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More specifically, are there official ways my PCs can “upgrade” their character by spending their gold once they’ve purchased all the basics?
I’m composing a campaign in which I want to provide my players with a lot of opportunities to buy goods to further personalize their characters. However, I’ve noticed that most of the items in the PHB are probably items that they can afford very early on, and may even be items they started with.
Many of the more expensive items may not even be worth buying once they could be afforded (e.g. spyglass) or are entirely trivial to certain campaigns (e.g. certain vehicles).
In a 3.5e campaign I recently played, I could save up my gold and buy magic armor and weapons and wondrous items for my PC and his mount. My DM also let me purchase special armor for my animal companion. This let me further personalize my character in a creative and enjoyable way.
In 5e, I’m getting the impression that DMs are discouraged from making magic items buyable. So what can they spend their money on? After leveling up a bit and taking on dungeons of higher difficulties, a PC can buy any armor, weapons, adventuring gear, and mounts he desires and still have enough money that living costs and lodging don’t make much more than a dent in his coin purse, so to speak. If there’s nothing left to buy, then what’s the point of getting all that gold?