You know how it is: at the start of almost every RPG, your character (or, in rare cases, party) is sent out to save the world practically in rags. One would think the designers wanted you to die right off.

Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls comes to mind here. In Arena you escaped from prison, in Daggerfall you were shipwrecked, in Morrowind you were hauled out of prison, and in Oblivion you escaped from prison again, on the heels of an emperor running from assassins. One of these days, maybe Bethesda will have a more creative opening (I’m tired of “Ex-Con Saves World Again. Film at 11”).

Then there’s Avernum 5. How can an empire send its soldiers to a frontier outpost without gear? Even new recruits should get some sort of outfit.

Diablo 2? Pretty much the same. Characters begin with a weapon (in a couple of instances, also a shield), a few healing potions. No money. No armor. Good luck!

Those are just a few examples; there are many (too many) more. I have never understood developers being so stingy at the start of a game.

This is when your character is weakest. Few hitpoints, few (or no) skills, and not too competent overall. Why make things harder by withholding equipment? Level 1 wimps need all the help they can get.

What is it with designers that they’re always starting us off with skivvies and a dagger? Is that their idea of a challenge? Hey, just staying alive for the first few levels is challenge enough. Who needs the added burden of scrounging for equipment (usually junk) and a handful of gold pieces?

I’m not saying we should start with plate mail and magic swords (though I wouldn’t mind ;). However, our characters should come with some basic gear appropriate to their classes, or at the very least, enough gold to buy some equipment.

There is no need to make the game harder. Give players a helping hand for a change. Give us some good stuff at the beginning. We’ll live longer that way. We might not even need to save as much ;)