Field Dressing

A Guide to Carving Monsters

You're exhausted. Blood drips from you body, some of it yours and some of it not. A massive beast lies dead before you, finally brought low by yourself and your companions. The battle was hard fought, and now the people who hired you are safe. Nothing to do now but pack up and go home... but why not collect a few spoils for your trouble? This document establishes a set of rules for the collection, selling, and use of monster parts.

How to Carve Parts

A creature can attempt to harvest parts from a dead animal by making a Carving check. The creature makes a Dexterity (Nature) check with a DC of 10. On a success, it harvests the desired part from the organism.

How much of a particular part is collected varies based on the creature's anatomy, its size, and the carver's own skill. The Monster Parts table below lists the kinds of parts that can be collected, the base unit for that part (how the part is measured), and the base amount of money a single unit of that part can be sold for to appropriate venders.

Monster Parts
Part Unit Base Price
Feathers, Pelt, Scales 2 lb 5 gp
Claws, Horns, Teeth 1 item 1 gp
Blood, Bodily fluids 1 cup (8 fl. oz) 5 gp
Bones 5 lbs 2 gp
Meat 1 lb 1 sp
Special* 1 item 10 gp

*Special items generally refer to special organs or body parts from less mundane creatures, such as a dragon's heart, a beholder's large eye, or a unicorn's horn. These parts may fall under another category on the table in some way, but they are so valuable on the market that they can go for a particularly hefty price. Many are used for magic in some way.

Calculating Yields

When a creature determines what kind of part they want to harvest and then makes a successful Carving check, how much of the material is gathered depends on the size of the creature being carved. Refer to the Carving Yield table below, rolling the dice indicated based on the creature's size. The result is how many units of the part are collected. The carver's Carving check can also grant greater yields; add one unit for every 5 points the Carving check beat the DC of 10.

Carving Yield
Creature Size Number of Units
Tiny, Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 2d6
Huge 4d6
Gargantuan 8d6

For example, say someone carved an elk (a large sized creature) and succeeded on the Carving check with a 16. They would collect 2d6 units of pelt. After the dice are rolled, the total is 7. Since the Carving Check beat the DC of 10 by 5 points, we add 1 unit to this, making a total of 8. Since a single pelt unit is 2 lbs of material, the hunter in this example gathers 16 lbs worth of elk pelt.

Limited Yields

No matter how good someone's Carving check, it is impossible to gather more parts from a creature than the creature actually has. A unicorn, for example, only ever has 1 horn, even though it is technically possible to roll for as much as 12. Similarly, many smaller creatures simply don't have the biomass to yield much in the way of certain parts. Use your best judgement when determining how much material someone can actually gather from a creature.

Multiple Carving Attempts

A creature can be carved for a particular body part only so many times before the creature's anatomy is either exhausted or the parts in question are so mangled and damaged that they become unusable.

Any time someone attempts to carve a particular body part, whether they succeed or fail, the number of dice rolled on the next attempt is halved. This effect is cumulative, and once the number of dice rolled would be less than 1 no more attempts can be made for that body part.

If, during an attempt, the Carving check is failed by 5 or more, not only does the carver gain nothing, but the body part in question is so mangled that it is effectively destroyed.

Selling Parts

There is a lucrative business to be made selling monster parts, particularly those of very dangerous beasts. When attempting to sell a monster part to someone, consult the Monster Parts table. Multiply the base price of the part by the monster's CR (x1 for CR 0); that is how much gold a single unit of that part can be sold for. This value represents selling to a middle-man; when buying monster parts from a supplier or merchant the base price is typically doubled.

Crafting from Monster Parts

Many items can be crafted from monster parts, from armor to weapons to potions. Generally, when making armor from pelts, scales, bones, or similar material, the crafter requires a number of lbs of that material equal to 2/3 of the item's base weight, rounded up. For magic items, this often represents the exotic material needed to craft the item. Take a set of dragon scale armor, for example. Scale armor has a base weight of 45 lbs, and so 30 lbs of dragon scales would be needed to craft it.

If crafting an item with a part that is not represented in lbs, such as claws or a special organ, generally only one item of the part is needed, though this depends on the size of the part and the weapon being forged. A dagger, for example, could be made from a a single gargantuan or possibly huge dragon tooth, but a longsword would need many smaller teeth to make a serrated edge capable of cutting.

A single potion likewise usually only requires one unit of material, whether something like a claw or toenail, or bodily fluids.


A Guide to Carving Monsters v0.1

The Arcane Athenaeum

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