EN5ider #267: Weapon Degradation
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    EN5ider #267: Weapon Degradation

    EN5ider is getting into broken criticals today—broken weapons that is! Whether you're keen for a more realistic game or to bring a little destructive excitement to the table today's entry will fit the bill.

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    Lately on EN5ider:
    • #267. Weapon Degradation. In most D&D games blades never break and bowstrings don't snap but this article changes all that! GMs that want more realism or players with a penchant for breaking things need look no further than this entry into EN5ider, its weapon conditions, and the broken weapon tables. If the goal is for more exciting sessions that's in the cards as well—adventurers willing to throw away their weapons on a critical hit can choose to intentionally break them for some very cool extra effects! By Erik Evjen; illustrated by Rachel Maduro.
    • #266. Herbalist’s Knapsack. This article details nine unique plant extracts, clippings, and materials that GMs can include whenever the adventurers are out wandering in the wilderness to bring a little something special to their world! Some can be used as herbal remedies while others have the ability to replace material components of spells, potentially even changing or enhancing the resulting magic. By David Adams; illustrated by Jen Tracy.
    • #265. ZEITGEIST #6 - Revelations from the Mouth of a Mad Man: Part 2. In this module for the ZEITGEIST Adventure Path the party have to contend with the Obscurati, compete with other adventurers to allow for the Cantabrilla Railroad's construction to continue, deal with violent Cheshimox zealots, duel monsters for the respect of orc sea captains, track down and eradicate a deadly disease, hunt down dangerous insects worshiped by goblins, face off against a bevy of duplicants, and if you can believe it even more!
    • #264. Mini-Adventure: Tiger Eyes.This module is built to supplement an existing campaign, incorporating a catfolk hunter that mistakes one of the adventurers as her prey. Any party of four to five PCs between 5th and 7th level are in good stead to overcome Nebiri's many traps—and reap the rewards of helping her complete her quest, tracking and taking down the true target. By Andrew Engelbrite; illustrated by Claudio Pozas; maps by Mik Holmes.
    • #263. Intriguing Organizations: The Stone Path. The Stone Path are a group shrouded in secrecy. Its members and adherents travel across time through the use of petrification, finding creatures and magics that can ‘preserve’ them by turning their flesh to stone and employing adventurers to bring people back to the world of the living at a specific moment in the future. This manipulation of fate is not without its costs however, and those that have used the group's services one too many times begin to change...By Will Gawned; illustrated by Tamara Cvetkovic.

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    I feel like degrading equipment sort of goes against the grain of 5E's design philosophy in general, which has been to create a game with no drawbacks for characters, only advantages. This is most immediately relevant in races, all of which conspicuously lost their ability score penalties but is evident in several other areas of the game. This feels consistent with the changes made in streamlining recent iterations of the Elder Scroll series of video-games, where between Oblivion and Skyrim the choice was made that instead of the game having the mechanic of needing to repair your weapon versus wear and tear, it would have a mechanic where you could improve your weapons by tempering them, which seems much more "5E" to me.

    Now, I am sure there are people playing 5E who would like a weapon degradation system without switching games, so yay for this article. But the idea seems better suited to almost any fantasy game but 5E.
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    I have uncharitable feelings about the idea. Is it realistic? Probably. But I don't want it.

    I don't like guns in my D&D because all of a sudden I have to deal with a lot of realistic rules. Guns don't fire when it's wet (if I say it's a dark and stormy night, instead of adding background I'm nerfing a PC!). Furthermore bows shouldn't be strung all the time or be used in a rainstorm, but I've literally never seen one GM enforce that "rule". This would be worse, because now that kind of thing happens to every weapon.

    The only way I could accept such a rule is in a game with more narrative rules. In Dungeon World, that could be a consequence of a middling skill roll (you succeed but you lose something something, so maybe you hit your opponent in the belly, but your weapon splintered). In Fate, you get a Fate Point. In Mutants & Masterminds, you get a hero point. And so forth. The only similar tool I'm aware of for 5e is "inspiration". I don't think breaking my sword would make me feel inspired.
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    I remember a game where armor had its own HP pool; and when you took damage, it gave you the choice of splitting it between your own HP and the armor's HP, or just taking it all to your own HP.

    Invariably, players would take all of the damage to their own HP; because those HP regenerated automatically with time, where the armor's HP had to be repaired with cash.
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    Armour and weapon breaking makes the "linear fighter quadratic wizard" issue worse. It also makes Dexterity more of a "god stat" (why would I play a Strength-based fighter whose armor and greatsword keeps breaking instead of a Dexterity based one who only needs enough Strength to carry five rapiers?).
    Last edited by Greenstone.Walker; Thursday, 18th April, 2019 at 12:33 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParanoydStyle View Post
    I feel like degrading equipment sort of goes against the grain of 5E's design philosophy in general, which has been to create a game with no drawbacks for characters, only advantages. This is most immediately relevant in races, all of which conspicuously lost their ability score penalties but is evident in several other areas of the game. This feels consistent with the changes made in streamlining recent iterations of the Elder Scroll series of video-games, where between Oblivion and Skyrim the choice was made that instead of the game having the mechanic of needing to repair your weapon versus wear and tear, it would have a mechanic where you could improve your weapons by tempering them, which seems much more "5E" to me.

    Now, I am sure there are people playing 5E who would like a weapon degradation system without switching games, so yay for this article. But the idea seems better suited to almost any fantasy game but 5E.
    Quote Originally Posted by (Psi)SeveredHead View Post
    I have uncharitable feelings about the idea. Is it realistic? Probably. But I don't want it.

    I don't like guns in my D&D because all of a sudden I have to deal with a lot of realistic rules. Guns don't fire when it's wet (if I say it's a dark and stormy night, instead of adding background I'm nerfing a PC!). Furthermore bows shouldn't be strung all the time or be used in a rainstorm, but I've literally never seen one GM enforce that "rule". This would be worse, because now that kind of thing happens to every weapon.

    The only way I could accept such a rule is in a game with more narrative rules. In Dungeon World, that could be a consequence of a middling skill roll (you succeed but you lose something something, so maybe you hit your opponent in the belly, but your weapon splintered). In Fate, you get a Fate Point. In Mutants & Masterminds, you get a hero point. And so forth. The only similar tool I'm aware of for 5e is "inspiration". I don't think breaking my sword would make me feel inspired.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saelorn View Post
    I remember a game where armor had its own HP pool; and when you took damage, it gave you the choice of splitting it between your own HP and the armor's HP, or just taking it all to your own HP.

    Invariably, players would take all of the damage to their own HP; because those HP regenerated automatically with time, where the armor's HP had to be repaired with cash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenstone.Walker View Post
    Armour and weapon breaking makes the "linear fighter quadratic wizard" issue worse. It also makes Dexterity more of a "god stat" (why would I play a Strength-based fighter whose armor and greatsword keeps breaking instead of a Dexterity based one who only needs enough Strength to carry five rapiers?).
    Erik's a bit of an OSR-style designer and I had many of the same misgivings you're all voicing here--which is what the second half of the article is about, offering up rules for when you choose to break your weapon to get something extra out of it (the blade sticks in your target, etc. etc. etc. there's like 6 different things per weapon damage type).
    XP Satyrn gave XP for this post

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