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Good & Cheap: Core Equipment Everyone Should Have

If you dig around in the equipment long enough you find all sorts of useful things, however they can get expensive and they can really weigh you down.  If you are a 1st level character you might not have much in the way of funds, or if you have a low strength you just might not be able to hold a lot of stuff.  Here is a list of items that really ANY character can both afford and carry...

WEAPONS

Spiked Gauntlet (5gp, 1lb.) – This is a very handy weapon for any character to have.  It's a simple weapon which most characters are proficient in, it allows you to always be considered “armed” and thus can perform attacks of opportunity when the need arises.  It is also considered “always on” because you wear it rather than wield it.  Even if you are not proficient with it, all that means is you have a penalty to hit, but does not affect spellcasting.  So there really isn't any reason not to have one on at least one hand.

Sling (free, 0lbs.) – This is likewise a very handy weapon to have available.  It's free, doesn't weigh anything, and its a simple weapon.  If the need arises for a ranged attack it's rather easy to find a rock to use, so you don't even have to pay for bullets.

Now, one might look at the above and say, "but my character isn't meant for combat."  That may be true, but these are backup weapons for desperate situations.  Many a time a party is on the brink of death, and all it takes is a few more hit points of damage on the monster to save everyone.  In over 30 years of gaming there simply have been far too many occasions where having some simple little mundane item made all the difference.

GEAR

The weightless items:
  • Bell (1gp) – Set a warning for anyone passing through an area.
  • Candle (1cp) – Cheap, long lasting light for desperate situations.
  • Chalk (1cp) – Mark floors, walls, etc. to keep track of travel or leave messages to other PCs.
  • Charcoal (5sp) – Write on parchment for low price, or make wall rubbings.
  • Fishhook (1sp) – It's a hook... it's cheap, there just might be some need that can be thought up.
  • Flint and Steel (1gp) – When in doubt, build a fire, and burn something.
  • Parchment (1 sheet) (2sp) – It's good to be able to write something down sometimes.
  • Sewing Needle (5sp) – Like the hook, you never know when this might be useful.
  • Signal Whistle (8sp) – Send out a signal, alert other party members, etc.
  • Tindertwig (1pg) – When you need something lit fast this is the way to go.

Total Price   5gp, 1sp, 2cp

For such a low price you get a lot of different items that can be indispensable in solving problems on an adventure.  Combining that low price with no weight means very little has to be tracked and it
doesn't have an impact even on low strength characters.

BURN IT!

Oil (1sp, 1lb) – While there are many more expensive special substances (such as Alchemist Fire) that every character ought to get around purchasing, there is one that is cheap enough that every
character should have at least one flask, that being Oil.  It can be lit on fire, and you should be able to talk the GM into using it for other uses you can think up.

Ultimately, when you run out of ideas, or the creature seems to be immune to anything else you are trying to do to it, one of the best options at that point is just start lighting things on fire and hoping for the best.

WRAP IT UP

In summary:
  • Spiked Gauntlet (5gp, 1lb.)
  • Sling (free, 0lbs.)
  • Bell (1gp)
  • Candle (1cp)
  • Chalk (1cp)
  • Charcoal (5sp)
  • Fishhook (1sp)
  • Flint and Steel (1gp)
  • Parchment (1 sheet) (2sp)
  • Sewing Needle (5sp)
  • Signal Whistle (8sp)
  • Tindertwig (1pg)
  • Oil (1sp, 1lb)
Total Cost: 10gp, 2sp, 2cp
Total Weight: 2 lbs.

As you can see, it's cheap, it's light, and gives you a lot of  interesting options to deal with surprising situations.

If you have the tools, you have the talent!

- Neil Carr