Starting Equipment

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.

  1. Hand axe (can be thrown)
  2. Club, cudgel, or truncheon
  3. Sling (ranged)
  4. Dagger (can be thrown)
  5. Quarterstaff
  6. Crossbow (ranged)
  7. Short sword
  8. Long sword
  9. Short bow (ranged)
  10. Mace
  11. Battle axe
  12. Spear (bulky, can be thrown)
  13. Long bow (bulky, ranged)
  14. Halberd or other pole arm (bulky)
  15. Two-handed sword (bulky)

Roll dH for beginning armor.

  1. No armor
  2. Shield
  3. Leather
  4. Leather & shield
  5. Chain
  6. Chain & shield
  7. Plate
  8. Plate & shield

Roll d20 four times; re-roll duplicates if desired.

  1. Holy water
  2. Wolvesbane
  3. Belladonna
  4. Garlic
  5. Small mirror
  6. Mallet & stakes (6)
  7. Small hammer & Iron spikes (12)
  8. Grappling hook & rope (50 feet)
  9. Tinder box & Torches (6)
  10. Lantern & flasks of oil (3)
  11. Ten foot pole
  12. Rations
  13. Tent & bedroll
  14. Fishing gear
  15. Lockpicks
  16. Book, pen, ink
  17. Riding horse, tack, saddlebags
  18. Mule, tack, saddlebags
  19. Canoe & paddle
  20. Ancient super science battery
Batteries will have a limited number of charges. The referee should track charges secretly.

Design Notes

Each PC begins play with:

  • Two sets of travelling clothes
  • Backback
  • Belt pouch
  • Water skin
  • 3 empty sacks (for loot, of course)
  • 2d10 gp
Additional equipment is rolled on the equipment table above (4d20, as specified).
Any class can use any weapon or armor (though armor decreases movement through encumbrance and penalizes actions requiring fine motor control); characters do dH damage.

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.

4 thoughts on “Starting Equipment

  1. Brendan

    Thanks! I am, piece by piece, trying to streamline character generation as much as possible. This will ultimately lead to a collected set of house rules. The end goal is to emphasize that interesting choices happen mostly during game play rather than before game play.


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