[Guide] Troll Tusks - The Darkspear Roleplaying Guide

The trolls. An ever constant presence in Azeroth, these creatures have been referred to as savage, dark, brutal and outright terrifying by many. It was only when the Horde recently allied with the Darkspear tribe that first impressions could be altered, the trolls being regarded as cunning and loyal.

Just who are the Darkspear?
Despite many assumptions about their people as nothing more than mindless savages, the trolls are a complex and varied race with a long history and role in Azeroth.
An exiled tribe, the Darkspear have proven themselves an adaptable bunch, managing to endure many threats to finally settle in with a way of life so removed from their previous traditions.
The Darkspear are entwined in troll history, while also having long been outcasts. Their allegiance with the Horde has changed their direction in a new drastic way, and shall continue to do so.
I think the Darkspear are great, don't you think so too?

The 'Guide'.
This guide has been written to provide basic information to aid in creating a troll for roleplay, and is a compilation of various bits of information from all over.
The guide is not a means to describe the "one way to be a troll", and this is partly why there is no section on personality. See the information as more of a buffet on a springboard. The history and cultural aspects can help create a backing to a character, and certain theory can be ignored or put into play as you feel relevant to your particular troll.
There are also parts of information taken from RPG sourcebooks. While having been stated to be non-canon, they still help flesh out areas that would have otherwise been left bare. These are here as speculation, or theory until direct contradiction is given by Blizzard.
Use whatever information given you want, how you want. Nothing expressed is mandatory to creating a compelling character.

Yes, yes, but how would my troll behave?
I mean it, really! If you're aware of historical and cultural contexts in your troll character, then no one can claim the character is not a troll. It doesn't matter how 'traditional' they are.

The contents of this guide are always subject to change.



1: History
-1:1: The Empires
-1:2: The Darkspear
-1:3: With the Horde
-1:4: Along comes Garrosh
2: Biology
-2:1: Appearance
-2:2: Aging
-2:3: Regeneration
3: Society and Culture
-3:1: Language and Names
-3:2: Homes
-3:3: Technology
-3:4: Raptors
-3:5: Females
-3:6: Witch Doctors
4: Spirituality and the Loa
-4:1: The Loa
-4:2: Ritual and Ceremony
-4:3: Cannibalism and Head-Shrinking
-4:4: Sacrifice
-4:5: Offerings
-4:6: Death and Burial
5: Miscellaneous
-5:1: Other Tribes
-5:2: The Accent
-5:3: A note on portrayal

"I've never been more proud to be a Darkspear. Vol'jin leads us to glory." - Morakbi, Captain of the Watch.


1: History
Troll history, and so Darkspear history, stretches back further than that of many other long-lived species who populate the planet, partly due to their being one of the original races. Rather than being titan created, the trolls have been present since Azeroth's very beginning.
Even if your troll is barely aware of its own history, ancient or recent, it can help to know what fueled them on in the past and where they stand in the political climates of today.

1:1: The Empires
The Darkspear were in fact originally part of the vast Gurubashi empire, which made its home in the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale. Their society is one of an underestimated complexity, which should not really be surprising when we consider just how long it has had to establish itself.
The Gurubashi were not the only troll empire at the beginning, with the forest troll Amani empire being their direct rival, and the smaller Drakkari tribes being perhaps the third most significant. Their history has been filled with much violence, and yet the big two did not war so frequently, instead they focused their efforts on war against the Aqir. This relentless fighting went on for thousands of years until finally the Aqir were forced to split, sending the Nerubians up north, and leaving the Qiraji to remain down south. Plenty of trolls would perhaps be very surprised to know that they had even fought off such an empire, let alone while doing so alongside such sworn tribal enemies.

The empires continued as they had been, and perhaps would have continued to do so had it not been for the emergence of the night elves. Plenty speculate as to whether the night elves simply appeared through some other means or evolved from an offshoot of exile trolls, but no matter the means to their existence the history remains the same. The Well of Eternity enabled them to rise to power, and with them they brought a magic that had never before been seen, or at least been utilised. Though phenomenal, their magic eventually brought about the Sundering, causing the former troll empires to splinter.

The Gurubashi grew desperate to regain their lost power and influence, and begun to seek out ancient gods, eventually being answered by none other than Hakkar, the Soulflayer. He granted them what they sought, but for constant sacrifice and servitude. The Zandalar, one of the most highly regarded of troll tribes, saw Hakkar for what he was. They aided the Gurubashi in driving him and his priests away; he to the spirit world, and his Atal'Ai to the swamps in the south.
Even still, the Gurubashi continued to split further, with civil war a regularity amongst the many tribes within. One of these tribes consisted of the Darkspear, an admittedly smaller and weaker tribe, who found themselves being pushed out of the jungles they called home.

1:2: The Darkspear
The exact timing of when the Darkspear were driven out of their jungle homes is difficult to truly determine, although it can be reasonably guessed that it was plenty of decades ago.
The Darkspear, now outcasts and exiles, resided on a group of islands neighbouring their former home. More fighting was to arise for the trolls, who were soon entangled in a conflict with the native murlocs.
Around the beginning of the third war, the island was strained even further by the presence of both the orcs, and Kul Tiras humans in pursuit of them. Led by Thrall, the orcs managed to gain victory over the humans, a victory that was short-lived. The Darkspears' tribal leader, Sen'jin, had a vision in which the Darkspear are led away from their constant strife by Thrall, towards a new and better destiny.
Zar'jira the Sea Witch, with a group of controlled murloc worshippers, kidnapped Sen'jin, alongside Thrall and several orcs and trolls. Thrall managed to free himself from their prison, and while able to save many others he was unable to extend this aid in time towards Sen'jin. In his final moments, Sen'jin was able to reveal to Thrall his presence in the vision, urging him to bring his people to their new fate. His son, Vol'jin, takes up the mantle of leadership and readily agrees to the new allegiance.
Escaping Zar'jira and her minions, Thrall and his orcs with Vol'jin and the Darkspear set off for Kalimdor.
From then on, the Darkspear are held in further contempt by the other tribes for these actions. This animosity is mutual, as the Darkspear never forget being driven from their ancestral homes.

1:3: With the Horde
Upon Durotar the trolls carve a new home for themselves on the Echo Isles, a string of islands just off the coast of the new orc homeland. Even here, they are not truly able to yet claim a permanent home, as their grip is strained first by a new approach from Kul Tiras, and then through betrayal from one of their own.
Zalazane, a witch doctor, uses his vast yet dark skills to take the minds of his fellows. Vol'jin sees no choice but to retreat on to the coast, setting up the village of Sen'jin. Efforts to remove Zalazane were futile. Despite sending troll, or orc, 'heroes' to the island to claim the witch doctor's head they would return fooled by decoys, or perhaps some would simply lie.

The Darkspear tended to keep towards the background of Horde politics from here, aiding them in all new conflicts that rose up. During the venture into Outland, the trolls set up a large presence in Zangarmarsh, claiming a reasonable foothold, while learning more about the magic and spiritual energies of the shattered planet. In Northrend their role in the Horde was still ever important, and constant. The trolls did not halt in honouring their new allies, even if speculation arose as to the extent of their loyalty.
It is after the events in Northrend that Vol'jin is able to renew his efforts against Zalazane, calling on help from all the Horde races old or new alike. The isles are reclaimed as theirs once again, allowing the trolls to set up a base and homeland for their novice young and villagers.

After the Shattering, the darkspear would gain a new enemy from a surprising source; the Zandalari. Hoping to gather the tribes and their leaders to recreate a new empire, including Daakara of the Drakkari, Jin'do of the former Gurubashi and members of the Amani, the Zandalari extended their offer towards Vol'jin who refused. He viewed the Horde as his tribe's true people.

"Orgrimmar be no home as long as it be under Hellscream's hand." - Vol'jin.
1:4: Along comes Garrosh
Whatever motivations Thrall had for having Garrosh be his replacement as Warchief, the influence this decision has had on the Darkspear is noticable.
Sometime after the Shattering, the Darkspear are regarded with a sort of wariness by the new Warchief. A fact that is not lost on Vol'jin, who is open in his contempt for the orc. Feeling that Garrosh is nothing more than a shallow replacement, he claims that he regards Garrosh as beneath Thrall, despite his title. He keeps a wavering connection to the Horde, though it is a Horde he fears he will see sent to slaughter.
Vol'jin had threatened to be the one to end Garrosh's life, a threat which seals Vol'jin's "fate". In a vision-induced discussion with Thrall, Vol'jin is convinced to hold on and see Garrosh's leadership through, resulting in a wavering connection to the Horde. A Horde Vol'jin fears will be sent to slaughter.
Reluctant to lead the Darkspear away from a Horde that had proven so vital to their survival just years before, he instead encourages them to be on their guard and to beware of Orgrimmar.

It is when the discovery of Pandaria is made that Garrosh's attitude to the trolls is made far clearer.
And it is no secret that he loathes them. Even if able to appreciate what they brought to the Horde before, he regards them as beneath the orcs and the tauren. As his Kor'kron and war effort extend on to the lands of Pandaria, his animosity towards Vol'jin results in the latter's near assassination.
To add insult to injury, during this time he places a lock down on the Echo Isles, enabling his Kor'kron to keep a constant watch on the trolls back home. While Thrall endeavours to halt this, he also decides to wait to see where else Garrosh may go before taking further action.
Vol'jin is lucky to survive, being brought to secret safety to the village of Binan. While here he admits his plans to chosen trustworthy Horde heroes, that he will bide his time until he is ready to make good on his threat. He will take Garrosh down.
The Zandalari are not quiet either. Continuing their work to recreate their lost empires and reclaim troll power, they ally with the terrifying mogu, working to reawaken the Thunder King.

And how much of this do our trolls know?
The history seems overwhelming in a way, but lucky you, you're going to be playing a troll! Trolls are a creature with a shorter life span compared to the likes of the night elves, and are a race that tends to concern themselves with the present. What this means is that your troll mightn't know the grand details so far back at all, and it's perfectly fine for them to not. The only way they'd know beyond their own lifespan is through stories and research, and if that concerns them is up to you.
As for present events, even if your troll might not have been told of plans or situations by Vol'jin directly, word of mouth, speculation and rumour are apparent and may be picked up on. Allow your troll to be as aware of or as ignorant of current events as you would like.


2: Biology

2:1: Appearance
Perhaps the oddest fact about jungle trolls is that their colouring is not due to their skin, but a short fine layer of soft fur. This colouring is often a range of blues, though it can also be a variety of light greens to faint lilacs.
Troll tusks are a point of pride for many trolls, with those of the males being far larger and more protruding than the fairly small yet sharp looking ones of the females. They have long hooked noses, sharp faces and ears that have an elf-like point to them.
With their heights averaging around seven foot, trolls create an immediately intimidating presence to their enemies. Lean and lithe, both the males and females also tower over most of their comrades.
While skin and hair colours may tend to be far more limited in other tribes, the Darkspear are unique for having a wide range of hair colours ranging from blondes to reds to green to black and plenty more between. Their eyes are more frequently one of the warm colours, such as yellow or orange.

2:2: Aging
If one believes the idea that the long-lived night elves were an evolution from the trolls, they might then be surprised to hear that the troll lifespan is so comparatively short.
Strangely, troll lifespans closely mimic that of the humans. It is stated that trolls are considered to have come of age at around 17, and reach their middle ages around 35. To a troll, old age is 70 and on, much like the humans. A troll over the age of 80 is considered a curious rarity.
It would be fair to say, however, that troll lifespans may be hard to truly gauge the averages of due to their long violent history. Many trolls simply have had their lives cut short.

2:3: Regeneration
Trolls are well known for their unique ability of regeneration. This impressive skill allows the trolls to heal at a remarkable rate, with some even being able to regrow lost limbs. (Except the head, although you may have heard of the tale of Kiliti No-Body, who lived a fruitful life despite his lack of everything.) It is very likely that it is the loa who bless the trolls with this power.
This skill is so notorious, that alchemical mixtures designed to create a fast rate of healing are nicknamed "troll's blood", despite having no troll blood in them whatsoever. Trolls hope.
With this, trolls may fight with a ruthlessness, relying on their natural healing ability to see them through combat. They would not be wrong, either, since it can be hard to strike down a band of warring trolls.
Unless, of course, you were to use certain poisons or fire. Regeneration will be halted immediately if a wound is cauterised.


"The poundin' rhythm of the drums drivin' you to hit harder, callin' the spirits to watch over you."
3: Society and Culture
Troll culture, even if assumed to be simple is no less complex than troll history. For the Darkspear, this complexity deepens even more with their connection to the Horde. Though their history with the Horde is relatively short in comparison, it is still important and defining.
Consider how important integration in to the Horde has been for the Darkspears' survival and direction, especially when doing so caused the trolls to change and challenge old traditions and adapt to new ways of being.
It is said that the orcs and tauren early on changed the troll's savage natures, but Darkspear deny their dark legacy. It could be that they were always capable of such ideals like restraint and kindness, but their situation as outcasts didn't allow them to express them freely until now.
Regardless, the trolls have shown themselves as complex a people as the races they now rub shoulders with under the Horde banner.

3:1: Language and Names
The troll language is that of Zandali, with it being spoken by trolls of all types. As a language it is largely syllabic, and remains a main language for the Darkspear just under Orcish. The language is named for the Zandalar tribe's isle of Zandalar, once before regarded as the ancestral home for all trolls.
Some terms:
'jin = suffix referring to either a tribal chief or elder.
'fon = suffix meaning loner, or social outcast.
Atal'ai = devoted ones. History as term adopted by Hakkar's most loyal worshippers.
Zul = prefix, a tribal witch doctor. May also be a term used for tribal villages.
Zufli = "baby witch", a mocking term for female witch doctors.

What about them names?
With their language being largely syllabic, many jungle troll names were deceptively simple. Many syllables are added to the front or end of a given name, to denote skill or status. Troll given names may be one syllable to aid this naming convention.
Trolls do not tend to adopt surnames, though exceptions are around. A surname may be adopted to signify a great deed, or could be used by families to show their bond. With many of their Horde allies using surnames, the trolls might use them to further show their Horde identity, as well as they might pick up other naming customs from their fellows.
Titles, as is the case for many races, must be earned.

Example names.
Female: Hira'jin, Torenda, Nekali, Mishiki, Jamai, Parata
Male: Sortura, Jornun, Tora'jin, Voldreka, Zansoa, Bomsanchu
Trolls with Surnames: Lar Prowltusk, Vel'rin Fang

3:2: Homes
The Darkspear trolls have clearly embraced their new place as island based peoples than that of the jungles, with their homes showing this off.
Their tribe culture is apparent, with buildings including larger risen structures that consist of two stories, and enough open space to welcome a gathering of many trolls. Such buildings might be relegated to being inns, the place of meetings or as quarters for their leadership and powerful elders.
Smaller huts dot the island, some having balconies winding around the top, though the two-story type is more frequently seen by the forest trolls. Even smaller tent-like huts are in use by the many trolls offering various services or items. The communal style life of the troll is well respected.

While having moved away from the vast stone structures of the Gurubashi, the Darkspear still show off high platforms and walkways around the island, with tiki-masks decorating the many trees and homes.
The presence of the loa is constantly felt. Plenty of statues depicting them stand proudly, constantly surrounded by many offerings of food, pelts, incenses or even skulls.

The trolls on Echo Isles raise a huge number of boar that provide a bulk of their food source. This alongside the fish that would come natural to an island nation, and the many fruits the isle provides allows them a good diet. Boar farming is undeniably another adoption from the orcish cousins.

3:3: Technology
Troll engineers certainly exist. To a troll, the invention of a machine is a far more layered formation of a talisman or trinket. Trolls may prefer to see technology as an abstract form of magic, which might surprise a good number of technomages. Troll inventions involve the use of alchemical or natural applications combined with scientific ideas. Their study can be on what the troll themselves find most interesting, and become as elaborate as they feel necessary. Claims that spirits speak new ways to harness their technology have been made by some. Trolls are the proud inventors or the dart grenade, swamp walker boots and the poison extractor.

3:4: Raptors
The Darkspear found themselves enthralled by the fierce raptors once upon the lands of Kalimdor. Considering the creatures as the physical embodiment of the hunter's essence and will, ownership of one of the tamed beasts is regarded as a prized status symbol.
One island of the Echo Isles is dedicated entirely to the creatures' breeding and growth. The Darkspears affinity and love for the animals, their island's own being the Bloodtalon Lashtail, has not been tempered even with the appearance of more impressive mounts to control.

3:5: Females
To most races, the males and females have long been fairly equal. To the jungle trolls, the situation was very different. Involvement in the Gurubashi empire and tribes would have no doubt brought certain attitudes and prejudices with the Darkspears' exile, one of which was the limitations of their women. Originally the women were unable to take on roles such as of those of a warrior, hunter or spiritual leader, with the place of witch doctor being especially sacred.
When seeing the Horde's treatment of its women, the troll females were inspired to demand their own liberation, which was also made a requirement of Thrall himself in allowing the trolls' alliance with the Horde.
It is hard to say if the Darkspear were, despite the above, already still more lenient than other tribes in regards to their women's freedoms, and after years of fighting alongside the women in the many conflicts Azeroth attracts such former prejudices may very well be diluted for many individuals.
If some lack of tolerance still exists in the hearts of some it is expressed far more subtly.

3:6: Witch Doctors
The witch doctors hold one of the more important positions in troll society. These alchemical and spiritual masters are widely respected as wise and powerful, they are shown courtesy and deference. Suspicious-minded trolls may see omens, good or bad, in many areas of their life and it is the Witch Doctors they will task with interpreting and exorcising them. A witch doctor is believed to be as major to battle as the warriors, their ritual being able to define and influence success.
A witch doctor at work can appear unsettling, especially so to the non-trolls who may see them. They pull themselves deep in to their ritual, dancing and crooning to and for the spirits of the ingredients and natural magic they use. Using a unique magic named 'juju' the witch doctor can bend and twist nature and spiritual energy to their benefit.
A more intimidating area of expertise for the witch doctor is the ability to create curses and hexes, but do not fear, their true focus is on supporting and aiding their tribes and its allies.
Constantly decorated by their ritual tattoos and trinkets, working over a bubbling cauldron, the witch doctor is a character that's pretty hard to miss.
Witch Doctor seems a good time to move on to another major aspect of troll life and society. So major, it's its own section.
4: Spirituality and the Loa
If there's anything most associated with trolls, save for their magnificent tusks, it's the in depth magic they practice known as voodoo. It is stated that the Darkspear trolls come from a dark and bloodthirsty history, and this opinion was not entirely lost on the orcs or tauren. Where the Horde did allow for liberation and survivability for the Darkspear, it also called on them to change some means in which they practiced their deep religion. Asking that the sacrifice of sapient beings and cannibalism especially be stopped, the Darkspear eventually complied. Or at least, those that still did such kept them out of view.

Voodoo itself is regarded as a form of animism, a philosophy that holds that all creatures and some objects have souls or spirits. The spirits that inhabit these are seen as individually minded as all living creatures. They are capable of being hostile, dangerous, greedy, cruel or jealous. And they can also be kind, helpful, forgiving and generous.
While immediately feared for being dark, voodoo is a divine magic that has natural ties to the loa and the spirits. The religion seems close to, but has major differences to, the orcs and tauren's own shamanism.

4:1: Loa
Primal gods, spirits and ancestors; it is these loa that are the basis of the entire voodoo philosophy. They are powerful spirits and beings that may possibly even predate the Titans themselves. Countless loa exist, many being weak, some incredibly powerful. It is not always easy to gauge how powerful they may be in the grand scheme of things, with popular theory being that the more influential of loa are more powerful than the elementals, and less so than Azeroth's own gods. No matter where they stand in the cosmic power line, the loa are mighty entities that grant their faithful extraordinary powers.
Loa are often seen in either animal or troll forms, these being the Primal loa and the most powerful. Others are shapeless, existing as, or with, the spirits and the ancestors. It is believed by the Zandalari, and various witch doctors of the many tribes, that great mortal trolls can even go on to become part of the pantheon of loa, holding dominion over one of the many aspects of nature or life upon their death - perhaps plants, animals, disease or weather.
Any troll can call on the loa, and any can perform the rituals necessary to do this. Whether the loa chooses to grant the requested wondrous boon, or inflicts a terrible punishment is part of the call, and loa may choose to 'gift' either without being requested if they see the need.
While answering to all trolls, it is the witch doctors, priests and shadow hunters who end up with the deeper connection to the loa spirits overall, and arguably so too do the trolls who perform the new druidic magic.

So who are these loa?
There are many loa who make up the pantheon of primal forces, with a different sacred animal representing each aspect. The pantheons differ from tribe to tribe, while a group of even higher loa are possibly worshipped across the many tribes.

"Bwon'Samdi be waitin' for ya... on de Other Side..."

For the Darkspear, one of their primary loa is the troll-bodied loa who guards the dead and watches the realm between life and death.
Bwon'Samdi, he who is capable of controlling the vast spirits of the dead.
The Darkspear once worshipped this great spirit before they were driven from the Echo Isles by Zalazane and his hexed victims. The familiarity with Bwon'Samdi expressed by Vol'jin can be due to his having been worshipped while the Darkspear were part of the old Gurubashi empire, or simply by virtue of Vol'jin's skills as a shadow hunter.
As Vol'jin prepares to reclaim the Echo Isles, he calls on this loa to give he and the Horde allies aid. Bwon'Samdi eventually agrees, after testing the Horde skill and loyalty. All he asks in return is that the Darkspear return to worshipping him, which they do readily. That he has a troll form could hint at his power above the primal loa.

As previous members of the Gurubashi, it is their tribal loa who the Darkspear are more familiar with. Shadra, the spider. Shirvallah, the tiger. Bethekk, the panther. Hir'eek, the bat. Hethiss, the snake. All of these loa had once chosen prophets, those who would express complete servitude to their loa.

The loa most called on by shadow hunters also influence all trolls, including the Darkspear. Their forms are assumed to be that of trolls, and their influence on the spiritual world is ancient.
Legba: Legba is the loa of speed and swift motion. He is capable of walking the bridge between worlds.
Lukou: Loa of healing and respite. Her abilities grant no power over the Undead.
Ogoun: The loa of war, the hunt and politics.
Dambala: Loa of serpents and treachery.
Shango: He holds the secrets to lightning and mayhem. Controller of the realm of storms.
Samedi: Samedi is an odd fellow. Is he Bwon'Samdi? Sure has the same abilities as that guy.

There is also Gonk. The Great Hunter. A zandalar loa, and yet it was the hidden away druids of the Darkspear that he approached and shared his secrets with. He taught these druids how to reconnect with the spirits in a different way. Rather than focus on one sort of loa, he taught them to call on all and give equal service to the many nature spirits at the same time. As befits the people he chose to share his abilities with, Gonk appears to be as much about the concepts of Balance.

Urgh, pun. Anyway, so what loa should my troll have, then?
It can be any of the loa you feel fit the troll, but here is something else to consider. Remember, "countless loa exist." As a troll RPer, you can choose to remain to the tried and true canon loa, or you can be completely free to invent one for your RP. Do what benefits you, and what appeals the most. Perhaps you can even have your troll express worship to some invented loa and some canon ones. Create them entirely from your head, or take a look at Haitian Vodou (or New Orleans Voodoo). It was those that were the inspirational basis for the in-game voodoo, after all.

4:2: Ritual and Ceremony
Ritual is an ever present part of troll life, whether so essential to the troll's way of being they perform them for everything, or to being the occasional rarity expressed when can see little other option. Ritual can draw on voodoo power, halt the vengeance of an enemy, bless a meal or kill, call on a boon for the troll or an ally or just appease the loa they feel a connection to. Troll rituals are elaborate affairs, with the important ceremonies involving plenty of stories, dancing, feasting and chanting. The participants will wear elaborate clothing, the witch doctors painting themselves and the attendees with sigils. A ceremony can be for many events; the changing of season, a birth, a battle.

4:3: Cannibalism and Head-Shrinking
It's no secret that the trolls indeed have a history with cannibalism, and yet the intent behind it has been twisted in retelling to where it has been described as nothing more than a senselessly barbaric expression of faith.
The trolls animism and voodoo beliefs extends towards their enemies, which results in the belief that the spirit of the killed could return to exact revenge. To consume the flesh means to consume the spirit's former physical host making it weak and unable to inflict injury.
Since cannibalism was immediately stopped by the Horde, the trolls moved to different methods to compromise the spirits ability to do harm. Blessings, burning the heart and drowning the corpse are frequent.

"I got a shrunken head. I just came out of the pool!", - some kind of troll comedian.

Head shrinking is another main method of closing a spirit away from possibly doing harm to the living. While the spirit leaves the body it must first move to the corpse's head, and it is here that they are trapped while trying to flee the body.

4:4: Sacrifice
Sacrifice is the most controversial of troll rituals. Originally performed on sapient species, most commonly other troll members, the Darkspear moved to animal sacrifice at the request of the Horde.
Sacrifice is perhaps the strongest method of loa appeasement that there is, and it as a ritual is not taken lightly or even performed with regularity for the most part. The spilling of blood pleases the loa, making them more likely to grant requests for huge occasions.

4:5: Offerings
It's not just sacrifice that is done to appease the loa. There also comes a more gentle form of ritual, that of the humble offering. Incense, food, pelts, writings and drawings and a vast many things are placed before the statues depicting loa, and the shrines dedicated to them. What need be offered can depend, some loa prefer certain gifts over others whereas some loa ask for something that was meaningful to the troll personally. How important and considered the offering is can define what the loa does in its thanks.
4:6: Death and Burial
The trolls believe the spirit of the enemy may linger to do harm, and this belief has been known to extend to the recently deceased. Some spirits may become jealous of the living, especially if the cause of their death is cruel or considered too soon by the spirit themselves, calling on sacrifice or offerings to appease them and allow them to move on to the other side. Trolls may cut in to their own flesh to allow blood to spill for these angered spirits. New spirits may also find an obstacle in the malicious spirits that already walk the world, the spilling of blood having a secondary meaning in distracting these malevolent beings.

Trolls frown upon cremation, to destroy the body is to cause a spirit to become adrift. So too is fire so feared for its ability to stop regeneration, that some regard using it upon the body as an insult. With the war against the Scourge, the necessity of cremation became more accepted, alongside the trolls own methods of avoiding undeath by burying the body in two or more pieces.

Trolls prefer their dead to be buried, with mummification being the chosen means of preservation. The graves are large pits where the body, having been placed into a clay pot, is sunk into the earth. Other tribes have been known to use large tombs to hold the bodies, as well.


5: Miscellaneous

5:1 Other Tribes
This guide was all about the wonderful noble tribe of the Darkspear.
Watrus, I want to play a different troll.
Of... the Darkspear.
Listen to me!
Oh, alright. But remember this, the only other tribes that are actually friendly to the Horde and the Darkspear now are the forest troll Revantusks, and the jungle troll Shatterspear. To play a member of the other tribes is to be playing a troll the others will loathe, if not distrust. Even the Darkspear after having become more open-minded and going so far as to befriend the likes of elves, will probably not be too fond of trolls of other types, or other jungle trolls. They have all made the Darkspear their enemies, and former jungle trolls are responsible for trying to wipe them out.
This animosity will be a part of this RP, so if you can't handle your character being hated for these reasons, it might be best to stick to Darkspear. Otherwise, well, I'm sure the conflict and struggling to earn trust and respect is what appeals!

Jungle Trolls:
I've just spent pages describing these guys, since the Darkspear are this troll type. Go up, read again if so desperate for elaboration. Yeah, what I thought.
-Gurubashi Tribe: The big other jungle tribe name. These fellows were responsible for the twice re-emergence of Hakkar, and make up the bulk of the former Gurubashi Empire. Tend to stick around Zul'Gurub.
-Shatterspear Tribe: These guys are actually friendly to the Horde. A formally reclusive bunch, they were pulled into conflict with the night elves of Ashenvale.
-Bloodscalp Tribe, Skullsplitter Tribe: These tribes remain in Stranglethorn Vale. Though seperated and fairly splintered, they still prove a devastating threat to travellers.
-Atal'Ai Tribe, Hakkari Tribe: Located in the Swamp of Sorrows, these tribes both continue worship of the loa Hakkar. They were driven to the swamp long ago, and it would take a lot for these guys to regain the trust of their former people.

Forest Trolls:
The former Amani Empire of Lordaeron had built itself up as vast and imposing. It was the combined efforts of the high elves and humans that caused them to go the way of the rival Gurubashi; into ruin. Briefly allied to the Horde in the second war, the forest trolls now hold contempt for the very faction that would so gladly allow Blood Elves in their ranks. Fun fact, their skin is actually covered in a fine soft... moss. Nice.
- Amani Tribe: Like the Gurubashi, the big bulk of the former empire. Their rivalry and continued conflicts with the Blood Elves has made them an enemy of the Horde.
-Revantusk Tribe: Horde friendly, they reside in the Hinterlands, doing battle with the rival forest troll tribes of the area, and working to take down and gain control of Jintha'Alor.
-Vilebranch, Witherbark Tribe: These rival tribes in the Hinterlands butt heads with the Revantusk for control of the area. The former were also followers of Hakkar. The latter have presence in Arathi, too.
-Shadowpine Tribe: Native to the Ghostlands, they are connected with the Amani and are benefited by their closeness to Zul'Aman.
-Smolderthorn Tribe, Firetree Tribe: Affiliated with the Dark Horde, these guys lurk in Blackrock Mountain.
-Mossflayer Tribe: Live in Eastern Plaguelands. Most of them are kind of dead.

Ice Trolls:
Ice Trolls have never truly established themselves in the same way as the Gurubashi or Amani managed. Though the Drakkari really did come close, happily dominating areas of Northrend. Until that nasty business with killing their own loa, that is. I wish I could tell you they are covered in a fine soft layer of frost, but it's just skin.
-Drakkari Tribe, Winterfang Tribe: They entirely overun Zul'Drak, having made it into a huge troll city. The threat of the scourge resulted in them killing their own loa to try and stave off the undead threat. The Winterfang tribe just exist along with them, but never had their influence or power.
-Frostmane Tribe: This little tribe live among Dun Morogh, at constant war with the dwarves and gnomes of the area.

Sand Trolls:
The sand trolls consist of only the Sandfury, and they were actually once part of the Gurubashi empire. The Sundering split their territory, leaving them to the blistering heat and wide deserts of beautiful Tanaris. It's been many years for the tribe to adapt to the environment, and establish their city in Zul'Farrak. Those under the Zandalar effort banner refer to themselves as Farraki.

The first troll tribe. Once working as uninvolved scholars and historians, they turned to trying to reestablish Troll supremacy. Rejected in this endeavour by the Darkspear, the formally neutral Zandalar have made the Horde and Alliance equal enemies.
5:2: The Accent
It's strange indeed how certain races become recognised for being regularly RP'd with an accent where others would not. There are the dwarves, and then there are the trolls.
The troll accent's basis is pretty clear, and playing one up is not a requirement. In roleplay, seeing a troll without the accent is fairly unheard of, but not impossible.
I'm not going to say how to write up the accent exactly. How strong you make it is up to you, but when it comes to the accent be mindful of a few things:
-The accent is based on a few real life accents, even if the end result is a mish mash of them with an American twang (sorry, Blizzard). What this means is while you're free to create up an accent, beware you don't end up becoming nothing more than an offensive caricature.
-The RP in WoW is quick and constant, unlike RP in a forum where answers and replies can be smoothed over and examined in comfort, in WoW the dialogue will be coming fairly quick. Unless you intentionally want your character to not be understood, try and create an accent that is immediately readable. A good rule of thumb is you want to be able to type it out as fast as you would type the dialogue without it.
Think of the scene in Brave where one character speaks in a strong Highlands Scottish accent. The joke being that even the other members of the Scottish cast did not understand. Unless your troll is that joke, write an accent that isn't purposefully baffling.

5:3: A note on portrayal
Let us all become serious for a moment.
If you've been paying even vague attention, it's probably not going to come as a shock that, despite the elaboration and complexity evident in the troll history and culture, it is also based on real world stereotypes of many indigenous peoples all over the world.
Does it mean that it's wrong to play a troll, and to enjoy doing so? Not at all.
What it means is that it is sometimes easy to create a troll character who furthers the hurtful stereotypes present and who embraces the myths in a harmful way. As fictitious as the trolls are, the prejudices that inspired their creation were still just that.
While Blizzard themselves seem to be moving away from the flat one-note portrayal of their trolls, with the great rounded and compelling Vol'jin and the troll's place in the Horde story of MoP, you as a troll player also have a responsibility to try and do the same. We can't remove trolls from this as to do so is to no longer play a troll, but we can be considerate, thoughtful and careful when creating our trolls regardless.


And there we are. What a wonderful trip. I sure hope you've learnt to love the trolls as much as I have.

Maybe you love trolls so much now you just want more information!

More Troll Links.
An elaborate guide to the voodoo religion:

Take a nose around WoWpedia's many many articles. You'd be surprised at what little tidbits you can pick up in the oddest places.
And so we come to the end of our journey. Go forth, and roll a troll. Or attend a troll event. RP with a troll.

WoWpedia, and the many sources it gathered from too.
WoWInsider's "All the World's a Stage" articles.
The WoW setting and quest-text itself.
Good old rampant speculation.
This guide is FORMIDABLE.

By post #3, I was already bowing down to it. When I got to #6, I started hunting round my house for appropriate tribute.

A comprehensive outpouring of Darkspear stuff. I like!
Damn, woman.
I want to RP a troll now.
I've recently rolled a Troll character and this seems like an excellent reference guide! I can appreciate the amount of work that went into this. :)
The information comes from a variety of sources, sometimes contradictory - the information on troll religion, for example: the Shadowhunter information comes from an old Pen and Paper RPG supplement, which did not match the information in either the novels or in WoW itself. [Mind you, as an animist religion, troll voodoo is both expansive and easily expand-able, so even contradictory elements can easily be excused.]

I suppose that what I am aiming to say is that it is not a bad summary, but I'd love to see actual sources given for the various elements of the information collected. Listing various quests, or the Troll Compendium from the old website, or different source-books, or...
I suppose that what I am aiming to say is that it is not a bad summary, but I'd love to see actual sources given for the various elements of the information collected. Listing various quests, or the Troll Compendium from the old website, or different source-books, or...

That can definitely be done! I understand things are very contradictory sometimes, which is probably just part of it being lore for a video game. I don't really have any illusions about how expansive and deep the world building in parts can be.
Bits might be chopped down or elaborated, or just outright sourced while mentioning how 'relevant' they are. That's something that was definitely over-looked in my eagerness to talk about trolls at length. I do love trolls.
I think a potential problem with outright disregarding sources from stuff that isn't entirely 'canon' right now can be that you cut away at potential rounding, without having anything to replace it.
When I get my next few days off work I'll probably pass it over with a more critical eye.

Thanks for the feedback, I do appreciate it!
And of course, having asked for notation of which sources are where, I want to make sure to point out that my favourite line in the guide has no source, as far as I'm aware. Of course, I mean this one:

14/03/2013 19:30Posted by Watrus
(Except the head, although you may have heard of the tale of Kiliti No-Body, who lived a fruitful life despite his lack of everything.)

And of course, having asked for notation of which sources are where, I want to make sure to point out that my favourite line in the guide has no source, as far as I'm aware. Of course, I mean this one:

(Except the head, although you may have heard of the tale of Kiliti No-Body, who lived a fruitful life despite his lack of everything.)


Aye, that was just a small joke! I was debating whether to keep it, I added it just to amuse myself. But then I realised it -really- amused me.
This is just simply great. I loved Trolls even before I read this thread. Couldn't think of any other race I would rather play. Tried most of them and always went back to my trolls.
This thread only made me more... "patriotic" about being a troll and I will surely RP one soon enough.
Thank you for your contribution. I didn't know these things before.

...Thanks for the guide, it'll be invaluable I feel for my new trolly troll troll.

Fantastic compilation, guide, good humor and so on.

No, seriously, a HUGE thank you! <3

(Edit, sidenote question: anyone know where there's a source for ANY info on troll tattoos?)
Perhaps the oddest fact about jungle trolls is that their colouring is not due to their skin, but a short fine layer of soft fur.

No it's not.

That is false information originating from the RPG books, perpetuated by the community for reasons beyond my understanding.

I have yet to see a single bit of visual evidence that (jungle) trolls have fur. Does this dude look furry to you?
Didn't think so.
I always thought it was a very, very short fur, feeling similar to velvet to the touch, that only gives the naturally colored skin a silvery or purple shimmer.
If that was the case, it would be reflected in the artwork. And it isn't, anywhere in the game, promotional images, or associated publications.
I requested Sticky. Good work sistah' ;)
19/07/2013 13:27Posted by Alphél
Perhaps the oddest fact about jungle trolls is that their colouring is not due to their skin, but a short fine layer of soft fur.

No it's not.

That is false information originating from the RPG books, perpetuated by the community for reasons beyond my understanding.

I have yet to see a single bit of visual evidence that (jungle) trolls have fur. Does this dude look furry to you?
Didn't think so.

Look at his exposed left arm (on the right side of the picture), it does look like fur.

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