Question concerning Animation for Games (Changeable Equipment & rolling up)

Hi,

This is my first post here, so I think I should first of all thank everyone involved in creating Blender and the community as a whole that makes awesome tutorials.
I am really impressed with Blender as a program and with the tons of tutorials/wikis/help that one can receive.

That being said, there are two things which I have not yet found a solution to, but this may also be due to wrong googling, so my apologies if this has been discussed before.

I am doing the modelling for a video game project that a friend and I are doing for fun (we are using the OGRE engine) and I encountered two problems:

  1. We want to have changeable equipment, but I really have no clue how to make it fit the animation of the character that it is attached to. Every Weapon needs the same animation that is synced with the Mesh of the Weapon wielder.

  2. I want to animate a winch with a rope that is rolling up on it (for a drawbridge).
    So far I have been trying it like this. http://imgur.com/u6A9Q
    The results are horrible and it is a real pain animating it like that.

Please bear in mind that I have only a few months experience with Blender and so far a lot of concepts are still unknown to me, so please pardon my stupidity:)

Thanks in advance.