- This article is about the creature. For the ADRIFT game by Thomas Mulkerrins, see Troll (game).
A troll is a mythological creature found in heroic fantasy games. It is usually characterized as a brutish and strong humanoid, similar to an ogre, but shorter and more rock-like. It is normally encountered underground or under bridges. Its favoured weapons are clubs, axes, and daggers. A troll in a work of interactive fiction often plays the role of a guard, a monster, or both. Its known weaknesses include goats, sunlight, and its own stupidity.
Dealing with hostile trolls
- Answer their riddle. If the troll is demanding the answer to a riddle, you probably have no choice but to answer it. Assuming the answer is "egg", you might have to SAY EGG, ANSWER "EGG", or even SHOW EGG TO TROLL to make him step aside.
- Bribe them. If the troll is demanding treasure, you should consider giving him what he wants. You might want to do this simply so you can explore more, even though this likely means you won't be able to win the game this way. However, if one of your treasures is something you can somehow steal back, giving a treasure to the troll might be the real answer after all.
- Use a goat. Trolls have been linked to goats ever since the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. If you can somehow bring a goat to where the troll is, there's a good chance that either the troll will run away or the goat will attack the troll on sight.
- Trick them. Trolls aren't too bright. They probably can't tell gold from pyrite, for example. The sample transcript included with the game Spellbreaker (publisher: Infocom) has the protagonist fill a bag with pebbles, write "GOLD" on the bag, show the bag to the troll, then put the bag in a river. The greedy troll jumps after the bag of "gold" and is never seen again.
- Kill them. Sometimes, violence is the answer. Make sure you have a decent weapon, then just hit the troll with it until he's dead. A less easy way to kill a troll is to expose them to sunlight somehow, perhaps luring them out of their cave with a trail of gold coins, in the hope that the sunlight will turn the troll into stone.
Dealing with non-hostile trolls
If a troll isn't hostile, treat it like any other NPC. They'll still be strong, greedy, and stupid, though.
Notable games featuring trolls
- +=3 (Carl de Marcken and David Baggett; 1994; TADS 2).
- Adventurer's Consumer Guide (Øyvind Thorsby; 2007; Glulx).
- Enlightenment ((Taro Ogawa; 1998; Z-code). The troll was a finalist for Best Individual NPC at XYZZY Awards 1998.
- Zork I (publisher: Infocom; 1980; Z-code).
- Zork: A Troll's Eye View (Dylan O'Donnell; 1998; Z-code). The troll was a finalist for Best Individual PC at XYZZY Awards 1998.