Campaign of the Month: August 2014
The Concord of Ashes
Equipment Wear and Damage
Wear and tear is a fact of combat and the rigours of campaign. Weapons can break in the heat of battle, and by its very nature armour takes the mortal wounds of those who wear it. Indeed, the maintenance and repair of arms and armour was a steady income stream for many blacksmiths and armourers attached to military forces. These rules are intended to reflect this in a fast and reasonably realistic fashion.
Whenever a botch is rolled when attacking with a weapon, the Storyteller may rule that it is now in need of maintenance. Perhaps an axe head or cross-guard is loosened, a notch weakens the blade or the glues that bind a bow are weakened. As outlined in the Dark Ages Rulebook, pp. 146-147, anyone skilled enough in the use of such weapons is also capable of making simple repairs and conducting maintenance. All they require is the correct tools and enough time to use them.
However, if a second botch is rolled before proper routine maintanence takes place, the weapon is now considered ruined. At this point it must be replaced, or significant payment must be made to a qualified professional who is willing to repair the weapon.
Exceptional Weapons: In addition to their other benefits (ie. increased damage), weapons of superior quality (requiring the expenditure of Resources higher than such items typically cost) can take rather more punishment than their more mundane cousins. For each dot beyond their typical cost, a weapon can resist an additional botch before it is in need of maintenance and a second botch before being considered ruined. However, If a weapon is consequently damaged to the point of being ruined, it may be repaired to look as fine as it once was, but it will never again be exceptional.
For example, a typical knight’s sword can be purchased with a Resources of 3. If a master weaponsmith is secured to produce a sword of such quality as to require Resources of 4, the weapon can withstand 2 botches before requiring maintenance, and another 2 before being ruined. An extraordinary weapon of Resources 5 could withstand a total of 6 botches before it is ruined.
Every time armour is subjected to twice the damage dice successes of its soaking potential, it is reduced in effectiveness. Gambesons and leather tear, mail can be rent or sundered, plate dented and straps cut. At such times, a hard and fast note should be taken of where the blow landed, and its soaking potential reduced by one die in that region. Also, every time that soaking potential is reduced, the integrity of the armour as a whole is reduced, and it is considered in need of maintenance. When that soaking potential is reduced to 0, the armour is considered ruined .
Obviously, this rule requires some common sense and adjudication. A combatant wearing a leather jack that is damaged at the back still has full protection (however minimal) in front. Another wearing mail who has it rent by an angry Gangrel might find the armour suddenly loose and cumbersome. This lends itself to more visceral and credible combat storytelling.
Exceptional Armour: Armours of exceptional quality, by virtue of the increased soak potential that they grant, are necessarily more resilient than their inferior cousins. This also directly translates to how long it can survive in the condition of requiring maintenance. As with weapons, armour that reaches the state of being ruined and then repaired, will never be exceptional again.
Concerning social status and the consequences of ownership exceptional arms and armour
Note that those wielding weapons and wearing armour so obviously beyond their station attract enquiry, envy and possibly theft or censure for their trouble. Usually, commoners or poor knights who possess such equipment either stole it themselves or scavenged it from a battlefield, in which case it should have been passed on to their master.
Broken shields are a common sight after any massed battle. Their purpose is to be the first line of defence and, as such, they take the most damage. In order to reflect this, shields are now assigned a number of hits. No matter how fine its construction, a shield that is properly used will eventually fail, especially when used to defend against the supernal strength of Cainite warriors.
If actively parrying, a shield is considered hit if the strength potential of the wielder plus the damage potential of the weapon striking it is double that of its number of hits. When the hits run out, a shield is considered ruined. If passively defending, the Storyteller should declare a hit on an ad hoc basis that supports the drama of the combat narrative.
A shield can withstand a number of hits equal to the following:
- Small Shield: 4 hits
- Cavalry Shield: 5 hits
- Footman’s Shield: 5 hits
Maintenance of one’s shield was a matter of course for any medieval warrior, and only a fool shirked the responsibility. A well constructed shield could last years, and a series of battles, before requiring replacement. The listed hits ought to reflect that resilience against mortal opponents, as well as the failure of the technology when confronted by supernatural strength.
Exceptional Shields: Rumour has it that certain Brujah and Lasombra have had shields of exceptionally hard woods, or even steel, made for their use. After all, the weight of such shields is negligible to a Cainite who possesses high levels of the discipline of Potence. Such a shield might have 8 or even 10 hits.