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The Mystery of the Zau Brulk Trolls

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Freyja. View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 Oct 2023 at 18:14

Background Reading:

https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/wandering-zau-brulk-trolls-watch_topic6432_page1.html

https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/side-troll-nests-near-heartlands_topic1914.html

Zau Brulk tracking spreadsheet

Zau Brulk wiki page

Zau Brulk lore page

The Greatest Quest forum thread - all known quest messages in the correct order of occurrance


Okay, so I've always thought there was a mystery with Zau Brulk because there was an article in The Herald about them in 2011. Maybe. Maybe not.

But in the messages after the tentacles escaped during the quest attempt in 2014, the trolls are mentioned and I don't think it's something we should ignore or disregard.

When it was just a couple of villagers, the people believed that it was likely to be the work of wild animals - or perhaps a small pack of trolls travelling up from the South.

This mention, IMO, is obviously referring to the Zau Brulk trolls.

But how do they fit into the quest narrative?

If they are involved in the quest, what is their role/function?

What do we do about/with/to them?

How do we defend against them/protect the tentacles, if the Zau Brulk were involved in the tentacles escaping?

I have more questions than answers, and would appreciate some ideas, thoughts, or anything. Let's put our heads together and figure this out.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bzn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2023 at 21:28
do we know if anyone has ever tried the "surround your city with occupying armies" thing before, or is that something original to this latest push?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2023 at 22:37
It is not wild animals or trolls though. 
I sometimes take out Zau Brulk armies passing throught Tor, nothing happens. They
just have certain migration routes for plundering the north, presumably.

Yes Bzn, it has been tried but no tentacles escaped those times afaik. 
May have been the wrong moon phase, or the Heart of Corruption was 
no longer active, or not active again since the quest started.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Freyja. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2023 at 00:31
In the "Don't get eaten" thread, Alcie documented what happened when the tentacles escaped, how they were contained and if they ate units or not. This is how we know that we have to surround cities. 


Zau Brulk was the subject of a side article in The Herald in 2011. 

Trolls Nests Spring Up Near Kingdom Heartlands
Groups of roaming Trolls have been discovered near the central areas of Illyriad, having been displaced - for reasons unknown - from the traditional Zau Brulk home in Tallimar. These groups are hostile, and should be approached with caution.

Given the article in The Herald and the mention in a quest message, I think it's worth looking into. 


Edited by Freyja. - 05 Oct 2023 at 00:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Freyja. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2023 at 13:26
These are all the references to the trolls that I could find in the lore. 

The Dyadans now find safe haven in their peaceful, beautiful home, happy to sing and dance their lives away. But it’s not going to be all song and dance when the Zau Brulk advances northwards. Our military intelligence divisions have noted that the trolls have been supplying weapons to the Greenskins for years; why should the Dyadans consider themselves safe? 

Sooner or later, the Greenskins will come a-knocking; axes and bolts will pierce the majestic splendor of the Dyadan forest home. This will then be followed by much bloodshed, death and destruction. 


More than a few had been born aboard ships, and as we passed the coast of Tallimar, I could see why these people would abandon their lands for the shifting decks of a ship. We rolled past a shore of sand-dunes and scorched rock, sun-baked hills rising away from the sea. Away from the cool sea breeze, the lands were oppressively hot. Meanwhile, I learned, the neighbours of the Kingdom of Tal were a rough and warlike tribe of Trolls. Clearly a life at sea would be preferable to struggling against the merciless heat and the murderous Trolls. 


The mine, they say, was founded over 800 years ago by a fortune hunter from the Middle Kingdom – a man with royal connections of some sort, who came here to seek his fortune, and showed the Northmen how to mine ores.

Their story has many fanciful details about wresting mountain trolls and securing the land by fighting a duel which lasted seven days and seven nights, but the legend doubtless has some truth to it, and they are clear about the man’s name: Tormand.

  • from Allembine Quest: Tormand, 2nd location



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ordo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2023 at 03:13
They move north through Tor Carrock, now I noticed they also move back south through there, currently still moving but they may land around https://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/#/World/Map/-214/-168 in about an hour.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Freyja. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Nov 2023 at 13:43
Yeah, that's what they do. They travel north from Tallimar into Arran. In Arran, they either go northwest to Tor Carrock/Keppen OR they go northeast to Mal Motsha/Keshalia. And there are usually 2-4 armies (or more) moving at the same time. 

They don't go in a straight line, and seem to wander a bit, and they camp often. However, on the way home, I have not seen them stop to camp and it takes a few days to get back home. Maybe they wander around, looking for something or trying to complete a mission, and once it's done/found, they go straight home, non stop. 

This is a graphical map of their movements, which anyone can get to on the Zau Brulk wiki page (link in 1st post of this thread):

Zau Brulk map

green circles = Zau Brulk camps
green X = Zau Brulk hubs
red open circles = local hubs
purple X = Duraz Karag

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GM Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2023 at 19:16
Freyja, first off, I've been meaning to sincerely compliment you on your research and testing regarding factions in general. You've been at it for years now, and, looking over what you've written, I think you have a very accurate feel for some of their unique behaviors.

Concerning Zau Brulk: we substantially expanded their inter-factional standings this year, and they now have a clear affinity with other greenskin factions while loathing the entire Fey race, some elves, etc. (They disdain the Turyns and Dyadans, but would likely hate all other firstborn factions if they knew of them.) Also, their rivalry with the Ogres (Drangu Mundas) is also interesting, since Ogres are monsters, whereas Trolls are greenskin and technically more "sentient." Can you imagine those battles?

Above all else, I think that their alignment with Parvacones and the Pax Orcana is particularly interesting, as is their loathing of the Fey. It will be interesting to see if one will be able to someday curry favor with the Fey by contesting Zau Brulk. The Seemies, Unseelies, and Sylvans are difficult to engage with, as you have recently pointed out.  

I wonder what would happen if the right person caught the right Fey at the right time?   

Another consideration is to what degree being an orc could factor into partnering with Zau Brulk. They are not monsters, and orcs enjoy a +20 DRS. I can't think of many other factions that have such formidable units that are not monstrous and thus "reachable."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Freyja. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2023 at 16:37

 Thank you so much, Jejune. I appreciate the feedback.

I have noticed the expanded inter-faction standings. On paper, so to speak, the inter-faction standings make sense, but looking at the map and considering each faction's behaviors, many of them are likely to never come into contact with each other. Many of the standings don't make a lot sense in the Illy world, geographically. If the expanded standings are necessary for what's planned for factions, then I'd understand the need to expand them more.

A good example are the Zau Brulk and Drangu Mundas. It's not likely they will ever interact with each other. Zau Brulk doesn't travel that far north, and Drangu Mundas doesn't travel outside of their action radius. Zau Brulk interacts with many factions along the way when they travel around central Elgea, and the other factions react to them, but they've never come into contact with Drangu Mundas. I think it's far more likely for Drangu Mundas to battle with the Guardians of Zera, who do travel into ogre territory and they have a strong hatred of each other (-70). Plus, the Guardians of Zera are one faction that I have caught attacking another faction (Crimson Dawn). Like I said above, I don't know what's coming with the AI update, and things could change in unexpected ways.


The Parvacones-Pax Orcana-Zau Brulk thing is a story that crosses several pages of the lore, and they were all probably involved in the greenskin takeover of Caer Arodd (now known as Great Mountain Home), which the dwarven clans still want back. The lore hints that the trolls were arms dealers between the orcs and greenskins. Great Mountain Home is a hot spot for inter-faction action and drama.


 "I wonder what would happen if the right person caught the right Fey at the right time?"

Us too! We've been wondering that for years. The time is 1900, but we haven't figured out what to do yet. Thank you for confirming what many of us have always believed. It's nice to know we weren't chasing a false clue. This deserves a separate thread.


"It will be interesting to see if one will be able to someday curry favor with the Fey by contesting Zau Brulk."

"Another consideration is to what degree being an orc could factor into partnering with Zau Brulk."

Those are both interesting ideas and 2 different perspectives. Make friends or don't make friends. Attack their enemies or make friends with their enemies. There will be choices to make and we are thinking and talking about these kinds of things. I encourage people to look at the factions around their towns and the ones who own the hubs where they do trade. Those 2 things are the most important factors when deciding which side to pick and where to put towns.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GM Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Nov 2023 at 15:08
Thanks for that, Freyja! In response to your points regarding rationales for the expanded DRSes: yes, I would definitely think about them in the context of Faction AI. Also, I wouldn't limit understanding their rationales merely based on geography. We've also used the lore and even more creative rationales to create new connections between factions.

Let's look at our not-so-friendly trolls as examples:

Several of the DRS ratings are tied to mentions in Zau Brulk's lore:

"They have been known to trade with other Greenskins, and we know from the Orcs of Pax Orcana that they have done so for as long as they can remeber. . . "

This gives some clues as to why they have a +20 with the Pax Orcana. And while there's nothing in the lore directly about their closeness with the Parvacones, we know that they have an affinity with greenskin races, and we know that they uttery loathe the Dyadans. We know this from the Dyadans' lore:

"The Dyadans now find safe haven in their peaceful, beautiful home, happy to sing and dance their lives away. But it’s not going to be all song and dance when the Zau Brulk advances northwards. Our military intelligence divisions have noted that the trolls have been supplying weapons to the Greenskins for years; why should the Dyadans consider themselves safe?"

As for the trolls' hatred of the Turyns, it is more likely a "sympathy hatred" based on their closeness with greenskins, aka Parvacones, and the Parvacones' antipathy toward the Turyns. Also, the Faction Ranges tool reveals that the trolls and kobolds' hub ranges do indeed intersect. This slim but crucial intersection could justify this relationship geographically.

Hopefully this reveals some of the thinking behind DRS "webs" like these. 

Other connections are made through references in the lore, such as Saxil's ruminations on the Kingdom of Tal:

"I learned, the neighbours of the Kingdom of Tal were a rough and warlike tribe of Trolls. Clearly a life at sea would be preferable to struggling against the merciless heat and the murderous Trolls."

This suggests that the Kingdom of Tal deal with the Trolls regularly. Also, the Tals have a mildly positive relationship with the Dyadans.

As for Drangu Mundas, the DRS between them and the trolls might be thought of more as an interesting NPC vs. NPC relationship between 2 "bigfolk" factions, so that all of the giantkind are not "on the same team" in the game, so to speak. Part of our thinking in updating the DRS standings was to eventually give players an opportunity to rank high enough with some of the more mystical creatures in Factions and have their military units come to players' and alliances' aid in battle. That's why you'll now see an opening via DRS and the inter-factional relationships to eventually move the needle with some of these mystical factions.

Also, there is some justification in the lore to suggest that the Ogres could have roamed enough to meet the Trolls at some point. Di'qualinin tells us that:

"Until recently the Ogres of Illyriad were wandering beasts, roaming in managble packs - but after the Fourth Rebellion, instead of scattering as they had normally done without a war to unite them, they went on a terrifying trek through the Northern Lands, killing as they went." 

This would suggest that their roaming was relegated to the north, however, later in the lore, Di'qualinin notes:

". . . Ogres roaming the entire countryside of Illyria is now a thing of the past."

Could ogres have roamed far enough south to have met and clashed with the Trolls? Any such clashes do not appear in the lore, but it may make sense, as who among the giantkind are literate enough to have recorded such events? It would have had to have been witnessed by someone and reported.

All of this is to say that there was indeed thinking and rationales behind all of the DRS and inter-factional augmentations. Admittedly, I am not your equal in commanding the lore, but in the process of doing this, I did the deepest dive I could to make the new connections and ratings interesting.

I will fully admit that maybe some of them are probably a bit self-indulgent on my part and more a species of my imagination. Wink


Edited by GM Jejune - 30 Nov 2023 at 23:46
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