Earthborn dire troll
The earthborn dire troll is a rare dire troll breed with remarkable transmutative ability. Trolls of all kinds share a link with the natural world and are shaped by their environment in a number of ways both physical and psychological. Nowhere is that link stronger than in the earthborn, a dire troll that adapts to its environment from moment to moment, drawing from its surroundings and changing its flesh in the blink of an eye. Dhunians credit this as a gift of the goddess, though others would say it is instead an affinity with the Devourer Wurm. Earthborns are the rarest of all troll breeds, and only a few hundred exist throughout western Immoren.
Believed by some trollkin to be among the first trolls created by Dhunia, the earthborn dire troll is a remarkable breed that can draw from the natural world around it to become stronger, faster, and more durable. With each step, the earthborn’s body changes. When it passes near rocks, its skin hardens and deforms like chiseled stone. By contrast, moving through water gives it speed and fluid grace.
Earthborn dire trolls can alter their forms to mimic the qualities of creatures they battle, reshaping their flesh to strike with claws imbued with the strength of their prey. An earthborn’s claws will reshape into dracodile talons or the sickle-shaped claws of a spine ripper, depending on the enemy. Even constructs like wolds and steamjacks give the earthborn power, allowing it to bash enemies with fists of granite or steel.
In the time of the Molgur, earthborn dire trolls were more commonly seen. Some shamans believe they were the first dire trolls, created by Dhunia and shaped from the very substance of Caen itself. Any dire troll is a rare sight to most inhabitants of western Immoren, but the earthborn was long thought to be a mythical creature found only in legends spoken by trollkin elders at campfire.
Earthborn dire trolls roam atop unreachable mountains and hunt in the distant peaks, far from the sight of men and trollkin alike. There they keep dens at the convergence of natural features, such as where streams cut through the rock and among the tough foliage at the tree line, where they could move from one natural feature to the next.
Earthborn dire trolls are simple-minded, even by dire troll standards. Only the simplest urges of feeding, mating and protecting territory motivate them. An earthborn is difficult to communicate with, even for trollkin experienced in the dire troll tongue. Communication with earthborns requires an incredible amount of patience and tact.
Earthborn dire trolls take savage glee in combat and in tearing prey asunder with their giant fists. In their mountain homes, earthborns frequently battle over both territory and food, and only the strongest and most violent survive to breed. Anything victim is ripped apart with their enormous fangs and eaten, even other trolls.
There have been many hypotheses that attempt to explain the transmutative capabilities of the earthborn dire troll. The prevailing hypothesis is that the earthborn’s ability to alter itself is connected to its regenerative power. Rather than just knitting flesh, its power allows it to rapidly alter the very structure of its body to suit its needs. Other hypotheses suggest that the breed was simply blessed by Dhunia with a special link to her and the wilderness.
It is the Shaman of the Gnarls, Hoarluk Doomshaper, who established contact with the earthborn dire trolls and persuade them to join their cousins in battle. The earthborn dire troll is a prized warbeast for warlocks capable of bonding with it. An earthborn dire troll will often require several bouts of dominance display, which means the warlock must be able to withstand multiple direct attacks from the creature. In addition, a warlock must offer an earthborn incredible amounts of food before the troll will consider him worthy of its attention. Their adaptive strength has proved invaluable to the gathered kriels defending seized lands in northern Cygnar. Few foes have the courage or strength to contest the claims of trollkin who arrive with earthborn dire trolls at their side.