The act of removing useful reagents from a creature is referred to as harvesting. Generally, only creatures that have been slain may be harvested, though there may be some exceptions based on context. Ultimately, the DM is the final arbiter on whether or not a creature may be harvested from, as particularly violent deaths may destroy the more valuable parts of the creature.

Note: The rules listed below are from the Hamund's Harvesting Handbook series of third-party books and are presented for ease of references and to document some minor changes that have been made. However, the extensive rules, such as harvesting tables, are found in the books themselves.


Table: Skill by Creature Type
Creature TypeSkill
BeastNature or Survival
CelestialArcana or Religion
DragonArcana or Nature
ElementalArcana or Nature
FeyArcana or Nature
FiendArcana or Religion
MonstrosityNature or Survival
OozeArcana or Survival
PlantNature or Survival
UndeadArcana or Religion

Appraising the creature to be harvested is an optional first step that a character can take before starting their harvest. It takes 1 minute of examination to appraise a creature. At the conclusion of this appraisal, the character then makes an Intelligence ability check, adding their proficiency bonus if they are proficient in the skill corresponding to the creature (see table below).

The DC of the check is equal to 10 + half the Harvested Creature's CR (any CR less than 1 is treated as 0). Success on this check grants the player full knowledge of any useful materials or reagents that may be harvested from the creature, the DC requirement to harvest any of those reagents, any special requirements to harvest them, and any potential risks in doing so. In addition, any harvesting check made on the creature by that character is rolled with Advantage.

A character may only attempt one appraisal check per creature.

Sharing Responsibility

In the event multiple characters wish to help with the harvesting process, the responsibilities of the harvest may be divided between two characters (such as a more knowledgeable character handling the appraisal while a more dexterous character handles the harvesting). As long as the character that performs the appraisal assists the harvester through the entire harvesting process, the benefits of successful appraisal can be extended to the harvester.


To harvest a creature, a character must make a Dexterity ability check using the same skill proficiency as listed in the above table, or proficiency with a harvesting kit. The result of this check determines how successful the harvesting attempt is based on the harvesting DCs of the reagents that can be acquired from the creature. Each type of reagent has its own DC, and meet or exceeding this DC awards the character the reagent. This process is cumulative, thus a character will receive every item with a DC equal to or below the result of their ability check.

However, only one harvest attempt may be made per creature (unless a spell such as recomposition is used to get another chance). If a character fails to meet a reagent's DC threshold, it is assumed the reagent was in some way unsalvageable. The process of harvesting can be quite time consuming, and for the average creature, the time it takes to harvest each reagent is assumed to be a number of minutes equal to the DC of that reagent divided by 5. However, larger creatures take more time. Reagents harvested from a Huge creature take a number of minutes equal to the DC of that reagent, while reagents from a Gargantuan creature take a number of minutes equal to the DC of that material multiplied by 2.

If a character only has a limited time to harvest from a creature, they can pick which reagents to prioritize. However, any reagents that a character does not have the time to harvest are lost.

Carcass Degradation

The rules for harvesting assume that some damage was done to the creature being harvested, but particularly violent deaths, or an excessive amount of time passing, can result in reagents that are too damaged or decayed to have any use. In cases where a creature was killed violently, such as via destructive means like fire or acid, or being crushed or otherwise mangled, the GM may decide to raise the DC for harvesting any of the creature's reagents by 5. Alternatively, particularly sensitive or delicate reagents may simply be impossible to acquire without the use of magic to reverse some of the damage done.

Decomposition of a corpse may result in harvesting DCs that increase by the same amount as if the creature suffered a violent death. Similarly, depending on how much time has passed, certain reagents may be rendered unusable as the corpse breaks down. For instance, after a day, blood may have congealed and become useless, and soft tissues may have started to break down. Unless there are special circumstances at work, virtually no soft tissues remain harvestable after 1 week (though many may have putrefied sooner). However, hard materials like bones, teeth, and claws generally do not undergo decomposition and can be harvested even months after the death occurred.

Harvesting Dangerous Reagents

While most corpses are rendered harmless once the creature is killed, there are some that possess poisons, acids, and breath sacks that may remain active and volatile even after the creature's death. A misplaced knife stroke has the risk of rupturing something that may cause harm to the harvester, thus deadly creatures remain dangerous even after the life has left their eyes.

In instances where these dangerous reagents are present, rolling below the DC of a dangerous reagent may cause the reagent to trigger, inflicting damage or whatever other effects it is capable of to the harvester (and in some cases, as with the explosive nature of draconic breath sacks, to those around them as well).