Are you curious about your character’s starting gold in 5e? Would you like to calculate it and, therefore, determine how wealthy it is?
In this article, we will provide you with the information to do this successfully. What’s more? Each and every rule mentioned here apply to every character in the game ranging from Barbarians to Wizards.
How to Determine Your Starting Gold for Level 1 Characters
There are two options you can use to know how much starting gold your character has.
- In the first option, you will be given gold to purchase your starting equipment.
- The second option provides you with starting equipment according to your class. Also, it will give you a specific amount of gold based on what your background is.
However, your Dungeon Master (DM) might not give you a choice. As a result, you should be ready to make do with whichever one you get.
Option One – Starting Gold
The first method involves rolling for a pool of gold, and then using the gold to purchase your starting equipment. The amount of gold you have left over after you’ve made your purchases is your starting gold. This method is ideal in situations where you aren’t satisfied with the initial equipment you were given because of your background.
To get your starting gold using this method, roll multiple d4s based on the class you belong to and multiply the roll by 10. Note that there’s an exception to this rule and that is the Monk class. While they can roll five d4, they cannot multiply it because of the rules that govern equipment in the class.
Starting Gold by Class
If you chose the first method, the amount of gold you will have access to will be determined by your class. That is, it depends on the number of dice rolls your class gets. If you are in:
- The Barbarian class, you will get only two rolls
- The Bard, you will be entitled to five rolls
- The Cleric, you will get five rolls
- The Druid gets two rolls
- The Fighter gets five rolls
- The Monk gets five rolls
- The Paladin gets five rolls
- The Ranger gets five rolls
- The Rogue gets four rolls
- The Sorcerer gets three rolls
- The Warlock gets four rolls
- The Wizard gets four rolls
Option Two – Starting Equipment
Alternatively, choosing the second method means your character will get a starting equipment based on their class. With this method, you will also get unique items courtesy of your background.
For most of the background options, you will be given items such as a pouch that contains gold in varying amounts. The minimum amount of gold Nobles and Archeologists get is 25gp, although it may be more. Acolytes, Charlatans, etc., will get a minimum of 15gp.
However, The Haunted One does not get any gold, although it has valuable equipment that renders its lack of gold unimportant. Other backgrounds, such as the Far Traveler and the Clan Crafter get jewelry or gems along with their gold.
Finally, keep in mind that you’d have access to unique toolkits, such as the Disguise Toolkit, based on which background you have.
Starting Gold and Equipment According to Background
If you choose the second option, you’ll get a fixed amount of starting gold based on your background. The following is a list of the different backgrounds in the game and the amount of gold each entitles you to.
Background Starting Gold
|City Watch / Investigator (SCAG)||10gp|
|Clan Crafter (SCAG)||5gp gem and 10gp|
|Cloistered Scholar (SCAG)||10gp|
|Criminal / Spy||15gp|
|Faction Agent (SCAG)||15gp|
|Far Traveler (SCAG)||10gp jewelry and 5gp|
|Guild Artisan/Merchant (PHB)||15gp|
|Haunted One (COS)||None|
|Knight of the Order (SCAG)||10gp|
|Mercenary Veteran (SCAG)||10gp|
|Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG)||20gp|
|Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG)||10gp|
|Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG)||20gp|
How to Determine Your Starting Gold for Level 2+ Characters
If you want to start the campaign with characters at level 2 or more, you should know that the rules are different. They – the rules – are but a rough guide to follow as the decision on which starting items you get are made by the Dungeon Master.
The following is a list of the starting items available to you in the various campaigns of each character level.
Character Levels 1 – 4
- Low Magic Campaign: Normal starting gold and equipment.
- Standard Campaign: Normal starting gold and equipment.
- High Magic Campaign: Normal starting gold and equipment.
Character Levels 5 – 10
- Low Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 25gp, 50gp, one uncommon magic item.
- Standard Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 25gp, 500gp.
- High Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 25gp, 500gp, one uncommon magic item.
Character Levels 11 – 16
- Low Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 5,000gp, one uncommon magic item.
- Standard Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 500gp, two uncommon magic items.
- High Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 5,000gp, one rare item, three uncommon magic items.
Character Levels 17
- Low Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 20,000gp, two uncommon magic items.
- Standard Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 20,000gp, one rare item, two uncommon magic items.
- High Magic Campaign: Normal starting equipment, 1d10x 250gp, 5,000gp, two rare items, one very rare item, three uncommon magic items.
Which Option Should You Choose?
There is no right answer to this question as it all depends on your playstyle. If you begin your campaign with an advanced character, then you’d be subject to the rules on starting gold for higher levels in the Dungeon Master’s Handbook. However, if you begin with less advanced characters, the rules will be subject to the whims of your Dungeon Master.
We recommend you choose the option you think is best as regards starting gold and equipment for level 1 characters. If you have limited time or you want to choose what we think is great, then select the equipment option.
If, on the other hand, you want to customize your starting equipment and have some flexibility, roll for your gold.
To determine the method with the most value for your characters, you will have to consider a number of factors. However, keep in mind that the value of your gold and equipment differ when you roll for it, while the value you’ll get is already set regardless of the usual when you choose the starting equipment yourself.
Based on this, the best way to get the most value is to have a strong dice roll. If this happens, you will probably get more starting gold than the equipment you’d be given based on your background. However, if your roll is poor, the better option would be to select your equipment.
Basically, your character’s starting wealth with an average roll is generally less than what it would be if you choose the equipment and starting gold. And unless you are fine with having a limited starting gold due to a bad roll, you should choose the starting equipment that is determined by your background.
Classes and Best Method
The following are generalizations on the classes that are best fits for rolling and the ones that are best for choosing starting equipment.
In Which Class Should You Roll for Gold?
Of the numerous classes available to choose from, the Bard class offers the best value from rolling. Even then, you will still have to consider the background to choose.
The Bard has a better chance of getting more starting wealth from dice rolls than from the starting equipment. The average amount of gold that Bards get from rolls is roughly 125gp, while the starting equipment is worth about 100gp. If you can get a perfect roll, then you’d have up to 200gp to get equipment and still have enough starting gold left.
When you decide to choose the equipment according to your class, you will have two options to choose from. To illustrate, if you select the starting equipment of the Ranger class, you have to choose between leather armor and chain mail. The leather armor is worth 10gp, while the chain mail is worth 50gp. If you choose leather armor, you’ll be letting go of a lot of starting wealth. As such, you should opt to roll for gold. Other similar classes you should consider doing this for are rogues and clerics.
In Which Class Should You Choose the Equipment?
For martial classes and backgrounds, you should opt to choose the starting equipment despite the fact that they get the most d4 rolls of any class. The reason for this is that these characters depend on heavy-duty weapons and armor that cost more gold than other classes can get. For instance, the starting equipment for the Paladin class has more value than what the perfect roll would get you. This is also the case for Barbarians and Fighters. So, choose a starting equipment if you belong to any of these classes.
Also, do the same for Wizard or Warlock as their equipment set is strong.
The final class you should opt to choose the starting equipment for is the monk class. Choosing to roll for this class means you will be limiting yourself to a starting gold of just 20gp; every equipment available for this class is worth more than that.
There are two factors you should consider when choosing your starting equipment: the best method for you and the rules of your DM. If your DM is strict and chooses your starting gold for you, then the responsibility of making a decision won’t be yours.
However, if your DM is not strict and you have to make this decision, endeavor to consider every possibility and make the best decision that suits your character and playstyle.