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Tollvember Part 2 - Bigger, Badder...Better?


James: bjergfolk

Freeman: Risi

Source: Bestiary 1 pg. 315, Rage of Elements pg. 216, Kingmaker AP

Reading List:

Norwegian Folktales (1841) – Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe

· Later edition illustrated by Theodor Kittelsen in (1858)

Pathfinder Lore - Freeman


· Troll King: As previously discussed in Part 1, there is the uncommon occasion in which a troll finds a way to survive longer than the usual life expectancy.

· They have usually come to find additional skills that make them that much more deadly and harder to kill.

o Such as literally shaking off acid and fire damage or willing their regeneration to activate on command.

o And not to mention developing a bestial roar that can shake everything within 100 ft.

· And as a result, these trolls usually end up able to rally other trolls to follow their leadership.

o This leadership involves some extra cunning and the natural philosophy of keeing your friends close and your enemies closer.

o And even the lightest whiff of mutiny comes with a swift and fatal end for the potential usurper.

· Nightwood Guardian: And now for something completely different.

o This is barely a troll beyond having the actual trait and the inspired aesthetic.

o But it’s worth mentioning not just because of the feeling of obligation with the trait and everything, but also because, mechanically-speaking it’s a really neat reinterpretation of some if the classic mechanics we explored in part 1!

· Lore-wise we are looking at a creature from the Plane of Wood (recently released in detail in the Rage of Elements book).

o There is a place in the Plane of Wood called the Nightwoods, which is permanently bathed in darkness. Notably due to a complete lack of fluorescent plants.

o The flora and fauna in the Nightwoods actually required darkness to survive instead of light, and the Troll-like Nightwood Guardians patrol and guard the Nightwoods to ensure it remains in darkness and light never touches it.

o They consider themselves “righteous guardians” and don’t have time for your excuses at all! And that goes for intruders and residents alike.

o They loathe the light, even though it does not have a dramatic harming effect on themselves compared to the other creatures and plants that live there.

o Light and intruders are the two things that make the NIghtwood Guardian wary, and even fearful. But the fear quickly turns to wrath and they be real good at exacting destruction to drive out the danger.

· Sidebar: There are tales of a rare gentleness that a Nightwood Guardian might show when a child becomes lost in the forest. They may apparently safely guide the child back to home and safety and out of the dark and danger of the woods.

o Though some naysayers claim that if this were true, the violent guardians would surely only do so on the command of another more powerful creature.

Mythology & Folklore - James


Norse: troll and trᲹll – means fiend, demon, werewolf, jӧtunn

Middle High German: troll, trolle – mean fiend (likely borrowed from old Norse)


Depends on the source

· Ugly and slow witted

· Look and behave exactly like humans

· Sometimes a landmark – a troll that has been turned to stone after sunlight exposure


Troll applies to jӧtnar, supernatural beings

Term can apply to jӧtunn, troll, risi (giant), or Ϸurs (giant, ogres, monsters) which describe various beings

Theorized by Lotte Motz that they were once four different classes of beings (though disputed)

Jӧtunn – lords of nature

Trolls – magicians

Ϸurs – hostile monsters

Risi – heroic or courtly beings

Live in isolate mountains, rocks and caves – sometimes as a family unit of sorts (Father/Daughter, Mother/Son)

Rarely helpful for friendly


Lore comes after Norse

Defined as a specific type of being

· Extremely old

· Very strong

· Slow

· Dim-witted

· Sometimes man-eaters

· Sometimes look human

· Live far away from humanity

· Have some form of social organization – other solitary monster like beings

· Turn to stone when contacted with sunlight

· Display a habit of bergtagning[berg-ta-gen] meaning kidnapping but literally translating to “mountain-taking”

· Lightning frightens them away – could have been added later to reflect how much of a boss Thor is

· Other sources say frightened away by church bells – hence why no more trolls’

John Lindow, acclaimed Norse and Folklore scholar (author of Trolls: An Unnatural History), believes the main difference between trolls and men is they are not Christian making them dangerous in the end

· Also believes later still in Swedish folklore they are “nature beings”

· “all-purpose” equivalent to fairies in Anglo-Celtic traditions

· Sometimes swapped out for cats and/or “little people”

· Compares the trolls of the Swedish tradition to Grendle from the poem Beowulf – but we’ll touch on that in a later episode


Small trolls live in barrows or mountains

· Troll-Folk - troldefolk

· Mountain Trolls – bjergtrolde [BE-erg-trO-lde]

· Mountain Folk – bjergfolk

Tusser or Huldrefolk (hidden-folk)

· Small, people like beings

· To be respected and avoided

· Akin to mermaids, sirens, succubi, etc

· Through that “troll” was used later to refer to larger, more menacing beings\


· Story from Cam

o Cam told me about a time they were playing in a 5e campaign and they were investigating a cave of Orcs when they stumbled on a Troll mid-encounter.

o They ended up running further into the cave and found another troll.

o And then more. One after the other.

o Until finally they came across a laboratory with a pendulum blade that was continuously slicing a troll that was strapped down in half.

o The bottom half sliding off and then regenerating a new troll.

· This begged the question: Is this a cloning process? Is this a method of procreation? Do the new trolls have new memories and thoughts or do the keep the old?


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