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Harvesting Monster Parts

Being able to make things out of the great beasts you hunt is an iconic trope of monster hunting.

In PF1e, there are some rules for gathering resources, trophies, parts, or harvesting poisons from fallen foes. GMs can take advantage of these rules and adapt them to help diversify their bazaars, make crafting more interesting, and add memorability to a character’s gear. For example, a cloak of resistance becomes a lot more memorable when it was made from the scales of a slain foe, rather than another nondescript piece of cloth.

GMs can allow trophies and parts harvested from creatures to not discount the crafted item, but instead grant new or gladiatorial arena and disabling the arena from potentially influencing the fight further.

When the opportunity to disable a boss action is available, a character can attempt a contested check as a standard action. Examples of contested checks can include contested skill check, contested “martial” check (1d20 + base attack additional properties unique to the materials used. Such properties should generally be miscellaneous, such as small bonuses on saving throws against related descriptors, small quantities of damage reduction or energy resistance, bonuses to skills, etc. These unique properties can also extend to merchants and unique bazaars who might have access to odd monster materials to offer unique armor, weapons, and magical items.

Trophies and Treasures

Trophies and Treasures (Ultimate Wilderness) presented rules for harvesting and valuing nondescript “trophies” from fallen creatures. This generalizes the process so you do not track and itemize an entire creature’s body, assigned values to the “trophy” of a creature, and suggests crafting affinities for those trophies, such as a demon’s heart being useful for items that are crafted with a spell with the evil descriptor.

Anyone can harvest and preserve trophies by succeeding on a sufficient Survival or Heal check with a DC equal to 15 + the creature’s CR. A trophy with magical affinities is worth 20% more, and the DC to harvest the trophy is increased by +5.

These rules can be very useful to quickly provide ways to harvest and preserve trophies. GMs should be mindful that these rules place a gold value on every slain creature, including humanoids if the party is willing to butcher one. GMs can balance this by providing that not everything has a trophy, but significant enemies may have a trophy that is worth more than usual, and is exceptional in some way or provides some benefit beyond that of a normal trophy.

Harvest Monster Parts

There are “core” rules for harvesting parts from monsters by taking the Harvest Parts feat. Parts harvested using this feat are worth less than those using the trophy rules but are a more measured way to allow characters to harvest from creatures if the GM is concerned about inflating party resources.

Harvesting Poisons and Crafting Antivenom

Harvesting poisons and creating antidotes (Ultimate Wilderness) can add more weight to a venomous creature whose presence may shape how a tribe hunts, how assassins deal with their marks, or what vials lurk in an underground market.

Magical Beast Talent Packages

Note: Talent packages were initially included in Spheres Bestiary: Undead and the Immortal Forlorn. The rules and implementation for using them are reprinted here for convenience.

A talent package is a tool for GMs to quickly add sphere abilities onto a stat block and can be a useful tool for quick session preparation or to make seemingly normal monsters have more interesting sets of abilities. Alternatively, complex monster stat blocks can be difficult when they have too many moving pieces.

GMs can use talent packages to quickly add a handful of thematic talents onto a monster to help achieve a specific goal in combat, such as giving a martial controller tools to bull rush others or a quickly grant casting to a casting.

When applying a talent package, treat any caster levels gained in the same way as building or adding spherecasting to a monster normally (see Monsters and Spheres of Power above). A talent package potentially increases a modified creature to be more powerful and may increase the creature’s CR depending on what abilities are added. GMs be careful when using talent packages and consider how adding talents to an existing monster will change the encounter and adjust accordingly when adding extra resources to monsters this way.

Each talent package lists the talents granted by the package, plus any other miscellany adjustments. When granting a creature a talent package, choose a practitioner modifier or casting ability modifier for the creature as normal and adjust other statistics, such as skill ranks, as necessary. Each talent package also lists an application section and an “upgrading this package” section. The application section is similar to a tactics section on a stat block and helps quickly inform what the creature is supposed to do with the package. The “upgrading this package” section lists quick options for empowering the talent package with additional abilities.

Agile Hunter (Athletics sphere package)

A blur of darting fang and claw, movement made with purpose.

Athletics Sphere – Package (varies); Talents Mobile Striker, Mobility, Whirlwind Leap

Special: The agile hunter gains one or more Athletics sphere packages appropriate to its primary form of movement, with others at GM discretion.

Skills: An agile hunter gains a number of ranks in the associated skills corresponding to any Athletics sphere packages it possesses equal to its Hit Dice, and gains those skills as class skills.

Application: The agile hunter uses the Mobile Striker talent with its corresponding Athletics sphere packages to quickly dart in and out of combat. The agile hunter gains a dodge bonus to AC equal to +2 + 1 per 4 ranks while moving.

Upgrading This Package: This is a very simple and basic talent package, functionally being equivalent to the Spring Attack feat plus some additional AC while moving. Reflexive Twist and Swift Movement can give an agile hunter the tools to better evade attacks while moving faster. (Motion) talents can also be added to grant the agile hunter ways to debuff foes while moving.

Frenzicist (Berserker sphere package)

Heavy, club-like strikes batter and bruise those unfortunate enough to be caught.

Berserker Sphere – Talents Beat Down, Bloody Counter; (exertion) Bone-Breaker

Application: The frenzicist hits hard using brutal strike modified by the Bone-Breaker (exertion), battering their opponents for a number of rounds equal to 1 + their practitioner modifier and causing that battered opponent to take a penalty on attack and damage rolls equal to -1 – 1 per 4 base attack bonus. The frenzicist may expend martial focus to deal additional damage equal to twice their base attack bonus, but does not have a way to restore martial focus during combat.

During combat, the frenzicist lowers their AC, gaining temporary hit points by berserking and uses these additional hit points to soak incoming damage when readying a Bloody Counter, going first if the target is still battered from previous strikes.

Upgrading This Package: A frenzicist is a basic framework for the Berserker sphere. Choosing new (exertions) can expand their debuff options, (adrenalines) can allow them to more aggressively maneuver around combat, and options such as Deathless and Sanguine Invigoration can help a frenzicist continue the fight. Alternatively, the Berserker sphere has a number of sunder-related options a more destructive opponent might rely on.

Pack Leader (Warleader sphere package)

The pack leader snarls at the back of its pack, a commanding presence the others follow out of respect, fear, or ambition.

Warleader Sphere – Talents Focusing Tactics, Persisting Influence, Triumph

Skills: A pack leader gains a number of ranks in Diplomacy equal to its Hit Dice, and gains Diplomacy as a class skill.

Application: A pack leader enables his allies, or pack, to strike harder and more consistently. By using the Aggressive Flanking tactic centered in a 10 feet + 5 feet per rank of Diplomacy radius, he and his allies can gain flanking advantages against foes. This is a move action to initiate, and can be maintained as a swift.

The pack leader can then use its standard action to use the Fierce Shout shout, granting a +1 + 1 per 2 ranks of Diplomacy damage bonus on its and its allies first attack each turn.

With Persisting Influence, the pack leader’s shouts and tactics last 1 additional round + 1 per 7 ranks of Diplomacy. The pack leader can use martial focus with the Triumph talent to renew or use new shouts while maintaining a tactic and its allies can spend a move action to renew the pack leader’s martial focus with Focusing Tactics.

Upgrading This Package: A pack leader is a basic framework for the Warleader sphere. The base shout and tactic both offer very direct advantages for combat and the three talents it does possess, Focusing Tactics, Persisting Influence, and Triumph, each help abridge action economy issues a Warleader practitioner might face.

Additional talents improve the pack leader’s arsenal of options.

Many (tactics) can be built around as the pack leader can enable its allies and its specialties, whereas (shouts) can contribute new short term buffs, debuffs, or defensive options.

Piercing Fang (Fencing sphere package)

With piercing bite and claw, the piercing fang strikes through defenses and exploits opportunities.

Fencing Sphere – Talents Fast Feint, Focusing Feint; (exploit) Face Strike, Wide Open

Special: If the piercing fang possesses a ranged attack, it gains the Fencing sphere Verbal Feint and Death From Afar talent (Spheres Apocrypha: Martial Talents: Ranged).

Skills: A piercing fang gains a number of ranks in Bluff equal to its Hit Dice, and gains Bluff as a class skill.

Application: A piercing fang is either a cautious solo combatant, feinting its foes and leveraging concealment, or an opportunist that flanks with its allies. The piercing fang’s sphere abilities hinge on the two halves of the Fencing sphere, fatal thrust and feinting.

A piercing fang possesses the fatal thrust ability, which it can use to add 1d6 + 1d6 per 4 base attack bonus precision damage on attack actions or attacks of opportunity against targets that are flat-footed or have lost their Dexterity bonus to AC (similar to sneak attack). Whenever the piercing fang uses its fatal thrust ability, it can apply one (exploit) talent, either the Face Strike (exploit) to force the target to have partial concealment against enemies for 1 + 1 per 5 base attack bonus rounds or the Wide Open (exploit) to reduce the target’s armor class by -2 – 1 per 5 base attack bonus for 1 round.

Feint is a Bluff check against a DC 10 + the target’s base attack bonus + the target’s Wisdom modifier or 10 + the target’s Sense Motive bonus, if higher. A feint can only be performed against a target the piercing fang threatens (or at range with the Verbal Feint talent). The piercing fang can use the Fast Feint talent to feint as a move action, expend martial focus to move up to their speed on a successful feint, and regain martial focus as a swift action with Focusing Feint.

Upgrading This Package: A piercing fang is a basic framework for the Fencing sphere that provides two (exploit) options and some basic capability to feint in combat. Additional talents can improve the (exploit) options available or allow the piercing fang’s feinting to be more debilitating (such as the Expert Feint talent to cause the target to be flat-footed until the beginning of the piercing fang’s next turn, instead of against a single attack.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Spheres Bestiary: Magical Beasts and Climactic Encounters, © 2021, Drop Dead Studios; Author: Steven Alpert.