Man, everyone needs provisions. Armor, weapons, implements, equipment. All that stuff needs to be acquired so that you can take on the bad guys and win the day. However, when you roll into town, how do you know whether or not a merchant has a specific item? More importantly, how can you make sure the DM knows whether or not a merchant has that certain item? Are you really going to make your poor suffering DM come up with all these tables just to see if a merchant has that suit of chain mail you need?
Friends, I have an answer for you, and it comes in the form of a set of cards you can download right here at Initiative or What?. These cards are free, and were created using a great site called Go Deck Yourself. That site has some great templates for creating cards for just about any tabletop game, and all for free. I've probably talked about them before (spoiler: they're awesome), so I won't go into that here. What I want to speak about more specifically is how to use the cards.
Before I go any further, let me link up the cards I currently have available for download. CAUTION!! This a pretty hefty PDF file (a little over 17mg), so download with care. ARMOR & SHIELDS SHOP.
Okay, I'm not going to brag about the cards. I specifically designed them to be simple, and to easily communicate all the vital information you need for that type of item. FYI, all the stuff you see here is coming out of the 4e Essentials rules. In this case, they're right out of Heroes of the Fallen Lands™.
Now, here's how you use them:
You're the DM. You have different communities of different sizes, with correspondingly differently sized shops. So, let's say the town has an armorer (smithy, metalworks, what have you). After the cards have been cut out, shuffle them and draw a number of cards that correspond to the city's size. You can go with my suggestions, or you can use your own system:
Large City Draw 36 Cards.
Small City: Draw 24 Cards.
Town: Draw 12 Cards.
Village: Draw 06 Cards.
Hamlet: Draw 03 Cards.
The cards drawn represent the assortment of armor (and shields) that particular shop has on hand that day. Of course, popular merchants will get shipments in all the time. My own recommendation is for each week of game time, shuffle the deck again and draw the same number of cards. That way, a new selection is always available. If you're an especially benevolent DM, you might even hand the player the card of his choosing, to keep for his records. If the player trades in that card for something better (a suit of magical armor, perhaps), then you can slip it back into the deck "shop", for future shopping.
Over the next several days, I'll be making additional equipment cards for the items that can be found in the Essentials rules. That way, no matter what kind of item your heroes are looking for, you will be sure to know how to find it (at least the ordinary stuff, anyway).
Until next time...
Game excellently with one another.