Flavor Equipment

Those items you may find in a Role-Playing Game that serve as absolute bottom-of-the-line equipment. These almost always have a few traits:

  • Always equippable items such as weapons/armor/trinkets. Never will these be consumables or ingredients.
  • Standard equipment for Mooks who don't really benefit from gear, but who have to drop something.
  • So inexpensive and cumbersome it's not even worth selling as Vendor Trash
  • Often used as scenery because the game developers know that the player won't even bother collecting it. They serve as a reminder that items are not just there to augment the player, but are a part of the game's world because even NPCs use items similar to the ones in your inventory.
  • Usually handed out like candy as a form of Starter Equipment, but only because the player will inevitably get their hands on some and it's better than nothing.
  • Sometimes such items may be relevant to a certain quest (often as a form of disguise) but are kept afterwards despite no longer having any real value.

Some players may use only these types of items as a sort of Self-Imposed Challenge. Compare to With This Herring, differs from Starter Equipment because these gear items are always present and serve as more than just player equipment.


Examples:

  • The Elder Scrolls
    • Throughout the series in general, the games include some extremely low-end gear available which most players will pass over without a second thought. Much of it is used exclusively by NPCs to give them some flavor and to reinforce the idea of a "living world" within the Wide Open Sandbox.
    • Morrowind has Chitin weapons. The Chitin dagger, for instance, is even worse than the Iron dagger which you can pick up for free during character generation. It exists mostly to give the Ashlanders a unique form of weaponry. Chitin armor on the other hand is actually fairly decent early-game light armor, putting Netch Leather and Nordic Fur armor into this category. You can buy a (relatively inexpensive) almost-full set of the armor from Arielle in Seyda Neen. Even worse are the cloth bracers. (Think "shirt-sleeve" level of protection and durability...)
    • Skyrim has Fur Armor. It is not even in the table of craftable light armor progression, it's below the entire table (other examples in this game are typically lowest-tier at these tables), and exists solely to provide bandits some modesty. (And a few variations of the armor don't even provide that.)
  • In Parasite Eve 2, you begin with a pistol and baton. The first NPC vendor (aside from the quartermaster at headquarters) sells you items from his collection, which includes a pistol which is inferior to the default one.
  • In the Geneforge games, the lowest-level equipment (such as robes, iron daggers, sandals, etc.) can be found EVERYWHERE. All Serviles drop daggers and robes, and even treasure stashes in high-level dungeons will have the same level weapons and armor you found in the tutorial level.
  • Fallout 3 has a few examples;
    • The BB gun is even weaker than the 10mm pistol you're given from the start (not to mention slower and with much rarer ammo). You'll only ever use it in the tutorial (it's far more Nerf Arm than Starter Equipment) or as a challenge.
    • The Chinese Pistol does as much damage as the BB gun, although there's a unique one which fires incendiary rounds. Since it uses the same ammo as the 10mm pistol you start with, it's only there to make it clear that certain buildings had PRC soldiers present in the war.
    • On the melee weapons' side, there's pool cues and rolling pins, which both only do 3 damage (compared to the 4 damage of the BB gun and the 9 damage of the baseball bat you can grab from your room). They're mostly there as part of the scenery (although the way the AI works means that at least one unarmed NPC will grab one if you start trouble in a town).
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, every generic NPC will actually have the gear they are shown to wear on their person, if killed. Which means you will end up with tons of non-magical equipment if you go on a murder-and-looting spree. Assuming you can even carry all those pieces of armor.
  • Likewise, in The Witcher, every humanoid enemy will, once dead, drop whatever weapon they wielded—which is mostly generic, relatively cheap stuff you can just as well get from shops. Not only can you get the truly powerful swords as quest rewards only, but the game also actively discourages Monty Hauls by giving you just three slots to carry looted weapons in.
  • A Dance with Rogues has tons of useless (to the Player Character) cheap, low-tier equipment lovingly placed into containers where their placement makes sense in-story. For instance, every container labeled "weapons rack" is going to hold six to ten halberds or swords that are useless as gear or loot but make a lot of sense inside a military barracks.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FlavorEquipment