Saturday, February 6, 2021

B/X House Rule: Object Saving Throws

I've often felt like I needed Object Saving Throws in my games, and have long been enamored of how they appeared in the old AD&D DM Screen. Since I've been putting a lot of house rule things up lately, no reason not to share this too!

It is generally assumed that if a character or creature survives, anything they are are wearing or carrying also survives. If a special form of damage kills the character (e.g., dragon breath or magical disintegration), their normal equipment is also considered destroyed. 

At the DM’s discretion, magic items or items standing alone may be permitted a saving throw to avoid being destroyed. Magic items receive a bonus equal to their best bonus (e.g., a sword +1/+2 vs. lycanthropes would receive a +2 bonus on its saving throws). A roll of 1 always fails. 

How an object is affected should consider both the object and the type of damage inflicted (e.g., a crushing blow would shatter glass, but tear or rip cloth). The notations below are only guidelines, and the DM may adjust the numbers as they see fit.

Notes on Item Types

Wood/Rope. The number may be adjusted up or down based on the hardness or softness of the wood, or the strength/thickness of the rope. A fall does not normally harm rope, regardless of the height.

Liquids/Potions. This assumes that the container in which the liquid or potion is held remains intact. If the container is destroyed, it is assumed the liquid or potion held inside is also lost.

Soft Metal/Jewelry. This includes silver mirrors and pearls of all sorts.

Hard Metal. If a hard metal object that has been exposed to extreme cold is struck with sufficient force (10 hp or more in a single blow), there is a 50% chance it will be shattered/damaged/destroyed.

Notes on Damage Types

Fall. This is based on the object falling approximately 5' and coming into contact with a hard surface (e.g., stone). Softer surfaces provide a bonus of +1 to +5 (based on how soft they are). Falls from a greater height should penalize the roll by –2 for each additional 5' fallen. 

Crush. The item is struck by a weighty object falling on it or hitting it (e.g., a giant’s club or a thrown rock). 

Strike. The item is struck by fairly-heavy object or a normal-strength opponent. 

Magic Fire. This includes all varieties of magical fire (e.g., dragon breath, the spells fireball, wall of fire, etc.). For normal fires, adjust the target number by –3.

Magic Frost. This includes all varieties of magical cold (e.g., white dragon breath, the spells cone of cold, wall of ice, etc.).

Lightning. This includes both magical electricity (e.g., blue dragon breath, the spells lightning bolt, etc.), and large scale electrical effects (e.g., the “shock” of a giant eletric eel). For smaller discharges (e.g., a normal-sized electric eel, spells like shocking grasp, magical traps, etc.), all objects save on a 2 or better except liquids/potions, which require a roll of 10 or better to avoid being ruined.

Acid. This assumes the object is immersed or submerged in a considerable volume of a strong acid (e.g., black dragon breath) for an amount of time substantial enough to affect the item.

Disintegration. This is the magical effect. Non-magical items should not be permitted to make a save against disintegration (except as otherwise indicated by the spell or effect).