Weapon Care (3.5e Variant Rule)

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The Importance of Weapons Care[edit]

"The orcs are attacking!"

Sai stood, lifting his ancient sword from the bracket above the fireplace. He unsheathed it, tossing the heavy piece of leather and metal aside. The old man had been a soldier, once, but that had been decades ago. Now he was just an old man, called to defend his village.

The first wave hit extremely hard, but they had been able to drive the orcs off. Now Sai leaned against a section of wall, gulpping down air.

It was much, much easier in the old days.

He sat down, taking out his whetstone. He had had no time to sharpen his blade with the abruptness of the attack, and the blade showed it. It was covered in nicks and scratches, and where it was not dented, there were specks of rust.

He did his best, but when the orcs attacked again, he pocketed his stone and went back to battle.

Almost as soon as he entered the battlefield, an ogrim spotted him, swinging a mighty morning star at him. Sai's reflexes kicked instantly, throwing his sword in the path of the strike. There was a creaking sound, as the sword, rusted from within, bent, and broke under the tremendous strains of the blow.

Sai was thrown back by the blow, and only luck and an ankle-stashed dagger saved him from death. Though alive, he left the field of battle with a new set of scars and a torqued shoulder.

Months later, his son approached him before leaving on a quest, asking for the best advice Sai could give.

"Never, ever ignore your weapons."


Barring monks, there isn't a single adventurer who has never touched a weapon. But usually, the only action one performs with a weapon is, well, fighting with it—which is fine, usually, but a weapon bought from a merchant will perform differently from a weapon that has just slain its hundredth orc. Heavily worn weapons tend to do less damage, have a lesser critical rate, and are easier to break. Fortunately, one can keep their weapon in working order for longer by maintaining it.

To maintain a weapon, a character must put aside at least one hour every month dedicated to cleaning, sharpening, and repairing the weapon. This can be performed more often (members of a nomadic tribe famous for their whet-sheaths clean their blades after every use), or less (certain dwarven weapons are so well-made they never need repair), and the effect will be the same for most blades. Generally however, the worse the make, the more time that should be dedicated to maintenance.

Any class can perform a maintenance, as long as they are proficient in the use of the weapon in question. Required materials are rags, oil, whetstones, and, on rare occasions, hammers and additional metal. Different types of weapons also require different materials, depending on their construction.

This rule very rarely affects the day to day actions of the player, but it is key for characters who are returning from retirement, or have not had access to their equipment.


A freshly maintained weapon (up to two days after maintenance) is generally able to do more damage than a worn one. To represent this, if a freshly maintained weapon is used in combat, increase its critical threat range by one (after any sort of doubling effect), meaning a weapon that would critical on an 18–20 becomes a 17–20, and a range of 15–20 becomes 14–20. This benefit lasts for two hits, after which it becomes an ordinary weapon.

Note for dungeon masters: Be diligent in ensuring that this rule is not exploited. If you think a character is sharpening his weapon too often, inform him that he cannot maintain it any further for that day.


If a weapon is left unmaintained for three months, roll a 1d6. For every month afterward, add +1 to the roll. If a 6 or higher is rolled, the weapon becomes damaged, taking a -1 to damage and to resist sundering. This process continues until the weapon is cleaned, taking an additonal -1 modifier for every 6 or higher rolled.


This rule cannot be used to repair a blade that has been broken, nor can it create a blade.

Repair for:[edit]


Repairing maces is a simple matter of buffing rust off of any metal parts, securing the head to the haft of the weapon, and checking the haft for any damage. If the haft is damaged, a new one can be purchased for 1/10 the cost of the mace itself. If the mace is of the morningstar variety, maintenance also involves sharpening the spikes.


Flails are similar to maces in terms of repair, only with the added step of checking the chain or rope that connects the head to the handle


There isn't much that can be done for these weapons. Apply a new coat of oil, pray it doesn't break.

Staves and clubs do not receive bonuses for being maintained. The only benefit is a lack of rot

Druids can maintain wooden weapons like any other weapon, giving them the +1 bonus.


These are fixed like maces, only that there is also the added step of sharpening the blade.

Swords, blades, knives, and any other sheathable weapons[edit]

To maintain a sword, the edge must be sharpened, the grip must be checked, and the metal must be buffed.

Long term storage of Blades[edit]

Unlike most weapons, sheathable weapons can be left for long periods of inactivity if treated properly before hand.

As a standard maintenance, a character can prepare a blade for storage, by performing an ordinary repair, and coating the blade in either oil or chalk before storing it. Both of these materials inhibit rusting, and keep the edge sharp.

A prepared blade is unaffected by aging by normal circumstances


Of course, the conditions in which the weapons are stored affects the aging of the weapon. The effects are listed below:

Condition Definition Example Effect
Perfect No humidity, dry, no interference Sealed room -50 to the rolls
Normal Default Hanging above a mantle +0 to rolls
Bad Damp, humid Normal dungeon or tomb +10 to the rolls
Horrible Rainy, wet, otherwise dangerous to the weapon Jungle +30 to the rolls

Of Magical weapons[edit]

Most magical weapons, due to their enchanted nature, do not age, and do not require regular cleaning. They take no ill effects from being left unattended.

DM Notes[edit]

This was originally instituted after a particularly lucrative tomb run, where we made of like kings on a stockpile of weapons, the majority of which were ordinary, with only a few masterworks.

Our DM, after calculating how much money would be made if we sold all the weapons, decided that we needed a limiter.

And so, our ancient weapons, kept in humid climates, suddenly felt their age.

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