Greetings from Stockholm, where we've been struck with more lightning and rain this summer than we ever seen. Perhaps the mighty Thor is showing his pleasure with our progress in making a great game where he's one of the central characters? So hello to him and to you and welcome to the 22nd Dev Diary for our upcoming Tactical RPG Runemaster!
Last week we said that we would be talking about Svartalfheim, the home of Darkelfs and Dwarfs. But then the Trolls started bullying us into writing a dev diary about them, and it is very hard to say no to a Troll, especially the bigger ones… So today you get to read about the Trolls! Hurray! (Stop poking me with that stick… fine, I'll keep writing!)
It was easy finding inspiration for the Trolls in Runemaster. We are very fond of the art of John Bauer, who is famous for his illustrations in the book series "Bland Tomtar och Troll" ("Among Gnomes and Trolls") which is a compilation that every Swedish child is familiar with. His dark and detailed portraits of Trolls whose sizes range from as small as a mushroom to bigger than a mountain was a perfect source for Runemaster. We have tried to honor his memory by making the Trolls in Runemaster look as though he could've painted them himself, and I hope you agree that our Concept Artist and our art team have done a great job capturing the feel and look of John Bauer's Trolls. The artist Theodor Kittelsen was also a great inspiration for us. His art is reminiscent of Bauer, but Kittelsen has a much darker, sinister feel in his trolls. I would recommend searching for both of them and compare their art style with that of Runemaster’s. Let us know what you think about them!
The Mythology: The Creation of Trolls
The Trolls all pray to and honor the goddess that created them. She is the daughter of the giant Nótt (the night) and, according to some, also the mother of the god Thor. She has many names but the trolls only refer to her as the Goddess, the Mother or the Mother in the East. It is said that in the old days the trolls lived with her and she created them as the guardians of nature. Then one day she was gone. The trolls made it their quest to find her and that is why they wander from place to place and only stop for short times at their holy sites. As their goddess is a Giant, the Trolls believe that they are somehow related to the Giants, something the Giants deny fervently. This is not a major issue for the Trolls, who are satisfied with their own race as companions. Still, this alleged blood tie means that some Trolls feel that they and the Giants should be allied against the troublesome races of the universe.
The Appearances of Trolls
The first thing that everyone notices about the Trolls are their big, long noses, their wild hair and their pointed ears. They are tall but slightly hunched over, and stand much taller than an average Human. The coloring of Trolls is mostly shades of green, brown and black, but what you see may not be their real skin color; it could be a result of the lichen that grows and thrives in their hair. As the Trolls grow older, they get taller and broader. A young Troll is often skinny, with longer limbs than seems possible for their body, and will never really grow into them. There is an old myth that says Trolls turn to stone immediately by the mere touch of sunlight but this is false. They do not like being active in the day, though, and a very old Troll might lie down and turn to stone after prolonged exposure to sunlight. This is called "The Long Slumber".
The life, work and traditions of Trolls
The Trolls live close to nature in honour of their Goddess, but lately more and more of them have started to abandon this nomadic life and spend more and more time at camps that are starting to look like towns. This decision to roam no more has caused division in Troll society. The settlers say it is time to settle down, start trading with the humans and abandon the endless wandering. The wanderers want to uphold their traditions and claim that Trolls that settle have been tainted by the humans and human culture.
Trolls live in tents, yurts, cots or similar easily collapsible buildings, decorated with sacred ornaments. Symbols representing strength are among the most common, such as bears, lynxes, wolves and dragons, but Trolls also use stylized representations of the five elements. The Trolls believe that they will bring strength and offer protection.
Every Troll clan has two leaders. The Troll Chief leads smaller groups in battle whereas the Shaman leads the Trolls in prayers, worship and spiritual matter. When a Troll has a problem, s/he turns to these two and asks both of them what should be done to solve the problem. The two leaders listen, discuss the problem together and then give the Troll a solution.
Trolls and Humans both dwell in Midgard and this has, time and again, led to conflict. The two races try to stay away from each other, but some Trolls study the Humans with great curiosity and have even started to trade with them. Other Trolls see Humans as nothing more than food.
As the nomadic Trolls wander from encampment to encampment, they hunt and gather their food from the rich forests and fields of Midgard and Alfheim. Wild animals are hunted for their skin and meat. Bears and wolves are not hunted by Trolls, but they are domesticated and rarely slaughtered. Goats and chickens are domesticated and both eggs and goats milk are considered delicacies. The Trolls love everything sweet and, since bees cannot bother their thick skin, a Troll can eat a whole beehive, honeycombs, bees and honey, without being bothered by the bee's sting. Porridges and black pudding are two Human dishes the Trolls has taken a liking to and love to steal from the Humans.
Trolls have a slight fear of the water, perhaps because their heavy stature makes it hard for them to float. Younger Trolls love water and the fear of it will only appear when they grow old enough to understand the concern of their elders. Therefore, the Trolls also avoid fish and anything that must be harvested from the seas or lakes, though they also claim that they do not enjoy the taste of fish and prefer heartier meat.
Even though trolls are huge creature they can't handle alcohol very well. It does not take much to get a troll drunk and when they get in that state they often lose their judgment. In the later days human mead have become a problem especially when humans have realized that many trolls crave that beverage and are willing to trade most things to get their hands on it.
In the rare cases when troll trade with other races they mainly trade skins, dried meat or a favor for something that has taken their fancy, most often jewelry, mead, colorful clothes, fabrics or feathers. When a Troll trades with a Troll, they may trade anything of substance for something else of substance, even if it's only a favor or an allotted time of labour (an hour, a day or a week in most cases. A month of labour is traded, for only the most valuable farm animals - goats, chickens, bears, etc.).
You can choose to play as either a Troll male Berserker or a Troll female Runemaster. We have talked about the Berserker and Runemaster in earlier dev diaries, if you wish to refresh your memory you can find them here:
If you've been reading the diaries, the basics should be old hat by now. But I'll repeat some of them anyway. Every race has six different units, three standard units and three unique units. The Trolls' three standard units are melee, armored and ranged. The melee units have a decent amount of armor and damage. The armored units have a lot of armor but do less damage. The ranged units do not have much armor but can attack from afar.
The three unique Troll units are Walking Mountains, Beast Riders and Ancient Ones. The Walking Mountains are old Trolls that had fallen into the Long Slumber, but were woken just before they turned entirely to stone. The Beast Riders ride on bears, captured when they were just cubs or which the Trolls have bred specifically for war. The Troll rider just steers the bear in battle and lets the beast do the fighting. The Ancient Ones are old Trolls who never have felt the pull of the Long Slumber. Trolls keep growing as long as they are alive, so the Ancient Ones are the largest, strongest and wisest of all Trolls.
Screenshot of a Troll village, with a Troll Runemaster and an ordinary Troll:
(Can I stop writing now? Soon? Fine…) I hope you have found this dev diary about the Trolls entertaining and interesting, and that you won’t hesitate to ask us any questions you might have about them. Next week, some of us will be at GamesCom in Cologne, where you will be able to try the game and come talk to some of us about it. Don't forget about the Fan Gathering! Here’s more information about that: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...tails-Released and here http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...!-August-14th! We hope we will see many of you there, both Boel (Regina) and I (SolSara) will be at the Fan Gathering and would be delighted to be able to talk to you, about the game and other things. See you there!