I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Simple (and realistic?) equipment list

When I wrote Dark Fantasy Basic, I was enamored with Delta's silver standard, and I remember doing tons of research to reach vaguely realistic prices, while keeping things very simple (later, I've written about the advantages of using gold; overall, I still think I like silver better).

I don't remember any of the actual research (one source, I think, was related to Runequest), but anyway, here are the results. I think they are simpler and more sensible than most OSR lists (e.g., in B/X plate armor costs twelve times as much as... garlic). If I rewrite this list, there is little I'd change, but I'd add more services, including magical stuff (identifying potions, magic items, etc.)

If you want an extensive and detailed list, however, the Equipment Emporium might be your best bet.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from DFB:

This games uses silver coins (represented by a $) as a
standard. Each silver coin is enough to feed someone for
a day with cheap food, or rent a bed in a collective room
for one night. One thousand coins weigh one unit of
encumbrance. Copper coins are worth ten times less, and
a gold coin is worth ten times more, but they all weigh
the same. Prices will vary according to supply, demand,
location and quality. See the “encumbrance” section for
more information on weights.

[In short, 1 unit weights about 3-5 pounds; a STR 12 PC can carry 12 units before slowing down, for example].

About items and weapon detail
Most items are simplified because the game doesn’t focus
on cost and weight. Weapons (see next page), armor and
shields received more attention to make combat more
diverse and interesting.

Armor comes in three types: light (+2 AC, $40, weight 6),
medium (+4 AC, $160, weight 12), and heavy (+6 AC, $360,
weight 18). Unarmored characters have AC 10. The Dexterity
modifier is always added to AC.

Shields may be light (AC +1, $10, weight 2) or heavy (AC
+2, $24, weight 4; AC +4 against missile weapons). If used
offensively, they deal 1d2 damage.
Reinforced shields, made mostly of iron or heavy wood, add
50% to weight and cost; they are somewhat tougher but
grant no extra bonuses to AC.

Fresh food for one [day] ($1, weight 1) must be eaten within a
week. Preserved food ($3, weight 1/3) lasts for one month.
A hot meal or cold beer in a tavern cost $1.

Light tools ($5, weight 1): arrows (30), board games, simple
clothing (winter clothing: $10, weight 2), backpacks (holds 10
weight), bedrolls (winter bedrolls: $10, weight 2), blank books,
cooking tools, block and tackle, winter blankets, candles (10),
climbing gear (for trees or similar surfaces; stone climbing
gear is $10, weight 2), chain (10 feet), crowbars, hammers,
healing kits (10 uses), lock picks (10), poison (10 uses), fishing
tools, hunting traps, grappling hook, basic camping gear
(flint, small blade and hammer), hooded oil lantern, rope (20
feet), small musical instruments (drums, horns, trumpets
– larger and more complex instruments cost $10 or more),
steel mirrors, shackles, merchant’s scale, holy symbols.

Heavy tools ($5, weight 3): caltrops (enough for 10 square
feet), shovel, pick, tent (1 person).

Cheap wood ($1, weight 3): 10 torches, 10’ pole.

Liquids: water for one day (usually free, weight 1, weight 2
under very hot weather), pint of oil ($1, weight 1/3, can be
lit with a bonus action and thrown 20’ for 1d6 fire damage),
holy water ($25, weight 1/3, can be thrown 20’ for 1d8
damage against undead, demons, etc.).

Skill & tools
Skills will often require tools such as a healing kit, climbing
gear, lock picks, etc. Improvised tools will often cause
disadvantage. Some tasks will be impossible without tools
(GM’s call).

Weapons are basically this:

Notes: some weapons can be used in the off-hand (OH),
some require the main hand (1H), and others require two
hands (2H). Large weapons (1½H) should be used with two
hands, but can be used with one hand for less damage (1d8
instead of 1d10, etc.). Weapons with the “thrown” property
can be hurled against enemies (20’). Expensive weapons
(swords, pole weapons) double the cost.

The character must choose a specific weapon from the list
below. Each weapon has a few perks and can be found in
one or more sizes.

Swords (s, m, l, g) are expensive but fast (get an additional
attack if a natural 19 is rolled). They cannot be thrown
effectively. Daggers (t) get the same perk, but can be thrown.
Spears (m, l, g) can attack from the second row (5’ extra
reach) and do double damage when charging or set up
against a charge (use a ready action). Short spears ($5,
thrown 30’) don’t get these perks. Large and great spears
have disadvantage when attacking nearby enemies (within

Axes and maces (m, l, g) gain +1 “to hit” against opponents
with shields, medium or heavy armor (and also dragons,
skeletons, creatures made of stone or other hard materials,
etc.), and are very useful for breaking down doors (add 1d6,
1d8 or 1d10 to the attack roll).

Pole weapons (l, g) are expensive but have all the features
of a spear and get +1 against shields, heavy armor, etc.
(or some other perk, depending on the type – bill, glaive,
halberd, naginata, etc.).

Clubs (s, $0) have no special features.

Quarterstaffs (g, $1, 1d8 damage) are very versatile. They
have extra reach (like spears) and +1 to AC (treat as small

Exotic weapons are hard to master. The specific exotic
weapons available are up to the GM. Some examples are
flails and other chained implements (as mace, but ignore
shields) and double weapons (a combination of two identical
or different weapons). They always have some unique
drawback (hitting yourself on a fumble is the usual effect).

Unarmed attacks deal a single point of damage (plus
Strength modifier, as usual). Kicks (on a natural 1, make a
DC 20 dexterity save or fall prone) and brass knuckles (t)
deal 1d2 damage.

Missile weapons require two hands to shoot, with the
exception of the very expensive ($40) pistol crossbow (s).
Crossbows (s, m, l) can shoot up to 40’, 60’, or 100’, depending
on size. Bows (s, m) have better reach (80’, 150’) and twice
the cost. Slings (t) can shoot up to 30’. Bows and crossbows
use arrows (30, $5, weight 1), while slings use bullets (10, $1,
weight 1).

Optional: Great weapons require Strength 15 to use
effectively (otherwise, the damage is limited to 1d10 instead
of 1d12), and short weapons require Dexterity 15 to use in
the off-hand. Both large and great weapons deal +1 damage
against opponents that are bigger than human, but -1 to hit
opponents that are smaller than human. Attacking with two
weapons at once lets you roll for damage twice and pick the
best result.


  1. I have bought all DFB of drivethrurpg.com but love all the tables. I don't know if have this but a table to generate starting items and equipment would be great.

    1. Thanks man! Hope you enjoy it!
      I've seen a few and definitely think it is a great idea, will add this to the next version of DFB or a book on equipment if I manage to publish either.

    2. Come to think of it, I have one I tested but haven't published... could be a post in the near future! Thanks for the idea! ;)