Eletreus is a land with many ancient and untouched forests. Some forests are beautiful places, but others have a very oppressive and unpleasant atmosphere. And very deep in this kind of forest, whether created by the dark woods or the cause of the darkness itself (or indeed, both), it is quite possible that at its center is a warped and twisted, hateful ancient tree spirit called the Forest Troll..
For most, the first indication that they may be entering forest troll territory (other than the extreme feeling of unease that gets stronger the closer to a Forest Troll an outsider may stray) is a realization that the trees themselves are becoming increasingly sinister looking – with vaguely humanoid shapes twisting in pain, claw like branches and faces appearing in almost every tree..
If it during the day, the Forest Troll appears as a large tree and it can be extremely hard to tell it apart from all other evil looking trees in the forest. However, while it is habitually nocturnal and tends to slumber during the day, approaching one can cause it to wake, and while sluggish at first, it does not take long to wake..
During the nighttime however, it is a completely different story. As twilight falls, the Forest Trolls true form is revealed and it may finally uproot itself and, slowly at first, begins to walk. But once the very last trace of daylight is finally gone and faded from the dark night sky, it can run up to the speed of a galloping horse, other trees bending their limbs to avoid it so that the only indication that it is moving is creaking and the rustling of leaves..
Or the awful, excited hollowed whooping howl it makes when it spots suitable, preferably sentient, prey..
For the Forest Troll is a voracious carnivore, gaining nutrients during the day from the soil, and supplementing them with meat during the night..Yet it does not only hunt for food, it truly delights in killing any who would dare venture into its domain, and once they lock onto their prey, they will chase it down right to the very edge of the forest (though no further).. In a small wood (which they are rarely encountered in) this may offer a chance of reprieve, but as they are usually found in vast wildernesses, escape is an impossibility..
One of the reasons for their single mindedness in pursuit, other than their hatred at anything daring to enter its claimed territory, they are almost fearless – for if they are damaged during the night time by anything other than fire, new growth and thick sap will shoot out of their core and repair the wounds almost as fast as they can be dealt, making a forest Troll impossible to cut down unless they are encountered during the day..
Because of this, and because it seems to feel no pain, its typical mode of attack at night is anything but subtle, usually starting by throwing a boulder or a huge log like a spear before closing, scrambling forward and ignoring everything but the one it has decided to eat first..
Apart from its stubborn pursuit of a selected victim (which is usually the smallest one in the group, though they sometimes seem to fixate on an unlikely individual in a party for no apparent reason) which could potentially be exploited, the Forest Troll only really has two known weaknesses.
The first is, of course, fire. Being essentially animated trees, they can be burned down like any other tree in the woods and the magic that animates them cannot assist them against this raw element. Hunting them in this fashion is extremely dangerous however, as if they do catch fire they will break off from the base of their trunk and attack in a berserk fury, burning all the while, and while they will almost certainly die, they almost always take the hunters with them..
The only other known weakness they have is that they are unable to physically see elves, who are completely invisible to them, though they CAN smell them out (and use their long wooden noses to lock onto prey miles away) as well as hear them or otherwise sense their presence.
Wood elves in particular exploit this and are known to travel long distances to hunt them with powerful specially enchanted arrows that, if they hit, rapidly turn a Forest Troll it into a twisted and withered old tree within seconds. These enchanted arrows are made from the branches of a dead forest troll, and can only be effective when fired from the living hand of an elf – any other race attempting to use these arrows will find they bounce off harmlessly (losing the enchantment in the process, as each arrow can only be shot once).
Thankfully, the bigger ones are extremely rare to encounter as they do not seem to reproduce, but instead are awakened by a large forest troll spending hundreds of years in the same location, causing smaller trees twisted by its evil aura to awaken and travel hundreds of miles in search of a new territory.. (It is believed, though not proven, that they CAN cross into open territories, but will avoid it at all costs and if forced to do so, crawl along the ground, are terrified and will flee back to the nearest wood if they encounter anything even remotely threatening..)
The only other saving grace is that they are highly territorial and if two Forest Trolls cross paths, they will fight to the death, which makes a terrifying sound that can be heard for miles and miles around – and means only one thing. For once the awful sounds of battle and pure hatred finally stop and there echoes a howl of victory, it means there is a now BIG Forest Troll around somewhere, with no wounds from its fight..
So if you ever hear such a sound in an isolated, abandoned woodland, regardless of the time of night, the best thing to do is get as far away from the forest as possible.. Or if you can’t, hope that the monster doesn’t single YOU out when it closes for the kill..