Dire trolls are massive, primitive trolls that are always hungry and exceedingly violent. The dire troll stands alone, a beast so fierce even other trolls will uproot themselves and migrate away when it enters the region. Fortunately for other creatures, dire trolls are not numerous. Their ferocity and territorial nature have kept them spread thin across wide regions of the wilderness. They are most numerous in the Wyrmwall Mountains and the Scarsfell Forest, with some few carving out territories in the Gnarls, the Cloutsdown Fen and other remote wilderness regions.
Almost eighteen feet tall with a body of impenetrable muscle and clawed hands the size of a man, the dire troll has few equals. As a dire troll ages, it produces the hardened growths shared by other troll breeds to a lesser degree. Some are quills that serve in place of hair, but they also produce toughened, calcified skin that becomes increasingly large and rocky with age. These growths are prominent on the dire troll’s shoulders and back and provide considerable protection.
Dire trolls hunt across large areas and have been known to chase out and kill any creatures they consider competition, including smaller trolls. The only creatures they endure for extended periods are pygmy trolls, although in recent years Dhunian shamans have facilitated increased contact and cooperation between trollkin and dire trolls.
Just like other full-blood trolls, dire trolls can produce whelps when a body part is severed, and their whelps can live several years. Particularly dim-witted dire trolls occasionally mistake a whelp for real offspring, but such misconceptions are rare and last only until it becomes obvious the whelp will never grow past a certain size. Even pygs and whelps can fall prey to a dire troll, but usually only after all other sources of food have been exhausted.
As with full-blood trolls, hunger and aggression have been barriers to more sophisticated culture between dire trolls and their cousins. The sheer amount of food required to support their metabolism makes them jealous of each other and prone to battles for territory. The main interaction between dire trolls is mating, which requires searching outside their normal territory. Females rarely tolerate males after becoming pregnant and often drive them away. Dire trolls are born in pairs, and a mother will care for her young for over a decade. Once they can hunt and subsist on their own, they are driven away.
One of the most remarkable aspects of dire trolls is their longevity, which is a natural extension of their phenomenal regenerative powers. Scholars suspect that dire trolls may live upward of three centuries.
Though dire trolls are primitive, particularly compared to that of the trollkin, they are far from beasts. They possess a limited spoken vocabulary and a simple language, an isolate not related to Molgur-Trul. This language may have been the last descendant of the pre-Molgur languages of the trollbloods. Dire trolls exposed to Molgur-Trul through successful contact with trollkin may learn it as well.
Dire trolls did not join their trollkin and troll cousins in the Molgur confederacy. For thousands of years, they were considered impossible to bond with until the shaman Hoarluk Doomshaper proved otherwise. Doomshaper has since passed on to other warlocks the techniques for bonding with dire trolls. The ingenuity of the kriels has resulted in adding pygmy troll riders and complex weaponry to the common dire troll, turning it into more than just a rampaging beast. The number of dire trolls used as warbeasts is still limited, and most are found within the United Kriels.
A dire troll’s mind is overflowing with rage, making it difficult for a warlock to focus on creating a bond. Young dire trolls are impressed by large gifts of food, but an older individual may require the warlock to survive a strike from one of its mighty fists. The most stubborn will submit only if a warlock defeats them in one-on-one combat. Individual dire trolls may request a body part from the warlock, which will be consumed immediately. Such consumption happens after respect has been earned, and it makes the bond to the warlock real for the troll. Refusal can compromise the bond and result in a particularly rebellious and irritable warbeast.
Whereas trolls can actually develop friendships with the trollkin, dire trolls are simply too savage for such niceties. Even kriels most accustomed to the creatures consider them dangerous and untamed in the best of circumstances. Dire trolls are capable of almost unthinkable ferocity and are never more than a minor irritation away from frenzy, so trollkin must remain vigilant in their presence. The presence of pygs seems to calm the beasts, but they remain unpredictable and hazardous in the extreme.