Thursday, September 7, 2017

Monster Bit Scrap

Delvers love loot. Players seem to love harvesting monster parts are loot.

The problem my players have is a mix of the following:

- lack of meta-game knowledge of what's valuable and of the relevant rules (Dead Monster Bits, Exploits, p. 24)

- lack of in-game knowledge of what's valuable;

- lack of proper skills (Surgery, Alchemy, Physiology, etc.);

- lack of proper tools (using swords, axes, and knives to do the work of surgical tools, scrapers, and alchemy kits);

- determination to take and sell bits that aren't especially valuable as if they were;

- a tendency to hack monsters to well past -5xHP and often past -10xHP, decapitate them, burn them, kill them with alchemist's fire; lightning; and brutal skull hits; and then hope to carefully harvest full-value internal organs and skin.

Add that to random guesswork ("I'm sure the legs of a Death Brain are valuable!" or "Take every single part of this dragon back home, every ounce is salable" or "I'm sure people want to eat owlbear meat from that one we killed with explosive spells") and what do you get?

What I get is a lot of PCs taking random monster bits home and trying to sell them.

I'd like to simultaneously punish their lack of the proper skills (and unwillingness to try them) and excessive "kill it past death" methods of pre-harvesting murder and reward their efforts.

So why not use the Scrap rules?

Dead Monster Bits

As written, but add this to the end of Mundane Parts:

Delvers may try to sell any sort of monster bits in town, even those not especially prized. A Naturalist or appropriate Survival roll will allow the PCs to extract the bits they want without destroying them; at a -1 to -5 for inappropriate tools, excessive damage to the corpses, use of fire or corrosion damage, etc. Success means they gather the bits they want - if choosing at random, this will be 1dx10% of the weight of the intact corpse. Failure means they aren't able to gather anything useful. Critical failure means what they have appears valuable, but is damaged beyond sale, and they may be contaminated with bits that attract burrowing grubs, plague flies, carrion-eating corrosive cave snails, attacks by the dreaded leaping ethereal dungeon shark, etc.

To sell the bits in town, make one Merchant or Cooking roll at the end of the adventure. Success means someone wants those bits for something (better not to ask why); price is $1dx10 per 100 pounds of material. Take it or leave it, and the material will spoil before you get another buyer!


Heh. So, worth the try, sort of. And you may choose the right bits, and make the right rolls. You're still better off actually using your skills, and probably better off leaving the dead monster where it is. Just because something has teeth and skin doesn't mean its teeth and skin are valuable loot. Bring back roadkill opossum bits and badger teeth and deer feet from your next hike and try to sell them.


  1. As a counterpoint you can sell everything from alligator heads to snake rattles raccoon baculum (penis bone) if you use the right skills and harvest them properly.

    1. That's what this rule does. And the pricing makes sense based on the pricing of the rare, particularly valuable bits.

      And of course, it's DF. Some monster bits are unnatural, harmful, and possibly cursed. It is partly like session gator hide and partly like selling radioactive waste in leaky containers.

    2. Autocorrect is a menace.

      I meant it is partly like selling gator hide, not session.

  2. It's like you're reading the game I'm in (run by Denis McCarthy/gwythaintny) where my character is actively still trying to sell the last 19 unraisable cultist corpses (the raisable ones (their victims) got sold to necromancers).... I mean the Sage's Guild always needs to study anatomy right? The Ogres in Ogre Town need to eat right? Maybe a trip down into the troll warrens in the megadungeon under the city's sewers might find me a buyer... ;)

    My other character came equipped with the spells to extract those bits properly. Prepare Game and Preserve Food are wonderful for that.

    1. I'm clearly playing with players with a similar bent.

      Bodies can be valuable, I'm sure, but it depends on supply, current demand, legality, etc. On the other hand, when a pound of gold is only a few thousand, and the choicest parts of the rarest monsters rarely top $5K, and the rest are usually a tenth of that . . . well, I wouldn't expect to get rich.

      That's actually why I'm using the scrap rules - the economics of the materials in DF demonstrate that random broken bits might be useful and salable but aren't superior treasure to actual treasure. If that wasn't the case, delvers would be better off trapping owlbears in the woods and leave all of that delving for gold in dungeons for fools.

  3. I think the largest problem your Players are facing is the lack of "what is valuable" and "how to harvest it" skills. They've clearly focused on the "killing stuff", but no one has dug into the "taking their stuff" skills.

  4. Some of evileeyeore's harvested bits include ghast hooves, freshly rekilled zombies and both halves of a regenerating rot worm, sold to an undead hunting worm wrangler, in addition to bringing the bodies of cultists with the perk Final Rest...

    1. At some point, I think you go from "thorough looting" to "creepy body-selling ghouls" and probably get a reputation for that. Not a good one - "Hey, I've heard of you guys, you were selling dead people. I'll pass on the laborer job, I don't want nobody selling my body to the necros."

    2. Well... those cultists are in our "basement"* so we gotta do something with 'em. We got three choices: Sell 'em, feed 'em to the otty's (the city uses otyughs as waste disposal.... for some reason), or leave 'em and draw more sewer vermin (giant rats, rot worms, rogue ottys) into our area making it worse.

      Besides, Jareth tips the laborers well... so that probably balances out. A bit.

      * Denis' megadungeon is beneath the sewers and storm tunnels under his massive metropolis of Northport. Our crew's first mission was to clear out some cultists down there... and part of our reward was the housing block they'd been using (and had murdered everyone in)... and Jareth is contemplating taking over this area of the sewers/storm tunnels to facilitate entry into the "UnderCity". So all these bodies are stacked up in our "basement" and we've got to do something with them... might as well get some coin (even if it only really pays for the labor and makes us a small amount of coin).

      Win-win in my book.

  5. The majority of the bodies are going to the otyugh pits, for anti vermin sanitation reasons, you know, to keep from encouraging all the sewer slorn from getting territorial... and then there is the problem of the wighted giant maned rats...

    1. Oh, and I'm sure there are good in-game reasons for it. But at some point, you're killing things to generate bodies for sale or use. You can rationalize that all you want, but body harvesting is body harvesting, right?

    2. "You can rationalize that all you want, but body harvesting is body harvesting, right?"

      All I'm hearing is "Kill Things and Take Their Stuff".

      But then every character I've made for Dennis' games are from races that don't have much respect for the dead bodies of their foes, an Ogre (they eat 'people'), a Troll (they eat 'people'), and a High Elf (they eat pe... hang on wait a minute).

  6. Yet neither the ogre or the troll are in the dead body business... just how high is that elf?


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