My one request for 4E - Equipment

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Please, please, please can you give 4E a completely overhauled equipment system that makes sense in all areas.

The equipment section is probably the most annoying aspect of 3.0/3.5 in so many ways. Be it the mundane equipment with little or no rules, the crazyness of masterwork equipment, the contradiction in weapons over size, type, or material construction, or the plain bland categories of the various types of armors.

I've houseruled some aspects into the game but seeing these properly addressed in 4E would be paramount.

From some examples of what I have done:

created tools versions of weapons and added a tools category to simple weapons. any weapon that is classed as a tool (such as a scythe, sickle, skinning knife, club, smithing hammer, or staff) is considered "not made for war" and gets a -2 penalty to attack (ontop of any non-proficiency penalty very rare)) to reflect the use of these items in combat many of them have a "war-" equivilent that costs more (a staff is free but a metal shod quarterstaff is 5gp representing basic construction and labor costs)

fixed masterwork price for all items (if you use masterwork in 4E), no +300 for all, certain weapons are cheaper based on overall construction, so you dont get silly combinations like a quarterstaff costing 600gp to be made masterwork even though the base item is totally FREE!!

Include detailed rules for the materials of weapons - sometimes people want to make a club entirely out of metal. sure i know the new hardness and hit points (if I can be bothered to work out how thick my club is in inches!!!!!) but how much did it cost to make, are there any penalties for wielding an entirely metal club?

provide rules for piecemail armors based on the same body slots as magical items - that way you can reduce the overall AC of parts of the armor if you replace say your fullplate bracers with a pair of leather bracers of arrow catching. It would also allow players to build specific looks for characters (my barbarian wears platemail greaves and sleaves but shows off his sixpack to the ladies by wearing no chestplate)

I bring this up because in the past 2 sessions we have had a total of 4 rules conflictions in a game - 3 of those where equipment orientated.

Oh and please settle the Katana discussions once and for all ;)

remember a characters equipment is just as important as his feats and skills. please treat it with the same respect in 4E.

...thanks for listening.
created tools versions of weapons and added a tools category to simple weapons. any weapon that is classed as a tool (such as a scythe, sickle, skinning knife, club, smithing hammer, or staff) is considered "not made for war" and gets a -2 penalty to attack (ontop of any non-proficiency penalty very rare)) to reflect the use of these items in combat many of them have a "war-" equivilent that costs more (a staff is free but a metal shod quarterstaff is 5gp representing basic construction and labor costs)

I agree. Improvised weapons are really missing in 3rd edition. If you take the typical bar fight that is supposed to start every good adventure, there are lots of things you can use to hit people: bar stools, bottles, beer steins, the fire poker, a chandelier... But there is no need for detailed rules, as these items are just grabbed somewhere, used to hit someone and thrown away. But there should be a quick and simple mechanic to for the DM to determine:

- light/one-handed/two-handed
- damage die
- damage type
- proficient or not

Price is not needed (just grab it somewhere).

fixed masterwork price for all items (if you use masterwork in 4E), no +300 for all, certain weapons are cheaper based on overall construction, so you dont get silly combinations like a quarterstaff costing 600gp to be made masterwork even though the base item is totally FREE!!

A quarterstaff is free because you can just take a somewhat straight tree branch or a bamboo pole. A masterwork quarterstaff costs something, because you need someone to choose the right wood, straighten it, carve it into shape, weigh it out, add a handle at the right position and fortify the ends. In short: It's much more work to make one.

And I'm all for the flat price for masterwork because it keeps things simple. The D&D economy is not supposed to be realistic anyway.

Include detailed rules for the materials of weapons - sometimes people want to make a club entirely out of metal. sure i know the new hardness and hit points (if I can be bothered to work out how thick my club is in inches!!!!!) but how much did it cost to make, are there any penalties for wielding an entirely metal club?

A waste of space. If DMs really want that, they can write these rules themselves (as you did).

provide rules for piecemail armors based on the same body slots as magical items - that way you can reduce the overall AC of parts of the armor if you replace say your fullplate bracers with a pair of leather bracers of arrow catching. It would also allow players to build specific looks for characters (my barbarian wears platemail greaves and sleaves but shows off his sixpack to the ladies by wearing no chestplate)

I know an RPG that has these rules, and it's just a heap of unnecessary calculations, especially in a game where you use the chain shirt / breast plate / full plate with the highest magical bonus anyway.

Oh and please settle the Katana discussions once and for all ;)

The katana has been given as a masterwork bastard sword in several publications now, so as for "official" rules, the case is settled. It's really more a question of players accepting that.
Sounds like the OP wants a more detailed and complex equipment system. I think the current system is fine in its level of detail and complexity. These kinds of requests sound like better fodder for an equipment guide rather than the core rules. So those who want something "more" can find it as optional rules.
I wouldnt say more detailed or complex- more thorough yes.

mkill raises some very good points although i think he misread some parts -

the tools are not improvised weapons - they are mearly not designed as weapons and are often the type of things that crop up in games at the most unusual times (like having your weapon sundered while fighting in a barn only to find that hay fork is your ownly weapon to hand)

the quarterstaff comment is wrong - a semi-straight piece of wood is a staff, a quarterstaff however is a specially treated length of straight-cut wood that is bound with metal rings at both ends to protect the wood from splintering. one can be found in a wood and constructed with a simple knife by an unskilled commoner to be used mainly as a walking aid, the other is a constructed weapon designed to be used as an effective weapon.

the materials rules are already included in the PHB but they are clunky and incomplete relying on DM judgement. let the players know exactly how to make the weapons they want so the DM doesnt have to waste time adjudicating them.

I appreciate piecemail armor can be clunky and over complicated but if its handled correctly I'm sure it could work better than fixed suits. again that would have to depend on the rules once again - the current armor rules do not allow for piecemail without breaking the drawbacks linked with armor such as ACP and % spell failure.

As for the katana - Im hoping that the new 4E books (probably the DMG) will have more details on managing weapons from different cultures and the effects of bringing those weapons into another culture. wether thats creating specific stats for them or simply stating that X weapon = Y weapon (and it makes sense) will obviously depend on the base mechanics for weapons.


I must admit, after reading the Wizards and Wizard Implements article I have a good feeling that they will address some of the issues revolving around equipment.

Another pet hate I had with equipment (but forgot to mention) was the cost level a wizard has to maintain to keep a sizable spellbook plus scrolls, etc., compared to any other class who only has to buy a weapon, armor and/or shield. If you have ever tried creating a wizard character at 5th+ level you know what I mean.
As for the katana - Im hoping that the new 4E books (probably the DMG) will have more details on managing weapons from different cultures and the effects of bringing those weapons into another culture. wether thats creating specific stats for them or simply stating that X weapon = Y weapon (and it makes sense) will obviously depend on the base mechanics for weapons.

I don't really understand what you mean by this.

A katana is a bastard sword and any battle-ready katana will be "Masterwork," as the steel in Japan was far too inferior to make decent weapons out of. The smith has to use specialized techniques that create a fantastic blade out of crummy steel, thus giving it the strength necessary to be combat profficient.

Beyond that, though, it's a hand and a half sword.
I don't really understand what you mean by this.

A katana is a bastard sword and any battle-ready katana will be "Masterwork," as the steel in Japan was far too inferior to make decent weapons out of. The smith has to use specialized techniques that create a fantastic blade out of crummy steel, thus giving it the strength necessary to be combat profficient.

Beyond that, though, it's a hand and a half sword.

see now your description of a katana is a very historical reference based reply - you obviously know more about it than most (especially me) however many people look at katanas from a movie/cinematic point of view (or you could call it a western point of view) which protrays the katana as a superior weapon in all ways above western equivilents making some people feel that a katana should be "better" than just a masterwork "bastard sword"

Its this sort of misunderstanding that causes many arguments and the katana isnt the only culprit. being clear on this sort of thing from the start can only help to maintain a peaceful solution to disagreements at the gaming table.

I've learnt from many diferent aspects of life that when your trying to explain something to someone you have to treat your audience as dumb and explain even the basic terms to them. This is especially the case when dealing with language barriers. The current equipment section assumes the players know the difference between certain items and even then the rules can be confused and I've had some seriously uneducated gamers before! (like a halfling bard who carried a harpsichord in his backpack!)
Yes, the harpsichord brings up a good point. Images with size comparisons would be nice most items. Sure it may take more space, but being able to see what items are (and how big they are) can really help with role-playing as well as encumbrance issues.

One thing I have had a DM scratching his head over was when I used a lit torch as a weapon, he spent several minutes before deciding it was a club with +1D6 fire. Other items that may end up used as weapons are: the 10' pole (quarterstaff with reach?), coin pouch (sap), bag of caltrops (sap but lethal?), and more.
Another question I stumped the DM on was when I tried to light a fire with a sunrod. There is nothing in the description about it being flame, but it needs to be struck. We finally used a flare as a base for how they work.


How about masterwork backpacks? Will they convey any bonus, like the added weight you can carry in a framed backpack compared to one without a frame?

How much does an adamantine chisel cost? Or would adamantine sculpting tools cost 6k+ artisan tool cost?


A lot of this could be something for the next "Arms and Equipment Guide" but it would be best if it was considered before the PHB was released to prevent an entire section of errata.
I would like to see better rules for masterwork items. The masterwork club and masterwork quarterstaff are a couple of the worst offenders. The masterwork cost of an item should bear at least some relation to the cost to make the item itself.

I would also like to see the prices of magical items brought down, so that the difference in cost of normal equipment mattered more. Also, a broader range of nonmagical equipment would be appreciated. For example, more useful alchemical items would be invaluable.
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