Friday, May 09, 2014

Starting with a million GP

Lets do a little experiment. Have your D&D character starts off with a million gold pieces. That's a lot of money. It buys a lot of stuff, but it doesn't buy skill. How does this affect the game?

It's one thing to have a + 5 sword and quite another is to defend it against a 6th level fighter. Gold plated full plate? Mithril armor? All great assets a greater fighter would like to take from you, or a rogue for that matter.

Would you fight the monsters the same way? Fighting those goblins may earn you a few hundred pieces at best, but you may lose a million if they kill your character. All of a sudden being all bloodthirsty to kill and pillage doesn't look all that tempting. So how do you earn XP to increase your character's level without risking the family fortune?

Some GMs may think this will lead to an unbalanced game in which the characters become too powerful due to unlimited wealth. I'd agree to a point. Initial wealth does solve a great deal of issues we as players face during the first levels, but it also brings a whole new set of issues to the game. Defending such wealth and the goods it can buy is one of them. It also kills one of the main drives to center the game around fighting and pillaging.

In my experience wealthy first level characters has open up some interesting options in the game. On one end there is more diplomacy and negotiation taking place. This can be interesting to players looking for a campaign less centered around hack and slash. On the other end such wealth doesn't only buy henchmen, it buys a whole army, and mass combat is lots of fun!!!

So what do you think? Have you given your first level characters huge wealth? If so, what has been your experience? If you haven't, would you?

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