Artifacts that act as permanent power-ups to melee weapons/ armor could be found as rare loot from nether critters. possibly as a result of butchering and harvesting something from that critters body that then gets … ‘Imbued’ might be the best word, into a melee wep or armor.
I’m thinking increased penetration, lower weight, faster attack speed, increased durability, basic elemental damages like fire and electricity, etc etc.
it would be best if the artifacts had a chance of several different effects and you didn’t know if your sledgehammer was going to be able to swing faster, weigh less or penetrate better until you actually used the artifact and found out.
I don’t picture these imbuements as gamechangers. I see them more as fun little rare finds that let you ‘mix it up and see where you end up’ so to speak.
I imagine daggers of bashing and cudgels of penetration( or the other way around if that seems too odd for you), bracers of protection and boots of swiftness.
I realize that this is beginning to sound like Skyrims enchantment system, but I really do picture the artifacts only giving MINOR improvements and being rather rare; almost as rare as the traditional artifacts. I see a survivor finding a new piece of armor and having to decide between the RIOT Helmet and the ballistic glasses that improve night vision by a few squares(or something).
all in all, I submit this as an alternative to actual melee weapon mods(considering how weird a system that would be).
Maybe it should be reliant on a certain skill? Like, how you would attach a gun mod. Or, more appropriately, tailoring a piece of clothing or armor, and messing up results in damage to the item.
Or maybe a magic explosion?
Probably no adding a whole new skill.
Magic/alien weapon mods would make for fun collectibles, but even adding artifact guns (similar to Legendary gear in FO4) would greatly add to the number of collectibles you could find. The hardest part would be balancing the new drops to be distributed such as to not be farmable or otherwise capable of becoming absurdly abundant (similar to Legendary gear in FO4…)
something similar to FO4’s legendary gear is actually pretty close to what I had in mind. like an artifact to turn a non automatic weapon into an automatic, or to ‘unerringly strike the target’, a piece of armor that removes your smell entirely, etc.