Friday, July 31, 2020

All Trolls Are The Same

4e trolls are my favorites, even if they're a lil generic

Trolls are huge, hunchbacked, hook nosed humanoids with mottled green skin and matted black hair. They rarely wear more than a loincloth and resemble big, ugly, bloated babies with premium gym memberships. They can regenerate lost limbs in seconds, and are always accompanied by a horrific stench that never comes off. They eat spools of intestines, raw onions, and soft clay, hoping in vain to fill their cavernous bellies. Trolls are surly, reclusive, quick to anger, and profoundly unkind to all things, including each other — they hate everyone, and the feeling is mutual.

Trolls exude an ungodly odor called Trollstench, a combination of everything they’ve ever smelled over the course of their long, disgusting lives. Though they do not actively mark their territory, you can always tell whether a troll lives nearby by smell alone. Because no creature with a sense of smell can tolerate Trollstench, including other trolls, trolls live solitary lives in unsettlingly silent forests devoid of bug- or bird-song. Removing Trollstench from an object requires fire, acid, and/or holy water.

early trolls look a little too much like marge simpson for my taste

Trolls have perfect photographic memories — they remember everything they’ve ever heard, seen, touched, tasted, or smelled, and can recall any detail with perfect mental clarity. This is why trolls always ask for family names first; they probably know something about your lineage that even you are not privy to, and will use this information to taunt and insult you. Despite their potential for infinite learning, trolls prefer to squander their gifted memories by harboring grudges like no other creature can. When conversing with trolls, don’t bother getting them to like you — figure out who they hate more than you, and you might be able to manufacture some leverage.

1d6 Troll Grudges
  1. A party member’s long-dead ancestor, for writing an insulting song about them.
  2. The tavern wench two towns over, for rejecting (i.e. screaming and running away from) their advances.
  3. The ruler of the nearest kingdom, for decreeing that all trolls be slain on sight.
  4. A faerie lord, for cursing the troll with squeaky shoes.
  5. A unicorn, for being beautiful.
  6. Another troll, probably their twin, for existing.

Trolls can also share memories by smelling one another’s Trollstench. This occurs involuntarily, as not even a troll appreciates catching a whiff of their brethren, and is the primary means by which trolls communicate their many resentments to each other. Even after a troll has been dead for many centuries, others can still learn from the lingering odor on the corpse. Those who dare to slay trolls should be careful to burn the body, as well as anything the troll might have touched in their final moments, lest they be visited years or even decades later by a mob of furious trolls, rallied to exact their cruel revenge.

Because troll culture has existed for so long with perfect retention, many of Rumenan’s oldest gods exist only in their memories. Trolls do not love these gods, but they do maintain a type of symbiotic relationship with them, trading loveless worship for divine protection. Trolls who lean towards shamanism cultivate their fair share of spells, many of which are so twisted by the troll’s influence that they resist the minds of kind-hearted wizards.

1d6 Troll-Warped Spells
  1. Lazy: The spell has an 100% chance of failure when cast by a non-troll, reduced by 20% for each wizard level.
  2. Wild: The spell chooses targets randomly when cast by a non-troll.
  3. Spiteful: The spell deals damage to its caster when cast by a non-troll.
  4. Greedy: The spell requires 10 gp of additional casting components when cast by a non-troll.
  5. Foolish: The spell never refunds casting dice spent on it when cast by a non-troll.
  6. Cruel: The spell deals necrotic damage to allies when cast by a non-troll.

"homey, don't forget to pick up bart from school"

The lives of trolls are dominated by cruelty and spite, but their nature is not entirely monstrous. Trolls are much more intelligent than common knowledge gives them credit for, and they have an insatiable appetite for gossip. They enjoy conversation even if they resent their partner, which is why they prefer to abduct live humans; a troll will probe its prey for chitchat and debate over many days before finally giving in to its hunger.

As a troll ages, it’s hatred for the outside world begins to turn inwards, manifesting in a deep sense of self-loathing. Despite their inability to feel love or companionship, they still feel the absence of these connections. When a troll’s self-hatred and loneliness reach a fever pitch, they are invariably driven to reproduce.

All trolls are male. They reproduce asexually by splitting themselves cleanly down the middle with a makeshift guillotine. Getting a clean cut takes quite a lot of trial and error, but a lonely troll has nothing but time on its hands. When the troll finally succeeds, its two halves each regenerate into an exact copy of the original beast. The “newborns” are identical in every way, and hate one another just as much as the original troll hated itself. If they fail to kill each other, the trolls will part ways to spread vitriol elsewhere. A troll’s “birth” is both traumatic and cathartic, allowing them to externalize their loathsome natures and recover some sense of self.

see what i mean?

The Northern Ugyu will tell you a story about trolls, but few will corroborate it.

All trolls are the same. They have green skin, hook noses, hunchbacks, and black hair. They are covered in boils, stink like sin, and see poorly out of their left eye. They stand 8’11” tall with their hunch (a full 11’ when stretched out), grind their teeth as they walk, and exhibit brachydactyly of the middle and ring fingers. Although they may differ in the mottling of their skin or the styling of their tangled hair, they are on the whole identical. Trolls are not a species; they are clones of a single individual.

Before the first end of the world, the old gods created a race of giants to serve them. These creatures were perfect retainers: tall, intelligent, athletic, and sociable. They were gifted with immortal bodies and minds, such that they could stand by their masters for endless millennia. They exuded the sweetest perfumes and were painted in a peacock’s array of vibrant colors, all to match the desires of their ancient masters.

This is not to say that all giants were born perfect. Many were discarded in the pursuit of perfection, deemed unfit for the heavenly courts and cast into the sea. The Ugyu believe that many of these cast-off giants lie in the deepest trenches of the ocean, where their regenerating corpses feed all manner of aberrations. Only one escaped into the wild, a deformed and ugly runt named Troll.

After the Extinction Mages brought about the end of the world, the servants of the old gods were hunted to the last man. Only Troll evaded capture, hiding in a deep swamp, his heart blackening with hatred for his people, his masters, his hunters, and soon the entire world. It was his life in solitude that tainted his immortal mind, filling it with obscenity and debasement and the disgusting nature of the world, until eventually his loathsome thoughts began to seep through his pores.

Perhaps Troll was born strange, for he was blind to the kindness of others and hyper-sensitive to their cruelties. He hated the birds for singing when he was away. He hated flowers for dying in his hands. He hated humans for hunting him, setting bounties on him, rejecting him, and so on. But most of all, he hated his own wretched existence.

And so it was that Troll cleaved himself in two, so that he could hate another more than he hated himself.

a pretty chill troll by John Bauer

as opposed to these very not chill trolls

art by Justin Gerard
imo the best monsters tell stories just by existing


  1. Infinite troll clones. Awesome.

    1. Yeah, I always wondered why trolls don't just cut themselves in half over and over to take over the world

  2. Very fun. I appreciate the grudge and warped spells

    1. Thanks! It just feels like I'm not a D&D blogger if post something without a dX table haha