After a successful fight party regularly checks enemies bodies for any kind of loot - their weapons and armor too with the intent to sell in the city. In 5e PHB pp. 144 you can read:

As a general rule, undamaged weapons, armor, and other equipment fetch half their cost when sold in a market. Weapons and armor used by monsters are rarely in good enough condition to sell.

So from what I understand here reselling enemies equipment is mechanically allowed, but discouraged. As looting is a very popular trope in cRPG games, I would like to also give this option to my players.

However, the PHB rules aren't specific, so I'm not sure how to proceed without being too arbitrary. The equipment rules from 5th Edition SRD also highlights the freedom of what to do for DM.

You can equip Monsters with additional gear and Trinkets however you like, and you decide how much of a monster’s Equipment is recoverable after the creature is slain and whether any of that Equipment is still usable. A battered suit of armor made for a monster is rarely usable by someone else, for instance.

Based on all of this, I want to build mechanic support for DM in line with core rules of dealing with looting weapons, armor and other equipment from slain enemies. Maybe you use or encounter a mechanic which worked fine for your games?

Additional, I want to make sure is that this influx of gold will not destabilize game, by making player characters rich too fast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Duplicate of Are enemy weapons and armour up for grabs as loot?. Not an exact duplicate, but the concern is the same and the resolution is already given in the PHB as the answers on the target show. \$\endgroup\$
    – TylerH
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 19:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ in my opinion the answer given in PHB is very vague. Rarely doesn’t mean never. My goal here is to.have a more complex mechanic which accepts and promotes.in a fair, balanced way some looting of fallen enemies. I don’t know what the techniques of other dungeon masters are, and I want to know if some other people have a well thought out ways to deal with it. Also, in my mind, a specification that killed bandits non-magic weapons has no value, but I can use it as a regular weapon is pretty confusing. \$\endgroup\$
    – iber
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 20:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Would you be open to revising this question to more fully qualify what you mean by "fair" or "too rich too fast"? There are a lot of factors which will impact answers-- they will depend a lot on where PCs are (cash available to gain from sales), how a game handles time, and the nature of what PCs are fighting (which determines what equipment they can loot), as well as what things there are to buy and what money sinks are available. For examples, money may be more valuable if using Strongholds and Followers, and less available if fighting enemies that depend on natural weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 21:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this can either be a review of your rules or a question about how to handle too rich too fast (or asking if it's actually a problem.) But as it stands, this just seems to be asking for ideas with no way to judge what is most balanced. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 0:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Upper_Case - Might also be worth noting that fighting foes which use natural weapons doesn't necessarily solve this, as such foes are more likely to have valuable pelts or other body parts which could be taken instead of weapons. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2020 at 12:03

3 Answers 3


The system I made, which I'm testing with my party:

  • Armours and shields are damaged during the fight, so they can't be sold.
  • Weapons, as far as I know, aren't damaged during the fight, so players should be able to sell them..
  • Other enemies gear is undamaged.
  • I assume that rarely means 20%, so for each weapon player need to roll d20 and 17+ means that it is in a good enough condition to be sold.
  • The merchant, if they are interested, has enough gold to buy items according to this answer, so 250gp from moderately sized merchants in larger cities, 50 gp from small merchants / large cities or moderate merchants / small cities, and 10 gp from rural merchants.
  • Merchant is offering 50% of the price, as said in PHB as long as they have more than 50% available cash (PCs didn't sell enough loot yet).
  • When a merchant has less than 50% of available cash, they offer 25% for the weapons or denies the interest in buying.
  • A merchant doesn't buy if they don't have cash but can be persuaded for barter exchange.
  • Merchant resupplies in cash in 10 days.
  • If players want to bargain they need to make a persuasion skill check 15 (can be modified depending on players standings to a merchant or other reasons) and for each 5+ over merchant agrees on buying weapons for 10% more.

From what I see compared it gave an influx of cash which is between the median and the optimal wealth, so it is a small buff. Remembering about living expenses, which is 1 gp daily, also helps with balance.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And what experience do you and your players have with using that system? Answers based on experience are OK, untested ideas are not. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 19:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried this system out in play? If so, how did it perform relative to your goal of balancing wealth progression for characters? Also, why are weapons privileged in this system over armor and shields when they are described by the same "rarely in good enough condition to sell" phrase? \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 19:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand that reasoning, it just departs from the written rules arbitrarily. There are enough homebrew adjustments to it that I wonder if referencing that rule is worthwhile-- all you're directly taking from it is the 50% sale value of equipment. To be clear, I do like this approach, I just think that the answer might be clearer if that quote is removed. That's up to you, of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – Upper_Case
    Commented May 21, 2020 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ 15+ on a d20 isn't 20%. Each number has 5% chance. So 20% is 4 numbers. Counting back from the highest, that's 20, 19, 18, 17. So 20% is 17+. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 0:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just a note: If half your answer is bolded, it sort of defeats the purpose of using bold. When nearly everything is emphasized, nothing is. I'd recommend removing the bold from all but the 1-3 most important points of your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 5:36

So a method I've used for about 5 years now, successfully, is what I call "noteworthy loot." The concept is pretty straightforward- I'm handwaving the search for sellable items, instead giving them a cash value. If a body has anything noteworthy, it's specifically mentioned. I do my best to scale the cash to the CR of the fight, but beyond the guidelines in Xanathar's Guide I place no such restrictions on magic items- they appear as often as tickles my fancy.

If you'd like a fast and effective way to randomly generate a cash value, I recommend using Donjon or something similar. I plug in the CR of the fight, roll randomly to see which of the ten totals to use, and keep moving.

An example, fairly recent. My party has just engaged in aerial battle between their floating castle (which might seem familiar to those who played HotDQ) and a small army of giants in a cloud tower. Five giants died within their courtyard, so after the fight, they promptly loot. The above setup gives me 9000 gp in loot, and I already decided one of the giants is carrying a wand of lightning bolts, because the party bard collects wands. I describe the looting as follows:

You find 9,000 gp in salvageable goods, and what looks to be a jagged wand made out of some strange, glass-like material.

This, for the record, is enough to pay off three of the party's griffons, but not the other seven. They're an upper-level party, in case that isn't clear, but this method has worked since I started the campaign.

If you want to better control the amount of loot the party gets, I'd suggest halving the calculated CR of the encounter before determining loot. If I'd done that in the scenario above, the party would have found 120 gp instead.


I generally use two rules. based on whether the moster uses tools.

  1. Monsters who do not use tools, are treated like wildlife, their value is based of what the players can harvest and sell. I use an abbreviated version of Hamund's Harvesting Handbook from the Dmguild as a base. these generally require a check to figuire out what is valuable and proficiency with leatherworking (pelts), alchemy(fluids or magical tissues), or cooking tools (meats). I also let players take things they think might be valuable, and rule based on their argument as if they are pitching them to a buyer. This encourages them to think on it instead of relying on me. Generally the skins of anything any beast, dragon, or monstrosity is salable at least. Plus players often turn meat into rations if they have time. Undead, oozes, and elementals rarely have anything of value unless their description says otherwise.* Constructs may have valuable raw material dependent on the construct. I have a fun extra in that eating the prepared heart of an adult true dragon grants a random boon, usually a cantrip or resistance.

    • *although I do remember a fighter who got their first fullplate from half a dozen armored skeletons and then making a trip to an armorer to put it together into a usable set in return for all the left overs and 200gp. Rewarding inventiveness like this encourages it and makes for a more engaging setting.
  2. humanoids/tool users are done based on what they carry. I split it up based on whether they make metal tools. For very primitive monsters like trolls or bugbears have very little of value on them, maybe an uncut gemstone or a valuable jewelry at best. Tribal orcs or kobolds might have weapons valuable as scrap metal (1/4th value) or a few stolen coins. I generally roll percentile to see what percentage of the groups stuff is valuable. Bandits or humanoids from player level technological cultures have useful stuff: coin, weapons and tools (1/2 price), ect. Metal armor is generally worth 1/4th or lessof tis listed value as it is damaged or poorly made but useful for parts or raw material, but weight usually discourages collecting these. You can get weapons and armor from thew stat block. I have a chart I roll for random possessions. I have one for so called primitives and one normal one. these give things of random value but also make the enemies memorable. Your players may forget random bandit #8 but will remember they guy who had a pack of naughty playing cards and a set of loaded dice in his pouch.

Generally I ignore the CR treasure tables for anything that would not collect treasure I just use it for dragons, giants, fey, outsiders, or humanoids. Although there are exceptions for things like gelatinous cubes. This does mean my players have to work for their gold, which makes it feel more earned, they did not just kill the hydra they also had to figure out how to get its carcass back to civilization. The smile on a players face when they roll a Nat 20 to skin a dragon or hearing a player yell at a wizard for using disintegrate to save their life (and destroying all the loot) is always memorable.

The main thing is to think about what would actually be valuable on each creature, you can get a lot of ideas just from the creature descriptions. Would a lion have any coin on it, not but a clever player may realize the pelt has value. I just use charts and guides to speed it up. You can control influx of cash by which monsters the players face, and their own skills at harvesting.


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