Today I want to talk a little about D&D 5e 's item packs in the equipment section of the Player's Handbook. In the interest of getting an early game edge, the various equipment packs are usually a good grab, and there are several reasons for that.
For starters, let's address starting equipment in general. When building your character, you are given the option of purchasing your equipment based on a GP valued rolled by class, or in simply choosing on each class's list of pre-determined options for equipment. If choosing the later, your final selection will give you access to one of the various equipment packs. If the former, you can still opt to buy an equipment pack using your starting funds.
The benefit of buying the packs is partially monetary. The packs tend to cost about the same as the listed price, but with some of them you actually do get a bit of a bargain. While you're only ever saving a few silver pieces here or there with this, that can be important at first level, especially if you're strapped for cash due to a bad money roll. Note that this is only a "savings" if you intended to buy all of the items in the pack, otherwise you'd be overpaying for items you never needed in the first place. Unless of course you select a pack as part of the quick-build options for the class, in which case checking for the monetary value of the packs and selecting the most expensive one may yield greater returns later in the form of selling back items, or preventing the purchase of more expensive items.
On that note, we have the other benefit of the item packs: convenience. If you don't know what to buy, or don't want to have to worry about tedious inventory management, simply grab an item pack and go. This is often a good idea for newer players who don't know what they might need or don't have a strong grasp of the game just yet. But even seasoned players who simply don't want to micromanage can make use of this option.
When choosing your item pack, it's best to think about who your character is, and which item pack will suit them. When going with the quick-build options, you generally get your choice between two particular item packs. For example, the Cleric can choose between the priest's pack and explorer's pack. If your character is a dedicated adventurer, an explorer's pack might make more sense, since the character is constantly on the go. On the other hand, if your Cleric has only just taken up arms in response to some immediate threat, a priest's pack may be more appropriate. Also note that using the quick build options, you may be limited in your options. So if you have an particularly unique character concept that requires your Fighter to have a diplomat's pack, you may have to go off-script and buy these with money as opposed to using the pre-selected items from the quick build options.
Choosing an item pack can help prepare your character and you for success at the start of the game. Making sure you have the right equipment is a great way to build on who the character is, as well as ensure they have what they need to perform the role that they have as an adventurer.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. For a more roleplay driven discussion of a similar topic, check out "The Sword My Father Carried- Starting Items" on my personal blog. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.