Quality weapons are those of exceptionally fine craftsmanship. The blade may
be forged from the finest steel for flexibility and sharpness. The swordsmith
may have carefully folded, hammered, and tempered the steel to a superb edge. The
whole sword may be perfectly balanced, light in the hand, but heavy in the
blow. There are many reasons why a sword or other weapon could be above average.
Careful craftsmanship and high quality give a weapon a bonus on the chance to
hit or a bonus to damage. The bonus should never be more than +1. The bonus on
the chance to hit is for those weapons that are exceptionally well-balanced,
light, or quick. Weapons of perfectly tempered steel or carefully hammered blades
gain the bonus to damage. The metal retains its razor sharpness, cleaving
through armor like a hot needle through wax. Because they rely on mass and impact,
bludgeoning weapons rarely gain a bonus to damage. Those that do get a bonus
are because they have carefully shaped and balanced heads.
The quality of a weapon is not immediately apparent to the average person.
While anyone using the weapon gets the quality bonus (even if they don't realize
it), only those proficient in that weapon-type or proficient in weaponsmithing
can immediately recognize the true craftsmanship that went into the making of
Even then, the character must handle the weapon to appreciate its true value.
For some reason, however, merchants almost always seem to know the value of
their goods (at least the successful merchants do). Thus, weapons of quality cost
from 5 to 20 times more than normal.
In your campaign, you might want to create NPCs or regions known for their
fine quality weapons. Just as Damascus steel was valued in the real world for its
fine strength and flexibility, a given kingdom, city, or village may be noted
for the production of swords or other weapons. The mark of a specific swordsmith
and his apprentices can be a sure sign of quality. Again, by introducing one
or two of these (remote and difficult to reach) areas into your campaign, you
increase the depth and detail of your world.
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