Metal is rare on Athas, which means that common weapons are built of more primitive materials (bone, crystal, obsidian, wood). Being more primitive, they are more likely to break.
I’m not a huge fan of either of the suggested rules in the setting, though I do like the idea, so here’s what I’ve come up with.
When a natural 1 is rolled (critical failure), breakage rules are triggered.
When breakage is triggered:
- Roll a saving throw against breakage (standard 1d20 – greater than 10 saves)
- If the save fails: add a “breakage token” to the weapon.
- If you roll another natural one on the save: roll another save, as well as adding the token as above.
- Continue to roll saves until you don’t roll a 1, or the token limit is reached.
- Each breakage token adds a -1 penalty to attack rolls using this weapon. The weapon still does the same amount of damage.
- Token limit = enhancement bonus + 2 + weapon type modifier.
- If the weapon has more tokens than the limit, it is sundered.
- Considered an improvised weapon until repaired.
- Cannot use item powers.
- Cannot gain any bonus from the weapon (beyond those that you could get from using an improvised weapon- so ally powers that enhance a weapon are ok, but an enhancement bonus inherent to the weapon is not).
- A weapon ceases to be sundered when the number of breakage tokens is less than the token limit. (So removing one token is enough to use the weapon as normal again)
- A sundered weapon that takes a breakage token from any source is shattered. A shattered weapon must be fully repaired (all breakage tokens removed) before it can be used again. Shattered weapons are completely useless for fighting, and do not count as an improvised weapon.
As above, but the weapon adds its proficiency bonus to the save.
As above, but the weapon adds its item level to the save.
The save bonus for enchanted weapons and metal weapons do not stack (so an enchanted metal weapon will use the highest of the two).
I think this better reflects degrees of damage to a weapon, where it might not break instantly, but would be more difficult to use. (The rules in the setting are “it breaks instantly” or “reroll and it breaks, or just miss and it doesn’t”). Using item level for enchanted weapons does mean that higher level weapon will only break on two critical failures in a row; I’m fine with this, since most enchanted weapons wouldn’t usually be threatened by common weapons and armor as far as breakage is concerned. Other enchanted items may bring bonuses/penalties against your items.
An unenchanted weapon can be repaired by a craftsman. Every city will have people capable of repairing weapons, as will most villages. Removal of one breakage token costs 5gp.
Depending on the materials of your weapon, you may be able to attempt repairs yourself. Repairs are an INT check (simple weapons being the easiest, and superior weapons being the hardest to repair), DC 10 + item level + weapon type modifier. Repair tools (4gp for one set, not reusable) grant a +2 bonus to repair attempts. If you fail to repair the weapon, roll a saving throw to prevent making it worse (if using repair tools, you may add your INT bonus, or a base +2 from the tools, whichever is higher). Failing the saving throw adds another breakage token to the weapon.
Weapon Type Modifiers: simple +0, military +1, superior +2.
Repair tools are a common item that can be bought in most settlements. They contain tools and materials for repairing weapons. Both are consumed when attempting a repair, whether or not it is successful. The bonus from repair tools does not stack.
Enchanted weapons require someone of a matching power source to attempt the repair. Depending on the power source, it may be more difficult or expensive to find someone that can fix it. The base repair cost is the cost of an item three levels lower.