Decapitate a Troll...which part regrows?


Rules Questions

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

You know, I was fairly certain that is what I just argued. You know, with my whole, "The conclusion by Occam's Razor is that, in Pathfinder, memories are not stored in the brain" statement? And my explicit mentioning of ghosts as a case where the memories are retained?

Grand Lodge

That spiel was too long, so obviously I didn't read it.


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.

James, I appreciate the explaination. However, once the "largest piece" of the troll is destroyed does a new piece now qualify as the "largest piece" or is the regeneration a one time effect?

Does the regeration end after the largest piece is destroyed or does the second largest piece now start regenerating?


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*

I understand that, however who is to say that there isn't a intelligent troll that expands the environment of the trolls even farther and farther. Fire wouldn't make a difference againist an army of ten thousand trolls. Hell you could have millions of them.


It is incredibly hard to expand an environment other than desert. And I'm assuming jemstone's trolls are far more jungle than desert.

To expand a jungle, you have to not only plant all those trees, you have to protect them from anything that would destroy them or stunt their growth, such as lack of sufficient rainfall. Even if you're really, really smart, it's very hard to make an area that doesn't rain enough to support a jungle, rain that much. You'd have to be a very high level spellcaster with way too much time on your hands and some very meticulous measurement systems. Oh, and you'd have to continue to cast those weather-altering spells forever. Eventually you run out of spells per day and can no longer expand the jungle.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Stynkk wrote:
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.

James, I appreciate the explanation. However, once the "largest piece" of the troll is destroyed does a new piece now qualify as the "largest piece" or is the regeneration a one time effect?

Does the regeneration end after the largest piece is destroyed or does the second largest piece now start regenerating?

After reading through this thread, I went to the Bestiary and the 3.5 Monster Manual to review the rules. Yeah, I agree it needs to be somewhere in between the two. Blasting a troll into 100 pieces and 18 minutes later you're battling a troll army seems problematic. But only one troll seems a bit harsh as well (ignoring practicalities). I haven't used a troll in a game in quite a while, but if I use a Pathfinder troll, I might think about house-ruling that each piece doubles in size (in some time period). So, a troll could cut off fingers and create an army in time. I could see adding ecological rules and require sustenance for the severed parts.


Obvious Troll politely requests that people refrain from this heinous and offensive discussion.

Obvious Troll further asks witty-James-Jacobs-man what happens if Troll (god forbid) gets chopped into two pieces of absolutely equal size and volume?

This happened to Obvious Troll's uncle Surreptitious Troll is Surreptitious, so Obvious Troll does know the correct answer.


Here is an idea for house ruling the old troll pieces bit.

Each piece that is hacked up off from a troll has to be a significant size, say about 10 pounds of whole troll flesh. A new troll can grow from this piece but will have a temporary 1 HD less than the original. The more that is hacked off from this new troll then more HD is dropped but once arrives at half of the base HD the stress is to much on the regeneration and it dies if it is killed, fire or not. The surviving severed offspring can gain the temporary HD back but only at a rate of 1 HD a month or by practicing cannibalism on another troll which repairs the stress damage to the troll.

I kind of like this idea of mine because this gimps a troll born this way big time and could easily be prey to other creatures. Also they would have the instinct to want to get to full strength and thus will eat each other for survival.

Another possibility is that you could house rule that any number of trolls can regenerate into new trolls but these new trolls but so much stress on regenerating a whole body that they loose that regeneration for a whole month. This would really bring down their survival rate.

Perhaps a hybrid of the two.


ItoSaithWebb wrote:
Here is an idea for house ruling the old troll pieces bit.

I prefer: if the largest piece is destroyed, the troll stops regenerating.

IMHO an army of regenerating unstoppable trolls is just silly.


James Jacobs wrote:
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."

That's far from given.

Actually, in no way does the original troll WIN the world. The only things he gets is some pain and the competition of his clones for prey. Trolls aren't famed for their ambition or discipline : the original troll would have no desire nor means to rule over his clones. And he wouldn't like his territory to be depleted of its food by otherwise useless clones.
He might even try to actively prevent new trolls from spawning from its lost bits if he's left alone.

After all, there's a reason why real predators and other large animals did not evolve to reproduce constantly.

And I think it's a better reason than 'the soul goes in the biggest part, probably because it's more comfortable there'.


Fozbek wrote:

It is incredibly hard to expand an environment other than desert. And I'm assuming jemstone's trolls are far more jungle than desert.

To expand a jungle, you have to not only plant all those trees, you have to protect them from anything that would destroy them or stunt their growth, such as lack of sufficient rainfall. Even if you're really, really smart, it's very hard to make an area that doesn't rain enough to support a jungle, rain that much. You'd have to be a very high level spellcaster with way too much time on your hands and some very meticulous measurement systems. Oh, and you'd have to continue to cast those weather-altering spells forever. Eventually you run out of spells per day and can no longer expand the jungle.

You're assuming there is no one willing to help the troll expand? Who says that they can't be genetically mutated to survive in other various places in the world?


The DM. And who would be willing to help an immortal, permanently voracious apex predator expand to cover the world? More importantly, who would be willing to spend all of their 7th+ level spell slots every day for eternity to do so?


Decanters of endless water everywhere can replace Control Weather.


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.

I find that interesting that he would claim it as a weak acid seeing that it has a PH value of like 2, and the strongest acid in the world has a PH value of 0. =)


Herremann the Wise wrote:

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

That's downright creepy.

I like it!

Consider it borrowed.

Cheers,TX


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.

Two questions:

What if you split the troll exactly in half?

What if you split the troll 60/40, then split the larger part again 60/40? You go from 60/40 to 40/36/24. Which piece is the troll?


erik542 wrote:

Two questions:

What if you split the troll exactly in half?

What if you split the troll 60/40, then split the larger part again 60/40? You go from 60/40 to 40/36/24. Which piece is the troll?

1. No idea, but only one piece would grow. I'd say 50% chance to be either one.

2. The piece that is 40% troll.

Grand Lodge

harmor wrote:

It matters.

Honestly I would say the answer depends upon why it matters...

does it work the same way every single time for every single troll? Sometimes is it the head that grows a new body? Sometimes does the body grow a new head? Does it depend upon the individual troll? Does it depend upon the temperature? Does it depend upon if the blow came from the right or the left?

Which works best for the story the GM is trying to tell? Is it a player trying to screw over a GM decision, or a GM trying to put some fun in the game?

It matters why it matters :)

Now Jacobs has stated the official Paizo opinion, but when it gets to the table, the GM makes the final decision and Paizo's opinion is just another opinion among many.

as far as 40/36/24... seriously? Who is going to get down and count the number of cells in each piece to be sure it isn't perhaps 39.99/36/24.01? Which piece regenerates is the one that makes a better story. The numbers don't have anything to do with it. If the little toe nail on the left foot is the one piece that makes a better story then that is the piece to regenerate. If the left molar is the piece that makes a better story then it is the one to regenerate. If the body makes a better story then it does. I don't care at all about percentages, mass, or anything else. If the decision is important then go with better story. If it doesn't matter then forget and move on.


Krome wrote:


Honestly I would say the answer depends upon why it matters...

does it work the same way every single time for every single troll? Sometimes is it the head that grows a new body? Sometimes does the body grow a new head? Does it depend upon the individual troll? Does it depend upon the temperature? Does it depend upon if the blow came from the right or the left?

Which works best for the story the GM is trying to tell? Is it a player trying to screw over a GM decision, or a GM trying to put some fun in the game?

It matters why it matters :)

Now Jacobs has stated the official Paizo opinion, but when it gets to the table, the GM makes the final decision and Paizo's opinion is just another opinion among many.

as far as 40/36/24... seriously? Who is going to get down and count the number of cells in each piece to be sure it isn't perhaps 39.99/36/24.01? Which piece regenerates is the one that makes a better story. The numbers don't have anything to do with it. If the little toe nail on the left foot is the one piece that makes a better story then that is the piece to regenerate. If the left molar is the piece that makes a better story then it is the one to regenerate. If the body makes a better story then it does. I don't care at all about percentages, mass, or anything else. If the decision is important then go with better story. If it doesn't matter then forget and move on.

So true i could cry.

I'm mastering a campaing in an own world, one of the first adventures was to the players and his little-army to hunt and fight a murderous troll that had defeated dozens of men single handely.

Basically, that troll was cunny enough to chop away one of his own fingers and leave it hidden, and then go fighting with that funny little humans without much worry of their fire-things. The players fought him, killed him, and burned his pieces and then enjoyed a party in the same place they killed the monster... the face of the players when they saw a not completly reformed bloody hungry troll hoping for meat to regrow completly, coming out of the cave where the troll leave the finger hidden... well, that was some face :D.

But, thinking in a less-magical phisiology, i would bet that the troll don't regrow from their heads, instead, no no no, they would regrow from the most important piece of a troll's body, and it is the Stomach XD. For what i know, the incesant hunger of a troll is related to their regenerative powers, so a GM who is searching for that, could say that a troll must be well-fed to regrow parts (Even heads, and regeneration doesn't mean that you remember who where you before, a troll who regrows a head could easily be considered a "new-born" troll).


No no no, they don't grow from their stomachs because it is obvious that they grow from their appendix, that is the secret organ of their regen powers.


ItoSaithWebb wrote:
No no no, they don't grow from their stomachs because it is obvious that they grow from their appendix, that is the secret organ of their regen powers.

XD could be too, ¿why not? if you like it

I was taking a look to the past, back to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Trolls had rules to cut their arms, legs, and heads fairly easy, the funny thing is that it didn't prevented them for attack! Severed members of the trolls could attack to anyone near them, (and not blindly, it was the troll still who commanded them, the rules even specified that separeted parts of the troll had no malus for being... well... in pieces) and the severed member would only die 24 hours later! Of course the troll could take the member back and reatach it. So in that edition you could sever the head of a troll with your vorpal sword, and not only he is alive, but his head is biting your feets, funny ¿right?

Thinking about it, a Dungeon Master on Pathfinder could use this rules (maiming and decapitation are much rarer now, sadly) and this incredible conscius state of his own scattered parts could be the reason for the troll "selecting" which part of itself regenerates, and a troll would select the biggest one, because, hell, it's easier, less things to do.

In the end i think that any GM would use diferent rules for the really unspecified incredibly regenerative abilities of a troll.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
see wrote:
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.

If you read the earlier comment that someone made about real-world physics and fantasy, the same applies to biology and chemistry as well.


LazarX wrote:
see wrote:
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.
If you read the earlier comment that someone made about real-world physics and fantasy, the same applies to biology and chemistry as well.

I could also BS Pseudoscience for Half-Red Dragons Half-Cats if you care :P. Or would doing so result in the gods killing said half-dragon half-kitten?

If you leave it "its magic" (which it is not because it is extraordinary, and those spells mentioned are), then we have no stupid discussion to occupy us anymore and this forum gets sad ;_; . You don't want a weepy forum now?

===

Points for clarity,
1) Regeneration is Extraordinary. Nonmagical.
2) reincarnate, clone, resurrection, and true resurrection are spells or possibly supernatural. Also called magic.

Just furthering the "discussion".

Scarab Sages

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?

I would probably rule that memories, along with sense of self, reside with the soul.

This has implications far beyond just trolls. It also meshes well with existing game mechanics and lore.


If memories reside in the soul, does that mean that human characters have brains physically different from ours ?

For some reason, I always assumed that the soul in most DnD settings was just a spiritual copy of the creature's intellect and psyche, not a functional element of it. It probably has to do with the fact that some undead can lose or separate from their souls without losing much of their intelligence and personality.

The question is, is the troll's regeneration at its core a biological process, enhanced by magic, or a purely magical process akin to a resurrection ? If the former, the soul has nothing to do with it, memories do not grow with the brain, and it should work for any piece of troll (assuming a specific organ isn't necessary). If the latter, then we can handwave biology.
Regeneration being (Ex), I would say we should keep an eye on biology to make sense of it.

Of course, it must still be somewhat magic, because things don't grow that fast naturally, especially without nutrients. They might just be more directly connected to the positive energy plane. And rather than creating an adult-sized troll in a few hours, the pieces grow into trolls proportionnate to their original size or into some kind of larva that can feed on its surroundings, and then grow back into a normal troll in the following years, depending of how small it started.

Trolls would have to have interesting beliefs about life, death and the self.


another question about troll regen, could a troll be taken to -70 (crit with a greataxe) and be up in 2 rounds, or would he have to regen the whole 70 hp, 5 at a time?


jeuce wrote:
another question about troll regen, could a troll be taken to -70 (crit with a greataxe) and be up in 2 rounds, or would he have to regen the whole 70 hp, 5 at a time?

The latter, the damage is still there and it will take a long time to Regen back. However, if you want the multiple troll thing from severing then I would suggest that the negative damage be divided evenly among all the pieces, so if their were 7 pieces each piece would be at -10 and would be back up in three rounds.


The Bestiary says: "Regenerating creatures [...] can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing."
That doesn't really make any sense, if severed body parts regrow anyway.

Dark Archive

[tangent]
I always wondered this in relations to Wolverine. His bones wouldn't prevent him from being decapitated (since there are spaces between the vertebrae, through which a sword could pass), and if his head came off, would his mutant powers grow a new body from the head, or a new head from the body, or... both?

It would certainly explain how he can be in a solo title, on the Avengers, and an X-Man, at the same time...
[/tangent]


Didn't one of the Drizzt novels showcase the trolls multiplicity thing? Streams of Silver if I'm remembering right..

To me, I always felt that Trolls dividing like that would fit better as a type of ooze than a giant. As I recall, they weren't very tall in the Drizzt novel either, just normal humanoid shape, and never really talked in any fashion... just a mindless horde of ravenous creatures that acted with swarm and ooze traits combined.

I like the hand that was crawling up to try and grab despite having no sensory capability (other than touch, if the creature worked like a single cell instead of having a brain).

Amorphous and Split special qualities would probably work best. Maybe a small clause that even though the smaller chunks aren't functional in combat, they will eventually grow into a "smallest portion hitpoint" troll given X amount of time of regeneration.

Split plus regeneration actually seems to make this potential work very well. If you want them to keep "some" humanoid factors, I think the only thing you'd need to worry about is having sense tied to the head, and use the Hydra sunder rules for decapitation. Then treat a troll without a head as blind and deaf.
Expand that sunder rule for limb severing and you can reduce claw attacks and movement rates as well.

While the ecology of such a creature would be a little weird (in the novel they overran the swampland they lived in), the encounter would be quite interesting to play out.

*Edit*
Now that I think about it.. it seemed like from the description that they were almost plant like. To the point of igniting from fire *very* easily.
Peat Moss trolls is not a totally off way to run this. Plant racial qualities, combined with Split + Regeneration qualities, and special Sunder rules (similar to the Hydra).

Interesting...

Dark Archive

Kaisoku wrote:

*Edit*

Now that I think about it.. it seemed like from the description that they were almost plant like. To the point of igniting from fire *very* easily.
Peat Moss trolls is not a totally off way to run this. Plant racial qualities, combined with Split + Regeneration qualities, and special Sunder rules (similar to the Hydra).

Having Shambling Mounds and Trolls be two different life-stages of the same creature could be funky.

I think of trolls as vaguely amphibian (like Scrags), and that they spend years hibernating in the mud at the bottom of bogs, swamps or lakes, while the wildlife in their territory replenishes itself from their rapacious 'active phase.'

During this 'downtime,' human settlers might move into the lush area, once again teeming with game, only to be rudely surprised when the troll(s) sleeping in the nearby peat bogs wake(s) up hungry...


I don't infuse science into my fantasy gaming, but there is a simple logic in biology.

Regenerative creatures do not generally grow parts back without their main nerve cluster. This is especially true of Earthworms and Star fish. YOu CAN kill star fish by cutting them up you just have to make sure to start on the Nerve cluster in the center.

I had to do this in Japan with Marine Biologists when the Crown of Thorns started eating too much of the reef.

I do not know of any creatures that regenerate without the primary nerve cluster, if someone does, by all means let me know. We cannot say there are none even if none have been discovered, but the common trend is the nerve cluster is necessary for regeneartion.

Oh I forgot Planaria worms. OK let me just narrow it down to creatures where binary fission is not a viable means of reproduction.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I still remember a trap that we used back in an older edition involving a wizard who was selling frozen meat to adventurers heading off into the wilderness. The 'meat' was actually a chunk of frozen troll and as it thawed it began to regenerate. It gave the adventurers a nasty fright when a hungry troll crawled out of their baggage in the middle of the night! Unfortunately, the character on sentry duty was concentrating on what was going on beyond the mouth of the shallow cave where they were camping - he didn't consider the idea that his companions would be eaten by a ravenous escaped troll from the area that they had thoroughly searched only a few hours before.

When the characters got back to town, they searched for the wizard who had sold them the frozen rations only to discover that he had vanished. Upon investigation, they discovered that he was actually an assassin hired by a nemesis of one of the adventurers.

Although you couldn't get away with this trick in Pathfinder, barrels containing frozen troll parts would be a good way to sneak a nasty assault force into a well-guarded stronghold....

Dark Archive

Mournblade94 wrote:
Oh I forgot Planaria worms. OK let me just narrow it down to creatures where binary fission is not a viable means of reproduction.

Having the old-school 'two-headed trolls' be merely trolls in the middle of their reproductive cycle (splitting down the middle in fission) could be amusing.

They'd be particularly active and ravenous during this stage, as they are 'eating for two.'


Anyone remember the good old 1e days when both parts would regrow?

Shadow Lodge

No.

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