A slightly whimsical look at an alternate type of troll to the standard (cave) trolls found on Gæa.
Trolls on Gæa
The trolls of Gæa are secretive creatures who have a tendency to dwell deep in rocky mountains although on rare occasions, they can be encountered in other terrain. Little is known about their behaviour, mostly due to the fact that anyone attempting to engage in a study on the subject finds themselves eaten in relatively short order. There is only one kind of troll on Gæa, which for game purposes, is the cave troll from the RuneQuest monster book.
Other types of troll such as mistress race, dark, trollkin etc are endemic to Glorantha, which is not Gæa.
THE BRIDGE TROLL PHENOMENON
No one is aware how the bridge troll phenomenon started. Trolls being dim-witted creatures at best are usually unable to comprehend even the simplest of barter concepts. It would appear that sometime in the distant past a troll settled at the site of a bridge in order to avail itself of the easy pickings to be had in the form of travellers who wished to cross the bridge.
Trolls, being lazy beasts are want to settle near a reliable source of food. What is strange from this case was that somehow, over time, the troll was able to curb its appetite and learn to barter for passage over the bridge. Perhaps it was the innate troll laziness which allows it to identify with the benefits of not having to catch its food. Over time, other trolls of above average intelligence learned of the benefits of being a bridge troll and sought out to take up residence at other bridges.
While the benefits of being a bridge troll are relatively obvious, there are also some drawbacks. At times, prospective bridge trolls have met with untimely death through, inter alia:
- Taking up residence on a bridge too close to human or orc territory with the result of the local residents setting about slaying the troll.
- Attempting to build their own bridges with disastrous consequences.
- Losing their place to a stronger bridge troll.
- Starving after taking up residence at a disused backwater bridge. This is either through stubbornness, or just plain stupidity.
Bridge trolls are further noteworthy insofar as some have actually, although very rarely, been able to construct rudimentary yet strong bridges. Of further note is the fact that some have learned to band together for mutual benefit – unheard of for normal trolls and still very rare for bridge trolls. Some bridge trolls have even gone so far as to set up working ferries across broad rivers.
Where one will be likely to encounter a bridge troll
Bridge trolls are unlikely to be encountered within proximity to lands which are more than sparsely inhabited by orcs or humans as the inhabitants of these lands will usually drive them out. Even so, there is a small chance of coming across a troll bridge in such lands in areas or times where there has been little presence of any local warriors.
Troll bridges are more common in the wilds and on backwater roads with little traffic. Areas where there is a above average population of normal trolls usually have an inverse population of bridge trolls. It is assumed from this observation that normal trolls and bridge trolls do not get along well.
What to do when you come across a troll bridge
Most importantly, have something – preferably a decent supply of food – to barter. If one does not have food to barter, remembering of course that food to trolls is basically anything meaty, one may:
- Try to barter something else.
- Run away.
- Try to discuss the matter with the troll in a fast talk kind of way (discouraged).
- Try to fight the troll (also discouraged, unless one has brought a reliable number of warrior friends along).
- Mosey along and hope to find a crossing elsewhere.