"Trollbloods" is a catch-all term refering to the five main groups of troll species inhabiting Immorean: trollkin, full blood trolls, dire trolls, pygmy trolls and king trolls. All trolls share some common physical characteristics including hairless skin which varies in color depending on their diet and surrounding climate, monochromatic white eyes, head quills and rocky growths around their arms, shoulders, backs and chins. Additionally, all Trollbloods posess incredible regenerative capabilities, which allow them to regrow lost limbs over time. Many elder trollkin shamans accredit this healing factor as a gift from their creator deity, Dhunia. However, this rapid healing requires huge amounts of nutrients to work properly which has given the Trollbloods a reputation for voracious appetites.
Though they share many common characteristics, the differences between these sub-species are still quite profound. The first and most obvious difference lies in their size. The average height of these groups is as follows from smallest to largest; pygmy trolls (about 5'), trollkin (about 6'8"), full blood trolls (about 8'), dire trolls (about 12') and king trolls (about 20'). Additionally, trollkin and pygmy trolls are set firmly apart from their larger cousins by their greater intelligence. While pygmies and trollkin are equivalent to humans and other "civilized" races when it comes to their cerebral abilities, full bloods, dires and kings are much less sophisticated and animal-like (think of a cartoon cave-man and you have a pretty good idea of how smart they are). They usually have a very limited vocabulary and are not able to understand anything more than the most basic commands. This, coupled with thier wild temperments, means that pygmies and trollkin usually treat them as little more than beasts to be used for hard labor or, more commonly, war.
Indeed, thanks to their shared ancestry and the savage nature of the full bloods, dires and kings, trollkin warlocks are able to create spiritual links with them in much the same way that warlocks of other species create bonds with wild beasts. The same basic principals which govern warlock/warbeast bonds apply to trollkin warlocks and their "warbeasts." Each warbeast posesses ingrained animalistic power which can be shaped and drawn upon based on their training and inherent nature. An aggressive full blood Axer, for instance, has the power to invigorate the limbs of itself or another trollblood warbeast to increase it's speed. A defensive full blood Bouncer, on the other hand, develops the ability to anchor itself to the earth and become essentially and immovible object.
The Trollbloods have not traditionally been a unified people. As war rages between the various kingdoms of Western Immorean, however, numerous trollkin and pygmy villages (or as they call them, "kriels") have become caught in the crossfire leading many of them to band together to form the United Kriels. Under the leadership of notable trollkin like Madrak Ironhide and Hoarluk Doomshaper, the United Kriels seek to carve out a permanent, safe home for themselves which will be recognized and respected by those around them. This is not an easy task, however, since most lands have already been claimed by kings or other savage factions littering the landscape; none of whom are willing to give up even an inch of ground without a fight.
History of the Trollbloods
Trollkin - Pygmy Trolls - Full Blood Trolls - Dire Trolls - King Trolls
The most numerous species of troll. Trollkin stand roughly between six and seven feet tall and have moderately good regenerative capabilites; they can regrow lost body parts over a period of months depending on the size of the lost limb. Trollkin collect themselves into tight family groups of immediate blood relatives (and honorary blood relatives who undergo the kulgat blood-oath) called kiths which then group together into villages called kriels. Trollkin, like all Trollbloods, can be found living all across the Iron Kingdoms. The biggest trollkin populations, however, are in the northern mountains of Khador, the Thornwood and the Gnarls. Trollkin have always had precarious relationships with the other sentient races in the Iron Kingdoms (espeically humanity) and the recent wars have prompted many kriels to unite with each other for mutual protection against the various armies which threaten to encroach onto their territory. These alliances have gathered together thousands of trollkin, mostly under the banners of Madrak Ironhide and Hoarluk Doomshaper, to create an informal coalition which is quickly coming to be known as "the United Kriels."
Notable Trollkin of the United Kriels
Madrak Ironhide - An albino warlock and the most influential leader of the United Kriels and wielder of the cursed axe, Rathrok.
Hoarluk Doomshaper - A powerful warlock and Dhunian shaman whom was the first to tame Dire Trolls and the Mountain Kings.
Grissel Bloodsong - A fell caller and warlock whom is Ironhide's trusted confidant and second in command.
Borka Kegslayer - Warrior-shaman hailing from the frozen north. He is reknown for his debauchery and martial prowess.
Captain Gunnbjorn - Former Cygnaran trencher captain who defected to the United Kriels and is trying to modernize their forces.
Grim Angus - Former bounty hunter whom now uses his skills and magic to scout for the United Kriels and provide intelligence.
Calandra Truthsayer - Dhunian shaman with powerful ablities of forsight.
Jarl Skuld - A warlock of ill-repute, who now barters favors with the United Kriels in order to keep himself and his warband alive.
Janissa Stonetide - A skilled stone sorceress who uses her magic mostly to disrupt her foe's movements.
Horthol - A former chieftain whose kriel was destroyed by Cryxians. He has since joined the United Kriels and discovered his potential as a Long Rider.
Skaldi Bonehammer - A notorious, but deadly, Champion and ocassional rival/drinking buddy of Borka Kegslayer.
Horgle Ironstrike - A budding warlock and experienced smith whom specializes in fire magic and prefers to use Pyre and Slag trolls.
Full blood trolls stand between eight and ten feet tall on average and are much less intelligent than their trollkin cousins. Their regenerative abilities are, however, much better than trollkin; they can regrow lost limbs within a matter of days provided enough food. They also band together into small communities consisting of a few individuals, though it is more common to see them living in kriels alongside trollkin, where they are better fed and can be trained to fight alongside trollkin warlocks who form parasitic links with their primitive, bestial cousins. These links, along with the oversized weapons/armor and food trollkin provide them, often cause full bloods to become quite attached to trollkin, leading them to identify them as family. This feeling is not mutual, however, as full bloods trolls are subject to a constant, aching hunger which can drive them to insanity if they do not eat often enough. This hunger can fuel indisciminate eating binges which range from eating all the food in a store house to eating the fresh corpse of a recently decesased relative. Additionally, their bestial temperment and pyschotic hunger can cause them to turn on their allies in the heat of battle, should they become sufficiently enraged.
These raging beasts have become legendary over the course of recorded history in the Iron Kingdoms. Standing between 15 and 18 feet tall, dire trolls are walking walls of muscle and sinew. The hunger that plagues full blood trolls is far worse in their dire cousins and has made any attempt to tame them in the past completely futile. Ravenously hungry at all times a dire troll will eat anything it can stuff into its mouth: animals, people and even rocks and trees are prospective meals to a dire troll. This hunger has fueled a deadly respect for these creatures who see no familial relationship with trollkin and used to terrorize them just as much as any other species. Only recently has the trollkin shaman Hoarluk Doomshaper been able to bring these beasts under trollkin control through his contact with the eldest and most feared dire troll (even other dires acknowledge his supremacy), Mulg the Ancient. After a painful bonding ritual, Mulg bestowed the sacred title of "krol" upon Doomshaper (which roughly translates to mean "not food"), allowing the elder warlock to call upon the aid of any dire troll to assist the beleaguered kriels in their fight for survival.
Diminutive full blood trolls (though, like trollkin, they do not suffer from the ravenous hunger like other trolls) that stand about five feet tall on average. Pygmies have not performed any great deeds or made any accomplishments worthy of being recorded by history and until recently were disdained by their trollkin relatives for being uncouth and barbaric. Pygmies are more intelligent than full bloods; apt to create handmade items and have a knack for hunting and ambush, but are profoundly unsophisticated. A pygmie troll is perfectly content to roll around naked in the mud all day long rather than take up any intellectual endeavors. In the past, pygmies and trollkin did not lodge near each other, but the dire present has finally brought them together in earnest. Now that they’ve been properly exposed to trollkin culture, pygmies (or pygs as they have been affectionately called) have begun to absorb it like a sponge. It is not uncommon for a pyg to begin following around and learning from a specific trollkin or other role model, picking up on their mannerisms, style of dress and even combat tactics if they fight alongside one another. The new need for laborers brought on by the recent conflicts have also brought out the pyg's potential as crafty sappers and efficient builders.
Long thought to be merely legends, the recent discovery and liberation of the Mountain Kings from their mountain prisons has radically changed the scale on which the United Kriels can wage war.
- Sub-Species: Full blood trolls exhibit hyper-adaptive physiologies which allow them to live and even thrive in nearly any environment. Other animals will either move out of or perish in harsh environments, trolls however tough it out and adapt, they will evolve and develop characteristics with which to better cope with the chosen habitat.
- Pyre Trolls live in the extremely hot and dry Bloodstone Marches, where they have adapted to the searing temperatures. They have also taken to drinking the black, tarry oil that seeps up from numerous deposits which appears key to their developing the ability to reguritate blazing balls of spittle. Immune to the flames and heat, these trolls delight in spitting on their hands before closing with their enemies to rend and burn. Amongst the smallest and stupidest of trolls, the hyperactive pyre makes up for it with sheer aggression and tenacity. Trollkin have taken to using the pyres as shock troops, where a screaming pack of blazing trolls can cause untold havoc. In addition to the oil they love, pyres also eat coal, metal, venomous vermin and charred meat. Pyres were first tamed by the fellcaller Grissel Bloodsong, who's loss over her mate triggered the release of her warlock powers. Her sudden psychic call of rage called to the fearsome pyres and they hurried to her and unleashed their full fury upon her enemies. They have since served the trollkin kriels with distinction and flaming destruction.
- Winter Trolls inhabit the freezing lands of the north, reveling in tmeperatures that would slay an unprotected man outright. They have strange powers over cold that the trollkin do not understand, being able to exhale great blasts of super cold air or lower the temperature around them to the point it can freeze a man solid. Due to a scarcity of food in the north, winter trolls create terrifying larders full of frozen victims, prefering to dine on flesh that is frozen solid. They are also the only trolls with excessive body fat, having a layer of blubber around their midsections. These trolls were brought into the trollkin armies by Borka Kegslayer, shaman of Dhunia, who during a drunken vision saw a way to save his kriel from an army of barbarian warriors. He took several ox-driven carts loaded with beer into the deepest, coldest part of the Scarsfell Forest. There he slew the oxen and waited for the smell of blood to attract the ravenous winter trolls. Dozens of the beasts flocked to the site and gorged themselves on meat and beer and Borka was able to take command over the inebriated creatures. He led them into battle against the barbarians and emerged victorious. Since then the winter trolls have submitted to the trollkin warlocks and march with them to war and food.
- Slag Trolls are perhaps the greatest troll menace to civilization. These beasts developed in volcanic and barren regions and subsisted on a diet of rocks and minerals to sustain themselves. Their taste for metal is insatiable and the plethora of metal items, machinery, armor and weapons that human civilizations posses make them unavoidable targets. To digest the volume of rock and metal they consume on a daily basis, the slag trolls developed powerful stomach acids and saliva. They are capable of spewing these acids at their enemies, weakening and eroding their armor and begining the digestion process early. Despite the power of these acids, metal shards puncture their stomach lining and are pushed outwards by the trolls regenatative flesh. They eventually punch through the skin and form an armor of metal nodules and spikes across the beasts arms, shoulders and back. The constant pain of the shards combined with their poisonous diet makes the slag trolls the orneriest and dimmest of a dim breed. Whenever the kriels feel they may face the warjacks of the Iron Kingdoms they bring the slag troll to render the humans fancy machines into so much melted metal.
- Swamp Trolls are perhaps the most unusual of all the troll sub-species. No one knows how they developed or how they gained the abilities they posses. As their name usggests they live in marshy habitats, prefering stagnant pools and dense vegetation. Superb ambush predators, the swamp trolls have taken to camaflauging themselves with leaves and mud, and their skins are usually a mottled green color to help them blend in with their environment. These steps to remain unnoticed have had some unforseen effects, such as the clouds of buzzing insects that appear to enjoy clinging to the muddy hide. Swamp trolls are also excellent swimmers and stay submerged for extended periods. The biggest difference between them and other trolls is their tongue; they can shoot their tongue out to five times their body length. The strength and stickiness of the tongue allows the swamp troll to snag unwary humanoids and the incredible gape of its maw allows it to swallow them whole. Even creatures as large as the troll can be jerked into close proximity by the strength of the tongue, where they can smashed by the trolls large fists.
Trollkin are related to all the other species of troll: the pygmie trolls (aka pygs), the full-blood trolls and the dire trolls. All trollbloods descend from Dhunia. They all share a bond of blood, instictively understood even by full blood trolls. In trollkin this reaches a sophisticated cultural level, with strong ties to family and relatives binding them together. The greatest honor that a trollkin can bestow upon another is the kulgat blood-oath, there by making them an actual member of their bloodline. The kulgat causes an actual change in the reciepient's blood (even non-trollkin) that other trollkin will be able to recognize by scent and taste (Yes, a trollkin will pick you up and lick your arm). In full blood trolls this blood bond is more basic and instinctive, with families sometimes gathering together to form a small tribe. They have adopted the trollkin tradition of tattooing symbols to mark their bloodlines using highly toxic plant dyes and branding them into their flesh. The combination creates relatively long lasting tattoos (i.e. a couple of months) that other trolls can recognize and respond too.