There seem to be vanishingly few items listed in the main book that have no requirement for resources. Is there a guide elsewhere as to what can be afforded when you have no resources?
Drawing from the indexes on WoD Canon Wiki and digging around my books.
Having Resource dots is almost essential for a nWoD characters. Choosing not to spend some of your starting 7 Merit dots or 2XP per dot, is asking to roleplay someone very poor. and this can be very fun.
Alternatively, your GM might say something like: "All Players start with Resources 2, you guys are working for X and that is what they pay you. If you want more, buy it with XP/starting dots and it comes from some other source such as a trust fund/internet venture/investments/other job. This is similar to to giving some extra starting XP.
What You Can Buy
The Resources Merit from page 115 of WoD Core:
This Merit measures your character's material resources, both possessions and wealth. All characters are assumed to have a job or a source of income (trust fund, parents) that is sufficient to cover their basic needs: food, shelter and transportation. Dots in this Merit represent disposable income -- wealth and assets that can be liquidated for more money in case of emergency.
So Basic Needs:
- food: You aren't going to starve, but you definitely can't afford to go out and woo a potential ally by taking them to a fancy restaurant.
- shelter: Though many templates have a Safehouse-type Merit for this. A character without any Merits can have a home. It won't be particularly secure or secret. Alternatively you might like to roleplay as homeless (Have a read though some of the stories in Hunter: Horror Recognition Guide for some ideas about this.).
- transportation: However, as prices are listed for cars in Armory, this can be assumed to be "you can afford bus fare or the occasional taxi."
Beyond your basic needs, you have the kind of things you might be able to find thrown out on the side of the street, or dropped and not picked up. eg sticks, strips of cloth, box of matches.
Most clothing is free, assuming it provides no mechanical bonus. Fashionable clothing that would give a social bonus has a price (though I don't know if it is listed anywhere; it is definitely in the God-Machine Rules Update, though that is a slightly different system)
- Reinforced Clothing, e.g., Leather Jacket, is also free (and produces a 1/0 armour rating): WoD Core page 170
- Wooden Club 2B: WoD Core page 170 and Armory page 130
- Stake 1L" WoD Core page 170, Armory page 130
- Chain 1B: Armory page 31
- Poi 0B: (A chain/rope with weights on the end) Armory page 31
- Sling 2B: a piece of cloth perhaps with some rope attached, and a cup to hold the projectile for throwing rocks. Armory page 92
- Stave Sling 3B: A sling tied to a stick. Armory page 92
- But NOT a Sling Shot: 0B Cost 1. Armory page 93 & Hunter page 247
- Hairspray Flamethrower: -2L . This suggests you can also reasonably acquire Matches and Hairspray. But you can not afford Water Proof matches, those are cost 1. Hunter page 252
- Scent Bomb/ Bad Odor Bomb: Basically smelly oils/perfumes in a glass jar Hunter page 252
What You Can Not Buy
To get an understanding of how poor a Resources 0 character is, it might help to consider the listed things they can't just go out and buy. There are some things we don't think about, that to enjoy this roleplaying experience you should remember you don't have:
- A car, a bicycle or even a skateboard all have listed prices of one dot (or more for cars) in Armory.
- Earplugs (Hunter Core page 230) Cost 1. You literally have no money. Your wallet is empty if you even own one. You can not walk into a supermarket and buy a 20c set of earplugs.
- Mobile Phone (Hunter Core page 237)
- Any kind of knife: Kitchen Knife is cost 1 (Hunter page 240), other knives are in Armory and are also at least cost 1.
However, Resources is only what you can buy
The Resources Merit only says what you can buy, not what you can have. If a Resource zero character gets into a fight with a gun-carrying security guard, and manages to win, he can pick that gun up and use it just fine. He is even allowed to go and pick a fight with the guard just to get his gun to shoot someone else. There is some discussion on that here.
Similarly someone could gift you something, e.g. Your NPC boss or a Mentor might gift you a smart phone, so they can get in touch with you. Some different groups have different opinions on players gifting other players things. E.g. with the people I normally play in, this is not ok in char gen (especially for a oneshot), but is natural an expected if it comes up in a campaign.
So that is what it is like to have 0 dots of Resources.
Now one dot of Resources can get you a lot.
If you had one dot that is a car, some body armour, even a gun.
On the other hand: the Luxury Merit
There is also the Luxury Merit from Seers of the Throne page 52. It is not restricted to Mages. While Resources represents disposable income, on top of basics like food, shelter and transportation, the Luxury Merit represents having huge quantities/qualities of these basics. Luxury 2 has the assets of someone with Resources 5. This means they always eat at the best restaurant, always fly first class, get to drive really flashy cars and have a home for them in every city they care to visit. Luxury 4 adds to this helicopters at their beck and call, a large staff of servants, and access to almost any whim they may desire -- but not for Weapons or Cash. Luxury is often the result of a business/organisation paying for your needs. I always liked the idea of a Luxury 2, Resource 0 Archbishop.