In my world there are adventurers who are squeamish about getting blood on them. Trolls are commonly hunted by adventurers. What trophy can my squeamish adventurers collect from these trolls, and not get blood on them, to prove their kills and collect their rewards from towns?  

I just realized that trolls in mythology have no clear anatomy and probably the term was just used to describe people living isolated in mountains or forests

Later, in Scandinavian folklore, trolls became beings in their own right, where they live far from human habitation, are not Christianized, and are considered dangerous to human beings. Depending on the source, their appearance varies greatly; trolls may be ugly and slow-witted, or look and behave exactly like human beings, with no particularly grotesque characteristic about them.

So I'm going with the look World of Warcraft gave to trolls, they don't turn to stone in sunlight. enter image description here

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    Take a selfie with each dead troll :) – Surb Nov 14 at 12:41
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    Squeamish adventurers that kill. Sounds like this is a self-solving problem because such adventurers probably wouldn't get hired or are too squeamish for the task at hand. I think that after a troll swings their weapon at the adventurer's neckline for the nth consecutive time then the adventurer should get over their squeamishness or is already ded. – MonkeyZeus Nov 14 at 13:45
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    Beowulf brought home Grendel's arm for proof. Which, uh, worked soooooo well. – Damon Nov 14 at 14:36
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    Why are we killing things? Why 15 things? Usually when people in this world get annoyed at each other, they don't have a specific victim count they're going for. In fact, the way that I think the professionals usually do it is, "kill all x in place y", or even, "take x from those guys". So, this question's objective would be made a bit moot by having a more substantial objective. – sethrin Nov 15 at 3:29
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    Most people seem to have missed the obvious. If the trolls are already dead they won't bleed anymore... – Drunken Code Monkey Nov 15 at 13:59

27 Answers 27

up vote 33 down vote accepted

Hire or Enslave a worker to do the dirty work for you

Surely there are poor unskilled people who you can pay on the cheap to do the dirty work of carrying and harvesting your trophy body parts. Best part is now you can remain unencumbered should you be ambushed. This also increases your inventory as the worker can carry supplies too.

If the worker is too expensive or scared of the job

Slavery works too!

Capture a goblin or something and make him do the work. Chain his neck so he cant run. Be careful as he may try to kill you in your sleep. Though, if you are a decent adventurer you will sleep cautiously anyways (keeps ya on your toes).

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    This seems like the answer medieval society would come up with, this is the same society that paid people to eat your sins. – John Nov 15 at 23:38

Cut off their tusks

Fortunately, trolls have tusks. Cutting the end off of tusks takes a bit of work, but there is no blood involved, so it is suitable even for the squeamish.

Note, horns are keratin over bone. Tusks are overgrown teeth. Troll tusks won't bleed.

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    As someone who has witnessed the cutting of cow horns, let me tell you, they bleed and freakishly so. There is no guarantee that a troll tusk would not bleed unless you took the very tip. But if you only took the tip who is to say it came from a troll and not something like a boar. – anon Nov 13 at 20:08
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    @anon Horns are keratin over bone. Tusks are overgrown teeth. Troll tusks won't bleed. Hopefully, they have a unique smell they can be identified by. Hopefully. – kingledion Nov 13 at 20:45
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    It they pay enough for "killing the trolls", I'm sure some entrepreneurs will start breeding trolls in captivity so they can sell their tusks. There are stories about similar things happening with snakes in India. – vsz Nov 14 at 5:31
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    @vsz or rat farms in Thailand. – Harper Nov 14 at 7:35
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    Tips of tusks grow back in most species. Tusks exist for most species as tools and are therefore constantly growing. Cutting in to the root (and hence blood) will cause the tooth to die, but is against the OP's request. Basically, this will incentivize down-and-out trolls to sell some tusk tips. Or as others have pointed out, to have others start troll farms. – ColonelPanic Nov 14 at 10:43

Fine, Strip them and Bring their crotch straps back

-Trolls wear loin clothes at least

-Trolls aren't hygienic so it would be hard to forge multiple used troll crotch straps

-So if they really press whether they are real or not you can tell the NPC to smell them and find out.

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    Tough luck if you have to destroy the troll nudist camp down at the beach though. – AmiralPatate Nov 14 at 6:55
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    @Shadowzee "Baring a body part unique to a troll"? Ew. – Rand al'Thor Nov 14 at 7:43
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    Easily defrauded: Go to the troll camp and trade for their dirty laundry. Or kill one troll, then go to its home and collect all its other loincloths from wherever they're stored while not being worn. No matter how unhygienic trolls may be, they are unlikely to have only a single loincloth. – Dave Sherohman Nov 14 at 10:05
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    @DaveSherohman Troll mythology rarely depicts such advanced behavior like communities to trade with or a troll having a wardrobe in which they change clothes. So adding such possibilities would be creative choice to directly defeat this idea which is unreasonable. In most classical depictions of troll dwellings theres actually very little in the way of creature comforts especially changes in clothes, which reinforces the notion that they never do change their clothes making loin cloths unique to the troll. – anon Nov 14 at 13:48
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    @Shadowzee The girth and design/ornamentation could indicate species even regional variations. Different animals smell differently matter of fact dogs have keenly picked up on this and could be used to spot counterfeits. – anon Nov 14 at 15:21


Why cut off a ear when you can kill two trolls with one spell? You could get your hands dirty cutting off ears, and the quest giver might still suspect you made fake ears. It'd take a brave person to accuse you of making 15 fake zombie trolls. Even if the contract requires you to remove the ears (and you are the lawful sort), you could keep your own hands clean and just get your zombie minions to remove each other's ears. If after all that they still refuse to pay... well then you have 16 pet zombies. It is win-win!

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    16, up from 15. Took me a few reads to catch that. Clever – Stephan Nov 21 at 7:18

Get hold of a couple of palantirs palantiri. The NPC can watch the live action.

Assert you did.

Thrash up your stuff and bloody your sword. Go back to the dude. Yell "I KILLED TROLLLLLS!" Let the residual battle frenzy gleam in your eye. Make sure he understands you have suffered much brain damage from many fights over your life, but if anything that has increased your 99 strength.

If he starts laying conditions and caveats on you, become angry. If he says you did not follow the instructions, show him the blood on your weapons and yell about trolls.

He will offer you half pay to leave and not come back. He will apologetically explain he needed the troll parts which is why it is just half pay, but he feels bad about wasting your time. Take the money in exchange for him conceding that you killed the trolls. Give him a tip with his own money for saying it.

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    Knowing some games/stories, you are actually threatening the retired legendary dragon slayer who single handedly saved the entire continent from an apocalyptic doom and is now retired and guiding new adventurers from behind the scenes. – Shadowzee Nov 14 at 3:44
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    Go into merchant store, talk about getting paid for not doing your work. Showing you are an adventurer. Getting a strait in your head. Every merchant have loaded crossbow under the counter just for the people like you. – SZCZERZO KŁY Nov 14 at 14:47
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    Given the adventurers in question are squeamish about handling blood, I can only assume the substance coating their weapons is actually barbecue sauce. (The dumb ones use ketchup, but are easily caught out as it dries too bright a shade.) – jmbpiano Nov 15 at 23:47
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    This looks like something out of interpersonal or workplace stack exchange :) – Mad Physicist Nov 19 at 0:17


All your main char has to do is bring a vial of ink with him/her and also a sheet of paper (hopefully a journal). Assuming your character has the literacy skill > 10, they should be able to read and write.

After your character has slain the trolls, have the character take out some ink and a sheet of paper. Spread the ink over the troll hand and ear. Attach the sheet of paper to the hand and then the ear. The ink marks from hand/ears should be unique to each troll. Now present your slaying documentation to your quest giver and bing bang boom LEVEL UP!

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    I suspect it will be quite hard to tell the difference between imprints from two different trolls, and two imprints from the same troll in different positions. – Brilliand Nov 13 at 21:47
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    @Brilliand "All trolls look alike!1!" --- nah – hiergiltdiestfu Nov 14 at 8:15
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    This is what I was going to post. If they resemble humans so much, no finger/palm print would match between trolls. To be paid, your print must be verified at the Scotland Bard's National Bureau of Troll Identification. If you bring in a copy, you forfeit your troll hunting rights for life. If it's a legit hand print, you get your gold. – ColonelPanic Nov 14 at 10:41
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    Let's say you're to provide left hand/ear prints. Could you over-ink enough to take a right hand/ear print, then use a second sheet of paper to obtain a reverse copy of same? that would let you take out 8 trolls, but have evidence indicating you took out 16. Also - what if a troll is missing their left hand/ear? – RDFozz Nov 16 at 20:04
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    @RDFozz I trust the invisible medieval gauntlet of capitalism to find a solution to the counterfeiting problem (a guild of checkers to check for dupes as an example). I was under the impression ever since I was 11 and playing DND that Trolls always regenerate. If that isn't the case, I suppose people would just accept whatever details were available. Supposing they have NO ears or hands, the market probably would deem them as "not harmful" and therefor not worth the normal quest market price. – Crettig Nov 16 at 20:12

Ear Wax

Troll Earwax is the best wax for clean burning candles. Your quest is not simply to go kill these trolls but to harvest their earwax. You are paid by the weight of wax brought back that way fair compensation goes for bigger trolls with more wax than the smaller trolls who just don't make enough yet.

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    You don't know how badly this makes me want to post another answer for "Troll Semen" to support conservational efforts in lieu of the genocidal adventures. – anon Nov 14 at 2:57
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    @anon How are you going to collect semen from a dead troll? – Nzall Nov 15 at 13:31
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    @anon what sucks is the asymmetry of that "lacking the proper equipment and knowledge, I just grabbed these instead" holds up ovaries by the fallopian tubes leaving behind dead males with a goofy grin and females looking disembowelled. – Alec Teal Nov 18 at 12:47

Take along an agreed credible witness to document the activity.

Perhaps a priest or other literate person.

Does create the extra bother of protecting them.

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    Protection is only a problem if you actually kill a troll, rather than agree to donate half the reward to the church. – Dewi Morgan Nov 14 at 21:53

Collect their foreskins.

David was tasked by Saul to collect a dowry of 100 Philistine deaths. David, one of life's over-achievers, returned with proof of their deaths in the form of 200 of the offending articles.

Therefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full number to the king, that he might be the king's son-in-law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter as his wife.

1 Samuel 18:27

Not only was it super-effective in proving their deaths (since no respecting Philistine would allow David's small army to mess with their junk if they could possibly help it) but it was both portable and relatively non-bloody because a dead body has practically no bloodflow.

If your men are genuinely squeamish about even a single drop of blood they can use the local equivalent of cautery by heating a razor-sharp knife over a flame until red hot. This will seal the blood vessels as they cut.

  • Came here to give the same answer. Also, David couldn't just raze the first village on the way, as women have no foreskins. He also couldn't ask his own men for a donation to the wedding fund, because they already had their foreskins removed. So Philistines were the only available source. And by the way, doubling the required number was quite a feat, but I think it would have been even funnier, if he came back with those guys alive, well,, and converted to Judaism :) – Darth Hunterix Nov 16 at 7:55
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    @DarthHunterix - The was one of the plot points in Heller's parody "God Knows". David is initially under the impression that he has to circumcise the philistines live and budgets accordingly "Allowing about an hour, on average, to locate and seize each Philistine for circumcision, and working with four squads of six men taking their daylight nourishment on the prowl rather than breaking for lunch...". He's much happier to learn that he can simply kill them first. – Richard Nov 16 at 8:06
  • Good one :) However I meant an actual conversion, turning them from enemies into friends. In any case, all three options are badass enough on their own. – Darth Hunterix Nov 16 at 8:44
  • What if trolls (a) are born without foreskins (b) are circumcised to prevent the shame of having their foreskin stolen if they are killed. Maybe this was the origin of circumcision. Maybe warring tribes used to use this as evidence of kills. – chasly from UK Nov 16 at 11:36
  • @chaslyfromUK - you can really cut of any non-fleshy part like an ear as long as you wait for the blood to congeal a little – Richard Nov 16 at 15:11

Burn the Body, then bring back the skull.

  • Short, sweet and to the point! – elemtilas Nov 15 at 22:47
  • This actually does work, a bit time consuming but it works. – anon Nov 17 at 5:16
  • You can burn a dead troll's body that you didnt even kill, bring the skull back, and say "hey I killed this with just my thumb!" – Mr.J Nov 19 at 1:18

The squeamish adventurers kill the troll via boredom.

No blood, no guts, nothing.

The adventure pays (on account of being squeamish) individuals without a sense of smell to carry/drag/transport the full troll body back in an ice bag.

  • The guild must acknowledge that it is indeed a dead troll, no questions asked.
  • The adventurer is renowned for their ability to slay otherwise quite difficult to kill trolls without actually laying a hand on them.
  • The DM buys shares in the ice business because it's going to be big.

If you're really going with World of Warcraft (or D&D) style trolls, you've got a problem: They regenerate:

Although enough physical damage will kill them, trolls can regenerate lost limbs and heal grievous physical injuries at an accelerated rate, giving them a large advantage in battle.

So your proof is going to have to be something that doesn't regenerate. If you choose ears, or tusks, or fingers, or hands, or feet, your adventurers don't need to kill 15 trolls, they can capture just one, then harvest it for the relevant body part over and over (in both D&D and WoW, troll regeneration from nearly dead to unharmed occurs in the space of a few minutes at most, so you could harvest 15 trolls worth of body parts in the space of an hour, give or take).

So you need something that won't regenerate and can be uniquely associated with a single troll.

Unfortunately, the obvious solution here (in terms of maximum proof for minimum "amount of troll") is scalps; sure, the scalp itself can regenerate, but the hair is dead, and presumably grows at a relatively normal rate; you could harvest scalps over and over, but scalp #2 and onwards wouldn't have hair. The reason I say "unfortunately" is that nothing bleeds like a scalp wound and your adventurers are squeamish. As others have suggested, once the troll is dead, you could just wait a bit and the blood should coagulate, but if they don't want to deal with blood at all, they're stuck. Claws might also work (though in most depictions of trolls, a chopped off arm grows back with claws, so they may not be made of dead material the way human fingernails are).

The best I can come up with is having them collect the hair itself. It's not perfect; trolls have wildly varying amounts of, and growth patterns for, hair in most depictions, so it might be possible to take hair from one troll and pretend it came from two or more. But it's the best you're likely to come up with shy of dragging all 15 corpses back with you.

Ear wax, as mentioned in another answer, might also be viable (presumably carving out an ear and having it regrow won't have it regrow complete with ear wax build up), though as that answer notes, it can't give an accurate kill count, just a rough estimate (it's like hair, but even easier to subdivide).

There is a flaw with all of these methods: If trolls are smart, they might try to game your troll death metrics by regular grooming; shaving their heads, carving out the inner skin of their own ears (or use q-tips, whatever) every week or so, etc. If you're adventurers looking to make a buck, taking the risk of death fighting trolls that you won't be paid for might seem like a bad deal.

Make a travois! They're certainly simpler to make than anything with wheels

Regardless of your power level, dragging is easier than carrying. Travois don't require wheels, though it's certainly an option to reduce your expended effort. Make it longer, or tie a rope to it if you're still getting nauseous. Regardless, it's a simple enough device that you can hook it up to a horse or an unenthusiastic hireling

That being said, a cart or wagon will serve you better, but that's less outside-the-box

You see hiring a guy to kill 15 troll and not telling them how he should prove those 15 kills would be the stupidest idea ever. Why?

Because person who take a quest to kill 15 troll IS the person who will drag (or will hire other people to drag) 15 rotting, smelly, troll carcasses to your doors to prove that they, in fact, killed them. And to prove that those are their kill, and not some roadkills they find lying around, they will either catch souls of those trolls to testify before you who slayed them or will have you watch their death with some magic.
Great deal, now you have 15 rotting meatbags, 15 screaming souls or you watched so many troll death you have it imprinted in your eyeballs and one person who you need to pay because you see they are nothing to flick around.

You know what is better? That don't have blood? That don't require you to watch? And will have higher crop with the same bounty? Troll Jewellery. Let's say that troll wears rings. They have finite amount of fingers so you assume that every troll can wear 10 of them. So you say "hey, bring me 150 troll rings".
The catch is that not every troll wear 10 rings. Some wear 3, some wear none. The result is that to get 150 rings adventurers need to kill much more. Yet the guild pay like they would kill 15 of them. EXTRA CATCH FOR MAXIMUM EXTRA MEGA PROFIT The guild, and trolls, are the only ones who can melt those ring into "non-troll, not at all, all genuine dwarf" jewellery. So you make those rings worthless outside guild quest while fetching extra money. Basically the quest pay for itself while making extra income for the guild.

And this is the story of how make money in fantasy world using cheap labour and monopolizing market.

  • in my original question this was an RPG quest situation where the protagonist didn't read the quest instructions. But it got edited to fit the worldbuilding format. – user56803 Nov 14 at 14:34
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    @Eries for that reason quest instructions would have "I have read and agreed" at the bottom and if protagonist did something else then he would not get paid. Also very RPG guild move to kill troll and not pay adventurers who don't read. – SZCZERZO KŁY Nov 14 at 14:37

Bring full body vids including yourself knifing thru the heart & slitting throat of the orc, pre or post-mortem, along with an accompanying dna swab. He checks.

That should do the trick.

  • Those squeamish adventures don't want to cut bits off, but are fine to have a photo shoot slicing and dicing? – Kain0_0 Nov 14 at 7:57
  • they wanted proof, they have proof. :) or just the dna, if the videoz are too unpleasant. but between the two, that proof is indisputable. – theRiley Nov 14 at 8:05
  • Good point, and any squeamish adventurer who adventures can certainly find an already dead troll. – Kain0_0 Nov 14 at 8:27

Get a referee / mentor to join your quest.

You may bring 15 troll ears, 20 tusks and 1 gallon of ear wax BUT:

Was it really you who did the work, or did you buy yourself through a gift shop down the street or worse, did you let others do the dirty work?

This is why the Guild of of Adventurers Anonymous provides a referee or a mentor for every one who goes on such an honorable quest of slaying innocent trolls.

The referee writes down every troll you killed and even how you killed them, because there are more than one way to kill a troll and not all of them are favoured by your guild.

Depends on your way of killing the trolls without blood, But if there is no modern technology around and going livestream while killing trolls is not possible, then let the troll come to you.

1) Lure the troll near the town

2) Kill the troll

3) Get Rewarded

All of the above answers(skinning the troll, ripping parts of the troll, etc..) could be bypassed by just either waiting for a troll to die, or searching for a dead troll, or making trolls fight each other, take the token and present it. My approach will make sure YOU did it, and the whole town witnessed you kill the trolls.

How you do it without blood is way beyond me, I cant seem to picture killing something without blood.

Get the trolls to chase you

  1. Place the NPC at the top of a safe tower or other natural defence.

  2. Dig a ditch of spikes and cover with branches and leaves. Leave one place where it's easy for you to cross but make sure it looks no different from the rest of the concealed ditch apart from an odd shaped branch.

  3. Find a band of trolls.

  4. Get them to chase you.

  5. Keep shouting insults to enrage them but run just fast enough to keep ahead.

  6. Run until you get to where the NPC is waiting.

  7. Cross the concealed spiked ditch, turn to face the oncoming horde and shout your worst insults whilst making rude hand-gestures.

  8. Watch as the trolls fall into the ditch and impale themselves.

  9. Kill any that manage to cross the narrow concealed bridge by knocking them off it in the manner of Little John and Robin Hood. Shoot stragglers who didn't quite reach the ditch with your bow.

  10. Collect your reward.

This also has the advantage of being re-usable. Make sure no-one lives to tell the tale and you can use the same trick repeatedly.

Do your trolls live in caves?

  1. Wait until the troll goes to sleep after a long day of pillaging villages and farmsteads. *(Usually an adventurer's first instinct is to swoop-in and save the day before another village gets looted, but you have to remember to be patient here)

  2. Roll a giant bolder to the cave entrance. Make sure it's properly secured so the troll can't get out. (Maybe bring some mortar with you just in case...)

enter image description here

  1. Wait a year and then come back to the cave. By this time the troll should have run out of food in the cave and starved to death.

  2. You now have an intact troll body (or more if he had a wife and kids in the cave), with body-parts that you can say came from multiple trolls, you've also got troll weapons and troll clothes as further proof for whatever you want.

Take their Mojo

Adult trolls (or at least, the Warcraft variety) have their own special form of magic (Voodoo in Warcraft terms) that requires a special bag of charms (A liquid in Warcraft), called a Mojo. A troll will never willingly part with their Mojo while they are alive, and all trolls carry Mojo, so there is a one to one relationship between a Mojo and a troll. It doesn't require any severing of limbs, nor cutting of body parts to harvest, and it's relatively easy to carry. It's also hard to make a forgery, because it's infused with the troll's personal Voodoo magic.

  • This also allows all kinds of options for fun quests helping trolls regain their lost mojo. – Dewi Morgan Nov 15 at 16:43

Insurance. No really.

Where there is money exchanging hands, there is risk. Where there is risk and money exchanging hands, there is always someone looking to make money from this.

Have your reward payers set the value of killed troll through investment from those who wish to see the trolls gone. Have this value be underwritten by insurers. Only troll kills which can be verified by an agent of the underwriters will count. This causes the troll hunters to pay to bring along a verified agent of the insurance agency. This Agent also collects a salary based on how few trolls are killed.

If he lies by reducing the number, he can rest assured the next troll hunt will either see him not being brought along or being used as "accidental" bait. If he lies by increasing the number, he will be paid less in his salary. Finding this value to reduce the chance of bribery is a big part of insurance.

If he tells the truth, the troll hunters are happy that he isn't taking money away from them. The insurance company is happy because their books balance. And the investors are happy because there are less trolls running around.

Edit: Also forgot that the same insurers will be offering life insurance policies and workmen's compensation options to the troll hunters. Heck, they can even offer insurance for poor hunting years.

  1. Help my cute elf! You must be female elf. I am sure there will be army of ready help.
  2. Photo - No magic selfies or too expensive?
  3. In name of my honor! Trolls are no more! Magic and divine oaths.
  4. For for reasonable pay, guild verifies kills: sending extra with you or after job is done, while your pay is pending.
  5. Get troll weapons or whatever your trolls have. Poor trolls.

Livestream it.

Since you didn’t mention anything about your world I’m going to assume a similar world to ours. If it is a less technologically advanced world then figure out a magic livestream that people can watch in some specifically built theater.

You’re an adventurer with the equivalence of a live gaming Youtube stream. Thousands of peasants watch you (and others) ridding the world of those pesky trolls. Sometimes the adventurers die horribly in the process, which makes it even more entertaining.

Troll Semen

With genocidal adventurers constantly picking off trolls to improve their status in society it would be necessary for societies to engage in conservational efforts to stabilize the troll populations.

Seeing as how there are adventurers who do not wish to return traditional socially rewarding trophies they can be used to instead return materials useful in conservation efforts.

Using a syringe an adventurer could harvest the eggs or semen from dead trolls. Because they are dead their blood flow has stopped so sticking them with a needle will not result in any significant spray that could get on them.

The eggs and semen could then be used to artificially impregnate captive trolls thereby replacing their population.

Let's assume that an ear is enough proof you've killed a troll. Your adventures could just hire an NPC who waits till the fight is over, then cuts off the ears of the dead trolls and put them into a chest, half filled with sand (the sand will keep any blood from dripping out of the box). Then all the adventurers need to do is present the chest to whoever asked for 15 trolls.

Of course, if the adventurers have a DEX above 6, it shouldn't be too hard for them to cut of ears without getting blood on them.

I'm far more interested how they plan to kill 15 trolls without getting blood on them.

Bury the dead trolls by anthills, termite mounds, or other scavenger insects. Come back in a year or so when the trollskull is clean and hand that in.

Alternatively, boil the trolls, the trollflesh will fall right off, again you get clean skulls and bones, as well as rendered trollfat and other usable parts.

Maybe a bit stinky though, if you're not gonna clean the bodies before boiling. You'll be basically boiling the bodies in a vat of trollcrap.

protected by L.Dutch Nov 14 at 11:31

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