PCs invariably have to loot the bodies of monsters they defeat. I did not want the party rogue (being the Perception specialist) to be able to end up with all the good stuff while everyone else got short-changed, so I implemented the following system:
* Looting bodies is considered part of a combat encounter, which is to say that even if all enemies are dead, the PCs still take turns as per usual.
* Looting a body is considered a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. It consists of taking a move action to come adjacent to the body (if necessary) followed by a Perception skill check (results forthcoming)
* For any monster or enemy NPC of significance, I pre-generate a treasure table either during private prep time or if necessary during combat or immediately prior to the first looting attempt. (Though not intended for it, this system can work for random encounters if you have pre-gen tables for every type of creature on your “random encounter” table which would normally be found with treasure.)
* I make a concealed roll on the treasure table pre-made for the creature. Each looting attempt allows only one item to be retrieved (which can be a single weapon in its sheath, a single scroll in its case, a small container holding two healing potions in it, or perhaps a small bag of various gems—each can be considered one “item”). For convenience I use a table equal to the size of a polyhedron (so 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 20 items, depending on the amount of treasure carried) and would only use a distributed percentile table if I really needed to. Each item will have its own Perc skill DC, which is usually between 10 and 15, but can be higher for particular small, well-hidden, or camouflaged items. If your Perception roll doesn’t beat the DC, it means you didn’t find anything that moment, or you couldn’t get your hands on it, or maybe you didn’t recognize the significance of what you were looking at. Remember also that deceased persons rarely collapse into a pose that is convenient for looting, so time must be spent undoing buttons, rolling bodies over, wiping blood and gore off objects, etc.
* As items are eliminated from the treasure table, the blank spaces remain. If you get a blank space, then no matter what your Perc roll is, you won’t find anything. For example, the rogue acquired item #5 on the list and then the fighter also got item #5, he could roll a natural 20 on his Perception but will find nothing. Moreover, because the treasure table is concealed, some items can be very well concealed, and I allow repetitions to take place, it is impossible for the players to be 100% certain they have found everything of value that can be discovered. They might be willing to spend the time to strip the corpse naked and thoroughly search everything, or they might not have the time or patience for that. At any rate, this system stops one PC from monopolizing all salvaged equipment as a tool of manipulation against the rest of the team.
"Talk to the rogue player about how their friends don’t find it fun when all their stuff is robbed and openly negotiate which characters get what resources? Man, I dunno: that sounds pretty complicated…"