Equipment Durability

I’ve seen some people blogging about it so here’s my take on equipment damage and repair: I wouldn’t do it normally, but if I really wanted to I’d make it as simple as possible.

If the equipment is in a situation where it took a lot of stress, roll 2d6. On 2 it’s destroyed, on 3-4 it’s damaged. If the whole PC took a lot of stress, pick 1d6 things off his sheet that would be most vulnerable to the hit. In general, if the PC originally saved, nothing gets damaged.
Damaged equipment gets a D next to it, and if damaged again it’s destroyed.


PC has the following: chainmail, shield, spear, belt, tunic, elven cloak, sandals, backpack, lantern, 50′ rope, dungeon map, potion of healing.

PC gets blasted by a red dragon’s breath. He fails his save so I make him roll for his stuff. He rolls 5 on the d6, so he has to roll for 5 things. Perusing his sheet, I rattle off the shield, tunic, map, rope, cloak. I picked the shield figuring it would take the brunt of the attack, and the rest because they’re the most vulnerable to fire. There’s a good mix of throwaway stuff (tunic), utility (rope, map), and important (elven cloak).

PC falls down a pit. No save for falls, so he just rolls his d6 and gets 3. I pick the most fragile stuff, so lantern, spear, potion of healing. Again, a good mix of stuff.

PC gets slobbered on by an ooze that dissolves organic material. The ooze’s attack roll is the initial roll that caused all this, analogous to a PC save against dragon breath. He rolls d6 for number of items, gets 6. Belt, tunic, elven cloak, sandals, backpack, spear. If his spear gets destroyed I’ll say he still has a usable dagger from the spearhead.

There’s a lot of ambiguity and DM fiat here, which is why the DM needs to be impartial and pick an appropriate array of stuff. Generally only number rolls of 2+ items should include something worthwhile, otherwise it’s RP (you lost your last pair of pants!). Likewise, just because a player loads up on 300 rat pelts in a sack doesn’t mean the DM should call out those as damaged items, or possibly could count the whole sack as one item. Because there’s an arbiter you shouldn’t have stupid results. A DM could easily tell the PC to roll for his best magic items every single time. This system won’t work for either the “rat-pelt” player or the “I’m gonna get your holy avenger” DM.

Finally, only really big hits should cause item degradation. If the PC wedges his sword into the pit trap doors to pry them open, go ahead and roll the 2d6 on it for damage. If the lich dies and drops the vial holding the PC’s soul you might wanna roll for that vial. It’s all subjective. I personally would do it only for something at the level of a Fireball, dragon, 50′ fall, giant mashing you with max damage two-handed hammer, etc.

Oh, magic items. Fire items won’t be affected by fire, electric by lightning, etc. That means if you have a Potion of Fire Resistance it won’t boil off in a Fireball. If the magic item is a permanent sturdy type like +1 Armor or something, then it can be damaged 3 times before being destroyed on the 4th. Or roll 3d6 and it’s destroyed on 3, damaged on 4-5. In general, magic textiles, papers, wood, glass, crystal, etc. won’t be any more durable than a normal item.

Repairs should take some time and maybe 1 GP (100 GP for magic items). Whatever.

2 Responses to “Equipment Durability”

  1. Item Destruction on Failed Save, Or, Equipment Durability II « 1d30 Says:

    […] Fireball hits and you fail your save so your stuff has to save or get destroyed. I wrote about this here too, differently. I like what I say here better […]

  2. On Low-Level Play – Damnit Dave Says:

    […] something I came up with. I’ve seen a bunch of interpretations of it from Last Gasp to 1d30 to Goblin Punch (I know it’s there but I can’t find it..) to.. well other blogs. You […]

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