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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Equipment of high/low quality

    Unlike older editions of D&D which had rules for masterwork quality equipment, to my knowledge 5E doesn't have any rules for equipment of varying quality. I'm interested in looking into rules for how to introduce equipment of varying quality into the game, both high quality and low quality.

    Are there any good homebrew rules already written that cover item quality? A cursory google search didn't turn up anything for me.

    Ideally the rules for equipment quality should live alongside the rules for magic items, so the two should be able to be used together without stepping on each others toes. Given that a +1 weapon/armor is considered magic (and therefore rare), it doesn't leave a lot of room for high quality equipment to give bonuses.

    So now what are some benefits that high quality equipment could provide? Looking for minor mechanical benefits (or detriments for low quality) that would be interesting for players, but not overpowering or overshadowing enchantments.
    I realize 5E tries to turn the focus of the game away from stacking minor mechanics, but I have found (with my group at least) that having no mechanical benefit for things doesn't work.

    Some ideas I've had (have't actually vetted any of these, just tossing out what I've thought of)
    High quality weapon benefits:
    Bonus damage on a critical
    Increase damage die by one step
    Plus to a social skill (good looking weapon)
    Plus to athletics/acrobatics (well balanced)

    And similarly for low quality:
    Decrease damage die by a step
    Minus to social skill (ugly)
    Minus to athletics/acrobatics (unwieldy)

    Initial thoughts is to build a couple tables, one for benefits, one for detriments. If the players found a low quality item, they would roll on the table to see what detriment the low quality actually gives. Main concern is this might become cumbersome if the players decide to inspect a whole bunch of equipment.

    Mainly, I'd like to see some variety is what high/low quality means. The 3.5 system for masterwork was functional, but it wasn't any more interesting to find a masterwork item than it was to find a regular one.

    Another though I had, maybe high quality effects could be temporarily applied. For example, sharpening a sword could convey a benefit that lasts a day. Similarly, the detriments of low quality equipment could be temporarily removed.

    It could be fun to come up with a system that has equipment degrade over time, but I don't see a good way to actually integrate it into the system. Maybe that could just be used as punishment for players who do stupid stuff with their equipment ("I bash the door down with my sword").

    Another thing to consider is how high/low quality should affect the value of items.

    Anyway, I think I've ranted enough.

    Thoughts?
    The NPC.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by EnnPeeCee View Post
    Unlike older editions of D&D which had rules for masterwork quality equipment, to my knowledge 5E doesn't have any rules for equipment of varying quality. I'm interested in looking into rules for how to introduce equipment of varying quality into the game, both high quality and low quality.

    Are there any good homebrew rules already written that cover item quality? A cursory google search didn't turn up anything for me.

    Ideally the rules for equipment quality should live alongside the rules for magic items, so the two should be able to be used together without stepping on each others toes. Given that a +1 weapon/armor is considered magic (and therefore rare), it doesn't leave a lot of room for high quality equipment to give bonuses.

    So now what are some benefits that high quality equipment could provide? Looking for minor mechanical benefits (or detriments for low quality) that would be interesting for players, but not overpowering or overshadowing enchantments.
    I realize 5E tries to turn the focus of the game away from stacking minor mechanics, but I have found (with my group at least) that having no mechanical benefit for things doesn't work.

    Some ideas I've had (have't actually vetted any of these, just tossing out what I've thought of)
    High quality weapon benefits:
    Bonus damage on a critical
    Increase damage die by one step
    Plus to a social skill (good looking weapon)
    Plus to athletics/acrobatics (well balanced)

    And similarly for low quality:
    Decrease damage die by a step
    Minus to social skill (ugly)
    Minus to athletics/acrobatics (unwieldy)

    Initial thoughts is to build a couple tables, one for benefits, one for detriments. If the players found a low quality item, they would roll on the table to see what detriment the low quality actually gives. Main concern is this might become cumbersome if the players decide to inspect a whole bunch of equipment.

    Mainly, I'd like to see some variety is what high/low quality means. The 3.5 system for masterwork was functional, but it wasn't any more interesting to find a masterwork item than it was to find a regular one.

    Another though I had, maybe high quality effects could be temporarily applied. For example, sharpening a sword could convey a benefit that lasts a day. Similarly, the detriments of low quality equipment could be temporarily removed.

    It could be fun to come up with a system that has equipment degrade over time, but I don't see a good way to actually integrate it into the system. Maybe that could just be used as punishment for players who do stupid stuff with their equipment ("I bash the door down with my sword").

    Another thing to consider is how high/low quality should affect the value of items.

    Anyway, I think I've ranted enough.

    Thoughts?
    I don't like doing A LOT of paperwork. I think we had a bow once that was +1 but non magical because it was just so elven nice lol.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    We use a really simple homebrew ruleset.

    Cold Iron: 5x normal price, slightly more likely to break
    Silvered: 5x normal price, slightly more likely to break
    Fine: 5x normal price, +1 to damage
    Masterwork: 20x normal price, +1 to hit, +1 damage

    Cold Iron and Silvered cannot be combined; Fine and Masterwork cannot be combined.

    For balance reasons, there is no such thing as Fine or Masterwork ammunition. There is no such thing as Cold Iron or Silvered bows, crossbows, or blowguns. (I mean, you could Silver it I suppose. But it wouldn't help you unless you hit them with it)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    the Dungeon Master's Guide has a few tables of special features for magical items but some of them make sense for mundane items. In some cases of mundane items, the masterwork version is just a different item, padded < leather< studded leather, hide<chain shirt, sickle<dagger, ect, ect.
    avatar by Elrond

    "You should just homebrew the world's tiniest violin for your bard."

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    We use a really simple homebrew ruleset.

    Cold Iron: 5x normal price, slightly more likely to break
    Silvered: 5x normal price, slightly more likely to break
    Fine: 5x normal price, +1 to damage
    Masterwork: 20x normal price, +1 to hit, +1 damage

    Cold Iron and Silvered cannot be combined; Fine and Masterwork cannot be combined.

    For balance reasons, there is no such thing as Fine or Masterwork ammunition. There is no such thing as Cold Iron or Silvered bows, crossbows, or blowguns. (I mean, you could Silver it I suppose. But it wouldn't help you unless you hit them with it)
    How do you handle the cold iron and silver's "more likely to break" in your game? Is that something that comes up whenever the item is used? Or just at times that a normal item would be at risk of breaking, like when being sundered?
    The NPC.

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    Nifft's Avatar

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    If you have some homebrew breakage rules, then "more likely to break" makes sense.


    Having varied levels of "quality" in addition to breakage homebrew could pretty easily provide wear & tear mechanics:

    - "High-Quality" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> "normal" weapon or armor
    - "Normal" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> "damaged" weapon or armor
    - "Damaged" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> broken

    Perhaps a spell like Mending can transform a Damaged item -> Normal item, but nothing will return a High-Quality status once the item has seen too much wear & tear.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    If you have some homebrew breakage rules, then "more likely to break" makes sense.


    Having varied levels of "quality" in addition to breakage homebrew could pretty easily provide wear & tear mechanics:

    - "High-Quality" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> "normal" weapon or armor
    - "Normal" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> "damaged" weapon or armor
    - "Damaged" weapon or armor which fails a damage check -> broken

    Perhaps a spell like Mending can transform a Damaged item -> Normal item, but nothing will return a High-Quality status once the item has seen too much wear & tear.
    Yes absolutely. The main thing I'm stuck on would be how to implement equipment durability into actual play. Needing to track every time equipment is used would be way too tedious and unfun. But if it only comes up on rare occasions, it becomes a fairly useless mechanic. I have yet to see a good way to implement this into a tabletop game.
    Are there any tabletop systems that actually use some sort of durability mechanic for items?
    The NPC.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Unless you really want to make use of enemies that have resistances to non-magical BPS attacks I wouldn't bother. Normally in 5e any crafter can make magical weapons, so a weapon crafted with high enough quality to give a +1 attack and damage isn't as good as a magical weapon, it actually is a magical weapon.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    One thing I've seen applied is quality for armor. Good quality is PHB AC, poor or damaged quality drops in AC. I've also seen masterwork medium armor allow 1 more dex bonus to AC (like medium armor master). But the DM dumped it for the next campaign, since it was just too much like a normal +1 armor.

    One thought I had was allowing masterwork armors a +1 to Dex and Con saves? Maybe just for certain types of damage (acid, cold, fire)?

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    The big thing I would suggest is reducing weight and penalties, rather that giving + to attack, damage, or AC. Could also I suppose grant a couple points of DR, but I probably wouldn't.

    Anyway, something like 75% of base weight, heavy armour that requires 13 instead of 15 str, medium armour which doesn't impose disadvantage on dex saves, and so on. Possibly increase the price per masterwork effect (+1x cost for weight reduction, additional +1x for not penalizing stealth, and so on). This has the advantage of letting your fighter fit in a party of stealthy people, at least eventually.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    In my weekly campaign, we roll 1d100 after every critical/botch (20/1) to determine the severity of the success/failure. This idea is a bleed over from the Genesys system we had previously played where advatanges/set backs and Triumphs/Despairs are used to really impact the story.

    1-25 = 1 advantage/set back
    26-50 = 2 advantages/set backs
    51-75 = 1 Triumph/Dispair
    76-100 = 2 Triumphs/2 Despairs

    So while a low quality weapon can break on a 76-100 botch (a d20 result of 1), a high quality weapon could get 4 times the weapon damage on a 76-100 critical (a d20 result of 20).

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Equipment quality can be a function of equipment availability. If you really want a short sword, a dagger will cut it. If you really want studded leather, studless will do. If you really want a greatsword, a longsword can almost work. You want anything +2, best I can do is half.
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    This thread, Questions that can't be answered... Answered by RAW by No brains, is Epic.
    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    That is so stupid it's hilarious.
    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    ...I've clearly been playing D&D for too long, because that made a demented kind of sense.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by lperkins2 View Post
    The big thing I would suggest is reducing weight and penalties, rather that giving + to attack, damage, or AC. Could also I suppose grant a couple points of DR, but I probably wouldn't.

    Anyway, something like 75% of base weight, heavy armour that requires 13 instead of 15 str, medium armour which doesn't impose disadvantage on dex saves, and so on. Possibly increase the price per masterwork effect (+1x cost for weight reduction, additional +1x for not penalizing stealth, and so on). This has the advantage of letting your fighter fit in a party of stealthy people, at least eventually.
    Changing the weight/strength requirement is a good idea, I hadn't thought about that before. That's along the right lines of what I'm looking for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lunali View Post
    Unless you really want to make use of enemies that have resistances to non-magical BPS attacks I wouldn't bother. Normally in 5e any crafter can make magical weapons, so a weapon crafted with high enough quality to give a +1 attack and damage isn't as good as a magical weapon, it actually is a magical weapon.
    Right, having quality give the same bonuses as magic items already give is a bad idea. If that were the case, I'd just want to replace magic items with quality items. As I mentioned, looking for ideas that work in parallel with magic items, so things that don't compete with them.


    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    Equipment quality can be a function of equipment availability. If you really want a short sword, a dagger will cut it. If you really want studded leather, studless will do. If you really want a greatsword, a longsword can almost work. You want anything +2, best I can do is half.
    Very true, but not really what I'm interested in here TBH. I'm interested in a way to differentiate between an old rusted longsword found in a dungeon, the longsword being sold be the village blacksmith, and a noble knight's longsword.
    The NPC.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGirl

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by EnnPeeCee View Post
    Very true, but not really what I'm interested in here TBH. I'm interested in a way to differentiate between an old rusted longsword found in a dungeon, the longsword being sold be the village blacksmith, and a noble knight's longsword.
    The closest idea in core to this is that monster equipment is generally not considered good enough to sell. An orc's longsword will work like a longsword, but a shopkeeper probably isn't going to pay for a rough-looking sword that might have cut into someone they knew.

    In one printed adventure (spoilers to say which), there is a rusty magic dagger that breaks when the wielder rolls a 1 on an attack with it.

    In general I think masterwork was cut out of the game in order to facilitate character flavor. An elf samurai with a blade older than his granddad and a humble peasant with a modified machete as his weapon are both gonna roll 1d8 to hit, even when they swap swords. Both players deserve to tell the story of their swords and both get the same 1d8 to tell it with.

    Also since magic weapons are not harder to make with a vague 'recipe' to do it, we don't need the tier of 'good enough to be enchanted' because enchanting anything is going to be difficult.
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrocorus View Post
    This thread, Questions that can't be answered... Answered by RAW by No brains, is Epic.
    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    That is so stupid it's hilarious.
    Quote Originally Posted by georgie_leech View Post
    ...I've clearly been playing D&D for too long, because that made a demented kind of sense.
    Quote Originally Posted by that_one_kobold View Post
    And this is why I love D&D

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by EnnPeeCee View Post
    Changing the weight/strength requirement is a good idea, I hadn't thought about that before. That's along the right lines of what I'm looking for.
    I shamelessly stole the idea from Zweihander, makers-mark quality (step above masterwork) reduces the weight class of armour by 2. Castle forged (masterwork eqv.) makes an item immune to sundering type effects, outside special circumstance. So, masterwork weapons are pretty much the minimum for dealing with rust monsters and the like.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    Quote Originally Posted by EnnPeeCee View Post
    High quality weapon benefits:
    Bonus damage on a critical
    Increase damage die by one step
    Plus to a social skill (good looking weapon)
    Plus to athletics/acrobatics (well balanced)
    These are great ideas!

    I've given out higher-quality weapons with features like "well-designed grip - advantage to resist disarm attempts" and "spiky and mean looking - advantage on intimidation attempts."

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Equipment of high/low quality

    A quick idea for high quality weapons could be a reroll of 1's when damage is rolled - or just outright consider them a 2.

    For the armors, a minor idea could be the following: if an opponent's attack roll exactly matches the AC of the defender wearing a high quality armor, the opponent has to succeed on another attack roll, otherwise the armor neutralizes his attack.

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