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This article is about trolls in general. For the playable race, see Troll (playable). For the language, see Troll (language).
Jungle trolls, forest trolls, ice trolls, sandfury trolls, dark trolls, and undead trolls.

Trolls (aka trollkind) are a diverse sapient race that can be found in every part of Azeroth. They are one of the very few pre-titan races of Azeroth.[1] There are several races of troll.

Trolls average seven feet in height and two hundred pounds in weight, save for two tribes, the Drakkari and the Zandalari, who tend to be somewhat larger than their kindred. As with other races, there are also scattered trolls who far exceed the normal size range. For further discussion of these outliers, consult the below section on these so-called "monstrous" trolls.[2]

Many trolls have no loyalty except amongst their own tribes, with the exception of the Darkspear tribe, Shatterspear tribe, and Revantusk tribe, the former two being part of the Horde, while the latter being allies of them. Darkspear are the playable trolls in World of Warcraft. Although the Darkspear are the weakest and smallest of all the troll races, they are the most cunning and intelligent and can still grow to rather immense sizes. For example, Darkspear Berserkers in Warcraft III were larger even than grunts.

Contents

Characteristics

Trolls are often tall, lanky, and muscular. They have both elven and orcish characteristics with their fierce fangs and long ears. Their long arms, strong legs and quick reflexes make them adept hunters. Trolls have only two fingers and a thumb on their hands, and they have only two toes on each foot. Like the tauren, trolls do not wear standard shoes or boots, although while tauren are unable to do so because of the shape of their hooves, trolls are simply more comfortable barefoot.

The forest trolls' bodies can support plant life to a limited extent due to a mutation that took place many millennia ago. A thin layer of moss will inevitably grow on the skin of a forest troll shortly after they are born, giving them their characteristic green coloring.[3] Their moss-like skin color ranges from light green to blue and purple. However, the jungle trolls' bodies are covered in a short, soft fur which cause the trolls to appear purple or gray.[4]

Although enough physical damage will kill them, trolls can regenerate grievous physical injuries at an accelerated rate, giving them a large advantage in battle. When in balance with the loa of their tribe, they are also able to regrow digits (fingers and toes). Tales abound in troll culture, however, of those blessed by the loa with extraordinary regenerative abilities, such as the ability to regrow limbs and even vital organs lost in battle. The tale of Vula'jin the Void speaks of how he regrew almost his entire body after standing in a pool of shadowflame. But just as the loa can bless, they can also curse; troll children are taught legends of those cursed by the loa, unable to heal even flesh wounds, to instill the proper respect for their patron spirits.[1]

Trolls are so well known for their regenerative abilities that alchemical mixtures, which induce regeneration in other races, are referred to as "troll's blood potions," despite not actually containing any troll blood. Real troll blood is thick enough to hold in your hand.[5] Militant tribes of trolls are efficient killers and have a strong lust for blood. Some may still cling to their heritage of cannibalism and voodoo.

Trolls have a characteristic way of speaking. Words like "yo" (a greeting) and "mon" (man) are common expressions. They speak with varying accents that resemble that of Jamaicans and Cubans. Cuban-sounding accents are more common among forest trolls.

History

In the old days of trolls, before even the Zandalari empire, the shadow hunters were the leaders of the small tribes. Over time, as trolls gathered in great cities, their influence was lessened. Despite this, the position is still a highly respected one.[6]

The Twin Empires

Voodoo Troll Priest

About 16,000 years ago (long before the night elves summoned the wrath of the Burning Legion), trolls lorded over much of Kalimdor, which was then a single continent. The Zandalari were the earliest known trolls - the first tribe from which all tribes originated. The Zandalari empire was heavily dependent on a caste system, and as time went on those castes evolved into the separate breeds of trolls. The lower castes eventually left the Zandalari Empire, and the Zandalar trolls were content to see them go, seeing them as children who would see the folly of youthful rebellion and come back begging for Zandalari approval.[6]

However, the trolls would not return. Over time two distinct troll empires emerged: the Amani Empire of the middle forestlands and the Gurubashi Empire of the Southeastern jungles. Smaller tribes lived far North in the region now called Northrend. These tribes founded a small nation known as Zul'Drak, but they never achieved the size or prosperity of the southern empires.

The Gurubashi and Amani empires held some animosity for one another, but they rarely warred. At the time, their greatest common enemy was a third empire — the civilization of Azj'Aqir. The aqir were intelligent insectoids who ruled the lands of the far West. These insectoids were clever, greatly expansionary, and extremely hostile. The aqir aimed to eradicate all non-insect life from the fields of Kalimdor.

The trolls fought the aqir for many thousands of years but never succeeded in winning a true victory over them. Eventually, due to the trolls' persistence, the aqiri kingdom split in half as its citizens fled to separate colonies in the far Northern and Southern regions of the continent. Two aqiri city-states then emerged: Azjol-Nerub in the Northern wastes and Ahn'Qiraj in the Southern desert. Though the trolls suspected that there were other aqiri colonies beneath Kalimdor, their existence was never verified.[7]

With the insectoids driven into exile, the twin troll empires returned to normalcy. Despite their great victories, neither civilization expanded much further than their original boundaries.[7] However, ancient texts speak of a small faction of dark trolls who broke off from the Amani Empire and founded their own colony in the heart of the dark continent. There, the pioneers discovered the cosmic Well of Eternity, which allegedly transformed them into beings of immense power. Some legends suggested that these troll adventurers became the first night elves, and this was later confirmed by Freya, Cenarius, and the Tribunal of Ages when asked by the legendary explorer, Brann Bronzebeard.[8]

Empires' Fall

A troll priest in art.

After their discovery of the Well of Eternity, the descendants of these dark trolls, now calling themselves "Kaldorei" in their new language, came to power. Despite the trolls' attempts to keep them from expanding their territories, the night elves built a strong empire that expanded rapidly across primordial Kalimdor. Wielding magics never before seen by the their ancestors' kin, who remained largely superstitious, the night elves had little trouble demolishing the trolls' twin empires, an act the aqir could not accomplish.

The night elves systematically dismantled the trolls' defenses and supply chains. The trolls, unable to counter the elves' destructive magics, buckled under the onslaught. The actions of the night elves incurred the trolls' long-lasting hatred and disdain. The Gurubashi and Amani Empires fragmented within only a few short years.

Eventually, the night elves' reckless overuse of magic lured the demonic Burning Legion to the world. The demons destroyed much of the night elves' civilization. Though there are no records to indicate that the Legion attacked either troll civilization, it is likely that battles took place across the breadth of the continent.

At the end of this conflict, known as the War of the Ancients, the Well of Eternity imploded. The resulting shockwave shattered the greater landmass of Kalimdor. The center of the continent was blasted beneath the sea, leaving only a small group of broken, single continents. Thus, great chunks of both the Amani and Gurubashi Empires still exist in the present day lands of Quel'Thalas and Stranglethorn (respectively). The Azj'Aqir kingdoms of Azjol-Nerub and Ahn'Qiraj have also survived in present day Northrend and Tanaris respectively.[7]

Both troll civilizations recoiled from the vast destruction of the world they had known. The trolls later rebuilt their ravaged cities and set about to reclaim some of their former power.

Wrath of the Soulflayer

The long centuries following the Great Sundering of the world were difficult ones for the troll race. Famine and death were commonplace within the broken kingdoms. The Gurubashi trolls, driven to desperate ends, sought aid from ancient, mystical forces. Though both of the troll kingdoms shared a central belief in a great pantheon of primitive gods, the Gurubashi fell under the sway of a darker one.

Hakkar the Soulflayer (not to be confused with Hakkar the Houndmaster from War of the Ancients), a darker spirit, heard the trolls' calls of distress and decided to aid them. Hakkar gave his secrets of blood to the Gurubashi and helped them extend their civilization across most of Stranglethorn Vale and certain islands of the South Seas. Though he brought them great power, Hakkar demanded souls be sacrificed to him daily. He wanted to gain access to the physical world so that he could terrorize and devour mortal creatures. In time the Zandalari helped the Gurubashi realize what kind of creature they had courted with, and both forces turned against him. The strongest tribes rose up against Hakkar and his loyal priests, the Atal'ai.

The devastating war that ensued between Hakkar's followers and the rest of the Gurubashi tribes was not well-recorded and has mostly been passed on through oral tradition. The budding empire was shattered by the magic unleashed between the angry god and his rebel children. Just as the war began turning away from the trolls' favor, they succeeded in destroying Hakkar's avatar and banishing him from the mortal world.

The Atal'ai priests were eventually driven from the capital of Zul'Gurub and forced to survive in the uncharted swamplands of the North. Within the dense ferns they built a great temple, Atal'Hakkar, in honor of their fallen god, where they continued to worship and serve him.

The rest of the Gurubashi tribes separated after the great civil war had left their lands in ruins. The Skullsplitter, Bloodscalp, and Darkspear tribes set off to claim their own lands within the vast jungles of Stranglethorn. Though a fragile peace had settled over the broken empire, rumors of a prophecy that Hakkar would one day be reborn into the world spread.[7]

The Troll Wars

Main article: The Troll Wars

One of the oldest wars in Azeroth was between the forest trolls of Zul'Aman and the high elves. High elves founded their kingdom of Quel'Thalas over ground sacred to the trolls, beneath which lay an ancient troll city. This sparked conflict between the high elves and trolls, but the elves' magic frightened away the superstitious and angry troll warbands. 4,000 years passed while the trolls plotted and schemed as their numbers grew. Finally, a mighty troll army charged out from the shadowy forests and once again laid siege to the shining spires of Quel'Thalas.[7][9]

The elves were hopelessly outnumbered.[7] Believing defeat to be imminent, the high elves in desperation sought the aid of the humans of Arathor, teaching them the ways of magic in exchange for their assistance. Together the high elves and humans stood against the troll armies at the foot of the Alterac Mountains, and used fire magic to set the trolls ablaze and prevent them from regenerating their wounds. The troll armies broke and attempted to flee, but were chased by enemy forces and eventually killed. The forest trolls would never fully recover from their defeat, and history would never see them rise as one nation again.[10]

The Horde

Mojo Masher Ven'dango, a troll rogue.

When the Horde first arrived on Azeroth the troll tribes initially ignored the orcs, but when the Horde destroyed Stormwind and was moving to destroy Lordaeron, the forest trolls saw the perfect chance to gain vengeance for their defeat in the Troll Wars. Led by the mighty Zul'jin the Forest Trolls proved to be a great asset to the Horde during the Second War and were able to successfully strike against the high elves of Quel'Thalas. However when Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer decided to launch an assault on the humans of Lordaeron instead of continuing the invasion of Quel'Thalas Zul'jin grew furious. The forest trolls ultimately left the Horde when the orcs were defeated and placed into internment camps, with the Revantusk tribe still having a small amount of loyalty to the Horde. The troll race would then return to the former policy of ignoring the Horde until the Third War.

During the Third War the young Warchief Thrall heeded the Prophet's words to set sail to Kalimdor. On the way his ships crashed landed on the Darkspear islands and his forces encountered the Darkspear tribe. After helping the Darkspear tribe against the attacking Alliance forces, all sides were captured by murlocs under the command of the Sea Witch Zar'jira. After being saved and following Chieftain Sen'jin's dying wishes the Darkspear tribe swore loyalty to the Horde.

Following the aftermath of the Third War the orcs sent emissaries to the Hinterlands to renew the bonds of loyalty with their former forest troll allies. While the Vilebranch and the Witherbark refused outright, the Revantusk trolls agreed and have become the Horde's ally.

End of the Troll Capitals

In Tanaris, Alliance and Horde adventures have launched constant assaults on the Sandfury troll capital of Zul'Farrak, leaving it a barren wasteland. [11]

In Stranglethorn Vale, the Hakkari and Atal'ai were able to successfully bring forth Hakkar the Soulflayer into Zul'Gurub, with the Gurubashi tribe quickly joining them in hopes of restoring themselves to their former glory. When word of Hakkar's presence reached the Zandalar tribe, they sent a contingent of Gurubashi high priests to stop him.[12][13] When word reached the Zandalari that the priests had been enslaved by Hakkar, King Rastakhan sent emissaries from the island of Zuldazar to recruit champions from Azeroth's many races in the hope that Hakkar could once again be defeated. The Zandalari's call to arms was answered by the proud members of the Alliance and Horde, who slew the enthralled high priests, the Gurubashi witch doctor Jin'do, and ultimately Hakkar himself, leaving Zul'Gurub but a shadow of its former glory.

Sometime after the Blood elves joined the Horde, Zul'jin ventured out of Zul'Aman and became enraged that the Troll's eternal enemy joined with his former ally. Before Zul'jin could unleash the Amani within Zul'Aman onto the world Budd Nedreck and his group entered the scene. At Budd's behest adventures entered Zul'Aman to steal the treasures within. Not only were the Amani's treasures stolen, adventures were able to kill Warlord Zul'jin. With Zul'jin dead the forest troll capital became quiet with the surviving Amani grouping under Daakara.

In Northrend Zul'Drak became under attack by Undead Scourge. In desperation to counter the Scourge threat the Drakkari trolls began sacrificing their own Loa animals god. The Zandalari went to Zul'Drak to intervene on the behalf of the Loa and chronicle the end of the Drakkari empire. Though the Zandalari were able to rescue most of the Loa, Zul'Drak is considered to be lost to the scourge.[11]

A New Troll Empire

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

The recent cataclysm has seen the Revantusk become members of the Horde who are fighting to claim the entire Hinterlands for the tribe and the Horde. The cataclysm has also seen the Shatterspear tribe end their isolationist policy join the Horde which under the command of the new Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream. The Shatterspear is not the only tribe who has seen a change in philosophy. The chaos unleashed by the recent Cataclysm has reshaped the Zandalari's philosophy about the world and the dwindling remnants of their race. A meeting is then called by Zul to discuss the fate of their people. Among those in attendance at the meeting are Vol'jin of the Darkspear, Jin'do of the Gurubashi, Daakara of the Amani and an unknown ice troll leader.

There the tribe leaders are informed that Zul'Farrak is now a barren wastelands and that Zul'Drak has fallen to the Scourge. Zul then says that the troll tribes must unite to form a new Troll Empire. He entices both Jin'do and Daakara with promises of restoring Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman to their former glory. As the other trolls agree to join the Zandalari Vol'jin begins walking away and only stops when asked if he would betray his people. Vol'jin retorts that the Horde are his people and promises to stop the Zandalari should they bring war to the land.

Knowing that a new troll empire would be a grave threat to Azeroth, Vol'jin has sent Darkspear emissaries to both Orgrimmar and Stormwind, knowing that the Horde alone can not stop the Zandalari. While Vol'jin's efforts have been able to keep the Amani contained within Zul'Aman, the Gurubashi were able to launch an attack on Stranglethorn before being pushed back to Zul'Gurub. Vol'jin's Darkspear have been able to keep themselves entrenched within both Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub, the Revantusk and Shatterspear tribes have also refused to join the Zandalari and have stayed true to the Horde.

With the aid of Halduron Brightwing's Farstriders and Vereesa Windrunner's Rangers Vol'jin and the Darkspear where able to keep the Amani hold up inside Zul'Aman. After deciding an appropriate battle plan Vol'jin personally leads a strike force into Zul'Aman and with the aid of adventures puts an end to Daakara which severely weakening the Amani even further and ends Zandalari's efforts within Zul'Aman.

However empowered by the Zandalari's offer the Gurubashi launched an all out assault to claim Stranglethorn, though with the effort of brave adventures they are pushed back into Zul'Gurub where Darkspear agents have claimed the entrance. These agents were then able to discover that Jin'do is wrestling Hakkar the Soulflayer into submission, holding him by spirit chains and stripping out his power into himself. With this knowledge they recruited adventures who ventured into Zul'Gurub and put and end to the Gurubashi leadership before freeing Hakkar who swiftly killed Jin'do. Thus dealing the Gurubashi a sever blow though and removing the Zandalari's influence, though at the cost of The Soulflayer's freedom.

Culture

Frostmane Troll

Troll hostility

Trolls are very isolated beings. Most trolls, excluding a few tribes (one such being the Darkspear), don't speak any of the common languages. Wild jungle trolls and coastal trolls are territorial and hostile toward trolls of other tribes. They are highly tribally spiritual. The center of a tribe's spirit is the tribe's priest or superior hunter.

Other than tribes such as the Darkspear, most trolls will attack outsiders on sight, even trolls of other tribes. Uncivilized trolls live all across Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. The jungle near Booty Bay in the Eastern Kingdoms is infamous for its many aggressive jungle troll inhabitants.

However Trolls willing to fight and work for travelers and armies in exchange for gold are not unknown. Arthas and the Alliance used Troll Mercenaries on a mission in Northrend (though this particularly job ended tragically for the mercenaries). The Shadowtooth tribe also assisted in defense of the World Tree.

Troll Language

Most troll tribes speak Zandali as their primary language, though some have descended so far into barbarism they have forgotten Zandali and use tribal dialects as their primary language instead.

When speaking orcish, trolls often have a strong Jamaican and Cuban-sounding accent. However, when speaking Zandali, the accent is not necessary.

Troll Names

The names given to troll children are usually of one syllable, to facilitate the addition or prefixes of suffixes (titles). Some examples of male names include Vol, Ros, Gal, and Kaz; some examples of female names include Shi, Mith, Hai, and So. Trolls do not normally have family names, though they occasionally use their tribe’s name in its place. Troll Titles The following prefixes of suffixes are added to a troll’s name to denote positions of honor or tribal status:

fon = suffix, means “loner,” or someone who has deliberately absented himself from troll society and its obligations jin = suffix, means “leader” and refers to the tribal chief or elder Zul = prefix, roughly translates to “great” and can denote a master (person) or a location (city) Troll Words Here are a few common Zandali phrases and words for which the translations have been confirmed by Blizzard, plus a few of our best guesses:

Alor = Temple or altar Antu = Guardian Atal = Devoted Juju = A fetish, charm, or amulet used by some tribes, or the power associated with a juju Kaz’kah = Death totem Mojo = A magic spell, hex, or charm, or (broadly) magic power Mon = Man Rush’kah = A special ceremonial masks used by shadow hunters Taz’dingo = Exact definition unknown; used as a exclamation of cheer Voodoo = A person who deals in spells and necromancy; a sorcerer’s spell or hex; a hexed object or charm; a religion derived from polytheism which involves ancestor worship Watha = Refers to a forest troll village Zin = Destroyer Zufli = baby witch; it is a derogatory term for female witchdoctors, but some females have taken on the title as a mark of pride

Cannibalism and voodoo

Cataclysm concept artwork.

Cannibalism is a relatively common troll practice. Several specific troll tribes have been confirmed as cannibalistic, including the Mossflayer and Vilebranch tribes. All of the currently known tribes of ice trolls practice cannibalism. Sand trolls, forest trolls, dark trolls, and jungle trolls are also frequently cannibalistic. Notable exceptions include the Zandalar and Revantusk tribes. The Darkspear tribe practiced cannibalism until they joined forces with the Horde, who forbade the practice.[2]

Not all trolls practice voodoo, but it is as widespread as cannibalism. Little is known about the emergence of voodoo among the trolls, for most tribes that possess such knowledge are unwilling to share it with outsiders. However, with the recent advent of Zandalari trolls to Yojamba Isle, many researchers have speculated that voodoo may have originated with the Zandalari.[2]

Dire trolls

A small number of trolls are strikingly larger and more heavily muscled than the rest of their brethren. Dire trolls do not have a racial distinction from the rest of the troll race. A variety of reasons might be behind this unusual size and musculature. For example, these trolls might have been altered alchemically or magically (see troll berserker). They might also simply have evolved to be larger than average. These large trolls are not regarded as monstrous by other trolls.[2]

Mummification

Displayed in many troll tribes, the trolls have mummified their deceased in the past. In all cases seen so far, the trolls have had the power to reanimate their dead. The Sandfury and Amani are such tribes.[14][15] Other races can also reanimate deceased and mummified trolls, as can be seen in Northrend, where many undead trolls are a part of the Scourge legions.[16]

Troll races

  • Zandalar trolls: These trolls stand upright and have gray skin and glowing eyes.[17] They are the progenitor race from which all other trolls came.[18][12] On the whole, they valued knowledge above all else. After disaffected trolls departed to form their own tribes, the Zandalar became the overarching priest cast for all trolls. They settled in the South Seas after the Great Sundering.[12]
  • Forest trolls: These trolls are green due to a thin layer of moss growing on their skin. They formed the Amani Empire that once ruled all of Lordaeron.[3]
  • Jungle trolls: These trolls are purple or gray due to short, soft fur.[4] These trolls formed the Gurubashi Empire that ruled the southern jungles of ancient Kalimdor before the Great Sundering.[19]
  • Dark trolls: (aka dark forest trolls)[20] These trolls have gray to black skin and are mostly subterranean. It has been theorized that they are much less intelligent than other trolls. There is no evidence that they have ever formed a civilization or nation. They live on Mount Hyjal.[21] Long ago, a tribe settled on the edge of the Well of Eternity[22] and became night elves.[8]
  • Ice trolls: These trolls have white to blue and occasionally green skin (due to pigmentation instead of plant growth, as with forest trolls). They typically have thick manes of hair. Their bloodthirsty nature forced the other trolls to drive them out and settle in the far north of ancient Kalimdor (later became Northrend) where they founded the Zul'Drak nation. Splinter tribes have moved south and begun attacking areas in the Eastern Kingdoms.[23][24]
  • Sand trolls (aka desert trolls): These trolls have coarse and cracked skin that tends to be brown or gold. They have thinner manes of hair than their brethren. They were isolated from the Gurubashi Empire by the Great Sundering in an area that swiftly became the desert of Tanaris. They have never formed an empire.[25][26]

Two other kinds of trolls are mentioned, but their validity is disputed:

History of their discovery

At one time, only four races of trolls had been discovered on the continents of the Eastern Kingdoms and other known lands. It was commonly believed by eminent scholars from Dalaran and elsewhere that these were the only four races of trolls on all of Azeroth. These included forest trolls, jungle trolls, ice trolls, and the Zandalari themselves. Alonda of the Kirin Tor strongly believed that there was a fifth race yet to be discovered based on references she had discovered in her research. Her theory was commonly ridiculed by most scholars in the world, including Medivh. It was also believed that trolls were nearly extinct, but were reappearing with the coming of the orcs.[27]

During the Third War, with the discovery of Kalimdor, two more races were discovered including the rare desert trolls and dark trolls, found only on that continent. The orcs discovered the Darkspear island trolls, an offshoot of the jungle trolls, on the Darkspear islands (believed today to be part of the Broken Isles) during their flight from Lordaeron. The Zandalari trolls were first encountered by various races when they set up an expedition on Yojamba Isle in Stranglethorn Vale in order to find allies to defeat the god Hakkar, mentioned above.

Historians and physicians generally classify trolls into four categories: forest trolls, jungle trolls, ice trolls, and sand trolls. The trolls of the Zandalar tribe are considered unclassifiable because the Zandalari are the earliest known trolls, from whom all other trolls are descended. Some debate exists as to how many categories are necessary in order to describe the troll race. Several notable authorities on the topic have chosen to specify a fifth category: namely, the dark trolls.[28] Some of the scholarly debate includes those that classify Zandalar trolls as jungle trolls[29][30] or as their own race.[18] Trolls found in desert areas are classified as desert trolls.[31] Because there is only evidence of a single tribe of the race in existence, scholars have begun to classify the race as the Sandfury trolls. Most scholars think them a small and anomalous deviation of the more common troll races[18], namely the jungle trolls. Some refer to dark trolls as dark forest trolls, implying they believe them be a type of forest troll or derivation thereof. Darkspear trolls are mainly classified as island trolls.[32]

In Day of the Dragon, Vereesa Windrunner talks about trolls: "As with elves, dwarves, and especially humans, there had existed different types of trolls. Some few spoke with the sophistication of elves — even while they tried to take one's head. Others ranged toward the more savage, especially those who frequented the barrows and other underground realms. Yet Veressa doubted that there could be any lower form of troll than the three base creatures that had captured her and Falstad — and clearly had darker designs for them."[33]

Other types

Playable race

Main article: Darkspear

In World of Warcraft, only trolls of the Darkspear tribe are playable. The Horde-friendly Revantusk tribe has a village in the Hinterlands.

Geneology

Zandalar troll

Notable

Forest trolls

Jungle trolls

Darkspear trolls

Ice trolls

Sandfury trolls

Zandalar trolls

References

Unused concept art for a female troll from WCOnH logo 16x48.png

See also