Critter Bits and Magic Recipes!

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First Post
Any uses for a wyvern?

I've already had an idea to make a whip out of it's stinger tail. Maybe I can work something out with the necromancer cleric in the party to keep the tail "alive" somehow, so the poison glands stay active... :D


A lot of these monster "by-products" seem fairly obscure, and methods for extracting them even more so. Even if the players know that a certain gland possessed by purple worms repels other purple worms, how are they going to know what bit of disgusting wormflesh to hack off? I'd strongly recommend that a specific skill be necessary. I'm also thinking of Final Fantasy Tactics here, which would allow you to get items cheaply by hunting monsters, but they had to be killed by a physical blow from someone with the "Secret Hunt" ability. I'm strongly leaning towards adding Monster Lore skills to my campaign, and extraction of obscure valuable substances from a monster's body would seem to fit. For other campaigns, a Knowledge (arcana) check would seem appropriate for the stuff used in making magic items; perhaps Knowledge (nature) for the other stuff, like the aforementioned purple worm glands?

Incidentally, it seems you could use this sort of information for more than just encouraging your PCs to butcher various odd critters and making magic item creation more flavorful; if these creatures have valuable body parts, someone somewhere is going to come up with the idea of raising them for profit. What happens if a druid objects, or if the monsters get free, or raising them has some other sort of unforeseen consequence (such as hydra ranching attracting dragons)? Lots of potential here!


Creature Cataloguer
those are some great ideas. :) and yes, i think i'll advocate a Monster Lore type of skill to prevent metagaming - "hey guys! a white dragon's tongue casts cone of cold!" or somesuch will require a skill check to deduce from now on. ;)


First Post
I'll try not to get too vile :devil: ....

It seem orcs tend to be quite fecund, so it goes to reason that certain glands of orcs can likely be harvested to brew potions to boost the fertility of those trying to create progeny. Though the appearance of such children may leave a little to be desired.

Extreme care is advised when using the materials of the flora, fauna, and / or unclassifiable entities of the places outside the known multiverse, sometimes referred to as the Far Realm. While the Potent abilities of these Things cannot be denied, their peculiar makeup can cause unforeseeable consequences in the items they are used in. Some of these abominations can literally reform themselves from their remains, years after said material was crafted into an enchanted item.


First Post
BOZ said:
orcs are just unusually... excitable, that's all. :D

To me orcs seem about as fertile as a non magical race gets. they are quite capable of cross breeding with many non human things[ ogres, lesser cyclops, ettins, and thus I assume for my own games they are very good choice for fertility related formulas.


First Post
IMC, Unicorn Horns are great for either Healing Wands and draughts. The problem is that unless the Unicorn gives up it's horn willingly(and thus dies), then you've got a useless horn(not to mention you've probably succeeded in pising off just about every elf and centaur in the forest).


First Post
I'm surprised nobody popped open the 1e DMG. On page 116-117, it has a list of ingredients requried for potions.

Animal Contol - Organ or gland from representative type or types to be controlled
Clairaudience - Human or simian thalamus gland or ear from an animal with keen hearing
Clairvoyance - Human or simian thalamus gland or eye from an animal with keen sight
Climbing - Giant insect legs
Delusion - Doppleganger flesh or rakshasa ichor
Diminuation - Powdered kobold horn and wererat blood
Dragon Control - Brain of the appropriate dragon type
ESP - Mind flayer brain
Extra-healing - troll blood (or hair of a saint if a cleric is creating the potion)
Fire Resistance - Fire elemental phlogiston or salamander scales
Flying - Hippogriff feathers and wyvern blood
Gaseous Form - Vampire dust or ogre magi teeth
Giant Control - Brain of an appropriate giant type
Giant Strength - Drops of sweat from appropriate giant type
Growth - Ogre magi gland
Healing - Ogre magi blood (or thread of a saint's garment if a cleric is creating the potion)
Heroism - Heart of a lion or similar giant cat
Human Control - Vampire eye or nixie blood
Invisibility - Invisible stalker ichor
Invulnerability - Gargoyle horn or lycanthrope skin
Levitation - Beholder eye (from stalk) or will-o-wisp essence
Longevity - Dragon blood and treant sap or elf blood
Oil of etherealness - Shedu fat or demon brain
Oil of slipperiness - Purple worm gland or liver of giant pike
Philter of love - Dryad hair
Philter of persuasiveness - Harpies' tongues or devil tongue
Plant Control - Shreiker spores and umber hulk eye
Polymorph Self - Mimic skin or succubus hair
Speed - Pegasus heart and giant weasel blood
Super-Heroism - Giant wolverine blood and minotaur heart
Sweet Water - Water elemental eye or triton blood
Treasure Finding - Gold dragon scale and six different powdered gems
Undead Control - Dust of freshly destroyed spectres or vampire brain or ghost ectoplasm or lich tongue
Water Breathing - Water naga blood or nixie organs

Sure, it'd take a little conversion, but I think it's a decent list... especially since it only required a glance at the index to find it :D


First Post
CombatWombat51 said:

Extra-healing - troll blood (or hair of a saint if a cleric is creating the potion)

Healing - Ogre magi blood (or thread of a saint's garment if a

Ahh, back when adventure didn't have addictions to healing potions and bulls strength.

Thanx for doing that typing.


Creature Cataloguer
for frankthedm, I found this little bit under the “ogre” heading...

Sages have expressed much concern over the years, wondering why ogres can interbreed with humans but not with elves or halflings. When the actual answer was discovered, the sages' concerns proved unfounded. The explanation had nothing to do with any supposed common origin of humans and ogres, but rather in a unusual characteristic that ogres share with orcs: rapidly adaptive biology. Just as orcs and ogres can adapt quickly to any terrain, from forests to the highest mountains, their genetic construction allows them breed with any humanoid race.
This ability to breed easily is frequently passed on to their progeny. Half-ogres can also breed successfully with most other humanoid races. If this process continues for many generations, the result is a horrible hybrid known as a mongrelman. Many mongrelmen have strong strains of orc and ogre in their bloodlines, which may account for their chaotic evil attitudes.
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I really like this thread and have been following it since it started.. I just have nothing I could reference to contribute.

But, I did wish to say thank you to all those that have taken the time to reference stuff and add to this list. :)

It adds nice "flavor" when doing stuff...



First Post
As a side note, our house rule on "appropriate components for the item" is to reduce the Market Price Value (only in regards to calculations for time, xp and money spent) to give the creator a break.

So for instance...when we killed some Displacer beasts and the ranger was able to skin en and cure em. I got a 50% reduction in the market value price for purposes of creating the cloak, since I had a fresh pelt to use.



First Post
Heh, because of this one of the first items I ever created on my own in 3rd ed was a Preservation Pack.

Basically a Heward's Handy Haversack that preserved body parts and remains (ie gentle repose). Then I just went around "harvesting" just about everything we killed until I could get it's parts back to the lab to further reduce my xp, money and time costs.



Creature Cataloguer
the previously mentioned 1E old skooler in our party mentioned an article from Dragon 137 that had values for items from monsters (thinking about selling the hides of the displacer beasts we killed), so I looked it up. The majority of the article was about selling hides and body parts, as well as young and eggs. A small amount of it was devoted to the subject matter of this thread. There’s probably more in that article than what I have listed here, so I’ll go look at it again later.

1E wasn’t anywhere near as big on the whole ecology and uses for monsters thing as 2E was. So, I’m glad for this listing as it’s hard to find this stuff in the 1E books! If you can find more than this, please do add to it. This was a table from the article:

Creature (part) Value (gp)
Bee, giant (bread) 30
Bee, giant (unguent) 3,000-8,000
Beetle, fire (light glands) 300
Bulette (neck scale) 200-500
Cave fisher (proboscis rope) 500
Flail snail (shell) 5,000
Gloomwing (mandibles) 25
Imorph (liver) 300-900
Pernicon (antenna) 350
Phoenix (beak, talon, or eye) 5,000
Whale (ambergris) 1,000-20,000

So, I went and looked in the old manuals, and found this for each of those entries:

Honey in hives or nests is of proportional quantities. Bee "bread" is excellent food and equal to iron rations. "Royal jelly," found only 20% of the time, is equal to 2-5 potions of extra-healing with a side effect of cure disease for each. It also can be made into sufficient unguent to treat aging. The unguent preserves a youthful look for up to 1 year and 2-5 such preparations can be made from royal jelly. Charisma will remain unaffected by age when the unguent is used continually without interruption. It is greatly prized by rich and noble women, and each unguent jar commands from 3000-8000 gp on the open market.

Fire beetles have two glands above their eyes and one near the back of their abdomen which give off a red glow. For this reason they are highly prized by miners and adventurers, as this luminosity will persist from 1-6 days after the glands are removed from the beetle. The light shed illuminates a 10' radius.

The great plates behind the bulette's head are highly prized for use in shield making, for a skilled dwarven craftsman can fashion them into a shield of +1 to +3 value.

To trap its prey, a cave fisher employs a super-strong, highly adhesive filament which extends from its proboscis. This filament is 60-feet long, and tipped with a powerful adhesive sucker. A cave fisher can shoot this filament from its proboscis with great speed and accuracy, striking as a 6 hit dice monster. It will then "reel in" its prey at a rate of 15 feet per round, using a complex organic winch housed in an armored protuberance behind its head. A cave fisher can pull in prey weighing upto400 pounds (4000 gp weight). The adhesive on the sucker head also coats the filament, and it can be dissolved by liquids with a high alcohol content or a cave fisher's blood, which also contains a lot of alcohol. The filaments are so strong that they can be cut only by a +1 or better edged weapon and so thin that there is only a 20% chance of noticing them within 10 feet and no chance beyond that distance.

The highly-coloured shell affords the flail snail partial protection against magic, acting as a type of robe of scintillating colours. Whenever it is attacked by magic the effects are variable - 40% chance of the spell malfunctioning, 30% chance of it functioning normally, 20% of it failing to work a t all and 10% chance of it being reflected onto the person casting it. If a spell malfunctions its effects will alter (at the total discretion of the referee, who will not permit more than minor alteration) and the altered effect will be deviated from the snail to the nearest person Or creature.
The shell weighs 250 pounds (2,500 gold pieces weight) and retains i t s magical properties for 1 -6 months after i t s occupant's death. It can be sold for as much as 5,000 gold pieces.

(Note that the gloomwing's mandibles are valuable only because they are made of ivory - 25 gp value.)

Within the [imorph's] body there is a small organ, corresponding to the human liver, made of a rubbery green substance. Within the organ is a liquid of similar colour which, when mixed with water in equal quantity, serves as a potion of polymorph self. There will be sufficient liquid in a single imorph to make 1-3 draughts of such a potion, and it is for this reason that the imorph is attacked by adventurers.

the pernicon inhabits the outer regions of deserts and is much prized by the nomads of these regions because the antennae on it s head are water-diviners, vibrating and giving off a low hum when within 120' of a large quantity of water.

(Phoenix - i believe i listed this information above)

(Whale ambergis - again, no apparent alchemical use, just listed as being worth 1000-20,000 gp "in a large city")

Other folks have covered the pre-3E references that I remember, but here's a newer one: pick up Philip Reed's 101 Arcane Spell Components PDF. It has a ton of what you're looking for, 100% OGC.


First Post
Hey, BOZ! You missed one!

From the 2nd edition monster manual:
"Some sages claim that even a dead brain mole can offer protection against psionic attacks, provided the carcass is worn about one's neck as a medallion."

Or is that perhaps a little too tentative? I found a third edition one as well when i was trying to stat block an NPC I'm working on... I wouldn't report it except that I'm sure it would end up being overlooked... The item is probably in the SRD even if the flavor isn't, but I don't have time right now to check.

From the 3rd edition DMG, page 224:
"A portable hole is a circle of cloth spun form the webs of a phase spider interwoven with strands of ether and beams of starlight."

Good job thus far and a great big "thank you" to everyone who's contributed already... I really like this thread. I've got three Monstrous Compendiums and umpteen back issues of Dragon to go through still, so I'll probably contribute more later.


Creature Cataloguer
the Monstrous Manual was followed by four subsequent Monstrous Compendium Annuals in 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1998 (97 was a bad year for TSR, remember?). these featured a lot of collected, reprinted monsters and here are some excepts from those books:

Monstrous Compendium Annual One:

The gooey acid produced by [abyss ants] is a primary ingredient in universal solvent.

A dazzle’s [al –jahar] blood is useful in making a potion of delusion and other mind-affecting magical items.

[fang dragons’] fangs (powdered) and their cranial fluids are valued in the making of swords +2, nine lives stealer and similar magic items.

[gray linnorms] are sometimes hunted by adventurers, who use their scales for armor and their poison and other body parts in potions and spell components.

Their powdered bones [dread] can be used as an ingredient in certain preservative magics and in spells concerned with flight, telekinesis, and levitation.

Earth-weird dirt is valued by wizards for spell components. Pieces of these weirds are especially useful in various spells involving earth, including passwall, flesh to stone, and stone to mud.

The powder into which a destroyed sandman crumbles can be used to make a potion of dreaming or sand of truth. If used as the material component for a sleep spell, the spell affects double the normal number of levels of Hit Dice. The dust of a sandman is enough for only one potion or two spells.

If a stwinger’s “charm glands” are milked while it lives or within one hour of its death, the extract can be used in a philter of love.

The elastice hide of the gambado’s legs is sometimes used for connectors in lengths of pipe or for similar applications.

Garbug tentacles are useful in the manufacture of paralysis poisons, and they might be useful in the making of scrolls, glyphs, or other items that cause paralysis.

... parts of [brain golems] are useful in the manufacture of mind-affecting magical items...

... the powdered remains of [a spiderstone golem] are useful in the creation of magical scrolls and items related to spiders, webs, and the abilities of spiders (e.g., scroll of spider climbing, cloak of arachnidia, arrow of slaying arachnids, etc.).

Dried greelox webbing is useful to wizards in the preparation of oil of acid resistance.

[Lock] Lurker venom is valued as an ingredient in inks, potions, and processes concerned with slow effects. Their bodies are a preferred ingredient in oil of etherealness, too, and a largely intact body is worth 2 gp (6 gp if the stinger is intact). Lock lurker venom (a clear, gummy fluid that smells like seaweed) brings about 10 gp per flask. Lurker egg sacks bring about 25 gp on the open market.

The oil distilled from [lythlyx] flesh is used in the manufacture of certain magical inks and oils.

Alchemists and mages use magebane flesh in many magical and experimental processes, and will pay 400 gp or more for a largely intact carcass.

Some mages have found uses for [bone nagas’] powdered bones in magic involving telepathy. Bone-naga powder can also be used as a substitute for powdered iron (by wizards) or unholy water or smoldering dung (by priests) when making the circle for a protection from good spell (without altering the spell’s casting or effects in any way).

Vampire moss may be used as a component of energy draining magic such as cursed potions of harm (reverse of healing) or rings of weakness.

Any mirror that has been prepared by casting enchant an item and permanency spells on it, and which is subsequently engulfed by a shadeling, will instantly become a mirror of opposition.

Giant cobra venom can be stored in daggers made to hold the liquid in special channels, but it degrades rapidly. The virulent agent decays at a rate of +1 to the saving throw per turn. After 20 minutes the save is made with no penalty; after a full hour, the saving throw is made at +4; after two hours, the save is made at +10. The poison is inert after three hours.

Stone snake egg yolk is a prized ingredient for the ink used to inscribe the wizard spell stoneskin onto a scroll.

The wood of a mature death’s head tree is prized for its natural magic resistance and immunity to fire, and it is an essential part of many magical devices, especially fire-resistant shields. It is also used as a component in fire-protection spells.

[An undead lake monster’s] hide is tough enough to use for (leather) armor or a shield, but it has an oppressive stench that will force a character trying to use it to make hourly saving throws vs. poison to avoid nausea (-1 penalty to attack rolls).

Whipstings are themselves immune to the effects of their own venom, which is an ingredient in the making or rings of weakness and nausea-inducing medicines.

Some mages think that shimmering wraiths can be used to power wands of lightning and similar items, but since they dissipate upon defeat and always fight to the death, no one can test the theory.

Alchemists and wizards use powdered xaver bodies in spell inks, unguents, and alternative spellcasting components in spells involving resistance to heat and electrical energies, the rusting of metals, and in invulnerability to metallic weapons. Sold in the right place, a reasonably intact and fresh adult xaver body can bring as much as 1,600 gold pieces.

Monstrous Compendium Annual Two:

It is possible to extract dragon beetle venom and coat weapons with it. Each beetle can produce 1-4 doses or coatings, and each dose is good for a single effect. On a naked blade, the poison remains potent for one day. In a glass or ceramic container, the venom keeps for a week. Crude armor and shields can be fashioned from the chitinous shells of dragon beetles, though this is a painstaking process and requires proper knowledge of crafting techniques.

It is rumored that certain proficient dwarven weaponsmiths can create special maces from the skins of [bi-nou] rocklords. The smiths claim these weapons are naturally +1 to hit and +3 to damage because of the density of the weapon and the magical properties of the rocklord. However, it takes three times as long to craft one of these weapons as a normal weapon.

[Chronolily] nectar, which tastes like honey, can be used as a component for potions of clairvoyance.
(There is also a lot of information in this book on using chonolilies to see images of the past, present, and future.)

When the [darktentacles] has been slain, its flesh, eyes, and ichor are often used as spell ingredients and material components for wall of force and similar magical items that use or create that effect.

Avariel wings are sought by mages and evil giants. The mages use the wings in creating potions and wings of flying, and will often pay huge amounts for any brought to them. The giants, on the other hand, use the avariel's wings as decorations for headgear.

Adventuring parties occasionally hunt verme for their dorsal scales, which can be powdered and used as one ingredient in the ink for a shield spell. The scales from one verme can supply enough material for several dozen spells.

Wizards have been known to hunt flareaters in the hopes that the creatures' remains (or a live specimen) can be used as components in spells like create darkness and shapechange, and potions that grant immunity to fire. It is rumored that large colonies of flareaters exist deep underground.

Some primitive tribes use the tentacles of portugese men-o-war in crude traps, and might construct crude scourges of short-lived effectiveness from the tentacles.

Like the leucrotta, changesteed [aka greater leucrottas] are useful in creating boots of springing and striding; in addition, their shapechanging abilities grant the hide special properties that can, with proper preparation, duplicate those of a cloak of elvenkind. Lastly, greater leucrotta hooves are especially sought after as heels for boots of varied tracks, allowing wearers to create prints of dogs, goats, horses, stags, and wolves.

Wizards and alchemists can often find uses for [the bloodthorn's] hollow thorns.

The [firethorn's] blossoms also produce an attar which can be used in making a heady perfume or, when correctly rendered, as an ingredient for a potion of dreamng. The thorns from an entire bush provide 1 to 6 doses of type E poison, but the toxin breaks down into a harmless substance after about a week.

[Stone] puddings, their remains, and their surface secretions can be prepared as poisons and used as ingredients in oil of acid resistance.

The scales of a teak serpent, if used while casting barkskin, provide a +2 bonus to Armor Class for the duration of the spell. Teak serpents are sometimes captured by powerful spellcasters and bound into magical staves.

Mages are known to covet the tails of webbirds for use as components for web spells.

Zorbo hide that has been properly treated is an ideal receptacle for enchantments. Items made of this material, soaked in holy water and enchanted under a full moon, receive an additional +1 on item saving throws.

Monstrous Compendium Annual Three:

[Aranea] are generally good with cloth, and naturally dominate the silk market with the silk they produce.

Essence of alhoon brain is an exotic ingredient in spell-writing inks, and can be employed to great advantage in the crafting of magic items that affect the minds of creatures.

Braxat shells make excellent shields (improving AC by 2) and armor plates (AC 2) if properly worked. Sometimes these great hunters become the hunted when an elf tribe or a band of raiders decide to harvest braxat shells. This dangerous course often turns deadly, as braxats are smart enough and vicious enough to set traps and ambushes for even the strongest hunters.

The [disenchanter’s] essence is purported to be useful in ink for scrolls, and might be used for the fabrication of a rod of cancellation.

If killed, a tome guardian’s essence dissipates in a wave of heat and a dusting of ash. The ash has proven a viable ingredient for oil of fiery burning and smoke powder and would presumably serve well in other fire-related potions or magical items. The heat relseased by the death of a tome guardian has been suggested as a means to temper a ring of fire resistance. The creature’s fireburst might also be useful in igniting the flame powers of certain items, like a flame tongue sword; however touching an item to the tome guardian in hopes of this is a dangerous proposition, because the fireburst attack still affects the wielder of the item.

The poison from one bramble might coat a single arrow or dart; it would take at least 10 to coat a Longsword. However, their armor is beautiful in a dangerous way, and a collector might pay up to 80 gp for a complete, unoccupied suit.

Hybsil antlers are said to have magical powers, and have fetched as much as 100 gold pieces from certain wizards, sages, and alchemists. Since hyhsils shed their antlers every year, it is not necessary to injure hyhsils to obtain their horns. However, since hybsils do not like people trespassing on their territory, it is often difficult to gain permission to gather shed antlers, or to befriend a male hybsil and convince him to give one away.

The horn of a black unicorn is highly prized. Powdered, it can be used to create a potent poison equivalent to a Type N contact poison (onset time 1 round, Death/25 DMG Table 51). If the horn is fixed to a lance and wielded in a charge, a mounted warrior inflicts the black unicorn charge damage (3d12 points of damage).

Monstrous Compendium Annual Four:

The firestar’s body contains several organs that are useful as spell components or ingredients in magical concoctions. It contains a distinctive organ that can be used in a dancing lights spell. Any of its organs can be used to prepare the magical inks for affect normal fires, dancing lights, and detect magic scolls. These organs are worth 1 to 5 gp.

If [the octo-jelly’s] ink particles can be collected, they might be used as an ingredient in the ink used to creating such spells as light, continual light, and the various prismatic spells. An octo-jelly carries enough particles to provide sufficient ink for one written spell.

Some parts of a sea hermit’s natural form can be used in magical preparations that deal with water breathing and shapeshifting. A rumor persists that a wizard has one of these great shells enchanted to act like Daern’s instant fortress.

The viscous liquid secreted by the lukhorn is often in high demand by alchemists and wizards (100 gp per vial). When used in the creation of invisibility and polymoprh potions, it extends their durations by 25%. The liquid, however, dries almost immediately upon the death of the lukhorn; it is extremely difficult to secure more than a vial or two from a recently killed specimen.
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