I’ve been roleplaying as a Troll in World of Warcraft for years, and in that time, things have changed a fair bit, both in terms of characterization and the politics surrounding Troll tribes. This guide is made up of a combination of personal experience and information from sites like WoWpedia. Not everybody likes the way I play my Trolls, so you’re more than welcome to ignore everything I say here if you choose — this is simply a resource and a way for me to help folks that may be clueless, but want to try playing a Troll anyway. It’s a very basic jumping-off point.
If you have suggestions on sections to include, information to add, that sort of thing, please comment and let me know.
To navigate this guide and get to the section you want, hit CTRL + F (Command + F on a Mac) and type the name of the section you want to get to — or read the whole thing!
Troll Bouquet Guide to Troll Roleplay
1. Troll Types and Tribes
2. Troll Character Classes
3. Trolls and the Other Races
4. Trolls in the Horde
5. Trolls and their Loa
Troll Types and Tribes
In World of Warcraft, there are a variety of Troll types that inhabit every conceivable location of Azeroth. There are jungle trolls, forest trolls, sand trolls, dark trolls, and ice trolls; of these, two jungle troll tribes and one forest troll tribes are part of or allied to the Horde — Darkspear and Shatterspear for jungle trolls, Revantusk for forest trolls.
Jungle troll tribes are the Darkspear, Bloodscalp, Skullsplitter, Gurubashi, and Shatterspear. Forest troll tribes are Amani, Revantusk, Vilebranch, Mossflayer, Witherbark, and Smolderthorn. Ice troll tribes are the Drakkari, Frostmane, and Winterax. The Sandfury are the only sand troll tribe, while the ShadowTooth are the only mentioned dark troll tribe.
The Hakkari and Atal’ai are priest sects of worshippers of Hakkar, not separate tribes of Jungle troll.
Troll Character Classes
As of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, trolls can play any class except for Paladin. Blizzard is worried that the awesomeness of Troll paladins would cause the game to implode, so they have not been implemented (yet)*.
As warriors, they are protectors and berserkers; vicious, plate-clad defenders of their tribes and/or the Horde, or even their families or whatever other cause they may champion. As warlocks, they are feared hexxers, demonologists, destructive casters that sow fear and confusion in their foes. As mages, they are masters of frost, fire, and the arcane — tricksters with their illusions and dangerous with their grasp of devastating magics. Their shamans bargain with the elements and demonstrate their connections to the spirits of Azeroth with impressive displays of combat prowess: from lightning-throwing Elementalists to chain-clad melee warriors whose fists crackle with electricity, to the smirking, totem-tossing healer whose spells mend wounds with a splash of cool water. Their priests, too, are masters of the hex and of healing; their rituals are unknown to orcs, tauren, the forsaken, and the elves, and even if they knew, they’d never be allowed to witness, for these are rituals that are ancient and sacred to the trolls. The druids, fairly new among the trolls of the Horde, but not in practice, lash out with tooth and claw, or with the burning light of the sun and moon; they are friends of the natural world, though their presence in the Cenarion Circle is somewhat contested. Then, you have troll rogues: sneaky, stabbity, doing the work that nobody else really wants to do. Trolls have some of the most cunning rogues of the Horde. Lastly, but certainly not least in my eyes, the Death Knights of troll-kind are looked upon with revulsion by troll and non-troll alike — a combination of hatred of the unnatural nature of the undead, and the lingering fear that even those in the arms of Samedi are not safe from the terror of being wrenched from the grave.
In short: Trolls have a lot to choose from with regard to their character classes, and a lot of options for concepts based upon those classes.
Trolls and the Other Races
Troll relationships with the other races of Azeroth are fairly complex. The Trolls’ ability to hate is pretty much legendary, and any wrongs are remembered for generations.
The Darkspear have no love for the other Jungle Troll tribes and can be considered hostile to all other Tribes that are not Horde-loyal, so it can be expected that any non-Darkspear that try to join the Horde will not be treated well by their Darkspear cousins. Any enemy of their allies is an enemy to themselves, so the vast majority of Trolls will not be fond of any members of the Alliance, and some may still hold the intense hatred from their ancestors’ dealings with the Kaldorei (the Night Elves’ defeat of the Trolls’ Twin Empires caused the splintering of said Empires into the various tribes known today). Hatred of the other Alliance races can depend upon the individual Troll and his or her run-ins with the enemy.
When it comes to the Darkspear and their interaction with the races of the Horde, things get a bit simpler. They do not trust the undead, which are abominations in the eyes of their Loa Bwonsamdi (Samedi), and are extremely manipulative; the trolls believe that the undead will cause a hell of a lot of trouble. They have a fair bit of respect for the Tauren and some may still have respect for the Orcs, but that respect is or has waned due to the treatment of Trolls by Garrosh and his ilk (if you haven’t noticed, the Darkspear are relegated to “slums” and the Echo Isles/Sen’jin). Their opinions of the Blood Elves are not entirely certain — some like them, some hate them, all for varying reasons that range from their abuse of fel to their general attitudes toward everything (Blood Elves are jerks). Goblins, too, aren’t entirely clear — but since they’re helping to pollute Orgrimmar and have upped the number of explosions that rock the city on a daily basis, I cannot imagine the Darkspear liking those little buggers very much.
Trolls in the Horde
The only tribes that are officially members of the Horde are the Darkspear, Shatterspear, and Revantusk. The Shatterspear have been nearly wiped out in their fight against the Night Elves, while the Revantusk hold their Hinterlands home against the Wildhammer and other Forest Trolls of the area. The Darkspear are in a rather unpleasant place right now among the Horde, since Garrosh is not fond of them or their leader — but they’ve never been stronger. They have their Echo Isles back, and they’re training their whelps in all forms of combat in preparation for their becoming part of the Horde war machine.
The average non-Troll generally is not able to tell the difference between the Darkspear/Shatterspear and other Jungle Trolls, or the Revantusk and other Forest Trolls. Sand Trolls, Zandalari, Ice Trolls and Dark Trolls stand out for varying reasons including size, skin colour, and differing temperament from the rest of their kind (Ice Trolls are generally more vicious, especially the Drakkari, which is why they live so far from other tribes to begin with).
I know that the question you really want answered is, “Can a non-Darkspear, non-Shatterspear, or non-Revantusk join the Horde?”
The answer that most people will give you is “No”. Instead, I tend to say, “It depends”.
A non-Usual-Horde-Troll could get away with it if they pretended to be one of their Horde Troll cousins, or if they were in Horde lands as part of a neutral organization. A Drakkari Troll advertising what he is to the general populace is going to (or should) get killed. An Amani Troll stating that no, no, he’s definitely Revantusk (even though the idea makes him physically ill) is less likely to be killed on sight (unless some Sin’dorei or another Revantusk calls his bluff).
Goblin cartels use other races as servants, cheap labour, slaves, and for whatever other jobs they don’t want to do themselves. For a non-Horde Troll to be involved with a Goblin organization or other neutral party is not impossible, especially if they have skills that would be useful to that party and if their beliefs are in line with the beliefs of that group. When creating a non-Darkspear, non-Shatterspear, or non-Revantusk Troll to be played within the Horde, consider whether or not that particular tribe would stand out from the rest of the Trolls (Zandalari are now considered hostile, Sandfury are hostile, Dark Trolls are considered hostile but have never been seen in WoW, and Ice/Frost Trolls are also hostile — all are relatively obvious in comparison to the others as not Horde). A Bloodscalp or Skullsplitter is more likely to pass for Darkspear than a Sandfury.
Trolls and Their Loa
Most Trolls practice voodoo and follow the Loa, powerful spirits — not Gods — that are based upon the Loa/Lwa of Haitian Vodoun. They are not easy to please and demand offerings, sacrifice, and ritual in exchange for their favours. They often work in rather mysterious ways and occasionally not the way that’s expected.
Known Loa are detailed here on WoWpedia. The Loa are thought to be jealous, preferring their followers to only stick to one Loa at a time, though this is not always the case and each Troll’s situation may be different. The closeness of a Troll to their Loa is also something to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as not all Trolls will be particularly attached, while some will be viciously so. This is an area that is flexible: perhaps your Troll feels the Loa are ignoring him because of things that have happened in his life, or perhaps she feels exceptionally blessed and wants to share that with everyone.
Trolls in World of Warcraft are a very detailed, very interesting race, without need of adding extra sparkle to make them “special”. There are enough ways of roleplaying them that are supported by existing lore that anyone that really wants to play a Troll (and have an interesting character) can do so without having to resort to making them half-Tauren, or without giving them colour-changing eyes and other ridiculous frills.
For more information, check out the entire history of the Trolls on WoWpedia — we are dealing with a race that is tens of thousands of years old, and has had plenty of time to grow and develop.