One interesting feature of the new partnered content, Lairs of Etharis, is the focus on the concept of “salvage”. Most monsters or groups of monsters have a section that describes what can be crafted from their body parts after they are defeated. I’m not a big fan of using the word “salvage” for this purpose. I think something like “harvest” works a bit better. That’s probably just me being picky. In general, I think it’s a fun idea, and one that I know players are interested in. I have some concerns, though.
In the introduction of Lairs of Etharis, the authors talk about how the salvage rules are part of evoking a sense of dark fantasy in the game. The players are reliant on gleaning resources from the monsters they kill because they might not have other options for obtaining needed magical items. I think that’s an interesting take. I think they’re also sidestepping the grit of butchering intelligent creatures.
What Could Go Wrong?
For instance, the very first creature you find in the bestiary is an angel. The angel is supposed to be a bit wayward and overzealous in hunting down impurity in mortals. It gets listed with an alignment of lawful neutral. The angel has some minions which are celestial bulls, lawful good. It seems likely that, in the events of the adventure these creatures are used, they will be killed to achieve the PCs goals. Salvage is listed for both of these creatures. There are no consequences though.
I feel like something has to come of interfering in the affairs of a bunch of celestial beings and killing them. Even if they were wayward, it seems like a god would take issue with you killing their servants, draining their blood and using it for magic potions.
Why Salvage Concerns Me
As a DM, I’d be worried about how far my players might take this. There are recipes for gnoll body parts and for the blood of human priests who’ve been corrupted into monstrosities. In my mind, that’s getting awfully close to humans. The few NPCs in the book that are humans don’t list body parts that can be used for crafting. Once players are in the habit, though, could you really fault them for trying? DMs often complain about their players being “murder hobos”. How much worse will it be if your players feel motivated to butcher and consume their enemies?
All that said, I may be back with a few ideas for crafting from monster parts, but with a more restrained approach. Until then, how about some great monsters for your game?