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"You're a squirrel that somehow has money, and sometimes swords and shields."


Plenty of enemies in games drop items when they are defeated.

Sometimes, this can present a bit of Fridge Logic as to why the enemies have those items. What exactly are those slugs doing with a sword and tunic? And how do monsters have ammo to help you reload weapons (which they obviously never use), but not ammo for weapons you haven't found yet? Furthermore, monsters will tend to drop items associated with their specific abilities. For example, a monster with a petrifying gaze will commonly drop a de-petrification potion, implying that the monsters are actually made of the stuff, in convenient, easy-to-use form.

A potential way to explain this is that killing these monsters is obviously the popular thing to do and somehow they aren't all extinct. Maybe that's because some people aren't as good at it and got eaten along with their stuff. Perhaps they just didn't use that de-petrification potion in time. This doesn't explain how an enemy could have some items that should be readily visible, like in the page image.

Compare Vendor Trash for when enemies drop items that you can't use, but that can be sold for ones that you can. Compare Money Spider for enemies dropping money. Also see Randomly Drops.

Examples of Impossible Item Drop include:

Action Adventure


  • In the World of Warcraft MMORPG, most non-humanoid opponents drop items instead of, or in addition to, money. While there is some attempt to make the items dropped match the creatures in question, it is often forced, such as making the bodies of most types of carnivorous animals - including things such as harpies and giant spiders - edible delicacies and/or requisite components for items the players can make or trade for. These are often also Plot Coupons for one or more quests as well. Even so, it is not unusual for a deceased opponent to leave behind something that makes no sense at all for them to have had.
    • Raid boss class enemies, however, typically hoard both gold and 2 to 6 pieces of equipment (out of a total loot table of 8-12 specific items), regardless of what they are. Sometimes the equipment is mildly appropriate, such as a weapon the enemy was seen to use, a dragon's jawbone one may wear as a helmet, or something thematically linked to the enemy's lore. Most items, however, have no reason whatsoever to be upon this particular boss. One may wonder why exactly does Ragnaros, a massive fire elemental lord, have a vast collection of pants for every class in the game.
    • Items themselves also come up in improbable locations. One is left wondering not only how the item fit into the animal, but how the animal managed to kill and eat somebody who was using what is sometimes very good equipment, and why, if it did, it lost to you with your inferior equipment.
    • Admittedly, carrying around a six-foot battle-axe in your gut is probably going to slow down your fighting.
    • The most notable example, though, are the crafting recipes. Not only why would this wolf have eaten a tunic pattern, but how is it still readable after sitting in stomach acid for a day or two?
  • Averted in the non-interactive "game" Progress Quest which has most monsters drop items specific to the monster. Some monsters and any (simulated) wandering adventurers you run across drop special items conforming to the template adjective concrete noun of noun, usually abstract. When your character's Encumbrance capacity is reached, he heads to the market to sell it all off and buy weapons and armor.
  • In the MMORPG Dream of Mirror Online no enemy will ever inexplicably drop gold, but will often drop items whose sole purpose is to be sold at a set price to NPCs. Some of those drops are even more inexplicable than the gold they replace however... Like pigs carrying carved wooden sculptures of bears, birds with perfume, and eventually male human wizards who drop ladies underwear. No, really.
    • Last one actually makes loads of sense. After all, games tend to cast the bookworm geek that got kicked one time too many as evil villain wizards. Hence, pervy accessories or property? Definitely!
  • Ever Quest II features loot that drops in the form of treasure chests. The type of chest that drops determines the value of the treasure. There are small wooden chests, normal treasure chests, Ornate chests, and the absolutely gigantic Master Chests (which are larger than the majority of the smaller player races, who stand between 2 and 4 feet tall.) Monsters in the game can be as tiny as will-o-wisps or Brownies, which only stand about 2 inches off the ground. At that size, even a small chest will completely crush the corpse of the monster you just killed. How a 2 inch tall Brownie can carry around a small bank vault like a Master Chest is anyone's guess.
  • Everquest is no stranger to this trope either, with some interesting twists. For example, pickpocketing a foe allows a rogue to take an item off the creature's loot table, leading to such bizarre occurrences as pickpocketing a Dwarf and stealing a watermelon from him (how did he not notice that?!?) or pickpocketing a goblin and stealing his brain.
  • Averted with Kingdom of Loathing, where monsters drop very... unusual items that make perfect sense for them to have. Of course, this is the game that decided to justify most monsters dropping money by using meat as the Global Currency.

Real Time Strategy

  • The enemies in Warhammer 40000 Dawn of War 2 randomly drop various articles of Space Marine weaponry, armor, attribute-enhancing Purity Seals and other stuff. While it could be justified for the Orks, who are notable plunderers and looters, and even for the Eldar who might just happen to be carrying these things back to their base to study, but it is entirely confusing for the Tyranids, who have no need for such things and no means to carry them. And there is still a question of why and, most importantly, how would they lug around armor plates from a Mini-Mecha Dreadnought?
    • Tyranids eat literally everything, and have no internal digestive system — they instead leap into digestion pools created by Tyrannoforming so the Hive Fleet can reclaim the raw materials. Presumably, the items they drop are whatever made it through being eaten intact enough to salvage.
    • It was then Hand Waved as being "released from the Blood Raven vaults" as reward instead. But the question of how some of these items reached the chapter vaults in the first place led to the Bloody Magpies Me Me.
    • Mostly averted in the earlier Warhammer Dark Omen. Your enemies are humanoids or, occasionally, huge monster spiders/scorpions, so if they drop a treasure chest or a potion now and then, it doesn't look too conspicuous. Moreover, if an enemy group carries an artifact (like a banner that invokes lighting bolts), they will actually have sense to use this artifact against you! And every enemy keeps their eyes open for some unattended goodies and will not hesitate to pocket them.


  • This trope is used by several different enemies in Diablo, but the most Egregious example is the Swarms: swarms of insects able to drop items like pieces of armor.

Role Playing Games

  • The Narrator in The Bards Tale comments on the ridiculousness of this in the early game when a wolf drops a sword. He says he'll skip all such passages form now on, and the bard complains that its his primary source of income.
  • The monsters in Dungeon Siege drop money and items at random.
  • Ever Quest: Champions of Norrath on the Play Station 2 features Fire Beetles, which only stand about half a foot tall, but can end up dropping longbows, swords, giant war mauls, and various forms of armor along with gold.
  • The RPG Mass Effect has a somewhat specific variation of this effect- since the game is completely devoid of standard Vendor Trash, all recovered items must take the form of weapons, armor, tools/implants, and upgrade modules for the aforementioned weapons and armor. This can lead to a seemingly odd proliferation of military-grade equipment in the world. While it is perfectly reasonable to recover a Scram Rail or High Explosive Rounds from a krogan mercenary, it is odd to recover assault rifles from apparently naked and weaponless cyber-zombies, and advanced ultra-tech materials from lost, 60's era Soviet lunar probes.
  • Star Wars Knights Of The Old Republic featured enemies who would drop random weapons and armor. While this made sense, much like Mass Effect, there were peculiar instances. It was entirely possible for enemies roughly the size of a large dog to drop six-foot long, double-bladed swords.
  • Averted in Gothic where the drops make almost total sense. If a humanoid NPC has a weapon in his hand at the moment of his death, he'll drop it - the player can pick it up and then go through the body's inventory, picking and choosing the best loot. Non-human monsters don't initially have a visible inventory; the player has to learn specific hunting skills in order to, for example, skin wolves for their pelts (which can then be sold to traders).
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it's not uncommon for mud crabs to be carrying cutlery around with them or for wolves to be carrying lockpicks.
  • Similarly averted in Spiderweb Software's Geneforge games; with one justified straight example. Monsters do not drop anything. Searching a monster's nest can turn up random items; ranging from useful equipment, to Vendor Trash, to worthless trash. (Monsters pretty much collect anything shiny — from shiny coins, to shiny swords, to shiny rocks — as well as useful things like clothing to pad their nests with.) Corpses of people can be looted for useful items and vendor trash. The only other locations to find stuff are storage chests and jars located in and around buildings and settlements; which randomly contain some combination of useful items, quest items, vendor trash, and actual trash. (The random chest popping up in the middle of nowhere is also avoided.)
    • The one straight example is the "thorn baton" short-range ranged weapon. Ammo for this weapon, thorns, literally grow on bushes scattered around settlements. Justified in that both the weapon and the ammo-growing-bushes have been bioengineered by the Shapers, a game faction whose hat is biotechnology.
      • "Turrets", bioengineered sentinel gun-creatures, also use thorn ammo, and drop it when killed.
  • In Titan Quest, everything dropped by monsters (except certain quest items and the enhancer items) is something that the monster that dropped it was using, this includes extremely powerful weapons and armor. Non humanoid monsters rarely, if ever, drop anything other than monster specific charm items.

Sandbox Game

  • Creepers in Minecraft normally drop gunpowder, which makes sense, but if they're killed by a stray arrow from a skeleton, they drop a music record. Guaranteed. Killing Zombies will have a rare chance of them dropping Iron Swords, Iron Shovels, or an Iron Helmet and Zombie Pigmen may drop Golden Helmets, despite the fact that these monsters are never seen using those tools.

Stealth Based Game

Tabletop RPG

  • Parodied in GURPS: Creatures of the Night which includes a completely immobile plant monster that comes complete with a treasure trove full of things that are useful when trying to kill plant monsters. Why? Because it enjoys murdering adventurers and taking their stuff (which it then buries somehow).
  • Dungeons and Dragons usually attempts to justify monster treasure in their Monster Manuals; the more savage varieties of monster tend to have the gear of previous attempts at killing it strewn in their lair, while more intelligent ones like how it looks. The really dumb or bizarre monsters don't have treasure listed for them at all.


  • Spoofed by Penny Arcade in this comic.
  • Dragon Mango: Parodied; Mango receives a suit of fashion plate mail for swatting a mosquito, then wonders how killing a bug made armor appear. (Answer: it was a drop bug.) She later has to assure her mother that she didn't hack anyone for it.
  • Undertow came up with an interesting explanation on this page. The author's idea was the loot came out of the stomach of the monsters from unlucky adventurers they had eaten. Ew.
  • Made fun of in this Virtual Shackles. "What the fuck Darksiders. Why does everything I smash have a soul in it?"
  • This trope in action gave Ardam a Heroic BSOD in Adventurers, when a small fly somehow dropped a piano.