A while ago I was wondering about randomly determining class and buying equipment for my campaign. I’m using the Labyrinth Lord rules, but when it came to the equipment list, I decided to go use the much simpler Moldvay list with the extremely cheap plate armor (60 gold).
Classes cleric 195 fighter 182 magic-user 177 elf 147 dwarf 136 halfling 96 thief 67 total 1000 Property backpack 1000 iron rations (1 week) 1000 sling 753 pouch of stones (2) 736 long sword 468 chain mail 362 shield 356 dagger (2) 350 leather armor 293 dagger 224 mace 195 spear 137 plate mail 126 silver dagger 123 hand axe (2) 87 pole arm 73 battle axe 71 short bow 32 hand axe 27 pouch of stones 17 quiver of arrows 16 quiver of arrows (2) 16 helmet 4 two handed sword 3
The web application that implements these algorithms will now also generate 50 characters in plain text format (useful for pre-generated characters and non-player parties?) and it will also report some numbers for 1000 randomly generated characters. You can find the output in the sidebar.
The question I’m most interested in is this: How to tweak my equipment buying algorithm in order to generate more natural numbers?
I’ve tweaked my character selection algorithm a bit in response to these numbers and expect to tweak the equipment buying process in a similar vein. For example, since I use Death & Dismemberment tables: If you have very few hit-points and poor armor, buying a helmet might be more important than it is right now! In addition to that, I wonder why my players don’t buy enough slings. The algorithm apparently leads to long swords being very popular. No love for short swords?
I should read through a few pages of random characters to see whether I see any unusual choices made. Did you spot anything strange?
Update: thinking about helmets again—I think that perhaps this reflects how helmets are bought at our table. Practically nobody buys a helmet unless they have money to waste. The current algorithm only buys a helmet for 1 in 216: those who got 180 starting gold. 20 goes for the rations and the backpack, that leaves 160 gold, half of that is for armor (80 gold), which is enough for plate armor (60 gold), shield (10 gold) and a helmet (10). I think that’s ok. I won’t be changing this after all.
Also, lanterns. Practically everybody buys a lantern. I know my characters usually do. I think I’ll leave it as it is.