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Trading with Giants and Trolls


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My players were on a logging expedition in the Eastern Rockwoods, between the Boathouse and the Throne. Having already negotiated with the Aldryami, they were allowed to cut a certain number of trees to float down the River of Cradles, and sell in Pavis. During the expedition, they were approached by a a couple of giants, and by trolls. 

One of the party is an Issaries merchant, and a brilliant negotiator. As part of the negotiations, he's arranged to return the following summer with a trading expedition, to trade with the giants, and with the trolls who live at the eastern end of Dagori Ingarth (two of the parties are troll-friends, from previous adventures). I have four questions:

  1. What would the trolls want to buy off of humans? (first thing I have on the list is humans, the younger the better)
  2. What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?
  3. What would the giants want to buy off of humans?
  4. What would giants offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

Gonn Orta and his trading post have nothing to do with this expedition, and are a long ways away from it.

Any ideas out there?

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1. Any kind of unusual foodstuff (including things that wouldn't normally be considered foodstuffs) that the trolls don't normally have easy access to could be good. Trolls don't have the same kind of tastes as humans, so it could be just about anything you want them to be interested in.

2. Depends on what the trolls do out here. Maybe they've got some hallucinogenic mushrooms or something, or they've been hunting big game and have lots of exotic pelts because those are more useful than tasty and they might be convinced to trade them.

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Trolls could export lead (or even other metals), chitin for various uses, other insectoid secretions or byproducts, trollkin slaves, etc. 

They might like to import other metals, finished products (luxury items, tools, etc.).

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5 hours ago, pachristian said:

What would the trolls want to buy off of humans? (first thing I have on the list is humans, the younger the better)

As you rightly guess, the first thing to interest trolls in a bargain will always be food.  The Rockwoods trolls have old affiliations with the Shadow Plateau and Argan Argar though, whoever's negotiating for them would only only offer to buy children if there were obvious slaves around, and even then maybe not depending on their relationships with neighboring humans--getting a reputation as child-eaters is the sort of thing that gets Orlanthi looking for troll-fighting specialists like the Night Leapers.

They'll want interesting or magical food first and foremost, followed by useful tools, followed possibly by slaves.  they like cooked food, but only weird Gablad troll redsmiths are willing to work with fire, so pre-cooked food (smoked etc.) could be a high-value trade.  most human-raised animals are useless to them save as food, most kinds of livestock react to an approaching troll the way they'd react to a bear or tiger, and sensibly so.  if Argan Argar traders are responsible for the bargaining their goal will be to end with the parties exchanging goods of equal value, an 'Equal Exchange.'  Though they like lead they will not normally trade for it, it's too easy to come by in their caves.  A courtesy gift of lead from the humans before trade begins would likely be well-received though.

5 hours ago, pachristian said:

What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

They don't care for or use gold, but they're often in a position to loot it from humans, same with other precious metals.  They probably wouldn't carry iron weapons or tools with them, but if they know the location of a cache of iron goods they might trade the information.  wood and other organic materials don't survive long among trolls, but stone and metal objects tend to, and they may have a wide variety of such things  they have no use for to trade.

 

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5 hours ago, pachristian said:
  • What would the trolls want to buy off of humans? (first thing I have on the list is humans, the younger the better)
  • What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?
  • What would the giants want to buy off of humans?
  • What would giants offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

1) Quality food stuffs!  Tasty elves, dwarfs, herd men, herd beasts, rubble runners, …  Obsidian for "sun" glasses.  

2) Magic mushrooms!  Beetle shell helmets.  Fine spider silk, or the black silk of giant Shadow Dance caterpillars.  Daggers from the mandibles of giant centipedes or spiders.  Spider venom....

3) Food, particularly large animals.  Herd beasts come to mind.  And if you don't bring enough, be careful, they might decide to eat the humans too.  Or giant beetles acquired from the trolls.

4) Large trees that they've uprooted?  Great slabs of stone that they've broken off a cliffside.  Otherwise, well, they're mostly into eating things and breaking things.  Perhaps directions to some settlement that they can tear apart?

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What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

Trolls have really interesting Tech. It's biological in nature. So things that can be made via insects, fermented or brewed. They are BioChem and Lead and Stone not Bronze. 

Silk. Likely the top level trade item. Can you imagine the fantastic things that can be made from such silk?  (https://www.wired.com/2009/09/spider-silk/#:~:text=The resulting 11-foot by,who co-led the project.) although colours may be ...off....until Trolls have a long conversation about what regular trading partners might want.

Honey! Royal Jelly! In a world without sugar cane or sugar beet processing large amounts of sweet goodness is important. Insect eggs. Lead crafted items (lead is really useful for plumbing, roofing and many other things in the human world). 

We know Trolls are masters of brewing and fermenting and other odd chemical processes. Pickled insects and other foods. Vinegar, other acids and alkaline chemicals in stone jars sealed with wax. All really useful to bronze age humans.

Trolls Drinks are famous but think what other alchemy they may have for sale, for the right price.

Mushrooms! Dried as food or for other purposes. Mushroom Jerky is ace and that's air dried. 

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4 hours ago, Thaz said:

Trolls Drinks are famous but think what other alchemy they may have for sale, for the right price.

Mushrooms! Dried as food or for other purposes. Mushroom Jerky is ace and that's air dried. 

The strongest troll drinks could be useful to humans as cleaning agents, vermin poison and herbicides.

The strongest mushrooms would be interesting for shamans. Some may have varied magical properties.

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One of the most widely used red colourants (even in our modern world!) is made of cochineal scale (Dactylopious spp.) a small ugly insect.

It has been used since antiquity to dye textiles.

Nowadays we daily consume it in red-coloured soft drinks, ice cream, joghurt and candy. Yes, some truths are hard to swallow.  🤭

Edited by Runeblogger
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What would giants want?  Herds of cattle, bison, or alpacas to turn into food and clothing.  Going back to Gonn Orta and Boshbisil, they want magic even more than meat, but they also want help with "fine manipulation," little hands to thread needles (or harpoons), artificers to stitch sailcloth garments, fashion locks, carve scrimshaw and repair pea-shooters.  These could be slaves or skilled craftsmen (slave-craftsmen?).  Giants would appreciate being able to peer at little stuff better, so even if your Glorantha does not include magnifying lenses and telescopes, they might go for hemispheric lumps of polished glass. 

As what humans want from giants, the record indicates construction services, quarried stone, building walls around Pavis and Asgard, or hexagonal causeways.  Giants are good porters until they get hungry or distracted.  Or maybe the giants have a domesticated mastodon or apatosaurus they want to sell?

Edited by Cragspider
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6 hours ago, Cragspider said:

Giants would appreciate being able to peer at little stuff better, so even if your Glorantha does not include magnifying lenses and telescopes, they might go for hemispheric lumps of polished glass. 

Or having a giant magnifying glass to see if they can set little houses (or people) on fire...

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 6/16/2020 at 3:26 AM, Thaz said:

What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

...Honey! Royal Jelly! In a world without sugar cane or sugar beet processing large amounts of sweet goodness is important. Insect eggs. Lead crafted items (lead is really useful for plumbing, roofing and many other things in the human world). 

Absolutely knowing that there is at least one troll area full of giant insects and giant flowers.  What sort of honey do giant bees make?  Probably pretty good stuff, and in giant quantities.   Beeswax is also a very useful commodity.   And it's a lot safer to get the trolls to raid the hive than for some human to try it.

I'd like to suggest:

- Bludgeon matrices!  Trolls ought to produce a lot of these since they favor maces and mauls.  Every Issaries should want one for his staff.

- matrices for troll cult -specific magics.  And this looks like a rich area for Spell Trading too!

- Spellcasting as a service.  Some troll cult rune spells may be unique.

The RQ3 Trollpack is full of things.  That royal jelly from giant bees gave a SIZ increase of 1 (given a week of inactivity after the dose) , with the possibility that second, third etc doses would have an effect decreasing as SIZ approached species maximum.  It was also given a value of 5000 lunars and up per dose. 

RQ3 Trollpack also had a list of troll beverages.  But the majority of these could have undesirable effects on humans, requiring magical healing.  And, yes, one of them is an industrial acid.

Your friendly local Argan Argar trader would probably be ready to suggest items of interest.

 

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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1 hour ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

- Bludgeon matrices!  Trolls ought to produce a lot of these since they favor maces and mauls.  Every Issaries should want one for his staff.

 

What's a bludgeon matrix? The boinky bit?

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9 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

What's a bludgeon matrix? The boinky bit?

Pointing at a sword, "You know how to use that thing?"

"Sure, pointy bit goes into the other bloke." :)

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On 6/16/2020 at 7:45 AM, Runeblogger said:

The strongest troll drinks could be useful to humans as cleaning agents, vermin poison and herbicides.

In my game, a troll merchant visited Pavis. He just came from the Rubble, so nothing super exotic like the cool Vale of Flowers ideas noted above, but some weird stuff. One of which was "Hinglidarn's Famous Bowel Cleanser" at ~500L for a sip, along with signing a release that you won't seek revenge (or your family won't seek revenge). It gave a CON Gain check (like a POW Gain check), which, if you failed, dealt a bunch of damage and lowered CON instead.

The group's Issaries merchant was definitely intrigued by Hinglidarn's offer of pack beetles, but ended up not buying one. He also sold shroomwine as a trade good. Trollkin slaves could be another option to buy (though I'm not sure people in other campaigns would have the same attachments to the little bastards).

I imagine that Giants might be interested in armored footwear, the better for stepping on houses with (as I recall, there's a picture of Alone showing houses with large stakes rising from the top to dissuade giants). Probably layered leather, rather than metal, unless magic's involved.

Another option for sale to trolls which I don't think was mentioned would be dairy products. Cheese stays fairly well, trolls don't have patience to make it from traded herd beasts, and it provides a different, delicious taste. It's more value-dense for weight/volume than bread products would be, too.

Other luxury options could be cultural or art goods. I imagine the trolls make interesting drumming stones, good for music, and a reed flute might be interesting to them as both a musical instrument and as a snack.

Giant labor sounds to me like what would be most in demand from them. You could do years of building in days, with a giant to lift the stones. Of course, convincing them to help you build a new fort or palace is probably really hard, given their association with Disorder.

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5 hours ago, Crel said:

Giant labor sounds to me like what would be most in demand from them. You could do years of building in days, with a giant to lift the stones. Of course, convincing them to help you build a new fort or palace is probably really hard, given their association with Disorder.

Well, they could clear fields of boulders, or dredge ditches pretty well! 

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On 6/14/2020 at 5:32 AM, pachristian said:

My players were on a logging expedition in the Eastern Rockwoods, between the Boathouse and the Throne. Having already negotiated with the Aldryami, they were allowed to cut a certain number of trees to float down the River of Cradles, and sell in Pavis. During the expedition, they were approached by a  couple of giants, and by trolls. 

One of the party is an Issaries merchant, and a brilliant negotiator. As part of the negotiations, he's arranged to return the following summer with a trading expedition, to trade with the giants, and with the trolls who live at the eastern end of Dagori Ingarth (two of the parties are troll-friends, from previous adventures). I have four questions:

  1. What would the trolls want to buy off of humans? (first thing I have on the list is humans, the younger the better)
  2. What would the trolls offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?
  3. What would the giants want to buy off of humans?
  4. What would giants offer for sale that might sell in Pavis?

Gonn Orta and his trading post have nothing to do with this expedition, and are a long ways away from it.

Any ideas out there?

1.  Anything stinky (It's human artwork, and highly prized for its alien primitivism).  Trolls will like many of the usual trade goods as well; everyone human-ish sized needs pottery, metal and blankets.  

2.  Obviously giant insect products are a big draw for humans.  Parasols are another good one.  Stones to kill chaos are a spectacular opportunity. Trollkin. Guard services.

3.  Lots and lots of fabric; those humans can stitch things all but invisibly.  Mindspeech-anything, as giants have trouble making themselves understood.  Giants are forced to buy any good in large quantities for obvious reasons.

4.  Menhir delivery (and sundry construction services).  Really large quantities of timber that they haul up in the way humans weed a garden.  Boats that are actually giant footware i.e. clog boats, huge dugout canoes.  Giants may keep supplies of raw hides for trade when they are small.  Pretty colored boulders. Guard services.

Sorry if I doubled up on anyone else's ideas.

Edited by Darius West
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1. Trolls in the Argan Argar cult would buy bronze spearheads.  It's probably hard to find a troll redsmith, so they would buy repair services too. 

A redsmith near a troll area might have a steady stream of troll customers.  That may not help your Issaries merchant but would be a nice touch in a campaign.

Trolls would buy matrices and spell trading for many non-Darkness rune spells.  How about flight?  Wouldn't a flying troll be unexpected and effective? 

4.  Giants could strip mine, where otherwise people like dwarves would tunnel.  Strip mining a whole seam of bronze could be a major industrial service.  As for the chaotic giants issue, what's more chaotic than strip mining?

 

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