High quality items

How do you treat high quality items in the game? 


  • I don't bother with "high quality" items. The game system does not really distinguish between a one-hand axe and a one-hand sword (both medium slashing weapons as far as the game is concerned), or between a Lucerne hammer and a tetsubo (both heavy blunt weapons as the game is concerned). Given that, what kind of sense would it make to distinguish between an average-quality one-hand sword and a high-quality one-hand sword? The Numenera system is not really designed for that level of fine-grained simulation of items. (And I would add, systems that do aim for that level of fine-grained simulation, often get things very wrong).

    This assumes that "high quality" simply means superior workmanship or something like that. In my Numenera games, it makes no difference if a one-handed sword is curved or straight, has a hand-guard or not, is double-edged or single, or if it was finely wrought by a master smith or crudely hammered into shape by orcs. They are all just a medium weapon as far as the game is concerned. On the other hand, for items that are actually Numenera artifacts, e.g. an energy sword, one would grant a damage bonus and/or an asset bonus to the item. (Damage bonuses are probably better since they are less powerful. Depends on how powerful you want the PCs to get though.) I assume that's not what you mean by "high quality" though.

    And of course, very low-quality or improvised or badly-damaged weapons could be given penalties. But even there, that would apply mostly to items that are not really suited to be weapons (e.g. a thin wooden rod that's too light to be a medium weapon but too big to be a light weapon-- which I might treat it as a medium weapon with a damage of 2 instead of 4). Weapons that are just poorly made but still designed to be weapons (e.g. a murden's cudgel) I would be inclined to treat as a regular weapon with no penalties in most cases.

    That said, there is no one right way, of course.

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