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So, what happens if the wrong troll's head were attached to the wrong body?

The scenario is something along these lines: in a pitched battle where the only option is to behead them, and multiple trolls get beheaded, one body manages to find a head and tries to reattach it to it's body, what happens?

Can the heat attach to the wrong body? If so, are there rejection issues? The head and body reject each other, either not working together properly, or both slowly dying and decaying as it still 'lives' for a while longer?

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In 3.5 they can not.

In the Monster Manual 3.5, p248 says:

If a troll loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 3d6 minutes. The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.

This says "The creature can reattach the severed member..." in reference to the limb or body part that the troll lost in the previous sentence. It's not generic, but specific. If it said 'The creature can reattach a severed member', then it might be somewhat ambiguous, but it says 'the severed member.'

In Pathfinder there's slight ambiguity

The Pathfinder Universal Monster Rules say:

Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing.

Since it does not say they 'can reattach any of their severed limbs...', there's a tiny bit of wiggle room and it's not as specific as the 3.5 rules. However, the rules are still referencing individual creatures in plural, not as a collection of creatures, so it's reasonable to presume that the rules are speaking about individuals reattaching their own body parts.

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DM's choice

The rules only say trolls can reattach limbs instantly by holding it against the stump:

DnD 3.5:

Fire and acid deal normal damage to a troll. If a troll loses a limb or body part, the lost portion regrows in 3d6 minutes. The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.

Pathfinder:

Attack forms that don’t deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

So rules as written in both systems are not saying you can nor are they saying you can. This would make it the DM's decision.

I would say no

Personally as a DM I would say it would not work because it would complicate a lot of things. For instance if two troll NPCs switch heads which personality are you attaching to which NPC. The only reasons I would allow this is as a plot device/adventure hook while having in game it being clear this is a unique happening. Or in a humor game to play it for laughs and give him split personalities or something.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally like the idea of them still controlling the original body but the heads on the wrong ones \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Nov 17, 2018 at 3:31

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