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Say the party goes off into the woods and kills a few wolves. Would anything useful come from the carcasses?

How about at higher levels when killing Dragons and such?

I understand with creatures that might be wearing gear they could loot them, but what about ones that don't wear gear?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Sometimes a Creature's Remains Are Valuable

It isn't often the case, and some DM adjudication's required, but dead creatures can be quite valuable.

Material and Focus Components
Some spells require creature parts to be expended (as material components) or manipulated (as focus components). Without these components, the spell can't be cast. Most creatures who cast spells will have these components in a spell component pouch, but someone must fill spell component pouches with creature parts, and those creature parts are likely among the spell component pouch's raw materials. So if the creature-killers can find a buyer for the parts, that's a possibility. The dead creature's value will depend on the campaign.

The spells animal aspect and beast shape, for example, require animal parts, with the latter making an especially persuasive case for selling at a high price a rare animal's corpse. It's also not just animals, of course; the spell infernal healing, for example, requires devil's blood.

Animated Dead Servants
This is where the real money is. Using the spell animate dead et. al. any appropriate corpse can be turned into a skeleton or zombie. Necromancers are busy dudes, so they often don't have time to collect high-end corpses for animating, so creature-killers can sometimes get top dollar for corpses, especially for monsters that would make particularly good skeletons and zombies. Again, the corpse's value will vary by campaign, but selling corpses to necromancers provides a reason to preserve the whole corpse rather than hacking it up.

Selling corpses to necromancers might also be considered an evil act by some DMs. And characters who do so absolutely will face such animated creature again later (or sooner!) in the campaign, but at least the protagonists will recognize the creatures. Smart adventurers might even trap such corpses to prevent the corpses from being used against them or make that part of the deal brokered with the necromancer upon the corpse's sale.

Dragon Materials
There's a whole feat for Dragoncrafting, and there are at least 2 dragon-based special materials, dragonhide and dragonskin. Again, their value will be somewhat campaign dependent unless the dragon's remains are treated solely as raw materials.

Some Creatures Are Themselves Specifically Treasure
A Small dream spider can be used to manufacture the drug shiver, for example, and even its webbing and eggs have value. A dead poisonous giant toad can be used to make the goblin booze bufo. One can "boil down and refine the corpse of a flumph" to "extract as much as 200 gp worth of rare components," and "Powdered gorgon horn is worth 250 gp as an alternate material component for magic items" involving strength and stone.

It might take some searching on the DM's part and some Knowedledge skill checks on the creature-killers' parts, but occasionally the dead creature will be the dead creature's treasure.

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Well, you could use some creativity in those cases. For example, the players could skin the wolves and sell the pelts, use the dragon hide to build armor, etc.

They could use the bones to make makeshift tools, nails, musical instruments, etc. What they can do with the carcasses is only limited by their creativity.

My players usually skin the creatures out and sell the pelts, or use them for food. Roasted Red Dragon is a common joke in my tables because of this.

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Tastes like chicken! :) – RobertF Apr 3 '14 at 12:46
Of course they could do all of these things by themselves, but in the adventurer economy of the DnD-family of games, PCs are filthy rich and earn boatloads of cash going on more adventures than they would spending time crafting stuff. – evilcandybag Apr 3 '14 at 14:02
It´s more like a Roleplaying aspect than any other thing. They like to feel that they characters are alive, so they embarck on "normal" things. Heck, we spent a few hours one time because our wizard decided to research why people stopped to poop (Have any of your chars ever needed to go to the bathroom?). It started as a joke, but soon exploded into an entire quest chain. Creativity is always good :) – Thales Sarczuk Apr 3 '14 at 15:10

My own party has done various things, such as making cloaks out of cloakers, armor out of dragon scales and so forth. Whatever creative things we can come up with.

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