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Last week I bought the Pathfinder Beginner Box and as the GM I am preparing the first adventure for my friends. I'm pretty sure they will want to create their own characters instead of using the pre-rolled ones in the box.

I have the french edition so I can't really quote you the rulebook. Here is what I understand : each character gets a fixed amount of gold (175 for fighter, 140 for cleric, 140 for rogue and 70 for wizard (why so little?)) What about their gear ? Do they...

  1. get a fixed gear based on their class and I somewhat missed it ?
  2. get a extra gear budget and have to buy their starting gear with it ?
  3. have to buy their starting gear with their starting gold ?

Maybe i should just copy the pre-rolled fighter equipment if they choose fighter, cleric's one if they choose cleric... ?

I'd like, in order of preference, an answer based on :

  • the Beginner Box (in case it's precised in and I missed it)
  • the Core Rulebook
  • your experience

Searching on google I found here that players have to buy their starting equipment (but i don't have the CRB so i'm not sure that's a good fit for me) with their starting gold but where can they buy it ?

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d20pfsrd.com has a huge amount of content, including most of what is in the CRB, all available for free. Useful for anyone looking to fill the knowledge gap without buying lots of books. –  Colin D Apr 10 '13 at 21:15
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If it feels like the players are starting with nothing, it's because they basically are. By level 3 or so, the starting gold is basically just pocket change. But that's OK, everything is balanced around that. –  Gates VP Apr 11 '13 at 17:35
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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

#3 - Players typically purchase their starting gear from the gold they are given at first level. The SRD has a great article on character creation, and equipment is under section 8. The gold you have listed is, according to the SRD, actually the average for each class. As a DM, you can choose to give them the average for first level, or make them roll.

It would be good for them to look at the pre-bought sets the describe, so they can understand what's typically needed. Once they get more comfortable, they may branch out according to how they like to play their character.

Of course, as the DM you may overrule this and force them to start with a certain set of items, or give them more gold, etc. Seeing as this is your first time playing, however, I highly suggest sticking to rules as written since this sort of overruling may very well have unintended side effects.

As an aside, wizards get so little at first level because they don't need (and cannot wear) armor, nor do they need expensive weapons like swords and bows.

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I think the average amount that you are referring to is in the "full" version of Pathfinder, not the beginner's box. IIRC, the Pathfinder game has the option to take the average or rolling for starting gold, but I'm away from my books just now so I can't confirm this. –  Pulsehead Apr 12 '13 at 14:07
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The starting gold doesn't actually represent a character's money but instead represents the character's wealth. Wealth is the value of the character's belongings, including money. So, when a character starts out, the character doesn't actually have 150 gold pieces and proceed to the shopping mall to get gear. The player selects gear of value up to 150 gold pieces, with the idea that the character has acquired these items in the past at various points in time.

Also, wizard's have so little gold because of @Dan Rasmussen's answer and because a wizard's spellbook is also valuable. A starting wizard doesn't actually "purchase" a spellbook (spells are given to the character at first level). So, after factoring in the "free" spellbook, the actual wealth of a wizard is closer in line to the rest of the character classes pretty awesome (see @KRyan's comment below).

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The starting spellbook has nearly 30 pages' worth of spells in it, and therefore is worth around 1,500 gp. That is far and away the most of any 1st-level character. –  KRyan Apr 10 '13 at 20:34
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@SevenSidedDie "spellbooks can be sold for an amount equal to half the cost of purchasing and inscribing the spells within." That is to say, 50 gp per page. Spells are very much a form of wealth. –  KRyan Apr 11 '13 at 17:54
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Normally you would buy your starting equipment with the gold that is given. Characters' starting gold is based on what they need, so you have to decide carefully what you will absolutely have to have, and you won't be able to buy everything you want to have.

This helps game balance as well as making it even more gratifying when you purchase that magical bastard sword you couldn't afford when you started.

Now of course you could house rule that characters start with more gold, but that could severely damage the game. Once I gave each player 1000 g.p to start with; all the "standard" encounters they went through were WAY too easy, and the supposedly Hard encounters were more like easy encounters. If you're just beginning you probably want to stick to the rules.

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