- This article is about the Zandalari troll lore. For the playable race, see Zandalari troll (playable). For trolls in general, see Troll. For lore about the Zandalari trolls' empire, see Zandalari Empire.
The Zandalari or Zandalarian trolls were the most powerful tribe to arise when the first trolls settled near the Zandalar Mountains. As the most superstitious tribe of trolls, they settled on the highest peaks of this mountain range populated with loa, where they built crude shrines that eventually became the massive temple city of Zuldazar. They united the other disparate tribes into a single mighty force which they called the Empire of Zul to fight off the aqir. The Zandalari are scholarly and value knowledge; they preserve troll history, and work to further the goals of troll society as a whole. They are also masters of war and strategy, having led the trolls in many battles before, and having for many millennia tamed massive dinosaurs.
Since the Cataclysm, alarmed by the terrible losses of life among all trolls, the Zandalari prophet Zul and his followers traveled around the world to reunite their race and rebuild their once-powerful empire, conducting bloody raids on territories that had once been theirs. Zul then tried to retake the lands that the Thunder King had promised the Zandalari centuries ago, allying with the mogu once more and launching an assault on the continent of Pandaria.
- Main article: Zandalari Empire#History
Appearance and traits
Up until Rise of the Zandalari, most Zandalari appeared as skinny pinkish-white trolls. In Cataclysm they were given a re-skinned ice troll model and had a larger build than before, with a yellowish-tan skin. This new look was used for their appearance until patch 5.2.0 where it was updated once more. Their newest appearance has them standing upright with skin colors ranging from gray, black, green and blue, accompanied by glowing eyes in the color of yellow or blue. This new design is how Blizzard always envisioned them. The Zandalari received another model update in Battle for Azeroth when they became playable. This kept their Mists of Pandaria design but updated their animations to match the quality of player races, and also introduced female Zandalari with the Mists design.
Some Zandalari are seen with stone-like patches on various areas of their bodies. Such as their brows, shoulders, forearms, hands and ankles. Though not all Zandalari have these patches, and retain a much smoother appearance. The stone-like patches some Zandalari have can also grow into spikes.
The Zandalari's back toe is less prominent on males than it is on on females, especially on dire Zandalari, who are also sometimes seen wearing rings around it.
Many male Zandalari stand a head taller than an upright jungle troll on average, most even more. And even short males tend to be taller.
Female Zandalari stand taller than male and female trolls from other subspecies, excluding ice trolls and dark trolls.
The Zandalari are considered the finest specimen of all troll tribes, with their royal stature and being the original species of troll. Some humans even called them the "elves of trolls", much to their immense offense. Their beauty and noble physical appearances were inherited by their descendants - the night elves, the Nightborne, the high elves and the blood elves, explaining these races' typical beauty.
They are quick learners and carry out tasks well. Having mastered the usage of magic and communing with the spirits, they are able to wield magic with incredible power, backed up by fifteen millennia of accumulated knowledge due to their scholarly nature. They are long-lived, though how long is unknown. An example is Rastakhan who has ruled the modern Zandalari for over 200 years.
Zandalari are incredibly strong, able to easily lift jungle trolls and also being able to puncture through armored breastplates using only their thumbs.
Culture and people
Zandalari society has remained an unchanging hierarchy for thousands of years. Hardworking farmers, fishers, and craftsmen form the peasant caste, the foundation of the empire. Zandalari elders tell them what to harvest, when to plant, and how to behave. To disobey the elders is to disobey the gods, an offense punishable by exile or death. The Zandalari warrior caste sits above the peasantry, acting as the arms of the King and the might of the council. Dexterity is not prized among Zandalari warriors: Brute force, backed by ancient magics, is the preferred combat style. Dictating every aspect of Zandalari society down to the very last detail are the scholars of the priesthood. Masters of magic and communing with the spirits, these respected bastions of knowledge stand upon fifteen millennia worth of accumulated knowledge. The highest of these have a seat on the Zanchuli Council, which both advise the King and ensures his every command is executed upon. The council is consulted before every battle or major decision. From a golden throne, lording over all of the Zandalari, rests the great King Rastakhan. Empowered by the Zandalari gods themselves to act as their voice, he has ruled for over two hundred years.
Casteless orphan children are tested for any sign of connection to the loa. Those blessed by the loa receive full priest training and all of the honor and privilege that accompanies it. Those that are not blessed are given an opportunity to prove they will grow into strong warriors someday. Those that fail both tests are of no use to the Zandalari, and are likely to end up as thieves or beggars.
Being a Zandalari farmer apparently involves taking the "rock test" by lifting heavy stones above one's head and show that one's back is strong, after which one gets a job pushing plow living on dirt.
There is no room for weakness among the Zandalari. Strength, ferocity, stamina, power: These are the traits by which success is measured. At adolescence, those Zandalari males not chosen to be priests or scholars must prove their strength to the council, the king, and the gods themselves. Any display of physical power will do. Tournaments and competitions are held as children come of age. Adolescents prepare for their trials with years of training, communion with the spirits, and by tattooing sigils of power onto their skin. A common rite is to travel to one of the violent, beast-ruled islands near the capital to steal or subdue a wild creature. The lesser troll races have their own, humbler versions of this tradition. But the mastery of ravasaurs or raptors is nothing compared to the power required to call upon a devilsaur or direhorn.
The ultimate symbol of power amongst the Zandalari is the garb they wear in battle, and the tribe acknowledges station and power through what the Zandalari wear. The Zandalar prize what they wear as a symbol of accomplishment. One doesn't need to be able to see what one wears to be able to sense what emanates from it - power transcends sight.
The Zandalari, during the aftermath of the Sundering that had turned Zandalar into an island, mastered the seas over thousands of years and as such their navy rivals, if not surpasses that of Kul Tiras. The master of the Zandalari navy is Pa'ku, the pterrordax loa.
The Zandalari forbid blood magic. This is probably because of the proximity of the hostile blood trolls, or perhaps because of the Zandalari's historical fight against Hakkar. It is referred to as the old ways, and the Zandalari have only given in to the allure since Zuldazar's wall to the north fell.
Their cloth features dinosaur leather and gold.
Zandalari legends discuss the many magical properties of plants that grow from golden seeds.
During times of war, the Zandalari faced off against many powerful foes. Some, even, that they could not break. Their witchdoctors devised cursed pots and through the use of powerful magic, summoned them at different locations within the enemy's encampment. Shortly after, a fountain of frogs would spring forth, causing a ruckus and confusing the enemy in the process. Little did they know that these frogs carried a plague with them that would quickly devastate their ranks and force them to retreat or surrender.
Practitioners of alchemy among the Zandalari kept a tight society within the empire known as the "Shadra'Zan". Entrance into the guild included a ritual which would require the inductee to imbibe a potion made from their own blood. Should they withstand the effects, they were deemed worthy to learn the secrets kept within.
During the final era of the Council of Tribes, a blood plague broke out, killing thousands of trolls. It was deemed that the bodies, too polluted for proper burial, would instead be burned and kept in special urns. As time progressed, this method became commonplace among the Zandalari in disposing of their dead.
Paired tusk rings are commonly exchanged in Zandalari weddings.
The Zandalari worship beings referred to as loa. Countless loa exist, most weak, but some very powerful. Most are shapeless, whereas others have animal or creature forms. Zandalari families often worship their own family loa, cities usually have their own civic deities, and the greatest loa are worshiped by the nation as a whole. Powerful, enlightened Zandalari can become loa upon their death - or so it is believed. These spirits are central to the Zandalari worldview: so say the loa, so go the Zandalari.
The homeland of the Zandalari, Zandalar, was once a mountain range on ancient Kalimdor that was home to many loa. It was there that the Zandalari built their bustling capital of Zuldazar, a temple city. Following the Great Sundering, Zandalar is now a large island located in the South Seas.
Zandalari casters, priests and Loa Speakers utilize their faith in the loa to bestow incredible powers upon their weaponry, as well as their bestial companions. Items and animals empowered this way are referred to as "Loa-Infused". Loa-Infused items are often passed down through generations, with each generation adding more power to the item. Two such items are: and having belonged to two Zandalari brothers, Spiritbinder Tu'chek and Arcanital Ra'kul respectively.
The trolls of the desert who worship Sethraliss use blowguns to hunt their prey, be it beast, or troll. The poison the darts were dipped in would paralyze their prey, and within a minute, kill them. "The Sting of Sethraliss" was whispered to children in order to keep them in line, as was written in an ancient poem: "Should the young turn defiant, show anger or malice, the winds of Vol'dun will bring the Sting of Sethraliss." To honor the loa of death Bwonsamdi, Zandalari would don masks in their rituals and pray to him. Bwonsamdi in turn would either answer in kind, or curse them with pain, depending on his mood.
Throughout the ages, many kings have ruled over the Zandalari empire. Each one however, knew their place when it came to the great loa and offered their praise to the mightiest of all of them, Rezan. This loa honors deeds over words, but takes slights very seriously and had been known to harbor grudges.
The Zandalari are above the use of slaves, they are strong and capable of seeing to themselves. And as such, the sight of slavery within their city is insulting to them. Additionally, they see the usage of slaves as a sign of weakness. Thus, when they met the mogu–who built their empire with slaves–over 12,000 years ago, they saw themselves above the slavers.
Zandalari classes vary with regular ones in names and in several aspects.
- Demoniac, dinomancer, freethinker, haruspex, illusionist, madcap, predator, confessor, augur, vindicator, prelate.
The greatest Zandalari hunters travel to the edge of the Maelstrom to prove their resolution. From the heart of the sea they pull strands of kelp known as Maelstrom Tendrils. The kelp is then woven into a talisman that is enchanted to improve their accuracy and power.
Zandalari prelates are Zandalari paladins. The prelates serve Rezan, and they are the highest order of holy warriors to serve any loa. Their path is the elite, taking only those gifted from birth with prowess in battle and gifted by the loa, and crafting champions of light to defend their empire. The prelates do not have any openings or handouts. After Rezan's death, the prelates are cut off from his power except for a handful of his followers.
The Zandalari druids are primarily composed of the Raptari, the followers of Gonk. There is also a small group living in the wilds called the Lun'alai, but they are considered heretics and the matron they follow is not considered a true loa by the other Zandalari.
- Main article: Zandalari Beast Ward
One of their greatest allies is that of the direhorn. Plated skin, with spikes protruding from various directions, this creature offered both protection for itself and that of its master. It was custom for its future master to be the first to see it when it broke free from its shell. All the beasts that haul their goods, carry their armies, and fight their wars are born and bred at Warbeast Kraal in Zuldazar.
On the Isle of Thunder however, the Zandalari Beast Ward resorted to ancient ways of magically breaking the animals with the aid of charms and fetishes, due to their lack of time to bond with them.
In the RPG
The Zandalar tribe is the progenitor tribe from which all other troll tribes sprang. Zandalar has long been the heart of all troll culture throughout the world. Zandalari are their own separate sort of troll — not jungle trolls, not forest trolls, not ice or dark or sand. (However, several groups of other trolls live on Zandalar, including jungle trolls beneath the canopy and ice trolls on snowy Mount Mugamba.) The Zandalari’s overall goal remains what it always has been: to maintain troll history and continue their research. They also again oppose Hakkar.
Every 6 years, Zandalar also plays host to a meeting of all troll tribes. Trolls from all over the world meet in the great ziggurat-city of Zuldazar to discuss matters of importance to all trolls. Zandalar is neutral ground for trolls. Though many tribes don’t get along with each other, they all meet on peaceful terms in Zandalar.
King Rastakhan, a hoary and formidable witch doctor, rules the Zandalari from his capital of Zuldazar. The Zandalari are mystical and ancient trolls who revere knowledge and history; their organization is loose. They represent an overall priest caste for all trolls, yet they do not attempt to parley this position into real power with those trolls.
The Zandalar tribe is a group of mystical trolls who serve as the priest caste for all other trolls. They have few warriors, and what warriors they do have are dedicated to protecting their home island of Zandalar. Thus, when the Zandalari need people to accomplish tasks in the larger world, they work through agents of other races. Were an unfriendly member of such a race to enter Zandalar, however, he would find himself contending with the Zandalari’s warriors. Though few, they are rumored to be excellent fighters.
The Zandalari make their home in the jungle. As such, their warriors prefer to attack from ambush, lurking in the trees’ shadows, in the underbrush, or in the canopy before bursting out to attack. They set themselves up in the wilderness along their enemy’s path well in advance, then leap forward when the time is right. They hurl javelins; then, depending on the reaction, they either continue to fling their weapons, they charge into melee, or they melt back into the shadows to perform the same tactic again.
Many priests and witch doctors work among the Zandalari, so almost all Zandalar warriors are in possession of a few bottles of brews they can slug back to make themselves stronger, fiercer, or heal their wounds. Zandalar leaders carry many such concoctions and are sure to have witch doctors at their sides who provide them with more. If they expect to go to battle, the trolls drink the brews immediately beforehand, allowing them to crush their enemies with ease.
If battle is joined, Zandalar priests and witch doctors support their warriors with enhancement spells and healing in addition to entering the fray directly. Bloodlust and inner fire are particularly devastating — spells that affect many allies at once. Of course, the spellcasters don’t mind blasting their enemies when the situation calls for it, and Zandalari potion docs spend battles hurling explosive potions into enemy ranks.
The few Zandalari warriors take the front lines, though they prefer to soften up the enemy with thrown javelins and axes first. This tactic also allows their spellcasters more time to cast beneficial spells on them before melee is joined. Zandalari warriors are fierce and wild, and they do not often retreat; once a troll throws himself into melee, he isn’t coming back until the enemy’s corpses lie about him.
Zandalar warriors perform other functions as well, including reconnaissance, discovering the best places to set their ambushes. They also harry enemy forces with guerilla tactics, which can make the enemy foolish. Priests and witch doctors help these endeavors with divination magic.
One must be born a Zandalari to be part of the tribe, with at least one parent being a Zandalari.
Averaging eight feet in height, the Zandalari trolls are among the largest, strongest trolls in the world; only the Drakkari ice trolls of Northrend are as big. They are just as ferocious as other trolls, and just as cunning, if not more so.
A typical Zandalari spends his days hunting in the jungles or fishing along the coastlines. Many spend their days researching ancient lore and cataloguing history. Religion is important to the Zandalari —they are the trolls’ priest caste, after all — and they revere their pantheon of primitive, animalistic gods that take the forms of bats, snakes, and the like. Zandalar priests carve totems and engage in rituals, while Zandalar witch doctors brew potions and administer to wounded trolls. The Zandalari are constantly vigilant against invaders.
Notes and trivia
- The patch 5.2.0 Zandalari model was based on the original male night elf skeleton, though modified
- They are voiced by Steve Blum.
- Some of the 5.2 Zandalari NPCs use the wrong UV mapping for their hair, making it appear with stripes of transparency and armor-mapped bits.
- Oddly, the Gurubashi Venom Priest NPCs in the Throne of Thunder dungeon use the original skin tone of the Zandalar tribe, despite being jungle trolls.
- The Zandalari trolls generally speak in a continental African accent, contrary to other troll species that use an Afro-Caribbean accent.
- It appears that not all members of the Zandalari seek to declare war on the land, based on Ghaliri warning the Alliance about the Gurubashi threat, as well as Maywiki and Surkhan's continued presence in the Explorer's League Digsite and Bambala, respectively. It is possible that they are members of the group of Zandalari who are opposed to Zul's plans. Alternatively, both Ghaliri and Surkhan may have defected to the Darkspear tribe. If the latter is true, they would be the only Zandalari to be not be part of the Zandalari Empire.
- The assumed and speculated average height for a male Zandalari lies around 10' as opposed to RPG's statement on 8'. You can read more about this here. To bolster the supposition, it was mentioned in the novel Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde that a Zandalari stands a head taller than a Darkspear, assuming the latter stood upright. This is based on the in-game model height for jungle trolls, which can be found here, along with the other playable races.
Concept art from Mists of Pandaria
- World of Warcraft
Updated patch 5.2 model
Updated Battle for Azeroth model
Original dire troll model, Jin'rokh
Jin'rokh the Breaker in Mists of Pandaria
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): New male and female player models. Unnamed mobs on Pandaria now randomize between genders.
- Zandalari child models have been added. Zandalari NPCs from previous expansion updated to new model.
- Zandalari child models have been added. Zandalari NPCs from previous expansion updated to new model.
- Patch 5.2.0 (2013-03-05): New male model.
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): New model using the ice troll skeleton with three unique skin colors; brown, yellow and light green.
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 70
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ "The Thunder King"
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Jin'rokh the Breaker's model
- ^ King Rastakhan's model
- ^ a b c Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde
- ^ The Dark Prophet Zul
- ^ a b For Council and King
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, pg. 257
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, pg. 118
- ^ For Council and King
- ^ Priestess Vulja gossip text
- ^ Coming of Age
- ^ BlizzCon 2017, World of Warcraft | What's Next (14:40)
- ^ Pa'kura Priest gossip text
- ^ MMO-Champion: The Art of World of Warcraft
- ^ Shadows of the Loa
- ^ a b Adventure Guide: Oondasta
- ^ Loa-Infused Bloodhorn
- ^ Loa-Infused Compy
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, pg. 200
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 158
- ^ High Prelate Rata gossip text
- ^ Blizzard Entertainment 2018-04-30. Battle for Azeroth Preview: Zuldazar Visitor’s Guide. Retrieved on 2018-05-02.
- ^ Direhorn Hatchling
- ^ Binding Raptors
- ^ a b Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 166. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ a b c d Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 167. ISBN 9781588464460.
- ^ Johnson, Luke. Dark Factions, 188-189. ISBN 9781588464460.