Like all gear, mundane weapons and armor wear out over time, and keeping them in good working order requires maintenance and repair. Regular day-to-day maintenance is assumed—your bowstring is oiled, your blade is sharpened, and your armor is polished.
However adventurers frequently encounter unusual events that are exceptionally hard on gear. In that case, the Narrator can call for a DC 10 maintenance check (or DC 15 if the stress was particularly severe). If you are proficient with the tools required to repair your gear, as listed in, add your proficiency bonus to the check. On a success, the gear is restored to full working order. On a failure or until the roll is made successfully, gear is damaged.
An action is required to draw a damaged weapon or prepare a damaged spellcasting focus. Travel pace is halved for a damaged vehicle.
Some examples of when the Narrator may call for a maintenance check include:
- After the party traverses difficult terrain, such as mud or water.
- After the party has a particularly messy combat encounter.
- After a party member fails a check that could result in damage to gear (like failing an Athletics check while climbing and taking faling damage).
- After a party member drops to 0 hit points (with one roll per time rendered unconscious, if applicable).
- After a party member is swallowed by a creature.
When you fail a maintenance check and your gear is already damaged, it becomes broken and cannot be used with its full effectiveness until repaired.
A broken item is also damaged. In addition, the bonus to Armor Class granted from broken armor and broken shields is halved (minimum 1), and a broken weapon deals half damage. The bonus to Armor Class granted by armor equals its AC – 10.
Repairing damaged or broken gear requires a tool check against the DC listed for the gear’s. You can make one check to repair gear per short or long rest, or hire someone to repair the gear for you (which is an automatic success). The typical cost for hiring out the repair of broken or damaged gear is equal to 1/5th the item’s cost.
Common Repair DCs
- Cloth (DC 5 sewing kit)
- Hide (DC 10 sewing kit)
- Iron (DC 15 smith's tools)
- Leather (DC 10 sewing kit)
- Steel (DC 15 smith's tools, access to a forge)