Treasure for New Characters - Common Permanent Items

Creating a Character

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, p. 348, Treasure for New Characters wrote:
Whether you’re starting a campaign at higher level, a new player joins an existing group, or a current player’s character dies and she needs a new one, your campaign might have a PC who didn’t start at 1st level. In these cases, refer to the Character Wealth table, which lets you know how many common permanent items of various levels the PC should have, plus additional currency. The player can spend her currency as she wishes on consumables or lower-level permanent items, keeping the rest as coinage.

I have a group starting at 2nd level. I'm not sure if the common permanent item is more intended to be a magic item (and I haven't found any Level 1 permanent items, anyway). Common weapons and armor are considered to be level 0, IIRC.

Anyway, I had a player ask if they could pick half plate armor as their "Level 1 item". Would this be too much?

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Only if there are characters for whom half plate armor is inappropriate and there are no other reasonable alternatives for them.

A 2nd level character gets one item from the "1st-Level Treasure" table on page 349 and 15gp to spend however he wants. Half plate is not on that table. Nothing on that table is "permanent" and "common" and worth more than 2gp.

As a GM, you could say "Sure, let's pretend that half plate is on that list and you can have it for your pick". That's up to you. However, half plate costs 17.5gp. It would be 8x more valuable than any common permanent item on the list. Which means it's probably not really an appropriate substitution.

So to answer your question: yes, I would say that this is too much.

Alternatively, what you could reasonably do is let him pick on item from the list and sell it (probably for half price) and keep the gold. Add it to his 15gp starting gold. Then, if he has enough, he could buy half plate from a merchant. Then he could spend whatever gold he has left on other things like weapons and adventuring gear.

Of course, that doesn't work since the most valuable thing he can buy would only sell for 2.5gp which gives him exactly enough to buy his half plate armor but nothing else. He would have to adventure with no weapons, no gear, no tools, nothing. Just his armor. Probably not a good plan.

Ultimately, it's up to you, the GM, to decide. But it does seem unfair if everybody else at that level has some cruddy little potion or sunrod or tanglefoot bag and this guy has half plate.

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You are not restricted to the treasure tables for low level items.

last sentence of party treasure gain p347 wrote:

When assigning level 1 permanent items, your best options are weapons, armor, and gear from Chapter 6 worth between 10 and 20 gp.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

That refers to the GM giving out treasure while the party is level 1. jozh asked about new characters starting level 2.

Were I the GM, I'd say that no, a half-plate isn't a level 1 item. But if the player has his character lend money from another character, he'd be able to buy it.

Appreciate your feedback, gang.

I wound up allowing it because a) there are only two PCs, b) half plate is not really better than splint mail, which the character could have just purchased, and c) it's a playtest, and these characters are going either be replaced or respec'd for the next adventure anyway.

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