... now with 35% more arrogance!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

You Start With 200 Gold

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.


  1. I like it, but I'd advise making sure plate is expensive enough to eat a major chunk of that gold. Earning your first suit of plate armor should always be a milestone, IMO.

  2. Skip the GP altogether, give starting PCs reasonable basic equipment (controlled, ideally, by a simple encumbrance system), add in anything required for basic class function (spell book, lock picks, extra weapon), and top it off with few coins so that the PC isn't entirely broke. Oh, and a starting retainer for free, too.

    Honestly, who wants to deal with price lists at all? Leave that stuff for interaction during play. Equipment buying is the feat selection of old school games. Return on time invested in slim to none.

  3. "Earning your first suit of plate armor should always be a milestone"
    Aventures Fantastiques, Olivier "snorri" Dessaux' french retro-clone makes you roll your starting armor, depending to class

  4. Give the players 3D6 gp and no free equipment. Makes that choice about what to buy a) much faster b) actually interesting and significant.

  5. I play a game with fixed starting money. Surprisingly, this doesn't break anything or undermine our fun. ;)

  6. Snorri tends to do stuff like that. :) Searchers of the Unknown gives you a choice of armour and 3 weapons (shield included) to start with.