Don Clarke, Dhonn of Trollhalla’s inner elite, has put together this preliminary map of who lives where on the dragon continent. I think it’s pretty cool, so I’m publishing it here, but I think it could be even better.
Trollworld is home to dozens, possibly hundreds, of different intelligent species. That being said, it is reasonable to say that only a few are really widespread and dominant in their areas. Those would be: humans, elves, dwarves, urookin (uruks). nagas, gharghs (gargoyles), lizard men, goblins, hobbs, ogres, centaurs, minotaurs. Although both trolls and dragons are widespread and powerful, they tend to be solitary creatures and so fail to actually dominate any particular part of the world. The big ones are feared and respected. The smaller ones get along the best they can.
So, let’s talk about the ethnography of Trollworld. This is the Ken St. Andre version of Trollworld. Yours may differ, and that’s perfectly ok. Trollworld is a bit like Roger Zelazny’s Amber multiverse. There is one true Trueworld (mine) and then all the infinitie shadows of it (yours). To those who play (or live) in them, they are all equally real. A world is a world is a world after all. This is only one corner of my Trollworld, and what I am saying here, is really only true for Rrr’lff (Ralph, the Dragon Continent).
Humans are the most numerous kindred on Trollworld. They adapt to every climate. They are fertile and have large families. They organize and work together well. They are magically adept. They generally like to live together in cities and near cities. Areas where they predominate are shown as flesh-colored on the map. Don has them mostly on the dragon’s head and breast down to the foreclaws. What would be more accurate would be not to shade the whole area, but to have them around the human cities and in narrow strips of territory along the roads that connect those cities. He also apparently does not know that those are all human cities along the dragon’s belly, so that there should be a narrow strip of flesh-tone along that coast except for the heart of the Naga jungles. The island of Sonan Ie is also a human region, as is most of the dragon’s tail, and the islands up in the dragon’s wings. Human lands interpenetrate lands where other kindreds would be numerous of perhaps dominant.
The Skeleton Men, who are a type of humans with transparent flesh, control all the area on the south coast of the Dragon’s Mouth. The old abandoned city of Khorror is their unofficial capitol. Their lands are part of the Empire of the Goddess.
Dwarves are perhaps the second most numerous kindred. There are actually several different kinds of dwarves–just as there are different kinds of humans, but they get along well with humans. Dwarves aren’t farmers. They are miners. Dwarf country would be islands all over the map, wherever there are good mineral deposits. They have a notable underground city as part of Khazan. They would be up in the mountain ranges and hills everywhere, not much in the forests. Dwarves and trolls compete for the same resources–the dwarves want the minerals, but the trolls want the territory. Beneath the surface there is a neverending war between dwarves and trolls.
Elves dominate the forests, but the dark elves live underground in caverns, mostly the caverns below forested areas, but some in the hills and mountains too. You would see elves in all the forested areas, even those fairly close to human cities. What you would really find on the map are interlaced ribbons of green and pink. Hobbs do well on the borders of both groups, so if we had a hobb color on the map, I’d put it in islands bordering both elves and humans.
The urookin have mostly had to subsist in the borderlands that are not fertile enough to support large groups of humans or elves. They have the surfaces of the low hills, and the edges of the plains and deserts. We may as well go ahead and call them orcs again. I believe that terminology is coming back in the deluxe edition. Orcs are akin to humans in that they can adapt to almost any environment, so although most of them would be in hills and semi-barren country, you might find clans of them in the mountains. It was the Red Orc clan who gave their name to the Red Orc mountain range north of Khosht.
Goblins mostly live in wet and swampy areas. The region known as the Great Sump is a huge marsh full of goblins. Don did not have a color for them. A narrow band of goblin color should follow all the major rivers, perhaps in islands. There are goblins up and down the Khazan/Thar river, and along the Khosht River and elsewhere. Still, they are adaptable, and where there is underground water, there are underground goblins.
Ogres live in wild and inaccessible places–often ruins of former glory. You would find them up around Tharothar and also around the Blasted City and D’Tryt.
Lizard men live in even harsher territory than Orcs. Their homelands include the Scorpion Lands and the Scorching Veldt. There are also aquatic, dinosaurian lizard men called the L’zhan, who live in the archipelagos of islands called the Dragon’s Wings and the islands east of the Dragon’s Tail and north of the Mane Lands. They are great mariners and fighters and a menace to all who encounter them. They have enclaves of settlements along the north side of the Dragon’s Back.
Centaurs and minotaurs prefer more open country, and their stronghold is the plains south and east of Khazan.
Fairies live in the forests with the elves, and have also invaded the cities and live alongside humans. They are like pigeons, or bees.
Leprechauns take over isolated hills usually not far from human settlements. They do so love to take advantage of the clumsy big people.
Nagas live mostly in the Naga jungles in the Dragon’s midsection, but there is a large population of humans there as well. The humans are a slave race for the serpent-people.
The far east, the Dragon’s Rump, is the home country of the Gharghs–a winged people who dominate the large human population by force. They are dragon minions and protected by the large number of dragons who make this part of the continent their home. Dragons also dominate all the highest mountain ranges, especially the sky-scraping peaks north of Khazan, Kasar, Stormgaard, and Tharothar.
Ratlings live mostly in the undercities where humans can be found. They tend to be more scavengers than producers. All human cities require a large underground support system to carry water, and sewage, and those tunnels can be adapted to other purposes as well. Ratlings and goblins are an underclass there, with dwaves usually in charge. Trolls tend to be predators in such areas.
As you can see, the ecology and ethnology of Trollworld is complicated.
Heh! But I have to say I love seeing maps like this, and I hope Don will go on to add more colors and further show the (rough) ethnography of Trollworld.
–Ken St. Andre, Nov. 15, 2014