There are many kinds of monsters in Svilland. Most of them are threats to any Svillander’s life, and some of them are just insentient creatures that can become lethally aggressive if provoked. On the other hand, there are some families of creatures that although seen as monsters or mysterious creatures, are actually sentient people with their own traditions and culture. Troldfolk is one of such people. In this article, we will discuss details about their culture and way of life, so you may think twice before hunting one down like a savage animal.
Origins of Troldfolk
Where the troldfolk came from has no certain answer. Many scholars of Svillander faith note them as being on the land at the times of the Vanir. Some even go further and say that they were the warriors of the Vanir front at the time of the Allfather’s conquest. Whether they actually were enemies of Svillanders and their Aesir gods cannot be known for certain, but their association with the Vanir is a tale that has weight in it. Most of the troldfolk prefer to live in depths of wilderness around the land, and such depths usually have ruins and other creatures from the time of the Vanir.
What type of creature they are is also not clear. Many of Svillanders count them along with the jotnar. While they are not as large as mountain or frost jotnar, jotnar are known to have quite different habits and characters depending on their kin. As mountain jotnar are relatively solitary and peaceful, and frost jotnar are scheming, aggressive, and often evil, troldfolk may just be a different type of jotnar with their unique characteristics.
On the other hand, there are those, especially the Kuning and seidrs, who associate them with the fey. They think so because of their magic that looks like Vanir or fey powers, and their chaotic and strange characters, sometimes irrational to common sense but strangely rational in its own sense.
Lastly, there are those who believe the troldfolk to be humanoids just like Svillanders or kuning. These people do not get a lot of attention and are often ridiculed. Yet, they swear they saw troldfolk who live among societies, and are actually quite beautiful or handsome.
Interestingly, some scholars believe all of these origins may be true for the troldfolk. Trolde are known for their shifting and adaptive nature in terms of both physiologically and characteristically. Their bodies are able to heal much faster than other mortal races or creatures. Also, their spellcraft just manifests itself in those who are wise enough to focus, they don’t need to learn the runes as runewalkers do, they just wish for something to happen, and magic answers. Thus, they can be of a unique family, that can fit jotnar, fey, or even humanoids under different circumstances of nurture.
Habitants of the Wilderness
Most of the troldfolk live in the depths of the many wildernesses of Svilland. They live in caves, rocky areas, forests, and bogs, usually by people of two. They rarely come near Svillander settlements, as they often dislike them.
Although some think of them as primitive nomads surviving through hunting and gathering, some troldfolk families are known to farm their environment. Such families carefully grow certain weeds or mushrooms on trees or within caves, and they harvest them. Some rangers even noted that they have husbandry, but most of the Svillanders thought of this observation as the troldfolk stole those animals from a nearby village.
Additionally, they seem to be at peace with many creatures of the deep wilderness. Grove guardians don’t become protective when the troldfolk enter their groves, beasts do not run away from them, and Vanir beasts do not get provoked by them. Even nadr do not care if they are near, while they are quite aggressively territorial when a Svillander approaches their lairs. Some seidrs throughout the history of Svilland noted that they saw the troldfolk talk peacefully with Huldra as well, and the creatures even aided the folk.
Unlike what Svillanders think of them, the troldfolk has an established society. Just like the elders of a Svillander village, trolde have wise ones among them who guide their kin, and who cast spells to aid their lives. They call them wyse trolde and obey their statements with respect. Wyse trolde are also the ones to initiate communication and diplomacy with Svillanders if necessary and are the first ones to bring the wrath of nature upon those who disrespect or threaten their folks.
Still, troldfolks live relatively solitary. Because of their large and adaptive bodies, they consume a lot of food, and such food usually is not available if they live in crowds. Thus, they prefer to live as families or parent-and-child.
When children are born, parents usually depart. The mother takes her son and the father takes her daughter. Troldfolk usually give birth to one or two children in their lives and there is often a girl and a boy if they give birth to two. If one or both of the children die, they give birth again. On the other hand, when a trold becomes elderly and wise enough, it meets with other elders of the tribe and starts living with them.
A tribe usually has up to three elders. When the number is more than that, it probably also means that the number of families has exceeded the limit their land can feed, and thus some of the families and elders separate to form another tribe.
Although they live as families, a tribe is never separated for more than a few days of walking distance. The troldfolk instinctively know other families or elders of their tribe’s whereabouts. When the time calls, they meet at the home of their elders and act as a tribe for a while according to the sake of the calling.
Although they farm some plants and make husbandry, troldfolk live primitive and sometimes nomadic lives. They did not develop arts or crafts of complexity. Yet, their beliefs are quite strong and open to philosophy. Unlike the Svillanders who take dogmas of the Allfather and the pantheon quite seriously, troldfolk believe in spirits and let their youth determine their fate, whether good or ill.
They are good at storytelling. They collect and pass on stories of their kin and other races alike. Their youth is always educated with those stories. Some scholars say troldfolk is better than Svillanders at acting as a single mind with their family, tribe or whole race. They take their youth’s education very seriously, and although not quite witty, their youth learn their lessons quickly.
Troldfolk know magic exists within all of them. With enough determination, they can change things. This is the reason why some people believe that they are fey rather than jotnar. Because of this, trolde do many of their actions according to their instincts; Not necessarily because they are primitive or instinctive, but because they believe in the faith present in their instincts.
Their world revolve around a number of things. The two most important events for them are eating and making riddle contests. They can eat a lot of food in one sit, and they often do so to gain a reputation among their kin for being tough. They also create and try to solve each others’ riddles, in order to prove their wisdom. Those who can are seen as walking the path to becoming a wyse trold.
From time to time, they also make “conquests” to the Svillander societies. Their idea of conquest is to go and do -relatively- unharmful mischief in villages. Also, they “conquer” passageways such as bridges, natural entrances or passages.
When they do, they challenge the Svillanders with their contests of eating or riddles. However, they saw many of the Svillanders preferred to fight rather than taking part in these contests. Thus, they also developed the tradition of making champion to champion fights to the death.
Types of Troldfolk
Most of the Svillanders know only one type of troldfolk. That type is large, relatively ugly and weak in mind. Those are indeed the most common ones. However, there are many types of troldfolk.
These trolde are gone insane because of some reason, and they are able to pass on this insanity. Most of the time, a sparask forms when a trold goes mad by itself because of their alreaty-chaotic mind. Other times, it is evil cults of the Svillanders who turn trolde into sparasks by maddening torture.
A sparask is not happy at all because of its insanity. Because trolde depend heavily on their instincts, in a faithful level, not making sense of their minds is terrifying for them. That is why a sparask yearns for an anchor in their mind, most often someone who can tell them what to do, just to see a glimpse of sanity. This submission is what some evil cults like, and thus they torture trolde to make them mad but faithful servants or guardians.
The bortbyting, or changeling in the Svillander languages, is a child whose place was changed and is raised by another race. Sometimes, troldfolk tribes like to steal Svillander babies and place their own babies to the cradles. They then raise Svillander babies in their culture and let the Svillanders raise their trold babies as if it’s their own.
Trolde that are raised in Svillanders’ hands adapt to their racial features. They become physically inseperable from Svillanders. Yet, they also become astonishingly beautiful or handsome. Because of their nature, these changelings often become unsavory characters. They like to live their lives doing mischief and having occupations that deny or rebel against their societies in some way.
What Do You Think About Troldfolk?
So, these are the unknown facts and tales about troldfolk in our Svilland Campaign Setting. We took them from the true Norse mythology, and partially shape them to fit our setting we created for the 5th Edition. If you are hearing about Svilland for the first time, feel free to check it out on our website here. You can download and try our demo booklet, and purchase it from DrivethruRPG.com if you like it.
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