I'm not sure what the following sentence means: "To determine the number of gold pieces your character has at the start, simply roll the appropriate dice and total the sum (adding a decimal place if necessary)." What decimal place would that be? I can't see where it would be needed, and it's bugging me. What was Gary getting at here?
The Monetary System: Gold pieces are the basic currency, and there are also copper pieces, silver pieces, electrum pieces and platinum pieces. Their values are as follows:
200 copper = 1 gold
20 silver = 1 gold
2 electrum = 1 gold
1 platinum = 5 gold
In OD&D it was only 50cp to 1gp, and 10sp to 1gp. It looks as though copper and silver have both been devalued since then. (The exchange rates in early D&D always baffle me, because I'm much more familiar with later editions where it was 100cp to 1gp, and 10sp to 1gp. It doesn't hurt that the math for that is a little easier to do quickly in my head.)
Gary ends this section with an interesting bit about prices being higher in adventuring areas due to supply and demand: coin is plentiful in comparison to other places, and adventuring gear is in short supply. The implication here is that gear would be cheaper in areas that don't have many adventurers, though it's not spelled out. I'm not sure that this makes sense, but little about the D&D economy does.
Money Changing, Banks, Loans & Jewellers: Gary gives some quick but practical advice on financial establishments.
- Coins can be exchanged at a money lender's for a 3% fee.
- Money can be stored with a money lender, but they don't give interest. (I'm wondering what's in it for them? Perhaps that 3% fee applies here as well?)
- Characters can get loans, with varying amounts and interest depending on their status and reliability. The more famous the character is, and the more assets he or she has, the better the deal will be.
- Jewellers and merchants buy gems and jewellery at 80% of the actual value.
Equipment - Armour: In OD&D there were but three types of armour: leather, chain and plate. I was always pretty happy with this. It gives you a light, medium and heavy option; what else do you want? AD&D sees the introduction of an armour for every Armour Class; in addition to the three mentioned above we now have padded, studded, ring, scale, banded, and splint. Variety is fine, and I guess there's always that weirdo who really wants to wear splint mail, but I don't think they add much to the game besides thoroughness. Leather armour is cheaper than it was in OD&D, but chain and plate have skyrocketed. Gary wasn't kidding about supply and demand.
Helmets have now been split into small and great varieties (with the small variety costing the same as an OD&D helmet) There are also three types of shields: large, small, and small wooden (with the small shield costing the same as an OD&D shield).
Equipment - Arms: Again, this list is much larger than its OD&D equivalent. That list had 22 items (including ammunition). The AD&D list has 52. The following weapons are making their debuts in AD&D proper: bardiche, bec de corbin, bill-guisarme, dart, fauchard, fauchard-fork, military fork, glaive, glaive-guisarme, guisarme, guisarme-voulge, lucern hammer, hammer (surprisingly), javelin, partisan, footman's pick, horseman's pick, ranseur, scimitar, slings and sling bullets, spetum, bastard sword, broad sword, short sword (really?!?), trident and voulge. In addition, composite bows are now split into long and short varieties, and flails and maces are now split into footman's and horseman's varieties.
(While all of the above-listed weapons are making their debut on the equipment list, some have appeared in the table of damage by weapon type: military picks, slings, and tridents. I wouldn't be surprised if some more have shown up in other places, particularly in Chainmail.)
Most weapons have different prices in OD&D and AD&D. I feel like in general weapons are cheaper in AD&D, particularly the more common varieties. The notable exceptions are composite bows and two-handed sword, which have gone up by quiet a bit.
Equipment - Clothing: Clothing wasn't listed in OD&D, but now you can buy items for your outfit separately. I would tend to allows characters to start with clothes without paying for them.
Equipment - Herbs: You can buy belladonna, garlic and wolvesbane, which were all available in OD&D. The prices here have dropped precipitously - we're talking a garlic bud dropping from 5gp to 5cp. Something bizarre happened in the herb market between editions.
Equipment - Livestock: Where you can buy chickens, dogs, cows, birds, pigs and loads of different types of horses. Generally this section is the bane of the DM's existence. I hate players who insist on buying animals at 1st level. In OD&D you only had mules and three diffierent types of horse, and that's the way I liked it. Horse prices have gone up a lot since OD&D.
Equipment - Miscellaneous: A section for general adventuring gear such as ropes and sacks and lanterns. Most of this stuff was in OD&D, but the prices were higher there because OD&D only listed prices in gold pieces. Now that things ae listed in cp and sp, the prices have come down a lot.
Equipment - Provisions: In OD&D, you could buy wine and rations. That's good enough for most adventurers, but now the aspiring gourmand can buy beer, ale and mead. There are also prices listed for a rich meal and a merchant's meal, though not a poor meal which I find odd. Horsefood is also listed, which was a big oversight in OD&D.
Equipment - Religious Items: The main difference here from OD&D is that the cleric's symbol is listed as a holy symbol rather than a cross. You can also buy prayer beads and incense, though I'm not sure what practical purpose they serve.
Equipment - Tack and Harness: Saddles and horse armour and the like. Barding now comes in leather, chain and plate, and they cost a lot more than they did in OD&D.
Equipment - Transport: Surprisingly, the cost of boats has come down. You can now also buy a warship, which sounds pretty awesome.