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weapon/armor wear & tear

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i worked out a system for my RPG for determining wear and tear on weapons and armor... basically it works like this: there are several types of materials that a weapon or armor can be made of, and they are assigned "levels" of hardness, i.e.: 2 - leather 3 - wood 4 - steel etc... each weapon and armor also has a "HP" counter type thing. so, when a character attacks another character wearing armor, the weapon''s and armor''s hardness are compared. if the weapon is higher than the armor, the armor loses some HP; if the armor is stronger, the weapon loses some HP. this is independent of damage to the characters, and other effects... it just counts how much a weapon/armor has been used against materials that could damage its integrity (only when contact is made though)... if the HP hits 0, the weapon/armor breaks and is no longer usable. i am considering scaling the damage dealt based on quality of the weapon, but i am not sure yet... the same goes for two weapons hitting each other (if one character parries the other''s attack). some weapons/armor are more inclined to be damaged depending on what is hitting it and how. for example a slash from a blade will tear up leather armor pretty good, but do nothing to plate armor; hitting a leather armor with a battle hammer will not harm the armor at all (it might harm the wearer, heh heh), but it will bend plate armor to hell. so, basically, if the player goes around beating up creatures with weaker or nonexistent equipment, they should be fine; but if they try to spar with a well armed/armored enemy, there is a chance that their weapon will break during that combat. or, even if they manage to win the fight with weapon intact, it will be pretty messed up and they will need to get it repaired or replaced. i think this will add another nifty chunk of realism, as well as strategy (you had best carry at least one extra weapon, and if your armor is nearly broken it is time to give up fighting until it is fixed). however, i think it might be overkill for a single player RPG, and annoy away some players. do yous guys think i should include this feature? or should i pack it away for the sequel (a MMORPG of course! heh heh...)? --- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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Sounds neat to me.

Its definitely better than Diablo''s durability system. If you stand still and swing a weapon a bunch of times, you can break it yourself, without hitting anything. I think it just uses a "swing" counter.

Either way, very indepth and well thought out.



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Use play balancing judiciously to make sure that gear has high enough HP to not break quickly. Part of "growing up" in an RPG is being able to explore farther and farther from safe places for long periods of time.

The fact that items degrade and need repair opens the door to a couple opportunities:

1)NPC smiths/tailors/carpenters could specialize in only being able to repair certain types of materials.

2)Players themselves could learn how to do makeshift repairs when on the road.

3)If the players can learn to mend their own gear, then the difficulty of each material scales up as well. The player may choose to use his weaker wood staff since he can repair any damage, but whips out his iron staff for the risky encounters.

And in a general design standpoint, I like that it is not just gear that makes the man, or just leveling. A player may find a situation is too risky for either reason. If a degradation system is used, make sure that the inconvenience is balanced by opportunity and development.

As for items degrading in combat effectiveness, I would say no.
The only exception I would make is within the degridation system itself. Example: If the attacker has a metal sword(4) and is slashing at a wood shield(3), the sword is slowly damaging the shield''s HP. If the sword was down to 75% if its HP remaining, then lower its damage dealt to the shield. Basically, a dull sword will wear down things slower. It still has the benefit of high HP (durability) and a high rating (strength) but needs to be sharpened often to be the most useful. This is a weapon-only trait.

The flipside of this is that if a player that invests in strong armor can try to wear down the enemy''s weapons through defense. Outlast, outlive.

CDV

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Yeah, sounds good. Once you''re careful to test and balance comprehensively it should add a nice touch of realism without being annoying.

You could tie the weapon type vs armour type system in with your combat system - save duplication. Similar to the AD&D system where certain categories of weapon get a bonus to hit against certain types of armour - like the hammer vs leather/plate example you mentioned. Just use the same realationships for combat bonuses as for wear/tear effects.

A few other simple ideas, depnding on your game type/paradigm:
*Environmental interaction. Have the weapon get damaged if the player bangs it off walls too often, maybe depending on the wall''s material. No great gameplay effect (I think) but a nice touch of realism - normally in games you can batter the walls all you like with no effect. Might have an effect if the player is trying to find secret passages/destructable walls - they''ll be more careful.
*Other damage effects. There''s an optional rule in AD&D for the effect of things like spells/breath weapons on equipment PCs are carrying. You could use this, for example, to simiulate damage to the player''s weapon if he''s hit by a spell, caught in an explosion, breathed on a dragon, long fall, lava/acid, etc.
*New gameplay elements. As Warsong002 mentioned, this system makes room for new skills for repair and the like. It might also lead to new combat strategies where people take advantage of weapons'' fragility - eg using weapons like sword breakers, using aggressive blocking, deliberately targeting someone''s weapon, etc.

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As an alternative to a traditional character hp system, it sounds okay, but you''d have to be careful to balance the numbers well. Having to replace a weapon 4 times a week could become fustrating. Also, bear in mind that when a knight purchased an armor, they made a mold of his body first, shipped it off to a high class blacksmith, and 4 to 6 months later, a perfect armor came back that would probably last the knight''s career, which was a couple of years. The knight would retire by 28 and die at 32 of dysentary.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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Yes, it would probably work if you balanced it right, so that it wasn''t too annoying, having to repair every 10 mins, but also don''t make it so long that you just repair whenever you see a blacksmith and its all good.

I think I might use an idea like this if I ever make a game, because I also plan on making the weapon/armor system sorta like Legend of Mana (Seiken Densetsu III) for the PSX. In that game, you could forge your own items out of any metal, stone, or wood (for bows). Then, you could temper in various items to enhance the power of the equipment. I plan on doing something like this, maybe not tempering in elemental coins, like LoM, but I want a very complex, yet easy to use, system, and this durability thing seems to add to the overall idea. You might be thinking how can you make it very complex, but easy to use? Well, think of all the Capcom fighting games (street fighter, etc). Any newbie could walk up and start punching the other guy in the face and it was fun. But then an expert walks up and puts his coin in, and does a 66 hit combo with an air finish (I dont know) and massacres the newbie. Well, same idea.

Also, for this, make the stronger weapons take longer comparatively. IE- wood weapon fighting wood armor would take, say, 30 minutes before they needed to repair. But Titanium Blessed Invulnerable Indestructable Godly Adamantite Power Sword of Unbreakable Strength would take a month of straight fighting to break, even if it was put up against armor of the same quality. (Okay, maybe not so exaggerated - a plain titanium, or very strong material in your game, would take say 2-3 hours to break) Basically, you want the player to feel rewarded after finding the best treasure - it feels like an extremely powerful weapon should kill in one hit and never break, so make it like that. Also, one thing I hate from Ultima Online, is that weapons total durability goes down each time you repair it. Dont do that - make it perfectly new after each repair, so you don''t get people saying "Damn, I don''t want to use my awesome new weapon to kill these crazy powerful monsters, because I''ll have to repair it and it will break eventually. Therefore I''ll save it and use my peashooter." Trust me on that one - it sucks to have repairing it weaken it.

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i was thinking about skills that could fix weapons and armor. anyone (skill level 1, just started learning) could use a whetstone to sharpen a sword, but it would take a master to bring the blade to perfection, and that master can also sharpen a much more damaged weapon with good results.
if a weapon is less than say 25% damaged, it can be repaired by sharpening (or some equivalent for blunt weapons) in the field... if they are more damaged than that, they can still be fixed but not without spending more time (and possibly needing equipment)... armor would be similar (i.e. a guy with a fairly low-level in "armor repair" can re-attach straps, and small things that would fix the top 25% of damage or so, but he''d need tools if it is damaged below 75%)...
quote:
Original post by Warsong02
As for items degrading in combat effectiveness, I would say no.
The only exception I would make is within the degridation system itself. Example: If the attacker has a metal sword(4) and is slashing at a wood shield(3), the sword is slowly damaging the shield''s HP. If the sword was down to 75% if its HP remaining, then lower its damage dealt to the shield. Basically, a dull sword will wear down things slower. It still has the benefit of high HP (durability) and a high rating (strength) but needs to be sharpened often to be the most useful. This is a weapon-only trait.

but a dull sword (let''s say, 50% damaged, real dull) would not do nearly as much harm as a perfectly sharp one. contrariwise, a tattered armor (33% damaged) would not protect someone nearly as well as a brand new one. these penalties wouldn''t apply until the weapon/armor was already pretty damaged, say 66% (until balancing and playtesting ).
quote:
Original post by NeverSayDie
*Environmental interaction

yah, i was going to check against ANYTHING the characters strike with their weapon, and anything their armor gets hit by...
quote:
*Other damage effects

yah, i was thinking about working something like this in, although i didn''t think it out too far.
quote:
*New gameplay elements

yah, i was planning on stuff like this... for example, when someone is swinging a +7 Hammer of Death and Destruction, it is better to dodge than try to parry him with your Wooden Stick of Weakness.
Inmate2993: well made, expensive armor will have huge HPs, and remember that these things can be repaired of their damage long before they actually fall apart. i am sure that many a knight had some dents taken out, and re-polished his armor, even if he kept the same one his whole life.
Neosmyle: i dunno if i want to include actually making things from base "ingredients" in my game... while learning how to fix one''s own armor is feasible, to become a good enough blacksmith to forge swords and armor from chunks of metal would take years upon years of apprenticeship and practice. supposedly, the player characters are adventurers, not blacksmiths. if i ever make the MMORPG sequel (heh heh) i will include such things (for non-adventurers who just like to chat and click every once in a while), but i doubt anyone would play a single-player RPG just to be a skilled worker. also, by including such a thing, i''d have to include many other trades, and work out lotsa details for how each one works. i''m not putting down your idea, i just don''t think it''ll fit in my game.
btw - it''s durability would be completely "healed" when the weapon was repaired to 100% HP. also, magical weapons/armor (or at least, the "mystical special key-item-in-game" ones) would not ever be damaged; this is a benefit of being a unique item that is essential to the plot of the game

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sounds like a good idea, but the HP system doesn´t do much better than diablo´s in regards to realism.

Here´s a few thoughts on real life swords and armor:

Plate armor doesn´t break, but gets dented. If it´s dented it´s still usable, it just doesn´t look as good. If the dent is deep enough it becomes impossible to wear it, if you hammer it out it becomes usable again. If plate armor becomes pierced (the next worse damage after dented) it still retains most of its integrity and protection (unless the enemy hits the exact same spot again) - a hole in the armor would reduce its effectiveness by something around 1%. For a piece of armor (assuming that you´d use pieces for each part of the body instead of whole suits) to break a lot of piercing and denting attacks would have to have been made - many more than the wearer could survive.
Chainmail or leather armor work differently, since chainmail offers very little protection against piercing and blunt attacks damage effects such as holes don´t play a large role.
Leather armor is usually boiled leather (-> rigid), so the effects could be similar to plate, with the added feature of hacking pieces out of or off it.

my point: don´t let armor break, but slowly decrease its protection factor and increase negative effects (decreased movement due to bent or mismatching joints, npc reaction modifiers due to obvious wear or neglect, etc.). And let the player know the exact status of their armor, if the player has feedback he´ll be inclined to maintain (yup, oil it regularly or it will get rusty and move less easily) and repair his armor.
I´m not saying that armor can´t break, it´s just that the wearer will die long before that happens.


Swords:
Basically the same goes for swords, a sword can get nicked and bent. Nicks occur naturally when hitting another sword or parrying with the sword, bending occurs mostly through wrong usage (parrying or hitting with the broad side, etc.).
Nicks or even larger holes in the edge of the sword don´t affect it´s effectiveness by much, as a large part of the damage comes from the impact, not the cutting/slashing. Furthermore these are easily repaired with a whetstone.
Bending would affect the balance of the weapon, making it more difficult to wield.
Breaking occurs only in special situations: one possibility (frequent) is that the sword is of poor manufacture and the repeated stress of usage has weakened some part, usually the part of the grip just above the pommel (don´t ask me why, but that´s where they break).
Another possiblity is that you´ve hit something very solid (such as a rock), if the blade isn´t strong enough (and the strike is powerful enough) it will simply snap. The same goes for thrusting, if you hit something unyielding hard enough the blade will either bend or snap.
Blade-on-blade breaking occurs only very, very rarely and is probably not a factor in regard to realism. It would be cool however to have some sort of check (weapon strength vs. weapon strenght) to see if a very powerful attack can shatter the opponents weapon.

Again, don´t let swords deteriorate and break, let them deteriorate and have negative effects. A sword can become nicked, bent and rusty, it may even break. But breaking occurs due to the situation and quality of manufacture of the sword, not the overall status of the weapon. This would give you the opportunity for greater diversity - the players could choose from similar weapons of different manufacture (instead of the usual "Sword", "Sword+1", etc.) which might even react different to different situations (i.e. particularly hard steel: will not get bent or nicked easily, stays keen for longer but may break more easily). Maintenance would again be a factor, possibilities rangeing from keeping the blade keen and clean to letting the blacksmith repair chips and dents or even reforge it.

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Maybe a different idea to take into consideration, Vagrant Story had equipment that was degradeable. Basically everything had a "DP" count, damage points I guess, and when it hit zero, it was useless. Otherwise it just worked. Kinda cheap, but if you had two or three of the same with you and rotated between them, then you never had to worry about being caught with your pants down.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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