View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next [PEACH] Masterwork Weapons and Armor

2018-02-25, 07:11 PM

Masterwork Weapon +1/+2/+3 (uncommon, rare, very rare): Attack rolls made with this weapon gain a +1/+2/+3 bonus. The weapon's damage rolls are unaffected, and the damage is not magical.

Masterwork Armor +1/+2/+3 (uncommon, rare, very rare): This armor grants enhanced protection from 1/2/3 of the following types of damage: bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing. Damage rolls from non-magical weapon attacks of this/these type(s) are reduced by 1 when wearing this armor.

Masterwork weapons and armor and are as rare as such the masters who craft them themselves. A major city may have a single smith capable of producing +1 masterwork, while there may be but a single master capable of +3 in the entire kingdom, and may demand that those who seek their work prove themselves worthy of their time. Normal weapons and armor may be upgraded to masterwork at a cost of x2/x3/x4 their normal value, or crafted from scratch for x3/x4/x5 their normal value. Magical weapons and armor cannot be upgraded with masterwork, as the magic that enchants them has to be stripped away in order to to alter their forms.

My immediate concern is whether these prices are balanced. Firstly, against equivalent magical items, and secondly, for the more expensive armors. Is -1 nonmagical BPS damage on a suit of plate really worth 6000-7500 gold? Or should I generate a specific pricelist instead of a blanket multiplier?

2018-02-25, 10:46 PM
What system is this supposed to be for?

Edit: I'm unobservant tonight. To be honest, this doesn't sit well with me. This makes Masterworks absurdly powerful when the term 'masterwork' is meant to represent the level of craftsmanship that went into the item, not how powerful it is.

Here's how I'd do masterwork for 5e: When using the rules found in the DMG for object AC and durability, a masterwork object is always resilient when determining hit points and attack rolls made to damage it are done with disadvantage. The cost for a masterwork object is at least twice the normal price for the item.

2018-02-25, 11:42 PM
Honestly I would suggest this.

Masterwork Costs triple the price and gives the following benefits.

Masterwork Weapon

You have advantage when someone attempts to disarm you
You deal +1 damage on a hit
The weapon weights half its usual amount
Attempts to break the weapon are made with disadvantage.

Masterwork armor

The Str Requirement if any is reduced by 2
It weights half the normal amount
Attempts to break the armor are made with disadvantage.

I'm hesitant o offer any real bonuses to them as they would take away from magical items. Now if your running a non or low magic game then maybe your version will work out ok but what i have above is more in the mind that the players will upgrade to magical items eventfully before lv 8

2018-02-26, 02:25 AM
I would ideally like to see a mundane "masterwork" progression of weapons/armor that just straight up adds points to mundane traits like AC, to-hit, and/or damage...i.e., the better craftsmanship lets the weapons and armor do the same thing they always do, only somewhat better. That would free up "magical" weapons/armor to have exciting or creative bonuses that normal weapons can't do *at all*, like fire damage, improved chance of a critical hit, resistance to slashing, longer reach, shoves opponents backward, stuns opponents, etc. The equipment in the online game "Monster's Den: Book of Dread" is a pretty good example: higher level weapons will deal more damage, and higher tier weapons will have a chance to stun the enemy, blind the enemy, poison the enemy, vampirize the enemy, etc. I would enjoy seeing something like that in D&D.

Unfortunately, the D&D 5e materials are all quite clear that "masterwork" is merely cosmetic, and the most common effect of "magic items" is to give a mundane +1 or +2 boost to a relevant stat. Some of the other magic items give you something totally irrelevant to their apparent purpose, e.g., a shield that gives you STR 20 instead of giving you a better AC.

So the answer to your question depends on how closely you want to follow the spirit of the D&D 5e rules, and whether you can be troubled to write (and balance!) a whole inventory of magic weapons that have creative or unusual effects. If you want to follow the spirit of the 5e rules, or if you want to use the 5e magic weapons found in the book, then I don't think you can get away with +1/+2/+3 "masterwork" weapons. You're just infringing too heavily on the turf of magical weapons. I think Davrix's advice is the best you could hope for.

On the other hand, if you're willing to depart from the 5e rules, and you're willing to write the stats for your own magic weapons that will behave and feel significantly different from your masterwork weapons, then I think that's a great idea and you should totally do it, and I'll be happy to critique a few dozen specific pieces of equipment once you've got your two lists (masterwork vs. magical) ready to go.

As far as pricing, I don't like the idea of "upgrading" an ordinary weapon to a +3 masterwork weapon. I don't think that should be possible at all, barring some kind of Wish spell. Part of what it means to be a master craftsman is that you get to select the raw materials and design the entire manufacturing process from scratch to your exact specifications. Repairing a sword *at all* is often harder than making one from scratch. Trying to upgrade an ordinary sword with the wrong proportions of metal in it so that it performs at a +3 level sounds insane to me. You'd have to melt down the entire sword and add substantial amounts of your own steel or iron to it to fix the impurities...at which point you're essentially creating a new weapon, not 'upgrading' the old one.

I also think x3 / x4 / x5 is a bit too cheap for true mastercraft items, plus the scale should be growing exponentially with the rarity of the craftsmanship. If there are 5 craftsman in the kingdom who can make a +2 sword, they are going to be competing with each other at least a little bit for business, which drives the prices down to a more reasonable level. Chances are you'll pay less for the sword than the sword's value to you, because if the blacksmith tried to charge you the sword's full value, you could credibly threaten to take your business elsewhere. But if there is literally only 1 craftsman in the kingdom who can make a +3 sword, he can charge you literally the full value of the sword.

So I would suggest something like x3 / x10 / x100 for the price of a +1 / +2 / +3 mastercraft item. As you say, the +3 items might often be traded not so much for money (because the craftsman probably has enough money to satisfy his ordinary needs) but because the craftsman judges you worthy of his high art. So they make good quest reward items. You *might* be able to afford to commission a +3 sword if you're absurdly rich, but it's more likely that a mid-level adventure would get his hands on a +3 sword by doing a mighty favor for the blacksmith, not just by paying him with gold.

2018-02-26, 01:58 PM

All good advice and yea I definitely agree on the cost if your doing anything more complicated.

Best I can suggest is if you want to do this as I said above, make it a super low magic campaign, that's where this kind of progression makes the most sense. but Arg has a good point. There is no upgrade feature here. You don't get to really tack on upgrades to these weapons or armor. It simply has to be baked in to the initial cost and crafting materials used. Now as a Dm you could lay the groundwork for smiting better weapons with them finding mithril or other rare metals. Gem's with magical properties... Actually I really like that idea... *takes down notes* Stealing that for something later. I wouldn't use the DMG rules for crafting this stuff as that would be well... I hate those rules to be honest. But just come up with something the player and you feel is reasonable.

I would probably do tiers for crafting if I was going to use this sort of system. (this is just off the top of my head)
Base - whats in the book
Artisan crafted - first step up from the book - Craft time 1 - 4 weeks
Master crafted - 2nd step up from the book - Craft time 1- 6 months
Signature piece - A one of a kind masterpiece - craft time 6 months to a year

Then based on what metals / skill of the smith and time taken to craft the item, you come up with a price.

This way you have a slew of things for players to interact with. Finding new materials, rare gems. Seeking out craftsmen feeding them legends of a retrained master smith in the hills or maybe someone who was taken captive for his work. You could hook a ton of adventures into this idea if you wanted to. It really just depends how elaborate and detailed you wish.