My PCs are new to Pathfinder, and not all of them are spending their gp effectively. The problem is choice paralysis: there's a huge list of magic items, and they don't want to take the time to read through all the rulebooks to figure out which items they should have.

I want to make their job easier by giving them a smaller list containing only a few useful magic items. For example, the list should remind them that they can buy weapon and armor enhancements. But the list needn't contain every possible special property a weapon can have -- only the two or three most useful or interesting ones.

What magic items should be on the list?

I'm running "core only" but would still be interested if there's a list that includes non-core items.


closed as too broad by GMJoe, Miniman, Tritium21, doppelgreener, Oblivious Sage Jul 13 '15 at 21:41

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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a good chance they have choice-paralysis. The number of options for magic stuff can be overwhelming. Have you asked them about that? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jul 10 '15 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I took the suggestions from Isaac's answer, and I added some items from other web sources such as this reddit thread. I compiled this document with some little cards containing suggestions for useful magic items. My plan is that, before the game, I'll print out the cards and tape them to index cards. Then I'll pass the index cards around so that my players can get some ideas for things to buy. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Jul 12 '15 at 1:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ People kept offering suggestions for nasty things I could do to my players to "punish" them for not spending their gold fast enough. I don't want to punish my players! It's not their fault that they're new to the system and don't know which items to buy! So I've clarified my question to make it clearer what sort of answer I'm looking for. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Jul 12 '15 at 2:06

Coin weight would at least push them towards buying bags of holding and their equivalents!

In pathfinder there are a group of items known as the 'Big six'. These are items the game assumes you have.

These are generally considered to be the following items, with bonuses depending on level;

  • Ring of Protection
  • Amulet of Natural armour
  • Weapon (Or amulet of Mighty fists)
  • Armour
  • Cloak of Resistance
  • A stat enhancing item (Usually Belt of... or Headband of...)

(Some people add Boots of Haste and/or a Handy Haversack to the list above.)

You could advise all players to buy these items - the game assumes your PCs have them. Which, in turn, means that the game has to give players the cash to buy them.

However you mentioned weapons or armour being boring - this complaint has also been made about the big six, due to their being so universal, and has meant that Paizo has released alternative rules in Pathfinder Unchained.

One such is Automatic Bonus Progression. However, if you do use those rules - in my experience there sometimes isn't enough relevant and useful items left over to spend the suggested wealth at each level on. That said as a gamemaster I find this useful when creating monsters and I don't want to give the players too much more cash (from selling yet another set of +1/+2 gear).

Another alternative is Innate Item Bonuses, which assigns the big six's bonuses to all items that would fit in that slot - but increases the price so that you are paying for both.


My playgroup has a similar situation, with some of us loving to just dive into the equipment list and fantasize, while others get gold and ignore it.

Our GM generally solves it by presenting personalized options.

For Example: We have a relatively noobish ninja who wasn't living up to her combat potential, so while the rest of us were shopping in a city the GM had us find a store with a +1 Adamantine Keen Katana. It was super expensive, and the rest of us wouldn't get much use out of it, but we convinced the ninja to spend most of her money on it. Now she doesn't have a variety of magical items, but the one big one she has lets her be effective at something useful (combat, by sneak attacking peoples heads off).

Other options could be Headband of Aerial Maneuvers for a caster, cool armor for a tank, etc. Find something that the character could use and that would spend a significant chunk of her money. That way they get to be effective, they enjoy their new toy, they spend their money, and you don't need to present hundreds of options and micro-optimizations (which some us may enjoy and others not).


Personally I would ask them WHY they do not want to spend their coin? Are they saving up for something? Is their character a hoarder who just doesn't want to spend their money? Are they saving for retirement?

If their issue is they just do not know what to spend their GP on I would make a list of a few items for each player that would be useful for their characters.

If they don't want to spend their money but you need them to or want them to warn them that they need to do something with it or they might get robbed by the local thief guild cause there is no way they are hiding the fact they are toting around that much gold.

If they do not want to spend the gold on equipment provide them with other options, such as investing their money into a business or some form of bank with a promise of higher return of interest.

The Downtime Rules could be very useful for giving them extra options.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's because they're noobs and they haven't done the research to figure out what to spend money on. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Jul 10 '15 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DanB If that is the case I would recommend putting together a personalized list for each of them with items that would be useful for their characters or fun in general. \$\endgroup\$ – Aaron Jul 10 '15 at 17:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Aaron Please revise the answer instead of changing it just in a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 10 '15 at 18:47

Enforce Encumbrance

This is the number one way to get them to not haul it all around. It also encourages buying property.

Use Training

You can use a progressive cost to make it harder to level. You can also make it take far longer to multi-class, making the first level in a new class take 10x as much time (and money), if inclined to discourage multi-classing but not wanting to ban it outright.


Players will vehemently object... Tends to make them bury it.

Give XP for spending it in certain ways

Examples from my own use

  • Party like a madman: give 1 XP per day spent at Filthy Rich lifestyle
  • Give 1 XP for every 10gp donated to charity
  • Give 1 XP for every 10gp paid in taxes.

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