- 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.
- “De Zandalari built an empire dat would endure for over ten-thousand years... while your barbaric ancestors scuffled in de dirt.
We civilized dis world. We conquered it. And once again, you savages seek to undermine our greatness.
No, I will not surrender. Because no matter what happens here today... Zandalar will stand long after your Alliance has crumbled to dust.”
They were the most powerful and superstitious tribe to arise when the first trolls settled near the Zandalar Mountains, which were home to many loa. They claimed its highest peaks and built crude shrines which, over the years, eventually became the massive temple city of Zuldazar.
The Zandalari are scholarly and value knowledge above all else. They also work to preserve troll history and to further the goals of troll society as a whole. They are masters of magic and communing with the spirits,
Zandalari history had them fight off the aqir, ally with the mogu empire, fight the Pandaren Empire, after the Sundering explore the newly formed Great Sea, enslave the goblin race, and fight Hakkar the Soulflayer twice.
After the Cataclysm, the Zandalari prophet Zul and his followers traveled around the world to unite all trolls and build a united troll empire. Zul's forces resurrected Lei Shen and allied with the mogu once more, to launch 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.
Most Zandalari are seen with scale-like patches on various areas of their bodies, such as; feet, ankles, shins, thighs, waist, back, shoulders, chin, cheeks, brows, scalp, biceps, forearms and hands, locations appear to vary between individuals. However not all Zandalari have these patches, and retain a smoother appearance. The patches of scales most Zandalari have can also grow into spikes. It is unknown what they truly are, though it is possible that they are osteoderms, bony deposits that form scales, plates and even spikes. Many dinosaurs are known to have had osteoderms.
The Zandalari's third toe, or "heel toe", is less prominent on males than it is on on females. It is especially prominent on both male and female Zandalari dire trolls, of which males are also sometimes seen wearing rings around their heel toes as accessories.
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. Additionally, the Zandalari generally stand tall because of their regal and proud attitude.
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.
The Zandalari are long-lived, although just how long is unknown. They boast incredible strength; being able to easily lift jungle trolls with both hands and are capable of puncturing through scale-armored breastplates padded with lacquered leather and quilted silk using only their thumbs. They are also strong enough to lift other Zandalari with one hand.
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.
Their cloth features dinosaur leather and gold.
Zandalari legends discuss the many magical properties of plants that grow from golden seeds.
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.
Their blood color is crimson.
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.
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.
- Other occupations
- 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.
The Zandalari 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.
With their mastery over spirits, they can capture and entomb spirits within golems and sentries. They can also channel the essence of a loa's spirit into powerful constructs. Likewise they have totems to retrieve the spirits bound within golems by siphoning them out, called "soulcatcher totems".
Because of their incredible mastery over magic, the Zandalari were able to erect a powerful shield around the lands of their empire as the Well of Eternity imploded and broke ancient Kalimdor apart. They had hoped to shield the rest of the continent but did not have the time to extend past their own borders, beyond the shield they watched the world be consumed by water. In the aftermath, they discovered that their lands had become an island.
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.
They have an impressive mastery over the arcane and shadow, having achieved what many others have not as they are able to combine the two schools into one. A unique feat that only the Apexis civilization is also known to have achieved.
The Zandalari forbade the use of blood magic. This is likely because of their history with how corrupting and devastating it has been. After a foolish troll had summoned Hakkar the Soulflayer to Zandalar, a plague of corrupted blood was unleashed upon the empire that during its end twisted Zandalari who clung to the blood magic into hostile blood trolls. The blood trolls then fell under the influence of the Blood God G'huun and have remained a nuisance to the Zandalari ever since. Blood magic comes from the old ways, and some Zandalari have given in to its allure since Zuldazar's wall to the north fell.
During times of war, the Zandalari faced off against many powerful foes. Some, even, that they could not break. Their witch doctors 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.
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 depiction of the Zandalari has been remarkably inconsistent.
- Their first depiction was the Zandalar Tribe faction on Yojamba Isle. It was the jungle troll model but with one uniform pink-peach colored skin tone. This depiction was later used again in Wrath of the Lich King as the Zandalari showed up at Zim'Torga in Zul'Drak.
- Their second depiction in Cataclysm was dramatically different. Here, they used the frame of the ice troll model, but with three skin tones of yellow to green skin. Their eyes were blue, gold, and orange. There was no accompanying female model.
- Their third depiction was a unique model that was based on the night elf rig, albeit with some unique animations. In this depiction, they were a myriad of new skin tones, blue, black, blue-green, a deep black, grey, stone-green, and white. Some trolls also had rocky scale-like growths on parts of their body. Their eyes switched between gold and blue, and they possessed glowing blue tattoos. They had no accompanying female model.
- Their fourth and final, playable, depiction was an evolution on their third depiction. The rocky scales are now present on all Zandalari trolls with a female model having also been included. Their eyes have been made uniform glowing blue, though unplayable Zandalari such as Zul have slightly red eyes as well. Skin tones that made a return were their blue-green, blue, grey, black, and white skin tones. Their stone-green skin tone was replaced with a lighter green, and their deep black skin tone did not return. They also possess golden tattoos, rather than blue, although blue tattoos were present during the alpha stages of Battle for Azeroth.
- The patch 5.2.0 Zandalari model was based on the original male night elf skeleton, though modified. Their playable model was based off this modified skeleton and was further modified.
- The 5.2. males 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 used to speak in an Afro-American accent prior to Battle for Azeroth during which it was changed to a continental African accent, making them contrary to other troll subspecies.
- It was said during early Battle for Azeroth beta that unnamed mobs on Pandaria would randomize between genders using the new models and that all old Zandalari NPCs would be updated, however this was never implemented. The only previous Zandalari NPCs to be updated were Ghaliri and Surkhan.
- 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
Jin'rokh the Breaker a dire Zandalari troll in patch 1.7
Patch 5.2 model
Jin'rokh the Breaker in patch 5.2
Battle for Azeroth male model
- Patch 8.1.5 (2019-03-12): The male player model has received several new and unique animations.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): New male and female player models.
- Zandalari child models have been added.
- Zandalari child models have been added.
- 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 World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ a b Troll Compendium/Other Trolls#Zandalar Tribe
- ^ a b
- ^ Patch 4.1.0: Rise of the Zandalari
- ^ Patch 5.2.0: The Thunder King
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Jin'rokh's model
- ^ King Rastakhan's model
- ^ Zul's model
- ^ a b c Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde
- ^ - MMO-Champion: Inside the Art of WoW Live Stream
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, pg. 257
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, pg. 110, 118
- ^ Da White Shark
- ^ 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
- ^ Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, chapter 33
- ^ Shadows of the Loa
- ^ 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
- ^ The Dark Prophet Zul
- ^ For Council and King
- ^ They All Fall Down
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 129
- ^ a b Adventure Guide: Oondasta
- ^ Loa-Infused Bloodhorn
- ^ Loa-Infused Compy
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2, pg. 24-25
- ^ The Golden Serpent#Adventure Guide
- ^ 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.