In general: if you kill a monster with a body part that has some known (or suspected) property, is there any mechanic around harvesting the body part and using it as-is (or with minimal processing required)?
Specifically: We're fairly low level and just found ourselves fighting a Dretch. While none of us did very well on our knowledge checks, it became apparent during the fight that it had a fair number of buffs, including DR and elemental resistances.
- Which of these are properties of the skin, and which are properties of the creature itself?
- Would such properties persist in the skin after removal (and tanning, I assume)?
- Would tanning/crafting produce armor, a wondrous item, a trophy, or what?
I read some comments about how his is sort of frowned upon since it disrupts the economics of the game… and, ultimately, I understand this is totally subject to DM's approval, but… just thought knowing how this is handled generally is appreciated.
(I asked another question about repurposing magic items which is somewhat similar to this, but I don't think this is a duplicate, since this is specifically about harvesting nearly-ready-to-use parts of creatures, whereas the other one dealt mainly with using magic items to create new items).
Yes, If it's a Dragon
The lone case I know of in the rules that talks about this is Dragonhide Armor. You use a dragon's scales to make it, and the armor can get properties from it. Here's the description (emphasis mine, as it's the relevant part):
That's about it.
Which of these are properties of the skin, and which are properties of the creature itself?
Properties are that of the creature as a whole. Skinning a Drow and wearing it does not confer it's Spell Resistance on you. Somehow capturing part of an Air Elemental and eating it doesn't let you turn into a Whirlwind (although it might give you an upset stomach). Etc.
The exception is Dragonhide, which is mentioned specifically in the rules.
Would such properties persist in the skin after removal (and tanning, I assume)?
Aside from Dragonhide, this is going to be DM interpretation. Does a Drow's right hand have Spell Resistance if severed? I really have no idea, and the rules don't say.
Would tanning/crafting produce armor, a wondrous item, a trophy, or what?
There's precedent for using hides to produce armor (Dragonhide, and "Hide Armor" in general). So if your DM rules that a bear hide has some special property, you could use it to get armor crafted, sure. But that requires such a ruling to work, by RAW the only time it works for armor is Dragonhide. You would also still have to have someone use the hide to make the armor with Craft: Armor.
Wondrous Items by the rules can only be produced with the Craft Wondrous Item feat. You could use whatever you skinned as the base of that item, but you'd still have to use the feat and pay the appropriate costs to make it magical.
As for a trophy... I don't see any reason why Craft: Taxidermy (or Profession: Taxidermist if your DM prefers) couldn't be used to make trophies. And hey, they look awesome on the wall of your base of operations. :)
There are a few cases (as Eric B mentioned) where an item might have a listed value. In that case, you could harvest the item and sell it. If it doesn't have a listed value, it's worthless unless your DM decides otherwise. (Maybe the leatherworkers in the area really like working with Dire Wolf pelts and will pay for them.)