited by a solitary Troll, but sometimes two or three may be found in a single place. Exceptionally large lairs can have larger communities, but it is a true rarity to exceed 30 members. This is not only because Trolls are so few in number but also because Trolls have trouble getting along with each other in large groups. 30 Trolls in the same area is asking for trouble and they are likely to soon turn on each other unless a strong leader can keep them together and keep the peace.

In addition they often have a handful of Kobolds or other underlings with them. A single Troll can maintain having up to eight Kobolds in their lairs or half as many of any other race. The underlings must be careful around the Troll, living in almost constant fear. They mainly cater to the whims of Trolls because they know Trolls can be easily angered and prone to sudden acts of violence with lethal results. This can serve them well and keep them safe from others, but can also lead to considerable pain if there are no outsiders to vent the Troll's rage. Only Kobolds are spared their wrath.

Finding enough food for a Troll lair can be another problem. Trolls eat five times as much as an adult human, and with large clans the upkeep becomes increasingly difficult. The act of hunting is typically put upon the underlings, but a Troll is not above doing it personally. Common meals will include humanoids, with Gnomes being a delicacy that is hard to let pass, as well as food taken as payment for passing near their lairs. It is important to keep in mind though that despite popular belief most Trolls are not cannibals, at least no more common than any other race. Most people figure that since Trolls eat humanoids they are cannibals, but most Trolls don't eat their kind, only other races. This can include their underlings.


Trolls and Treasure

Almost as legendary as the greed of Dragons is the greed of Trolls. The only reason Troll greed is not as well known is due to the fact they can never amass the fortunes of an adult Dragon. This is due to shorter life spans and a noticeable difference in power. Without these factors their greed may be considered equal to that of a Dragon or even surpass it, if such a thing is possible. Instead Trolls work with what they have and can still amass wealth that will make most drool with envy.

A Troll's wealth is measured by two things: the size of his treasure hoard and the skulls that line his lair. Treasure is gained through extortion, bribes, looting, racketeering, and payments for services rendered. This is also supplemented by underlings who are required to give a portion of their earnings to the Troll as well as robbing victims of their pranks. Skulls are obtained by killing those who have angered them, only some of them deserving, and those eaten. Most of a Troll's life is spent in search of these two items and entertaining their sense of humor, when possible both.