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Tam's Species: The Trolls. Lore and history. (Warning; Textwall)

(I hope this is the right Category to put this in. sorry if it's not.))

Hello everyone and welcome to this humble little thread of mine. Why am i making it? Because I’m bored, and i want to tell you all a little more then you may know about my personal custom race; The Trolls.

(Can't put images in for some reason, so have links.)

Typical Male Troll  Typical Female Troll

(In minecraft fashion because that's where i started roleplaying these guys, sorry.)

For a bit of context, long long ago i played Trolls in world of warcraft, and quickly realized i loved trolls of all kinds. I love warcraft trolls, homestuck trolls, those little troll doll things, i even thought the trolls of lord of the rings were pretty neat. So i decided to make my minecraft skin a troll based on the more traditional “large and green” Trolls you would see in D&D and the like. Fast forward many years later, and i join lords of minecraft as a member of the Netherward, where i really began forming the history of my species, and branching off from what most other stories say about them. You may know the Trope: “Our Trolls are different.”

SO ! That brings us to my Trolls today. They are designed in such a way that i personally feel they would fit in well with the Urelms universe. However they can be used anywhere with relatively little tweaking. So let us begin!

Long long ago, before the birth of magic. The great-great-great-great 10^88th power great ancestors of the Trolls were simple starfish, feeding off of Algae in the shallows of the ocean. With long days, short nights, and the magic of two sun gods, very little ever changed about them. While they were not protected by the Dragon's magic such as the Elves and Highbears, there was a relative air of very little change back in the time, so things were more or less consistent. At best you would get one starfish of a different colour then the others, but even that did not last in the species. The creatures mainly existed to populate the world and assist the ecology. The starfish ate the algae, and were in turn eaten by fish or birds who would sing pleasant songs to the elves. And all was good.

Then came the birth of magic, and then came great change to the realms. With one sun gone, and much shorter days, the Algae had less sunlight to feed off of, and began gradually growing closer and closer to the surface of the water, trying to get as close as possible to the remaining sun just to feed. The starfish in turn followed, inching closer to the surface of the water to feed on their food of choice.

Eventually the algae breached the surface of the water, clinging to rocks and cliffsides, surviving by the spray of the splashing waves and the massive influx of sunlight above during the day. The starfish in turn had to adapt, slowly crawling up onto those same rocks and cliffs, feeding on algae, and retreating back to the ocean below. Those starfish who could survive longest above the surface would in turn receive more food, allowing them to procreate more often, thus allowing their offspring to in turn survive longer on land.

This cycle continued again and again, eventually resulting on starfish who could survive almost completely on land to feed on the algae. This was not without it's consequences however, as the starfish soon found itself a new predator in various birds that patrolled the skies, no longer needing to dive beneath the ocean waves to get at the starfish. Yet more generations later, and some starfish began twitching their larger limbs in response to the presence of the birds. Sometimes this could scare them off, and the starfish would live another day. Soon these twitches became outright flailing, scaring off the birds even more often as the starfish spasmed along the ground. Later the species discovered this muscle spasming could be used as a form of primitive movement, and were able to use it to travel from one point to another much faster then before.

Many more generations later and the starfish had vastly refined this process, using four of their original five limbs as makeshift legs, “Walking” along the ground at speeds their ancestors were never capable to comprehend. With the Podia (the tiny little fligella-like legs starfish move with) now obsolete, they shrank in size, and lay vestigial beneath the creature. With the fifth limb not utilized as a leg, it slowly began to shrink in size over the generations, while the “mouth” of the starfish, which was typically in the center of the creature's body on it's underside, shifted towards this fifth limb, forming a basic “head” and allowing it to eat without flattening itself on the ground and exposing itself to predators.

Many things changed over many more generations. Clusters of nerves formed in each limb, forming primitive brains that powered and guided the creatures. A skeletal system of dense muscle took shape in it's core, allowing to to stand taller and stronger, the vestigial podia migrated to what was now the “Back” of the ancient Trolls, forming makeshift hairs, and light-sensing patches of skin developed on the “head”, eventually evolving into a form of eyes, with yellow Scleras, and large pupils that varied in colour from light blue to pitch black, with no visible irises.

With many other changes i don't quite have explanations for at the moment, the Trolls grew into tall, eight-foot tall humanoid shapes. Featuring large noses, teeth made of dense Keratin, a skeletal structure of dense muscle tissue, five primitive brains, and a unique ability to regenerate missing limbs, bodies, or even heads that has served them well through their evolution. Birds are no longer a problem for the large invertebrate humanoids, and the algea they once ate is a thing of the past. At some point long ago, the creatures began to migrate further and further away from the ocean their ancestors once called home, and they now live deep in a vast desert, setting up a small kingdom nestled between large sand-covered desert mountains, which they have aptly named “Trollplace”.

As one can imagine, Not many people travel out into the middle of the desert and survive. Sometimes Trolls would go out exploring and find the bones of those who never made it to a source of water, and would take them back as prized treasures. Not having Bones, Trolls had no idea what they were or what they were for. Any time the Trolls DID see another sentient race such as Elves or Dwarves travelling the desert, they would often shy away and attempt to remain hidden, not knowing what exactly those creatures were.

It wasn't until a group of Greenskin Goblins were traversing the desert, a tribe, or perhaps just some merchants (the details have been lost to history) that the Trolls made themselves known. Being traditionally green in colour themselves, the Trolls likely mistook the Goblins for lost children, and attempted to help and care for them. After some difficulty dealing with the Troll's lower intelligence, it was established that the Goblins were in fact, not Trolls. But the assistance was not lost on them, and a quick relationship grew between the two species. Trolls, being large, strong, intimidating, and unique in the sense that they liked the Goblins (even seeing them as people) quickly became friends of the Goblins, often serving as bodyguards and protectors. While Goblins in turn were seen as intelligent, skilled craftsmen, and even cute by the Trolls. Goblins were adept in technology and able to navigate smaller spaces Trolls couldn't normally reach, allowing Troll society to advance by several steps due to their friendship. To this day Trolls and Greenskins remain close friends, relationships between the two are not unheard of, though are unable to produce any offspring together due to their vast biological differences.


Biology:

Being untouched by Gods and magic, and instead developing through the strange process of Evolution, Trolls have a very unique physiology. As mentioned before, Trolls do not posses a normal skeletal structure of Bone. Instead they posses one crafted of dense muscle tissue. This allows Trolls to be much stronger physically, but often much more fragile. Limbs and heads are easily cut off, removed, torn away, or damaged in some form. Fortunately, they posses the unique ability to regenerate naturally from such wounds. Should an arm be torn off or damaged, it will gradually grow back over the course of a few weeks provided the Troll has eaten well and had enough water. Even if a Troll has not eaten in several days, it may still likely grow back, as each Cell in a Troll's body is designed with a large reservoir of stored energy, able to release this energy to speed up the regenerative process. This likely would not be possible should Trolls possess Bones of any kind, as one can not re-grow Bone anywhere near as well as one can muscle and flesh without magical intervention. Due to this lack of bones however, Trolls can never be turned into Ageless. Simply dying from causes such as a Thrall or Golestandt's breath, and witnessing no effect from situations such as the ritual performed by Bopen's pirate crew.

Due to their unique ancestry, Trolls do not posses any one singular brain. Instead they posses five “Proto brains”, Clusters of Nerves and graymatter that also serve as muscles. These brains are spread throughout the Troll's body, one in the head where a normal brain would be, as well as one in each shoulder, and one in each thigh. Due to not being required to move a limb, the Proto-brain in the head is as per usual the most important, possessing a majority of the memories, as well as sending instructions to the central torso and other four brains, who in turn send instructions to their respective limbs as well as the torso. So long as at least one of these brains is wholly intact, the Troll will be able to regenerate from most any wound, this includes the brain and it's respective limb being severed from the body. Should a Troll's leg, arm, or head be chopped off with it's proto-brain intact, and a sufficient amount of stored energy available, then a wholly new Troll will begin to grow from the remains. This new Troll will be an almost exact clone of the original Troll, growing to match the physical age, sex, and maturity of the original, and possessing nearly identical DNA, some mutations may occur due to the process. Generally, any Troll born without the original Head-brain are considered copies, while those who regenerated entire bodies from just a head are considered the original. Trolls created via regeneration by a bodypart other then the head are typically given the pseudo derogatory term of “Genner” for Re-generated. This is not how Trolls reproduce however, it may be useful on occasion to quickly populate an area, but the process is painful, and will only produce Trolls of the same sex and age. So an elderly male Troll populating a city with his Genners will do little more then make the city somewhat productive until they all die of old age, unable to birth any new children. Genners will usually begin to develop their own personalities and thoughts after creation, as not all of their brains posses the same neural connections as the original.

Somehow, and I’m not quire sure how yet, but SOMEHOW, Trolls posses non-central air and blood circulation. Just because i can't quite figure out how a head or an arm would be able to survive without flowing blood and oxygen intake. So somehow the blood flows without a heart, and air comes in without lungs. Best idea I’ve got so far is that instead of sweating, they have a series of small air-tubes that pump air into and out of their skin, pushing warm air our and pulling fresh air in to cool them off. Maybe that somehow helps them breathe, i dunno. If you have ideas let me know. However, While in Dwarves and elves (coff coff real life humans) Blood is red and iron-based, Trolls instead have a strange greenish-yellow blood that uses Salt in place of Iron, As Starfish in the real world use seawater as blood, somehow that was refined and turned into a more closed system, somehow using a salt-based blood. No idea how that works either.

Culturally, it is considered Taboo for a Troll to show it's ears under any circumstances. As such, Trolls will take to covering their ears in often elaborate fashion. Either simple or decorated headscarfs made of silk or cloth, or by merely growing their hair long and allowing it to hang over the side of their head. This is mainly because i have no idea what Troll ears look like. Best guess is that they are just holes in the sides of their heads, and keeping them covered helps prevent sand from getting in there.

Troll with Decoritive Headdress to cover ears

Due to their lack of full brains, Trolls are not very intelligent overall, still using primitive tools and methods years after they should have advanced. Creative Trolls are quite rare, and rarer still are those able to invent anything of value. What helps spare them of an existence of stagnation however are the rare occurrence of “Seers”. Seers are very rare Trolls born with an extremely recessive gene or mutation that gives them enhanced intelligence capable of rivaling that of most common Dwarves. It is almost impossible for any group of Trolls to have more then one Seer at any given time, often hundreds of generations will pass between individual seers. In the time that they are around however, the Seers will often inspire great growth and change into the Trolls, their vastly enhanced intelligence allowing them to invent new tools, guide new policies, or even wield magic, something that is very challenging, if not impossible for a vast majority of Trolls to accomplish. Seers will often grow up to become scribes, archivists, scholars, chroniclers, politicians, any position of power they desire is all but guaranteed to them due to their importance in Troll culture, and the simple fact that they are much smarter then their common kin. Being so intelligent is not without it's downsides however, as many Seers often feel alone even among their own kind, intelligent conversation with another being often reserved for members of other races, should one ever arrive. To help ease the pain of future seers, it has become tradition for Seers to record their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and advice on any challenges they may have met onto books, tablets, or walls. All for any future Seers that may arise to someday read and learn from, knowing that at some point in the past, someone else knew exactly what they were going through.

As mentioned before, the Podia (the tiny tentacle-like leg things Starfish use to move around) eventually became hair for Trolls. Troll hair is most often located in the chest and head area. Unlike normal hair which is dead tissue growing out of the skin, Troll hair is still alive and growing, consuming nutrients from the body. As such it may grow much faster then hair of other races, it is also much thicker. Fortunately this hair does not have active nerves inside of it, so cutting it will not give the Trolls any form of pain, it also does not grow in places such as the nose, ears, or face, so it will not prevent the intake of air, food, or sound.

I have no idea what Troll genitalia would be like, I’d like to think it would be at least somewhat similar to humans. Troll females also have breasts because i want them too, they probably produce some kind of milk, they seem to have evolved to mimic mammals to some extent at least so why not. Aaand, as i mentioned before, their teeth and tusks are dense keratin, which is the same stuff your fingernails are made of. So they often need to file down their teeth to prevent them from getting too large. Troll tusks are however the toughest material on their body, being not made of skin and muscle. Many early tools were likely made using Troll tusks and teeth. I'd like to think that Troll lifespans would be shorter then or roughly as long as humans, but with the whole regeneration thing well... just look at Wolverine... yeah...

Soo yeah! Those are my Trolls! Met a guy in lords of minecraft named LordOfAllCows who also played a troll (i think even based off my skin.) so we talked and expanded on Troll lore a bit. He made a couple of Troll races himself, the first kind being smaller, stunted Trolls who were taken away from my main group of Trolls by Dwarves and selectively bred to be shorter and more Dwarf-sized, allowing them to fit into Dwarven caves and mines, serving as a docile slave-race for the Dwarves. Eventually one of these Mine-Trolls lead a revolt (likely a Seer) and escaped with a group of these Mine-Trolls to a hidden area in the mountains where they now live in freedom.

The second race he made were dubbed the Stoneskin Trolls. Essentially a meteor or something landed somewhere around a group of Trolls, and they started living in and around it, using it's stone and metal in their everyday lives until their bodies began to produce or emulate the stuff, like it had infected them and re-written their genetic code or something. The Stone was dubbed Trollite and had dark-magic properties, and the metal was Trollanium with earth-magic properties. That's about all i know about those two however.

Sorry this thing is so long, but i was bored and waiting on a guy to play magic the gathering, and he never showed up, sooo i wrote this instead! :P Let me know what you guys think! Any Questions? Comments? Concerns?

EDIT; IT'S 11:30PM. no idea who's going to read this. XD

Comments

  • I find your dedication to the lore and flavor of your custom race, admirable. I do have a question, and please forgive me if I overlooked this. But. Seeing as the trolls have a non centralized nervous system and brain. How do you kill them? As you mentioned, decapitation wouldn't necessarily be a fatal wound. They could still fight. So how do you envision this happening? If a bolder falls on a troll, does the troll die? Could a troll seer build an army with magic and by cutting his tribe up to double their numbers? That'd be a really cool final boss.
  • edited August 2017
    @CongenialVirus

    Very good questions! makes me think of some things i proooobably should have put into the big post above, but it slipped my mind at the time.

    The most obvious way to kill a Troll would probably be a damaging blow to each of the five proto-brains, if all of them are too severely damaged, the Troll is dead. Beheading could still be a good tactic however, as i'd imagine since the brain in the head is more important then the others, the body would fall limp from a lack of orders / senses / consciousness and the head would likely also go unconscious to prevent itself from spending too much energy, it'll need a lot to grow a new body after all. I'd imagine the wounds would quickly heal shut on both, so blood loss wouldn't be an issue. So decapitation would still be a viable strategy for them, but if you just left them at that you'd get at best one new troll from the body, and two new trolls out for revenge if both head and body can get back up.

    i get the feeling that if a troll was decapitated, or it's head-brain destroyed the body would fall limp, but might still have some semi-form of consciousness. Though that might not occur until after the wound has healed shut. it would probably be able to sense what's going on around it by touch alone, and an arm might even be able to reach up and swat a bug that's biting the torso or another limb, but i doubt both arms and both legs would be able to stand up and start punching the air, they probably rely on the head-brain to co-ordinate themselves, and only have limited if any ability to send messages to other limb-brains directly.

    edit; Forgot to put this in originally, but the usual Troll weaknesses of fire and acid still apply, as they cauterize wounds and prevent them from healing properly. so you could also decapitate or cripple a troll, and then set him on fire or throw him into an acid pool. Sufficient blood loss would also do it, but that would require a lot of consistent wounds, as they would close rather quickly.  might be a way to cauterize an arm-stump and then stab it in just the right way so that blood pours out but doesn't heal properly. /edit

    A boulder falling on the Troll would most likely kill it yeah, particularly if it destroyed all five brains. If a limb or the head managed to survive the crushing however and was poking out from beneath the bolder, then it's possible it would grow itself a new body over the course of one or two weeks.

    A Seer COULD probably build an army, and cutting up Trolls IS a viable way to do it so long as you give them time to rest and eat up between regeneration. but Typically Trolls are fairly docile and non-aggressive. if an aggressive Seer was born then they could probably lead them to war though.

    this is the problem with being the only one who knows everything about your species. you keep missing small details that other people probably don't know :P
  • Very good feedback. I could see this becoming something that GM's allow in their games. But one more interesting interplay. What about Porc juice? I have a vague recollection that porc vomit is acidic. If a porc tried to eat a troll, would that mean the troll can't regenerate? Similarly, porcs could reason that a troll needs to go into the porc pit. If porc vomit is damaging, surely a porc birthing pit would be catastrophic.
  • Nice lore! I like the idea of them being originated from starfish, very creative. Just a question, can they control their hair as it is alive or is it solely fast growing?
  • @Javo probably just fast growing. tbh there isn't really much reason for the hair to be alive other then needing an excuse for them to have hair in the first place since they aren't mammals. so i decided to go with the idea that their hair is just the remnants of the little legs starfish have.

    @CongenialVirus i'm pretty sure if Porcs tried to eat anyone it would be catastrophic :P
  • @TamTroll can any of your trolls use cloaking? I imagine some form of cloaking would be useful for a less then average intelligence race in which hid for such a long time. And unless I'm thinking of just octopus, I believe some starfish can camo. Thoughts? 

    Either way mate, this is probably the best custom race I have ever seen. And I hope @Rob sees this and likes your scruff and finds a way to bring 'em in to URealms.
  • @Viizko i've never really thought about camouflage to be honest. i suppose it could always be possible for a troll to be born able to change it's skin colour, but i think i'm more of a "they're all just shades of green" kind of guy myself.

    as awesome as it would be to get them included into the canon lore (i call 0.00001% of all income made when they are on air! /joke) i really doubt that would be the case, from what i'm aware at least rob seems to be the kind of guy who enjoys making up lore on the spot. i highly doubt he'd ever want to contact someone and ask "hey yo how does this work?" when they aren't even a part of the show :P 

    Honestly i just hope some different kind of Troll never shows up in the canon that vastly different traits then my own. if they do then i guess i just gotta revoke the whole "they're made to fit into the urelms world" thing.
  • I have a question, are seers the result of all brains working together better or how are the more intelligent? The reason I'm asking is because if it's just that each brain is smarter, couldn't a seer theoretically create numerous clones of themselves to improve society? Also, to limit the issue of trolls mass cloning you could say that brains don't regenerate, so there can at most be 5 of the same individual.
  • @Javo

    Honestly, i don't know with Seers. i mainly just took the idea from the old Animorphs, as Seers were also a thing with the Hork-Bajir species, every so often one would randomly be born more intelligent. i liked the concept, so i used it myself. it could be that all five brains are smarter? But if it was, it would probably be reliant on the head-brain, so Genners made from Seers would only be average intelligence. No matter what the cause, it'd probably be ruled in some way or another that Genners from seers are average intelligence, if only because otherwise would be defeating the point of Seers to begin with.

    And nah, brains do grow back so long as at least one is okay.  the downside is that you'd only get maybe two generations of Genners at best without feeding them, the more clones you make, the more mouths you've got to feed. Plus the process is still excruciatingly painful, maybe only slightly less painful then a human attempting to go through the process if only because Trolls don't have bones to worry about. Going about chopping themselves up to make more trolls isn't really going to be something they do out of boredom.
  • @TamTroll
     I like how they just didn't poof into the realm by the work of some god(not saying that is a bad thing just that its different from the other races) and actually slowly evolved. Though that does bring up the question of the religion of the trolls. Do they worship the Dragon Aspects, or do they worship their own Pantheon of Gods/Spirts, or are they simple atheists?  
  • @MrPagan_1517

    i'm not sure if they exist in urelms, but in other settings i like to have them worship world trees, giant trees that just reach into the sky and maybe have some mystical properties. or maybe just trees in general. they live in the desert so they don't see many trees.

    Don't think it's a heavy thing for them though, they don't revolve their lives around worship or anything, maybe the odd prayer to ancestors or tree spirits or something, but not much more.

    Might depend on what the Trolls know. If a Dragon of any kind showed up they could potentially be worshiped as a god, Trolls aren't very smart, so i would imagine it could be fairly easy to convince them a significantly powerful / awe-inspiring being / object is a god. 
  • @TamTroll ; hey do you mind if i base the trolls in my campaigns on yours?
    I expanded on them a bit, so i wont be directly copying you.  and if you want a urealms group to join me and my friends are open to more people.
  • @eyes_of_the_universe sure to both, sounds like fun :U how often do you guys play?
  • edited September 2017
    @TamTroll ; our main gm hosts anytime from weekly to monthly, but I am starting to host for the group and one other guy (all in a connected universe) so there should be a game every week or every other week.  we use discord, so if your interested send me your discord tag.
  • @eyes_of_the_universe ahh.. more of a teamspeak person myself, don't really have a discord sorry :P 
  • edited September 2017
    I will be honest. I haven't read through most of the lore. but I'm in the mood to draw so mind a succinct description of their appearance? I like the idea of the evolution of starfish, and I have teh cover your head idea banged in. Any other distinctive features I should try to include?

    Current Drawing : Used a weightlifter as a model as I'd think the evolution would leave them with a thicker set of limbs. Has a Ghutra covering the head. Chose it because they live in the desert and it could be dampened to simulate their old underwater environment.


  • edited September 2017
    @Minion  ooohh very cool! Here's an image of my personal Troll Tam (Drawn by Meganzoor) for reference if you need it. It's not so much "cover the head" as it is "Cover the ears", but your guy definitely looks cool with the Ghutra :P

    For a (hopefully) brief description; Eight feet tall, typically green skin, Tusks on lower jaw going upwards, Yellow Sclera (Whites of eyes) No visible iris, but pupil is either black or some shade of blue, thick hair, keratin teeth / nails, ears always covered by something, be it headdress, hair, or animal hide, aaand...

    ...Can't say i can think of any distinctive features at the moment unfortunately, nothing that hasn't already been mentioned at least. Yellow "whites" of the eyes, inability to have scars due to regeneration abilities, keratin teeth and nails... Honestly i might not have put enough thought into their outward appearance. kinda realizing now they're kinda just tall, green humans and that's about it. not even sure if they have bellybuttons since i'm still not sure how they're born... Not sure if they have facial hare either to be honest... they can apparently get chest and arm hair according to my own Troll, but thus far none have had a beard.

    Googling Starfish shows me that a lot of them have spots or bumps organized over their limbs in cool patterns. Maybe you can think of something like that to put on his arms, legs, and maybe neck if you feel it needs something?

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