A PC's Wealth by Level (DMG 135) is determined by the PC's effective character level, but how does the DM determine an NPC's gear value on Table 4-23: NPC Gear Value (DMG 127)? Does the DM use the creature's Challenge Rating (or the entire encounter's Encounter Level), the creature's Hit Dice, the creature's levels in its classes, some combination (e.g. Hit Dice plus class levels), or something else entirely?
Using just character level for an NPC dwarf Ftr9 or whatever is self-explanatory, but what about creatures of greater complexity?
- Example 1: A CR 2 jackalwere (FF 107) has 4 HD. The DM gives him 2 levels of aristocrat (DMG 108). Because NPC classes are always nonassociated class levels (MM 294), this makes the final jackalwere CR 3, HD 6, and level 2. What's this NPC's gear value?
- Example 2 The DM advances an androsphinx (MM 232-3) to 36 HD, making the androsphinx CR 17. The DM gives the androsphinx 1 level of cleric, making the final androsphix CR 18, HD 37, and level 1. What's this NPC's gear value?
A Published Example
The CR 15 Sample Elite Vampire (MM 251-2) with 13 HD is an "Elite Vampire, 13th-Level Half-Elf Monk/Shadowdancer" with the following gear...
- +2 keen (DMG 225) kama (18,302 gp; 2 lbs.)
- +1 frost (DMG 224) sling (8,300 gp; 0 lbs.)
- +1 sling bullets (10) (47 gp ea.; 0.5 lbs. ea.)
- bracers of armor +3 (DMG 250) (9,000 gp; 1 lb.)
- periapt of wisdom +4 (DMG 263-4) (16,000 gp; 0 lbs.)
- ring of protection +2 (DMG 232) (8,000 gp; 0 lbs.)
... costing a total of 60,072 gp, a little over 1,000 gp more than amount recommended by Table 4-23: NPC Gear Value for a 15th-level NPC, which makes me think Table 4-23: NPC Gear Value is probably based on Challenge Rating, but a definitive answer's appreciated.