Archive for October 6, 2009

Trolls are one of the more interesting mythological and fantasy creatures to play around with, mainly because they are such blank slates.

While Elves are Elves (pointy-eared, long-lived, hang out in forests), Dwarves are Dwarves (short, bearded, live underground and dig up stuff), Dragons are Dragons (big, reptilian, flying and fire-breathing), it is not the case for Trolls. All Trolls Are Different as TvTropes put it. The reason behind that is because mythological they were so varied that it allows each author to put their own unique slant on them.

There are two that are my favourites – the trolls of Discworld and the trolls of Warcraft.

Discworld trolls use the more common stereotype of the big dumb troll, but not for obvious reasons. They are made of stone, with diamond teeth and silicon brains. The warmer the temperature, the slower their brains work until they can practically turn to rock in very hot weather in the daylight. In optimal conditions (ie very cold) their brains work much better and one troll, Detritus, almost worked out the Grand Unified Theory of Everything while freezing to death. Detritus is one of my favourite Discworld characters. A minor character at first, first seen working as a splatter (like a bouncer only much harder), he eventually joined the City Watch and ended up a sergeant.

Warcraft trolls are much differnet. Tall and lanky, they walk hunched over and speak in Jamaican accents, mon. They also sport tusks and mohawks, are incredible ancient and once had empires stretching across most of Azeroth, practising head-hunting, voodoo and cannibalism (though they got very good at it, so don’t need to practice anymore). The only word to describe them, as a die-hard Hordie, is awesome. And they get to be druids in the expansion – yay trolls!

I’ve been wanting to work trolls into my world for some time, but as yet haven’t found the correct form for them. I want them to be uniqueish, with my own slant on them, but not a clone of something I like. I’m thinking of folding them into the more traditional roles that elves fulfilled – forest dwelling creatures who are highly magical (which would explain their regenerative properties given the way magic functions in my setting), but obviously not looking like elves (or warcraft trolls.) Hopefully I can finalise the details before too long.