Faction Friday: Tolman’s Smart Trolls

Posted by on May 26, 2017

Tolman is a halfling with a sense of justice. An ex-adventurer, he now fashions jewelry in a quiet part of a small city.

During his adventuring days, he chafed at the sight of other adventurers leaping to kill every creature they stumbled on, ferocious or docile, and the crude jokes they told about the less “civilized” races. Now, thanks to a bit of luck, he wants to change that.

Tolman was directed to fashion a chain and setting for a magical ruby, the Eye of Torym. This gem can be used to increase the intelligence of several creatures, and it can do this again every day. Its owner was already in debt to Tolman for other jobs when he passed away, with Tolman’s work still incomplete. The owner’s heirs agreed to let Tolman keep the ruby and call it even.

Then Tolman began gathering trolls.

Of all the races in his part of the world, Tolman pitied trolls the most. Strong but admittedly weak-minded, they were hated or feared in person, and ridiculed in private. Surely, Tolman felt, they could be reformed.

So he sought out a troll living in nearby hills, used the Eye of Torym, and offered him a job in his shop’s extremely large basement in return for good food, good drink, and safety. The troll accepted, Tolman taught him to work larger sculptures, then slowly grew his secret work force. He now manages to feed half a dozen trolls in his now very crowded basement, and the proceeds from his sudden increase in productivity often end up in the pockets of neighbors to keep them from asking too many questions.

As a friendly faction, Tolman’s situation grows increasingly precarious. The Eye’s influence appears to weaken the more creatures it affects, and the trolls’ rise in intelligence has not completely dampened their tempers. They grow frustrated, as tasks three of them could accomplish easily a month ago now challenge all six of them.

Tolman needs a more permanent solution to his intelligence problem. He hires the adventurers to harvest spell components from various monsters — owlbear feathers, gibbering mouther eyes, and so forth — for a ritual that will permanently increase the trolls’ mental faculties.

As a foe faction, Tolman is more than a bleeding heart: he feels society should pay for their mistreatment of trolls. At night, he’s been secretly leading one or two trolls on raiding parties, breaking the shutters and smashing the windows of taverns where anti-troll sentiment runs high. He will soon grow bolder, smashing those same establishments to splinters, even beating up the emissaries of noble families who espouse anti-troll (or generally pro-human) rhetoric.

Here’s a map of Tolman’s basement; each square is 10 feet wide. (Source: The basement of the “Wounded Warriors;” its original Blogspot post has apparently been deleted but the image still floats around the web, otherwise unattributed.)

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