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Monday, January 2, 2012

The Trollbloods Explained

Deviant Art

The Trollbloods Explained
(from the perspective of a Druid of Orboros)

The Age of the Molgur
Some 2,800 years ago, the Trollbloods worshipped the Devourer Wurm. They were part of an ancient collection of Devourer worshippers known as the Molgur. The tribes of the Molgur were the enemy of civilized man, raiding his villages, besieging his cities and laying waste to his citizenry.

The Trollbloods did not continue in their devotion to the Devourer. They eventually strayed from these beliefs to worship Dhunia, the embodiment of Caen's fertility. The Trollbloods incorrectly believe that the Devourer ravaged Dhunia, impregnating her with the many races on Caen. The truth is that the two are intricately and fundamentally connected. They represent differing aspects of the same planet.

At some point after the fall of the Molgur alliance, the Trolls religion became tamed and they found affinity with Dhunian worshippers rather than Devourer cultists. Troll souls do not journey to Urcaen as human souls do. Instead, Trollblood souls enter Caen's soil. Their fate is unknown by our order but some have speculated that the Trollbloods have some system of eternal rebirth by the power of Dhunia.

Deviant Art
One Race, Many Forms

Trollbloods are a hearty race which readily evolves to its local environment. This preternatural ability to rapidly evolve has led to several sub-species, three of which occur naturally and one which is the result of their hyperactive regeneration systems.

The smallest of the Trollblood species are known as Pygmys or Pygs for short. Pygmy trolls are slightly smaller than a human. In spite of their diminutive size with respect to other Troll species, they are intelligent and quick to exploit the niches their size enables them to inhabit. As such, they often serve as scouts for the Troll tribes or Kriels.

The largest of the Trollblood species are the Dire Trolls. Dire Trolls are huge, vicious beasts with insatiable hungers but limited intelligence. A Dire Troll can have skin as tough as rock, hands the size of a grown man and can rip apart a warjack in seconds. Usually, Dire Trolls live solitary lives in remote areas where they can sate their hunger on wild game and the occasional unfortunate village or caravan. However, in recent years, Trollblood tribes have been increasingly using the Dire Trolls as weapons of war.

Slightly smaller than Dire Trolls are Full Blood Trolls. These Trolls have significantly more intelligence than the Dire Trolls but are smaller. They can be taught to use weapons and wear armor and often serve along side their smaller cousins in times of war. It is not uncommon for Full Bloods to inhabit the villages of a Kriel.

Both Dire Trolls and Full Blood Trolls have amazing regenerative capabilities. The result of a combination of their regeneration and their raw bulk is the production of Troll Whelps. Whelps are misshapen, short lived runts spawned from the severed limbs of a Dire or Full Blood Troll. When a finger, hand, or other extremity is separated from its host, it will attempt to regenerate the rest of its body. Thus whelps often have one extremely large body part while the rest of its body is smaller than even a Pyg. These creatures serve no real purpose in Trollblood society except as pets and snacks.

The Preferred Enemey
The bulk of Troll society is composed of Trollkin. These individuals are larger than humans but smaller than Full Blood Trolls. They organize themselves in Kriels (tribes) where they live rustic but civilized lives farming, hunting and brewing ales. Trollkin are typically blue skinned, but some albinos do exist in their society. Albinism is a mark of shamanistic power, though normal Trollkin can also be shamans. As a rule, Trollkin are hardy, strong, and of great constitutions.

Adaptation and Stone

Trolls are extremely adaptive. Their connection to Dhunia allows them to utilize practically any source for metabolic processes from metal ore to ambient electric storms. This variety of food yields interesting changes in Troll physiology. Slag trolls consume metals and have metallic skin while Pyre trolls consume pitch and can breathe fire. The various food sources for Trolls yield their various light warbeast types: Slag, Pyre, Storm, Swam, and Winter. The Earthborne Dire Troll can literally gain bonuses due to standing close to water or can even steal the hitting power of a nearby weapon.

The adaptability of the Trolls is reflected in their ability to utilize durability, mobility, or other types of buffs for various circumstances. One can make an Earthborn charge 17", be ARM 22, or hit with P+S 22 fists. That's just one example of how Troll players can manipulate their models to fit the situation.

Trolls are also proficient in the manipulation of rocks to unlock natural magics. Models such as the Krielstone Bearer, Runebearer, Runeshapers, Stone Scribes and Janissa Stonetide are examples of this focus on stonework. Troll players can use the power of stone to increase the durability of their own troops, move enemy models around, augment magical abilities, increase damage potential, or simply pummel the enemy outright.

Trolls on the Battlefield

On the tabletop, the Trollbloods have a very distinct playstyle. Nearly every model in the Trollblood army is on a medium or large base (except Pygs and Whelps). Also, nearly every model has either Tough, Snacking or Regeneration This overall uniformity of size and durability of the models lays the foundation for the Trollblood strategy.

The Trollbloods have access to numerous buffs of various types. There are ARM buffs, movement / SPD buffs, damage / STR buffs and others. Because many of these buffs have limited range, the Troll army tends to be densely packed which lends to the term "bricking" - it's dense like a brick, hard as a brick and hits like a brick.

Many Trollblood models have moderate to low SPD stats. On top of this, few Trollblood models have terrain-negating abilities like Pathfinder. So the Troll brick tends to be slow, durable and hard hitting. Of course, the Trolls have access to myriad ways to boost their abilities, so don't think that they can be fast.

With the right combination, Trolls can be pretty much anything they want. They're as adaptable as their backstory suggests. With the right combination (Iron Flesh, Dirge of Mists, and Rock Wall) you can have DEF 20 infantry against shooting. With another combination (Krielstone Bearer & Scribe, Dire Troll Mauler, and Blood Fury with Hrothal) you can easily have him charging at P+S 19 with 4d6 damage. With yet another combination, you can make an Earthborn Dire Troll charge 17" (Hunter's Mark, Elemental Communion, Rush, Scroll of Grimmr), can have auto-boosted attack rolls, and has the potential to be forced 5 times.

All of these combos and more are what makes Trolls click in Hordes. For Troll players, the game really boils down to attrition. While they can specialize to hit hard or hit fast, what they're really good at is staying alive. All Trollkin have Tough. Troll warbeasts have Snacking or Regeneration. Trolls have access to a wide range of durability buffs from the Krielstone's aura to Tale of Mists. It is not improbable for a unit of Trollkin to be DEF 16 or ARM 20. Stats like this on standard trooper models can make the troll "brick" hard to erode.

Phoenix Forge
While your opponent is trying to break through the brick, the Troll player can count on dealing out pain and suffering with melee and ranged attacks. Troll heavy warbeasts are the only Fury 5 warbeasts in the game, which gives them a significant damage output bonus when compared to other warbeasts. Even Troll light warbeasts have respectable damage capacity.

So though they lack the overall speed, mobility and numbers of other factions, Trolls make up for it is versatility, durability, and raw damage output. Playing Trolls really ends up being about bringing the right tools to the table to counter what your opponent might bring. Once you understand how to match your solutions with your potential threat, the Troll brick can be a powerful force with which to indiscriminately bash enemy faces.

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