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I recently joined a Pathfinder group with some good friends of mine, and it's been going pretty well except for one little problem. The problem is that almost every time our party finds loot or gear, that loot is suited completely for everybody else's characters. It's gotten to the point where the net worth of every other character but mine is at least quadruple my own, if not more.

We're party level 5. The Fighter's got +1 gear for his weapon and armor and magic oils, the Ninja has a masterwork weapon and a magic weapon and a Bag of Holding, and our Sorcerer has at least found a wondrous item and a couple decent potions. Meanwhile, I'm playing an Oracle and I'm still wearing the same padded armor from the beginning of the campaign, I have no weapon upgrades, and I haven't received any magical gear of any kind. The worst part is I neglected by Strength stat both because it fit with my character and I wasn't a front-liner, so I can hardly carry anything over 5 pounds past my basic gear without it weighing me down anyway. I've just recently given up trying to attack things with my basic Heavy Crossbow because it's too under-powered to actually hit anything with its basic bolts. It's driving me up a wall.

It's not entirely the GM's fault, though. He's not doing anything intentionally to screw my character over, he just doesn't put anything in any of the loot that our party finds that my character can use. It also doesn't help that everybody finds the loot before I even get a chance to see it, let alone interact with it. There are shops in the town to buy gear, but even if I sold everything my character owned that wouldn't be enough for an actual upgrade. I tried bringing it up with him recently and he said he'd "throw in something random" the next time we find loot. Sounds great, but I'm afraid he's just going to make the same misstep again and the somebody else will find the item to be a huge boon to their character and take it before I even have a say in the matter.

I can't force the GM to put in the gear because it's not my place to simply demand such things as a player, but I can't just sit back and let my character suffer from something as small as a lack of gear upgrades. I don't think it'd be right to get the rest of the group involved with a problem that's so contained to just my character. Ironically, the fact that this is a rather small issue seems to be the biggest problem.

I've explained my situation to the best of my ability, and I just want to know what I can do about it as a player, if anything.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jul 5 '18 at 4:42
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Ahhh, the good old loot debacle.

Let's face it bluntly, this isn't entirely a gm problem, but a group problem also. Why? Let me explain:

Issue 1 - The GM

First of all, loot is handed out by the GM. In his list of choice there is not much that would benefit you much it seems from your elaboration, but some general items (Bag of holding!) would greatly offset your low carrying capacity and at least allow you to take some of the valuables with you... which brings us to the other issue, the one you don't ask about:

Issue 2 - the group

Loot distribution is the other, maybe bigger problem. And this, is a group dynamic thing. As you describe it, the GM throws out a bag of grain. The group decides what to do with it - mill it and distribute. Bad luck that you are gluten intolerant, and neither grain for gruel nor flour for bread is helping you. But then comes the really problematic part: When you are standing in front of the pile of flour, you don't even get to to grab "your share" as the others fill their buckets first and you don't even get to keep some to exchange into rice or corn. The result? A hungry (vastly undergeared) oracle that has to come by only with the leveled abilities (spellcasting) and cope with a curse that (without the information which you took - some are more equal than others) could be a real spanner in the works (clouded vision) or just a very circumstantial problem (haunted).

What to do?!

First of all: Go into the initiative! You know what your character is like, you know what you might want. So, write a wishlist, based on a) the average wealth of all the other characters and b) the average wealth a starting character of your level should have (lvl 5: 10,500 gp). Now, What to do?! Here comes the FUNTM part taking actual action. And yes, having to claw the fun out of this is hardcore to Dwarf Fortress. It is not a fast route. But, if you are deeply into roleplaying - not rollplaying - you can have your fun with this!

The FUNTM route

I admit, this is not for everyone. It is a real hardcore way. It requires effort, it demands being stoic in the face of adversaries. It demands attacking the problem like one plays Dwarf Fortress: with undying patience and making the bad situation enjoyable even - or even better - because it lasts. Carve your way to it armed with the only thing left on the oracle, the only thing that can't be tarnished by lack of gear: good roleplay! Earn your Fun!TV-Tropes warning!

Take the seemingly IC problem (we know it is OOC!) where it at first glance doesn't belong: IC! Play it out! Make your oracle speak up about the problem in-character as they walk along in rags while the others wear shiny new armor.

When packing for the next day after a rest, humbly complain about the weight of your gear but don't force yourself on the others. When resting, clean the little gear and mention it being worn out as you fix holes in your armor and chip the rust off your trusty crossbow. When preparing for a fight or looting after, ask them how you can help better as you can not see how your humble crossbow could do any damage against these monsters. When fighting, mention your cruel fate to have none of the items that would perfectly help this situation (remember: wishlist!) but only your trusty crossbow which not even grazes the monsters anymore. When in town, try to make some money with your profession/performance/craft skills and oracle talents to try to help gain some of the money that the others got in loot. When loot is up for sharing again, ask why you didn't even/only get the scraps of the pile. When passing by a shop, ask for the price of an item on your wishlist... and then search your pockets and sigh longingly as you can not even pay for it even by selling your last shirt. When paying for the inn or meals, look anxious about the price and ask for a cheaper spot as you scratch together the money for the stay.

Mind you, to make it your fun, don't diminish the fun of the others! Don't overdo it!

Finally, after some time of doing this IC stuff (and probably 1 or 2 levels), and to hammer the message home if they still haven't got it: When halting in an inn, offer the other players to leave them behind as the oracle might feel that it bogs them down in their quest.

If they don't immediately try to fix it, your character asks to be left behind: be hard. Follow suit to what your character said. Stand up, bow and tell the players and GM as a fellow player that it has been fun to play the character, but the party has outgrown him/her so much that you feel you need to make a new character and leave to roll that up/build that. If the GM has it under control as they claim, they should have fixed the issue long before that point by dropping gear to get you up to wealth that the others don't need. And the other players should have taken the clues and helped him in this by taking steps to gear up the oracle to similar wealth to theirs.

But mind you: make it your (and to a lesser bit also their) fun to achieve a what you want.

The "Take it to the players" route

Or take it to the table directly: talk OOCly about how you see that the lack of anything substantial to help the others PCs on your oracle bogs the party down. Mention that you saw your crossbow bolts being not even a distraction anymore. Have the other players account your characters wealth (or lack thereof) for themselves. Ask them how you are supposed to get any of the loot but some small gold coins left to get any better gear if they all have first dibs on anything and never allow you to pick anything. You are not a monk with a vow of poverty after all! Maybe this rebuttal can make the players share the party wealth more evenly, or help you get you onto the loot train.

The "Ask the GM again" route

But, that is not all! You shouldn't try the player route (OR for the matter the beggar-play one!) before you at least have given the GM another try at this. Wait for the next loot drop (maybe that random item he promised isn't as random as they claimed but some oracle only gear!).

Then approach them after the next session. Give them a copy of your oracle to look over with a comment like "I would like to talk about my character and its role in the group as something seems to be wrong with it." Allow them to look your character sheet over for some minutes to spot some problems themselves. Maybe they bring it up on their own now, maybe they know how to better use the features you already have.

With this, you should have opened the door for some talk at least. Talk about what you feel is wrong, mention how your character can't impact the combats in a noticeable way anymore. Point out that in the last encounters none of the loot on the pile came through to you but don't accuse the GM of not trying to drop loot for you. Point out that when looting, the others ninja away even breadcrumbs like a bag of holding, that would even allow you to take away any loot. If they tell you that the next shopkeeper might have what you need, point at the almost empty wealth box and ask "With what shall I pay him? The others don't even leave me money."


I never thought I would have to explain FUN(TM): It is an euphemism that comes from Dwarf Fortress. It means: "sometimes you have to claw the 'fun' out of the stinking guts of a dead elder beast and lose several well set up dwarven strongholds on the way to it." It means (sometimes) "losing is fun" (of a special kind). If you boil it and think over it, then you might realize that it means "Fun is, what you make from it. If the GM and group serve you carp, make fish stew. If they serve you crap, become a farmer."

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 3 '18 at 18:38
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At loot distribution time (or shortly before), you should ask everyone to calculate the total value of all their equipment. Ideally you shouldn't have to make a case for giving you stuff -- you can just leave the numbers hanging out there. Once everyone is used to the idea that their wealth numbers are tracked, they'll be nicer about not grabbing everything.

If you'd rather not speak up about this yourself, you could also ask the GM to conduct periodic character wealth surveys.

Remember also that loot does not have to go to players. If nobody wants something, you can and should sell it and split the money.

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This reminds me of why one of my friend's characters made on of their characters the mid-evil equivalent of an accountant in their backstory for one of our games. Their character has a mile high appraise check (and if the PCs don't know the actual value of an item shopkeeps will try to cheat them) so the partymembers are fine with showing loot to their character and with them disclosing the value to the entire party loot splitting becomes the fairly trivial matter of all the PCs have some level of self interest and so wont work for less than a fair share (the party isn't in any 'save the world' type situation) so with the value of everything known we divvy up according to value and anything to valuable to be one persons share gets sold or they agree their next share gets docked the excess value. Though seems like it's a bit late for your Oracle to start appraising everything the party finds so unless you end up making a new character investing in appraise probably won't solve this problem. Maybe you could ICly convince the party that one or two items that they have might be worth more than they think so they, on their own self interest, will want things to be appraised and it will be reveled IC that you have almost nothing and they're fabulously wealthy.

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