An Informational Pamphlet on the Biology of the Trolls Common to the Trinity Region, or “What’s that smell?”
Greetings, adventurer! You currently hold in your hand an evaluation conducted by the Arcane Society of Trinity on the biology, ecology, and sociology of one of the most common species of giants on Faerun – the troll. The information contained herein was gathered first-hand by the members of the Arcane Society during field work, so its provenance is verifiable.
First, let us discuss the biomorphology and physiology of the common troll. Trolls tend toward nine feet tall, although with a stooped posture. Their basic body form is that of a normal biped, with a few striking exaggerations. The troll’s arms, for example, are considerably longer than the proportions of a standard bi-ped, so much so that it is advised adventurers in troll country carry spears.
At the end of the trolls long arms and legs, a naturalist will find a paradox: trolls appear to have a random number of fingers and toes. Some trolls have been spotted with three fingers or five, but most seem to possess three main digits and an opposable thumb. These fingers are tipped by wicked claws, which are direct extensions of the troll’s last finger bone. It has been suggested that the random nature of troll digits is attributed to their tremendous rate of healing, that their bodies are often so concerned with repairing wounds that the tissue itself sometimes reforms incorrectly.
Another feature common to trolls is the large proboscis. Troll noses, proportional to the rest of the face, are the largest of any biped in the realms. Inspection of troll skulls reveals this to be more than just for show – trolls have immense sinus cavities. Tests with polymorph magics indicate that trolls have incredibly keen senses of smell, much more so than canines. Adventurers would be well-advised to mask their scent when traveling in troll territory. It has been posited after a recent field encounter that trolls recognize their leaders by the troll with the strongest musk, but this ‘smellocracy’ is just a theory at this point.
Possibly the most troubling trait of troll biology is their incredibly regenerative power. Even the lowliest troll can regrow lost limbs in minutes. Through experimentation and extraction, it has been determined that the heart of the trolls’ regenerative power lies in their blood. Trolls have relatively large hearts, enormous lungs, and very extensive networks of veins. This causes the troll’s blood to have a much higher amount of air dissolved in it, powering the troll’s massive muscles and healing factor. This benefits the common adventurer, as the blood is so potent, it actually works to heal non-trolls for a short time. This blood should be used sparingly, however, as the healing is still fueled by the user’s metabolism, resulting in a need to consume massive amounts of food soon after.
The final, and perhaps most useful, factor of troll biology is their apparent widespread weakness to fire and acid. Recent experiments with troll specimens have determined that this weakness lies with the skin of the troll. Troll skin is constantly being sloughed off and replaced, giving trolls relatively rubbery, new skin over most of their body. The troll never develops a thick outer skin layer like most giants of normal biology. Coupled with the fact that the troll’s massive heart pumps huge amounts of blood through the troll’s body to fuel its regeneration, the common troll is left very susceptible to having its blood boiled or chemically polluted. Some troll blood is actually so filled with air, being near an open flame will ignite it. The troll’s advanced circulatory system actually works against it when its fluids are boiled, ignited, or tainted with acid – the damaging fluid is spread quickly through the troll’s system, resulting in catastrophic damage. The same cannot be said, however, for poisons, as the poison is quickly diffused throughout the troll’s system before it has time to act on any one organ or tissue area in a concentrated fashion.
In our field work, the Arcane Society has come across several unique subspecies of troll. Four in particular should be pointed out: the two-headed troll, the corrosive troll, the flaming troll, and the dark troll.
The two-headed troll is typically larger than its smaller cousins. It has been suggested that the two-headed variety can result from a shoulder would on a troll regrowing incorrectly. These trolls are typically very clumsy, but hideously strong. They have another defense which foils spellcasters in particular – their dual intellect. The two-headed troll is immune to spells which influence the mind, as it has two minds to draw on. Spells of charming and domination are completely ineffective against these beasts. Adventurers are advised to use spells of web and grease to avoid these trolls.
The second and third varieties can be discussed together, as the repercussions of their unique morphology are the same. The Arcane Society recently captured and killed several specimens described as corrosive or flaming. It seems these varieties of troll, rather than be harmed by fire and acid, actually produce it. The flaming variety appears to have thinner-than-usual skin, resulting in blood vessels which constantly leak blood onto the skin’s surface. This blood, being the air-rich blood of trolls, is highly combustible, resulting in a flaming troll. The corrosive variety, it has been supposed, might be caused by some sort of leakage from the troll’s stomach into its circulatory system, combined with the same thin skin as the flaming variety, resulting in a troll slick with its own stomach acids. This has not been confirmed by experimentation. The best advice the Arcane Society can offer adventurers faced with these varieties of troll is to run for water before battling the troll. Water will dampen the flames or dilute the acid. The troll can then be decapitated, allowing the adventurer to flee. Adventurers should make every attempt to retrieve the head, though, as leaving two separated parts will result in two tough trolls. Let it be known that the Arcane Society of Trinity will offer a bounty of 100 gold crowns to any adventurer bringing in the head of one such creature for disposal.
The final variety has been spotted near the Hlintar Trading Outpost. This variety, far more dangerous than any other, can only be described as a ‘dark troll.’ The Society was recently able to capture one of these specimens through the coordinated efforts of six of its members. These trolls are to be avoided at all costs. Considerably larger than their warm-weather cousins, dark trolls can easily shift a 10-ton stone block. They are also possessed of a wickedly clever intellect, rivalling that of some of the Society’s less-studious members. They also possess the wherewithal to use weapons, and have been seen using enormous scythes and battleaxes. This would seem to imply that they either have some kind of organized society, or they are being supplied. It has been put forth that they are, perhaps, the result of magical experiments, but the Society was unable to investigate the area further in a recent outing. It should be noted that, while strong, these trolls are especially susceptible to fire. Should an adventurer see one of this species, it is recommended they use any means they can to produce as much fire as they can.
This concludes the informational pamphlet set forth by the Arcane Society of Trinity, authored by Magus Grevaine, called the Blackbird. Any queries on troll biology or habits can be directed to his desk at the Arcane Society Tower in the town center of Trinity.
Grevaine the Blackbird, recruiter for the Arcane Society
Hank Stone, tinkerer and supporter of the down-trodden
Rembrask Alhavisk, not-so-pleasant mercenary