A troll’s skin is an earthy shade influenced by its diet and environment, commonly ranging from deep blue to blue-green, and they grow pronounced quills in place of hair. Males have calcified beards that become more pronounced with age, and some of the larger breeds have similar patches on their shoulders, backs, and arms.
Trolls have a basic intelligence and capacity for reason. These traits are not very developed, but they are certainly above those of a common beast. Some trolls use simple tools and weapons fashioned from stone or wood, though they are just as likely to hunt with their bare hands. Trolls integrated into trollkin communities often possess more sophisticated weaponry and armour crafted by their cousins.
Trolls are highly motivated by a desire for food. Even trollkin cannot guarantee meetings with full-blood trolls will end well: though trolls won’t usually hunt them with the same enthusiasm they have for other races, in a pinch, meat is meat. A trollkin must be cautious when interacting with a troll to avoid angering it, but throughout history the two races have been able to establish mutually beneficial relationships. Trolls often speak a limited form of Molgur-Trul, and the shared language allows careful trollkin to communicate with their cousins.
Wild males typically lead a solitary existence, but small groups of trolls occasionally band together in family units. They tolerate the presence of other trolls to a degree, but most other creatures are met with hostility. Trolls spend the great majority of their time and energy hunting to sate their ravenous diet. Though trolls are carnivorous, those that starve for too long will consume virtually anything. A starving troll lacks the capacity for good judgment and will eat anything to quell its hunger: the bark from trees, patches of flora, and even stones. Fortunately (for the trolls, at least) they are naturally resistant to most toxins.
Trolls have remarkable regenerative capabilities. Their bodies can knit horrendous wounds, even severed limbs. Limbs removed from a troll will regrow a whole separate body with a dramatically disproportionate limb known as whelps. Whelps are simple-minded, content to follow after trolls in the hope of feeding on the scraps left behind. Most trolls consider whelps to be nothing more than extensions of their own bodies and treat them accordingly. If no other food source is handy, trolls will eat their whelps with no more regard than another chunk of meat. It is not at all uncommon to see a troll chuckling at the comical antics of a whelp one moment and then tossing it into his mouth as a tasty snack the next.
The adaptability of full-blood trolls is further exemplified by sub-breeds that dwell in Immoren's most hostile habitats. Their temperaments and general natures have much to do with their environments. Furthermore, the often unusual diets of these trolls plays a role in allowing them to manifest powers related to the elements. The winter troll, with its icy breath, originates in the mountains of Khador and Rhul, while the pyre troll’s ability to spew flame might have developed from its consumption of Menoth's Fury in the Bloodstone Marches. The slag troll’s penchant for eating stone and metal has forced it to evolve powerful stomach acids it can disgorge as a weapon.
Trolls have a natural and instinctive connection with trollkin. Common trolls have been closely associated with trollkin kriels for thousands of years, and the blood ties between these species run deep. This kinship is one of the strongest among the wild peoples of Immoren, and the mental divide between a warlock and his trolls is not as great as the gap between other warlocks and their beasts. Although undeniably savage, trolls are among the most intelligent creatures used as warbeasts.
The common troll is the warbeast of choice for many trollkin warlocks. Their versatility and intelligence make them useful in many ways, not all of which are related to combat. Common trolls can be trained to wield a wide selection of weapons and can manifest a variety of animi. Adaptive sub-breeds, having a lower, more feral intellect than the common troll, are harder to train, require much more training and conditioning before they can be used as warbeasts, and are generally incapable of learning to use weapons.
The cooperative arrangement between trolls and trollkin dates back to just after the Molgur, when the trollkin created pacts with the trolls in an effort to harness their barely controlled destructive urges. In these difficult times, chiefs and shamans throughout the Scarsfell, the Gnarls, and the Thornwood rely upon these old agreements to buttress their war effort.
The trollkin who tend trolls have learned to keep them well fed, both to discourage them from turning on their allies in the chaos of battle and to maintain the integrity of their exacting funereal rites for slain kin. Their efforts do not always succeed, however, particularly with regard to trolls battered near death's door at a warlock’s command. Some kriels have reluctantly decided that a few missing bodies at the end of battle are an unfortunate but acceptable price to pay for calling upon the power of trolls to safeguard their species.
The most aggressive full-blood trolls are chosen to become axers. They are taught a martial technique that capitalises on their incredible strength and allows them to use massive axes and weighty armour. An axer’s equipment requires a great deal of metal that could otherwise be made into equipment for a kriel, so axers are watched closely to ensure they do not revert to more primitive combat techniques. Trollkin leaders have extensively used axers to bolster their battle lines. These hulking brutes terrify the enemy, cutting through swaths of enemy troops.
Trolls with naturally protective instincts are destined to become bouncers. When the trollkin find a troll with a particular loyalty and protectiveness otherwise unusual in their species, they take the creature and train it to act as a guard, particularly if it has shown an above-average ability to form attachments to trollkin. Bouncers are taught to carry an enormous flail and a shield and to fight while wearing heavy armour. The training for a bouncer is extensive, as is the required investment to outfit it. Bouncers wade fearlessly into a wall of enemies, heedless of their own safety, sometimes going so far as to shoulder allies aside to take the hit themselves. Trollkin kriels have long singled out such trolls to guard chieftains, shamans, and other important elders.
Trolls selected to become impalers generally have greater coordination and perception than others. They are taught how to throw enormous spears with a high degree of accuracy until striking targets at a distance becomes second nature to them. Although impalers require extensive training, equipping them is considerably cheaper and uses more readily available gear than equipping axers and bouncers, making impalers a more common sight among warlike kriels. Pitching enormous spears with bone crushing force, impalers are the living ballistae of the trolls. Each carries a quiver of massive wood and iron projectiles that impact with the force of a freight train, obliterating men and knocking even the greatest beasts off their feet.