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Money Spider

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Illustration by Anthony Clark.
Used with permission.

Narrator: The Bard, having slain the random wolf, found that it had digested not only the contents of a small treasury, but also various household goods... Wait, am I reading that correctly? That can't be right.
The Bard: You'd be surprised. I find all kind of things inside these beasties. Did I ever tell you about the time I killed this rat, and out popped an entire chest?

In the Real World, animals don't use money. Not so in Video- and Role-Playing Games. For many game economies, wealth is associated with dangerous creatures; if you can attack it and it is alive (in some sense) and/or able to theoretically attack in return, it probably has some actual currency that will become available upon its death. This will be true almost without regard for the creature's ability to carry money, its interest in money, whether it's sentient enough to comprehend money, or any connection with the existence of money. On occasion, this is true regardless of whether it had money the first time.

Occasionally, there will be an in-game Hand Wave saying that there's a bounty on the monsters you're fighting. However, unless there's a specific sub-quest requiring you to, say, slay twenty bears and bring back their asses, you will never be required to talk to a specific person or prove that you've killed the monsters in order to get the money. Shop Fodder is sometimes used as a more realistic version — killing the monsters doesn't get you immediate money, but you can easily sell their teeth, hides, or feathers back in town. However, this eats up precious seconds of a player's time, in which time you might get bored and switch to another game. And we can't have that, now can we?

While having a danger-based currency is rather plausible (for certain values of plausible) — after all, currency stands for commodities (goods or services) or labor, and killing a dangerous creature is not only a useful service, especially in a monster-filled world, but can indeed be quite a bit of labor — this has largely become a Discredited Trope, to the point that reviewers occasionally bash game developers for making monsters drop money.

Parodied in a great number of video-game-based webcomics and other satire. For a specific enemy that you seek out because it carries a lot of money (or other rewards), see Piñata Enemy, with tougher variants being Metal Slimes.

Named for the spiders in the family Linyphiidae, called "money spiders" in the UK from the superstition that they are associated with wealth. Ironically in light of the trope, these spiders are supposed to be left unharmed in order to become richer.

For the general case of monsters dropping implausible items, see Impossible Item Drop.


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Gaming Examples:

     4 X 
  • Civilization:
    • In the fifth game, a doctrine allow you to earn gold coin by destroying barbarian and enemy units.
    • Previous games in the series had other ways to farm barbarians for gold: I and II had barbarian chiefs (actually reskinned diplomats) whom you could potentially capture for gold, and III allowed you to pillage the camps they spawned from.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth there are a number of ways to get resources from enemies. Plundering alien nests will give a chunk of energy credits or food production to the nearest city. The Scavenging virtue yields science credits from plundering nests or killing alien units. Several of the Military civilization traits in the Rising Tide expansion give energy or science or culture from killing any unit.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: Mind worm boils will yield "Planetpearls" when killed, giving a small amount of cash.

    Action Adventure 
  • Blasphemous copies the functionality of Dark Souls (detailed below), but without the justification of the original. It must be another aspect of the Grievous Miracle.
    • An additional wrinkle is that the Penitent One takes a penalty to his Mana Meter until the dropped money is recovered. Unlike Dark Souls, dying without recovering his Guilt will not absolve him, merely increase the penalty. The penalty can be removed by recovering all lost Guilt or by paying for absolution at a Confessor statue.
  • Castlevania: Monsters drop not just money, but candles, chandeliers, and other fixtures. Super Castlevania IV features a boss called the Zapft Bat, which made entirely out of coins and jewels.
  • Deadly Towers: Pretty much anything can randomly drop money.
  • The Guardian Legend: Enemies sometimes drop Power Chips, which function as both money and ammo.
  • Hollow Knight: Most of the hostile bugs, whether highly sapient or totally not, will drop some amount of Geo upon death.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Certain enemies throughout the series will drop a Rupee or a few if killed, although it's generally more common for foes to drop health pickups.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: If startled, spiny beetles will scurry around in a panic and drop Rupees as they go.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures: Dark Links either a Big Green (100) or Big Blue (150) Force Gem upon defeat — all of them, even if they're clones.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: The Gemesaur King, a boss, is a giant helmasaur with gems buried in its armor. As such, every time you hurt it, you get rupees. Lots of them.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: While most creatures only produce Organ Drops, a few will leave behind cash for a number of reasons:
      • Yiga Footsoldiers, some of the few human enemies in the game, will drop a handful of Rupees on defeat, implicitly spare change dropped as they teleport away.
      • Treasure octoroks, Chest Monsters that disguise themselves as treasure, will also leave behind a few Rupees alongside a scattering of tentacles, eyes or gas bladders.
      • Blupees are magical rabbit-like creatures that drop Rupees whenever hit with a weapon, and their chief in-game purpose is to be milked for money in this manner.
      • A variant, and the only one not to have an implicit or explicit explanation or to be addressed in-game as being odd, are the silver and golden tiers of enemies, which will leave behind precious gems on defeat.
      • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom adds Like Likes, equipment-eating monsters that always drop a treasure chest containing a shield or weapon on defeat.
  • Lampshaded and exploited in Lenna's Inception. Various NPCs will mention that the hero killing monsters and taking their money is just how the economy works around here. One flashback shows that Archangel ??? was able to bribe the Chairman by bleeding coins out of her own body for payment.
  • Luigi's Mansion has gold mice and very fast blue ghosts (which are palette swaps of the basic yellow ghost) that are worth a LOT of money if sucked up. In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, gold mice, as well as gold bats, beetles, and (yes) spiders, net a gold bar or several bills if flashed with the Spectrobe. The regular versions of these enemies will drop coins or hearts. Speedy Spirits (in 1) Gold Greenies in (''Dark Moon') will drop tons of money if sucked up.
  • La-Mulana: Enemies often leave behind coins or some type of ammo.
  • Ninja: Shadow of Darkness: Animal-based enemies, including Giant Spiders, Giant Crabs, Giant Eagles and the like will, for some inexplicable reason, drop coins and gems upon being defeated.
  • The Shantae series: Defeat enemies and they might Random Drop the Gem currency. The games are: Shantae (2002), Shantae: Risky's Revenge, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Shantae and the Seven Sirens.
  • Tomb Raider:
    • Tomb Raider (2013) is actually quite consistent at averting this trope for most of its runtime. Money doesn't exist and most enemies only drop either generic scrap for weapon upgrades, or ammo for the weapon class they're wielding. However, it gets a bit weird when animals also drop weapons scrap (implied to be their bones, however that's supposed to work), and the game drops its internal logic entirely once you start looting tons of bullets and shotgun shells off of millennia-old undead samurai that fight with nothing but bows and melee weapons.
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider does pretty much the same thing, only with ancient Byzantine warriors instead of the samurai. Both examples did have brief contact with modern firearms prior to fighting Lara, but not nearly enough to justify their carrying around so much ammo for weapons they don't use.
  • Yakuza 0: Enemies explode in a shower of cash whenever they take a strong hit. This is symbolic of The '80s in Japan, the era of the "Bubble Economy", an economic boom when people had cash to spare, and then some.

    Action Game 
  • Monsters in Devil May Cry drop red orbs that are used as currency. That's reasonable enough, but so do chairs, statues and other inanimate objects. Obviously they're Tsukumogami hoping to avoid Dante's wrath by pretending to still be inanimate. It's the only way to explain them dropping crystallized demon blood.
  • Similarly, the angels of Bayonetta all drop "halos", golden rings that are used as a currency in Hell. As with Devil May Cry, various objects like statues, business signs or benches contain them too.
  • Makes perfect sense in River City Ransom, an old school Nintendo Hard game, since when you beat people up they drop cash. In effect you're mugging them.

    Adventure Game 
  • In Sam and Max: Reality 2.0, defeating a blue slime monster in the eponymous VR game yields... blue slime, which is simply used to solve a puzzle.

    Fighting Game 

    First-Person Shooter 
  • Painkiller, except that the money is dropped from nearly every kind of breakable object (including Exploding Barrels and the like) rather than from the monsters.
  • Shadow Master grants you bonuses in the form of diamonds, which can be dropped either by enemy soldiers, or hostile wildlife. Including literal spiders with the game's recurring Giant Spider enemies.
  • Team Fortress 2 does this through the ambiguous state of ammo; when a player dies, they drop an ammo box that refills the ammo of anyone who picks it up. This works regardless of whether they're using a shotgun, pistol, rocket launcher, flamethrower, minigun, sniper rifle, bow & arrows, or anything else. Note that this also extends in a more complex fashion to the Spy and Engineer; picking up those dropped ammo boxes will give an additional reward of recharging your invisibility watch or giving more building currency (metal) to the respective classes.
    • Prior to the Gun Mettle update, dropped weapons served as ammo packs instead. This included melee weapons, which can possibly be things like glass bottles, wooden baseball bats, fish, and icicles.
    • In the Mann vs. Machine mode, enemy robots drop stacks of dollar bills when destroyed, because the money is their power source. Mann Co isn't actually paying the mercs to defend their buildings, their "pay" is said robot-dropped cash.
    Miss Pauling: For some unexplained reason I can't possibly fathom, the robots run on money. Destroy them and whatever falls out is yours.
    • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome a year after the robot war. Gray Mann, the inventor of the robots, finds himself almost completely bankrupt. Even his own robots suggest he build a new type of robot that runs on a different power source, which only elicits a Death Glare from him.
  • Enemies in Heretic drop ammunition that sometimes seems completely at odds with the enemy that dropped it; i.e. the Sabreclaws attack only in melee, but drop ammo for the Hellstaff (think Plasma Rifle from Doom); the Undead Warriors throw axes at you but drop arrows for the Ethereal Crossbow, etc.
  • Borderlands, where everything drops either wads of cash, health vials, ammo or all sorts of guns. Partially handwaved as skags and probably most other monsters eat anything but yak up anything they can't digest. Makes you wonder how a scag pup can eat a whole sniper rifle. Also averted with the bounty board sidequests. Sent out to kill a specific enemy? It has a bounty due to it's danger to other humans.
  • Borderlands 2:
    • Crystalisks are large, three-legged creatures that have crystal (natch) clusters on their legs and main body. Destroying these clusters is the fastest way to dispatch them (they can be destroyed with a single melee attack) and each cluster explodes into crystals that can be picked up for money. When all of the clusters are gone, they further explode into more money crystals. In a mission where you collect audio logs, you find out that it was because of their Money Spider status that they became hostile to humans. Initially docile, the Dahl corporation began mining them to the disagreement of a security officer who befriended them and died trying to protect them. Eventually this led to the Crystalisks becoming completely hostile towards humanity and severely biting the humans in the ass.
    • Skags do not drop money per-se, but they do drop guns, ammo and just about everything else in the game (most of which are vendor trash if you've gotten far enough). This is because their super-omnivore habits has them eat anything they can, spitting out what they can't digest. They also have a slight preference for the taste of guns and Audio Diaries (which you learn in one conveniently lampshade heavy diary you find in a skag).
  • Lootbugs in Deep Rock Galactic are harmless fat bugs that slowly crawl around and don't attack the players. Killing them has them drop a lot of nitra and gold; the former is needed to summon a supply drop to refill health and ammo and the latter is converted into currency. There's also a rare chance to have a golden version of the Lootbug to appear and killing it has it drop a ton of gold. There's also the Crassus Detonator, which is a gold version of the Bulk Detonator. Killing it causes a massive explosion as usual, but the crater it leaves behind is converted into gold. Missions can also have the "Golden Bugs" modifier which has every enemy drop a piece of gold ore upon death, even bosses.

    Hack and Slash 
  • Diablo. Thinly justified, as the first game manual states that demons like to hoard wealth despite having no apparent use for it. One wonders where Dem Bones are keeping the money that falls out of them when they get killed.
    • Diablo III introduces the Treasure Goblin, a devious little demon that likes to rob merchants and drop lots of loot. If you don't kill it fast enough, it'll open a portal to Greed's Domain and disappear on you, but if you manage to kill it, it drops lots of magical stuff. There's also a chance a portal will open to Greed's Domain upon killing it, where you can easily rack up over ten million gold!
  • Enemies in Golden Force drops coins, medals and gold as pickups, including animal-based mooks like giant insects, sandworms, piranha and the like.

  • Spoofyfied in the MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing, where the unit of currency is meat, and things like gold and jewels are useless, except as Shop Fodder; thus, converting a giant rat into a giant rat carcass makes a twisted kind of financial sense. Some characters not made of meat (e.g. the robotic MagiMechTech MechaMech) drop no meat in a zone with otherwise high meat drops. Some thematically rich monsters (e.g. the Wealthy Pirate) drop more meat than other monsters in the same zone, and hippies of all stripes (except the Business Hippy) drop no meat. But at that same time, they fall for this trope in an even more nonsensical way; pretty much everything drops meat, so while it makes sense for animals and other creatures to drop meat, some things have no reason to have meat, like the possessed vegetables.

    Ghost miners don't drop any meat. Nor do other ghosts, skeletons, the El Vibrato mechanical constructs, paper towelgeists, any of the nightstands in Lord Spookyraven's bedroom (though some do have wallets and coin purses), the constellations, and all elementals except those obviously based on meat... the possessed cans of tomatoes and asparagus do, but far more often than not, monsters not made of meat (and hippies) don't drop meat, unless they have some thematic reason to carry it. Size also matters. Rotund ducks drop more meat than the other types of duck, and the most efficient place to farm for meat is The Castle In The Clouds In The Sky, which is inhabited by giants.
  • In EVE Online killing pirates produces a reward from the NPC police agency, and since it's a sci-fi setting, the lack of going back to them in person is reasonable. As well, the loot tables are designed such that enemies will only ever drop things that they could reasonably have. Of course, there's no difference in combat power between enemies with vendor trash guns and enemies with rare drop guns, but it's still better than most.
  • The browser-based MMORPG Improbable Island justifies this. The requisition tokens are dispensed from the cameras filming the war (It's a war... but it's also reality TV!).
  • While some of the animals and creatures in RuneScape drop what they usually do (like bones and meat), many other creatures drop coins, runes and other equipment.
  • Final Fantasy XI only has beastmen drop gil, and even then in pitiful amounts. However, all creatures (including those that drop gil) have a chance of dropping items befitting the creature (beehive chips on bees, for example) and if the player has the "Signet" effect active the creature will also drop elemental crystals, a requirement for crafting. Typically the random items will be useful for crafting only with some exceptions that are quest items or equipment. Gil is also dropped by certain Notorious Monsters and undead (specifically, Fomors and qutrubs; the former are the undead closest to the living and the latter are supposed to be attracted to shiny objects).
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the Gold Slimes are notable for dropping a lot of rupies when killed (1,050 each). On the other hand, the King Goldslime variant multiplies the amount by 10. Their high spawn rates in the "Slimy Search" quest line makes it the best place to farm when the player is in need of money (provided they have an access of Non Elemental Damage to make the farming a lot easier).
  • In the MMORPG Tabula Rasa you get credits for every enemy you kill but you don't pick them up- you're automatically credited to your account as a bounty by high command (since you're part of a giant army credits aren't strictly speaking a currency, they're an equipment requisition resource). Additionally, most enemies drop Shop Fodder which up until recently were only good to be "sold" for more credits, although a lot of them can now be broken down for crafting resource.
  • Dream of Mirror Online only allows you to acquire gold via Elder quests and pawning things off. Fortunately, monsters can drop tools (like arrows), medicinal items (like beans), alchemical materials, Elder quest items, and coupons, all of which can be traded in at vendors and the Recycling Bros. for money; in fact, coupons have no purpose other than to be traded in to the Banker for cold hard cash. 100 spaces (50 on hand + 50 bank) is, predictably, never enough.
  • Runes of Magic has you primarily earning gold from doing regular and daily quests, as well as selling off any drops that you find off mobs you kill. Mobs do not drop gold like in other games, but they do drop daily quest items, health or mana potions, the occasional weapon or piece of armor that you can use or sell off, and ranged weapon ammunition and crafting skill recipes, which are not sellable to NPCs, meaning you have to either get rid of them or sell them off on the Auction House if you can't use them or don't want them.
  • Mabinogi
    • According to lore, the ancient monster Glas Ghaibhleann ate gold, and monsters took to carrying the stuff in case he became hungry and got cranky. He isn't around anymore, but the monsters got into the habit.
    • Also in the Generation 2 Mainstream, the first of the final bosses, Tabhartas is made of the gold every single Paladin Trainee gave as a fee for training. Even the gold you gave. Although, this IS before Esras' Face–Heel Turn/Reveal, so you don't suspect a thing until later on.
  • In MapleStory, sufficiently high level mobs will start dropping stacks of bills instead of shiny coins. You can also grind certain mobs for weapons and armor (usually then sold off).

    Platform Game 
  • Exorcist Fairy gives you ancient Chinese coins (those with a hole in their center) as currency, which can be collected from slaying giant insects, bird-people, floating eyeballs, and whatnot.
  • All over the place in Wario World, as the enemies are treasure transformed into monsters by the Black Jewel.
  • In the Ratchet & Clank series, the main units of currency in the galaxy are Bolts. Naturally, there are a lot of them scattered around when a robotic enemy is defeated, but paradoxically organic monsters drop them too. However, since bolts are so ubiquitous, damn near everything gives up bolts when destroyed, even the scenery...
  • Songs for a Hero: Enemies frequently drop health, stamina and gold coins after being defeated. Like many other video game conventions, the Hero points it out in one verse, after he slew a snake mook and wondered why would it had eaten gold before their encounter.
  • Super Mario Bros.. Apparently, Bowser has not only enough money to spend on ridiculously complex castles that Mario will demolish with his passing, but in many games his minions carry at least one coin, which they relinquish if they're defeated with a fireball.
  • Tiny Castle initially plays this straight, then justifies it. The monsters eat metal, and the princess who owns them is so wealthy that she can afford to feed them coins.
  • In Mitsume Ga Tooru where everything tries to kill you, even the birds and spiders seem to carry large spinning coins with them.
  • Donkey Kong can earn coins by jumping on at least three enemies in succession in Donkey Kong Country Returns. If he jumps on eight at once, he gets an extra life.
  • Enemies in Wardner will often drop money.
  • Keith Courage in Alpha Zones has a lot of Respawning Enemies that drop golden coins, and one rarely-seen creature that drops a red coin worth four times as much.
  • Kid Niki: Radical Ninja has a bird that drops koban.
  • In Mega Man Network Transmission, enemies can sometimes drop a zenny coin or a chip, depending on how quickly the player defeated it and how many were taken by enemy (if at all). Bosses also spill lots of zenny coins and their chip drops, but their money drop only happens the first time you beat them.
  • Treasure Hunter Man 1: Enemies, which are non-human, Random Drop coins.

    Role-Playing Game 
  • Spoofed in the 2004 remake of The Bard's Tale. Early in the game, the Bard kills a wolf and finds a vast hoard of treasure, much to the surprise and consternation of the narrator. The narrator decides that there will be no more random gems or treasure chests dropping of killed animals. The main character is upset about this but the enemy will still drop various loot instantly changed into money when you pick it up. These drops are very tongue-in-cheek in their nature; for example, enemy druids will drop miniature souvenir copies of Stonehenge, wolves can drop little red capes and hoods, and goblin-type enemies, called Trow, drop, among other things, leather pants. Dropping Trow indeed.
  • Crash Fever has Bits, which are dropped by all foes when killed, though it's almost nothing both in-universe and outside of it, as the average cost to evolve a unit is 200,000 Bits, and the likely exchange rate between Bits and USD is probably 1 million bits to the dollar. Some enemies are terrible units, but they drop tickets for a special hatcher that only drops extra rare materials and selling fodder, along with the unit itself.
  • In Mega Man Legends, quantum refractor shards, tiny versions of the big crystals of Lost Technology that power things in the After the End setting, are the main form of currency. Naturally, the robotic Reaverbot enemies, found in hostile tunnels underground, spill them when destroyed. Those brave enough to go down into the tunnels and look for things have a built-in financial reward.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The series has it with all monsters, although it makes sense with monsters like Goody Bags and Gold Golems, which are made of money in the first place.
    • Dragon Quest: That the Goldman/Gold Golem gives a lot of wealth upon defeat makes sense. That it's all in coinage does not. Everything else also drops coins.
    • Handwaved in the anime series where it shows the Big Bad using gold and jewels as magical ingredients to create the monsters. Killing them just returns them to their natural state.
  • Justified in Dark Souls. Enemies aren't dropping money, they're dropping ''souls," the magical force that allows the undead to continue to move as if alive. The more powerful the Undead, the more souls they drop. The player is no exception, dropping any "sovereignless souls," (i.e souls they haven't permanently committed to their body by leveling up) upon death.
    • Spiritual Successor Elden Ring uses the same system, thematically refluffed. Beings in the Lands Between aren't undead, but the damage to the Elden Ring has left some natural laws suspended, including the ability for things to stay dead. They drop Runes instead, the building blocks of life in the Lands Between.
  • Most Final Fantasy games (but see below under Exceptions).
    • The original Final Fantasy Tactics allows unlimited gil-grabbing from any enemy with the thief's Steal Gil technique.
  • All enemies in Final Fantasy X drop money, but of particular note are Mimics in the Omega Ruins. They drop a guaranteed 50,000 Gil on death (100,000 with an Overkill). The only problem is that they are surrounded by a myriad of Goddamn Bats and Demonic Spiders - and the Mimics themselves are quite hard if you're not a little bit over-levelled.
  • The monsters in Dark Cloud usually leave behind a bit of money when you kill them (or leave behind a weapon attachment when they're killed with an item like a bomb).
  • The monsters in Dungeon Siege drop money and items at random.
  • In the Metal Max series, and its sequel, Metal Saga, you get money by killing monsters. It's explicitly handled as being bounties on monsters, and handled more reasonably than most. Certain monsters become a special "target" for a short time, that gets you a bonus amount but needs to be turned in while it's still good; similarly, bosses come in the form of "Wanted" monsters that have especially high bounties — that also need to be turned in. You can also sell certain items dropped by monsters to bars as ingredients... although some of these are pretty unappetizing, like dirt from under monkeys' nails.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, your primary means of earning munny is killing Heartless (and later, Nobodies, too). Not only is it never explained how beings who are only interested in collecting hearts and lack flesh carry currency, but you are never in short supply after the very beginning of the game. Then again, in the PS2 games, you typically find better items in the field or at synthesis shops anyway. 358/2 Days takes this to the absurd lengths of making it very easy to rack up hundreds of thousands of munny, while the most expensive items cost about 20,000, and you have no need for more than one.
  • Wasn't a part of the Ultima series until the ninth and final game, where all enemies suddenly drop enormous piles of coins, which is one of the many reasons it is considered inferior to earlier games.
  • Breath of Fire II deserves special mention due to all monsters dropping gold coins except for one place, the inside of an overweight queen.
  • Dubloon awards you with dubloons every time you win a battle.
  • In Slime Forest Adventure, the slimes are attracted to gold, and take it at every opportunity. The gold you get for defeating them is just the gold they took from someone else.
  • The flash based web RPG AdventureQuest pokes fun at this with the character "Robina Hood" who steals from the rich and gives to the monsters. "Because how did you think that spider got 5 gold?"
  • Its sister game, DragonFable, has Robina giving you a quest to knock out monsters and stick gold on them while they're unconscious.
  • Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology straddles the line between using this Hand Wave and not. Monsters do leave money, but it's generally trivial amounts—the real cash comes from completing quests and selling various items.
  • In Eternal Sonata, monsters drop cash, but usually fairly small amounts, with the big money coming from selling photos of them.
  • Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals had the main character start the game by walking into the item shop and apparently selling the corpses of the slimes he'd killed for the amount of money usually awarded for killing them. This included an argument when he was told the amount he could sell them for had gone down, because of how pervasive monsters had become as of late. The rest of the game just has money awarded at the end of battles, though.
  • In the Fallout games the feral ghouls carry bottle caps (the game's currency) and nothing else. The reason is obvious when Fridge Horror sets in: they were wastelanders who wandered into irradiated areas and were (un)lucky enough to become ghoulified...
  • Common to undead/zombies in a number of videogames - for example Dying Light zombies will often have cigarettes (which can be sold as a premium item to a vendor) and cash that they would have needed before entering a more brain-centric lifestyle.
  • A particularly strange example in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening are the children grubs. You watch them getting born from pods, presumably fresh from their mothers womb. Most of them are carrying minted gold, silver, and copper coins, conveniently in Ferelden's currency.
  • Jade Empire has a very streamlined version where you don't even have to stop and pick up the money from the enemies you kill; it just automatically goes in your inventory.
    • It's particularly odd that when you beat Death's Hand, you gain about 2000 silver coins. You wouldn't think he'd be the kind of guy to carry around pocket change, let alone give it to an enemy.
  • Shining Wisdom has enemies occasionally drop one, that is a single, coin. The cheapest item in the game is worth 10 coins but as the enemies constantly respawn you could easily farm for extra money. There is one unit that drops a bag of coins instead; it's a spider-like creature.
  • In Faria, just about any type of enemy has a chance of dropping a money bag.
  • In Mass Effect you get money for everything you kill, even the non-intelligent varren and Thresher Maws. However, as both are considered dangerous invasive species, so the money probably represents a bounty being paid to eliminate a threat to colonies. Completely averted in the sequels, as you no longer get paid for killing enemies.
  • Played mostly straight in Ranma 1/2 RPG — defeated enemies always drop money, from a few dozen to a thousand yen, depending on their level. Though there's one kind of enemy called Money Grubbing Insect, who drop only one yen.note  Money arthropods, indeed.
  • Luxaren Allure: Played straight. Somehow, monsters drop Vei when you defeat them.
  • Rakenzarn Tales plays it pretty straight, but considering many of its characters are from video games, they'd probably find it weirder if they didn't drop stuff upon being slain.
  • Lunarosse has this. It might make sense with several human opponents who would carry cash, but a good handwave for this setting is it's all modeled after Corlia's tabletop game scenarios, so she probably threw it in because that's how she was used to it being.
  • Shin Megami Tensei V: Technically in effect, though even in the end game your monetary reward for winning battles is so laughably small that it's only marginally better than getting nothing. As with the previous two mainline installments, your primary sources of revenue are selling vendor trash and bullying demons for it, though the latter method is unreliable at best.
  • Several Snurp varieties in Miitopia drop money instead of grub, sometimes in incredible amounts. The most valuable one is the aptly named Rich Snurp, which drops 20000G!
  • Another straight take in Rakenzarn Frontier Story. The weird part is that game explicitly takes place across multiple worlds in several different dimensions and yet your foes all drop the exact same currency.
  • LiEat: Lies drop G, which is presumably Gold, a currency.
  • Asterigos Curse Of The Stars: The cursed animals and people of Aphes have bodies suffused with stardust, which is used as currency as it's both used to make magic items and the Aphesians need to consume it to survive.

    Run and Gun 
  • Dyna Gear have your hero fighting hostile dinosaurs, giant insects, Sand worms, mutated foul flowers and all kinds of prehistoric monsters, which explodes into gigantic gold and silver coins you can collect for points. Somehow.

    Shoot 'Em Up 
  • In Brood Star, all enemies—the vast majority of which are mindless, hyper-aggressive space bugs—have a chance to drop coins when they die, giving the player money to spend at the shops. Why such bugs would be carrying human currency is never addressed.
  • Stargunner has green gems that can be collected by the player to add up to the total credit balance by a small amount in order to be used at the shop featured just before the start of a level. These gems can be obtained by destroying the Mooks and certain crates that appear on the screen. There are also two specific powerups that increase the total credit count by a significant amount but they appear randomly when you destroy a certain target. The gems can also be collected without flying into them by means of a special weapon purchasable from the shop that sends in a drone to fly in and collect them to instantaneously add to your credit count without the danger of getting hit by the many obstacles that stand in your path.

    Simulation Game 
  • Elite has a particularly elegant implementation of the "bounty" system: when you vaporized a pirate ship, your computer simply sent a message and gun camera recording to the nearest starbase, and the bounty money was automatically deposited in your account. Privateer 2: The Darkening used a similar mechanism, though with bounties so low they didn't compensate for the endless waves of pirates that were a pain in the neck to avoid.
  • Hardwar implements a similar bounty system like the Elite example mentioned above; however, bounties have a hard limit starting from 500 credits up to 2000 credits or four "innocent" moth kills, making the profession of limited lucrativeness when compared to other careers in the Titan moon such as trading and scavenging. Extra bounties are also tagged on to an outlaw pilot who attacks/destroys moths belonging to a particular faction such as Lazarus and Klamp-G, with the same hard limits as that of killing independent moths.

    Survival Horror 
  • In 7 Days to Die the zombies carry quite a few odds and ends. Some are pretty sensible, such as cans of food or weapons, while others, such as a random piece of scrap or a pop-cap, may make a little less sense.
  • Alisa: The enemies in the game drop tooth-wheels as they go down. Tooth-wheels serve as the game's currency.
  • In Dead Space practically every necromorph is carrying lots of cash or ammunition, which is largely sensible up until the zombie foetuses appear.
  • Heaven Dust: Sometimes, zombies will drop tokens upon death. These tokens can be spent at vending machines.
  • Resident Evil 4 has a kind of money that makes sense and you mostly find it laying around or on corpses of humans or former humans. However, shooting the crows for some reason yields the best treasures you can get early on. Also, boss characters (such as the U3 in the shipping crates) carry immensely valuable bars of gold. What, did the rage-crazed beast figure it was a secure financial investment? In actuality, this trope probably applies less to the money and more to the ammunition for your weapons. You can snag ammo for all sorts of firearms from the villagers and other enemies who don't use guns at all. Perhaps the village had known that Leon was wandering around and decided to hide all the ammo for the lone shotgun in the upstairs bedroom but then why would they carry that ammo on their person? They even carry ammo for guns that can't be found anywhere but from the Merchant (such as TMP rounds). Plus you can do other weird things to restock your supply. Bird's nest? Shoot it down and have yourself a box of rifle ammo. Now we know what really happened to Kennedy...
    • The game will keep track of your progress through the game and enemies will drop things you lack the most: they tend to drop herbs if you're low on health, ammo if you keep blasting everything you see, and more money if you're low on cash.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The list of creatures with treasures comprises a variety of beings one would not expect to have accumulated such wealth or to carry it around. The implication is that the creature has killed a number of wealthy passers-by, whose (useless to the creature) wealth was left to litter the creature's lair. For creatures encountered outside their lair, however, the explanation is often sketchy or non-existent.
    • Dragons carry lots of treasure on their naked bodies. This is explained as them taking Scrooge McDuck-style money-baths in their hordes with coins and treasure getting stuck in their scales.
    • In at least one edition of AD&D, it's stated that the treasure values given are only for monsters encountered in their lair. DMs are expected to give nothing, or some appropriately small amount, for wandering monsters. This rule tends to be ignored.
    • Later editions at least try to encourage DMs to only put equipment on enemies if it would make sense for them to have them. Some tricks include keeping tally of the encounters the players have completed, and then having the players find the accumulated "loot" at an appropriate juncture (in the monsters' lair, for instance).
    • In 3.5, while many monsters do collect varying amounts treasure, wild animals and monsters with designs that would prevent them from acquiring loot in some way (such as not having opposable thumbs, or having incorporeal bodies or low intelligence scores) are listed as being incapable of carrying treasure at all.
    • The original intent was for money and magic to be the goal. Characters improved through collection of Experience Points, but monsters were worth quite little XP. Their treasures were worth 1 XP per Gold Piece, which amounted to much more XP value (plus of course you get the gold). So your goal was to fight as little as possible while trying to find money. Wandering monsters didn't carry treasure. Do you keep all your money in your wallet? But a lair contained treasure even if the monster was out. So avoiding wandering monsters was imperative since they were just a dangerous waste of time. And since wandering monsters had a chance of coming at regular intervals, they were effectively a penalty for wasting time. More efficient, skillful players were more successful even if their characters weren't all that hot.
    • In D&D's fourth edition, while the player characters' income is definitely still meant to come from treasure to the point that there are standard expected rewards per level (with the actual economy of the game world, such as it is, being run strictly by NPCs in the background — there are no official "money-making" skills as such anymore and used gear and common items can only be sold at bargain prices, never anywhere near market value let alone for profit), those treasures are not linked to specific creatures or encounters anymore. So a party of five first-level characters may be able to expect about four magic items plus 720 gold pieces' worth of "monetary" treasure total, give or take, in the course of advancing to second level; but the placement of said treasures (in the common hoard of a bunch of monsters, abandoned in some dungeon, as a reward by quest givers or even actually dropped by magical spiders if desired) is wholly up to the DM.
    • A common practice amongst DMs is to place all of the treasure at a logical point in the adventure, such as in a monster's lair, or as a bounty. In situations where massive piles of gold are impractical, a DM might place a piece of Shop Fodder amongst the loot, worth the amount of currency expected.
    • One technique to allow loot for wandering non-humanoid monsters that would swallow prey whole (giant lizards, crocodiles, sharks, etc.) would be to have the treasure in the creature's stomach. This is why many old school roleplayers will slit a creature's stomach in their search for treasure.
    • In First Edition, the tarrasque's hide is basically made from diamonds, which can be extracted with some effort. In the final Ecology article in Dragon magazine (3.5 Edition), Jonathan M. Richards has his Monster Hunters consider this aspect of the tarrasque legend and conclude that it's probably nonsense.
    • Alkadas are fascinated by shiny objects, and when they come across a gem, jeweled item, shiny stone, piece of glass or the like, they stuff it into their mouth to carry around in a growing hoard of treasure and gewgaws accumulated in their belly, released only on the creature's death.
  • Pathfinder: Aukashungi are isopod-like monsters that live in aquatic areas of the Abyss and are unable to digest or excrete non-organic material, which simply remains in their first stomach and gradually builds up over their lives — and they can live for quite a long time. Elder aukashungis grow to monstrous sizes and bulge with the gear and wealth of fallen enemies, providing quite a haul for players who can take one down (and incidentally also allowing swallowed victims to cut themselves free by grabbing a weapon inside their gut).
  • Warhammer Quest: The first scenario of the campaign features a well from which an infinite number of spiders crawl out of, each one giving a small amount of gold to the one who has slain it. If the dungeon master doesn't step in at this point, it's possible for players to accumulate an infinite amount of gold.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Most enemies in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 drop "Loot" on death which can be sold for money or used for Item Crafting (although you do get money for completing the battle most of the time). Unlike other examples, the drops seem to be completely random, even though some items sound like they would come from a specific monster (Bomb Shell for example).
  • Enemies in the Super Robot Wars series drop money upon death. This is sometimes handwaved as salvage since most enemies are Humongous Mecha, some cases may be justified as bounties on dangerous monsters, but it's usually just there to give players a pool of funds for upgrading the party's mechs.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Terraria plays this completely straight; many monsters drop money with no rhyme or reason. The transparent Slimes somehow drop coins from nowhere upon death. The zombies might at least have the justification of once being human, but there's no reason for things such as free-roaming demon eyeballs or pint-sized bats to drop pocket change every time they're killed.

Non-Gaming Examples:

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ayashimon, yokai collect emotion-imbued money to create their human bodies, becoming Ayashimon. So if their physical bodies get destroyed, instead of dying, the money they collected will spill out and they have to go through a reincarnation process where they have to wait at least a century until they make new bodies again.
  • In Log Horizon monsters drop gold and items. Shiroe eventually reasons that as part of the bizarre world logic explaining such game mechanisms there must be some magic that gives them this gold. The source is a relic guarded by the Kunie clan which embeds gold in the spirit of monsters just before they respawn.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Ghosts drop varying amounts of coins called "Heavens" when defeated. Panty and Stocking need to collect these coins in order to go back to Heaven. This seems to be some sort of divine reward for putting them out of their misery or for helping them redeem themselves, as it happened in one episode.
  • Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle apparently runs on this logic. One arc shows that the Princess has accumulated enough funds from "Greeting" monsters and adventurers to finance a shopping expedition to the human city closest to the Demon King's Castle. Her thought bubble suggests Ghost Shrouds drop 10G each when defeated.
  • Sword Art Online: Volume 6 of Progressive references this trope when Kirito mentions that like in many games, the wild animals faced outside of the Town of Beginnings drop money when defeated.

    Comic Books 
  • In Scott Pilgrim, which utilizes a lot of video game tropes, the Evil Exes turn into actual Canadian currency when defeated. This also appears in the film adaptation.
    • The exception to this rule is Roxanne Richter, who explodes into a collection of cute baby animals.

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked and Played for Laughs in Big Human on Campus, when after Ranma kills a spider, he asks Tsukune if the spider had any money on it. Tsukune is incredulous, but after a dorm-mate takes the spider's corpse off his hands, said dorm-mate finds a gold ring on it.
  • My Hero Playthrough: Izuku and company are surprised when the first dungeon they enter, the first monster (a kobold) drops Yen bills.

  • My Unique Skill Makes Me OP Even At Level 1: Taken to its ridiculous conclusion as humans are dependent on item drops from dungeon monsters for everything, from food to weaponry to even money itself. Everything used by the entire civilization seems to come from loot dropped by monsters, they can't even grow vegetables, they have to beat up monsters for produce! Presumably, there are even dungeons full of monsters that drop lumber and crafting tools for all the houses that people live in.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, the chasmfiends each have a "gemheart", an enormous gemstone (generally about the size of a man's head) that grows naturally in their body and acts as a focus for the magic that lets something as big as a chasmfiend move around without being crushed by their own weight. Since gemstones are the focus for this world's Functional Magic, the gemhearts are an order of magnitude more valuable than they would be even in Real Life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Kamen Rider OOO, the Phlebotinum takes the form of coins, and the monsters are made of these coins and feed on their human hosts' desires to generate more. So when said monsters are destroyed, they explode in a shower of money; and they can even release a spray of coins when they take a hard hit. In the early episodes, Ankh even sabotages Eiji's fights to let the monsters run rampant a little longer in order to build up a bigger payout. However, it's subverted with the monsters made by Gamel; as they're created from a single coin and don't generate more, so defeating them doesn't make much of a profit.
  • An episode of Ultraman Taro has it's Monster of the Week, Rodera, who feeds on steel and after being destroyed by Ultraman Taro (via getting lifted several hundred feet in the air and exploded), have it's body pieces raining down in the city as hundreds and hundreds of toy cars. The last few minutes of the episode depicts scores and scores of happy children collecting the toys scattered all over the streets, never mind they're playing with chunks of flesh from a deceased monster. It's very likely this scene was added because Tsuburaya at the time had a Product Placement deal with another toy company, but within the context of the episode it feels really out of place.

    Mythology & Religion 

  • Lampshaded in this The Noob comic.
  • Appears in Sandra and Woo here, to the puzzlement of all.
  • This strip of Cyanide and Happiness tries to lampshade, but appears to only be referencing it.
  • Eat That Toast! lampshades this by having someone attempt to kill a real-life replica of a Money Spider, to no avail.
  • In The Gamer, Jee-Han (the title Gamer) fights dozens of zombies that drop Shop Fodder and more useful things. Eventually, a boss zombie shows up, and it drops a fat stack of cash on death. His friend Sun-Il is shocked at the whole situation, but Jee-Han points out that when you get down to it, it's probably weirder that the normal zombies didn't drop money.
  • The Order of the Stick: This strip.
    Roy: We're adventurers; everything we meet has a listed treasure type!
    Haley: One time, I scrubbed the mold out of the Guild showers and it dropped 2d4 copper pieces and a potion of fire resistance.
  • Irritability takes place in a video-game-inspired world, so of course this trope applies.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: One of the monsters that live in the Land of Ooo are "Greed Lards", flying seal-like creatures that feed on coins and jewels.
  • Parodied in the Futurama movie "Bender's Game," where one of the Dungeons and Dragons sessions Dwight is running features the line "Deep in the unicorn's rump sack, you find <roll> 60 gold pieces!" It's fairly clear from the context that he's not talking about something like a saddlebag but rather an anatomical feature.


    Anime & Manga 
  • In the RPG-esque Beet the Vandel Buster, characters kill monsters and then go to a special shop in the town, which reads their retinas to determine what monsters they have killed, in order to pay them for killing the monsters in addition to receiving a tattoo to signify "level".
  • Subverted and lampshaded in Overlord (2012). Momonga, a long-time MMORPG player, has found himself trapped in a fantasy world. When he meets a team of low-level adventurers, they explain that they were planning on earning money by killing monsters near their city. Momonga allies with them, and after helping them kill a group of monsters, they start cutting off ears. They explain that they bring the body parts back to the city as proof that they've killed a certain number of monsters, and the city pays money according to how dangerous each type of monster was, to encourage adventurers to keep the area surrounding the city safe. Momonga was clearly expecting the ogres to be carrying something valuable like crystals, and one of the locals points out how outlandish that sounds.
  • In a version that dips into 20 Bear Asses territory, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? takes place in the city of Orario which is built above a dungeon with infinitely respawning monsters. An adventurer's main goal is to kill the monsters and harvest the crystal inside each one, getting as many crystals as they can as well as the larger and higher quality crystals in high level monsters, as well as the occasional Random Drop. The crystals are traded for money since they are very useful as a raw, renewable resource in energy production, making Orario wealthy enough to fuel and sustain an entire economy that supports a large community of adventurers.

    Video Games — Action-Adventure Game 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the most common monsters do not carry rupees except inside the boxes and barrels at their camps that were presumably looted from unfortunate travelers. The only enemy types that carry rupees are the Yiga Clan enemies, who are intelligent humans and thus would logically be carrying money. The other exception, silver-tier monsters, do not carry rupees but drop gemstones on death.
  • Unlike the first and second game of the rebooted trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider's loot system is much more grounded in reality. The game uses ancient gold coins as its currency that're accepted by traders in the local Hidden Elf Village and the modern-day outposts alike, with the former knowing it as their legal tender and the latter acknowledging its material value. These coins can only be looted from human enemies, even modern mercenaries who probably either stole it from the locals or were paid with it. Firearms ammunition only drops from the relatively rare Trinity mooks whereas the bow-wielding locals only drop arrows. Animals only ever drop furs or feathers that can be used for crafting or sold for a decent amount of cash.

    Video Games — Adventure Game 
  • Lampshaded in free-or-subscribe flash game AdventureQuest, with a quest where you have to go around knocking out monsters and leaving gold on them. The quest explanation goes along the lines of 'Well how else did you think they got the gold?'

    Video Games — First-Person Shooter 
  • Inverted in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. Mutants have nothing on themselves but the occasionally body part in sidequests (mods also make them drop normally) and Stalkers carry weapons they use as well as ammo, comestibles and (sometimes) medicine. But even as they carry limited amount of money (so they can be sold stuff to) this money cannot be scavenged from their bodies, nor can their armor.
  • In Doom, zombies may drop either pistol ammo clips, or in the cases of shotgunners and chaingunners, their used weapons which hold limited ammo. Nothing else in the game drops anything at all when killed, though certain user-made game mods might change this.

    Video Games — MMORPGs 
  • World of Warcraft usually averts this trope - money is found on humanoid creatures, while beasts drop Shop Fodder that can be sold for money or used for crafting. That doesn't stop wolves eating six-foot battle-axes but at least they're trying.
  • Similarly, in the MMORPG Asheron's Call, enemies often spawn with weapons that they are actually wielding against you. Mobs tend to drop specific types of items, for example, the little rat like monsters drop the occasional few coins, but also like to drop magical orbs (shiny objects), golems and undead tend to drop magical components, humanoid monsters tend to drop weapons, armor, and random food, etc. Most of the money in the game is made by selling randomly generated gear that drops to NPCs or other players.
  • City of Heroes' primary in-game currency is "Inf", which stands for Influence, Infamy, and Information. Heroes garner "Influence", which represents - literally - your ability to procure resources based solely on your reputation as a hero. Heroes wandering the streets of Paragon City will frequently come across villains randomly attacking ordinary citizens, who when rescued will come up to thank you - and you promptly gain a small amount of Influence. Villains receive Infamy as their form of Influence. However, Villains don't receive any extra infamy from citizens if they beat up the other Villain who was harassing the citizen. And Praetorians gather Information as their currency, as their world is such that you never truly know who is your friend and who is your enemy.
  • Sequel MMO Wakfu averts this with regard to actual specific money — "kama", the currency of the realm, must be minted by the players themselves using metal they mined themselves, and the only things to spend it on are A) items being sold by other players or B) rapid, convenient transit (you can get anywhere for free, but it takes longer). On the other hand, monsters still drop equipment, which could also theoretically be crafted; you're more likely to get the entire set a particular monster drops before you actually get enough ingredients to craft even one piece of said equipment.
  • In aetolia, you can kill several creatures for money... but you have to find somebody whose put out a bounty on them and bring their corpses as proof of kill to get it.
  • In Ragnarok Online, monsters drop Shop Fodder (and the occasional card) which is then sold for money.
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online, most monsters will not drop gold, but Shop Fodder like fur, tails, wings, etc. Only the races likely to use money (Humans, Dwarves, Orcs, Goblins, Uruk-hai and a few others) will drop money.
  • In Battlestar Galactica Online, most mooks only drop salvage that can be exchanged for currency, but sometimes you'll get actual stuff like Cubits.
  • NOBODY in Dynasty Warriors Online drops money at all. This would make a lot of sense because everybody is going to war, so there would be no reason to lug around money when you are about to fight, possibly to the death. Even if there was, giving the accumulated mass of war debris that would pile up, it would probably be hard to find. Instead all money is given through quests and at the end of certain timeframes, where you are paid for your part in the battle.
    • The one time people WOULD drop money would be treasure mode, where you have to bring caches of treasure to your base. As both sides are dropping it, it can be assumed that both armies were transporting their gold and using the opportunity to pick up more from the enemy.

    Video Games — Roguelike 
  • Angband averts this by use of monster tags, as only humanoid foes will have the DROP tag. One class of enemy, the creeping coins, may be a lampshade of this trope.
    • Many of its variants go further, and have multiple types of DROP tag - Humanoid foes can drop armor, weapons, or coins. Dragons can drop multiples of the above, plus chests. Creeping coins can only drop coins. Etc.
  • Nothing at all drops money in Dwarf Fortress. In Fortress Mode, trade is done purely in barter, and the only way to obtain currency is to mint it yourself. In Adventurer Mode, coins can be found stored in containers in bandits' camps or scattered around lairs of creatures who hoard them, and can be stolen without fighting the owners. Even then it's not too often a very large amount of money, and you'll probably get more selling the bandit's gear, gear of those who the monster killed before, and the monster's butchered corpse (assuming you can butcher it).
  • In Castle of the Winds, only human or human-like creatures carry money or objects, as well as dragons (who are assumed to have hoards).
  • JauntTrooper's Icky Lumps are Explosive Breeder Money Spiders, which a clever player can pen off and "farm" for their coins.

    Video Games — Role-Playing Game 
  • The Baldur's Gate series is fairly good at having actual money only on humanoid creatures. With non-humanoids you often had to be content with hides. Although finding diamonds on ghouls may seems a little odd, it's actually wordbuilding: Baldur's Gate is based on the old rules for Dungeons & Dragons. In said rules, in order to resurrect a corpse, part of the spell required that you replace the dead person's eyes with gems of a certain value. Later editions of the game had it such that the gems were consumed in the spell's casting.
  • In Planet Alcatraz, most of the non-human enemies don't drop anything. The few that do drops appropriate items. You can find Rat skin and Gerbil skin after killing rats and gerbils, respectively. Boars and similar animals gives meat. The most lucrative prey, the Hyenas, drop Hyena Scales which can be inserted into vest pockets for better protection or sold for a nice sum of money. The Baboons and Gorilloids drop necklaces (which might be taken from their victims).
  • In Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, monsters don't drop money. Instead, you have to take pictures of them during battle, wait for the pictures to develop, then sell them. This was such a hassle that the sequel, Baten Kaitos Origins returned to the more traditional "monsters drop money" system, and it actually felt like an improvement. Unfortunately, there's very little worth buying in the sequel (unlike the first game, where ransacking every shop you come across is a good strategy), so the improvement goes unnoticed most of the time.
  • In EarthBound (1994), Ness receives money from his dad instead of from monsters; the amount of money given, however, is a proportion of experience points won. This just leads to the question, how does dad know what monsters his son has killed, and where was this generosity early in the game?
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Averted in general throughout the series. Most creatures drop bits of Shop Fodder or Organ Drop-style alchemical ingredients which you'll need to sell to earn money. Rarely, you may find a wolf, bear, or dragon with some coins, jewelry, or gems. One can presume that these were ingested when the creature in question ate the person carrying them...
    • In Morrowind, creatures typically drop alchemical ingredients, most of which are cheap not worth carrying them to sell. However, some are rather valuable (such as Cliff Racer plumes and Shalk resin), and, rarely, some (such as Dreugh wax and Daedra hearts) can be sold for up to 200 gold. Further, if you have a high-level Alchemy skill, you can convert the cheaper items into potions that can be sold for many times what the items themselves are worth.
    • In Oblivion, monsters rarely have gold, although many will yield an appropriate Alchemical component. Creatures have entirely understandable treasure on them. Strangely, looting the skin of a wolf or a bear leaves an entirely intact wolf/bear lying on the ground, despite what it should be missing.
    • Skyrim:
      • Most creatures have sensible drops like alchemical ingredients, but occasionally wild animals have rare gems or gold. That said, this is a relatively rare occurrence, so it's easy to justify as this particular wolf just having happened to snack on some guy and accidentally ingest treasure.
      • If you're lucky enough you can, inexplicably, find two flawless rubies in the goat that lives in Falkreath. Meaning a goat could be richer than most NPCs in the game.
      • Most dragons you fight drop various pieces of armor and other such treasures, including gold, which one can reasonably assume belonged to the people they've eaten. This is played up in the first dragon you fight, where he snatches up a guard as part of a cutscene, and you can later loot said guard's armor after killing the dragon.
    • Played straight in Blades, where even small animals can drop not only gold, but alchemical ingredients you wouldn't expect to find on them and bulky construction materials.
  • In the Fallout games the feral ghouls inexplicably carry bottle caps (the game's currency) and nothing else
    • In Fallout: New Vegas the ghouls might also carry things like wrenches and packs of cigarettes. Might be explained by those items being personal effects before they turned into ghouls.
    • Taken to absurd extents in Fallout 4, where "legendary" enemies will drop special legendary items upon death. While this can lead to organic story-telling opportunities - an exceptionally strong ghoul now carries a gun that affects ghouls more strongly to show off its strength - it more oftens lead to a bloatfly carrying a minigun larger than it, a mole rat carrying a gun or piece of armor that presumably would have had to have been swallowed.
  • Fallout:
    • In Fallout 3 and New Vegas, the wildlife doesn't carry anything other than its meat and/or body parts. Feral ghouls have odds and ends like bottle caps (the game's currency) or bobby pins because they were once humans who just got unlucky with a little radiation exposure. Enemies drop (and use) only what they have on them, or in the case of insects/robots, what they're made of. Human enemies will, however, pick up useful items they find lying around, which can lead to a particularly annoying case of a bandit happening across the best (unique) weapon in the game, and then vaporizing you with it out of the blue.
    • In Fallout 3, Super Mutant Behemoths (Fifty foot tall monsters carrying improvised clubs made from street lights) drop a ridiculous amount of loot when killed off. It could be handwaved by saying that the armor and guns the creature was carrying are actually from someone else, whom the Behemoth happened to eat. Regular Super Mutants and their ilk tend only to drop what they are carrying. Background info explains that the other Super Mutants use the (even less intelligent than they are) behemoths as pack mules, which partially explains the random assortment of junk.
    • In Fallout 2, animals never have any lootable gear of any kind. The major exception is after the player learns gecko skinning from a man in an early town; from then on dead geckos (a large post-nuclear mutant version of the tiny lizard, with a toxic golden variant) will have their pelt as an item on their corpse. They can be redeemed for cash from some buyers.
    • There is also the radscorpions in Fallout and Fallout 2, which drop their tails that can then be sold to certain vendors (it is used to make antidotes).
    • Fallout 1 and 2 were actually pretty good at this. Enemies were placed on the map with one or two weapons and a certain amount of ammo (which they are very willing to use) and perhaps some chems. If they run out of it (and you're still alive), they can't use it anymore, unlike Fallout 3's Bottomless Magazines. If they don't, you can loot what's left of it. Armor is usually destroyed in the process.
  • In Pokémon, winning in random encounters will yield nothing more than experience. Money is received from other trainers (who would logically be carrying money). The amount of money won also differs based on the type of trainer. Swimmers and Bug Catchers reward little, as they don't carry much money. Gamblers, League officials, and elite trainers are loaded. Also works in reverse: You lose half your money when you lose (prior to FireRed & LeafGreen and in Emerald) or an amount of money based on the amount of Gym Badges you have multiplied by the level of your highest Pokemon (FireRed & LeafGreen and all games starting with Diamond & Pearl. A certain item, the Amulet Coin, when equipped to a participating member of your party, will double the reward you get from an opposing Trainer.

    However, one move (Pay Day) actually does yield money, even in random wild encounters. It's seldom used seriously, though, as the money gained is small and the attack itself is weak... The amount gained from Pay Day is equal to 2XY, with "X" being equal to the number of times the move was used, and "Y" equal to the user's level. With an Amulet Coin and a lot of patience, you can get (at least) 1000P per battle. Of course, the experience will be useless by that point (levels cap at 100), and holding the Amulet Coin means you can't steal items when using moves like Thief or Covet. There is a way around that, though complicated for the weak payout. Simply give the Amulet Coin to another Mon and switch them out for a round. Its effect on the battle remains. Plus the added benefit that it delays the leveling of the mon using Pay Day, by halving the XP with the monster subbed in.
  • In the first Xenosaga game, killing gnosis would never earn money, only item drops. Human enemies dropped money, while Mecha-Mooks gave up Scrap Metal. The second game did away with money altogether (except in one subquest in which objects could be sold to help out with someone's debt).
  • In Xenogears humans and mechs carry and subsequently drop money upon their defeat, but animals do not. Makes sense, since the mechs are piloted by people.
  • While Spiderweb's Exile/Avernum games (which pretty much all take place in a rather austere setting) are generally pretty good about relevant loot, the games go even further by noting that the nominal "gold" number referred to by merchants and the games' UI isn't really all gold, but instead mostly assorted rare commodities. However, processed metals are pretty damn rare in Avernum. You could make coins out of them. These games were also nice in that enemies are defined with items when they are spawned, will use the items they're holding, and on death will drop the items they're using. If a goblin spawns with a sword, he will use the sword to attack you, then when you kill it, there will be a sword lying on the ground in a puddle of goblin goo. Moreover, monsters will supposedly actually pick up and use items that they see lying on the ground. Exceptions are made for certain monster classes such as slimes, which are incapable of using or picking up items, but can still spawn with items and drop them when they die, like any other game.
  • Notably averted in Threads of Fate, where after killing a monster it was said that you carried around their corpses until returning to the town, where they could be sold to a collector for cash. Oddly enough, this applied to the human enemies as well.
  • In The Witcher, gold and equipment can only be looted from humanoids, while monsters only drop alchemical components. There are a few extra tough monsters in the game that you can also loot a body part as a trophy from, then take to a certain NPC in the city to claim a reward for killing it.
    • The Witcher 3 averts it even harder; not only do enemies only drop relevant items, but when you do find money it's often in useless local currencies from countries that no longer exist due to the war, and has to be exchanged at a bank to be useful.
  • Persona
    • Persona 3 has a bizarre variant on this. You do get money from running around dungeons killing things, but not from the monsters themselves. Instead, you get it from either treasure chests in the twisted, ever-changing, extra-dimensional random dungeon, or you pull it from some inner part of your mind if you pick the right randomly shuffled card at the end of some battles. Since all of this money is magically spawned from nowhere, and you buy all your weapons and armor under the table from a police officer, one wonders how come your character is never busted for counterfeiting.
    • And then there's the supernatural, extradimensional, metaphysical, quite possibly artificial Elizabeth pouring over 1 million yen in a fountain because she heard it's customary to drop coins in them. She probably got all that money from gouging previous adventures on Compendium buybacks, because she can also give you hefty monetary rewards for getting assorted debris from battles.
    • Persona 4 goes with the "Sell the crap you get from killing Shadows to the main store so you can get bigger and better equipment" approach. It's also played straight. Shadows drop money in addition to Shop Fodder. Potentially handwaved in that shadows are the remnants of shadow-selves who killed their creators, and thus have their creators' possessions with them.
    • Persona 5 has all enemies drop money and many also drop Vendor Fodder items as well. This is actually a bit of Fridge Brilliance since the Cognative World you fight them in is based on humanity's subconscious beliefs, and "enemies drop money after you defeat them" is definitly something that exists in the collective subconsciousness of humanity by this point.
  • Averted painfully in Shin Megami Tensei IV. Enemies no longer drop cash; either you get used to finding and selling Shop Fodder, learn to cheat demons out of their Macca, find out where the human mobs (the only enemy that does carry money) spawn, or scurry around Tennozu Shelter until you can find Black Rider, however long that might take...
  • Titan Quest: Beast and Plant type enemies never drop any sort of loot besides whatever Charm is associated with their creature type. However, other enemy types can carry and drop all sorts of weird things, like skeletons that aren't wearing armor or clothing having health potions and bags of gold coins.
  • The first 4 .hack// games. Yes, a game based in — well, another game... an MMO to be precise — has you getting gold from not even humanoid enemies (they seem to be savage anyway), but solely from things that you sell.
  • In Monster Hunter, you get most of your money from doing quests, and a comparatively small amount from selling random monster bits. However, said bits can also be crafted into weapons and armour; in fact, virtually all the high-level items are made from rare parts of fairly dangerous monsters, and a great many of them look like they are. Practically every drop in the game, outside of the special event quests like Arena quests, is something that would logically be found on the monster. Also, capturing said monster yields more components than outright killing it because you brought it back in (mostly) one piece.
  • In Fable II, enemies give loads of experience (which you can use to level up your character), but if you want the shiny-shiny, you'll have to get a job or go treasure hunting.
  • In Siege of Avalon, the only enemies that give you money are the ones that have been looting the partly-ruined town for the last month or two. And only if you check their bodies. Oddly enough, the game never tells you how much each enemy has; you just seem to be magically gaining gold unless you're paying attention to your money before and after checking enemy corpses.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network games, Money Spidering makes sense; since every enemy you fight is on the Internet, and the economy is Internet-based, it stands to reason that you'd reap an "instant cash reward" for virus busting or winning a battle against another Navi. (And there's plenty of Shop Fodder to be had, too — you can't SELL junk battlechips, but you can pop them into chip traders to try to get new, better chips.)
  • In MouseHunt, the mice do not actually drop money, but every time you catch one the king rewards you for the bounty (a different amount is placed on ALL mice in the Kingdom). As for loot- some of them drop sensible loot (e.g. the Treant Mouse drops splintered wood) while others inexplicably drop loot that would make little sense (Bear mice dropping potions).
  • Beyond Good & Evil gets SO CLOSE to averting the trope... but then forgets to do so. The pearls you need for black-market goods make sense, since the pearls actually seem to be Domz-based somehow (therefore be expensive). And you can get money by photographing animals, because there is an ecologist (you only communicate with her by radio) who downloads the photos for her data collection. All of this would make perfect sense... but then, you kick a rat and money falls out. It's like they worked really hard to avert the trope, and then forgot they had done so and just played it straight.
  • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, monsters don't drop money at all — they drop gemstones, which can be used to upgrade your equipment or for Shop Fodder. All in all, the best way to make money is to exploit a shop-running minigame, not hunting monsters.
  • In The Last Remnant; monsters never drop money, but there is a chance of being able to capture any killed monster. Captured monsters are apparently a delicacy, and can be sold directly to shops for cash.
  • In Mass Effect 2, killing anything will never get you any money. Even the occasional lootable corpses are all pre-placed in the maps. Most of your money comes from looting wall safes, hacking personal accounts and direct funding from the Illusive Man.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Monsters in Final Fantasy VIII don't drop money at all; instead, the heroes get a regular paycheck. However, since your salary will rise or fall depending on how many enemies you've killed since your last check (among other, lesser factors), you'll still want to kill plenty of monsters to keep your funds up. In addition, many monsters drop valuable items, such as bones or teeth, that can either be refined into magic or useful items, or sold for extra gil.
    • Final Fantasy XII's enemies don't drop gil, unless they're the humanoid kind who you'd expect to be carrying money around. However, they do drop loot — valuable hides, minerals, and so forth, which can be sold at shops for actual gil. The looting system is strange, as it allows you to steal skin and skulls from enemies while they are still alive, and then have the same loot from a drop or poach.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII, you cannot acquire money from enemies. Instead, you acquire items based on the enemy type, and how strong it is. Some of these items can be sold for quite a lot of money, though. Getting these items is completely random, and most of the valuable resources cannot be acquired until very late in the game, meaning that you'll be going through most of the game with nothing more than a handful of pocket change. The sequel goes back to the standard use of the trope, while simultaneously doing away with most need for money in the first place.
  • In Eschalon Books One and Two the most a non-humanoid enemy is capable of dropping is either its hide or an edible bit of some kind.
  • Etrian Odyssey monsters never drop money. Instead, they drop monster giblets, which are sold to the shopkeepers for them to turn into weapons, armor, and items for you to buy. Some items are only dropped when you kill them in a certain way, such as using a specific damage type or while the monster has a certain status effect.
  • In Lunar: Dragon Song, you essentially get money for fighting, but not directly. Instead, you get worthless tokens (whiskers, rusty kettles, and whatnot — the game calls them Sundries). Selling them one at a time gets you a pittance; the real money comes from filling a customer's order for a bunch of items. What's more, when you're fighting for items, you don't get experience, and vice versa. This one really makes you earn your income rather than just finding it.
  • In Robopon, most of the money you get from battles only comes from fighting against Robopon trainers; wild 'pon don't hold cash. But in the early stage of the first game, there's a little girl with a level 5 Meddy who will rematch you as often as you like, and happily dole out 100G or so every time you beat her. After you beat the first Legend, you'll also gain access to Battle Genesis 5, which you can play over and over again for 100G a win.
    • In the second, if you're lucky, you'll run across a trainer in a random encounter who hands out money.
  • In Radia Senki Reimeihen, most monster enemies will drop "Prize" items instead of money. Not only can Prizes be sold for a fair amount of money, they can also be used as items—either to restore HP, poison or panic an enemy, or One-Hit Kill them with a certain rare Prize. Human enemies will reward money instead of meat and bones, thankfully.
  • In Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale, none of the monsters you encounter while dungeon crawling typically drop money. The real point of the dungeon is to collect items to sell in your shop, or to collect monster parts to synthesize items that can't be bought or found elsewhere.
  • In Tales of Arise, normal enemies don't drop money or sellable items. The only enemies who drop meaningful amounts of money are temporary enemies who disappear when you beat a boss. As such income is pretty rare, making the acquisition of either weapons, armor and healing items exceedingly difficult. Despite what the blurb stated, this is a common criticism aimed to the game, with the less charitable takes accusing the developers of pushing the player to buy the ""X amount of Gald/XP/Etc" DLC.

    Third Person Shooter 
  • Warframe has just about every enemy type drop credits.
    • The Corpus are the easiest ones to explain, being theocratic hyper-capitalists who worship the concept of profit and having money, so it's probably a borderline religious sacrament to have cold hard cash on their person. They place money in their robotic proxies as well as many of these designs have courier-like functions off the battlefield.
    • The Grineer also use credits for purchases. It seems strange that so many of their troops would be carrying credits until you realize that they are basically an army serving a fascist bureaucracy; the grunts with coins in their pockets just got paid their stipend to spend at the equipment commissary.
    • The Infested don't look like they should use money at all, being a type of space virus. However, being formed from the twisted bodies of Corpus and Grineer, it's possible a common soldier with money on their person was infected and turned a horrible mass of Infested flesh.
    • The Corrupted operate on a similar logic—Orokin mind control technology simply captured and enslaved nearby Corpus/Grineer/Infested, including those who randomly had money on hand.
    • Notably, common Sentient units have no use for money and do not drop it, being something of hive mind comprised of pseudo-organic attack drones; instead, they drop useful pieces of themselves such as their valuable cores.

    Video Games —Turn-Based Tactics 
  • Totally averted in XCOM. Dead or unconscious aliens have only the weapons and equipment they were carrying (though looting them in combat is occasionally useful, for instance if you've run out of ammo and they happened to be using the same clips). Their ships and bases have no money. Even the gold-derived Zrbite is more useful for fuel and parts. Though of course everything can be sold later for funds, even alien corpses.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Most modern Pen and Paper RPG avoid the trope: An enemy will generally only drop what they carry, and only enemies who should have money drop money. Exceptions can be made for certain creatures, like dragons whom are often described as hoarding huge treasures.
  • A fair number of modern tabletop RPGs also handle wealth in a more abstract fashion or handwave it altogether, usually based on some idea like "the name of the game is adventure, not accounting!". Characters in such games simply don't have to track exact change or loot every last corpse because they can already reasonably expect to have decent gear and be able to cover daily expenses (at least up to the limits of their general wealth rating, if the system uses such a thing); things like the acquisition of significant new wealth or other new and improved assets tend to be more plot points and/or part of character advancement here.
  • A game set in a cyberpunk, sci-fi, Urban Fantasy, or other setting (basically — games that aren't doing the typical fantasy genre) will usually avert this. Consider a few examples:
    • All Flesh Must Be Eaten is about a zombie apocalypse. The zombies generally don't drop loot; if you need gear, you likely will be scavenging it.
    • In multiple Star Wars games, non-humanoid enemies will not drop anything, and humanoid enemies will only drop the equipment they were using. It's rarely anything the players didn't already have access to. Depending on the concept of the game, the players might get paid for a heist, be funded by the Republic/Empire/Rebellion, or fund themselves through their skills and work.
    • Unknown Armies, KULT, and The World of Darkness are dark Urban Fantasy games. Enemies will include supernatural horrors, rival supernaturals, and humans. The first group isn't (usually) using money. The latter two are going to be using gear you could just buy and carrying only the type of wallet and valuables we would have in our world.
    • Starfinder is an unusual one in that it has tiered gear like its predecessor Pathfinder. A maxed-out laser rifle costs what hundreds of basic rifles would cost. However, looted objects sell for a trivial amount of money. Most monetary rewards come from people paying the player characters for their work. Very few rewards come from looting your enemies.
    • Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green: The "treasure" comes from unknowable cosmic horror denizens. It's almost never salable. It stands a good chance to drive your academic friend insane as he summons the Horrible Horror With Naughty Tentacles. Burning the treasure would be sensible, but sensible people don't become player characters in either game.

    Web Comics 
  • Not only is the webcomic DM of the Rings an aversion, but it also discusses and handwaves this point at the end of "DM VI: Lootless":
    "On one hand, it makes no sense for the monsters and encounter areas of the gameworld to come pre-stocked with loot. It also makes no sense for feral beasts and the shambling undead to walk around carrying fabulous cash prizes. On the other hand, gold coins are shiny and make a fun jingling sound when you have lots of them."