Crest of the Trolls
Trolls (collectively referred to as trollkind) are a diverse sapient race that can be found in every part of Azeroth. They are one of the earliest known native races of Azeroth. There are several subspecies of troll, all of which descend from the Zandalari Trolls.
Many trolls have no loyalty except amongst their own tribes or empires, with the exception of the Darkspear Tribe, Shatterspear Tribe, and Revantusk Tribe, being allies of the Horde. Some of the remaining jungle trolls of the Shatterspear tribe joined the Horde following the events of Cataclysm.
- 1 History
- 2 Culture
At the heart of ancient Kalimdor lay the Well of Eternity, an enormous lake filled with powerful energies. The Well accelerated the cycles of growth and rebirth on the primordial continent, and soon sentient life forms arose from the wilds. The trolls were among the first and most prolific. It was previously incorrectly stated that the trolls predated the arrival of the Titans.
Trolls are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, non-Old God created or titan-forged species on Azeroth. Troll legends mention the Titans, calling them "the Travelers", and their battle with the Old Gods. In the old days of trolls, before the days of troll empires such as the Empire of Zul, the shadow hunters were the leaders of small groups of trolls that over time formed small tribes. Over time, as trolls gathered in great cities, their influence was lessened. Despite this, the position is still a highly respected one.
The early trolls developed an array of superstitious customs. Some practiced cannibalism and warfare, others mystic practices and meditation, and others honed their ties to the dark and powerful form of magic known as voodoo. What all trolls shared was a common religion centered around Kalimdor's Wild Gods, which the trolls worshipped as deities under the name "Loa". The troll tribes gathered near the sacred mountain range of Zandalar in southern Kalimdor, where many of the loa dwelt. The lesser tribes built small encampments on Zandalar's slopes, but the most powerful tribe, the Zandalari, claimed the highest peaks and plateaus. There, they built a cluster of shrines that would later come to grow into the temple city of Zuldazar.
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 were allied with the mogu and their empire, but both the mogu and Zandalari held contempt for one another. The Zandalari thought themselves above the Mogu for two reasons: the presence of the loa, and that the Zandalari did not use slaves as the mogu did. The mutual contempt between the two would grow to polite indifference. They trusted the other not to attack, because they were confident they would defeat the other. While Zandalari and mogu stood back to back, they did not watch the other and did not see the other falter.
The Zandalari Empire was heavily dependent on a caste system, and as time went on those castes evolved into their own people. 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.
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 into thirds as its citizens fled to separate colonies in the far Northern and Southern regions of the continent. Three aqiri kingdoms then emerged: Azjol-Nerub in the Northern wastes, Ahn'Qiraj in the Southern desert, and the Mantid Empire near the domain of mogu. Though the trolls suspected that there were other aqiri colonies beneath Kalimdor, their existence was never verified.
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. 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.
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 a group of multiple, broken, continents. Thus, great chunks of both the Amani and Gurubashi Empires were lost to the waves, but plenty of their land still exists in the present day lands of Quel'Thalas and Stranglethorn (respectively). The Azj'Aqir kingdoms of Azjol-Nerub, Ahn'Qiraj and the Mantid Empire have also survived in present day Northrend and Tanaris respectively.
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.
The Troll Wars
Main article: Troll Wars
One of the oldest wars in Azeroth was between the forest trolls of Zul'Aman and the Quel'dorei. 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.
The elves were hopelessly outnumbered. 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.
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.
1,500 years before the opening of the Dark Portal, 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.
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 adventurers have launched constant assaults on the Sandfury troll capital of Zul'Farrak, leaving it a barren wasteland.
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. 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 Sin'dorei 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 adventurers entered Zul'Aman to steal the treasures within. Not only were the Amani's treasures stolen, adventurers 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 the Undead Scourge. In desperation to counter the Scourge threat the Drakkari trolls began sacrificing their own Loa animals god and draining their power for themselves. The Zandalari went to Zul'Drak to intervene on the behalf of the Loa and chronicle the end of the Drakkari empire. The empowered Drakkari soon became power-mad, and threatened the forces of the Alliance, Horde, and Argent Crusade who were attempting to fight back the Scourge in Northrend. As a result the adventurers employed by these forces were, after neutralizing the Scourge threat in the lowest reaches of the city, directed against the Drakkari and, with the aid of the Loa who escaped the Drakkari's plot, managed to take out all of the empowered trolls in the city. These adventurers soon converged on Gundrak itself, and there they slew the remaining champions of Zul'Drak, including their leader; High Prophet Gal'darah.
As a result of these events, the Zandalari considered Zul'Drak to have been destroyed by the Scourge.
A New Troll Empire
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 and join the Horde which was now under the command of the new Warchief, Garrosh Hellscream.
Meanwhile, a new adventurer who traveled through Stranglethorn would gain the friendship of a raptor chick. Through this chick and its adventurer companion, the Alliance and Horde discovered that Jin'do, now a shade, had enacted a plan to restore the Gurubashi to greatness by resurrecting their high priests and champions (himself included of course) and summoning Hakkar. And while the resurrection of Mandokir and Venoxis was successful, the adventurer managed to throw a wrench into his plans by destroying Jeklik's body and preventing her resurrection.
The Shatterspear was not the only tribe who has seen a change in their stance on the other nations, however. The chaos unleashed by the recent Cataclysm caused immense damage to Zandalar itself, and has thus reshaped the Zandalari's stance about the world as well, and the dwindling remnants of their race. Around the time of the Alliance and Horde's siege on the Twilight Highlands, a meeting was then by the mysterious prophet 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 reminded of the falls of Zul'Farrak and Zul'Drak. 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 adventurers 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 adventurers 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 adventurers 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.
Return of the Thunder King
When the mists hiding the southern continent Pandaria lifted, the Zandalari realized they had an opportunity to claim the land as their own by resuming their allegiance with the Mogu. To cement this allegiance, and their place on Pandaria, the trolls invaded the Kun-Lai region of the continent to find and retrieve the corpse of Lei Shen, the Thunder King and first emperor of the Mogu Empire. With their powerful voodoo magic, the Zandalari were successful in resurrecting him, and, shortly after the Alliance and Horde made landfall, the resurrected Thunder King began an ernest campaign to restore the Mogu Empire to glory. He was aided by the united troll forces, with the Council of Elders, a group consisting of the leaders of the Farraki, Gurubashi, Drakkari and Amani, standing guard over the entrance to his palace.
It wasn't long, however, before the forces of the Alliance and Horde assaulted the Thunder King's palace and eliminated the troll presence within, an act that Lei Shen was thankful for as he considered them 'filth'. Shortly afterwards, these adventurers would end Lei Shen's life as well, ending the threat of both empires on Pandaria.
Blood in the Snow
This failure did not stop the Zandalari. In Dun Morogh, an emissary of Zandalar arrived to aid the Frostmane Tribe in building an army to assault Ironforge. Using enslaved elementals, the Frostmane summoned a mighty blizzard around their home and kidnapped a number of dwarven scouts. While the Bronzebeard and Wildhammer Clans refused to take action out of distrust for the Dark Iron clans, Moira chose to lead her people to defend Ironforge herself; aided by King Varian Wrynn and a trio of adventurers. Their combined forces rescued the prisoners, stopped the blizzard, and killed Hekima the Wise, ending the Frostmane threat.
Warlords of Draenor
The trolls of the Darkspear tribe accompanied the Horde on their campaign across the alternate Draenor with strong presence in Frostfire Ridge and Nagrand.
A sole sand troll named Dazgo was seen in the ranks of the Iron Horde.
When the Burning Legion invaded Azeroth for the third time, the Darkspear tribe participated in the defense of Azeroth and offensive against the demons, joining various class orders. Warchief Vol'jin also died during the Battle for Broken Shore. The Frostmane tribe in Dun Morogh was attacked by the demons as well.
Several Zandalari trolls were later found captured by sea giants in Azsuna on the Broken Isles.
Battle for Azeroth
After the Horde rescued the daughter of Rastakhan, Talanji and Prophet Zul from Stormwind City, the Zandalari trolls of the Zandalari Empire on Zandalar started operating with the Horde, becoming allies.
Emissaries of all troll tribes gathered at the Terrace of the Speakers in Zuldazar.
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 they were likely retconned into human mercenaries). The Shadowtooth tribe of dark trolls also assisted in defense of the World Tree.
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)
Cannibalism and Voodoo
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.
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.
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.
Some trolls appear capable of turning into a dire troll at will, such as Battok the Berserker and the Gurubashi Berserkers at the Throne of Thunder.
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. 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.
Main article: Loa
The troll belief system is complex, full of dark spirits and primal, often animalistic gods known as loa. Countless loa exist, most weak, but some very powerful. Most are shapeless, whereas others have animal or creature forms. Troll families often worship their own family loas, cities usually have their own civic deities, and the greatest loa are worshiped by the nation as a whole. The Zandalar tribe believe that powerful, enlightened Zandalari can become loas upon their death.
- The trolls have a long and storied history of summoning hydras.
- Trolls tend to prefer gold in their jewelry.
- Among cultures such as the Bloodscalp tribe, any use of actual utensils counts as fine dining.
- Snakes of all types are venerated throughout troll culture.
- Long ago, the most dedicated of troll war-drummers would allow themselves to be flayed alive in order to provide the hide for their precious instruments. While a troll's incredible natural regeneration allowed one to survive such a grueling ordeal, it was a long and excruciating process that drove many mad with pain. It is said that, if such a war drummer was to be slain while playing such an instrument, his spirit would pass into it.
- Voodoo figurines were built and animated to assist troll witch doctors in minor, everyday tasks such as washing loincloths or scrubbing blood off the hut floor. They were often powered by flasks of mojo, troll sweat, the flesh of tribal enemies, or by devouring tiny portions of their owners' souls.
- Trolls will usually build different types of structures depending on where they live. Each troll empire built sprawling temple-cities similar to real-life mesoamerican architecture, smaller tribes often live in villages built out of wood, and some of them even have the habit of living in carved out trees.
- The battle-cry "For Zul'jin!" became well-known among the trolls of the world after Zul'jin made his legendary escape from his captivity of the high elves near the end of the Second War.
- Outside the Amani tribe, the Darkspears use it and used similar sayings during the Third War.
- Rather than wedding rings, some trolls wear wedding nose-rings, such as Sha'ni's Nose-Ring.
- Zandalari trolls commonly exchange matching tusk rings during their weddings.
- Some trolls use wax for their tusks.