A troll from Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition.

Trolls are dangerous beings from Norse mythology and later European folklore. Their characteristics have varied considerably between tales and cultures as well as over time, and among fantasy creatures they have some of the most diverse interpretations in different media. For example, they are sometimes similar to elves or fairies but at other times they are depicted more like giants or ogres.

The Scots word trow is likely derived from the same root as troll, and is the direct source of the word drow.

In role-playing gamesEdit

Dungeons & DragonsEdit

Trolls in Dungeons & Dragons are swamp-dwelling, green-skinned giants with powerful regenerative powers. They take their inspriation from Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. They fear fire and acid, which interfere with their regenerative abilities.

Variations of trolls in D&D include scrags (sea trolls), massive mountain trolls, and magically created war trolls.


Trolls in Tolkien's Middle-earth and games set in it are large, brutish creatures with a taste for flesh. They have durable hides, great strength, and the Sun turns them to stone. They tend to be dim-witted.

Varieties of trolls in Tolkien's works include the cave trolls (a subterranean variety) and the olog-hai. The olog-hai were a race of trolls created by Sauron, which had scaly hides, black blood, greater intelligence and agility than regular trolls, and could endure sunlight.


In Shadowrun, Trolls are magically mutated humans and one of the standard playable races. Their mutations made them taller, larger and stronger than humans, with horns and tusks and sometimes bony plates in their skin. Their arms are longer than humans as well, giving them advantages in combat. Variants of trolls in this setting include Giants, Minotaurs, Cyclopes, and Fomori.

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