Trolls are interesting characters to roleplay. There are a few major reasons why Trolls are at the top of my list for roleplay. First and foremost is the fact that for all the Trolls in Azeroth and all the story we've been given about all the various Troll tribes, there's not a lot of real information out there in terms of day-to-day Troll life. Traditions, ceremonies, tribal bonds -- it's all sort of a mystery. Yet the sheer amount of culture we've been given is just enough to play with, within the context of what little we know. Storytellers, practitioners of voodoo, the kaleidoscope of Loa and their relation to the Ancients -- it's all up in the air to fiddle around with.
The other reason Trolls are just so entertaining is that they've come so far from so little. In vanilla, the Trolls seemed like a vague addition to the Horde, with no capital city of their own and very little in the way of backstory. Troll reputation vendors were placed in Orgrimmar, where the Trolls had a tiny corner of the city to call their own. Vol'jin sat in Thrall's chambers and never really did much of anything. When Cataclysm was announced and events started coming out in preparation for the expansion, the Darkspear got a huge jolt of storyline, with elements that can and should affect every roleplayer.
Suddenly, the Trolls have a capital city of sorts, and they have a leader who has leapt from two-dimensional obscurity into a full-fledged character with his own opinions. Vol'jin doesn't blindly follow Thrall, nor does he agree with every decision Thrall makes -- and that is made blatantly clear from the very beginnings of the Troll starting zone. Trolls have much more information and many more plot points to work with now than they ever did in vanilla.
A new, old home
What happened Just before Cataclysm's launch, Vol'jin launched a huge mission to retake the Echo Isles from Zalazane. The mission was a success, and Zalazane was finally put to death, his spirit at the mercy of Bwomsamdi. In Cataclysm, the Trolls finally have the Echo Isles -- once they take care of that pesky Sea Witch, that is. Though the Echo Isles still feel vaguely like they are under construction, the Trolls finally have a place to call home.
How this affects your character This is huge, even though it may not seem like it at first glance. The Darkspear Trolls haven't really had a proper home since the days prior to World of Warcraft. Once the Darkspear made the journey to Durotar with the Orcs, they founded the Echo Isles, but Zalazane promptly pushed them off and took over. Since then, the Darkspear really haven't had a place to call home -- just the small outpost of Sen'jin Village and the equally small section in Orgrimmar.
What to consider How does your character feel about having a home? Was he present for the fight against Zalazane? Is he proud of his tribe's accomplishments, or could he not care less about the Echo Isles? Does he like the feeling of having a place to go home to, or is he content with wandering the world, not really caring about the reclamation of the Echo Isles?
What happened Just after Garrosh Hellscream was appointed temporary Warchief of the Horde, Vol'jin confronted the new Warchief and gave him some words of advice. The words consisted of, "I don't like you, I don't think you're right for the job, I think it's a matter of time before the rest of the Horde agrees, and when they decide you ought to die, I'll be the one to put you down." Needless to say, this did not go over well with Hellscream -- and tensions between the Trolls and the Horde have been high ever since. The Trolls may have a section of new Orgrimmar to call their own, but Garrosh's contempt for the Trolls is fairly well-known, especially to those who leveled through the Echo Isles. Vol'jin shows new players the scene between Garrosh and himself.
How this affects your character It's a matter of tribal pride, here. The Darkspear have been loyal to the Horde and were the first non-Orc race to join the Horde back in Warcraft 3. Thrall obviously held great amounts of respect for the Trolls, but Garrosh seems to have none of it. And despite Thrall's respect for his comrades, he willingly placed Garrosh in charge, stating that it would be best for the Horde.
What to consider Is your character new to the Horde with Cataclysm, or has he been present for Thrall's reign as Warchief? How does he feel about Garrosh Hellscream? How does he feel about Vol'jin's reaction to Garrosh -- does he view it as a rash decision, or does he think Vol'jin was justified? Does he agree with Garrosh's views on the Alliance, or does he think the new Warchief is far too harsh? What does he think about Thrall's leaving Garrosh to lead in his stead?
The rise of the Zandalari
What happened In patch 4.1, the Zandalari returned with a vengeance. No longer content to sit around and watch the various Troll tribes of the world die out, the Zandalari are rallying for a unification of all Troll tribes and the rise of Troll civilization as the dominating force on Azeroth. Vol'jin stood up and declined to join the tribal alliance, instead taking a stand against the proposed empire and going so far as to recruit both Horde and Alliance to put a stop to it.
How this affects your character As a Darkspear Troll, your character is sort of up against the world at the moment. Other Troll tribes are enemies, with few exceptions, and never more so than now. Vol'jin decided not only to lead his people against the Zandalari, but to recruit both the Horde and the Alliance into the situation. It's war on a pretty major scale for the Darkspear -- and should they defeat the Zandalari and ruin any plans of a Troll empire, the Darkspear stand to be the only solid Troll empire of its kind on Azeroth.
What to consider How does your Troll feel about other Troll tribes? Is he generally hostile toward other Trolls? Does he view them with outright contempt, or with pity? Is he angry about the Zandalari tribe's attempt to unite and overthrow the other races of Azeroth? Or does he secretly wish he were a part of that side, rather than the Darkspear? How does he feel about Vol'jin recruiting the Alliance -- does he think it's a good idea, a bad one, or that Vol'jin has possibly lost his mind?
What happened The reclamation of the Echo Isles had another, stranger side effect than simply taking back a homeland. It marked the first appearance of Troll druids. These druids were former witch doctors who were cut off from the Loa by Zalazane. After escaping and hiding away from the rest of the Darkspear in shame, the witch doctors found their way into the Emerald Dream through the help of a Loa and developed into druids. In addition, the Trolls now have warlocks among them, openly practicing demonology.
How this affects your character The addition of the warlock class may make some Trolls a little antsy, as the dark arts closely resemble dark voodoo magic. While some Trolls may be all right with this, others may not be. And then we have the druids, a class normally practiced by Night Elves. Given the fact that Trolls aren't terribly fond of elves in general, taking up a practice that was originally coined by the Night Elves may be a little hard to swallow for some trolls, despite the fact that the Tauren also practice druidism.
What to consider This time, it's a matter of culture and personal beliefs. Does your Troll find voodoo and warlocks okay, or do they disturb him? What does he think of those that openly practice the dark arts? Is he a warlock himself, and if so, how does he view the rest of the world? Does he try to hide what he is, or does he fully embrace it? As far as druids are concerned, what does your troll think of the druid culture? Is he put off by the fact that some of his tribe mates are allying with the Cenarion Circle and through it, the Night Elves? If your Troll is a druid, how does he feel about his uniqueness? How does he feel about the Cenarion Circle, and working with Night Elves? Does he view druidism as a way to get closer to the Loa?
There are a lot of new dimensional elements added to the Troll race in Cataclysm, from Vol'jin's explosive disagreements with Garrosh all the way to the budding art of druidism. Yet there's still plenty to play with outside of the plot points listed above. The Trolls of Azeroth have a rich cultural tapestry of information to pull from; even the Loa they worship seem to be unlimited, making it entirely plausible to simply make up a Loa and a purpose for that Loa off the top of your head.
The possibilities for storytelling absolutely shine for Troll roleplayers. With a race that's been around since the days before the Night Elves and even the days before the Titans, there are sure to be thousands of folk tales and legends passed down through generations. Making up stories and tales for your Troll to tell can help create a character with a grounded, cultural past. It also makes for a fun night of roleplay!
While the Troll race is huge and one of the oldest sentient races on Azeroth, the information available for Troll roleplayers is still relatively cloudy. We don't have any novels surrounding Troll history, and all legends are simply legends; whether they are true or not is up in the air. But that absence of detail makes it fairly easy for Troll roleplayers to root themselves in Troll lore with little difficulty -- and the mystery of that detail can make for intriguing, entertaining characters.
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