Sunday, May 8, 2016

Signature Gear & Weapon Bond & Gear-Destroying Monsters

Here is a ruling from my Felltower game.

Signature Gear, Weapon Bond, & Gear-Destroying Monsters

I run a game with rust monsters, creatures that shatter weapons, and corrosion attacks all over the place. This is a problem with people also have Signature Gear, which basically says that gear has plot protection. If it's lost through no fault of your own, you get the points back. Weapon Bond is a one-specific-weapon-only +1 to skill.

What I've done is this:

- if your Signature Gear/Weapon Bond item is damaged or destroyed by a monster, enough remains intact to use magical or non-magical repair (as appropriate) if this is at all possible. This gear is so part of your character that somehow enough survives to make it at least possible to get it restored.

- if that isn't possible, the item is destroyed or lost and the PC can get the points back - or move them over to a new item that just so happens to suit them as well as the previous one, player's choice. This can be a found item, if the value is roughly similar (for Signature Gear) or suits the character (Weapon Bond), again, player's choice.

Notes: I could have gone one of two ways on this. Way one would be "rust monster destroys your Signature Gear sword, you get the points back." Way two would be the above. I went with way two because of two issues I saw with way one. One is munchkinism, where you use Signature Gear to get good stuff that you can't lose but if you want to upgrade it or trade it in, you fight monsters that can destroy it and box yourself into a case where you must lose the gear. Argument ensues. The second is it feels meaningless to have Signature Gear if it's just going to be found again if you lose it but otherwise is just as vulnerable to nasty monsters.

And that's how I have rust monsters and Disintegrate spells co-exist with plot protection in my Felltower game.


  1. That's not a terrible way to do it. When I was first getting GMing advice, I found myself surrounded by people strongly in the realm of "never take from your players", so the wisdom then would have been to keep it plot protected - i.e. those spells do nothing.

    I greatly dislike that school of thought. Signature Gear or no, adventuring has risks. All buying Signature Gear means to me is that I'm not going to go out of my way to single you out with destroy effects. i.e. if you're in an engagement with a rust monster, the Signature Gear guy will be the target of least priority. If they engage you anyways, that specific item will be the least target of priority. I'd take away other items first.

    If the issue is forced, however - i.e. you're facing down a Rust Monster armed only with your Signature Gear Hatchet and nothing else of viable targeting for it - sorry man, it's gone.

    That's enough plot protection in my book.

    I'm also on the fence about what "no fault of your own" entails. Knowing there's rust monsters out there and engaging with it anyways (then finding yourself in the situation above where it becomes a target) is on you. Ambushing you with Rust Monsters in the middle of the woods? I'd probably give you your points back. But again, I have above protections.

    Weapon Bond? Bah, no such protection.

    Fortunately, this has never been an actual issue at the table.

    Now my question to you is what does it take to re-signature / bond with a weapon in your specific context? Or your thoughts in general (unattached to a setting or campaign)?

    Bond would take several occasions of using it, for me. Signature Gear...well, far longer, I'd say.

    But that's just me, right now, without any game currently being run to sway me this or that way.

    1. That "never take from your players" attitude was pretty fiercely touted on RPGnet during my short stint there. People who think paladins and clerics should never have their powers remanded for violating their gods' behavioral proscriptions because "that takes away the party's healer" and the like. Even saying the best approach is for the gods to be _unable to_ revoke powers, once given.

    2. @Michael: Attach to gear? Spend the points, it's your bonded gear. There isn't really a way to get rid of that bond, so you're welcome to spend the points.

      I'm generous on the plot protection because I don't like to take point-bought things away from people, especially when the reason you buy them that way is to make it hard to lose them. Plus, I'm the kind of person who puts Illusion Shell on rust monsters and has them charge the guy with the Sig Gear weapon, so it's not always their fault.

      @Ronintendo: As for the "don't take stuff away" approach, that's not the kind of game I'm interested in playing. Limitations and strings attached are heavily encouraged in my games. People who don't want to play that kind of game are strongly encouraged to go play in other games!

    3. @Ronintendo: For me, it was Campaign Builder's Guild. Similar idea, though for rule-backed RP breaking I think they would have been alright with that. Destroying a wizard's spellbook, however...nah.

      Peter: Probably the best course to keep point-bought things as point bought. Sounds like I'm a bit lighter on the plot protection than you, but I'm just armchair right now. As before, though, I think layers of target priority keeping special items at relatively low risk is my preferred method. Many ways to skin a cat!


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