Rules Index | GM Screen

Mastering the Wild

Trophies and Treasures

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 162
Monetary treasure can be a rarity in the wild, but canny scavengers and survivalists know how to reap nature’s bounty. Eggs, furs, and ivory of exotic beasts are well-known commodities, but some have also studied the mystical sympathy between certain creatures and different forms of magic. To the right buyer, these components are valuable as more exotic materials.

The following rules for harvesting trophies from creatures and monsters should augment the classic method of dispersing treasure and rewards, but they are not intended to increase the expected wealth by level at your table. If you use this system for trophies, you should make sure to reduce the amount of other treasure and rewards by an equal amount to the harvested components.

At their most basic, trophies function as art objects. Whether an adventurer seeks to mount a dragon’s head on the wall of his home, craft a necklace from a claw harvested from every beast he has slain, or simply make new arrows from the teeth of a fallen foe, the process is much the same—the valuable commodity must first be harvested from the creature.

Note that some cultures have taboos against harvesting parts from humanoids and monstrous humanoids or certain other creature types. Other societies may view the taking of trophies from intelligent creatures, endangered specimens, or even from plentiful game as abhorrent. Characters might need to be careful to avoid insulting such groups if they don’t want to find themselves in an unnecessary conflict. At the GM’s discretion, harvesting trophies (particularly in the case of trophies taken from innocents, intelligent creatures, or outsiders) should have alignment repercussions.

As with all content that might be uncomfortable for some players, you should make sure to have your table’s consent before introducing the harvesting of trophies into your game.

Harvesting Trophies

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 162
When a monster is defeated in combat, the process of identifying what portions of the creature can serve as a trophy and harvesting the trophy are somewhat abstracted— there’s no need to track the values for each part of every monster in the game once they’re gathered as trophies.

In order to harvest and preserve a trophy from a kill, a character must attempt three checks: one to determine what parts of the creature are worth harvesting for a trophy, one to determine if she successfully harvests the trophy components without damaging or ruining them, and one to turn the components into a permanent trophy.

Identifying Trophies: To identify what portions of a creature have value as trophies, a character must succeed at a Knowledge check determined by the creature type, as normal. The DC for this check is equal to 15 + the creature’s CR. This examination takes 1 minute to perform.

Harvesting Trophy Components: Once a character identifies potential trophies, she must attempt a skill check to harvest the relevant components. This is typically either a Survival check (for external features, such as hide, horns, teeth, or the like) or a Heal check (for internal features, such as blood, internal organs, or sweat). The DC for this check is equal to 15 + the creature’s CR. Harvesting trophy components generally takes 10 minutes of work (at the GM’s discretion, this could be as much as 1 hour of work for creatures whose bodies are particularly difficult to work with).

Creating Trophies: Once trophy components are harvested, they generally remain viable for 24 hours before decay or spoilage ruins them. Application of gentle repose, oil of timelessness, or similar magic can extend this period of decay. In order to turn components harvested from a creature into a long-lasting trophy, a character must attempt a check with an appropriate Craft skill (the exact skill varies according to the nature of the trophy the character is creating, but it is usually one from the following list: alchemy, jewelry, leather, or taxidermy) to preserve the components and turn them into a trophy. The DC of this check is equal to 15 + the creature’s CR.

Trophy Weight

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 163
In most cases, the weight of trophy components recovered from a creature depend on the creature’s size. This weight is doubled for bones, hides, and skins, and halved for feathers, hair, and small organs such as eyes or glands. Once components have been processed into actual trophies, the resulting weight of the trophy is generally determined by the nature of the trophy created (in the case of jewelry or the like) or half the weight of the components used (in the case of something like a preserved head or limb).

Table 4-10: Typical Trophy Weights

Creature SizeTrophy Weight
Diminutive1/10 lb.
Tiny1/2 lb.
Small1d4 x 1/2 lbs.
Medium1d6 lbs.
Large3d6 lbs.
Huge1d6 x 10 lbs.
Gargantuan1d6 x 30 lbs.
Colossal1d6 x 100 lbs.

Selling Trophies

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 163
Once a trophy is created, it can be kept or sold. Generally, a trophy can be sold to any merchant for its full value, as if it were an art object, but at the GM’s discretion, certain trophies may require the PC to seek out black markets or specialized merchants to receive the full price. In some societies, selling certain trophies may be illegal or have other ramifications.

A trophy’s value is determined by the CR of the creature from which it was harvested, as indicated on the following table. For all purposes related to harvesting trophies, the CR refers to a creature’s CR without any class levels (a CR 10 troll oracle would still count as a CR 5 source for any trophies it yields). Note that the value for bounties for defeating specific creatures should not be governed by these rules but should instead be determined by the GM as appropriate for the adventure. Creatures that do not have racial Hit Dice and whose CR is defined by class level generally do not provide valuable components for trophies.

Table 4-9: Trophy Value by CR

150 gp
2100 gp
3150 gp
4200 gp
5300 gp
6400 gp
7500 gp
8650 gp
9850 gp
101,000 gp
111,400 gp
121,800 gp
132,300 gp
143,000 gp
153,900 gp
165,000 gp
176,400 gp
188,000 gp
1910,500 gp
2013,000 gp

Magical Affinities of Trophies

Source Ultimate Wilderness pg. 163
Certain creatures provide trophy components that, once processed into actual trophies, are exceptionally useful for the construction of alchemical or magic items. When used as raw materials for the crafting of alchemical or magic items, these trophies are worth more than their normal values for the purposes of calculating the total gp needed to craft the item. The following section details trophy uses for a wide range of creature categories. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, and GMs should feel free to add specific affinities to a creature as their campaigns demand. Recovery: In order to preserve trophy components into a trophy usable for its magical affinities, a character must use a different skill than Craft to create the trophy. The specific skill required varies according to the creature, as detailed below. Creating a trophy to be used in this way is more difficult than creating one to simply be an art object: the DC to create a magical affinity trophy is equal to 20 + the creature’s CR. If a creature’s trophy components fall into multiple categories (such as an erinyes), the character can choose which of the associated skills to use to craft the trophy.
Affinities: The magical uses for a trophy in the construction of alchemical or magic items are listed here. When a trophy is incorporated into raw materials, its gp value is considered to be 20% greater than normal.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities A demon’s heart contains the essence of sin. It can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell with the evil descriptor as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities A devil’s tongue is infused with the word of law. It can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell with the lawful descriptor as a requirement.

Doppelgangers and Mimics

Recovery Knowledge (arcana)
Affinities Swaths of skin harvested from a doppelganger or mimic can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell of the polymorph subschool as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities Residual material harvested from a slain elemental can be used in the creation of magic items that have spells with specific descriptors, as summarized in the table below.

Table 4-11: Elemental Trophy Affinities

Elemental TypeMaterial HarvestedAssociated Descriptor
AetherCrystalized memoriesForce
AirFine dustAir
EarthStone fragmentsEarth
FireWarm ashFire
IceBlue iceCold
LightningSparkling powderElectricity
MagmaGlowing embersFire
MudViscous sludgeAcid
WaterRare liquidWater


Recovery Knowledge (local)
Affinities The sweat glands or muscles and tendons that are harvested from a giant’s arms or legs can be used in the creation of magic items that have enlarge person as a requirement or in the creation of any magic melee weapon.

Intelligent Undead

Recovery Knowledge (religion)
Affinities Necromancy-infused dust or organs from an intelligent undead creature can be used in the creation of any magic item that has animate dead, create undead, create greater undead, energy drain, or enervation as a requirement; at the GM’s discretion, other necromancy spells can be added to this list (a ghoul, for example, might aid in the creation of items that require ghoul’s touch).


Recovery Knowledge (dungeoneering)
Affinities Fluids harvested from an ooze that deals acid damage can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell with the acid descriptor as a requirement or for alchemical gear and weapons associated with acid.

Petrifying Monsters

Recovery Knowledge (arcana) Affinity The portion of a creature capable of petrifying targets (eyes of a basilisk or medusa, talons of a cockatrice, or a gorgon’s lungs, for example) can be used in the creation of any magic item that has flesh to stone or stone to flesh as a requirement.

Primeval Creatures

Recovery Knowledge (nature)
Affinities The claws, fangs, horns, and tusks of primeval creatures (including all dinosaurs and megafauna, as well as dire animals) can be used in the creation of any magic item that has bear’s endurance, bull’s strength, or cat’s grace as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities Scales harvested from a protean seethe with pure chaos and can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell with the chaotic descriptor as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities A qlippoth’s brain is infused with raw madness, and it can be used in the creation of any magic item that has confusion, insanity, lesser confusion, or symbol of insanity as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (planes)
Affinities A rakshasa’s eyes can be used in the creation of any magic item that has detect thoughts as a requirement.


Recovery Knowledge (local)
Affinities A troll’s liver can be used in the creation of any magic item that has a spell of the healing subschool as a requirement.

True Dragons

Recovery Knowledge (arcana)
Affinities The organs associated with a true dragon’s breath weapon can be utilized in the creation of any magic item that has a spell that deals energy damage of the same type as the dragon’s breath weapon as a requirement.

Web-Using Monsters

Recovery Knowledge (nature); when harvested from something other than a vermin, the DC of the check to harvest the trophy increases by 2.
Affinity The spinnerets of a creature capable of using web as per the universal monster rule can be used in the creation of any magic item that has spider climb or web as a requirement.