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    Orc in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Ok while chatting with my DM it appeared a "houserule", rather minor thing really but still got me thinking about the sistem.

    According to the DM it isn't fair that a class gets good armor, martial weapons and more while others have less.

    Is it true that different starting wealth is imbalanced? I'd say no but I do not know this game all that well



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    This DM ruled that all classes get 100 gp plus anything from the BG.

    This means that if you got:
    3d4◊10 gp you get reliably twice your usual starting wealth
    4d4◊10 gp you get statistically the same gold
    5d4◊10 gp you get statistically less gold

    Is this a good method?

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    In my experience it doesn't matter. My group is level 6 now and have about 15,000gp worth of currency and gems. So I might be mildly annoyed that my barbarian didn't start out with medium armor, but ultimately it balanced out very quickly.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Do you mean the starting equipment? You can either roll for starting gold or take a package with a few different options.

    The starting packages are pretty well balanced. Some classes may get a greater value out of their starting gear but in general each class gets what they need to be effective. Caster classes typically don't need as much; they're pretty much all set with a focus and everything else is gravy. Martials tend to get more because without weapons and armor they are dead weight, so that gear is the bare minimum to put them roughly in line with other classes in terms of effectiveness.

    If you go by starting gold, I know the dice you roll are set more according to the "flavor" of a class rather than their actual requirements, so I would consider that method to be somewhat unbalanced, yes, but you'll generally get enough to afford what you strictly need unless you're very unlucky or playing a very gear dependent build, so in the end it isn't a huge deal.

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Starting gold is set to take into account the equipment a class needs to function well. Monks have very little because they use neither weapons nor armor, while paladin, ranger, fighter, and cleric have to budget in case they need an expensive longbow or heavy armor. The only one which seems odd is the bard, which has more money than it needs, really, and barbarian might be a bit low.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Level 1 has way more problems than starting gold

    I have never heard anyone try to nerf first level characters in D&D 5E.

    I am sorry your DM thinks that some classes should get to use all of their features at first level and others shouldn't. That's what not allowing fighters and paladins (as examples) to have decent starting equipment is.
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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Ok while chatting with my DM it appeared a "houserule", rather minor thing really but still got me thinking about the sistem.

    According to the DM it isn't fair that a class gets good armor, martial weapons and more while others have less.

    Is it true that different starting wealth is imbalanced? I'd say no but I do not know this game all that well
    Starting wealth is balanced to what a class needs. A class like a fighter needs decent armour and weapons to start off with, while a wizard or sorcerer only really needs casting focus, and a monk is functional even without any starting gear at all.

    So no, I do not believe different starting wealth is at all imbalanced. Giving everyone the same starting wealth might be okay, provided that starting wealth is enough for the most wealth-intensive character (fighter and paladin, probably) to get everything they need, and 100gp is not enough for that. For example, a paladin is expected to start with chainmail (75 GP), a holy symbol (5GP), a shield (10GP), and a ranged and melee weapon option(10-30GP each), which will exceed that 100GP limit.
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    BardGirl

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    I have DMd two shorter 5ed campaign. I told my players that they could start with any weapon and armor they felt it would make sense for their character to have at the beginning at the game acording to their backstories. Worked put fine. Most of them had less but more appropriate weapons than the standard starting equipment. I also had a rule that they could not have any sigle item worth more than 100 GC, but it was not necessary. Starting loadout, in my limited experience, is not super important.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    "Fair" is a subjective call. The game is supposed to be "Fun". In the long run what you get for gold at first level is inconsequential, anyway. Anyway, me fail English? Umpossible!

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Yup, every class gets what they need to use their skills and that seems reasonable to me. For all the people that think Wizards start out with too little gold... have you looked at the rules for inscribing a spell in a spellbook? A starting spellbook for a wizard is pretty expensive and they get that for free.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Ok while chatting with my DM it appeared a "houserule", rather minor thing really but still got me thinking about the sistem.

    According to the DM it isn't fair that a class gets good armor, martial weapons and more while others have less.

    Is it true that different starting wealth is imbalanced? I'd say no but I do not know this game all that well
    Fairness is a pretty hard thing to use as a design metric in the game just in general. However, beyond that comparing fairness across a single facet of the game (such as starting gold piece count) is almost nonsensical. You have to analyze each starting class (well, each starting build, actually, but let's keep it simple), and analyze how they play at first level with what they are allotted, and then make holistic fairness comparisons there. Splitting out individual components without recognizing how they effect the rest makes the comparison meaningless (it's not like you can isolate the gold from the other features during actual play).

    Others have pointed out how fighters and paladins and clerics (Dex builds notwithstanding) pretty much need heavy armor and moderate-to-expensive weapons just to do what their classes do, while rogues and wizards need 30-50 gp worth of goods to get going (and sorcerers and monks practically nothing).

    FWIW, the game is a lot fairer (particularly with regards to starting situation) than it used to be -- previous editions included rolling for (with no listed standard package, even as optional rule) starting gold, attributes, and even initial hit points. That was along the premise that everyone had an equal chance of rolling well with their character and for the most part if you rolled poorly, well the character would be dead soon and you'd get another chance to roll well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Safety Sword View Post
    Level 1 has way more problems than starting gold

    I have never heard anyone try to nerf first level characters in D&D 5E.
    I have heard of many a starting GM start trying to modify the game to fit notions of 'how it ought to be' well on before they even finished reading the rules for the first time. It seems to be a reoccurring trend. This is why I'm guessing that the DM too is new to the game.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shabbazar View Post
    Yup, every class gets what they need to use their skills and that seems reasonable to me. For all the people that think Wizards start out with too little gold... have you looked at the rules for inscribing a spell in a spellbook? A starting spellbook for a wizard is pretty expensive and they get that for free.
    Yes, the spell book of a first level wizard costs 350 GP (50 just for the book, 6*50 for the spells). That kinda throws all the supposed balance out of whack.

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    Imbalance's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Ok while chatting with my DM it appeared a "houserule", rather minor thing really but still got me thinking about the sistem.

    According to the DM it isn't fair that a class gets good armor, martial weapons and more while others have less.

    Is it true that different starting wealth is imbalanced? I'd say no but I do not know this game all that well



    Bonus
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    This DM ruled that all classes get 100 gp plus anything from the BG.

    This means that if you got:
    3d4◊10 gp you get reliably twice your usual starting wealth
    4d4◊10 gp you get statistically the same gold
    5d4◊10 gp you get statistically less gold

    Is this a good method?
    It might seem fair to equalize starting wealth, but only if a sword costs the same as a wand.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbalance View Post
    It might seem fair to equalize starting wealth, but only if a sword costs the same as a wand.
    If sword and armor cost the same as a wand. :)

    For the OP:

    KISS principle. Use the default starting equipment, it simplifies everything. And then look at the book, and consider the equipment to be new. The PHB says one can sell it back for half price, and IIRC the Adventurer's League rules are you can sell any starting equipment back for half price before beginning play. (Been a while since I reviewed that).

    It is a lot less complicated to use the suggested starting equipment. Each char gets some gold from their background anyway.

    Buying and Selling Items
    Arms, armor, and other equipment fetch half their cost if you sell them. Arms and armor obtained from monsters is worthless unless otherwise specified; if such gear is found during an adventure, it can be used for the duration of the session before it breaks or becomes unusable.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2019-09-19 at 10:24 AM.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I have heard of many a starting GM start trying to modify the game to fit notions of 'how it ought to be' well on before they even finished reading the rules for the first time. It seems to be a reoccurring trend. This is why I'm guessing that the DM too is new to the game.
    I take your point.

    People should really just play with the system for a while before screwing with it
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trandir View Post
    Ok while chatting with my DM it appeared a "houserule", rather minor thing really but still got me thinking about the sistem.

    According to the DM it isn't fair that a class gets good armor, martial weapons and more while others have less.

    Is it true that different starting wealth is imbalanced? I'd say no but I do not know this game all that well



    Bonus
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    This DM ruled that all classes get 100 gp plus anything from the BG.

    This means that if you got:
    3d4◊10 gp you get reliably twice your usual starting wealth
    4d4◊10 gp you get statistically the same gold
    5d4◊10 gp you get statistically less gold

    Is this a good method?
    So basically "monks wizards and sorcerers get free horses" as a houserule. Classes that don't wear armor don't need to buy armor. For all three classes, once they get a staff and maybe one of the survival kits they'll still be sitting on a mound of gold.

    Starting gold isn't arbitrary, it's set where it's set for a reason.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    In the end I think it comes back to a misunderstanding that I see come up quite a bit all over the place. Starting equipment and starting gold are intended to be roughly fair. But it seems fewer and fewer people understand that fair and equal do not mean the same thing. Something can be equal and fair, unequal and fair or equal and horribly unfair.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    I studied the economy of 5e for 6 months on and off, until I simply decided it was stupid, and turned it on its head. I have made a bunch of changes to how gold enters and exits the player's possession. These are the changes relevant to this thread:

    I now rule each class gets
    - One armor he's proficient with (leather, chain shirt, chain mail)
    - Two simple weapons and one martial weapon, if proficient
    - A focus or material bag if a spellcaster
    - A shield if proficient
    - 6gp

    Quest rewards or other loot comes in once per session. I removed the coins from the treasure hoard table. If you choose not to do so that's an average of 300gp for the group each session. Meaning money comes in quick.

    This means a player will only buy what he intends to use, instead of just random things to fill up his quota at character creation.

    Starting at higher levels doesn't change the starting gold, since the quest reward is higher (5000gp per hoard at level 5-10)

    No matter what you had at the start of the session, you'll be able to buy whatever you need after your first reward.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-09-23 at 04:25 AM.

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    In the end I think it comes back to a misunderstanding that I see come up quite a bit all over the place. Starting equipment and starting gold are intended to be roughly fair.
    Like hell they do.
    I ran the numbers a long time back, in a post that sadly got swallowed by the EnWorld crash, and there can be around a 100gp difference just for classes.
    Not to mention how the only background package you'll ever want to take is Noble.
    Last edited by Yunru; 2019-09-23 at 05:25 AM.

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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Yeah, the starting equipment is completely unbalanced and taking the gold option is (almost?) always better.

    My first character was a bard in CoS. I took the diplomat's pack. My starting equipment was so laughably poor that the DM took a sudden timeout to make me explain what I even have. Perfume, paper, and soap wasn't exactly impressive. "It's my default equipment!" She shook her head and my character mooched off the others for several sessions just to keep from starving and sleeping in the cold.

    You take the gold option, you normally get better armor, a slew of useful items, and still end up with too much gold to spend.

    I should add that my character did find a use for all the perfume, paper, and soap. Highlight of the campaign was seducing a guard while tied up with a clever casting of suggestion using the waxes and perfumes as the somatic components. No need for a free hand with the quantity he had on.
    Last edited by sophontteks; 2019-09-23 at 06:44 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    Like hell they do.
    I ran the numbers a long time back, in a post that sadly got swallowed by the EnWorld crash, and there can be around a 100gp difference just for classes.
    Not to mention how the only background package you'll ever want to take is Noble.
    I contend that the starting equipment or rolled gold, which is what I meant, is roughly fair in giving each class enough to do their basic job.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    I've been playing 5E since it came out, and the one part of what I see online about the game that never gels with my personal experience is "Character's are laden with money and have nothing to do with it."

    At no point have players in my game had too much money. My current group is Level 11, and don't have 5k between them (and owe some shamans 1000gp).

    This could just be the way I run games, of course, but I have been using published campaigns, and they just don't seem to be making people rich. Are the published campaigns less generous than the default loot rules? Are my players just really bad at searching for treasure? Am I missing something?

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    In the end I think it comes back to a misunderstanding that I see come up quite a bit all over the place. Starting equipment and starting gold are intended to be roughly fair. But it seems fewer and fewer people understand that fair and equal do not mean the same thing. Something can be equal and fair, unequal and fair or equal and horribly unfair.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    Like hell they do.
    I ran the numbers a long time back, in a post that sadly got swallowed by the EnWorld crash, and there can be around a 100gp difference just for classes.
    Not to mention how the only background package you'll ever want to take is Noble.
    Can you please elaborate a bit, Yunru? Because from what i read, you are proving their point. Fair doesn't mean equal, and a 100gp difference can be fair, even if the amount of starting gold clearly isn't equal.
    Last edited by ThePolarBear; 2019-09-23 at 07:52 AM.

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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Estrillian View Post
    This could just be the way I run games, of course, but I have been using published campaigns, and they just don't seem to be making people rich. Are the published campaigns less generous than the default loot rules? Are my players just really bad at searching for treasure? Am I missing something?
    I agree. the published adventures are not going to make the PC's rich.
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Depends on the campaign for me as DM. Sometimes I give them the option of either starting equipment or gold, sometimes they get just the starting equipment with the option to swap out equipment with equivalent stuff, for example, the player wants an axe instead of the sword listed. For a generic fantasy world like Greyhawk I don't care what they do for equipment, its their backgrounds and races that matter.

    By in large my favorite starting gear lineup was assigned for my Black Crusade campaign based on the class and the role the character chose. Here is a cut and paste from my primer for the campaign for a fighter, ranger, barbarian, rogue classes at level 1. Note than normal class equipment restrictions are in effect.

    Cavalry (fighter)- Suit of chainmail, full or partial helm, long sword, spear, shield, war hammer, dagger. Your horse did die before you got here and you ate it, so you are on foot. Backpack, 25 gold denarii from Byzantium or generic coins taken along the way.

    Foot soldier(fighter/ranger)- Long Sword, helm, spear, shield, dagger, chain or scale mail. Back pack and 10 gold denarii.

    Genoese Mercenary(Fighter/Ranger)- heavy or light crossbow, helm, shield, short sword, dagger, studded or leather armor. Quiver with 30 bolts. Backpack. 30 gold denarii.

    They also get 20gp worth of non-weapon/armor gear/jewelry they picked up on the way to Jerusalem, water and wine flasks, a day of hard tack rations, a single change of clothes.

    Did well for roleplaying and giving a very historical feel to the characters. not every class was equal, some of the other classes are very restricted as a means to keep world flavor and increase the oddity and superstition of magic.

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePolarBear View Post
    Can you please elaborate a bit, Yunru? Because from what i read, you are proving their point. Fair doesn't mean equal, and a 100gp difference can be fair, even if the amount of starting gold clearly isn't equal.
    Right, let's take a fighter.
    For this we'll be assuming a resale value of 50%.

    The fighter gets:
    (a) chain mail [or 37.5gp] or (b) leather armor [or 5gp], longbow [or 25gp], and 20 arrows [or 0.5gp]
    (a) a martial weapon [or 37.5gp] and a shield [or 5gp] or (b) two martial weapons [or 75gp]
    (a) a light crossbow [or 12.5gp] and 20 bolts [or 0.5gp] or (b) two handaxes [or 5gp]
    (a) a dungeoneerís pack [or 6gp] or (b) an explorerís pack [or 5gp]

    So for a Sword 'n' Board fighter (we'll assume Dex with a rapier):
    Take the chain mail, sell it, buy Studded Leather. -7.5gp
    Take two martial weapons (a rapier and a hand crossbow), sell the hand crossbow, buy a shield. +27.5gp
    Take the light crossbow and bolts, sell them. +13gp
    Take the dungeoneer's pack, sell it. +6gp

    Total spare change: 39gp
    Other expenses: None


    Now let's try that with the Sorcerer:
    (a) a light crossbow [or 12.5gp] and 20 bolts [or 0.5gp] or (b) any simple weapon [or 12.5gp]
    (a) a component pouch [or 12.5gp] or (b) an arcane focus [or 10gp]
    (a) a dungeoneerís pack [or 6gp] or (b) an explorerís pack [or 5gp]
    Two daggers [or 2gp]

    Sell all the weapons, we've cantrips. +15gp
    Take a component pouch, sell it, buy a staff. +2.5gp
    Sell the dungeoneer's pack. +6gp

    Total spare change: 23.5gp
    Other expenses: Spell component's (of note, chromatic orb's 50gp diamond)


    And the divide gets worse with roll for money.

    I would do more, but I already did it once (which is disheartening), and it involves a lot of cross-referencing tables (which is tedious).
    Last edited by Yunru; 2019-09-23 at 08:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    First of all, Yunru, that's absolutely gaming the system to get more cash, what sane DM is going to let you forgo a shield specifically so you can take a more expensive weapon to sell and immediately buy a shield? Second, the entire point of "fair but equal" is that not everyone has the same costs associated with running the class. That Sorcerer that you pointed out has Chromatic Orb as the only spell with a cost component until level 5 when Clairvoyance becomes an option; it might not be able to be cast out of the gate without sacrifices, but they're going to be able to afford it soon and that's their primary goal for money at that point. Meanwhile, an armor-user is going to spend quite possibly more than that on their first (of several) armor upgrades. The Sorcerer won't start getting to equivalent expenses on armor alone until L6 spells like Circle of Death. Wizards are more money-intensive, at least use them as an example because while a Sorcerer is slightly behind by your metric, they will be ahead for most of their lives and all of their lives for most games that aren't getting into super-high levels.
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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    First of all, Yunru, that's absolutely gaming the system to get more cash, what sane DM is going to let you forgo a shield specifically so you can take a more expensive weapon to sell and immediately buy a shield?
    "Allow"? There's nothing to "allow." It's straight up character creation. Well, except the selling and buying, which happens as soon as you find a suitable shop if your DM doesn't allow it at creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    Meanwhile, an armor-user is going to spend quite possibly more than that on their first (of several) armor upgrades.
    You mean the fighter that's rocking the best light armour you can just straight up buy? O.o
    Last edited by Yunru; 2019-09-23 at 10:11 AM.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Yunru, ThePolarBear stated, "Can you please elaborate a bit, Yunru? Because from what i read, you are proving their point. Fair doesn't mean equal, and a 100gp difference can be fair, even if the amount of starting gold clearly isn't equal." You're obviously under no obligation to follow up on that, but it seems like you missed that being his primary question asked.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    "Allow"? There's nothing to "allow." It's straight up character creation. Well, except the selling and buying, which happens as soon as you find a suitable shop if your DM doesn't allow it at creation.
    Also, you honestly think that no DM is going to disallow such things once it has happened in their game once or twice?
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2019-09-23 at 10:57 AM.

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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    "Allow"? There's nothing to "allow." It's straight up character creation. Well, except the selling and buying, which happens as soon as you find a suitable shop if your DM doesn't allow it at creation.
    Which for some campaigns (curse of strahd, for instance) might easily mean "around level 2 or 3". Meanwhile the player who tried to game the system, if still alive (unlikely for a dex fighter running around in chain mail and no ranged options, smart enemies will kite him to death), has been a burden on his party for choosing to have the most expensive equipment instead of the most optimized one.

    Your particular example is also a dex fighter with no ranged options. I would think that is considerably worse than a sorcerer who cannot cast Chromatic Orb.
    Last edited by diplomancer; 2019-09-23 at 10:45 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: Is starting gold umbalanced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yunru View Post
    "Allow"? There's nothing to "allow." It's straight up character creation. Well, except the selling and buying, which happens as soon as you find a suitable shop if your DM doesn't allow it at creation.

    You mean the fighter that's rocking the best light armour you can just straight up buy? O.o
    And what happens when the shop just isn't interested in a hand crossbow at that price? Remember that a hand crossbow, while expensive, is both harder to use and inferior in practice for the vast majority of civilization. A light crossbow is usable by anyone, has greater range and damage, and they were going to need to use two hands to practically fire that hand crossbow anyway thanks to reloading. If you're trying to sell it to the first merchant you find, unless they are someone who can reasonably expect to find experienced warriors to sell it to, you're going to be fetching closer to 10 gp (a little less than a light crossbow) than you are 30. It's like using a Jug of Alchemy to make poison to sell on the market, sure you can produce a lot, but it's a lot harder to find someone to buy it all without it being at a discount. If you wait to find a buyer who will pay full price on it sure, but that's probably going to be a good ways in and its no longer equitable to talk about it as a function of character creation.

    Light armor is definitely a choice that a fighter can make, but that still chews up part of their starting capital even when they are gaming the system. Without the abuse of the hand crossbow that should never fly in a living world, that puts the fighter about even with the Sorcerer assuming that they can at least find use for one of the 50 gp weapons. If they really are looking more for weapons that most people will be able to use, the fighter might actually come in at less than the sorcerer.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

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