A question I frequently get asked by players and which often gets asked on the Living Greyhawk internet lists as well is, “What should my PC be sure to stock up on before heading out on adventures?” While there is probably no definitive answer to this question, what follows are my suggestions, based on running numerous tables of LG, concerning items worth placing in your backpack, large sack, bag of holding, or other large container.
Let’s start with the equipment in the Player’s Handbook. With regards to weapons, it is very helpful to make sure at least one party member is carrying a weapon with reach so that he can defend himself well when your group gets cornered, surrounded, or is trying to defend a hallway or doorway. An adventuring party should never go out without some ranged weapons as the average party is going to encounter numerous combats where a lack of a ranged weapon is going to mean the death of PCs. Clever opponents will set traps and ambushes for PCs that are deadly to PCs whose only means of attack is to rush into melee combat. Make sure to carry weapons of all three damage types (bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing) whenever possible. You'll kick yourself when an otherwise routine encounter becomes deadly because you didn't have a bludgeoning weapon to over come the villains Damage Reduction.
Make sure your party has more than one light source including both magical and non-magical. An everburning torch is an excellent purchase if there are no spellcasters in the party, as is a sunrod. Make sure someone has a rope, preferably the PC who isn’t in front; it is horrible when the rope bearer falls into the pit or chasm. Bring some means of tying up opponents (manacles or ropes). I prefer masterwork manacles myself, especially when the party is planning to capture opponents for questioning or arrest. Flasks of oil are often useful as both weapons and a means of lighting things on fire. The items on the special substances chart in the PH are extremely useful, especially for low level PCs. I highly recommend stocking up on acid, alchemist’s fire, holy water, thunderstones, and especially, tanglefoot bags.
We now move on to the items in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. When it is affordable, low to mid-level PCs who spend a lot of time in melee combat should look to purchase an alchemical silver weapon and a cold iron weapon which are accessible to PCs after their first adventure. The PCs will encounter many creatures with Damage Reduction over their careers, and those two weapon materials while not terribly expensive are keys to defeating many creatures. When the PC reachs higher levels, an adamantine weapon is a must have as well. For overcoming other types of DR, I suggest at least one PC in the adventuring party purchase oils of bless weapon,oils of magic weapon, and potions of magic fang (for those who fight with their fists or natural weapons). These really help when spellcasters are unavailable.
Cure potions (for arcane spellcasters) and wands (for the divine spellcasters) are a must for all PCs who don’t wish to perish when they adventure without a cleric, are separated from their cleric, or when the cleric is completely out of healing spells. A javelin of lightning is an excellent weapon for some desperate combat situations where you are out of powerful damaging spells. I am a big proponent of stocking up on some basic potions/oils for the days when you don’t have access to a spellcaster at a key moment. I recommend the party should have at least one of each of the following if possible: potion of invisibility,potion of spider climb,potion of lesser restoration,potion of fly,potion of gaseous form,potion of water breathing, and potion of water walk. Spellcasters should stock up on scrolls via Magic Item Creation. Choose spells you aren’t likely to need except in special circumstances; this frees up spell slots for more generally useful spells. Wands of frequently used spells are also an excellent consumable magic item to carry.
There are a few wondrous items that I think can come in very handy and are worth keeping in your inventory. Quaal’s feather tokens are very inexpensive for items that are very compact and can be used in many different situations. I am constantly amazed at how well players adapt the use of those tokens in all sorts of odd predicaments. Nolzur’s marvelous pigments, like the tokens, can be incredibly useful in a variety of situations. The elixirs of hiding,sneaking, and vision are great items to stock in case you are faced with a Hide, Move Silently, or Search check that you can not afford to fail. For those without access to the shield spell, brooches of shielding are incredibly useful when you face arcane spellcasters who love to throw magic missile about. I recommend chimes of opening for parties without the means to open locks easily and necklaces of fireballs for parties without much offensive magical firepower.