Troll Magic

A cumulative record from Story Tellers,  Trollologists and Master Trollologists through the ages.

From time to time over the years here at the Trollshop, one of the most mysterious and least documented aspects of the world of Trolls is discussed namely Troll “Magic”.  Recently, several of the stories written for ‘Grandpa Carl’s Story Place’ have mentioned the topic of Troll ‘Magic’ and we got thinking that it would be a good idea to provide our readers, especially those who are contemplating creating their own ‘troll story’, with, at least, some information about this phenomenon. Of course, this is by no means the final say on the issue but for those who want to use these concepts, we want to provide a foundation upon which a writer or storyteller can build.

To start off  Troll “Magic” IS NOT the hocus-pocus, slight of hand, something for nothing media hyped inexplicable ‘poof’ that most of us are familiar with or imagine magic to be.  (This is why we use the quote marks around “magic”) Troll “Magic” happens because Trolls are in tune with the very essence of nature around them.  From a young age trolls are taught to respect life and all that this entails.  To them Mother Nature is an all encompassing being that breathes life into all within her sphere both animate and inanimate.   In human history many great Shamans, Medicine Men, Gurus, Priests and Prophets have taught that all things are alive and ‘have spirit’.  Trolls know that all things are indeed interconnected and they use this knowledge to work what, to the common being, appears to be ‘magic’.   If the full picture of Troll activity and Troll knowledge were known they would never have a moment of peace in which they could do their work.

To be sure there are exceptions to the idea that Trolls are noble and honorable children of nature who use their ‘cosmos’ granted power to enhance and improve the world.  This is especially when one considers that, for the most part, all the world knows about Trolls is found in ancient Scandinavian myths, JRR Tolkein books and a wide variety of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons or GURPS.   From these sources one can only come to the conclusion that the vast majority of Trolls are anti-social, stupid,  miscreants who delight in making the world a dangerous and unwholesome place.  The fact that much of the behavior attributed to Trolls is traceable to such beings as Ogres, Stone Giants and occasionally Goblins does not overshadow the fact that some trolls, even groups of trolls have gone bad and have done horrendous things.  Some of these actions have involved ‘magic’ (because all Trolls ‘know’ some magic) which has been used in some very unspeakable ways.  

In spite of these high profile exceptions the vast majority of Trolls continue to quietly do what no other group on Earth do.  Using their ‘magic’ and physical skills, Trolls work alone and in groups to fill a niche vital to every aspect of life.  If a  human did what they do, that human would be showered with praise.  Nevertheless the vast majority of Trolls continue to keep a very low profile so that they can avoid detection get on with their work without interference. 

Trolls start to learn magic from an early age starting with basic skills for protection and survival.  As they grow older Trolls continue to learn magic until they are able to take their place in Troll Society around the age of twenty five.  The following are a list of ‘magic spells/skills’ that we have amassed from a wide range of stories and information from Trollologists,  Master Trollologists and myth reporters that we know.


1) Alter Object: This skill involves the ability to reshape things to better accommodate a trolls needs.  They may need to shape a stone to fit their building needs or they may need to shape a bone or stick and where most of this is done with tools the precision is so fine with such primitive appearing tools that it ‘has to be magic’ right?  Or maybe it is.

2)Blending:   This is the ability to enhance the natural skill trolls have to conceal themselves in nature.  This ability is especially valuable when there is little or no cover.

3) Cloud cover: Trolls have said to have some kind of magical connection to the weather and this skill seems to bear that out.  When a Troll needs to cross a distance during the day when there is little or no cover Trolls can use the moisture in the air to create a temporary cloud to cover an area.  This cloud can even be moved or pushed along on the most gentle of breezes for several hundred yards until it dissipates.   Large Trolls require larger clouds and it is said that some of the sudden storms that come up in Norway and other areas are a result of a large Troll’s need to travel.

4) Communicate with animals: All animals can talk, most humans are just too smart to realize this so they never hear.  Trolls are ‘too simple’ to know this and so they talk to animals as a matter of course having learned from youth some of these skills.  To those around them this appears to be ‘magic’.  Of course what is really amazing is when a Troll talks to a species it has never met and never learned the language for..then perhaps it is ‘magic’.

5) Dark Twist: This is a simple skill that allows even young trolls to make just enough darkness in an area to hide themselves in.  We are not sure if the body simple blends into the dark that is there or if it ‘secretes’ a dark shadow from the body.  Also know as Shadow Bending or Shadow Creation.

6) Dark Vision: This is a genetic skill of all trolls to see in little or no light.  Yet they may be a potion or a powder that can be put in the eyes of anyone to allow them to see, temporarily,  better in limited light.  (Perhaps it is a natural way to dilate the eyes.)   This skill will last up to a day.

7) Disguise: This is a rumored Troll skill or ‘magic’ to appear as another type of creature or to hide their ‘natural’ features making them appear ‘more acceptable’ or cuter.  Some modern Trollologists use this concept/’magic’ to explain why Trolls suddenly began to look cuddly and marketable. We don’t know.

8) Enhances Hearing: This is another natural ‘magical’ troll ability that allows them to hear as well as many forest animals.  Still there is some question about how Trolls sort out all the cacophony of sound they must hear, this could be the true magic.  There is also a potion that can be poured in the ears of some ‘others’ that allow them, again temporarily, to hear better. 

9) Fire creation/control heat creation/control : These are variations of the same ‘magic’ This is a power that trolls have to turn small sparks into great infernos, small fires or use them to create enough heat or fire to meet their needs for safety, cooking and survival.   Trolls are said to be generally uncomfortable around fire especially when it is used as a weapon and some say that a fire wound on a troll does not heal.  This is generally true but they do not fear fire, they control it.  It is when it is out of control that they fear and avoid it.  It is also said that some Trolls can ‘shape’ fire but we have seen no documentation.

10) Food cleansing/preservation: This ability enables Trolls to be true scavengers and allows them to eat virtually anything of a vegetable or protein nature.  Sometimes this process involves powders or potions poured or mixed with the food and if this is ‘magic’ we would not be surprised.

11) Regeneration: Trolls heal at a very rapid rate unless they are burned (which heals much slower for some reason).  Many believe this is magic but it could be a natural ability.

12) Shapeshifting: A ‘magic’ mentioned in one or two myths and role books that trolls can use.  We think it is really part of the magic known as disguise

13) Silent Movement: Maybe this is a natural skill or maybe it is magic but trolls can move almost cat like if they have too.  Some say it is the softness of their leather ‘shoes’ (if they ever wear shoes) others say it is a potion or powder that helps. 

14) Size Shifting: This ‘magic’ is the most difficult to explain as it is a ‘magic’ that allows the trolls to shift size ranging from down to 20 cm (8 or 9 inches and some say smaller) to over 1.6 km (about a mile) depending on the preferred or natural size of the troll.  Trolls naturally get bigger as they get older and remain unvaried in their mental and natural abilities but when they choose to grow suddenly or to an unnatural size they seem to loose much of their wisdom, cunning and ‘simpleness’ and become mean, sullen and often destructive.  If they just grow naturally and live long enough they can hit those sizes but then they grow lethargic and bored and are more likely to change to stone.   No other ‘magic’ is this difficult to explain.  (When one considers that some trolls are only a millimeter tall or so to start with one wonders if they can grow. No one knows)

15) Trail Confusion: This is the ability or ‘magic’ that trolls have to hide their trail or confuse their trackers.  Some say that potions or powders sprinkled on a trail confuse or mask scents too but regardless of the reasons Trolls and Troll trails appear to vanish like a ghost.

16) Un-noticeability: This ‘magic’ lets an even ‘unhidden’ troll go unnoticed by an individual or a small group even when they are looking right at him or her.   The criteria used involve the Troll standing absolutely still or moving so very carefully so as to not attract any kind of attention.  People or animals approaching will without even realizing it go around the frozen figure regardless of the size and if they do notice something it is often chalked up to a shadow or light trick.  This ‘magic’ obviously works best in shadow or at night.  No one has mentioned it ever being tried during daylight.

Finally, there are quite a number of healing type magics, potions and powders that help Trolls remain healthy.  These cures are certainly made up natural herbs and other items found in nature and are likely homeopathic and naturopathic in substance but they could very well be magical.  These healing methods are the most carefully guarded ‘secrets’ in Trolldom and we do not have any access to them.

In conclusion, Troll magic may be simply the use of skills that we humans are far to smart to discover.  On the other hand they may well be ‘magic’ or the use of some other powerful force that undergirds and overarches the whole of nature.  The bottom line is that we simply do not know, but to us, it is the ‘magic of a troll heart’ that keeps us all going here at the Trollshop.