Saturday, September 8, 2012

Harvesting Monster Parts

Killed Monsters can be harvested for useful parts.
This turns those monsters into rewards for the PCs.

The list below isn't complete but may jump start some ideas.
Harvesting monsters may not be suited for every group, some don't want the hassle of managing the parts, others focus purely on strategic combat.
Long story short, for some groups this may work, for others not.

Many items are found in the Adventurer's Vault (AV) supplement.

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Bloodstinger Poison (AV)

Poison is extracted from poisonous animals like spiders , scorpions, snakes, centipedes, frogs, some fish species, etc.

It is usually found in glands or skin secretions (frogs).

With enough knowledge the poison can be used to create Antivenom (AV).

Alchemist's Fire (AV)

The explosive liquid is extracted from fire archons, fire bats, fire beetles (stomach), red dragons (throat), dragonspawn, fire elementals, fire giants, hell hounds, magma beasts, etc.

For most of these creatures their core or heart form the liquid.

Alchemist's Frost (AV)

This is extracted from ice archons, white dragons (throat), cold elementals, frost giants, etc

For most of these creatures their core or heart form the liquid.

Masterwork Armor (AV)

The hides and scales of dragons, drakes, etc can be used to create masterwork armor.


There are no rules for it, but the bones of slain opponents could be used to make weapons. Maybe I'll post something in the future about this.


Grafts replace organs with those of another creature.
PCs shouldn't have grafts unless they give a weakness like undead grafts.

Ritual components

If there aren't house ruled rituals they often have a component cost.
  • Alchemical reagents:
    • extracts from dragons or basilisks (pulverized bones)
    • acid from black dragons, dragonspawn, drakes, mordant hydra (throat or gland)
    • Liquid from brain in a jar, mind flayer or elder brain
  • Mystic salves: trolls, lycanthropes, oni, shambling mound (flesh and hide)
  • Rare herbs: dryad, treant, shambling mound


Reagents are found in Adventurer's Vault 2 (AV2) and are a way to enhance

  • Clay of Creation (increases strength of summons): earth elemental cores
  • Silver Sand (increases healing): pulverized unicorn horn
  • Vortex Stone (increases strength of conjurations): pulverized bones of Shadowfell creatures

Previous D&D versions have meta magic components to enhance powers.


A corpse can be sold for money to a taxidermist who sells it to museums, hunters and fishermen.
Furry animals can be used for carpets.

Some creatures have a superstition attached to them of being luck charms.
For example like fey creatures (dryad, nymph, pixie, satyr).

Medusa blood cures petrification.
Cockatrice feathers cure short-term petrification.

Harvesting components

Harvesting the components isn't always easy.
If a monster is totally destroyed during a combat, it will be hard to do so.
Harvesting from a natural creature requires Nature, elemental requires Arcana, Immortal/Undead requires Religion, etc.

The alchemy feat can be used for this, for example to make harvesting easier.
Or just the basic skills could be used.

How to use in game

A DM can use monster parts in following ways:
  • Describe the corpse with harvestable parts in more detail
  • Say yes if players want to try using a monster part
  • It depends on the group if they want to use it (make it a prop or power card) so it won't get forgotten. The group may want to focus purely on character powers and not on details of monster parts.
  • Antagonists use them: for example kobolds use scorpion venom
  • Monster components are an additional reward for the PCs. It can come from the treasure parcels, depending on how much components are harvested.

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