Sunday, January 15, 2012

About Monsters: Goblins and Trolls

Aerde, like most fantasy worlds, is populated with both civilized races and monsters. Some of those monsters take humanoid form, though most do not. But of the humanoid races, the best known and most common are goblins and trolls. Though there are various sub-races among both goblins and trolls, the following descriptions are generally true for all forms.

Goblins tends to be of shorter stature than Men, with grayish or green-gray skin tones and little hair, with the exception of black, bushy eyebrows. They are uniformly ugly, with sharp facial features, over-sized ears, nose, and chin, and tiny eyes that peek out from under an overhanging brow. Though they are smaller than Men, they are quick to violence, and fight with a ferocity that surprises most on first experiencing it. Goblins wear clothing appropriate to the climate in which they live. They prefer to live underground, like the Dwerden, however they do not build like the Dwerden do. The goblins live in rough caves and caverns, preferring the dark, and only come out under open skies at night, if they have any choice. Though they can move and fight in the daylight, it hurts their eyes, which have adapted over many aeons to subterranean life.

In order to survive your first encounter with a goblin, do not underestimate his strength and ferocity - rather, assume that he will fight with the sole aim of killing his opponent in any way possible, without holding back, and without honor or any sense of fairness. Goblins are quick, vicious little creatures - do not let them get too close, or you may find a barbed and rusty knife in your gut! They like to keep a surprise or three hidden in their clothes, to be brought out at an opportune moment.

Trolls are large, hulking creatures that stand head and shoulders above even a tall Man. They have skin color and tone similar to that of goblins, with a tendency toward fatness, and dark hair on their heads. They tend to walk hunched over, with their arms hanging low and knuckles almost dragging on the ground. Normally they are rather slow-moving, however in a fight they can be quick to react, and often surprise their opponent by this change in behavior. Trolls are not very intelligent, and will sometimes be found in the company (and under the authority) of goblins, with whom they occasionally form a shaky alliance. Trolls are also good hunters, who can follow a trail by scent much like a hunting dog. Their eye-sight is better than that of goblins in daylight, but not as good at night. Trolls will wear the skins and furs of animals in order to stay warm, though they can survive in harsh elements with little or no clothing due to their thick skin and layers of fat. Trolls also often live in caves, however this is more from convenience than anything else. They may just as likely be found under a cliff overhang, or even in a thick patch of tall trees - whatever can provide some shelter from the elements.

In order to defeat a troll in single combat, it is best to bring two or three friends and ensure that it is not actually single combat. If that is not possible, you must use your head, as it is your greatest (perhaps only) advantage over the troll. Trolls use weapons as often as their claws, and will often switch between the two with a surprising quickness. Though not very intelligent, they have an animal's cunning, and are most dangerous when cornered or threatened.