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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Hidden Treasure of Monsters

Hey John...this one's for you!

They kill alot of monsters, our players and their characters.  We cook up a dungeon, or a quest over land and sea, and they throw themselves at wave after wave of creatures that want to stop them, kill them, or eat them.  It's a dirty business, and even if the party manages to win through, there's only a chance that there will be treasure as a reward.  More often than not, that ogre who attacks from behind his favorite 'hiding boulder' did not bring his loot with him...and without a solid tracker or the time to manage it, the party may leave only with their lives and some XP. my experience as a player and GM of many, many (too many) years I have noticed a certain pattern.  It seems fairly common that a player, even a relatively new player, who manages to slay a dragon...despite the immense pile of loot in the lair...will almost always try to grab some scales, some claws, some teeth from the now deteriorating corpse of the vanquished great lizard.  Interestingly enough, they don't seem to repeat this when they slaughter a bunch of goblins, or a few Drow, or an owlbear or umber hulk.  They kill the monster, look for some treasure, and then beat a path to the next monster, treasure, npc, or quest point.  I'm not saying that ALL players do this, but overall it seems to be the pattern...even my own.

However, if your world embraces alchemy, or magical components are needed by wizards, or even if you simply have men or women who make their living investigating the academic nature of abnormal taxonomy, then the players (whether they know it or not) are leaving the real money on the field of battle.

Enter the Butcher!

Butcher Class for Labyrinth Lord

Requirements: STR 14 INT 13
Prime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: None
The Butcher is a classically trained fighter who has spent part of his education under the tutelage of an Arcanist Class with an interest or need for components or ingredients that can only be harvested from monsters.  These fighters are trained to identify  the most likely, important materials that could be harvested from any given monster or creature that is slain.  Also, best methods for preservation of said parts.

The Butcher must have a Patron, an individual of an Arcanist Class (commonly an Alchemist) who will continue to educate and train the Butcher in the methods required for the best possible outcome of parts-harvesting.  While any other class can hack off a paw, or pull some teeth, the Butcher is an expert at removing such items to keep them intact and most potent for magical purposes.

In addition to normal fighter weapons, there are several non-standard weapons that the Butcher may implement including:

Large Cleaver        1d8 damage
Large Fillet Knife 1d8+1 damage
The Deboner          1d10 damage

Once a monster or creature has been slain, the time required to Harvest parts is 1d10+2 turns for man-sized or smaller, 2d10+2 turns for horse sized, and 4d10+4 turns for anything larger...if time is of the essence, the Butcher cannot properly perform his function...and parts may be lost or ruined.

Experience Level Hit Dice (1d8)
0                    1            1
2,035            2            2
4,065            3            3  
8,125            4            4
16,251          5            5
32,501         6             6
65,001          7            7                        (can cast PRESERVE 1x per Day)
120,001       8             8
240,001       9              9                       
(can cast PRESERVE 3x per Day)
360,001       10           +2 hp only *
480,001       11           +4 hp only *      
(can cast PRESERVE 5x per Day)
600,001       12           +6 hp only *
720,001       13           +8 hp only *
840,001       14           +10 hp only *
960,001       15           +12 hp only *
1,080,001    16           +14 hp only *
1,200,001    17           +16 hp only *
1,320,001    18           +18 hp only *
1,440,001    19           +20 hp only *
1,560,001    20           +22 hp only *
*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored.

  • AT Level 1 the Butcher can harvest external parts (claws, fur, teeth)
  • AT Level 3 the Butcher can preserve internal organs/components for up to 2 weeks of travel in normal conditions
  • AT Level 4 the Butcher will be able to identify the MOST VALUABLE portion of any creature to be harvested 
  • AT Level 5 the Butcher can drain fluids such as blood, poison, and even internal stored gasses for storage and travel
  • AT Level 7 the Butcher will have access to the SPELL: PRESERVE

Level: 2 Magic-User
Duration: Special (until Dismissed)
Range: 1 item
This spell creates a field around a harvested object or food item that will keep said item as fresh as the moment of harvest.  The spell encases 1 object only.  The spell will dissipate if the caster wishes to end it, if the caster dies, or if a dispel magic is cast upon it.


Monster Part Pricing for EXTERNAL PARTS (includes claws, fur, horns, teeth)

Roll d%      Part Value (gp)
01-15                   10
16-30                   25
31-45                   50
46-60                   75
61-75                  100
76-85                  250
86-90                  500
91-95                  750
96-00                1,000

Monster Part Pricing for INTERNAL PARTS (includes bones, blood, organs)

Roll d%      Part Value (gp)
01-20            1d4x10
21-30            2d4x10
31-40            1d4x100
41-50            2d4x100
51-60            2d6x100
61-00            3d6x100

The Value of More Specific or Highly Enchanted parts should be determined by the GM.  Examples might include:

Unicorn Horn
Basilisk Eye
Dragon Fire Mechanism

Essentially any very specialized part that is known to create a magical effect should be treated as a special case, and ruling on harvesting, preservation and value must be a special case.


  1. I very much like the simplicity of these ideas - esp "traditional " stuff like powdered horn, scales, basilisk eye, wyvern eggs, etc

    1. Thanks! I figured since the players were already engaging in the behavior, I may as well come up with some sort of framework to manage it.