You're down and out. You heard a recent landslide uncovered a rumored tomb location. You and folks you know from sitting outside the alehouse gather all the gear you can and throw it in a pile. Decide how to share it out before heading off to find you fortune:
I'm DMing ~7 folks from my work today. Only two of them have any experience with D&Ds. I thought I might try this as a new way of starting out. The cards will be cut up and put on the table between them in a pile. They'll be asked to sort it out, no rules as to how many each character gets except encumbrance*
You've probably heard of fast packs. I never really liked them for the same reason I don't like pregens, they sacrifice player choice for expediency. My solution over the years has been a compromise between those two goals. You can see my forms here. I gave players a pre-made character sheet that has a basic set of gear, like food, water, bedroll-- no use spending valuable time on boring stuff like that-- and then had them make a few limited choices about weapons and other typical dungeon gear like rope and torches. Money wasn't involved.
This has worked fairly well, it's fast, gear is limited enough to be important, and players get to make some choices. One aspect that it isn't good at is thinking about the gear the group as a whole might need. Players tend to make individual choices. With my more experienced players an outgoing player might start quarterbacking "I'll get a lantern, who is getting rope?" I tried solving this by making a record sheet for the party as a whole, but that was just an extra step and quickly forgotten once play started.
I thought I'd try the method above this time. Players can assume they have waterskins and some bread and cheese, maybe, but nothing else. The party as a whole will need to decide who gets the few precious bits of armor, the best weapons and, the few shields. Hopefully this will also get them thinking about the roles each of them will play in their expedition.
I hope for a more desperate, gritty feel to the first dungeon delve. I'm hoping this won't feel too constraining or boardgamey. I plan to include some armor and weapons in the dungeon that players will be able to immediately use.
*Also, I read recently on a blog about "strength-based encumbrance." I can't remember where. That phrase intrigued me, encumbrance has always been affected by strength. So I thought, does it mean encumbrance derived simply from the STR stat? Interesting, I'll try that. So today I'll try an even simpler encumbrance system than the one I've been using: You can carry a number of things equal to half your strength. Armor and weapons are included in those things. We'll see how it goes, but I'm hoping this will make hireling bearers and pack animals much more real as the game progresses.