“You said this was a common room or something. Shouldn’t there be other stuff around? Like, what’s in the goblins’ pockets?”Nearly every creature in the monster manuals or in adventure packs simply possesses weapons and armor. Obviously, non-humanoid creatures aren’t likely to carry anything at all. When it comes to adding magic items, quest items, or objects of value, generally the DM fills in such rewards. That said, it has always seemed to me that humanoids, many of whom wear more than just armor, should have something in their pockets, even if it is a small keepsake or a handful of tools.
Perhaps it is just me, but the absence of such mundane pocket-filler makes most monsters entirely one-dimensional. We create characters that are multifaceted, why not attempt to craft monsters the same way?
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Spending time and energy in an attempt to fill the loot lists of random creatures with objects that will likely be ignored, or forgotten, is not most people’s idea of a satisfying afternoon. That’s even true when the set of “most people” includes Dungeon Masters. Honestly, when it comes to the DMs main task, preparing interesting and challenging storylines, adventures, encounters, and NPCs is far more important. Luckily for you, I have taken the time and enlisted the aid of fellow Robot Viking official RPG group member Michael Bolis to create a random loot list perfect for adding a special bit of personality to your monsters.
Sneak this list into your games, and you are liable to have your players scratching their heads at the sudden depth of their foes. Not everything on the list is especially notable, but any time a player stops to think, “Weird. This mercenary had a jigsaw puzzle,” or, “I never expected to find a pocketbook of pressed flowers on a githyanki,” you have successfully added an implied history to your monster. This is especially true if they do not know you are using a random list.
For best use, I recommend rolling a d100 one or two times for a couple of humanoid creatures defeated by the party. Rattle off the items that correspond to your rolls, and allow any conclusions the players or their characters make to stand (unless you have a reason to do otherwise). Some items on the list can definitely enjoy a bit of improvised elaboration on the Dungeon Master’s fault, but consider it an opportunity for collaborative storytelling when a player decides to focus on a particular item. At its worst, the list provides the opportunity to humanize your monsters a bit. At best, well, chances are this illiterate minotaur could not have composed “The Kobold Waltz,” but I wonder who did…