No, this isn't a post on clockwork magics -- it's a shorter (if not sweeter) post about a few musings that trundled across my hindbrain this week.
What gear, if any, is assumed in your games? Taking D&D and its relations as the immediate example, do your PCs start with clothing (one outfit? more? what quality?) or do you make them purchase clothes out of their starting cash? Does a spellslinger have to buy their first spellbook -- potentially starting a game deeply in debt, monetarily or otherwise! -- or are they assumed to have that first tome "free", whether through the grace of a mentor or some other reason?
Does your campaign have "fast packs" or similar, to make kitting out new characters simpler? I'm rather fond of the idea myself, but tend to forget to make custom equipment kits (or lose my notes or get distracted) and default to a nice Dragon article I hunted up at one point ...
Conversely, are there items of gear that are Very Strongly Recommended a character have on their person if at all possible? For this purpose my rough and basic list is usually along the lines of: knife or dagger, 1-4 candles, flint or striker, day-worth of rations (minimum), chalk, string or twine, and some form or bit of cloth or rags. Add a basic scribe kit for a literate and wordy character, and a sturdy cloak or equivalent.
And then there's those games that abstract gear and resources in general; most White Wolf games come to mind. Do you play it all by ear, using the rough descriptions in the text, and handwave what a character might own -- or do you set a hard and fast line in the sand, trying to head off the "but why couldn't/wouldn't my PC own [whatever], they can afford it!" at the pass when a player conveniently~ claims to have some suddenly-beneficial possession?
Intersecting with all this, of course, is good ol' encumbrance. Just how much of all this gear is that PC trundling along with, anyway? Or does it even matter, as long as suspension of disbelief isn't completely shattered?
Assumed: change of clothing, eating utensils, tankard, bowl, flint+tinder.
We use ckutalik's "Hill Cantons Quick Start Tables"and Lord Kilgore's "Labyrinth Minions", so basic class equipment and adventuring kit for PCs and henchies is all mapped out.
Combine that with JER4's "one item, one line" enc. system (even simpler than Delta's "enc. by stones"!) and we're good to go.
...default to a nice Dragon article I hunted up at one point ...
"Different Totes for Different Folks" (Dragon #191)? I have more photocopies/printouts of that in my GM notes than I care to recall. :)
Assumed: just the magic-user's spellbook. Everything else must be purchased. I put together my own equipment list based on the one from the 2e PHB (the best they ever came out with, in my opinion) supplemented with stuff from the Al Qadim book, plus some extra stuff I found useful.
As for Very Strongly Recommended: a blade of some sort, rope, and a lightsource are all heavily recommended. So is at least one long pole in the party.
My next campaign will be more rigorous about encumbrance, either using Raggi's system or Delta's stones. Right now, so long as it doesn't get stupidly insane, I don't pay too much attention to it.
In the game I'm playing in, the first spellbook is assumed. But, they don't cost that much, so I chose to get an extra copy. Turned out I should have saved the money for another horse, but anyway...
If running, say, an M:tAw game, I'd probably go with:
Assumed things if you have a house:
A bed that fits your character, (though not necessarily your character + anyone else). A refrigerator and freezer. They start off stocked.The food'll be about 1/3 good, 1/3 spoiled, freezerburned, etc. and 1/3 not actually toxic but not really edible, either.
Buy anything you want to be sure you own. Only mark down the things you have on your person on you sheet. Use something separate for any house(s) you might have.*
Otherwise, assuming you could afford one, if you can give a good reason why you have it with you, you've got it. However, unless you bought it and marked it on your sheet at some point, it'll take a very good argument to convince me you just happened to be carrying a blender around when you need to improvise a centrifuge.
If, however, you can supply a good reason, mark the money for it off and you've got it on you.
*If you don't, someone, probably me, is going to ask why - and how - you're carrying a couch around.
Assumed: Clothes you are wearing, plus at least one change of clothes (formerly also 'minor personal items', but dropped this after extensive newbie confusion and occasional powergamer abuse)
Ye Fast Pack: one class/background-specific weapon, class-specific item as needed (holy symbol, thieves tools, spellbook), leather armour if it can be worn, shield if it can be used, dagger as backup, pick of one of four packs, pick of one of fifteen items not in equipment lists, waterskin, rations, chance of swapping some items for class/race/background-specific item, random small change
At least, that's what'll be on the handout to the players next time...
Normally I hand out basic weapons, or spell-book as required.
Then I have my group take ten items from a broad list of general adventuring gear, trinkets, and supplies as their pre-owned kit, inspired from the list in Legend of the Five Rings 3e, p148. 'What's in a travelling pack?'. Anything else is purchased as normal with whatever starter cash they happen to have.
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