Blade Maintenance

So I've been playing a lot of Dark Souls 3, and I was thinking about having a simple weapon degradation mechanic in my ACKS game. I'm curious how ancient peoples would have maintained their blades. Things like honing, cleaning, and weapon repair. I have a simple mechanic I'm thinking of, but I want to get some facts straight about weapons first. Thanks for any help.

It's not a topic I personally know much about, though I bet we have an expert on it somewhere in the ACKS community!

Here are the rules I made for it, for anyone that wants to critique it. I tried to keep them simple and with little bookkeeping, as well as only one roll after using the weapon a decent amount (like combat).

Unless I am missing something, you don't actually say what a mainenance kit does. Also, what is the intended encumbrance of maintenance and repair kits?

The game notes that combat encounters are always asssumed to take up a full turn (pg 96, under "Encounters"). If you are trying to repair your weapon, do you have to take an additional turn beyond the combat encounter turn?

Switching into opinion territory, some of the rules feel a bit punitive to me. Having to spend 25 gp per repair use seems slightly excessive, particularly since you're going to have to be carrying a bunch of repair kits around with you every time you go into a dungeon. Similarly, having every weapon quality die decrease grant a weapon debuff will add up pretty quickly. The Scavenging Treasures table is intended to represent wear and tear on weapons that have seen a lot of action, but your rules will often require rolling on that table after the first time a weapon is used.

Thanks for the comments!

For maintenance kits, they prevent the degrading value from increasing when you roll the weapon quality die. So if you use your sword without maintaining it, you have to roll a 1 and 2 for the die to go down a step, instead of the normal 1. And the longer you go without maintaining it, the higher it gets (rolling 1-3, 1-4, etc). As for encumbrance, I was thinking it would fall under the normal "1 stone per 6 items" category.

I didn't know about the turn thing for combat in ACKS. For now, I think that yes, spending an additional turn for the weapon would be what I want. Though I will be playing this out tomorrow, so I will get a better feel for it after tomorrow.

I agree with this and I think I'll probably drop the price to something much more reasonable. The idea was that it was more expensive because you could do it out in the field, instead of having to go to a blacksmith. Cost of convenience. However, for a level 1 character, 25 gold is pretty steep. What would you think a more reasonable price would be?

The Scavenging Treasures rule was an optional rule because I know it adds more rolling, which may not be something people want to do. But, you'd only have to roll that if you roll a result that ends with the weapon quality die going down a step. So as long as the die roll passes, there aren't any additional rolls on the Scavenging Treasures table or debuffs you have to worry about. And they'd only stack horribly if the player lets their weapon degrade that far without repairing it. 

Thanks for the critiques!

I customized some equipment degradation rules from another game to pull into my campaign, but I decided to leave them out after a few sessions. They didn't add much to my game, but your results may vary.  Right now I'm assuming that the Adventuring proficiency covers any skill involved; that the rest of the turn after a fight is spent catching breath, bandaging wounds, and proper care of gear; and that lasting equipment wear is taken to an armorer after the party returns to civilization and is wrapped up into lifestyle cost.

I add a hearty +1 to everything tire_ak has to say on the subject!

I think for this, it's in the realm of Encumbrance in terms of tracking. It can be annoying and unfun to deal with unless you make it simple and affect the game somehow. The problem with encumbrance is that most systems, you'd have to add up all the poundage and compare it to your Strength and see where you lie on your load. That's a pain and really not fun. In ACKS and LotFP and other OSR games, they do more simplified versions of encumbrance. ACKS has the stones, which I find to be a really good system that simplifies encumbrance and in doing so, allows the GM to let it affect the game and the players better. That's what I was looking for in doing these weapon degradation rules. Something simple, without using weapon HP or hardness like in 3.5, that the players and GM can easily track. And with the ease of tracking, it'll can help bring this more to the forefront in survival games.

I was able to run this on Saturday and got some interesting feedback. One of which was that the dice roll for weapon repair actually made it a bit fun for some of the players. Kind of adds a little tense moment after combat in the jungle. I dropped the price of the repair kit and 5 gold seems to be a good cost, though I want to tweak things some more this Wednesday. I'm definitely rolling in blade maintanence with the after combat turn, since spending a whole two turns after combat to maintain the blade kind of stuttered the flow of things. 

I'd looked at the same thing briefly; at least as far as trying to determine some rate of decay on equipment.

From D@W we know that an armorer with a full complement of journeymen/apprentices can maintain the equipment of 240 troops (@ 160gp/mo production).

Unfortunately, the value of equipment for 240 troops varies widely. 240 Light Infantry have somewhere around 9600gp of armament, whereas 240 cataphract cavalry control 28,800gp worth, which actually discounts the horse barding.

Ignoring that for the moment, if one assumes something is "broke" when it's 20% deterioriated (scavenged weapons/armor table on ACKS pg 210), then the arms team can fix (160/.20) 800 gp of equipment per month, which comes out to 3.3 GP's worth of broken stuff per man per month.

One might then say the Adventuring proficiency gives one enough knowledge of Craft to produce 3.3 gp of value per month, or 1/3rd the value of an apprentice, for the repair of existing equipment.


Rolling back a bit, if you take the value of several troop type's equipment (LI, HI, S B, LB, XB, LC, HA, MC, HC, CC), 240 man's worth for each, and average it, you get ~15,970 GP, assuming I added things up right, and discounting the differences between Type A/B/C troops.

Strongholds, just sitting there, deteriorate at 0.5% per month. Actively used things should deteriorate faster - maybe 10 times as much?

5% of that is 798 GP, which is close enough to 800 GP that my guess feels good for actively used equipment becase I like accidently matching things, so maybe used equipment deteriorates at a rate of 5% per month - 4 months with no maintenance gets you rolling on the Scavenged table.

Taking the stronghold maintenance percentage (0.5%), and knowing that presumes a stronghold that's just sitting there, not being sieged upon, then 0.5% of that ~15.970GP is 144 GP - which is kinda close to our 160GP for the arming team, and we can perhaps say a whole arming team is required to maintain mundane arms & armor in storage for 240 men's worth of equipment.


I'm not really sure how to pull that back into something cogent for the differing values of arms/armor either per unit or per player, hadn't gotten that far.

3.3GP of production fixes 16.6 GP of equipment per month per the 20% rule. If we combine that with a 5% deterioration rate, we get (3.3gp/0.05) 66gp of equipment maintained:

The mage's quarterstaff needs 5 cp of maintenance (1gp*5%) and the fighter's panoply of plate, shield, sword needs (80gp*5%) 4 gp of maintenance per month - so our fighter is always looking a bit disheveled (missing 7sp of maintenance) unless the mage helps him out with his extra 3.25 gp of maintenance skill available.

If we figure each soldier gets that level of proficiency, 240 men produce 792 (call it 800gp) of repair per month, which maintains (800/0.05) 16000 GP of equipment, which equals our average equipment amount for 240 men above because I've circled right back to where I came from originally.

That may mean the arming team maintains (160/0.05) 3200 GP of arms per month, for a total of 19200 GP of arms/armor if everyone pitches in, which at least approaches the Cataphract value, but nobody maintains the barding still.


Alternatively, since either the arming team or 240 soldiers produce 800gp of repair a month (via differing methods), the morale penalty due to not having an arming team is because the soldiers have to do it themselves, and they hate that, because they can't spend that time maintaining their own, and more stuff is fully broken over time (and rather than model broken equipment via penalties to attack or defense, it's modeled en-masse via morale, so they just panic and run earlier on the battlefield or desert outright)

If that holds, then, you know what happens to a party if some number of them do not have either (a) training as a soldier or (b) the Adventuring proficiency; or  you know how long it takes for adventurers to patch up scavenged kit.

It also pegs the value of Adventuring around 1/3rd of a proficiency, which isn't quite right because Adventuring includes (IIRC) 4 things, but, hey.




the fighter’s panoply of plate, shield, sword needs (80gp*5%) 4 gp of maintenance per month - so our fighter is always looking a bit disheveled (missing 7sp of maintenance) unless the mage helps him out with his extra 3.25 gp of maintenance skill available.

Don’t be ridiculous! That’s what henchmen are for!

Good point. If one were to allow PCs to trade out bits of Adventuring, they may have to take on henchmen just  to get through the day unscathed/fed/horsed/equipped.