For the most part, specific damage isn't applied to equipment under the AD&D rules. This doesn't mean that equipment is never damaged or broken. Instead, it is assumed that whatever normal wear and tear an item may suffer (such as dents in a suit of plate mail) are repaired during moments (or days, or months) of inactivity.
The fighter spends time in camp sharpening his weapons, patching the rips in his chain mail, and hammering out the dents in his breastplate. The thief repairs the padding that muffles the clinks of his metal buckles. The mage sews patches onto his clothes. All characters have ample time to make repairs. It's not very interesting to role-play, so it is assumed all characters maintain their equipment.
However, there are times when the player characters or your NPCs will want to cut a rope, snap a pole, or slash out the bottom of a backpack. Specific damage is done to achieve a specific effect. There are two ways such an attack can be made. the first is to attack a specific point or area with a weapon—slashing the rope that holds the heavy curtain up. The second is an attack that strikes everything in a given area with considerable force—a boulder landing on a character's backpack. The first attack uses Armor Class and hit points of damage. The second attack uses a saving throw.
When a character tries to damage a specific part of an item, use common sense to determine the effect a particular weapon will have against certain materials. Trying to cut open a sack with a mace is futile. Trying to chop down a door with a dagger is equally futile (unless the character has a lot of time). Be sure you consider the hardness of the item and the amount of time the character has. A mace can be used to batter down a wooden door, but an ax will be faster. An ax won't do much of anything to a stone wall.
If the character has an appropriate weapon, determine the Armor Class of the item. This may be as broad as "can't miss" or as precise as a specific Armor Class value.
Players don't have to roll to see if they hit some items. Can't-miss items include large non-moving objects that characters attack with melee weapons—doors, barrels, and backpacks laying on the floor. Other can't-miss situations include missile weapon attacks against huge objects (those big enough to fill a character's field of vision, like the proverbial broad side of a barn.
Some attacks require an attack roll (throwing a mug at a full-length mirror, for example). In cases like this, assign an Armor Class to the target, taking into consideration the size, movement, and hardness of the object. A wooden pole has a minimum AC of 7. A metal rod of about the same thickness has an AC of 0. A rope has an AC of 6, better than a wooden pole because the rope is more resilient and less brittle. If the object is small or moving, the AC should be better. A flailing rope becomes AC 3 or 4. Smashing a small vial as it rolls on the floor could be AC 2 or 1.
Finally, when attempting to hit a very specific spot, the additional penalty for a called shot must be applied. Shooting at the bulls-eye of a target or slitting the backpack of an enemy in combat are difficult feats because of the precision needed.
You must also decide how much damage the item can take before it is broken. Table 28 gives the standard range for some common items and materials. The final column on the table lists the types of attack most likely to cause damage to the item, although other types may also be effective. Using these as guidelines, you can decide the number of hit points to assign to most materials.
|Item||Hit Point Range||Attack Modes*|
|Common Leather||2-8||Slash, Pierce|
- * The three attack modes are bludgeon, slash, and pierce. Each weapon is classified by one or more of these attack modes.
Item Saving Throws
When weapons are subjected to a general danger—the flames of a fireball, the icy chill of a cold ray, or the smashing blow of a giant's boulder—the roll to hit and hit points do not apply. Instead, the following Item Saving Throw table is used. This saving throw represents an item's general ability to withstand the effects of the attack. It is rolled just like a normal saving throw (see "Combat").
The item saving throw should be used only when the item is not being carried by a character or when a character fails his saving throw against the same attack. A character who successfully saves against the blast of a fireball spell need not make separate saving throws for his potions. The character who failed the same save failed to protect himself adequately and must therefore check for his potions (and probably his scrolls, too). Not all items need make a save in every instance. It is perfectly reasonable to ignore the save for a character's sword and armor in the same fireball situation described above, since there is so little chance that these will be affected.
Furthermore, magical items are more resistant to damage, gaining bonuses to the saving throw. Items with a plus (a sword +1, for example) gain that plus as a bonus to the die roll. If the item possesses additional special abilities, it should have an extra plus for each of these. Magical items with no stated pluses should gain a bonus relative to their power. A potion would have a +1 while a miscellaneous magical item could have a +5 or +6. Further, if the saving throw is versus an attack the device was designed to counter (e.g., extreme cold vs. a ring of warmth), an additional bonus of +2 is allowed.
|Bone or Ivory||11||16||19||6||9||3||2||8||2|
Acid attacks (Acid) assume there is either a sizeable quantity of acid or that contact with the acid is prolonged.
Crushing Blows (Cr. Blow) include strikes by the clubs of creatures of giant size or greater. Blows by normal people on small, fragile objects also fall into this category. A normal human could not do a crushing blow on a rope, which isn't very fragile, but could certainly do so on a potion flask. Breakable items hurled against hard surfaces—bottles thrown against walls, for example—also use the crushing blow column.
Disintegration (Dis.) applies only to the magical effects of the spell or spell-like ability.
Falls (Fall) must be greater than five feet. If the surface is hard, the listed saving throw is used. If the surface is soft, give a +5 bonus to the saving throw. For every five feet fallen beyond the first, apply a -1 penalty to the saving throw.
Magical fires (Mag. Fire) include fireballs, dragon-breath, and any sizeable body of flame created by a spell or spell-like effect. Extraordinarily hot normal fires, such as the lava from a volcano, should also use this saving throw.
Normal fires (Nor. Fire) include campfires, candle flames, and bonfires. Obviously, the item must be in the flame for a sufficient time to be affected.
Cold (Cold) covers any intense, abnormal, or magical cold. If the temperature change is gradual, a +2 bonus is applied to the saving throw.
Lightning bolt (Light.) applies to attacks by the spell or spell-like power of the same name.
Electrical (Elec.) is for those electrical attacks that do not carry the wallop of the lightning bolt. Electric eels and magical traps fall into this category.