Trolls of River Twine Holt

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(article by Heidi Henderson, Vicki Stephenson, Chris T. - posted 07/31/06, updated 11/24/2014)


"Long ago, our ancestors lived a happy life. Our home was a lush, green place with rich soil and hard rock that easily bent to the will of our People. We were prosperous and happy. Little did we know that the world was dying from the inside out. The Changing Ones extended their hands in aid, then chained us in slavery. Though they offered us a way off the dying planet, would we have gone with them had we known how we would be treated?" - The Tome of the Ancestors

The trolls arrived on this world in the great ship of the Changing Ones. They had traveled with the Changing Ones for countless ages, but were treated as little more than pets. As ages passed, the trolls' resentment grew. And, as the Changing Ones planned to settle on their latest planet, the trolls planned to rid themselves of the ones who had kept them so poorly for all this time.

The moment the great ship - now in the form of what the Changing Ones said this world's inhabitants called a "Palace"- was to land, the trolls quickly put their plan into effect. They sliced the cocoons of the Changing Ones who were sleeping, and slaughtered a good many more who tried to flee. When the great ship entered the world in the wrong time and crashed in a prehistoric land as a result, the trolls used pandemonium to their advantage and forced the remaining Changing Ones away. They used such force that the Changing Ones ran far and never returned.

The trolls thrived on this new planet. The ground was rich, and there were many minerals in the rock that, over time, the trolls learned to bend to their needs. They carved a great area for themselves in the rocks below the broken remains of the great ship and, thinking that the Changing Ones would someday return to try to regain what they had lost, dismantled the ship and brought it with them, below ground. Today, pieces of the great ship are used both in decoration for troll structures, and in troll invention.

As time passed, the trolls grew both in size and intelligence. Through many years of infighting, they learned that constant battle was not the answer to their problems. They have developed a Republic under which they will be ruled. Their city has grown from a small hovel below ground to a vast kingdom of architectural wonders that stretches westward to the sea. They have learned to hunt, farm, and gather both above ground and below. They have used their knowledge to build tools and machines that increase their productivity, and to create a written language so they will not forget what they have learned.

They will also not forget their origins - they remember that once they were little more than pets or slaves, and are determined that this will never happen to them again. When the first troll spied a point-ear in the vicinity above the Great City, a series of complex traps were placed at each below-ground entrance to prevent the point-ears from ever disturbing them again. And, so far, the descendants of the Changing Ones have been kept at bay.


The "Diggers" of old, small creatures ranging between 2'6" - 3" tall have grown, in more ways than one. They are now much taller than before, ranging in height from 4'6"-5'6", with a few approaching 6'. They have become more stocky and more muscular than before. They are leaner than the trolls of Canon EQ, and usually have very few moles or warts. Their skin color can range from mossy green to nearly brown, and their hair color runs a gamut of natural colors from pale red to dark black. Eye colors are always blue, red-brown, brown, gray, amber, yellow, or gold irises, with the whites of their eyes being yellowish in color.


A troll's lifespan varies. If one does not become ill or injured in his or her line of duty, one can live many hundreds of years. Those who have more dangerous professions will often meet death at an early age. Those who are employed in potentially dangerous professions are often encouraged to have large families.

0-12 - childhood

13-20 - teen development years, including schooling

20 - trolls "graduate" into one of the four Houses (i.e. their adult profession)

20-50 - young-adult years, continued development (i.e. trolls aren't as stout/strong as they will become later), not yet fully sexually developed

50-150 (approx) - fully adult & may become sexually active, but not yet fertile

150-300 (approx) - fertile years; adults are at physical peak; males begin to grow facial hair at onset of fertility; time period for raising a family. (Most female trolls will still only have 2-4 children during lifetime; 6-8 would be extremely rare.)

300-600 (approx) - post-fertility years; "late middle age", adults are still at basically a physical peak

600-700 (approx) - average troll will start going grey at the start of this period, and be fully grey/white at the end of it. Think of this as the equivalent of a human's 50-70

700-750 (approx) - probably growing frailty, depending. Trolls in more sedentary professions may stay active, or may switch to more sedentary duties. Think of this as 70-90 in humans.

750+ - since we're talking about averages, most trolls won't live naturally past this time, but a rare few might.


Full Size

"Underhaven, we salute you. May you retain your beauty for all of time. May our wisdom keep you always. May our knowledge make you more beautiful." -The Tome of the Ancestors

The vast underground empire the trolls have built for themselves has come to be known as Underhaven. It is vast, stretching from the area beneath the elves' holt westward nearly to the sea, and it is still expanding as the troll populus grows.

There are numerous tunneled entrances to the kingdom. Only a few trolls know how many there are, exactly, and this is done to help insure the security of the kingdom. All have been meticulously trapped in order to prevent intruders from entering the underground domain. Some entrances may fall into disuse for hundreds of years, only to be re-opened again once there is renewed need of that particular entrance.

The entire city is beautiful by troll standards, with buildings and dwellings carved from the very stone of the earth. Single abodes exist, as do apartments to house the less affluent of troll society. Pathways hewn from stone or paved with stone are the most common way to walk from one area of the city to another. The newer buildings in the westernmost part of the troll aren't as ornate as those to the east, where trolls with more power or influence have residence. When a troll moves up the social ladder, her or she often speaks of "moving eastward" to the more ornate abodes. A troll's home is a reflection of his or her status.

Toward the city's eastern borders lies the most impressive of Underhaven's compounds, the Republic Seat. This compound consists of five buildings - one to house each of the representing parties, and another for the heads of each party to meet to discuss law and policy.


"It is better to be wise from the start than rich from the start, for wisdom provides the option to build riches. It also provides the sense to keep what has been made for oneself." -The Tome of the Ancestors

The Deepdweller trolls do not value material riches as much as they do intellect, education, and power. A child's education begins early; usually before his or her fourth turn. At this point, a child takes a set of seemingly simple tests to determine which of the four schools in which he or she will be placed: The House of Scholars, The School of Inventors/Tinkers, The School of Tactics and Arms, or the Center of Provisions. Once a child is placed into a school, he or she is there for life; changing professions is not an option once the sometimes long process of education or training has begun.

There is no preference given to either gender for any school. Such thinkings are echoes of the past. In the troll professions, a position in a profession is given to the best troll for the job.

Training in any of the professions may take as long as 50 years; some require longer periods of time for an individual to be deemed a master in his or her field. Therefore, elder trolls are most often those with higher ranks or degrees. Very rarely is there an exception, but the trolls will not hesitate to promote a young member of their profession who shows great promise.

It is a high honor to be elected as the first seat of a particular profession. Very few trolls will ever achieve these positions, and those who do usually hold the seat for many years. Those who are elected will choose a "second" to help them with procedure and policy. The heads of each profession hold several meetings each month to decide on law, procedure, and actions against potential threats to their domain.

Every eight years, one of the first seat holders is elected to be the Head of the Conclave. There is no higher honor than this. This individual, once elected, has the final say in all decisions made by the schools.

border="0" The House of Scholars is the historic seat of the Deepdwellers. They keep track of history and law of the past, and record law and events of this day and age. They are the most vocal in reminding the people about their slavery and that, if precautions are not made, this slavery may happen again. This School also keeps track of property values, both old and new.
border="0" The School of Inventors/Tinkers is responsible for many of the innovations and technologies present in the Kingdom. Not only do they develop new technologies, but they also repair what is now in use. Those in this school are responsible for the upkeep and replacement of the trapped tunnel entrances and to oversee the construction and upkeep of tunnels currently in use.
border="0" The School of Tactics and Arms is the troll's military seat. This school is responsible for training military arts and weapon smithing practices. Many proud bright-metal smiths call this school their home.
border="0" The Center of Provisions is the school that trains the trolls' hunters and gatherers. This is the school that holds the most members, as it takes much work to feed the large troll population.

The different professions do work with one another on certain projects. For example, the Inventor's school has helped to advance the technology of the Arms school by leaps and bounds over the past hundreds of years. The School of Arms provides weapons used by the scouting Center of Provisions. The Center of Provisions has often provided news about new territory possibilities to the Scholars, and so on.


The Deepdweller trolls have made incredible leaps and bounds in technology in the past few hundred years -- most likely (unknown to them) as a result of living so closely with the Palace shards. Their technology level should be thought of as late-Medieval Europe or early Renaissance. They are capable of making inventions one might find in Leonardo DaVinci's notebooks. If this progress continues, they could easily discover steam power or something comparable in the not-too-distant future.


(written by Chris T., posted 11/24/2014)

Note: this is intended to allow writers to include references to troll time measurements within stories or dialogue. But, for our website, dates on all stories, including troll stories, will still be given in terms of RTH dates. When troll date or time notations appear within a story, we will try to make clear via an editor's note how that date translates into the more familiar system.

The Time of Day

In RTH 1006, the trolls built The Obelisk Clock for their time keeping purposes. A day is divided into 24 hours, called bells. Each bell is subdivided into four quarters, and each quarter is subdivided into three marks. More information on the clock can be found here: Underhaven Water Clock.

The Day of the Year

Underhaven uses a lunar calendar based upon the phases of the Greater Moon, which takes 29.5 days to cycle from one new moon to the next (a synodic month). The four seasons of a year are defined to begin with their respective solstice or equinox. The specific day of a year is defined as a combination of the season and lunar (sydonic) month. Specifically, how many days into the current moon cycle a given day is, as well as how many moon cycles have passed already in the given season.

For example, RTH 1006.07.30 (the day of the Obelisk Clock’s dedication ceremony) would be formally expressed as “The Third Day of the Second Summer Moon in the Four Hundred and Ninety-Sixth Year of Underhaven”. This rather embellished nomenclature is usually abbreviated when speaking informally.

(The important takeaway here for readers and writers is that while trolls have 12 months in the year, they do not use names for the months, instead just calling them by their number.)

The Year in History

Underhaven recognizes five distinct epochs of troll history, each with its own ‘zero point’ from which the number of years is counted anew. Dates related to the first two eras (when troll progenitors lived on the Lost Homeworld and then the Palace) cannot be counted in years. Events from the later part of the time of enslavement aboard the Palace is usually expressed as being “In the Time of [Specific Troll Forefather]” (such as "In the Time of Charb", a troll spokesperson from that period).

The Era of Underhaven is the fifth and current era.

More information on ancient troll history, and the date-ranges for the eras, can be found here: Troll Historical Eras.


A troll's clothing is often synonymous with his or her profession. Those in high-ranking offices will often wear elaborate robes, tunics or dresses similar to Elizabethan periods of our time. They more than likely have multiple outfits to wear for different occasions. Some professions require uniforms to be worn for certain tasks or events. Those lower on the social ladder usually only have one or two outfits made of less extravagant materials.

The trolls have two primary sources of material for clothing: leather, and fabric.

Most of their leather comes from sea-life -- hunting seals and sea-lions along the coast. They get a smaller amount of leather and fur from land-animals that are trapped or more rarely hunted.

Their primary source of fabric is processed from seaweed, including a species of bull kelp, which they cultivate and harvest in sea-caves along the coast. The seaweed undergoes processing of soaking, being exposed to caustic water (from hot-springs in Underhaven), and beating to separate and soften the fibers into something that can be woven. The result is not unlike hemp or flax cloth. The trolls will have a smaller amount of fabric made from wild-gathered hemp, but they do not cultivate that.


The trolls have, thus far,decided that the best way to avoid the point-ears (who bear striking resemblance to the Changing Ones of old) is to avoid them completely. Anyone who remotely brings up the possibility of trade with the point-ears is quickly silenced.

The few trolls who have been unfortunate enough to encounter elves are instructed to quickly leave the area without saying a word and to return underground without being followed.

No hard policy has been taken as of yet in dealing with the humans, but most consider the five-fingers as ones to be left alone, as well.

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