Equipping Your Peasants for the Exodus
Starting Equipment for PCs in The Exodus of Wolfbane
One of our backers had a great question about character creation following the Razing of Wolfbane at the beginning of the module, and we thought others running the adventure might be interested. Here is the question:
What happens if judges encourage players to loot the bodies of fallen soldiers by withholding the standard equipment provided for occupations according to the DCC rules? If PCs are not given standard equipment, does it make the adventure too difficult?
In our play tests, we generally followed the DCC rules on character creation and equipment, and this is why we didn’t address this in the module. As PCs struggled with finding enough food, or looked for ways to slow down the soldiers’ pursuit, they came up with some great ideas using what their peasants had, particularly associated with the livestock that comes with some occupations.
If you want to encourage your players to scavenge the bodies of fallen soldiers by withholding the standard starting equipment, however, you definitely can. Given the equipment PCs can gain--including leather armor, long swords, and crossbows--players who think to loot the soldiers they manage to kill (and they don't all think of it in the chaos) are definitely better equipped than ordinary peasants. The PCs can then share the scavenged swords and bows among themselves, and the rest can improvise or scrounge for weapons along the way. In other words, peasants who do not have their starting clubs or staffs are not at a terrible disadvantage, and players might have some fun role-playing or strategizing regarding how they allocate equipment.
In story terms, it is simple to justify any decision the judge makes: If your players manage to kill a massive number of soldiers, then you may want to limit just how many suits of armor, etc. they can scavenge before they must abandon the search and flee for their lives. On the other hand, if they don't kill many soldiers at all, or fail to loot the bodies, then you can stick with the equipment tables and go with the idea that they grab as many worldly possessions as they can, whether they be daggers or bags of night soil!
Judges shouldn’t send the PCs rushing away from Wolfbane completely unarmed, but the feel of the adventure should be difficult and desperate, so make the choice that will best add to that tone based on your players and how they handle the Razing of Wolfbane. As Thad writes in the module, don't be afraid to hit the players hard so that they turn to things like the cards and the Box!
Now on to Stonewater!