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I'm part of a group that is GM'ed by an incredibly stingy GM. We went through a campaign from level 1 to level 11 and we had two cloaks of resistance between the six of us, with not enough funds to buy more. We die, a lot, though I suspect part of it is lack of cleric. Having completed the campaign, we will start a new one, starting at level 10. However the kicker is that our starting gold for equipment is only 10,000 gold pieces per person.

This brings me to the problem at hand. Given previous patterns, I suspect this is going to be the largest gold pile this character will ever see, so I'd like to get all my good purchases done immediately, rather than hope I get enough gold to buy anything good later.

For this character creation, I am uninterested in stat allocation, skill selections, feat selections, or spell selections except where it pertains to selecting equipment. We have a 25 point buy if it is relevant. We are not using Automatic Bonus Progression. Crafting feats are a no go owing to predicted lack of funds for materials and time to craft. My last character had craft wondrous item but never had opportunity to use it.

Also, yes, we have talked with the GM, but he is not willing to change this pattern. None of us are truly bothered by it, but I'd still like to build an effective character given the constraints. What equipment can I get at level ten that in total costs under 10k gold under the assumption that it will make up the majority of all wealth the character will have?

I had opted not to include a class because I didn't know what class would be best. Since the current answers suggest spellcaster, my order of preference would be summoner, sorcerer, then druid. As for campaign length, I have no idea, but it will probably go to level 16 if I had to guess. As for specific enemies, the GM is a fan of big creatures like giants and dragons. We have never encountered a swarm or enemy that couldn't be hurt normally.

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closed as too broad by Oblivious Sage, KorvinStarmast, user17995, daze413, Wibbs Jul 19 '17 at 7:15

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What class are you playing? Is that relevant to the question, in your view? I ask because there are certain items that are a very good deal for the price, but only if you are seeking to create specific effects. \$\endgroup\$ – izzetguildmage Jul 19 '17 at 1:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Furthermore, how long do you expect to play in the campaign? Single use/limited charge items can be effective on a budget, but suffer from attrition in a way that other items may not. \$\endgroup\$ – izzetguildmage Jul 19 '17 at 1:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ 10,000gp for each character, or for the entire party? Also, does the GM regularly use monsters that require particular weapons to kill - swarms, fey, etc.? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben S. Jul 19 '17 at 3:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is wealth pumping handled by this GM? If he is arbitrarily shafting you, perhaps he is cool with you producing arbitrary wealth? \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Jul 19 '17 at 7:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Character class, spell & feat selection, and stats are highly relevant to what equipment you need. But the right answer is probably going to be "make a party of casters" either way. \$\endgroup\$ – frodoskywalker Jul 19 '17 at 8:08
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Foreword

Personally, I think your DM is very much in the wrong here, and I would avoid such a campaign. But, given that it doesn't seem to bother you or your group, here are some things to consider...

Don't Fear the Reaper?

Does your group get attached to their characters, or are you perfectly happy to just create a new character when one dies? These restrictions will dramatically reduce your survivability, so if you want to play the same characters for a long time, I think you'll need to choose their classes and abilities very carefully.

Dealing with DR

If your DM is likely to send you up against monsters with DR or that otherwise require specialized tools to kill, that's a good place to start. Aside from silver and cold iron weapons, you'll want:

  • AoE attacks for dealing with swarms.
  • Clustered Shots, Power Attack, or Deadly Aim for dealing high damage to golems, since you probably won't have adamantine weapons.
  • Some way of fighting incorporeal beings like shadows, who can only be hurt by magic weapons, and even then take half damage from almost everything except force effects.
  • Some way of dealing with DR/alignment, most likely DR/good from devils or demons. Since aligned weapon properties are a +2 enhancement bonus that you almost certainly can't afford, you're most likely to get this from a spell like Align Weapon or ability like the Paladin's Divine Bond or a Magus with the Devoted Blade arcana.

Bear in mind that a Paladin using Smite Evil automatically overcomes any DR (as long as the target is actually evil).

Healing

Traditionally, I usually expect groups to buy wands of cure light wounds for healing, but in this case you may want to avoid spending your money on limited charge items if at all possible. Since you probably still want most of your spells to go towards other things, having a Cleric, Paladin, Life Oracle, or Life Shaman who can channel positive energy would be very helpful. A Witch with the Healing hex could provide a lesser form of this.

A Paladin would also be able to select Mercies to heal conditions that might otherwise be difficult to remove, such as curses, petrification, or even death with the Ultimate Mercy feat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In regards to character death, I'm not so much trying to game the system to survive as make the best of what I have. We try to avoid death as a matter of principle, but if it happens it happens. \$\endgroup\$ – GrenadeFox Jul 20 '17 at 2:06
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Several factors are pushing you to play a spellcaster.

First, any character that uses a weapon will suffer a disadvantage in this game because they can't spend money to upgrade their weapon.

Second, spellcasters become better and better (relative to fighter-types) as you get higher in levels. A phrase we use is "Linear Fighters, Quadratic Wizards".

In terms of money, you almost certainly want a +2 stat item for 4000gp -- this bonus will affect the DC for every spell you cast. The rest of your purchases will depend on your character class, but it's possible that you'll spend a chunk of it on buying additional wizard spells for your spellbook, or on buying a wand of cure-light-wounds so the party won't want you to heal them with spell slots, or on utility equipment like the excellent handy haversack or cap of disguise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On the topic of spellcasters, there is an advantage present in taking Crafting Feats when starting at a higher level: the time spent using the feat can be in the backstory of the character. Even if you don't have the time or money to use the feat in-game, you can double your wealth (and your party's, if you link your origins). \$\endgroup\$ – izzetguildmage Jul 19 '17 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme oops, I thought this was a 3.5 question. Nvm. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 19 '17 at 7:17

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