Once, I thought this name was rather poetic. I had no idea it was a warning. Still, the name is easier to say than “Aaah! It’s going to eat me!”
No less accurate, however…
The Troll Hills is both much less, and more, than what most would assume of this hilly location. It lies south of the Aquitaine
and Thistletop Keep area, but north of Dublinshire. Several miles long, the area primarily exists in what can be loosely considered the Freecities League territory along the Warden Road.
But in fact, only the central and western portion of the Troll Hills enjoys those borders. The eastern side does not. In fact, the east of Troll Hills remains steeped in a low boil of drama between Kara Korum and Merovia who both contest that portion of the hills. This strive remains confined to the area around Fangwood Keep to the far east of the hills.
To date, any claim to the Troll Hills lingers around the edge. None have ventured to occupy, or even hint, at ownership of the interior. This is due in no small part to the history of the hills, its most famous former occupant, and the ‘creatures’ that call it home.
Ancient Crags and Primeval Forests
This area is a collection of hills that were once tall mesas and other rock formations worn down over the ages by elements of weather and loose magics. The result is a collection of jumbled cleft outcroppings that support two ancient stands of forest and a modest natural spring.
The spring, called Telinbor, flows up from an underground river at the highest point in the hills and wanders along three tributaries. Two of these flow down and into the thick dark forest of Vitari Wood. The third travels west to Westeir Forest.
Water from this spring is clear and unusually cold, as if from a mountain-fed source. Some wizards have written that the heart of the spring has a faint aura of elemental magic. This has led to much speculation that there is an enchanted item somewhere beneath the waters of Telinbor or that the spring’s actual source is a rift to the elemental plane of water.
Of the two stands of forest, Vitari Wood and the Westeir Forest, Vitari in the East of the hills, is the larger of the two. But druids agree that both were once a single forest in the distant past.
These two forests are quite old and are home to many of the same types of plants and animals. The difference lies in the sense of each place.
Centuries past, a dark shadow wormed its way into Vitari Wood, soaking into the forest’s heart. Brambles became more tangled, trees twisted and their branches loomed overhead. Eventually, the location became home to a collection of malevolent inhabitants, such as the infamous Sanev the Spider Hag.
The hills themselves retain their craggy nature. But most are overgrown with a thick carpet of melgrass and banip bellbush. This has given the entire location a soft, gentle appearance.
Never judge a book, person, or hills by first glance…
This region has long been a pristine location. One that many have tried to tap into for its natural abundance of timber, herbs, minerals, and other resources. Wild ginger, banip bellbush, Strongheart timber, copper, and even potentially pure elemental water are in abundance. But the local wildlife, and plant life, have been a stalwart defender of the hills.
Many creatures call the Troll Hills home from rabbits, birds, fish, bears, to a wide variety of insects. But there are far more dangerous plants and animals as well. Bog Panthers
are known to keep dens near the Telinbor Lake. Naturally, the lake attracts a high number of Rock Tortoises
In the Vitari Wood that fills the southeast of the Troll Hills, Spider Wasps
are quite common. Neither appreciate intruders on their particular hunting grounds. The former have long been attributed to the days when Sanev the Spider Hag called these woods home.
Last would be the creature that gives the hills its name. The infamous Troll
. These hills host the largest number of the ferocious murder moss than any other realm. They are the undisputed top predator of the Troll Hills, and one that other animals and plants give a wide berth.
I’ve heard more than one ranger comment to me that ‘the hills are alive’, when talking about the Troll Hills…