On names and trollstuff

From: Mikko Rintasaari (rintasaa@mail.student.oulu.fi)
Date: Thu 22 Jan 1998 - 12:32:04 EET

> From: allen wallace <alwallac@linknet.kitsap.lib.wa.us>
> Miko,

(Damn these finnish names).
In Finland the name Mikko is too common to be useful. Internationally
Mikko propably sounds like a female japaniese name, or something of the
sort. The origin of the name harkens back to the interesting
religious/mystic system of the old Eufrat - Tigris area. Machael (I
propably spell it wrong without a reference book) was the Angel/God/
Elemental of rulership of the universe. The dull, watered down, modern
versions of the faith (Christian/Juish/Muslim) still have him as Arch
Angel Michael. So there... but usually I get called Adept, especially on
the net, and among the finnish RPG community. "Hey you!" propably will
suffice too :)

> Valid point that we are not talking humans here, Good failsafe argument.
> All I'm saying, is there is no reason that trolls wouldn't develop
> unfortunate sexual behaviors, in our eyes, and not consider them normal.

In our eyes any sexual behavior of a troll is propably rather unfortunate.
(something no human should ever have to see) :)
But seriously, I didn't relly get this bit. What do you mean by
"unfortunate sexual behaviors"? Homosexuality?

> I still disagree that the male reproductive strategy is
> going to be at core much different than the human male.

With civilized humans this depends on the culture. Some are and have been
female centered, the "glorious" western culture on the other hand is very
much male centered. You could argue that the difference between a fem
centered human- and the Uz culture isn't that big, at least considering
sexuality. I was referring to differences on a much deeper and more primal
level, and I think that this species difference makes human parallels
almost meaningless.

> ...Rape as a
> successful reproductive strategy has as a rule been unsuccessful here.

A couple of points:

(a) How do you define rape? Most cases of normal marriage in our own, not
so recent past have been effecively forced on the woman. Marriages have
been negotiated by the men, and for the men, with the woman having very
little real possibility to say no. Is institutionalised rape still rape? I
should think so.

(b) What I actually ment was a form of male reproductive strategy before
our so called civilization. For a human male (or the slightly prehuman
Homo Sapiens, if you prefer) rape was a rather succesful reproductive
strategy. This is a _long_ topic tough, and I will not go into it on the
Digest, unless I'm specifically asked to. Those interested can E-mail me
on this.

> Agression is in both cases going to be against the competition not the
> female, in the case of trolls, most definitely not against the female. The
> male still has to outshine the rest or maybe overshadow would be a better
> term.

Not in both cases, but I agree on the Troll point. Overshadow is good :)

                  ... Trolls are as a group, violent and unpleasant. They
> are also fun to play. Trying to make them the noble misunderstood savage
> cuts the guts out of them.
> Allen

I have to think about this. I have put quite a bit of tought into trolls,
and I have GM:ed for a couple of little runts on the lowest ladder of an
elite ZZ troop. I fond that these ZZ trolls don't make very good PC:s. The
first answer of a ZZ to any problem is violence, and while violence can
result in interesting situations and dilemmas, among the ZZ trolls it
usually doesn't. A ZZ troll isn't afraid to die, and will never have any
second toughts or regrets about his violent acts. Any form of mindless
violence is acceptable, and indeed holy to the most orthodox ZZ.
  Now, the "Death Patrol" are Pavic trolls, and the temple is propably the
most sophisticated bunch of ZZ in the world, but they still have it too
simple. There isnt' that much to game with. You see something you don't
like. You charge. If you kill it, good. If you don't kill it it was still
a good plan and you go to your violent paradice. (what they think anyway)
  In my campaign there _are_ a couple of very interesting troll PC:s. One
is on the border of being classified as a trollkin. 160cm 80kg little runt
who run away from home before KL initiation (his twin brother died shortly
after birth and was eaten). The little fella followed a the supply train
of Death Patrol, and eventually ended up mopping the floors and catching
rats for the higher ups. These days he's propably the smallest and
youngest ZZ troll ever. (80kg of frustration and jealousy towards
everybody. He tried to kill a ZZ squadleader with a broom when the hulking
brute called him a trollkin.)
  The other interesting Uz is a bohemian artist type, also from pavis. He
is propably one of the most cosmopolitan Trolls alive. Unfortunately he's
not all that smart, possibly because he spends most of his time in a
tavern in New Pavis and is consequently allmost permanently pissed. He's
also quite a hero by accident at the moment. I'm waiting for him to sober
up and realize it. (propably we'll get to play this weekend).
Those two are quite atypical trolls tough, at least for ZZ. Prax
Yelmalians on the other hand (the Antichrist culture, form the ZZ point of
view :) ) make for excellent gaming. The best sessions I've ever GM:ed
resulted was inspired by "Gaumata's vision", my compliments to the author.
I inserted a somewhat similar incident into the era of the "Solitude of
Testing", where I think it fit rather well. My game was called "Evil
Dreams", and it's one of the few times I've seen genuine fear in the eyes
of jaded, experienced gamers.
  What I mean, is that the Sun Domers get angst and anxiety out of most
things. They had a deep cultural dilemma merely because there was a woman
among them. These dilemmas are interesting, and keep them surprising me,
the GM. Nothing is as predictable as a good ZZ troll, and they aren't
bothered by anything. GM:ing the Death Patrol, violence was trivial, at
most, relaxing. In "Evil Dreams" the violence was _disgusting_, fast and
unpredictable... I don't think anybody enjoyed it, and even I felt sick.
=> much more interesting, don't you think?

So, Allen. I'm not stripping the trolls of their trollishness. I just
don't think of them as monsters. When human PC:s meet trolls, they see
monsters, and I describe the trolls as monsters. When the PC trolls are
among trolls, they are not monsters, they are people. To me, as the GM,
the trolls are always people, and a strange, wonderful, alien and brutal
people at that.

        -Mikko, the Adept

PS. I think Gyrlat, the runty little ZZ initiate is prime hero material. I
think he personifies Zorak Zoran almost perfectly. A violent, jealous,
insignificant little creature, out to make a name for himself and to make
everyone sorry! (remember ZZ before he got hold of Death) :)


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