Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beginning Gear

Taichara asked some interesting questions about gear: "What gear, if any, is assumed in your games? … Does your campaign have "fast packs" or similar, to make kitting out new characters simpler? … Conversely, are there items of gear that are Very Strongly Recommended a character have on their person if at all possible?"

In my campaign we assume clothing and not much else. Magic-users buy their spell books. I do have each character roll on E.G. Palmer's "100 Item List of Random Objects for First Level PCs", though. Rogues are allowed to forfeit their random object for a lock-smith set instead.

We don't use fast packs for my Skype campaign; my players are really, really into choices and have made it clear that they don't want them. I have run, and plan to run in the future, one-shots and mini-campaigns (SoCal Mini Con IV, perhaps?), though, where spending much time at all buying starting equipment is really an over-investment in a PC. For those situations, inspired by Al's post on starting equipment, I worked out a three-step character-equipping system.

Step one is really simple. You've chosen your class and get something class related automatically. Magic Users get a spell book. Rogues get a lock-pick kit. Fighters and Dwarfs get either a two-handed weapon or a one-handed weapon and a shield. If I had clerics in my games, I'd give them a holy symbol. Elves get both what Fighters and Magic Users get, but they'll pay for it later.

Step two is choosing one of three Adventuring Packs. (If anyone can tell me how to put these in a table on blogger, I'd be immensely thankful.)

Pack 1
  • Backpack (holds 10 kg)
  • Trail Rations (2 days)
  • Hammer
  • 5 Iron Spikes
  • Rope (20 meters)
  • Grappling Hook
  • Empty Glass Phial

Pack 2
  • Backpack (holds 10 kg)
  • Flint and Steel
  • Lantern (burns .25 liter/hour)
  • Oil in 4 leather flasks (2 liters)
  • Crowbar
  • Small Steel Mirror
  • Manacles (with key)

Pack 3
  • Backpack (holds 10 kg)
  • Flint and Steel
  • 5 Torches (each last 1 hour)
  • Empty Sack (holds 30 kg)
  • Waterskin (holds 2 liters)
  • Ball of Twine (30 meters)
  • Healing Potion (heals 1d6)

Step three is for each player to choose three additional items, unless they are playing an Elf, in which case they only choose two, since the elf got an extra item in step one.

  • Healing Potion (heals 1d6)
  • Locksmith's Tools
  • Leather Armor (+2 to AC)
  • Helmet (+1 to AC)
  • 3 Meter Pole
  • Ranged One-Handed Weapon with 20 units of ammunition (1d6 damage)
  • Melee One-Handed Weapon (1d6 damage)
  • Shield (+1 to AC)

I recently switched to using (kind of) non-variable weapon damage. One of the nice things about that is that players can choose any weapon they want or can imagine, and I don't have to specify their options for them. They get unlimited freedom to flavor their characters however they like, while using a really simple system for dealing damage, which is pleasant whichever side of the screen you are on. Actually, that'd make a good next post…

As for Very Strongly Recommended items… my players have learned to bring along and use multiple 3 meter (10 foot) poles whenever they venture underground…


  1. Glad the list is helpful,Staples. You're right about having a set of hot lists for quick character generation and equipment. It makes spur of the moment games more likely to happen when set up is easy.

  2. Thanks again for the list! It adds some fun flavor to what is otherwise a pretty cut-and-dry generation process.