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David Scott

Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 5 - Uz

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p99 - Surprised at the Dark Troll population in the Palarkri Mountains.  Although it probably stems from the Annilla cult writeup in Troll Gods which talks about 16 rock-eater trolls beneath the Palarkri.

P102 - The name Koromandol has always been a bit familiar to me because there is a Peninsula here called Coromandel.  It's actually named after the Indian coast and it probably makes its way in Glorantha through Lear.

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The Uz, they are slowly becoming my favourite lesse race (after Ducks, of course). Lots of new and interesting info in this chapter.

First, in the Mythos I was really delighted about how their mythology intervenes with others. As Yelm was driven to Underworld, trolls had to get out of there. That is so brilliant! Now that I caught this, I have to start putting my mind more into these mythology sections. Are they all telling the same stories essentially (deep discussion alert!)?

To this day I thought all troll females had six breasts. I blame the Trollpak character sheet that had the naked troll female depicted there. But they act as a marks of power with the dark troll children. See, we are talking about breasts again.

Somehow I felt really sorry for these creatures with their curse of kin and also loneliness. Even though they have their communities I get the vibe that trolls are quite solitary individuals and only gather when needed.

Illustrations are great (especially the colored one). I think Glorantha trolls look a little bit like dogs from their head (and not apes, I am looking at you Gods war first designs!). In other fiction dragons are usually given dog-like appearance and actions.

I am glad this chapter was a little longer and had enough information about trolls. Maybe I should go through the Trollpak some day again.

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What surprised me about the population numbers are the high numbers for northern Genertela and the minuscule ones for the three colonies around Dragon Pass. Halikiv is the size of Dagori Inkarth and Shadow Plateau combined, and Guhan is bigger than the Dragon Pass region.

Almost half the trolls in the world inhabit the Kingdom of Ignorance and Koromandol. Troll presence outside of Genertela is about 1/5th of the total population, with Tarmo the second largest troll civilization anywhere, followed by the Elder Wilds. Blue Moon Plateau, and Guhan are runners up.

Here's a re-organized population table:

Troll Populations

Dragon Pass................................ 70,000

(Dagori Inkarth 60,000, Cliffhome 10,000, no numbers for Sazdorf or Boldhome)

Elder Wilds............................... 430,000

Fronela (Valind’s Glacier)............ 30,000

Holy Country............................... 41,000

(Shadow Plateau 41,000, no numbers for the Troll Woods or the Sea Trolls)

Kingdom of Ignorance........... 1,500,000

(500,000 Ignorance trollkin, 1,000,000 other trolls)

(100,000 Eristiland, 100,000 trollkin western Ignorance, 150,000 trollkin central Ignorance, )

Lunar Empire............................ 460,000

(Blue Moon Plateau 380,000, Yolp 80,000)

Maniria......................................... 5,000

(Ice Peak, Troll Mountain)

Pent............................................ 46,000

(36,000 dark, 10,000 snow)

Ralios........................................ 370,000

(Guhan 250,000, Halikiv 120,000)

White Sea (Keniryan Sea)........... 30,000

Jrusteli Islands............................ 72,000

Errinoru Jungle......................... 140,000

(Jungle Trolls 140,000, no numbers for Palarkri)

Tarmo Mountains..................... 500,000

Total:................................... 3,694,000

 

It is also strange to find Dagori Inkarth listed under Dragon Pass but many of the Dagori Inkarth landmarks though none of the population (not even the Big Rubble ones) listed under the Wastes.

Borklak and the Uzhim of the Glacier and the White Sea Coast together are smaller than Dagori Inkarth or Yolp, although the Glacier number may be an unknown in the Outer World.

 

22 minutes ago, jrutila said:

First, in the Mythos I was really delighted about how their mythology intervenes with others. As Yelm was driven to Underworld, trolls had to get out of there. That is so brilliant! Now that I caught this, I have to start putting my mind more into these mythology sections. Are they all telling the same stories essentially (deep discussion alert!)?

Uz Lore from Troll Pak used to be my primary source for the world history when I started to dig into Glorantha. Cults of Terror and Glorantha Book from Genertela Box provided supplementary information, but given troll involvement in so many facets of Gloranthan history, that text ruled.

The trolls aren't everywhere, though, so there are a lot of things happening without direct troll participation. Other places have other Underworld denizens taking up a life in the surface world - some like the Shadzorings from Alkoth or human-shaped Kitori undistinguishable from humans, others like the Gorgers from Kimos or the Andinni in the East Isles similar in some aspects (e.g. anthropophagy) and totally different in others.

22 minutes ago, jrutila said:

Somehow I felt really sorry for these creatures with their curse of kin and also loneliness. Even though they have their communities I get the vibe that trolls are quite solitary individuals and only gather when needed.

Uz females are highly social creatures. Uz males are subservient while staying there, ready to jump when a female - even a polluted one with a recent trollkin birth - is telling them to do something. The post as bodyguards of the Esrolian Queen is a cushy job with lots of personal freedom compared to life under direct influence of a Hell Mother.

Troll hunters make up a big part of troll encounters, and many troll hunters hunt solitarily (if you discount their trollkin entourage), which might give this impression. Troll raiders rarely come by as individuals, and troll trade caravans are enterprises with several dark trolls and lots of trollkin. Trollkin are rarely encountered alone, they usually look for comfort in a group (as it lessens the chance to be picked for whichever unpleasant task is up).

Encountering a female troll is quite rare outside of troll strongholds. If you do, you can expect the troll to be a magician or heroquester with an agenda way above your pay grade.

22 minutes ago, jrutila said:

Illustrations are great (especially the colored one). I think Glorantha trolls look a little bit like dogs from their head (and not apes, I am looking at you Gods war first designs!). In other fiction dragons are usually given dog-like appearance and actions.

There are two schools of troll head illustrations - the rather smooth ones, and the pointy lipped, almost beaked ones from e.g. the Trollball illustration in Troll Pak. Snout length can vary considerably. The smooth head shape dominates in the Guide.

An ape- or even baboon-like impression of the head cannot be avoided, that's what you get when you elongate a human face into a snout above fearsome dentistry with tusks. Even when those tusks are somewhat porkine in nature, as with the Tusk Riders. Apart from totally unfit weaponry, I would be inclined to use my old Warhammer fantasy square-jawed orcs as rank and file troll minis.

22 minutes ago, jrutila said:

I am glad this chapter was a little longer and had enough information about trolls. Maybe I should go through the Trollpak some day again.

The page count on trolls in Gloranthan publications in total probably is the third largest for any cultural group, trailing only the Orlanthi and maybe the Praxians. A publication on Gloranthan religions isn't complete without a cult description of Kyger Litor - RQ3 had three of them (Troll Pak, Troll Gods, Elder Secrets), not counting the short one in Gods of Glorantha, RQ2 had a short one in the rules and the long one in Cults of Prax and Troll Pak. Hero Wars had Uz, the Trolls of Glorantha. Heroquest is still working on its big version.

 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

There are two schools of troll head illustrations - the rather smooth ones, and the pointy lipped, almost beaked ones from e.g. the Trollball illustration in Troll Pak. Snout length can vary considerably. The smooth head shape dominates in the Guide.

I'd say there are actually 3 schools of troll art:
Dan Brereton's pictures from Troll Realms & Haunted Ruins; they have the "beaked look" you mention
Kevin Ramos' Porcine style from the Gloranthan Bestiary. They have the flattened nose of a pig, and was how I saw Uz until someone lent me the RQII Trollpak and I saw the work of...
Lisa Free/William Church style, which is what all the art in the Guide is based on. Though it developed on from Lisas' stuff, she is the pregenitor of almost all troll art.

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

An ape- or even baboon-like impression of the head cannot be avoided, that's what you get when you elongate a human face into a snout above fearsome dentistry with tusks. Even when those tusks are somewhat porkine in nature, as with the Tusk Riders. Apart from totally unfit weaponry, I would be inclined to use my old Warhammer fantasy square-jawed orcs as rank and file troll minis.

What? I'd have to disagree. if you elongate a human face like you say, you won't get a troll :D
As Jrutila says, Uz skulls are closest to dogs (or bats) in their morphology:
The brain is situated behind the snout, and there is almost no forehead. The snout sweeps back into the braincase. In a primate, the snout sweeps up to the eyes.
Most importantly, unlike any primate, there is no supraorbital ridge. The eyes are placed on either side of the snout and Uz have an orbital ligament, instead of a full bone orbit. So the eyes are set wide. Sandy felt that Uz use sonar like dolphins, but i felt it would much more likely to be similar to bats (except for sea-trolls who are vaguely delphine).

Much like Trollpack, I question Tuskriders' lineage. sure they have tusks, but I reckon they are just too embarrassed to admit the baboon blood ;)

Edited by Dogboy
pig noses & Mawr Brereton
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the picture on page 101, was originally meant to be a replacement for the D. Dobyski Troll Hunter image, used in the Zong write up in AH Troll Gods box, as part of Tales attempt to redo all the art.

Edited by Dogboy
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1 hour ago, Dogboy said:

the picture on page 101, was originally meant to be a replacement for the D. Dobyski Troll Hunter image, used in the Zong write up in AH Troll Gods box, as part of Tales attempt to redo all the art.

Love those tough little . . . are those mutant enlo? Caption claims the jungle trolls escaped that nuisance so they must be midges, which is amazing and probably some kind of taboo to mention.

I confess to being perplexed over the years at how small trollkin are portrayed in absolute terms since their average SIZ in RQ was always 9-10, comparable to a full-grown human before modern diet. The weight lines up (GTG 93) but even at 3'6" they'd be eye-to-eye with a human 4-year-old and extremely heavy. 

On one hand, I love teeny enlo in the art so much that I mentally scale them down to SIZ 4-6 in order to support the pictures. But I also tend to brush off the description of how "puny" they are as a sidelong joke: a pathetic trollkin is really only as "tiny" as a typical adult human (also average SIZ 10) to a mighty dark troll. Again, taboos are probably in play around this.

Maybe the little enlo we see strutting around in their cute little mini outfits are mostly juveniles coddled like pets in troll families that haven't managed to have real children. I don't know where the adult ones go, but survivability is probably low.

Trivia: the midget slasher runs the exact same SIZ range (d6+6) but is generally a lot dumber than even a non-superior enlo.

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25 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Love those tough little . . . are those mutant enlo? Caption claims the jungle trolls escaped that nuisance so they must be midges, which is amazing and probably some kind of taboo to mention.

Trivia: the midget slasher runs the exact same SIZ range (d6+6) but is generally a lot dumber than even a non-superior enlo.

They are Midget Slashers. As you say, Muri don't suffer the Curse of Kin, so I thought they would likely use Slashers instead. For some reason I thought Muri would "doc" their arms, probably so they couldn't bite off too much of the prey animal. I was playing with the idea of giving them tight thongs on their necks, similar to those used by Cormorant fishermen, to stop the birds swallowing their catch. 

I think the skulls are Midget Slasher skulls left by hunters, but I did this 23 years ago, and I can't remember my thinking at the time.

(this was my favourite of the replacement art pieces I did, though the Ice Demon came a close second)

Edited by Dogboy
digression
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Again an enhanced version of a text previously available in the Elder Races Book from the RuneQuest III box Elder Secrets of Glorantha. One of the obvious enhancements is the fact, that the Troll Types section is a mixture between similar sections in the Elder Races Book from the Elder Secrets of Glorantha box and the Uz Lore book from the RuneQuest III Trollpack. Other enhancements are again from the Uz Lore book (e.g. the The Curse of the Kin and the Snow Trolls boxed texts) as well as from the Book of Uz from this box (e.g. the Troll Ecology and the Typical Hunting Party boxed texts and illustration).

Points of interest:

  • The Troll Ecology text describes dwarves as being some kind of … sedative drug for Trolls. Quite interesting.

  • The Troll Ecology text lists some reasons, why dwarves and elves are sworn enemies of Trolls (and vice versa).

  • Snow Trolls. A very special Troll species, which could be used in some Winter … no, sorry, Storm Season adventures. Or even better in adventures located in the North.

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Page 94: "The Swarm". What else do we know about this, and why is it a big deal on a more than local scale? Compared to elven global (well... not "global" exactly, I guess...) reforestation and dwarven continent-pulling, it looks less dramatic at first glance.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 94: "The Swarm". What else do we know about this, and why is it a big deal on a more than local scale? Compared to elven global (well... not "global" exactly, I guess...) reforestation and dwarven continent-pulling, it looks less dramatic at first glance.

That number of hungry uz will leave a stretch of denuded land behind them, unless cooperation with locals (like the Duke of Naskorion) provides them with provisions - lots of them, not necessarily human-digestible.

Another effect might be the end point of the journey. Read the formation of the Black Eater at the Battle of Night and Day (which then led to the Curse of Kin) from History of the Heortling Peoples:

Quote

Ragged shadows hung over the uz horde. From them rose yet another monster troll, but even bigger and more ugly that the others, with many great dugs flapping about, and a noise from her mouth which broke the head bones of those men stupid enough to remain too close. Her great body seemed to suck up all the bodies of her worshippers and get larger to become the lumbering mother of devourers, and even to suck the darkest marrow and courage from all humans who saw her.
It was her. Kyger Litor herself, the Great Devourer, rose. One time Kyger Litor had eaten heaven; another hell. She rose to eat. The Devourer. Hungry.

At this battle merely the uz of Dagori Inkarth, the Obsidian Palace and Halikiv were present. Maybe Yolp, too. However, if all the modern populations just of Ralios and the Elder Wilds alone unite, they will make up ten times or more the number that was present at the Battle of Night and Day. 

The long-term consequence is a difference to the trollkin curse. Possibly a new race, other than the Dark Trolls (who are stunted versions of the original breed, too).

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4 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Page 94: "The Swarm". What else do we know about this, and why is it a big deal on a more than local scale? Compared to elven global (well... not "global" exactly, I guess...) reforestation and dwarven continent-pulling, it looks less dramatic at first glance.

It's really more about what it hints at... why HAVE tens of thousands of Uz uprooted themselves from their comfortable caverns and decided to march most of the way across a continent? Seeing ONE Uzuz on the surface is cause for major concern... here we have a dozen or more. 

If Kyger Litor really IS pregnant, what does that mean for the Compromise?? What sort of new god will she give birth to? From that standpoint, tiny things like moving some earth around or growing a bunch of trees seem a bit inconsequential, no? 

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Page 97 of the Guide indicates:
The trolls are effectively color-blind, except for the color red, which they hate.
I looked in the Trollpack books (both for RQ2 & RQ3) and did not found any clue about the reason of the hate of the red...

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2 hours ago, 7Tigers said:

I looked in the Trollpack books (both for RQ2 & RQ3) and did not found any clue about the reason of the hate of the red...

Fire.

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