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Decapitate a Troll...which part regrows?


Rules Questions

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It matters.


harmor wrote:
It matters.

The biggest part.. in this case the body.

A troll's appetite and its regenerative powers make it a fearless combatant, ever prepared to charge headlong at the nearest living creature and attack with all of its fury. Only fire seems to cause a troll to hesitate, but even this mortal threat is not enough to stop a troll's advance. Those who commonly battle with trolls know to locate and burn any pieces after a fight, for even the smallest scrap of flesh can regrow a full-size troll given enough time. Fortunately, only the largest part of a troll regrows in this way.

And then the head - so burn em both!

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Both, now the party has to deal with 2 trolls. ;)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Whoosh, party isn't killed in their sleep. Thanks Stynkk.


How do the troll pieces know which one's the largest?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

Trolls make an excellent siege weapon. Chop them into little bits, catapault them over the walls then go and have a cup of tea and wait for the screams to begin...


This is largely up to the GM of course. However, I remember back in the day of AD&D and trolls could mess you up because each piece could grow into a new troll.

In one of the pool of radiance line games on the PC I remember one encounter that if you didn't burn the troll pieces then they all grew into multiple trolls. Was a great way to grind XP as long as you could handle the trolls.


Sizik wrote:
How do the troll pieces know which one's the largest?

Yeah... I liked the 2E trolls a little better. The individual pieces would try to crawl back together... and if the didn't work... 2 trolls ^_^

I used a 2 head troll recently caused by unfortunate regeneration..


both regrow, but only half as much, like slimes

you now have a small troll with a large head and a large troll with a small head.

No seriously, you should test that ingame, slice him in half, see which part regrows, then slice that part in half and so on until you've got to the core of his regenerative power. That was my suggestion for the tarrasque.

However it has been pointed out to me that it might lead to a slight change or alignement for everyone who's not a blackguard.

Shadow Lodge

I liked the old days, when the troll grew a new head, and the head grew a new troll.

Shadow Lodge

I'm throwing a curve ball at my kingmaker players with this one. The troll they fear in the woods has been mostly "digested" by a Jaws-sized Tuskgutter. One of the hunters will find about three-quarters of the head of the troll; except the regenerative capacity is not strong enough to regrow the rest of the troll, but it is enough to keep the troll "alive" as it were. A misshapen tooth is very slowly growing, curving out of an eye socket while the other eye is glazed over but looks at any sudden movement near it. There is no jaw, tongue or throat left to speak of except for abnormal growth and decay where the spinal column would have been.

So yeah, a different spin on what happens to a decapitated troll. Can't wait to spring this one on my players.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise

Cheliax

hmm in a game mechanic way how would one go about modifying the trolls so that when you chopped them up, new trolls would grom from all the parts?

a wish i suppose?


A practical joke: cut the heads off some trolls. Stop the bodies regrowing their heads somehow - spikes through the necks or whatever. Distribute small chunks of the heads anywhere you want to cause trouble. Then destroy the bodies by feeding them into a mincing machine - cut them to tiny shreds. The head chunks will now be the largest remaining part of the troll, so they will suddenly start regenerating and coming to life, wherever they are.
Does troll meat taste nice? Because if you've got a troll, you've got an infinite supply...

Shadow Lodge

Nos wrote:

hmm in a game mechanic way how would one go about modifying the trolls so that when you chopped them up, new trolls would grom from all the parts?

a wish i suppose?

THe only "game mechanic" needed would be to replace the bit that says "only the largest piece regenerates" with "all pieces regenerate into new trolls".

Cheliax

what a troll pc?? what level would it be?

can you have a 1st level troll pc?


Nos wrote:

what a troll pc?? what level would it be?

can you have a 1st level troll pc?

No, it would not be 1st level. You count the CR as class levels just like CR of a PC just like the CR pf a PC is determined by his levels. So a troll with a 1 class level is the equivalent to a 6th level character.


Reminds me of an old first ed encounter. I was playing a wizard who had control of a stone golem, Standard dungeon tactic for him was to open a door, if any opponents couldn't scratch the golem, let the golem do all the work. If the golem could be hurt, join the fight to finish the enemies quickly. Note that in 1st ed the golem was immune to physical attacks with less than a +3 weapon or monsters with more HD than it had. In more recent editions the immunity became DR.

In any event we opened the door, met some trolls in a room with no exits. Sent the golem in, closed the door and waited for the sounds of combat to stop. Then we went in and began to search the room, looking for secret doors...

A few minutes later we were interupted by the slam of the golem pounding a troll back into the floor. The golem was obeying the last order it had been given when one of the trolls started moving again.


My Animal-Training-crazed cousin found out the hard way in an old 2E game that "I cut the Troll up and feed it to my war dogs" was not the best solution to a Trollish problem. Poor dogs. :(

For purposes of my game world, Trolls are actually colony organisms, capable of breaking down organic matter and using it to rapidly expand their numbers - much like a starfish or a coral. They go through several life stages - eggs (which can move about and hide from heat and light), larvae (which can spin webs and catch prey), humanoid (A "typical" Troll), and "Grotesque" (Heap big monster, no fun, run away) - and you can, in fact, be infected with "Troll Rot" - which is no fun whatsoever, especially when you wake up and your arm has sprouted an eye and is trying to kill you.

In this case, cutting a Troll's head off will eventually result in it regrowing a body, and the body will either grow a new head, or go wander off somewhere to "die." Which usually means splitting off all parthenogenesis-like into up to four smaller Trolls.

What makes these things all the more dangerous is that they're sapient, can learn spells, and possess Ancestral Memories. Run. Away. Quickly.


I don't understand why trolls haven't taken over the world yet. Why don't they just start cutting themselves into new trolls?


Black_Lantern wrote:
I don't understand why trolls haven't taken over the world yet. Why don't they just start cutting themselves into new trolls?

I answered that question with "they require very specific climates and ecological conditions to thrive," myself. So these big scary nasty slimy regenerating monsters are the apex predator of their very specific environments - but outside of that, they wither away and can't survive.

Plus, the standard Troll is rubbish when it comes to fire. Which happens to be the very first tool most civilizations discover...

"Look, Ma! They burn just like peat moss!" *fwoom*


jemstone wrote:
Black_Lantern wrote:
I don't understand why trolls haven't taken over the world yet. Why don't they just start cutting themselves into new trolls?

I answered that question with "they require very specific climates and ecological conditions to thrive," myself. So these big scary nasty slimy regenerating monsters are the apex predator of their very specific environments - but outside of that, they wither away and can't survive.

Plus, the standard Troll is rubbish when it comes to fire. Which happens to be the very first tool most civilizations discover...

"Look, Ma! They burn just like peat moss!" *fwoom*

You mean they are not made of peat moss?


ItoSaithWebb wrote:
jemstone wrote:
Black_Lantern wrote:
I don't understand why trolls haven't taken over the world yet. Why don't they just start cutting themselves into new trolls?

I answered that question with "they require very specific climates and ecological conditions to thrive," myself. So these big scary nasty slimy regenerating monsters are the apex predator of their very specific environments - but outside of that, they wither away and can't survive.

Plus, the standard Troll is rubbish when it comes to fire. Which happens to be the very first tool most civilizations discover...

"Look, Ma! They burn just like peat moss!" *fwoom*

You mean they are not made of peat moss?

I can neither confirm nor deny the peatmossitude of your garden variety Big Slimy Toothy Troll Beast.


jemstone wrote:


I can neither confirm nor deny the peatmossitude of your garden variety Big Slimy Toothy Troll Beast.

Perhaps peat moss just grows on them like a Chia Pet. It's the magical monster that grows.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
jemstone wrote:
My Animal-Training-crazed cousin found out the hard way in an old 2E game that "I cut the Troll up and feed it to my war dogs" was not the best solution to a Trollish problem. Poor dogs. :(

Seeing as how trolls stop regenerating when exposed to fire or acid the dogs' stomach acids should have destroyed them.


Geistlinger wrote:
jemstone wrote:
My Animal-Training-crazed cousin found out the hard way in an old 2E game that "I cut the Troll up and feed it to my war dogs" was not the best solution to a Trollish problem. Poor dogs. :(
Seeing as how trolls stop regenerating when exposed to fire or acid the dogs' stomach acids should have destroyed them.

I made the same claim. The DM made the point that the acid in a stomach is much, much weaker than the acid in a "flask of acid," and thus, wasn't strong enough to stop the regeneration.

While I would dispute it today, at the time the statement of "Why do you think nothing eats Trolls?" made a lot of sense.

I also think the DM was tired of the dogs doing all the work while my cousin reaped all the benefits.

Qadira

I like to rule that trolls have a special node in their brain that sends instructions to injured areas, telling the cells how they're supposed to regenerate properly. So in this case, the head would turn into a new troll and the body would just die. If the node is sufficiently damaged, perhaps by fishing a sword through the troll's brain, the signal to heal will be distorted, and the troll's body will slowly deform into a tumorous mass of limbs and organs.


I love the Book "The Fading Dream" by Keith Baker for Eberron. in it the character goes and gets several Troll Sticks which as the book describes are small rod like sticks (most likely bone) that regenerate a foul tasting but non poisonous meat every 3 hours.

I have always been and advocate for using trolls to feed the hungry. You capture 2 or more trolls depending on how many you need to feed. 1 is used to cut up and feed to the other. the other one you cut off parts to feed the population. Therefore you have an endless supply of meat. While foul and nasty, a little purify and presdigitation will take care of that.


jemstone wrote:
Geistlinger wrote:
jemstone wrote:
My Animal-Training-crazed cousin found out the hard way in an old 2E game that "I cut the Troll up and feed it to my war dogs" was not the best solution to a Trollish problem. Poor dogs. :(
Seeing as how trolls stop regenerating when exposed to fire or acid the dogs' stomach acids should have destroyed them.

I made the same claim. The DM made the point that the acid in a stomach is much, much weaker than the acid in a "flask of acid," and thus, wasn't strong enough to stop the regeneration.

While I would dispute it today, at the time the statement of "Why do you think nothing eats Trolls?" made a lot of sense.

I also think the DM was tired of the dogs doing all the work while my cousin reaped all the benefits.

then your dm is an idiot. stomach acid is one of the most potent forms of acid:

On a scale of acidity called the pH scale, the acid secretions from the stomach wall are between pH 0.8 and pH 1.0. This makes the secretions so strong that, if bottled, they would be too dangerous to have on an open shelf in a school laboratory and would have to be labelled ‘corrosive’. This is strong enough normally to destroy human tissues on contact. It is said it is strong enough to even corrode away steel. the ph scale is typically 1 to 14 with 14 being a base and the 1 being the strongest acids. so with the ph of stomach acid being 1 and less than 1 then you get the idea. If you eat troll it is not going to come back. And all creatures secrete this form of acid. So dogs, cats, etc.. that is why being swalled whole sucks if you do not get out fast.


Tharg The Pirate King wrote:
jemstone wrote:
Geistlinger wrote:
jemstone wrote:
My Animal-Training-crazed cousin found out the hard way in an old 2E game that "I cut the Troll up and feed it to my war dogs" was not the best solution to a Trollish problem. Poor dogs. :(
Seeing as how trolls stop regenerating when exposed to fire or acid the dogs' stomach acids should have destroyed them.

I made the same claim. The DM made the point that the acid in a stomach is much, much weaker than the acid in a "flask of acid," and thus, wasn't strong enough to stop the regeneration.

While I would dispute it today, at the time the statement of "Why do you think nothing eats Trolls?" made a lot of sense.

I also think the DM was tired of the dogs doing all the work while my cousin reaped all the benefits.

then your dm is an idiot. stomach acid is one of the most potent forms of acid:

On a scale of acidity called the pH scale, the acid secretions from the stomach wall are between pH 0.8 and pH 1.0. This makes the secretions so strong that, if bottled, they would be too dangerous to have on an open shelf in a school laboratory and would have to be labelled ‘corrosive’. This is strong enough normally to destroy human tissues on contact. It is said it is strong enough to even corrode away steel. the ph scale is typically 1 to 14 with 14 being a base and the 1 being the strongest acids. so with the ph of stomach acid being 1 and less than 1 then you get the idea. If you eat troll it is not going to come back. And all creatures secrete this form of acid. So dogs, cats, etc.. that is why being swalled whole sucks if you do not get out fast.

Dude, I was 12. It was 27 years ago. It's so long ago now that it's a laughable event. Like I said, today I would argue it, but then, it was enough that the DM said "It doesn't work like that."

Now that I think about it, that was the same DM that impressed upon me that real-world physics do not, in fact, need always apply in a Fantasy game. I'd still probably have called BS on the troll-eating thing anyway, if he tried it today.


Hmm, if trolls grow back from all pieces; then adventures better hope that trolls never adopt the good hygiene habit of trimming finger and toe nails.


erik542 wrote:
Hmm, if trolls grow back from all pieces; then adventures better hope that trolls never adopt the good hygiene habit of trimming finger and toe nails.

That wouldn't work because those parts of the body are not actually living tissue.


don't nails and hair live at the very beginning of their creation? thus the nails of a troll would regenerate and stay alive.

else if you pull out their teeth, they wouldn't regenerate, same for nails.


Richard Leonhart wrote:

don't nails and hair live at the very beginning of their creation? thus the nails of a troll would regenerate and stay alive.

else if you pull out their teeth, they wouldn't regenerate, same for nails.

Only the follicles and cuticles are alive. If you follow your line of reasoning then the cells of skin that shed of the troll would regenerate into a troll. Every living being actually regenerates their cells but at different rates and it depends on the body part.

For Troll pieces it would have to be significant amount of the flesh to regenerate. Limbs, Head, Heart, chest and possibly whole hands and feet, but those last two would be as small as I would go.

Shadow Lodge

Trolls are asexual. They reproduce by chopping off their pinky fingers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tharg The Pirate King wrote:

I love the Book "The Fading Dream" by Keith Baker for Eberron. in it the character goes and gets several Troll Sticks which as the book describes are small rod like sticks (most likely bone) that regenerate a foul tasting but non poisonous meat every 3 hours.

I have always been and advocate for using trolls to feed the hungry. You capture 2 or more trolls depending on how many you need to feed. 1 is used to cut up and feed to the other. the other one you cut off parts to feed the population. Therefore you have an endless supply of meat. While foul and nasty, a little purify and presdigitation will take care of that.

Baker uses that second version in Eberron as well. Volunteer trolls provide food for the meat-eating monsters of Droaam.


ItoSaithWebb wrote:
Perhaps peat moss just grows on them like a Chia Pet. It's the magical monster that grows.

Hmm. Let me try my hand at this:

Trolls are actually the result of symbiosis between a lesser giant akin to an ogre, and a simple (but potentially quite valuable, considering its capabilities) plant or fungus. If the troll is wounded, this "troll moss" releases chemicals that spur regeneration (and sometimes even sprouts temporary replacement parts out of its own substance). However, it has its own vulnerabilities: If you burn part of it out (acid and fire both count as "burning" for our purposes here), it takes a while to grow back...and you've managed to actually hurt the troll.

It should be noted that if someone could manage cultivate troll moss without having to actually put up with trolls, the alchemical potential would be huge. Unfortunately, it hasn't been done yet.


Sizik wrote:
How do the troll pieces know which one's the largest?

Magic.

Point of interest: Trolls are not starfish. They don't divide into new trolls- ( I know most were joking but on to the point)

Trolls have regeneration. This is stopped by fire and acid (for a short duration). Regeneration doesn't remove damage caused by suffocation and starvation, but this damage cannot actually kill them.

Trolls do seem to generate mass from regeneration...

This creates some interesting scenarios.

You could often render a Troll 'inert' but not killing it by doing things such as, knocking it down and having it fall into water. Suffocating, it would not be able to get back up, regeneration or no, leaving it vulnerable to something just eating it (thus killing it via acid of digestion).

If you dismembered a troll and kept the big parts from recombining long enough, you could render them inert via starvation. The metabolic specifics aren't present, but the entry does say they are ravenous and spend a lot of time hunting. Their biology might be on par with some species of shrew, that can starve after periods as short as twelve hours.

If a troll can grow back from a tiny scrap, their regeneration must let them at least temporarily absorb oxygen directly...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Everything in this thread will be answered in the next book Revisiting Trolls from Pazio :-P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Good thing I made my Trolls' flesh poisonous 30+ yrs ago.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The reason we set it up so only the largest piece regrows is that's an easy way for the GM to determine what part regenerates, rather than randomly determining which one gets to regrow.

The reason we set it up so only ONE piece regrows is because we don't want trolls to effectively reproduce by biting off fingers and throwing them around. The first troll that would get that idea in that world would WIN the world; he'd just spam the place with himself and suddenly... you're not playing Pathfinder or D&D or anything other than "Trolls All the Way Down."

If you're looking for an in-game reason for how the largest body part knows it's the largest part... that's the part the troll's soul ends up being stuck in.


Arevashti wrote:
ItoSaithWebb wrote:
Perhaps peat moss just grows on them like a Chia Pet. It's the magical monster that grows.

Hmm. Let me try my hand at this:

Trolls are actually the result of symbiosis between a lesser giant akin to an ogre, and a simple (but potentially quite valuable, considering its capabilities) plant or fungus. If the troll is wounded, this "troll moss" releases chemicals that spur regeneration (and sometimes even sprouts temporary replacement parts out of its own substance). However, it has its own vulnerabilities: If you burn part of it out (acid and fire both count as "burning" for our purposes here), it takes a while to grow back...and you've managed to actually hurt the troll.

It should be noted that if someone could manage cultivate troll moss without having to actually put up with trolls, the alchemical potential would be huge. Unfortunately, it hasn't been done yet.

I approve. Consider this yoinked.


James Jacobs wrote:

The reason we set it up so only the largest piece regrows is that's an easy way for the GM to determine what part regenerates, rather than randomly determining which one gets to regrow.

The reason we set it up so only ONE piece regrows is because we don't want trolls to effectively reproduce by biting off fingers and throwing them around. The first troll that would get that idea in that world would WIN the world; he'd just spam the place with himself and suddenly... you're not playing Pathfinder or D&D or anything other than "Trolls All the Way Down."

If you're looking for an in-game reason for how the largest body part knows it's the largest part... that's the part the troll's soul ends up being stuck in.

This is understandable because that old 2nd edition rule was always a crazy one. Although sometimes I must admit when I GM I miss it.


I'll just throw out that we all assume a trolls brain is located in it's head. This seems a poor place evolutionarily for a creature that has total body regeneration. Loss of a brain, even with a full reconstitution of neurons would result in a full grown troll with no functional knowledge beyond genetic memory.

This brings the question, how does this work? Clearly we can assume that trolls do not store thier accumulated knowledge the way we know. Occam's razor suggest that a trolls cells or neurons have a natural ansible property (actually a better excuse is the trolls soul knows). Although really aura is a more likely and simplest explanation. A great deal can be transmitted olfactoraly. Each chunk would know how big it is and produce pheromones accordingly these would be smelled by the other chunks as the first cells generated on damage tissue have receptors for those chemicals.

Likewise memory could be stored as protean shells distributed through the body as part of the process of moving from short term to long term memory. A headless troll would draw on these to rebuild it's brain.

Hurray pseudoscience?


Dorje Sylas wrote:
I'll just throw out that we all assume a trolls brain is located in it's head. This seems a poor place evolutionarily for a creature that has total body regeneration. Loss of a brain, even with a full reconstitution of neurons would result in a full grown troll with no functional knowledge beyond genetic memory.

Except we know that, in D&D/PF, either memory is not a function of storage in the brain, or magic can bypass such difficulties. Otherwise reincarnate, clone, resurrection, and true resurrection wouldn't work.


Well since we are ignoring the fact that James Jacob already stated that multiple trolls do not spring up it is a moot point, but since a lot of us like to house rule the possibility of troll reproduction through severing division, let us continue.

Also we seem to be already mixing magic with science so verisimilitude is out of the window, or is it?

It is never mentioned that trolls have a brain. It could be that they have genetic cellular memory. The genetic code in each cell is written in it's genetic garbage which is transferred to each cell. We have also stated that there is the possibility that trolls are made from peat moss so this idea holds merit. Now of course for any recent memory it would take a while to reach each cell any past memory would still be present. Of course if we follow this line of logic these trolls would have life times of experience, but we could chalk this up to something like genetic drift or the fact that all those memories get all mixed up and it gets confusing. Anyone who follows the writings of Frank Herbert know exactly what I mean because one of the Dune's biggest theme was about genetic memory.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The real question is, if you destroy the head, when the body grows it back, does it remember you are the one that did it?


TriOmegaZero wrote:
The real question is, if you destroy the head, when the body grows it back, does it remember you are the one that did it?

If you take a human, kill him, cut out his brain, toss the brain in a sphere of annihilation, and then reincarnate the human as a bugbear, the bugbear has all the human's old memories. This is despite the utter destruction of his brain and its replacement with one of a completely different species. Similarly, ghosts retain their memories, despite completely lacking brains.

Now, we have no reason to believe trolls, who are also humanoids, act any differently. If you take a troll, kill him, cut out his brain (which he presumably has), toss the brain in a sphere of annihilation, and then reincarnate the troll as a kobold, the kobold presumably has all the troll's old memories. Similarly, ghosts of trolls would retain their memories, despite completely lacking brains.

The conclusion by Occam's Razor is that, in Pathfinder, memories are not stored in the brain. Anything else requires quite convoluted mechanics. Accordingly, destroying the troll's brain has no effect whatsoever on its memory, any more than destroying the troll's foot or hand would affect its memory.

So, to answer your question, we need to know exactly one thing—was the troll able to form memories of you destroying the head? If he could, then he'll have retained them, since nothing you did to his head would have destroyed them. If he couldn't, then he won't have them because he never had them.

So, was the troll conscious when you destroyed his head?

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Reincarnation is not regeneration.

You'd be better off arguing that memories are held in the soul instead of the brain.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

James Jacobs wrote:
The reason we set it up so only ONE piece regrows is because we don't want trolls to effectively reproduce by biting off fingers and throwing them around. The first troll that would get that idea in that world would WIN the world; he'd just spam the place with himself and suddenly... you're not playing Pathfinder or D&D or anything other than "Trolls All the Way Down."

Does this mean that the shadowgeddon was intended, or was that just an oversight?

Shadow Lodge

Perhaps the troll's entire body is made of variants of neurons, making the entire body his brain. This is how Ultimate Iron Man works. In the case of trolls, they also seem to possess telepathy between the "main" segment and any seperated portion, since those seperated portions are still able to attack.

This tears it, we need a 96 page Ecology and Physiology of Trolls.

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