D&D Starting Gold 5e Guide
If you have been playing D&D for a while, you’d know that the amount of gold and the equipment your character starts with play an integral role in maintaining the equilibrium of the game. Dungeon Masters would often find themselves in a pickle about how much gold is too much or whether they are giving out ample magic items for the players to start with.
While you must have an opinion of the number of gold pieces you ought to add to your character sheet, note that it is always recommended to seek out the Dungeon Master in these cases. They will inevitably be the decisive factor in your 5E starting gold.
D&D 5e Starting Gold By Level – Level 1 Characters
How can you access D&D starting gold?
You can seek out the player’s handbook in either of two ways to know more about your character’s 5E starting gold. Often, the Dungeon Master would not offer you the liberty to make your pick, at which point you have to roll with whatever your DM decides.
The first of the two ways will offer you gold to purchase your starting equipment, while the second one will allot you equipment based on your character’s class, along with however much gold your present background dictates.
1. D&D Starting Gold by Class
In this alternative, you can choose to roll for a pool of gold, and then purchase your starting equipment with that. The leftover gold will then be your D&D 5E starting gold. If you are dissatisfied with the equipment allotted, the DnD starting gold by class is a good way to go based on your background.
Simply roll a few d4 (depending on your character’s class), and multiply it by 10 to get to your DnD starting gold. Note that Monks stand out in this rule since they can only roll five d4 without further multiplication. Here’s a table for reference:
|Class||Starting Gold 5E|
|Barbarian||2d4 x 10gp|
|Cleric||5d4 x 10gp|
|Druid||2d4 x 10gp|
|Fighter||5d4 x 10gp|
|Druid||2d4 x 10gp|
|Paladin||5d4 x 10gp|
|Bard||5d4 x 10gp|
|Sorcerer||3d4 x 10gp|
|Warlock||4d4 x 10gp|
|Wizard||4d4 x 10gp|
|Ranger||5d4 x 10gp|
|Rogue||4d4 x 10gp|
2. D&D Starting Gold by Background & Equipment
Yet another possibility is to choose the starting equipment that comes equipped with the classes and further supplement them with the items allotted based on your character background. You will be offered a pouch of gold coins for nearly every option.
The amount of gold will vary vastly. Archeologists and Nobles will start out with 25gp, while the Haunted One will swap out the gold with valuable equipment to offset the absence of gold. For Far Travelers or Clan Rafters, gems and jewelry accompany their GP.
Here’s a reference table put together for your convenience:
|Background||Starting Gold 5E|
|Clan Crafter (SCAG)||15gp gem + 10gp|
|Far Traveler (SCAG)||10gp jewelry + 5gp|
|Waterdhavian Noble (SCAG)||20gp|
|City Watch / Investigator (SCAG)||10gp|
|Criminal / Spy||15gp|
|Cloistered Scholar (SCAG)||10gp|
|Faction Agent (SCAG)||15gp|
|Mercenary Veteran (SCAG)||10gp|
|Uthgardt Tribe Member (SCAG)||10gp|
|Haunted One (COS)||None|
|Knight of the Order (SCAG)||10gp|
|Guild Artisan/Merchant (PHB)||15gp|
|Urban Bounty Hunter (SCAG)||20gp|
D&D 5e Starting Gold by Level – Level 2 +
If you are a level 1 player, deciding your D&D 5E starting gold depends on either of the two pathways mentioned above. However, your campaign might not begin with level 1 characters. In such cases, nothing short of 200 GP worth of equipment and gold would make sense.
The tabletop game is not equipped to have higher-level players possessing so little wealth. Spells, class abilities, or higher quality armor to magic items and utility items, every resource will heavily impact the game. So, you must balance all the items while allocating gold in D&D 5E for your high-level characters.
You wouldn’t want your players to struggle to get around a rather easy encounter solely because they are under-equipped for the round. The table below summarizes the estimated 5E wealth by level, as listed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide:
|Character Level||Low Magic Campaign||Standard Magic Campaign||High Magic Campaign|
|Level 1 to 4||Normally allocated started gold and equipment||Normally allocated started gold and equipment||Normally allocated started gold and equipment|
|Level 5 to 10||500gp + 1d10x 25gp + normal starting equipment||500gp + 1d10x 25gp + normal starting equipment||500gp + 1d10x 25gp + normal starting equipment + 1 uncommon magic item|
|Level 11 to 16||5,000gp + 1d10x250gp + 1 uncommon magic item + normal starting equipment||5,000gp + 1d10x250gp +2 uncommon magic items + normal starting equipment||5,000gp + 1d10x250gp + 3 uncommon magic items + 1 rare item + normal starting equipment|
|Level 17 onwards||20,000gp + 1d10x250gp + 2 uncommon magic items + normal starting equipment||20,000gp + 1d10x250gp + 2 uncommon magic items +1 rare item + normal starting equipment||20,000gp + 1d10x250gp + 3 uncommon magic items + 2 rare items + 1 very rare item + normal starting equipment|
Which Option is Best for 5E Starting Gold?
The answer for that is not quite black and white. There is no one best option for DnD starting gold. It all depends hugely on your play style. If you are a level 1 character, go with your instincts. Short on time? Choose the D&D Starting Gold by Background & Equipment option. Like customization and not unnerved by a little risk-taking? Go right ahead and roll for your gold.
If you play an advanced level character from the beginning of your campaign, go by the rules laid down on the DM’s Handbook regarding the starting gold for higher levels. Your Dungeon Master could also have their separate system, so consult the DM before making your pick.
You might ask, which of the two fetches has more value for the character?
Well, the answer is diplomatic at best. The value depends solely on your luck. If you roll low numbers, the background and equipment option is a clear winner, but rolling higher numbers might add more value than is imaginable with the background and equipment option. After all, the value with the equipment choice is unchanged, but with the roll of the dice, there’s no predicting what you will land on.
Note that the risk involved in rolling the dice is a considerable one. Typically you are offered more 5E starting gold and equipment than what you get through an average roll. It all boils down to luck when the dice are concerned.
1. Classes that Should Roll For Gold
Depending on the background you select, only one class can argue in favor of rolling for gold. With Bard, you stand a chance to acquire considerably more 5E starting gold by even an average roll of dice than you are allowed to pick by the standard equipment choice. Based on your class, your starting equipment would be worth roughly 100gp, whereas the DnD starting gold accumulated by an average dice roll would be 125gp for Bards. A perfect roll can fetch you as many as 200gp to fill your pockets and heavily equip your character if you get lucky.
For classes such as Rogues, Rangers, and Clerics, it might make more sense to roll than choose your equipment. For instance, a Ranger would be offered a choice between a leather armor (10gp) and a chain mail (50gp). If you choose the former, you leave much of your wealth on the table. So, in these scenarios, rolling is much more profitable.
2. Classes that Should Take the Equipment
Right off the bat, martial backgrounds and classes offer excellent starting gear, with heavy-duty armor and weapons that are valued much higher than what a Sorcerer or a Bard might be carrying. The Paladin class, for instance, gets the most d4 rolls for starting gold, but the potential value of their choice of equipment could negate even a perfect roll. So, classes like the Fighter, Barbarian, and Paladin are not advised to roll. The same rings true for Warlocks and Wizards, who are usually allocated quite strong starting equipment.
If you are playing a Monk, rolling for starting gold would fetch you no more than 20gp. So, rolling is a big no-no for Monks.
To summarize, how you should get your starting gold depends on 2 primary factors:
- What you want
- What your Dungeon Master permits
At the end of the day, if you want a method of choosing that your Dungeon Master does not approve of, the chances of you getting your pick are next to nil. If it is up to you, make a decision based on your character build and desired playstyle.
If you are a risk-taking soul who wants to get their equipment picked based on the 5E starting gold they acquire on a draw of luck of the dice roll, then the equipment selection might be too tame for you. If you want to avoid the nerves of a dice roll, look no further than equipment selection. Happy questing!
I have been playing DND, Destiny 2 & other PC Games for ages now. In my free time, I recover old arcade machines and I believe that today we have the ability, the knowledge and technology to enhance the mystic around them. So, the name, ArcadeMan!