Here is a method for randomly determining starting equipment by class. This is intended for B/X type D&D (or similar games) and the tables have been engineered so that they work no matter the class.
Cowards may, of course, choose rather than roll.
dH = hit die (e.g., fighter dH = d8, magic-user dH = d4)
Roll 2dH twice for beginning weapons; re-roll duplicates if desired.
- Hand axe (can be thrown)
- Club, cudgel, or truncheon
- Sling (ranged)
- Dagger (can be thrown)
- Crossbow (ranged)
- Short sword
- Long sword
- Short bow (ranged)
- Battle axe
- Spear (bulky, can be thrown)
- Long bow (bulky, ranged)
- Halberd or other pole arm (bulky)
- Two-handed sword (bulky)
Roll dH for beginning armor.
- No armor
- Leather & shield
- Chain & shield
- Plate & shield
Roll d20 four times; re-roll duplicates if desired.
- Holy water
- Small mirror
- Mallet & stakes (6)
- Small hammer & Iron spikes (12)
- Grappling hook & rope (50 feet)
- Tinder box & Torches (6)
- Lantern & flasks of oil (3)
- Ten foot pole
- Tent & bedroll
- Fishing gear
- Book, pen, ink
- Riding horse, tack, saddlebags
- Mule, tack, saddlebags
- Canoe & paddle
- Ancient super science battery
Each PC begins play with:
- Two sets of travelling clothes
- Belt pouch
- Water skin
- 3 empty sacks (for loot, of course)
- 2d10 gp
Using 2dH to select weapons creates a probability curve.
The most common weapons by dH:
- d4: dagger, followed by slings and quarterstaffs
- d6: crossbow, followed by quarterstaff and short sword
- d8: long sword, followed by short sword and short bow
It is only possible for classes with dH = d8 to begin with the heaviest military weapons, or to begin with any bulky weapons.
Armor possibilities by dH:
- d4: no armor through leather & shield
- d6: no armor through chain & shield
- d8: no armor through plate & shield
Also note that in many systems, 10 minus (armor dH roll) = AC. Though not important, this is a pleasant symmetry.
Any character may try to pick locks using a set of lock picks. Non-thieves have a flat 1 in 6 chance, adjusted by dexterity. That is, a character with extraordinary dexterity (13 or higher) has a 2 in 6 chance.