I am running the Starter Set Adventure (Lost Mine of Phelvander), and the majority of enemies have weapons and armour. For example every goblin has a scimitar, a shortbow, and leather armour.

When the PCs defeat them, do they obtain these as items?

I ruled at the time that armour is rendered useless by the fight but weapons can be looted. (And then the first NPC shopkeeper they met swindled them horribly, so that worked out OK). But I would prefer to know what the rules have to say on the subject, and I can't seem to find an answer.


They can, sure. But the D&D basic rules (p. 45, under "Selling Treasure") are quite explicit that they typically have no value:

Weapons and armor used by monsters are rarely in good enough condition to sell.

So they can collect them, they can even use them, but no, merchants won't buy them unless they are particularly pristine.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do note the specification of "used by monsters", anything used by a humanoid creature is not covered by this rule. \$\endgroup\$ – Red_Shadow Aug 12 '14 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Red_Shadow That is actually not as obvious as it seems and might not be true. But note "usually": the DM can rule according to sense that someone's arms/armour are in good/salable condition. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 12 '14 at 16:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm a little late to the party, but humanoids are monsters in 5e, as explained explicitly in the introduction of the MM. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Stucki Feb 17 '17 at 5:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ This answer does not take into account the mending cantrip, though as a top level response it is valid. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 28 '19 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Adeptus: It seems to match v0.1 of the player's basic rules PDF. That said, I didn't really see a benefit in retaining a link to an outdated version of the basic rules solely to keep the page number, so I added a link to the 2018 basic rules PDF and updated the page number (to p. 45). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 22 '20 at 5:44

5e PHB pp.144:

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 while equipment used by monsters is rarely worth much as loot, any non-monster NPCs can be looted by a plain reading of the RAW.

Whether you consider a goblin a monster is the next question, but for what it's worth spells like dominate person/monster draw the line at humanoids.

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    \$\begingroup\$ We have a question about the NPC/monster distinction actually. The upshot is that "monster" in D&D almost always included enemy humanoids. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 12 '14 at 16:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie, interesting, but for 5e there's no explicit RAW distinction yet that I know of. \$\endgroup\$ – Hassassin Aug 12 '14 at 20:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ DMG page 4 defines "monster" as "any creature that can be interacted with and potentially fought and killed. Even something as harmless as a frog or as benevolent as a unicorn is a monster by this definition. The term also applies to humans, elves, dwarves, and other folk who might be friends or rivals to the player characters." \$\endgroup\$ – keithcurtis Feb 17 '17 at 2:13

As wax eagle says, they can be used as loot, but rarely in a condition to sell.

However, that doesn't mean they're useless to pick up. For example: a shortbow can be used as a fire drill, while a sword could be melted down to the base metal when you're in a village (think swords to ploughshears). Leather armor can be turned into strips, although these might not be as good quality as strips made directly from leather.

In general, while they might not be accepted by a merchant, you can still use them in their base materials, or process them. You might also find a militia in a nearby town that could have use for second-hand equipment. The items won't be worth that much, but you can still often find a buyer for it.

Note: the above explanation is not RAW as requested. however, not all the rules are known yet, so it's possible that there are rules concerning this that aren't found in the available rules thus far.


By the letter of the rules, yes you can loot the goblins for their leather armour and scimitars.

In my games I try to keep a small degree of realism as often as possible. This is made easier by my group being made up of larpers and re-enactors. Anyone who has actually worn armour and carried a real sword and shield knows that they are HEAVY. carrying several sets in addition to your own would rapidly leave you unable to walk, let alone fight.

Also you can point out to your players that to get the goblins armour they will have to undress them. That may discourage them. :P


Traditionally, the term "monster" in D&D has referred to any creature encountered while adventuring, even human NPC's! Although this usage is not, to my knowledge, currently in vogue, I would rule that the term monster is still broad enough to incorporate hostile humanoid creatures such as goblins and orcs. These type of creatures don't care about maintaining their equipment (they would just rather plunder some when their current supply wears out). On the other hand, human (or elf, dwarf, etc.) enemies probably do have nice equipment that can be looted and sold.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer seems to be discussing another answer, namely arguing the definition of monster, rather than answering the question. As such this may be better as a comment on another answer if you think this would improve it, or expand it to explain why the definition of monster is relevant to a direct answer to the OP's question. \$\endgroup\$ – InternetHobo Aug 26 '20 at 16:37

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