Wow...I sort of left you guys hanging, didn't I.
The dust was getting a bit thick here, so I thought I'd better get back to it. I've not been completely, idle, though, as that wacky Oregonian @ThadeousC has been keeping me busy doing some things HERE & THERE.
It's also the start of the holiday season, so my weekends have been pretty occupied. However, you didn't come here for excuses, so let me wrap up this loose thread - that being, how best to use the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Equipment cards.
Any DM with a notepad and something to write with, can come up with a table of values. Instead of printing off cards, you can write down the expected things to find at a certain store, make a list, assign values to the items on that list, and then roll a die or dice to determine what is actually available.
But really. What fun is that?
Instead, you might follow some of these suggestions:
Print off a complete set of all the cards. In addition, I recommend printing off a couple of sets of each of the supplies cards. It's a total of 10 sets of cards, I believe.
Separate the different types of cards. One pile for armor, one pile for simple weapons, one pile for military weapons, and one pile (the largest pile) for supplies. Remember to take the ranged weapons and split them up into either simple or military weapons. If you have specialty shops, perhaps you have an "Archery" shop. Place all the ranged weapons and ammunition supplies in this stack, if that's the case.
Determine the type of shops you have. If you have really small towns, you might only have one "general goods" store that sells a little of everything. Larger towns and cities will have specialty shops.
For specialty shops in large towns, use the whole deck (or multiple decks) of the same kind of item. It's likely they'll have a complete & redundant inventory of items. For smaller, general shops, take a portion of each pile and mix it together into one deck. Then draw only a portion of that deck to determine exactly what's on hand at the shop. Such a technique works well with travelling merchants, too. Draw like only 6 things from an entire deck selection. Maybe the characters get lucky. Or...maybe the merchant is only carrying six candles. Be sure to role-play that up, too!
As an added bonus, you can give the players the actual cards, or they can simply update their character sheets with the items. Also, you might reshuffle the deck after a visit to the shop, and redraw new items. This way, you represent a turn-over of inventory within a particular shop.
Don't have the card files yet? I've now placed all the links to the card files on my Publications page. Just look over there to the right-hand side of the screen. You'll see the link there. Click that link.
Finally, just have fun with the cards, and let me know what your experience is with them!
Until next time...
Game excellently with one another.