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The jungle trolls are sometimes referred to as Gurubashi trolls, after the ancient empire of the same name. Their capital, Zul'Gurub, is located in Stranglethorn Vale, along with many smaller towns, cities, and villages, many of which are in a state of ruin or disrepair. The largest jungle troll settlement outside Stranglethorn is Sen'jin Village — founded by the Darkspear tribe, who had been displaced from their exile on the Broken Isles and Echo Isles. The jungle trolls share the same pantheon of gods with the other troll races, and practice the same Voodoo religion, with an emphasis on the power of spirits.
The god Hakkar, a bloodthirsty troll spirit god of that can be evoked by ritual sacrifice, played a very important role in jungle troll history, but fell out of favour due to his bloody demands of sacrifice. During the ancient times when the Gurubashi Empire was trying to reclaim its power by making Hakkar their patron, those who would not give up his worship, the Atal'ai priests, were exiled to the Swamp of Sorrows, where they built a temple in his name. Hakkar's avatar can still be summoned from this temple, a very dangerous prospect.
Jungle trolls are superstitious creatures who revel in the hunt and the rigors of personal combat. In ancient times, they reigned over the lands south of the Redridge Mountains of Stormwind. Though their glorious kingdoms fell to ruin long ago, they seek to reclaim their lost majesty. Equipped with voodoo magics and unparalleled combat skills, these trolls have been relentless in their efforts to regain their jungle homeland.
The history of the jungle trolls begins at the dawn of civilization when the Gurubashi Empire (jungle trolls) and Amani Empire (forest trolls) ruled the south and north of Azeroth respectively, with only the Insectoids of the far-west posing any significant threat.
After numerous catastrophic events that were beyond the control of the two Empires, such as the night elf war, and the subsequent invasion of the Burning Legion, the Gurubashi Empire lost most of its lands outside Stranglethorn, and fell into a state of isolationism and collapse following the rebellion surrounding the god Hakkar. (The Temple of Atal'Hakkar in the Swamp of Sorrows still contains the trapped Hakkar).
During Hakkar's original rule, the Darkspear was exiled from their home in Stranglethorn and escaped the bloodthirsty environment making their home on an uncharted island. Eventually, the naga drove them away and they wound up in the jungle-climate Echo isles of Durotar, where eventually they joined the new Horde and helped them make their home on Kalimdor.
Trolls are monstrous in appearance. Skin color varies greatly based on subspecies, and jungle troll hides tend to be light blue to dark gray. Trolls have pointed, almost elf-like ears, long noses, and elongated, sharp faces. Troll teeth are myriad and pointed. They are lean and wiry, averaging 7 feet tall and 200 pounds. A troll’s body has no excess fat. They are remarkably acrobatic, able to perform back flips from a standstill.
Jungle trolls' bodies are covered in short, soft fur that causes the trolls to appear purple or gray. Jungle trolls are also unusually lithe relative to most other troll species.
Though like most other beings, there is physical variation in jungle trolls with some individuals being rather buff like the berserker trolls and a few jungle trolls who appear to lack tusks.
Thanks to the massive interaction with the Horde, the Darkspear Tribe has gained huge diversity and expertise, employing not only the troll roles in society, but also taking to the training and vending of the Horde. The tribes of Stranglethorn still hold on to the ancient roles of the trolls, including the usual shamanistic and priestly casters, hunters, warriors and scouts. The tribes of Stranglethorn are amongst the most bloodthirsty of any troll tribes, including many cannibals, other hunters and barbaric consumers of flesh. The Atal'ai exiles are heavily made up of priests of Hakkar the Soulflayer, but many of them have been turned into undying corpses, mummies and skeletons, all enthralled to Hakkar's power. Many exist only as spirits still in service of Hakkar.
Jungle trolls are the most civilized of troll species. They are organized around tribes, with bloodlines led by the most powerful warriors. Family houses rise and fall with the battle honor of their members. Witch doctors and shadow hunters act as spiritual and legislative leaders, judging matters of law and handling administrative duties. Most regulations focus on maintaining the honor of the individual, the family, the tribe, and the troll species as a whole.
Punishment for breaking troll laws or causing dishonor to one's kin can range from ritual scarring or dismemberment to banishment or even death. Often, the actual punishment is secondary to the loss of honor, which jungle trolls prize above all. Jungle troll leaders are witch doctors or honored warriors. The eldest member of a family is respected, but he is expected to step down should his combat ability falter. Jungle trolls lack a king at present; witch doctors claim that no jungle troll is worthy of such a title unless he can unite all the tribes and reclaim their rightful lands. Until then, pretenders are considered without honor.
Jungle trolls believe that the spirits of their ancestors guide the universe from beyond the veil of death. Witch doctors teach that worthy trolls receive dominion over various aspects of nature upon their death - whether plants, weather, beasts, or even disease. When witch doctors exhibit their supernatural powers to cure the sick, control nature, or assist in battle, it is said that ancestral spirits are riding them. Jungle troll rituals can be very elaborate, including hours of dancing and chanting. Witch doctors paint themselves and other participants with sigils and wear finely embroidered costumes. There are rituals for all events: a change of season, a child's birth, an impending battle.
Troll youth do not receive public names until they have earned a name in battle. Until then, they are referred to by generic diminutive.
- Atal'ai tribe - The rebellious followers of Hakkar, who did not give up his worship after the fall, they reside in the Swamp Of Sorrows, where the Temple of Atal'Hakkar has been sunk by the green dragonflight in an attempt to keep Hakkar from being unleashed upon the world.
- Bloodscalp tribe - A powerful tribe of Stranglethorn, led by Gan'zulah, they are currently at war with the Skullsplitter tribe.
- Darkspear tribe - Once exiled from Stranglethorn to the distant islands of the great ocean, the Darkspear tribe, led by Vol'jin is now one of the most powerful troll tribes again, and has formed an alliance with the Horde.
- Gurubashi tribe- The tribe that ruled the Gurubashi Empire and now rules only the city of Zul'Gurub. They worship Hakkar, due to the influence of the Ata'lai.
- Hakkari tribe - Trolls that live in Alterac Valley.
- Shatterspear tribe - The Shatterspear were one of two tribes on Kalimdor before the Darkspear ventured to the Echo Isles.
- Skullsplitter tribe - A powerful tribe of Stranglethorn, led by Ana'thek the Cruel, they are currently at war with the Bloodscalp tribe.
- Unnamed Kezan tribe - Trolls that long ago forced the goblins to mine Ka'jamite for their rituals. They were overthrown by the now super-intelligent goblins and it is not known what happened to them. According to Foreman Dampwick, they're servants now.