Using My Monsters

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Item Damage in 5th Edition?

llorendyr leapt back from the foul thing, his blade hissing where its slime still coated it.
'By the old ones! It's eating the blade!'
And it was, the fine aelwyn steel becoming dull and tarnished as the daemon's ooze fed upon the metal and magic it held...”

- From “Terror in the Foxfires” by Aaron Verit

Image from http://aldokatayanagi.cgsociety.org/art/rust-keyshot-monster-zbrush-dd-photoshop-dungeons-dragons-creature-armor-knight-warrior-sword-metal-action-digital-painting-attack-fantasy-2d-1163781
"Daaaaaamn!"


I cut my teeth with AD&D 1st Edition, and learned the DM's craft in a system where your items were not safe by any means. This carried on until 4e, when items pretty much got script immunity, even against such horrors as rust monsters and green slime.

In 5e, there are monsters that will eat your items, and I am sure, hazards and traps out there that can smash, dissolve or otherwise trash your gear. However, there is no unified system for determining if an item gets destroyed, and this irritates me a little.

So, here is my house rule for dealing with situations where an item may, or may not, get destroyed.

When an item is exposed to an attack or situation where it may become damaged or destroyed, it makes a saving throw in the same way a player does. As in previous editions, if it is being held or worn by a character, it uses their saving throw bonus. However, if this is not the case, it adds a bonus that depends on what enchantment level it carries*. 

Rarity Save Bonus
Common +0
Uncommon +1
Rare +2
Very Rare +4
Legendary +6

What happens on a failed save depends on the situation. An item may be temporarily useless, or malfunction until it is repaired somehow, or it may become less useful – maybe accumulating some penalty or similar. In some situations however, a failed save may mean the end of the item !

* One of my players has pointed out that sometimes an unattended item may end up being more able  to save than one being held. I would be willing to allow an item to use the better of the two modifiers, especially if it meant the player's Vorpal blade may be about to get destroyed. Of course, this is up to you!

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