Friday, January 13, 2012

"Troll kalla mik": Introducing the Fyaltroll (Mountain Troll)

Growing up, I spent a lot of time in the Great Smoky Mountains and the town of Gatlinburg, TN, in particular.  I know what you're thinking, but back in the late 70s and early 80s, it wasn't quite as cheap and Vegas-like as it is today.  At least I don't think so... but then again, I was mostly in the single-digit age group back then.

Anyway, that's where I first ran into TROLLS.  A couple of shops down there carried handmade, nature-inspired troll nicknacks like the little guy on the right.  Although I was still a couple of years from even hearing about D&D, Tolkien*, etc., I was smitten from first glance.  Their glowing eyes (some were AC-powered), their wizard-like appearance, and the fact that there were hundreds of these creatures--each different--sparked my imagination.  In my mind I began to see trolls in the mountains, trolls in the streams, trolls in the basement of our old farmhouse.  They weren't necessarily good or evil, they were just mainly concerned with troll life and didn't think much of humans or their doings.  (What can I say, even at 8 years old I was a bit of an animist.)

Perhaps it's for that reason that trolls in D&D never really felt "right" to me.  Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of a rubbery-skinned, sinewy monster that can reattach its own body parts!  But really, they were just that--monsters.  Trolls, on the other hand, occupied a different place in my personal mythos, more akin to dangerous (though not necessarily antagonistic) nature spirits than dungeon-dwelling beasties.

Without further ado, I give you the (Labyrinth Lord statted) Fyaltroll (aka Mountain Troll):

Fyaltroll (Mountain Troll)
No. Enc. - 1d2
Alignment - Neutral
Move - 120' (40')
AC - 20 (or 0 if using traditional AC)
HD - 8
Attacks - 1 weapon (see below) or 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage - 2d6+5 or 1d6/1d6/1d12
Save - F8
Morale - 11
Hoard Class - XX
XP - 2060
Fyaltrolls are among the most ancient of humanoids and are probably more akin to Treants than the monsters commonly called trolls.  They live deep in mountain caves, far from human civilization.  The caves can often be found by the strange, vertical stone stacks which the trolls compulsively build as they wander about outdoors.  (Not even the trolls know why they do this... they just do.)  They tend to live in opposite sex, parent-child pairs (mother and son or father and daughter).  Fyaltrolls speak their own slow and rumbling tongue, though a few (25%) can speak Common as well.

The average Fyaltroll stands 13-14' tall and dresses in long, many-layered robes of earth tones.  They are often bent and lumber about on great, tree trunk-like legs ending in three-clawed feet.  Fyaltrolls have thick, almost beakish snouts, great manes of long stringy hair, tiny yellow eyes, and sharp teeth.  Their heads often feature curved, ram-like horns and large pointed ears. They are not well-informed in the ways of the "civilized" world, but they tend to be of average intelligence and will almost always know all of the natural happenings near their homes.

Fyaltrolls care little for other beings and are more concerned with the passing of the seasons and the protection of their rocky sanctuaries.  Most conflicts between fyaltrolls and humanoids arise when the latter try to build mines or other structures in Fyaltroll territories.  During hostile times, Fyaltrolls have been known to kidnap and later eat other humanoids and/or their animals. (They have a particular fondness for the tender, fatty meat of halflings.)

The creatures are immensely hardy and strong (+5 STR bonus to melee attacks).  A Fyaltroll's hide is as tough as stone and can only be pierced by magical blades.  Furthermore, they are impervious to fire, acid, and cold-based attacks.  Lightning, however, does normal damage to them and the sound of thunder may even frighten them off.  In combat, Fyaltrolls may fight with claws and teeth, but they prefer gigantic stone axes or hammers, which they are almost never without.

Although popular myth states that Fyaltrolls can be turned to stone by sunlight, this is not true.  Rather, direct sunlight makes them extremely sleepy and they may (20% chance/round) fall into a deep slumber.  Fyaltrolls do not regenerate like regular trolls, either, but total immersion in deep, natural waters (like lakes or large rivers) will cure them of all wounds within 1 round.

* Although I hadn't heard of Tolkien, per se, at such a young age, I do have to thank my mom's girlfriend Patty for making sure I got introduced to the Rankin-Bass versions of "The Hobbit" (I had the paired 45rpm and picture book story) and "The Return of the King" on TV (which I thought for years was called "Frodo of the Nine Fingers").


  1. Very cool take on trolls! Extra points for making them neutral alignment :)

  2. Thanks, Michael! I'm re-learning about statting monsters (haven't done so in ages), so if there's anything that doesn't make sense, number-wise, let me know.

    I figured that, as a kind of "nature spirit", they would be neutral. They don't go out of their way to terrorize or be evil (or to be good, either); they just don't really care one way or another about all these "young" races and their craziness.


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