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Armor and Weapon degradation / breaking

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  • Armor and Weapon degradation / breaking

    Howdy Folks,
    My gaming group is spinning up a Fallout game using a mix of DoctorBoson's and ValhallaGH's setting rules.

    However we want to come up with a decent way to enforce weapon breaking down over time. Obviously we don't want something too onerous but it is a pretty essential part (we think) of the computer games and we want some weapon scarcity and usefulness of PCs with spare parts and repair skills. Also we like the idea of crappy made gear that break more often.

    We would love to get the communities feedback on ideas.

    Here are some of our initial ideas:
    1. Weapons have 1, 2 or 3 hit points (depending on quality)
    2. When the user rolls either (we are on the fence which option is better)
      • Snake eyes
        • Rare
      • 1 on your wild dice
        • Less rare
      • 1 on their skill die
        • Will happen more likely and makes machine guns more likely to break, but can be mitigated as player skill goes up
    3. The weapon takes a damage point. Depending on the quality a weapon can take more hits and still be functional, after that it needs to be repaired.
    • Another options is to have the weapon roll an additional dice per attack and that dice indicates the quality of the weapon (d4 for poor, d6 normal, d8 high). When a 1 is rolled the weapon breaks.
      • Extra dice being thrown around per attack can slow things down, but no tracking weapon "hit points"
    • Armor would be ablative and as you take wounds it protects less (right from Savage Armory)
      • This seems the simplest way to handle armor, but I am all ears

    What are your thoughts?
    Are there any setting rules out there that already cover this that I missed? Happy to pick up a supplement if so.
    I checked out a few and could not fine anything comprehensive.

    Thanks folks!

  • #2

    • Odd that a feature that only appeared in two out of six-ish games is a "pretty essential" feature of the setting to your table, but that's for you and yours.
    • Anything that only happens on a Wild Die makes Extras immune to it. This is as true for Critical Failures as it would be for weapon damage.
    • "Weapon degradation" that doesn't change the game mechanics of the weapon (until it breaks) doesn't feel like degradation to me.
    Alternative suggestions:
    • Technical Difficulties setting rule from Savage Rifts. It already exists, it works fairly well, and it includes costs and difficulty of repairs. It also works equally for weapon and armors (mostly Soak rolls).
    • A 1 on the relevant Trait die causes some degradation. For armors this would mostly be Soak rolls, or maybe Spirit rolls to recover from Shaken. Weapons would mostly be for rolls to use the weapon. What the degradation is depends upon how punishing you want it to be. Personally, I'd inflict a -1/-2/-4 to weapon damage (or attack) rolls before declaring it too broken to use and armors would get a -1 Armor (useless at +0, obviously).
    • Tying armor damage to how hard a hit was is tempting, but just makes Soak rolls even more important. I'd suggest something Clint suggested, namely the player choosing to burn 2 armor to get eliminate 1 Wound from the damage result. This makes it optional, useful to everyone (including Extras), and a deliberate choice to sacrifice gear use for current survival.
    • The Armor Use edge from Beasts & Barbarians - when rolling to Soak, can choose to add current (chest) Armor to the Soak result but drops the Armor value by 1 afterward. Requires 1d4 hours to Repair 1 armor (2 on a Raise). If the armor drops to 0 then it becomes useless junk.
    There are lots of other possibilities, and someone may suggest something better, but those are my thoughts. Good luck!
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • #3
      Here's something I considered for my Fallout game.

      On a critical failure on an attack roll, the weapon suffers one point of degradation. Draw a card.

      Spades: The weapon suffers a -1 penalty to attack rolls (Fighting/Shooting/Throwing/etc).
      Hearts: The weapon suffers a -1 penalty to damage rolls.
      Diamonds: The weapon's sale value is halved, and the wielder suffers a -1 Charisma for carrying and using such a beat-up and awful-looking weapon.
      Clubs: The weapon becomes unreliable. Whenever a certain card type is drawn for the wielder's action card, the user must make a Repair roll with a penalty equal to the weapon's degradation to fix it before it can be used again. With one point of degradation, this happens on a Club of five or less. With two points, this happens on any non-face card Club, and with three points of degradation, it happens any time a Club is drawn. (This happens even if the character doesn't act on the card, such as if they replace it with Quickness.)
      Red Joker: Lucky break! No degradation, and draw a bennie.
      Black Joker: The weapon takes two points of degradation; shuffle this card back in and draw again twice. If you draw another Black Joker, the weapon fails catastrophically - the blade snaps off and embeds into the wielder's leg, the plasma rifle's energy cell breaches and it explodes, and so on. The weapon is forever ruined and the wielder automatically takes the weapon's damage.

      Removing a point of degradation requires an hour's work with appropriate tools and a successful Repair roll, with a penalty equal to the weapon's current degradation. It also requires spare parts equal to one-quarter the cost of the weapon. Any weapon that takes a fourth point of degradation is ruined (good only as scrap, maybe an improvised weapon if you're feeling generous).

      You could put together a similar table for armor, though I'm not sure what I would put on it - the sell cost/Charisma penalty one would work, presumably one that reduces the armor's Armor bonus, and probably one that reduces soak rolls while wearing the armor. Maybe the last one could make it difficult to wear, increasing encumbrance or something like that.
      Last edited by SteelDraco; 07-12-2018, 11:57 PM.


      • #4
        I would keep it simple...option 3, roll a one on the skill dice. Machine guns should have a higher chance to fail, they are more complex. Once they are broken I would treated them like improvised weapons.

        I am on the fence about hit points it seems like to much book keeping. So I would lean towards allowing repair to fix them, meaning they break a lot but they can be fixed. I would also give each piece of gear a new stat, durability that gets added to each repair roll made to fix it. So items can start out above average +1, normal 0 or below average -1.

        On the repair roll, failure means the weapon is broken and may not be repaired, success means it was fixed but with a perminate -1 to its damage and durability and with a raise perminate -1 to durability.

        I think you always need to ding the durability, even on a raise. Otherwise high repair skill will keep things running forever. Now a high repair skill will keep them running longer but they will fail at some point.

        The Armor choice makes sense to me.


        • #5
          Originally posted by SteelDraco View Post
          Here's something I considered for my Fallout game.
          the wielder suffers a -1 Charisma for carrying and using such a beat-up and awful-looking weapon.
          I just have to say that, while I don't plan on using any kind of degradation mechanic, I absolutely love this particular idea and I'm going to find some way to work it into my game for someone


          • #6
            One idea I've been toying with was giving control over to the player. Instead of having a mechanical way of determining what breaks and how, let the players decide.

            When they spend a Benny to reroll an attack, they may add +2 to the reroll, but the weapon is damaged and any attack with it suffers a -1 penalty until repaired. Using this option with a damaged weapon renders it useless instead.

            When soaking, they may add a bonus to the vigor roll up to their armor value. However, the armor value decreases by this amount for the next attacks until repaired. If the armor value reaches 0, the armor is destroyed.