The room was smoky with the fires of a comfortable longhouse, “Don’t tell me you think shamblers suck that much, have you ever encountered a troglodyte?” I may have drunk too much by this point, but I was still coherent enough to argue. “I got news for you,” I slurred, “There are creatures out there far more terrifying than a plant that eats people.” Slamming my empty mug on the table, I continued, “Before you ask me, let me just spell it out…”
1) They Stink!
You think Shamblers are bad? At least you can get close to them; troglodytes on the other hand have an organ that releases an odor that is so foul that it's hard to be within 30 feet of them, let alone actually hit them. The smell is reminiscent of rose boiled cabbage and mild skunk, and it’s enough to put you on your rump! The first time I encountered them, I barely escaped without taking a nap. So yeah; If you ever bump into a group of Troglodytes, have fun not breathing. The odor is extremely hard to wash off, even if you do manage to survive. I had to throw away a brand new suit of armor I was wearing that day because I just couldn’t handle smelling so bad that even beggar’s plugged their noses at me.
Next time you’re travelling and you think you smell troglodytes, be prepared to leave because you are going in the wrong direction, because...
2) They’re From The Scariest Place
Troglodytes come from the most dangerous place I know: The Underdark. All manner of crazy creatures exist down in that hellscape, and troglodytes are usually a good warning sign that you’re getting too close. Somehow troglodytes have managed to survive so close to that environment despite the fact that they’re the lowest on the food chain. Here is my theory on why: The combination of darkvision and chameleon skin allows them to see in their environment and blend in with their surroundings at the same time. Troglodytes can approach their prey while being invisible, even if you can smell them.
Troglodytes are the start of your descent into the Underdark, and boy are, they scary. The problem with this is that there are far more terrifying creatures down there. Despite being on the bottom, troglodytes go on...
3) The Boldest Raids
I've never seen this but if the hearsay is to be believed, Troglodytes go on raids in search for shiny metals. They just go from settlement to settlement in the Underdark, to steal from creatures stronger than them! This is probably due to the fact that they follow the god Laogzed; a massive toad-lizard that sleeps in the Abyss, wanting nothing but for his troglodytes to be as fat and content as he is. I mean a very devout following, to the point of killing each other for food and riches without regard for much else.
Yea, shamblers murder everything, but they don’t carry the ambition of some Toad God who wants you to be a glutton like him. Troglodytes form tribes to achieve their personal aspirations, as a way to please Laogzed. Sometimes their ambition leads to the tribe being torn apart over something as simple as a longsword. Just like noble-born adolescents fighting over music taste, troglodytes will go to the extreme in swaying belief. Tribes are created by this sort of mentality. The multiple tribes are constantly at war with each other for leadership. If you’re unfortunate enough to be a troglodyte leader, you better make sure that Laogzed sees you as worthy.
Otherwise, you’ll most likely become food or game to chase. Just like we don’t make waste of a deer that we hunt for sport...
4) They Will Eat Anything With Meat Including Each Other!
I don’t really like delving into cannibalism because I witnessed it once, but this has to be the scariest thing about troglodytes. They will eat anything with meat on it; it doesn't matter if it’s alive or not, and it definitely doesn't matter if its a troglodyte. Despite their tendencies, they love humanoid flesh. Not only is this bad news for me, but for all of the people that like to adventure these days. The whole sociological structure of troglodytes is based on procuring food and riches. When you only have two necessities in life; morality is something that gets thrown out the window, so much so that the population takes pleasure in hunting intelligent creatures who are “weaker” than them. This is the mentality of the troglodyte.
As you can see, you may have had bad experiences with shamblers, but the troglodytes are no joke. They have a biological defense that prevents you from getting close to them. They are from the Underdark, and I don’t think I have to tell you (a second time) how bad that place is. They have zero fear when it comes to food and plunder. Cannibalism is a tenet of trog life; do I need to reiterate?
At this point, the empty mugs in front of me were beginning to smell like something resembling a troglodyte; or maybe that was my vivid imagination. After realizing the one in my hand was also empty, I asked for another. I looked over to the man who got me all riled up in the first place. He had one empty mug and a devilish smile on his face. I knew I was in for it; for a second, I hoped he didn’t understand a single word I said. Laughing, I asked, “What’re you smiling about? You really do think shamblers are worse? Go on, prove it!” I said boisterously. I crossed my arms with a smug expression and waited for his reply.
Benjamin Witunsky, artist, writer and nerd savant. Cofounder of the NerdMantle Podcast available on Soundcloud, Itunes and Google Play Music.
Photo credit: Terminally Incoherent
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