The mechanic that I really had in mind was that essentially the NPCs would be scripted to run to a container or placeable, and then equip a pre-determined weapon. The PC/Party would only have one or two containers close by with maybe a longsword or a blaster. Essentially the idea being to make you fight with weapons that aren't necessarily your forte. I didn't think a large scale NPC weapon search mechanic would work very well. Nor do I have the knowledge to execute that idea, as neat as it could potentially be.
In other news, I have successfully implemented paths for the first time in my areas! This is a big step toward the content-friendliness of my areas, and possibly the last new area related issue I needed to solve. Now NPCs can find their way about my areas with ease, which is going to go a long way when the content is rolling in heavy.