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I have an encounter in which my party will be fighting a slime that deals damage to their armor and weapons. My whole party has at least 2 masterworked items. Does masterwork imply that the items can not be broken?

Thank You

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up vote 7 down vote accepted


The masterwork property does a few things for items, but making them immune to breaking is not one of them. It does grant +1 to hit, and allows the item to be made into a magic item. Masterwork items that have been broken, be it through sundering etc., still have to be repaired like any other item (the exception is the Durable magic property).

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Masterwork does not prevent a weapon or armor from acquiring the Broken condition, but it might make it harder to break depending on your interpretation of the rules.

Normally you break an item by using the Sunder action or a Strength check, but those aren't really relevant here because your slime deals damage directly to the items.

In that case, you just need to understand the Broken condition:

Items that have taken damage in excess of half their total hit points gain the broken condition, meaning they are less effective at their designated task.

Look up the hit points of the item on the Common Armor, Weapon, and Shield Hardness and Hit Points table. For example, in the case of a one-handed sword it's 5. If the slime deals 3 points of damage to the sword, it's Broken.

Here's the bit that's open to interpretation, in the footnotes to the hit points column on that table:

Add 10 hp for each +1 enhancement bonus of magic items.

A strict reading of this note would imply that only a magic item gets the extra hit points, even though a masterwork item has a +1 enhancement bonus. I would be inclined to give it though, but I like low-magic games where there's something magical about a smith with a high enough skill to craft this kind of weapon.

Another bit that might be up for interpretation is whether your slime's attack ignores Hardness.

Each object has hardness—a number that represents how well it resists damage. When an object is damaged, subtract its hardness from the damage. Only damage in excess of its hardness is deducted from the object's hit points...

A strict reading would imply that any damage dealt to an item has to overcome its hardness. I might be tempted to let the acid of a slime ignore hardness, depending on how I imagine it working. The entry for the monster might help here.

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