Breakage/saved posts

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May 1998

Category: Weapons & Armor
Topic: Breakage
Message #: (Unknown)
Date: May 27, 1998 14:10:48
Subject: (Unknown)

Including all the text of my original post, as well as the chart of material ST/BF bonus numbers that Truekiller tracked down from whereever.

Okay, under the ICE rules, if you ever _missed_ in melee combat, there was a 50/50 chance that there would be a clash. Obviously, fighters who got hit a lot didn't have much to worry about their weapon breaking.  :)

The following information is my condensed version of how it worked, and is excerpted from Character Law/Campaign Law section 7.3.6, catalog #1300, second U.S. printing by Iron Crown Enterprises.

Please note that this all may have changed when the rules were re-written to the Standard System that ICE uses now. However, since the ST/BF numbers for most items were probably done under the old system, this is probably still fairly relevant.

  • If the 50% roll indicated a clash, there was a 50/50 chance of the swung weapon clashing with the defenders weapon, or with the shield. Only one d100 was actually rolled: 1-50 was a whiffle, 51-75 was weapon, and 76-100 was the shield.
  • If a clash was indicated, the STrengths of the two clashing items were compared. The item with the higher STrength could NOT break. If the items were tied, then there was a possibility of both items breaking.
  • Roll d100 open-high (any roll of 95 or greater is kept and rolled again, summing all subsequent rolls; if 95+ is rolled again, keep rolling).
  • Compare the result to the BF (Breakage Factor) of each item that it is possible to break in this particular clash (usually only the weaker STrength, but in the case of a tied STrength, compare the d100 roll to _both_ items' BF). If the d100 roll is greater than the BF, the item is broken.
  • Snap!

This usually sucks.

GemStone did NOT have breakage of armor in the past; only weapons and shields could break. However, when AT4 heavy hide was removed from the game, all special-order armors (now known as AsG's 10, 15, and 20 bought from Aznell) required the attention of a GM to fix their ST/BF numbers, so the possibility is there.

Here, then, is the chart of ST/BF numbers, direct from CL/ChL from ICE. I've included the bows, sling, bola, and other such items for completeness, despite the fact that they don't actually figure in melee combat. I _did_ leave out the various pieces of barding (horse-armor), since we haven't got any horses. <grin>

For column #2, AT (Armor Type), read AsG (armor sub group).

Item Code AT ST DU Description
101 5 5 80 Leather Jerkin
102 Arm Greaves
103 55 120 Leg Greaves
104 6 5 80 Leather Coat
105 7 15 85 Reinforced Leather Coat
106 8 15 85 Reinforced Full-length Leather Coat
107 9 18 90 Leather Breastplate
108 13 40 95 Chain Shirt
109 15 40 95 Full Chain
110 16 40 110 Chain Hauberk
111 17 55 160 Breastplate
112 19 50 145 Half Plate
113 20 55 160 Full Plate
114 40 140 Target Shield (targe)
115 45 155 Normal Shield
116 50 170 Full Shield
117 60 185 Wall Shield
118 10 80 Leather Helmet
119 20 85 Superior Leather Helmet
120 25 90 Plate Helm
121 55 120 Pot Helm
122 60 145 Full Helm
123 55 135 Visored Helm
124 40 95 Aventail
501 75 175 Bastard Sword
502 70 155 Battle Axe
503 5 120 Blackjack
504 Blowpipe
505 30 135 Boar Spear
506 12 75 Bola
507 Boomerang
508 75 160 Broadsword
509 10 75 Cat-o'-nine Tails
510 75 155 Claymore (claidhmore)
511 10 140 Club
512 Composite Bow
513 Crossbow (heavy)
514 Crossbow (light)
515 8 130 Cudgel
516 75 155 Cutlass
517 18 195 Dagger
518 Darts
519 32 175 Dirt
520 75 160 Falchion
521 60 150 Flail
522 8 95 Foil
523 45 110 Gauntlet
524 25 150 Halberd
525 70 160 Handaxe
526 20 135 Harpoon
527 17 105 Javelin
528 20 145 Jo
529 70 155 Katana
530 30 130 Lance
531 Lasso
532 Long Bow
533 75 160 Longsword
534 65 250 Mace
535 18 190 Main Gauche
536 60 145 Morning Star
537 1 20 Net (fishing)
538 15 75 Net (gladiator)
539 75 165 No-dachi
540 20 125 Nunchaku
541 20 120 Pick
542 18 90 Pilum
543 20 140 Quarterstaff
544 30 100 Rapier
545 70 150 Sabre
546 30 210 Sai
547 60 150 Scimitar
548 Short Bow
549 75 185 Short Sword
550 Shuriken
551 Sling
552 15 130 Spear
553 25 80 Tomahawk
554 20 130 Tonfa
555 30 140 Trident
556 75 200 Two-handed Sword
557 60 155 War Hammer
558 60 145 War Mattock
559 10 75 Whip

Table 2

Material Type Magic Bonus ST BF
mithril + 5 +20 +40
eog/ora +10 +15 +30
ithloss/imflass +12 +20 +40
laen/mein/glaes +15 +24 +65
shaalk/vultite +20 +15 +40
rularon/rolaren +20 +20 +65
eorake/eonake +20 +20 +55
galvorn/golvern +25 +24 +99
star/veil iron +25 +24 +75

Dec 2001

Category: Weapons and Armor (11)
Topic: Breakage (2)
Message #: 5698
Author: GS3-BRAUDEN (GM Brauden)
Date: Dec 27, 2001 at 14:11
Subject: Breakage

Many of you have asked what our goals of breakage are and why we've been so animate about proceeding with its implementation. Tolli and I have managed to pen the following, in hopes that it'll help to answer many of the questions that you may have about the reimplementation of breakage.

The redevelopment of breakage is being done as a means to address several issues that have had chronic negative effects on the world of Gemstone III. The primary goals of this reintroduction are to create a moderate amount of item attrition, help to temper the cost of acquiring 'nice' equipment, and to reestablish a reasonable average equipment level for both players and creatures.

Breakage is intended to reintroduce item attrition, which was originally part of the more balanced design of the game, but lost when the breakage system was temporarily discontinued (a situation which lasted far longer than originally intended). This will be accomplished in a number of ways. Breakage will force the more realistic refreshing of combat-oriented items, as well as offer more complexity in hunting choices, throughout the game. Item degradation and catastrophic failure will result in a modest rate of item attrition, especially of items which are not properly maintained. Some attrition will be a result of players choosing not to use keepsake items or artifacts in combat, but save them for roleplaying purposes only. Item attrition will also come from the breakage mechanics themselves. This turnover of gear is sorely needed in order for us to be able to introduce new items into the game, counter hyperinflation, introduce new strategies and choices in hunting, and to make balanced hunting areas and creatures more widespread, especially at higher levels.

As many more powerful items eventually break, combined with limitations on the availability of repair of catastrophically broken items, there will be a constant turnover of a varying amount of hunting gear. Because of the strong sentimental and historical attachment expressed by many players, items will remain in the game as non-combat functional 'props', even after catastrophic failure. These items will retain their appearance, but will be unusable in combat. Thus, the reimplementation of breakage will not sacrifice the hard work and dedication that many players have invested in acquiring customized items that best suit and add to their character.

The introduction of powerful items has been severely limited because those items were likely to exist indefinitely, except for the tiny percentage lost through accidents. With the assurance that a steady stream of combat-oriented items will be leaving the game, it will be possible to begin reintroducing a greater number of relatively powerful items. The balancing fact, of course, is that many of these new items will eventually be cycled through the system if used regularly. The usage-based deterioration that breakage employs will allow items to be balanced not only by their combat abilities, but also by their expected longevity. This added dimension opens the door for Gamemasters to release relatively powerful items into the game in greater numbers than is presently possible. We expect to begin releasing some more powerful items after about thirty days, which will allow us time to gather data and continually tune the system if need be.

As a result of items requiring some upkeep and carrying some risk of breakage, rather than representing a one-time permanent investment, a moderate amount of deflation is expected to counter the current hyper-inflated prices common in today's player-to-player sales. Items that are regularly used in combat will, in essence, have an estimated lifespan, depending on their strength and durability. We expect that players will not be quite so willing to part with massive amounts of silver demanded for any 'good' item right now. With the ability to reintroduce such items, because they will be cycled through the game via breakage, many 'good' items will again be available for purchase via Gamemaster merchant shops, which typically have a significantly lower price than the player-to-player market does.

Along with the possibility of item attrition, there is also a guarantee that continued investment will be required to maintain and repair items after the initial purchase, in proportion to how much the item is actually used in combat. Whether the investment is through fees paid to NPC-run shops, or through the purchase of repair kits, the constant cost of use will help to control inflation and alleviate stockpiling of silver. Currently, far more silver is constantly entering the game via the treasure system than is leaving the game, which results in a self-feeding spiral effect that drives the inflation of silver prices for anything but the most basic equipment at an absurd rate.

The reintroduction of breakage will also bring a new dimension to hunting and strategy. Just as with the lockpicking system, players will begin to evaluate their equipment more stringently, rather than simply always going armed and armored in their best equipment. Breakage will force a more flexible dynamic into the strategies of hunting and choosing hunting gear. Do you risk your best weapon in an area where the creatures are heavily armored, or do you choose something a little less powerful but more stout? Do you wear your best armor in an area where the creatures carry destructive weapons, or do you shift into something sturdier but less protective and explore other tactics for dealing with the creature?

As a result of all of these facets of breakage, it will be easier to balance hunting areas and the abilities of creatures, instead of having to modify them to compensate for an elevated average quality of equipment. Not having to engage in that series of tweaks, in an attempt to balance the challenge a creature presents, will allow characters who do not choose to invest countless hours in obtaining the finest in armor and weaponry to be on a far more even playing field.

The motivation for the reimplementation of breakage is to begin to balance aspects of Gemstone III that have become difficult to manage without the originally intended item attrition, and above all to create a better gaming experience for all our players.


Oct 2001

Category: GemStone III Announcements (5)
Topic: Important Announcements (1)
Message #: 156
Date: Oct 8, 2001 at 19:01
Subject: Breakage Returns


It's time to get friendly with the weapon merchants! Weapon and armor degradation and breakage is returning on October 26th.

In an unprecedented act of good will, the weapon and armor merchants of Elanthia have elected to offer all weapon and armor repair services for free! They will be extending this offer to the citizens of Elanthia for the week of October 26th through November 1st.


Breakage is system by which weapons and armor deteriorate or break. The mechanics that determine breakage are based loosely on normal kinetic physics. Items deteriorate with every contact with another item, which occurs most often in combat, but may occur in other situations as well.

Most situations involve two items “clashing.” The mechanics of breakage involve comparing the difference of item strengths (STR) modified by their integrity. Both items incur degradation, with the weaker item suffering a larger magnitude of degradation. Degradation affects item integrity, and in turn, item integrity affects strength and durability (DU). In addition, the item with a lower strength also undergoes a “catastrophic failure” roll.


Catastrophic failure (CF) is where an item suffers irreparable harm and is rendered totally useless. The CF roll is an open die 100. (An open die 100 roll involves a random roll of a number between 1 and 100. If that number is above 95, then another random number between 1 and 100 is generated and added to the previous number. If the second roll is above 95, another random number between 1 and 100 is generated and added to the total. And so on. The sequence comes to an end when a number of less than 95 is rolled.) The sum total of the open die 100 roll must exceed the effective durability value of the item in order for catastrophic failure to occur. The effective durability of an item is the Durability of that item modified by the item integrity.

Some items that undergo catastrophic failure may be repairable.


Weapon and armor deterioration will be repairable using repair kits that will be made widely available in all towns. Profession and skills will be taken into account when determining the success of any repair.

Professional maintenance services will also be available in most major towns for a fee. Some broken items that have undergone CF will also be repairable in the same locations. However, only special merchants will be able to repair advanced or special weapons and armor that have been broken.


Q - Will clashing not effect weapons and shields if the defensive strength is much higher then the attacking strength?

A - AS/DS does not affect breakage. As long as the hands are clear and the attacker cannot damage you, there is no breakage occurrence. The AS/DS model is independent and exclusive of the breakage system.

Q - Are we going to continue to have the numbers showing?

A - We're discussing that topic in development. We may replace the actual valuation with an adjective equivalent that is less precise.

Q - About clashes, you said nothing a player does will affect the random roll between whether it'll be hitting the shield, weapon or just pure avoidance. Will we see a skill or a stance in the future that will allow players greater control on which items clash?

A - No. Our combat system currently does not have that degree of flexibility.

Q - Do greaves or aventails only add to the weight of full coverage armor? And if so, does breakage affect the covering part or the armor?

A- Whole armor coverage supercedes component coverage. Where the main armor worn does not offer coverage, if there is a component armor worn, the component armor will take the damage. Armor components worn over existing main armor coverage iare considered cosmetic and do not affect combat determinations.

Q -Will any "artifact" items in game be exempt?

A - There will be no exemptions from breakage.

Q - Are combat maneuvers involved in this process?

A- If a weapon makes contact, breakage occurs. Maneuvers are not involved once contact is made.

Q - Sword swingers are at a huge disadvantage as they have to hit to kill something. Have you considered the possibility of adding training into the equation?

A - No. The mechanic does not allow exemptions. All hits are determined with the same kinetic physics.

Q - There have been questions about engravings not allowing people to see the integrity of their shields. Is that being worked on as well?

A - We're working on those scripts that disallow the LOOK.

Q - What about STR and DU numbers on weapons that have been altered by merchants (like strengthening / lightening) but still have STR/DU values comparable to weapons that weren't altered?

A - Item weight affects the magnitude of the degradation, lightening affects weight, strengthening affects STR or DU values. Some merchants take away from one to give to the other.

Q - Will there be a maintanence system?

A- Yes, field repair kits will be made available. There are only 3 possible states for an item: undamaged, degraded, or CF. When an item is degraded, it may be repaired to a certain extent from field repair kits. Skill in weapons, armor, guild and profession bonuses apply to the magnitude of the 'fix'. A fix may or may not be beneficial.

Merchants and shops will be available to make repairs (for a fee) as well.

Items that undergo catastrophic failure (CF) items will not be removed from the game. Merchants may repair some items that undergo CF. (It is safe to assume that weapons that are not scripted, do not have any additional abilities and have an enchantment bonus less than 25 can be repaired.) Special live merchants may be able to repair more advanced broken weapons.

Q - Will items that are easier to break be easier to repair?

A - The ease of repair involves a number of factors, including the material type.

Q - Is there any plan to reconsider the DU of leathers?

A- Yes.

Q- You had mentioned catastrophic failure coming down to 2 D100 rolls vs. the items durability, 1 95+ leading to another open?? Can I (not a math major) read that to mean that an item with over 200 DU and at newly FIXed or high integrity would have 0 chance of CF?

A- No the roll is an open d100. A 100 sided die is rolled, a value greater than 95 results in a subsequent d100 roll. All rolls are summed to give the new result, repeat the process ad infinitum.

Q - Any allowance being planned merchant weapons that don't seem to coordinate with similar weapons of other merchants?

A- No. The weapons STR and DU are as is, unless it's < 1.

Q - You mentioned strengthening and lightening of items, but will padding play any part in either its strength or durability?

A - Padding does not affect any breakage component.

Q - Items will be able to be repaired by anyone, but will any profession be better at repairing an item or will it be a skill that gets built up as time goes on and some professions will gain skill in it quicker than others?

A - Repair is not profession specific, though some professions will gain bonuses.

Q - Will the percent chance of CF be reduced? Seems to me that despite the quoted percentage that there is an unusually high amount of breakage right now. This might be attributed to the number of players currently in the game compared to the past.

A- Anecdotal reports will present a higher occurrence than what is true.

Q - You will not be adjusting any STR or DUs on any weapon unless it's less than 1?

A - That is correct. When the dwarf said annealed weapons were weak, he meant it

Q - If an item is altered at a merchant, is the new alteration taken into consideration on the breakage system? For example, if he has a normal vultite falchion altered into a veil iron falchion. Or is the original metal still what will be used?

A - Unless the merchant specified otherwise, the change was likely only cosmetic in nature. As a rule, alterations do NOT alter material properties into another material type.

Q - Does age/training factor into the breakage equation at all?

A - No. Neither age nor training factors into breakage.

Q - Does AS/DS factor into the breakage equation?

A - No AS/DS is independent from breakage.

Q - If alterations for items were cosmetic, would we be able to get them changed to meet the integrity of what they should be made of in the alterations now?

A - No.

Q - Why do bows break?

A - A bow counts as a staff weapon for determinations of melee.

Q - Will DB items break?

A - When breakage is initially released, DB items will not be affected at all. However, in the future some DB items (for instance, DB items that are worn in armor slots) may be affected. We do not currently have any specifics.

Q - Will physical damaging spells such as bolts, Mana D, etc effect armor and weapons during breakage?

A - Not at this time.

Q - If a weapon has an edge from one of the merchants, for example: A golvern edged vultite longsword, would the golvern edge add to the strength of the item at all?

A - No. That change is cosmetic.

Q - Bashing and breakage. Will bashing boxes using the warrior bash system effect breakage?

A - Not at this time.

Q - Will degradation of a weapon lower the STR/DU at any time?

A - Yes. Take the integrity value and multiply it by the STR/DU to get their respective effective STR/DU.

Q - There are some concerns that faenor, the metal that was touted as elven unbreakable, needs to be looked at. It seems a bit low.

A - The material is set to its proper designated parameters.

Q - Items that were strengthened by merchants or lightened don't seem to be a factor in the items ST/DU, will this change? Also does crit weighting and padding currently have any factor in the ST/DU of items?

A - Strengthening is a modification to the item's STR/DU. Lightening affects the item‘s encumbrance values. Both aspects are criteria for breakage assessment. Crit weighting and padding is not considered by the breakage system.

Q - How can I determine the STR/DU of my weapon or armor?

A - LOOK is the designated verb to determine item integrity.

Q - Are the metals listed in game under shift metals and shift woods the only true metals? Metals like titanium and adamantite are they only cosmetic?

A - Yes and Yes.

Q - What does it exactly mean when it states after an attack. "Not even close."?

A - This indicates that the miss was sufficient enough to not even involve the defending weapon or shield. Physical contact between the two items was avoided.

Q - What do I do if I’m sure that my weapon has incorrect breakage numbers?

A - If your breakage numbers are clearly exceptionally wrong (for instance, 0/0, 1/1, 2/900) then please assist to have a GameMaster help you. However, GameMasters will only manually adjust bizarrely inaccurate weapons. Do not assist simply because you believe your weapon should be stronger. A GM will not help you.

Q - How soon should we expect the reintroduction of padders, weighters, enchanters, etc?

A - A month or so, minimum.

Post 2

Category: GemStone III Announcements (5)
Topic: Important Announcements (1)
Message #: 157
Date: Oct 12, 2001 at 17:23
Subject: More Breakage Questions and Answers

Q: Will the repair shops be new or will they be in existing armor/weapon shops?

A: The shops will be new shops with locations separate from the existing armor and weapon shops in towns.

Q: Wil shops be available in all towns.

A: All major towns will include repair shops. At this time those towns include River's Rest, Zul Logoth, IceMule Trace, Teras Isle, Wehnimer's Landing, Solhaven, Ta'Illistim, and Ta'Vaalor. Not all shops may be available immediately. Shops merchants may have greater and lesser degrees of skill.

Q: Will it be necessary to repair all items prior to breakage going live, or will everything be reset to 100%?

A: The system should be restoring all items right now.

Q: Will an item always be able to be repaired to its fullest, original strength and durability stats?

A: The answer depends on the success of the attempt at repair. A successful repair wcan restore an item to it's full integrity. However, a failure may degrade the item.

Q: How will repair kits work?

A: The command to use a repair kit will be: repair <object> with <kit>

Q: What is the cost of the repair kit?

A: There will be a wide range of kits available for a wide range of prices. More valuable kits will likely have higher success modifiers.

Q: What is the cost of the automerchant?

A: The cost of the repair will depend on the damage done as well as the item.

Q: What is the planned cost for special merchant repair?

A: Fixing broken high level items will be very expensive.

Q: What skills will affect repair?

A: Particular weapon skills affect repair attempts on weapons. Armor use/shield use affect armor and shield repair. There are aggregate bonuses for multiple skills.

Q: Will repair have a possibility of catastrophic failure that could further damage the object?

A: Repair does not have CF determination. It can degrade an item's integrity, but not its STR/DU values.

Q: Will repair have a short RT, or be a several hour process?

A: It will be a short RT.

Q: Will the autorepairer be instantaneous, or will it be like the current lockpick repair process?

A: Depending on the item being repaired, the repair should either be instantaneous, or be up to an hour long. (This is an estimate.)

Q: How can a person determine whether a catastrophically broken object can be repaired at a shop?

A: Ask the repairer to appraise the item.

Q: Will the STR/DU numbers be turned on again before breakage goes live?

A: No. Players can determine an item STR/DU values with LOOK now.