There seem to be some inconsistencies in the Starter Set module Lost Mine of Phandelver...

After the first engagement, it says if the goblins defeat the Players in combat, they will leave them unconscious and steal all their gear and everything inside the oxcart.

The module then recommends a possible way to deal this for the Players: Go to town, buy new Equipment and come back to the goblins.

When the players do not have any resources, how are they supposed to recover as the module suggests? The Players can get Gold in town if they:

- Bring the oxcart to the trade post (I assume including it's Contents)
- Save someone in the Goblin cave and bring him to town (They don't know this guy yet)

How do the Players get Gold to buy new Equipment?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ From another question from you, it seems you are playing with a German set (i.e., it's written in german), is this right? I'm asking because, as you can see from my answer, I believe there is some misunderstanding with the terms used. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


Disclaimer: obviously there will be spoilers about Lost Mine of Phandelver, as the question is tagged as such. I am not marking them as spoilers because the entire section becomes meaningless if you don't read the quoted parts.


There is some misunderstanding there. I will quote the actual book phrase:

In the unlikely event that the goblins defeat the adventurers, they leave them unconscious, loot them and the wagon, then head back to the Cragmaw hideout. The characters can continue to Phandalin, buy new gear at Barthen's Provisions, return to the ambush site, and find the goblin's trail.

In Barthen's Provisions, it states

Barthen's does not stock weapons or armor, but characters can purchase other adventuring gear here [...]

In the question, you mention

How do the Players get Gold to buy new Equipment?

Equipment usually refers to weapon and armor. The goblins DO NOT loot weapons and armor from the party. This is implied by the facts that the book says the party can get the new gear in Barthen's, which doesn't sell weapons and armor, and that gear is used to other adventurers' items from the PHB (torches and food, for example). That is, gear is not the same as equipment. If you want a justification for that: well, actually removing the armor from the party and then taking it away, while also carrying the content of the wagon, would be very hard for just 4 goblins. The equipment also might have no value for them, as they probably can't use it and provisions are better to steal/sell.

This should answer your question: they can still pretty much do everything, since they still have most of their combating gear. Eventually they will complete quests and get gold to be able to buy things back. I do agree that the "immediate" tone that the book describes is misleading, though, unless the goblins also don't loot the gold from the party.

Damn, I have already looted their weapons and armor! What do I do now??? - I noticed this might be the case after I had published my answer up to the first break.

Here are a few options:

Retcon, whoops

Well, telling your players

So... it seems I screwed up and I was not supposed to take your weapon and armor away from you... It will make your life way harder than it should be... Are you fine with going back and pretending I did not take the equipment?

is not that bad.

Keep it going

If you really want to keep going from where you were, though, matsjoyce already gave you some ideas. You can make one (or more) NPCs more friendly to the party than they should be to strangers. The most justified one would be Barthen, IMHO, since he is friendly with Gundren (assuming you used the adventure hook from the book, he's the Dwarf that hired the party) and wants him rescued. Also, he is already a very friendly NPC. He could lend some money to the party (either pay in advance the 10gp/person or lend by trust) so they can rescue Gundren. LMoP gives lots of money so they should be able to pay him back soon.

I would not go with solutions that set precedents that you don't want to set. For example, from matsjoyce answer, scavaging dead people equipment could set the precedent for actually looting equipment from enemies, which you probably don't want to. The PHB (p. 144) mentions they are usually too damaged to sell. I would say they are also probably too damaged to use.

Weapons and armor used by monsters are rarely in good enough condition to sell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd agree with the weapons being unsellable as anything other than scrap. Using them however I'd allow. Maybe have them break after a certain amount of time. They work well enough for the enemies, to the PCs should get at least a little use out of them. \$\endgroup\$
    – matsjoyce
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 19:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @matsjoyce Yeah, that's specifically my reading in order to prevent abuses like "Well that guy had a Plate, I'm now using it." - changing the loot from 1gp to 1501 gp worth in equip (even if they aren't going to sell it). \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 20:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh yeah, armor is definitely not doable in most cases. It doesn't fit to begin with most of the time. Great fun when you have a dwarf PC and the shops and enemies are all for humanoids... \$\endgroup\$
    – matsjoyce
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 20:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's actually nothing in the rules preventing enemy armor/weapons from being used by player characters, though sometimes DMs will change that up. Ostensibly, the main reason used stuff is unsellable is specifically a design decision to prevent players from attempting to strip literally every enemy from every dungeon of their armor/weapons to sell off later. Especially if they have something like a Bag of Holding, they literally could probably do this if not for that specification. Given that, I think player characters could use enemy weapons/armor if there's not a huge size difference. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Yeah, that's specifically my reading in order to prevent abuses like "Well that guy had a Plate, I'm now using it." - changing the loot from 1gp to 1501 gp worth in equip (even if they aren't going to sell it). copy-pasting :P I know it's not RAW. That's why I mention "I would say", not "The PHB/the rules say". Specially for armor. Weapons aren't a big deal. \$\endgroup\$
    – HellSaint
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 23:58

Ways to get gold:

  • Some PCs, like the folk hero fighter, have tool proficiencies, so you could allow them to get gold in exchange for skilled labor. The others could become farm laborers? This won't give huge amounts of coin, but given enough time it should work.
  • The tavern / inn gives an opportunity for gambling etc. which could give them enough if they are lucky. The rogue, cleric and noble fighter have proficiency in playing cards after all.
  • There are some quests, such as the mission to the banshee, which do not require fighting. If they manage to avoid random encounters on the road (or stealth they way past) they can pick up some gold as a completion reward.
  • Modify a quest to pay some gold up front (or create a new quest for this purpose, e.g. Linene Graywind commission could the players to retrieve her goods from the Cragmaw hideout). from @Hamstertron
  • And you can have a rogue do some thieving as a last resort. Have a rich merchant go though the village, and allow the PCs to "borrow" some gold.

Ways to get equipment directly:

  • Making simple clubs out of tree branches will do as simple weapons, might be enough if the players are clever about who and how they fight. The wizard does not need a component pouch to cast ray of frost and the cleric does not need a holy symbol to cast sacred flame, so you should be able to arm all of your PCs for free. Ambushing some Redbrands will net them some equipment and maybe some coin.
  • You could stage a fight between the Redbrands and some other NPCs, such as visiting members of the Order of the Gauntlet. The PCs can scavenge weapons / equipment from those who are killed.
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    \$\begingroup\$ If the game is being run as an Adventurer's League game, many if not all of these options aren't viable due to the rules the Adventure's League imposes on treasure acquisition. \$\endgroup\$
    – nick012000
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 13:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 While true, the adventure league tag is not present on the question; do you want to ask Dennis (comments under the question) about whether this is AL, or, are you suggesting that matsjoyce add that caveat for future readers who may be in the AL situation? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nick012000 This does not apply for us, we are just bloody beginners trying to get into D&D :) Good comment nonetheless! \$\endgroup\$
    – Zure
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 15:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @matsjoyce I would add that, as GM, you could have Linene Graywind (of the Lionshield Coster) commission the players to retrieve her goods from the Cragmaw hideout and let them have enough of the reward up-front to buy some cheap gear from her. Note that she doesn't know about the Hideout but you could have her say something like "Sounds like the same goblins that intercepted my delivery. If you go back to where you were ambushed and look around, I bet you'll find my supplies when you find the goblins that attacked you." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 15:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hamstertron Yup, that too (added). I'm not sure how much messing around with the encounters is allowed based on the question, as the DM could simply say "you find X gold on a corpse you find in the ditch". I guess it depends how much work the DM wants the players to do. \$\endgroup\$
    – matsjoyce
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 15:42

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