I love the idea of (Diablo style) finding things like a rusty axe and (not Diablo style) having that actually be useful. So that’s the motivation behind this system. I would probably pair it with a silver standard for XP while leaving weapon costs in GP. So a long sword might cost 150 SP (15 GP, looking at the Swords & Wizardry Complete price list), but expected treasure found per level would be much less.
This is totally a knockoff of Logan’s notch idea. I’m just posting my formulation here so that I can reference it. I think Brush of Fumbling came up with rolling under the quality number. See also Goblin Punch, which reminded me about this whole thing not too long ago (I think there was another relevant post on Arnold’s blog, but I can’t find it right now).
Note: an updated, simplified version of this system is here:
Weapon quality ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being best and 3 being default. Attack rolls less than or equal to the quality number result in a point of wear. Make a mark next to the item on the character sheet to track this.
Armor quality ranges from 20 to 16, with 20 being best and 18 being default. Wear accrues to armor as described for weapons above, but the relevant roll is the enemy attack (so when an enemy rolls high to hit you, your armor will take wear).
After three points of wear, an item becomes damaged, and becomes less effective (one less point of AC protection for armor, and -1 to attack rolls for weapons). Additionally, every time a damaged item takes wear, there is a quality in 6 chance that it is ruined outright (jumps immediately to six points of wear).
Six points of wear indicate that an item is ruined (falls apart, snaps in half, etc).
Repair costs are 1/6 of new cost per point of wear.
Item costs double per quality rank (round any fractions up). For example, a item that costs 10 GP (100 SP) on the rulebook price list (representing the default quality of 3), would result in the following price chart by quality:
- 400 SP
- 200 SP
- 100 SP
- 50 SP
- 25 SP
Items other than weapons and armor (such as grappling hooks) may accrue wear as well.
2013-11-27 edit: damaged items have a quality in 6 chance of being ruined when taking a point of wear rather than 50%.