Equipment deterioration simplified

The equipment deterioration rules (originally inspired by Logan) that I posted before have seen around 10 sessions of online play testing. In general, I like the idea, but in practice I found that the large number of notches tended to prevent the effects from ever showing up on-screen. Rolling another die on every notch to test for immediate breakage is also too much work (and easy to forget, being outside the standard D&D workflow). The replacement costs I made up were a bit too complicated.

This new version of the rules (included below) feels “finished” to me, though I have only used them for two sessions so far. The complexity overhead and game impact are about where I want them. The new version does away with “null result” notch accumulation while also giving players some warning before their weapon or armor is totally gone.

There are three different gear states: sound, damaged, and ruined. On rolls less than or equal to an item’s quality rating, the item drops a category, which decreases its effectiveness in the case of “damaged.” Repairing a damaged weapon costs 1/2 new price. Some actions may cause an automatic downgrade, such as hitting a statue with an axe. Damaged weapons deal less damage and damaged armor loses one point of protection.

4 thoughts on “Equipment deterioration simplified

  1. Mark

    This looks more user friendly than the notches post. I like that there are only three status conditions for weapons, easy to remember and implement. The whole system provides a gold sink, a rationale for carrying multiple weapons and also for using enemies’ weapons.

    For shops do you use a randomised table for what might be available? ie. d20 1-2 = quality 5, 3-6 quality 4, 7-16 quality 3, 17-19 quality 2, 20 best quality. I figure the best weapons are usually the ones that have already been purchased. Fairly easy to randomise monster weapons.

    Magic weapons are best quality or do they not deteriorate? I prefer the former.

    1. Brendan Post author

      I would probably rule what was available based on the size of the town. Quality 3 items being default and generally available. Maybe with a 1 in 6 chance of something beyond the standard means of the town being available.

      Quality 2 or 1 should probably only be available reliably in larger towns, and in limited quantities. If you wanted to make quality 1 items even more special, perhaps you need to visit the hermit smith on the mountain to get a sword forged.

      Magic weapons in my games tend to be relatively rare, so I would probably make them not deteriorate, but I also suspect that would vary based on the particular campaign setting.

  2. Telecanter

    I think this is a cool example of what I love best about blogging, the conversation around and revising of ideas. I like how you simplified it. I think I might tweak it a bit myself and blog about it. I like the idea that a sword or axe found in a dungeon might matter, and how this rule could make them exist in the way shields shall be splintered made shields exist. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Pingback: Item breakage in Pits & Perils | Deep Delving

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