Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls

So the title mortals refers to humans and ogres, although nearly all creatures are mortal creatures. There are only some rare exceptions for really supernatural fantasy beings like e.g. the "true elemtal" creatures. But from all those mortal creatures only humans and ogres which are referred to as mortals have the capability to transform their soul into an elemental being. This allows many speculations about what Asrae, who created the 2 mortal races, intended with this special feature. Or how this special feature is to be regarded from the other races. Where they designed to be fast breeding embryos for the elemental races? Is there a greater fate destined to be fullfilled by the humans and ogres for which they need to grow over their mortal bodies? I really love the potential of this.

Yes, although most living entities in the cosmos die, the term "Mortals" refers to Ogres and Humans, and the cross breed of the two (Gargants). However, many other races also clump Banebrood in with Mortals since they were originally Mortals who were exposed to the warping Baneplague.

The races can be roughly divided into:
Mortals - created by the Asrae from the same stuff from which they are formed. They were late-comers into the cosmos.
Elemental Races (Dwarves, Troglodytes, Sylphs, Niads etc), all of which were created by the "Old Gods" or "Vanitans".
Immortals (Primarily Aetherions and fairies, etc, all of which originated in the Aethernatos Planes)
Elder Races - Bipedal animals with sentience, supposedly created by Dhannya, the mother of the cosmos.
Stygian Races - The spawn of the Shadow Goddess Umbranth who later rejected Shadow and embraced Darkness.

The creation of Mortals was not an easy task for the Asrae, and they had no know-how to do this naturally, in fact they had to steal the information by travelling back in time to a point when Dhannya was vulnerable. Perhaps the Asrae intended for the Mortal Races to have this potential for Psycho-morphosis into elemental spirits. Or perhaps this was secretly intended by Dhannya and the Asrae were duped. Or perhaps it is just a natural byproduct of the nature of Mortal souls or the nature of the cosmos. At this point it is conjecture but perhaps we will reveal some of these sescrets in future stories.

So converting mortal souls into elementals is a bad thing because of multiple reasons. Well the main reason ingame would most probably be that the ruler who decided it to be evil couldn't adapt to this potential, was afraid of loosing control and power and therefore declared it evil. But still noone knows yet exactly what is happening if a mortal soul is converted and second it threatens the elemental balance if mortal souls are conferted to elementals.
Luckily the last point can get ignored if shadowtrolls are created, because shadow is by definition the balanced element and more of something balanced should only strengthen the balance. This means there shouldn't be a darker material plane if there were an abundance of shadowtrolls. At least in theory because this was never tested.

Yes in theory you are correct. Shadow is the balancer, and Shadow does tend to grow as any of the other 4 primary elements grows. In essence each of the four elements casts a shadow of itself onto the Plane of shadow, and naturally strengthens the element of shadow as it does so.
The majority of the selemental struggle is conducted directly between the elemental 4 diametrically opposed planes of fire, earth, air and ice. the Plane of shadow is in contact with all four and wages constant war.
They do not all do this consciously in an altruistic crusade; instead, warfare is a natural part of the Troglodyte psyche, and so they perform this role naturally by attacking any percieved threat.

Unfortunately, the Material Plane at the centre is a special case. Here the elements co-exist much more easily, and creation of elemental creatures on the Material Plane is difficult. elementals can be conjured through powerful rituals, but Shadow Trolls cannot just wander from the Plane of Shadow into the Material Plane whenever they want. In fact it was an unforseen accident which swept most Shadow Trolls onto the Material Plane when the element of Darkness was born.
So maintaining balance on the Material Plane are the regular Troglodytes, and when some group of fanatics initiates a worldwide crusade to transform Mortals into a particular type of elemental spirit (As happened with the theocracy of the Sacred Flame), the Troglodytes can be easily overpowered.

Adding even greater difficulty is the rising power of Darkness. Shadow cannot exist within complete Darkness and Darkness casts no shadow, so the growth of the eleemntal Plane of Darkness does not generate a counter-growth in the Plane of Shadow. And so, the rise of Darkness is going pretty much unchacked except for the recent wars being waged by the Troglodytes upon the Material Plane. As if their tasks was not hard enough, a good portion of Troglodytes were seduced by Darkness and embraced the new element. Meanwhile Mortals are continuously encroaching on their acestral lands and tying up resources in wars against their civilizations.

No wonder then that Troglodytes view Mortals as a huge threat and work to wipe them out.

On the other hand the mere presence of shadowtrolls on the material plane is something creation never intended. Only because of an accident, caused by the desperate actions of Umbranth to create the Black Maw and let him devour Sindaron which leat to a cataclysm and the creation of darkness, there are shadowtrolls on the material plane. And those shadowtrollss are confronted with needs not known to them before. They need to devour the life force of other sentinent beings through their shadows to stay alive. No more leaning back and enjoying the beauty of creation for an aeon. Every day struggle to get fed, every day struggle to stay alive. There have to be some (even shadowtrolls themself) that see that as a mistake. Some that regard the presence of a shadowtroll on the material plane which therefore has to kill to remain in existence is an error by itself. Especially because the way back to the shadow plane is so easy as to vanish, to not devour life force. Luckily one can help that by beating the crap out of them. "Those selfish bastards killed my child only because they don't want to go back from where they came. The so called guardians of elemental balance must be evil. Lets all slaughter them and restore the cosmic order." rant from a random person.


Lots of potential for ideologies, for different ways of thinking. Maybe its not even clear to the shadowtrolls that they will pass to the shadow plane after vanishing. After all is there direct contact to the plane of shadows or did someone come back to the material plane after vanishing? Is there really a confirmation for that ingame? And if it is clear to them, how does the shadowtrolls justify their need to kill for the sake of staying on a plane Tenebraon never intended for them to be on? Love it. So many potential for torn apart personalities, wicked pseudo religious sects, and social tension. Really love it.
Some believe that return to their plane of origin is certain and guaranteed. Others believe that this is only possible when they are far advanced along their particular Path of Purity (an esoteric religion practiced by all elemental races encouraging them to shed their material essence and return to elemental purity). Others believe that praying to the Vanitans can accomplish return, while others believe that return to their plane is just a fairy-tale sold by religious zealots to gain converts. And Many are probably undecided.

Sadly Davids post confused me about the reproduction cycles of the shadowtrolls so I sum it up again the way I understood it. I thought that Tenebraon initially created the basic shadowtroll types and that the shadows used during this creation defined the base type (Lighteater or Longshadow atm.) of shadowtroll. Then during "lifetime" a shadowtroll can follow the path of twilight to get enlightned and become another more exalted type of shadowtroll like the Obsidian Nightmare. (If the base type is still of interest on the Path of Twilight is still unclear.) Now if a shadowtroll segmentates it creates a new shadowtroll of the same type. So a Lighteater that segmentates creates a Lighteater, a Longshadow a Longshadow and an Obsidian Nightmare an Obsidian Nightmare. But the segmentation rate/outcome is not dependend on the number or the type of consumed shadows from living creatures, right?

Yes pretty much correct.
You classify them, but in fact they are all essentially shades of the same thing. The offspring created is infact some kind of a shadow Troll or an Obsidian nightmare would be the same. It would be like the child of a king and the child of a farmer are essentially still the same.
Lighteaters are a different case, they are some truly primal form of Shadow feared even by Shadow Trolls, and I doubt that they would be able to produce a shadow of themselves in the same way as other Shadow Trolls, instead, that shadow would just meld back into the Lighteater.

I just try to clarify this because being able to increase the number/quality of soldiers is a huge power factor. And having a slow growing powerfull species that can use the birth rates of faster paced species sounds like a war winner on a strategic level. (Thats why its easily understandable that the Theocracy of the Flame was so powerful.) On the tabletop, especially on the skirmish level, it obviously has no influence. But since shadowtrolls can't follow the path of darkness itself I try to think of a darker way to interpret the Path of Twilight and this possibly opens the door for me. ^^ Even though some other Troglodytes might regard that as heresy.

Troglodytes have very different and violently opposed opinions about these topics and your concept is most definiteyl a valid one. Shadow Trolls form offspring extremely rarely, and in so doing they lose something of themselves, so even they miniscule growth of their kind in this way cannot much help them. Their true power lies in managing and expanding the power of the other Troglodytes - the Trolloth and Gnolls.
So David stated that shadowtrolls if their substance is severly damaged will fade back to the Plane of Shadows. Is there a way to summon them back?

One other question that urges me to ask is. The shadowtrolls in the core rulebook are not trained warrios, right? Lighteater and Longshadow is a clasification of race not training and an Obsidian Nightmare is a religiously exalted shadowtroll. They are that powerfull because they are from a powerful race but basically they are civilians which also reflects nicely in their low LEAD and MEL. Is it planned that there are also trained and equipped fighters/assasins/scouts under the shadowtrolls?

Yes your interpretation is correct, and Yes there's lots of such nastiness planned!

And just another question. The Stygian races are the children of Umbranth. Can one expect to see them in the tabletop? If so as own force or as part of the Troglodytes?

According to the background, the majority of the Stygian races embraced Darkness. They guys are certainly a very strong contender for a future faction. If/when we do release them, we would probably ofcus on the darkness worshippers because this gives them a unique character and background separate to the Trogs faction.

Messages In This Thread
Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Till - 02-27-2013, 12:12 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Raoul - 02-27-2013, 01:36 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Till - 02-27-2013, 01:03 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Raoul - 02-27-2013, 01:57 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 02-28-2013, 01:19 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Raoul - 02-28-2013, 01:43 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Till - 03-04-2013, 11:35 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 03-05-2013, 09:21 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Raoul - 03-05-2013, 09:37 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-10-2013, 07:14 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 03-11-2013, 04:13 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-12-2013, 07:15 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 03-12-2013, 11:56 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-12-2013, 05:51 PM
The nature of the shadowtrolls and Magic - by David - 03-14-2013, 01:53 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-14-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-14-2013, 07:49 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 03-15-2013, 03:54 PM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by tmastgrave - 03-16-2013, 04:28 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by Maximus XIII - 07-11-2014, 05:15 AM
RE: Fluff: The nature of the shadowtrolls - by David - 07-11-2014, 12:10 PM

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