From Occult Gaming Wiki
|5th Edition Rules|
|CHARACTERS AND TROLL CULTURE|
Playing the big dumb troll is typical, but so is playing the smart troll. Being a troll isn’t really about intelligence—it’s about isolation. Try to play up the fact that you really don’t fit into other people’s vehicles and that the world just isn’t built for you. Depression would be common, along with anger at the world for not fitting and being too small or delicate for you. One thing you can do when playing a troll is ask the gamemaster not to give you the oversized glass of soybeer; instead tell him you’d rather it was made a point that you’re forced to drink regular-size glasses, which look like kids’ cups in your hands, and cost you a fortune to drink enough.
Gamemasters, remember the world doesn’t adjust for the large-and-ungainly five percent, unless they have money. Which is not the case for most trolls.
World Population: 5%
HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS
|Racial Traits:Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach, +1 dermal armor, +50% gear and Lifestyle costs|
When I hear people say trolls are uncultured, I don’t hear it as the derogatory slight they are often intending. Instead, I hear that trolls, as a metatype, lack a culture. That truth is hard to deny. As the least numerous of the metatypes and the most disproportionate from the original model, they struggle to find a place just to fit in, let alone develop a culture. If anything, segregation, struggle, strife, and separation are the foundations of the culture they have managed to develop in most areas.
There is one place in the world that trolls have actually made a home of: the Schwarzwald. The Black Forest Troll Republic, in the southern region of the Allied German States and bordered by the Rhine River and Switzerland, is its own nation, but its political stance reflects the anger and separatist mentality that so often comes from the individuals. Within the nation they have only recently managed to settle down enough to try to deal reasonably with the rest of the AGS and surrounding nations. Many claim this is due to a lack of political skill, but if trolls lack political skill, it’s because they haven’t had enough political experience to develop it. Plus, they have a certain intolerance for the falsities that are perpetrated in the halls of government on a daily basis. Yes, a few trolls have done well for themselves, such as former UCAS vice-presidential candidate Gary Grey, but most are too poor to reshape their surroundings to fit them and thus must instead try and fit into a world that is not made for their stature, which is very difficult, bordering on the impossible. Trolls have, in some ways, been pushed to the edges of society, but they’ve also done some walking there all on their own. When the world does not fit you, literally and figuratively, and you do not have the means to change the world, you move on and keep looking for a place that works.
As megacorporations rose and arcologies became the norm for corporate populations, massive numbers of homes and structures were abandoned. While those arcologies were never built with trolls in mind, no one was around to prevent the trolls from doing a little remodeling to those abandoned structures. Barrens, warrens, impoverished zones, and containment zones are far more likely than corporate housing, suburbia, and arcologies to have housing that has been adjusted for a troll. Trolls live along the outskirts of metahumanity because that’s where they can find the most legroom.
So what does this mean for a counterculture? Nothing. You cannot swim against a current that doesn’t exist. The closest thing would be trying to fit in, and that’s a dangerous route. Some troll girls have starved themselves and had their horns cut off and shaved down along with their dermal deposits in an effort to look more human. Trying to blend into the world is not easy, whether it means taking a security job where one would expect to see a troll or simply being acutely aware of all the places where adjustments have to be made and not making a fuss over it.
In an interesting intellectual note, trolls have the highest literacy rate percentage of any metatype. Some racially biased individuals will claim this is some misuse of statistics based on the small population of trolls versus other metatypes, but that just shows they don’t know how rates work. The explanation for this is buried in the rubble and cast-off detritus of earlier societies. Trolls live in the ruins of our last information age, when information was written, not coded. Paper books from old libraries, cast-off papers, and forgotten letters fill the spaces where trolls have made their homes. And in their free time, they read. Many trolls can even read and decipher cursive, which died with my grandfather’s generation, and many use calligraphy as an artistic expression. This “secret code,” along with their unique racial trait of horns, has opened an avenue of expression all their own. The ancient art of scrimshaw, the carving of bone, is practiced alongside real-ink tattooing to make the horns and skin of many trolls into works of art. So countercultural trolls, rather than trying to appear more human, endeavor to be fully beautiful trolls.
BLACK FOREST TROLL REPUBLIC (AGS)
Though this was mentioned with the orks, I’ll briefly cover it here as a success story for the trolls. They are one of the most—who am I kidding, the most—unorthodox and difficult regions of the AGS to deal with, and the trolls have reveled in that status for years. Though modifying their government structure in 2073 to a Republic from a Kingdom may seem politically savvy, it was far more an act of survival than political acumen. They had lost their king, they needed a leader, and it was easier to elect one than to try to figure out, or argue over, who is next in line for the throne. This political shift has lead to endless jockeying since and the trolls of the Trollrepublik Schwarzwald are improving their political skills, though most still prefer to play the uncouth brutes and leave the scheming to Pomorya.
HOW TROLLS FIT INTO SOCIETY
They don’t. It is that simple. Society may tolerate them, and you’ll see some working as janitors, dock workers, or security goons, but for the most part trolls exist on the edge, or even completely outside, of the world’s societies. A few exceptional individuals have made it up the social ladder, but that is definitely the exception rather than the rule. Fitting in anywhere is a daily struggle that constantly reminds trolls of their outsider status.
When they have a chance to set up their own society, it is usually chaotic and the principle of might makes right tends to play a large role in how their society functions. This is not to say that their society is more violent than other societies, as most encounters are more about the various parties involved sizing each other up rather than engaging in actual combat.
HOMO SAPIENS INGENTIS
|Racial Traits:Cyclopean Eye, +1 Reach|
Physical Characteristics: The cyclopean metavariant possesses the increased size and thermographic vision of the primary ingentis subspecies, but they have a singular eye, greater muscular bulk, minimal hair growth, and variable horn growth, and they lack dermal deposits. Cyclopes are often larger and more muscular than even the primary ingentis. They grow little to no hair, a trait common to both males and females. If a horn is present, cyclopes tend to develop a singular horn, but the majority of this metavariant do not grow horns at all, especially females. Cyclopes lack the distinctive dermal deposits of the ingentis subspecies, and their skin tends to carry a bronze hue that looks almost metallic when they perspire. The most significant variation for this metavariant is the singular eye. This eye is larger than both standard ingentis eyes combined and is located in the center of the forehead. This alteration leads to an altered skull and cranial shape. Studies have shown that the cyclopean brain lacks the structures necessary for processing binocular vision; while their single eye can provide limited depth perception for nearby objects, but distance evaluations remain difficult.
Mental Characteristics: The cyclopean metavariant actually scores more poorly than the base ingentis on standardized testing. Along with the decreased IQ, those willing to take the tests score lower overall on EQ tests. The lack of testing is a result of the cyclopean tendency for anti-social displays of aggression.
Cultural Characteristics: Cyclopean culture has been strongly influenced by their area of origin, aggressive temperament, and vision difficulties. Native to Aegean Sea islands and now spread to port cities around the Mediterranean, cyclopes have found a home by the sea, particularly on seafaring vessels and in the bars and backrooms of various ports. Desired for their size and aggressiveness both by security firms and less-savory organizations, cyclopes find work all around the Mediterranean and sometimes even further abroad. Their primarily work comes as security on local boats and dockyards. Shipping firms, small-dock shipyards, and others make use of the cyclopes’ strength and hire them as manual laborers. This affinity with the sea and knowledge of at least some of the cyclopean legends has led many cyclopes to return to sea worship—more specifically, worship of Poseidon. Awakened cyclopes often follow Poseidon as a mentor, and many mundane cyclopes learn to fight with a trident, a weapon ideal for their visual limitations.
Latest World News: The all-cyclopes crew of Eye of Poseidon were awarded a 50,000 nuyen reward after protecting Titan of the Seas from a pirate attack in the Mediterranean Sea. The captain of the Eye, George Panagiotoupolus, told reporters that it was the least they could do, citing an event three years prior when the Titan towed a disabled Eye back to harbor after a similar pirate attack. Pirate attacks in the Mediterranean have increased drastically in the past year. Eye of Poseidon has been involved in several incidents with pirates, and Panagiotoupolus has stated the money will likely go to better defenses for his ship and crew.
|Racial Traits:Arcane Arrester (1), Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach|
Physical Characteristics: The fomorian metavariant possess the standard thermographic vision, increased muscular bulk, pronounced horns, and enlarged lower canines of the primary subspecies. They vary in their shorter stature and lack of dermal deposits. The average fomori is only 2.35 meters in height, and ninety-five percent of the adult population falls within ten centimeters of this average. Fomori also lack the dermal deposits of the base ingentis, a feature that, when combined with their smaller stature, makes the metavariant appear less “monstrous” to other metahumans.
Mental Characteristics: Fomori score within similar ranges on standardized intelligence tests as the primary subspecies. They also possess the same diminished nonlinear thinking capabilities. Fomori, possibly due to the social effects of their less-frightening appearance, possess higher average EQ scores than the primary subspecies. Unfortunately, their acuity with emotions does not always translate into empathy or ethical behavior, and they are prone to emotional manipulation. Fomori have also been shown to possess a greater percentage of Awakened individuals within the population. Whether Awakened or mundane, fomori are also more resistant to arcane effects, including their own spells.
Cultural Characteristics: Fomori have had a much easier time integrating into society due to their less-imposing appearance and have therefore had little need to create their own culture. However, in some fashion they have created a societal niche that they fill nicely. In truth, fomori often act as the face of the troll community. They are frequently put in front of trid cameras, selected as leaders of troll-friendly campaigns, and hired as muscle when appearance matters as much to the client as security. This position has created no small amount of enmity between formori and the traditionally less attractive base ingentis and their other metavariants. Within other aspects of society at large, the history and ancestry of the fomori creates another source for cultural contributions. The metavariant has had extensive expression on the British Isles and specifically from those of Celtic lineage. Among the fomori, this has sparked a revival of early Celtic religion, traditions, and even paths of magic. Other British-Isle cultures, particularly those in Tír na nÓg, have not received this revival well, as they see this unification as a potential threat. Because of this, many fomori who are not pushed in front of trid cameras are instead slipping into the cracks of society to hide from those who would persecute them for their newfound culture.
Latest World News: Fomori have voluntarily participated in studies performed by Manadyne to discover the origin of their innate magical resistance. When the recent Boston quarantine went into effect, several dozen fomori in the city were lost behind the fog, along with most of the research data Manadyne had collected to date.
|Racial Traits:Dermal Alteration (Bark), Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach|
Physical Characteristics: The giant metavariant possesses the same increased muscular bulk, enlarged lower canines, and thermographic vision of the primary subspecies. They possess greater height, increased epidermal density and hair growth, but they lack dermal deposits and horns. While the average ingentis stands 2.5 meters, the average giant measures 3.0 meters, with the tallest recorded being 3.65 meters. The increased height spreads out their increased muscular bulk, leaving them with a more slender appearance than the standard ingentis without any loss of strength. Instead of dermal deposits, giants possess thickened skin with a density similar to a rhinoceros and a barklike appearance. Giants have increased facial hair thickness; most males grow full beards that are often braided or trimmed in a pattern. The giant metavariant is unique among metavariants and base metatypes in its frequency of genetic reversion to the base sapiens species. Studies have revealed one-fourth of female giant offspring results in a sapiens expression. This only occurs in females, as no male reversions have been recorded to date.
Mental Characteristics: Across the board, giants test within the same ranges as base ingentis. Similar to trolls, their mental acuity tends to be underestimated. That is to say, while they may average slightly lower than other metatypes on intelligence tests, they tend to be brighter than people believe they are. Thus, giants are quite capable of surprising people with mental feats that in truth are products of only average or slightly above average minds.
Cultural Characteristics: Even with strong initiatives sponsored by Evo’s Metaergonomics subsidiary now in full deployment, giants still find fitting into regional society difficult. These problems are even greater than those that base ingentis trolls encounter thanks to giants’ large size and a prevalent lack of acceptance in their home areas. As such, most giants end up unemployed and living on the fringes of society. Since this was so common in parts of the Scandinavian Union and other giant-heavy European countries, the Scandinavian Union requested Charisma Associates create a media campaign in 2071 to popularize giants. This campaign has not achieved the degree of success the corporation or government desired, but the results have benefitted the culture of giants as a whole. While the campaign looked to improve people’s impressions of giants, giants themselves had little input in the program. An early big push was the Gentle Giants toy line that created a line of plush toys and an animated trid series featuring a family of giants who did good deeds and helped out people from all walks of life, always by avoiding violence. The series was a hit with everyone but giants. They found it offensive and lacking authenticity, and they pointed out discrepancies between the giants’ size and the world around them. Scandinavian Union giants found the series and the government’s efforts so offensive that almost all of them immigrated to the Black Forest Troll Republic in the AGS or took work with shipping megacorp Maersk. This mass migration has led European giants to join their Scandinavian kin, swelling numbers in the Troll Republic and creating some political strife within the nation.
Latest World News: The Corporate Court has formally charged Forgotten Genesis, LLC for their alleged connection to the kidnappings and subsequent genetic research of fourteen giants. Research funding shows connections to Alamos 20k and Humanis Policlub, and warrants for several members of both groups have been issued. The research apparently focused on the tendency for sapiens reversion, but the Corporate Court seized the research results, which are to be held until investigations are complete.
|Racial Traits:Goring Horns, Thermographic Vision, +1 Reach|
Physical Characteristics: The minotaur metavariant possesses the enhanced muscle mass and thermographic vision of the primary ingentis subspecies. Variance occurs in their facial and horn structures, height, body hair, and dermal deposit formation. Minotaurs get their name from their wide, flattened nasal structure, wide-set eyes, and symmetrical horns, which resemble a bull’s face. Minotaur horns are longer than those of trolls, set at a more forward angle and anchored into thick bone plates that allow the horns to withstand greater impact. They are also nearly four times denser than standard ingentis horns. These features allow minotaurs to use their horns in more aggressive ways. Minotaurs also average 10 centimeters shorter than trolls but tend to carry the same bulk with added width, further lending to their bullish appearance. This ingentis metavariant usually possesses profuse body hair and a distinct lack of the dermal deposits common to the base subspecies.
Mental Characteristics: While usually considered dim and belligerent due to their appearance, minotaurs score within the same ranges as the base ingentis subspecies on standardized intelligence tests. They score higher on adaptive thinking and EQ measurements on average, though the range of scores was narrower. They have a well-earned reputation of being stubborn and strong-willed, but for the most part they are regarded in a positive light by those around them, admired for their strength and bold nature.
Cultural Characteristics: Minotaurs have not developed a culture of their own. Instead they have integrated fairly smoothly into Mediterranean society, the region from which they originate. According to those interviewed in these regions, the minotaurs’ strong work ethic and generally outgoing personalities facilitated this integration. Minotaurs themselves have managed to carve out a life for themselves wherever they go by calling on other minotaurs and working as a community to build or renovate homes to fit their bulk. As a demonstration of the importance minotaurs place on smoothly integrating into society, many choose to truncate their horns or wear blunt caps to limit risks to others.
Latest World News: Minotaurs are petitioning the Greek government for a land grant for the small island of Skyros. This grant would likely be the first step in the minotaurs setting up their own sovereign nation. Sources within the government claim the legislature is considering the grant but not very seriously.