Thursday, April 14, 2016

5E Starting Gold and Equipment for Higher Levels

The DMG has a rough recommendation for starting gold and equipment for higher levels, but with my groups running one-shots, we wanted to nail it down to level by level. Here's my DMG-inspired table.

Generally I allow equipment to be traded in during character creation for half book value, where applicable. I also, as a GM, offer to make custom magic items for players who can't choose. A list of magical items by rarity can be found here with stats available in the DMG. I also generally allow players to buy healing potions (2d4+2) for 50gp and greater healing potions for 250gp (4d4+4). PHB items are available at book cost at creation. I do not allow other equipment to be purchased except in game.

This is generally based off the "high magic" campaign.


Level Starting Gold Starting Equipment / Magic Items
1 - 160gp  OR Standard starting equipment
2 210gp Standard starting equipment
3 285gp Standard starting equipment
4 365gp Standard starting equipment
5 455gp Standard starting equipment
6 550gp Standard starting equipment, 1 uncommon
7660gp Standard starting equipment, 1 uncommon
8 785gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon
9 915gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon
101200gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon
11 1800gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon, 1 rare
124000gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon, 1 rare
13 7000gp Standard starting equipment, 2 uncommon, 1 rare
14 11000gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 1 rare
15 14500gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 1 rare
16 18000gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 1 rare
17 20000gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 2 rare
1822000gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 2 rare
19 23500gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 2 rare, 1 very rare
2025000gp Standard starting equipment, 3 uncommon, 2 rare, 1 very rare

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Analysis of Death Rule Changes in D&D 5E

So after 66 session of me GMing D&D 5E with a party of 6 players, I have zero PC deaths. I have had a few close calls along the way, but no PC deaths. To me, for my game, this seems too low.

Now to be completely fair, my death rules, as I have used them, are not exactly rules as written (RAW). I ignore the instant death rule that basically states that a PC can die instantly if hit by massive damage. I consider it a cheap shot by a GM to kill a PC that way. I also generally don't keep trying to hit PCs while they are down.

So basically my death rules are straight death saves. Roll a d20. Roll a 1 and get 2 failures. Roll a 20 and you are back up with 1 HP. Roll 2 to 9, and you get one failure. Roll 10 to 19 and you get one success. 3 failures makes you dead. 3 successes gets you stabilized. Of course, if you get healed at any point from any source, your are back up too.

My thought was to mirror the instant death rule a little differently to increase the chance of PC death. In my case, I was going to make it so that if a PC gets reduce to zero hp and there is damage left over, they take one failure for that extra damage. With this rule, almost every PC will start with one failure. How does this impact the chance of death?

Now, as a person well versed in math and simulation, I am not one to take a guess and hope it works out. I want to know exactly what the impact is. So to evaluate this change I wrote a quick simulation in Python. Basically, the simulation rolls 5 d20 rolls (in order) and then applies the rules above to see what the outcome is: death, back up, or stabilized. I do this 100,000 times and then see how the numbers fall. These 100,000 rolls take about 5 seconds to calculate on my laptop.

So here are my results:

The normal rules:

  • Die: 44%
  • Stabilize: 36%
  • Back up with 1 HP: 20%


The new rules:

  • Die: 61%
  • Stabilize: 24%
  • Back up with 1 HP: 15%




So, it looks like my rule change will increase the chance of death by less than 50%. That seems about right. Also, this rule change reduces the number of rounds for healing by one round, which also should help. Ultimately, the only way to know for sure if the results will work out well is to play another 66 session and see what my PC death numbers look like then. I think I can do that, if my players agree. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make to test the rule change. 66 more session to GM. Cool.