“What troll?”

It’s a question my AD&D gaming group heard once way back in the early 1980s.

One guy just couldn’t quite stay focused on the adventure at hand. We’d be slogging through a dungeon, and you’d look over and see him doodling on his character sheet. Usually stuff like wicked-looking crossed daggers. Or blood-dripping axes. Or the severed head of an orc displayed on a pike.

Once, when we were sneaking through a sewer system, we were jumped by a troll. (If I remember correctly, he had been hiding in a refuse pile.) Combat began. A couple of us got in an attack on the troll before it was his turn. The DM rolled randomly to see which of us would be the troll’s target. As fortune would have it. the inattentive player’s number came up.

The troll landed a pair of successful hits, slashing our comrade for a good deal of damage. The DM called his name and said, “And the troll hits you for 10 points of damage.”

This troll!To which our surprised friend looked up from his dire doodling, his thick eyeglasses magnifying his already-wide eyes, and uttered, “What troll?”