Last Updated: September 26, 2021
In addition to weapons and armor, adventurers rely on a whole bunch of other important items which help them get by in the world. Each base class (excluding the “Hybrid Classes” in Ultimate Class Guide because it was published after Ultimate Equipment) has a class kit which includes some good items for a member of that class to start with. I strongly encourage players, especially new ones, to take their class kit. If you don’t like your class’s kit, consider the Dungeoneering Kit or Pathfinder’s kit instead.
The full list of available adventuring gear is available on the Adventuring Gear page of the Pathfinder SRD. Here are some important items which many adventurers will want to carry:
- Backpack: You need to keep your other gear in something, and a backpack is a good choice. Included in your class kit. Note that taking an item out of your backpack is a standard action which provokes attacks of opportunity, so you generally don’t want to do it in combat. Because of this, weapons and potions are typically kept on your belt or in a bandoleer.
- Bedroll: Basically a medieval sleeping bag.
- Bell: Good for setting alarms or signaling allies.
- Caltrops: Excellent for slowing pursuers, or for keeping enemies out of specific parts of the battlefield. However, because a bag of caltrops only covers on square, you may need to throw several bags before a fight to guarantee that people won’t just go around them.
- Candle: Useful as a disposable light, and for detecting drafts in rooms. You can light a candle, set it on the ground, and wander away while it draws in curious enemies and moths.
- Chalk: Experienced dungeoneers always carry chalk for marking walls and other terrain features so that they know where they are and where they have been. You might even concoct an elaborate series of secret symbols to indicate different features without revealing them to enemies or potential rivals.
- Crowbar: Sometimes you really need to open something stubborn, and a crowbar helps. Also useful for slaying head crabs.
- Everburning Torch: Provides the same light as a torch without the heat. Because it doesn’t provide heat, you can hang it from your body to serve as a permanent light source without risk of immolating yourself. If you need to hide the light, stick it in a backpack or wrap it in cloth.
- Flint and Steel: Essential for starting fires and lighting torches.
- Folding Pole: The 10-foot pole is a staple of dungeoneering, used for tapping, poking, or disturbing all manner of potentially dangerous things. However, it raises the troubling question of how one carries a 10-foot length of wood through narrow dungeon corridors. Enter the folding pole: a convenient portable version of every dungeoneer’s favorite stick. If you are ever uncertain about something, poking it with a pole is a nice safe way to investigate.
- Lantern: Available as a regular lantern (think Aladdin’s lamp), a hooded lantern, or a bullseye lantern, lanterns are excellent light sources in dark places. They require oil, so be sure to carry a few pints. Because oil costs a bit more than torches, lanterns are a tiny bit more expensive than torches, but they generally provide better light, and both hooded and bullseye lanterns are less likely to be extinguishes by wind.
- Mirror: Useful for peeking around corners and for fighting creatures with dangerous gaze attacks like Medusa and Basilisks.
- Oil: Even if you don’t have a lantern, oil is a great idea. Throw it on things to set them on fire, or pour it on the ground and light it to create a poor man’s wall of fire. At 1 silver piece per pint, oil is considerably cheaper than Alchemist’s Fire, though not quite as effective.
- Piton: Useful for pinning doors open/closed, climbing, or for just putting holes in surfaces.
- Rope: An obvious staple of adventuring. In the future everyone uses towels, but in Pathfinder the gold standard of utility is rope. Rope can be a bed, a ladder, bindings for an enemy, a trip cord, a handle, a lifting mechanism, or a navigation device. In a pinch, make opposed Strength checks and play tug-of-war!
- String: Like tiny rope, string can be used for a variety of clever purposes. By combining a bell, two pitons, and a string, you can create a crude alarm system.
- Torch: Alarmingly cheap, torches are great light sources. They are cheap enough that they can be discarded at a moment’s notice, and last a reasonably long time. In a pinch, you can also use torches as an improvised weapon to deal fire damage, which is great for killing swarms, plant monsters, and the occasional wring wraith.
- Vial: Great for containing weird fluids which you need to examine later, or for particularly small captives or treasures.
- Waterskin: Stay hydrated. A waterskin can carry enough water to sustain a creature for one day. When you run out, either find some fresh water or have someone in the party cast create water.
- Whetstone: Use this between fights. At early levels, a free +1 damage bonus might save your life.
Tools and Skill Kits
Many skills require, or at least benefit from, an accompanying item. The full list of Tools and Skill Kits is available on the Tools and Kits page of the Pathfinder SRD. Here are some important items which many adventuring parties will want to carry:
- Bear Trap: Though horribly inhumane, bear traps are very effective for their cost. Carry one or two of these when sleeping somewhere dangerous, and you can plant them around your camp to help protect from intruders.
- Healer’s Kit: The Heal skill is very important, especially if your party doesn’t have a good source of magical healing. Heal can be used to restore hit points once per day, plus it can be used to treat diseases and poison. A Healer’s Kit only lasts for 10 uses, but it’s well worth the price. Be sure to keep one handy, and make sure someone in the party has the Heal skill.
- Spell Component Pouch: Every spellcaster should have one of these, except Sorcerers because they get the Eschew Materials feat for free. This removes the need to worry about things like carrying a pinch of bull dung to cast Bull’s Strength. If you want to do that for fun, go for it, but most players prefer to not need to manage a list of detritus for spellcasting.
- Spellbook: Spellcasters who use spellbooks (Arcanists, Magi, Wizards) start with one for free, but eventually you will need to get a new spellbook when your first one runs out of pages. High level spellcasters often add defensive effects like exploding runes to their spellbooks to protect them from the curious.
- Thieves’ Tools: Every Rogue needs a set of Thieves’ Tools. Upgrading to Masterwork is a fantastic way to get a cheap bonus to Disable Device. Anyone in the party with Trapfinding will need to carry a set in order to disable traps and open locks.
Sometimes you need something to ride, or something to carry your gear. Sometimes you just want a pet. The full list of Animals and related items is available on the Animals and Animal Gear page of the Pathfinder SRD. Here are some examples of common and useful livestock:
- Dog, Guard: At 25gp, a guard dog can be a great addition to the party at low levels. However, unless you make it someone’s Animal Companion, it’s going die pretty early in the game. Even at high levels, Scent is a great way to detect enemies attempting to sneak into your camp at night, so having a dog or two can make for an effective early warning system.
- Dog, Riding: Something the size of a Newfoundland or Great Dane can serve as a mount for small characters. Riding Dogs are also respectable combatants at low levels, which can make them a good addition to the party.
- Donkey/Mule: Startlingly strong and very cheap, donkeys and mules make great pack animals. They make terrible mounts, but they can carry all of your torches and 10-foot poles.
- Pony: If you want a mount, get a Riding Dog. If you want a pack animal, get a Mule. Sorry, Bill.
- Horse (Heavy/Light, War/Standard): Unless you are building a character with mounted combat in mind, it’s hard to justify the cost of a horse at first level, but after a your first adventure you can probably afford a nice horse.
Items which adventurers can’t use or no longer need are often sold at market. Unless the item is an art item (such as a fancy painting) or a gem, items are sold at half of their value.
It’s generally accepted that each member of the party gets an equal share of the loot. This ensures that everyone has decent equipment, so everyone is a functional and contributing member of the party.
Complications arise when someone wants to keep some of the items which the party acquired. When this happens, I like to point people to Quartermancer, a handy tool I built to help fairly share loot.
Magic items will be covered later in this guide.