Prominent tusks and unruly green fur mark this fearsome creature as a troll despite its small size. It hangs overhead, swinging between its oversized forearms and lashing, claw-tipped tail.
Canopy Troll CR 3
Str 12, Dex 18, Con 17, Int 4, Wis 9, Cha 7
Base Atk +3; CMB +3 (+6 grapple); CMD 17 (20 vs. grapple)
Feats Improved Grapple B, Iron Will, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +5 (+13 when jumping), Climb +10, Perception +4; Racial Modifiers +8 Acrobatics when jumping
Thanks to their massive hands, prehensile feet, and dexterous tails, canopy trolls are treated as if they were one size category larger for the purposes of grappling. They gain Improved Grapple as a bonus feat.
A canopy troll’s tail sting injects a single tumorous lump of its own regenerating flesh into its target. On a failed Fortitude save, this tumor grows beneath the victim’s skin, sprouting bristly hairs and stubby teeth that cause debilitating pain for its host.
The sickened condition lasts 2d4 days before the mass dissolves, though a host can attempt a Fortitude saving throw each day to overcome the pain and ignore the condition. Alternatively, the tumor can be removed with a successful DC 20 Heal check.
Canopy trolls live and fight in tangled piles and are adept at swarming foes. Up to two canopy trolls can share the same square at the same time. If two canopy trolls in the same square attack the same foe, they are considered to be flanking that foe as if they were in two opposite squares.
Environment temperate or warm forests
Organization pair, gang (3–4), or troop (5–12)
Canopy trolls bound through the treetops in great troops, scavenging fruit and nuts and descending on much larger prey to tear it limb from limb. They share the legendary durability of larger trolls, and plummet fearlessly from great heights to take prey by surprise, often breaking bones only to heal by the time they begin to feed. These injuries rarely set properly, leaving most canopy trolls in constant pain, worsening their already vicious attitudes. Often underestimated, canopy trolls rely on great numbers and their ability to coordinate en masse, overwhelming prey by sheer numbers as they drag it kicking and screaming into their chaotic, howling maws.
Canopy trolls stand 3-1/2 feet tall, and have prehensile tails nearly twice that length. Their densely muscled bodies weigh as much as 150 pounds.
Small and quick, canopy trolls possess a number of strange adaptations to help them survive. Like most trolls, their massive jaws can easily rend flesh, and their prehensile feet and oversized hands—nearly as large as a full-sized troll’s—help them grapple much larger prey or swing between distant branches with ease. Rather than the vestigial tails most trolls sport, theirs are long and flexible, allowing a canopy troll to hang from a branch, and the tail sports a sharp claw on the end capable of delivering the troll’s unusual venom.
Popular lore claims that canopy trolls grow from the limbs and other bits of flesh cut from full-sized trolls by clumsy adventurers, but in truth, these agile offshoots are simply another example of the vast variety found among troll species. Though small in stature, these child-sized cousins of the forest’s more common trolls retain the ferocity, hunger, and regeneration endemic to their kind. They are omnivores and survive on fruit, leaves, and insects during lean times; like all trolls, though, they vastly prefer fresh meat to help fuel their legendary regeneration. Left unchecked, a troop can strip a forest valley of animal life within a few months—or depopulate a small town— before moving on.
Female canopy trolls give birth to twins after a 3-month pregnancy and select the stronger of the pair within the first few days, eating the second to ensure they provide ample nutrition for the remaining, nursing child. Young cling to their mother’s back for the first 6 months of life, after which they are fast and coordinated enough to keep up with the rest of the troop as they swing through the trees. Canopy troll cannibalism isn’t limited to newborns; the creatures’ preferred method of dealing with old or sickly members of the troop is to fall upon them and feast on the regenerating morsels.
Habitat and Society
Canopy trolls are strictly arboreal, living in the thick branches high above the forest floor. Like the similar moss troll, they rarely set foot on solid ground; many canopy trolls exhibit a mild phobia of the surface, retreating to the trees if knocked groundward in a fight.
Their similarities to moss trolls end at their shared terrain, however, as the smaller brutes lack the cunning and innate magic of their larger kin. Canopy trolls are sensitive to both heat and cold, and quickly fall ill in drier climes.
Despite their barest semblance of intellect, canopy trolls show unusual curiosity, and love to pull things apart—animals and humanoids included—to see what may be inside. They find mechanisms and musical instruments especially fascinating, and an entire troop may take to fighting with each other over a newly discovered harp or horn. They also like to adorn themselves with finery, though any treasures they gather rarely last long as the creatures swing through the branches and pile into their filthy nests. Generally, only magical treasures and small pieces of jewelry retain any value after more than a day in the hands of a canopy troll. This same curiosity makes the creatures especially vulnerable to so-called monkey traps, as once they take hold of a valuable, they rarely willingly let go; clever hunters can snare the monsters simply by dropping shiny coins into a hole just large enough to slide a troll hand into—and too small to pull a coin-filled fist back through.
They speak a pidgin of Giant, composed largely of insults and vulgarities, as well as a number of words for food.
Canopy trolls are simpleminded even compared to average trolls, living more like animals than humanoids in apelike troops. A troop selects the largest tree in its territory as a nest site, building rough nests of leaves and grasses and dangling ugly dolls tied from animal bones into the branches.
Canopy trolls have little concern for one another, flocking together simply because their preferred hunting tactic— piling onto a single creature until the poor beast can barely move or breathe under the weight— requires large numbers. They hash out a rough pecking order through constant bullying, and after large meals the troop generally falls to infighting to more formally determine the leader for the next few days. Affection and compassion are alien concepts, with each member of the group constantly sniffing out weaknesses to exploit in its neighbors. Troops sometimes gather around an outsider—usually a larger troll but occasionally another large predator—deferring to that individual as temporary leader until they grow restless, hungry, or bored, whereupon they turn their provisional leader into a meal.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #116: Fangs of War © 2017, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Ron Lundeen, with John Compton, Adam Daigle, Crystal Frasier, Michelle Jones, and Mark Moreland.