I'm GMing a 1st Edition Pathfinder campaign after a long hiatus from GMing and starting up NPCs has never been a strong suit of mine - typically I try an officially made, appropriate statblock for the personality and fighting style of the NPC I'm trying to make and use that.

However, for this campaign I'm making a custom NPC statblock for a very specific character related to one of my PCs backstories because I had a good idea and there was no pre-made block that existed that captured the essence of how I wanted this character to feel and fight.

The stats themselves weren't an issue, but when it came down to Gear I hit a major sticking point - I can either overspend in a category, or ludicrously underspend with no in between. I'm not sure if I'm missing something but let me give an example.

This character is a 9th level PC class, meaning that according to the table of NPC gear values, she has 3,500gp to spend on weapons. Okay, so I buy her a +1 magic weapon that's appropriate, which costs me 2,375 gp of my budget - 2,000 for +1, 300 for masterwork and 75 for the base cost of the weapon.

I'm now left with 1,125gp left - not enough for another +1 bonus, but FAR too much for anything other than loading her up with random stuff like masterwork throwing weapons - which don't make sense from a flavour perspective as this character is a barbarian-type who's going to spend 99% of the fight in a rage where ranged combat feels like an unreasonable amount of forethought when tactics while raging consist mainly of 'Charge' or 'Full Attack'.

Is there something I'm missing on what falls into the various categories?
I get this everywhere I look except for Limited Use items because potions/oils are relatively cheap.

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    – V2Blast
    Aug 31, 2020 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


These are guidelines, you don't have to be exact

The most basic concept to keep in mind is that GMing is an art, not a science. You should not let yourself be shackled to the rules, especially when they're causing you to sweat over details that just aren't that important. Nothing will break if you give your NPC a +2 weapon and few other items of value, even though it violates these NPC building guidelines.

(Though if this is an NPC the players will fight, I'd encourage you to index their resulting stats against creatures of similar CR to see what equipment is needed to get their stats to be close)

If you're interested in sticking to the rules, the NPC creation section in the CRB has this to say about spending in the different categories:

When outfitting the character, spend the listed amount on each category by purchasing as few items as possible. Leftover gold from any category can be spent on any other category. Funds left over at the end represent coins and jewelry carried by the character.

In essence, since leftover gold from one category can be spent on another, you can be low 1000 gp on one and high 1000 gp on the other.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, that's a line that I missed, for sure! The ability to use unspent wealth from one category in another makes my life a lot easier - because that means I can maybe use leftover weapon money to get, say, an amulet of natural armour to bolster her lacklustre AC. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2020 at 14:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ With a bit more thought and looking at additional material I was able to get something I'm happy with. Their damage output feels tremendously high for a CR 8 encounter, but maybe I'm underestimating PC toughness and damage output at the levels where that is a reasonable encounter. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2020 at 15:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's perfectly acceptable to have high damage output on a creature/NPC as long as there are other areas they're lackluster in (or even if not, if the party is strong enough). Just look at Frost Giants. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 31, 2020 at 22:35

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