I like resource management; I think that’s been made fairly obvious on this blog (consider for example the latest post about Hits in P&P). So far, however, I’ve not included item breakage; I didn’t find a system I found suitable since I want things to move fast at the table when the dice are rolling. Now, however, I think I finally got the formula about right, at least for Pits & Perils and its 2D6 mechanics.
As usual, there’s a lot of inspiration here from a number of seriously good blogs (in this case, check out Last Gasp Grimoire’s rules section and also Necropraxis). These systems are also thought-out for a D20 game, which may suit many of you better.
Now, on to the mechanics. Very much intentionally, they build upon using rolls already being made in the system; this has been a requirement from the get-go. Adding “durability rolls” was something I really wanted to steer clear of, especially in the middle of combat. Also, note that these are not limited to weapons and armor; any reusable tools can break, like a crowbar, lock picks or a rope.
Breakage is the term for when an item’s quality worsens by one step. This occurs when the item is used and a natural “2” is rolled (snake eyes). If the item is FRAGILE (in my game, this is a property given to improvised weapons, most spears and clubs and some similar items), then this range is increased by one to a natural 2-3. If the item is of POOR quality (see below), the same thing occurs, and thus an item where both these factors are true will suffer a further deterioration on a roll of 2-4.
For armor and other passively used items, breakage occurs in a slightly different way; the breakage range is reversed. Thus, if a creature wearing armor is attacked with a roll of a natural 12, the quality of that armor is reduced by one step. Otherwise, the process is identical. When using a shield AND wearing armor, the affected character chooses which item is reduced in quality unless he/she has an item which is fragile or in POOR condition; in that case, the increased breakage range is applied and that item must be chosen to deteriorate.
The quality of an item is broken down into four levels.
|High||Of superior workmanship, magical item.|
|Normal||Standard, undamaged item.|
|Poor||Worn, damaged, bent, bad workmanship. +1 to Breakage range.|
|Broken||Useless, reduced to pieces. Repair or reforging may be possible (GM’s call).|
Repairing an item up to its original quality (improving quality generally is a more complicated matter, usually handled best by buying a new item) is a Non-combat action which requires the right skill or access to a blacksmith, clothier or similar NPC which will normally be considered skilled at the process. The exakt time requirement, difficulty and cost is outlined below.
|Broken||Poor||Workshop or smithy||Days/weeks||1/10 of item’s value|
|Poor||Normal||Craft tools||Turns/hours (camp)||Normally none|
|Normal||High||Workshop or smithy||Hours/days||1%%/100 of item’s value|
For magical items, the requirements would probably be more complicated; so far, the situation hasn’t arisen, but I think having a Magician’s workshop becomes an additional requirement as per above, and there would probably be an additional fee to pay for his/her help.