Damaging Equipment

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.

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