I was reading an article by Rob Kuntz about the first living campaign and noticed this:
I was fairly lenient in provisioning Yrag [Gary Gygax's character in Rob's El Raja Key dungeon]: I provided him with a war horse, a good amount of gold (200 was always my number, then and now) with which to buy hirelings if he wished, and included standard armor, weapon and miscellaneous picks, like dungeon equipment.(Emphasis added.)
That's interesting, because here we have D&D circa 1973, before the publication of the books, and Rob's attitude is "Just give him basic stuff plus a bunch of gold and let's get on with it". And you can't argue that it was just because they were playtesting and wanted to skip the tedium of equipping the character, because of that "then and now" comment. Rob may have skipped the step-by-step equipping phase because it was Gary and because he wanted to give him a break from all the work he'd done as DM for Greyhawk (as he goes on to say,) but the high amount of gold is something he says he's always done and continues to do.
So I'm wondering: is this really such a bad idea? Skip the GP roll and just give everyone a flat 200 gold? It encourages player to think about hirelings, at least, which gives them better chances of survival.