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View Full Version : Real life Fumbles? (martial arts, combat, war, etc.)



Jon_Dahl
2012-12-11, 07:34 AM
Let's collect examples of fumbles that are (even remotely) RPG related. Meaning that they can happen in-game.

Shooting yourself dead with a bow:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/2609345.stm

Fencing accident:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXDY8bmnSck

Morph Bark
2012-12-11, 07:49 AM
That first one is just horrible. D:

Why would you even post that like this? "Real life fumbles" has an air of being humorous, or humorous-sounding at least. Death is anything but.

awa
2012-12-11, 04:47 PM
The problem with fumbles is they happen so rarely as to be statisticaly irelevent (assuming highly trained individuals such as pcs proffiecient in their weapons)

Wyntonian
2012-12-11, 05:07 PM
Let's collect examples of fumbles that are (even remotely) RPG related. Meaning that they can happen in-game.

Shooting yourself dead with a bow:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/2609345.stm

Fencing accident:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXDY8bmnSck

It looks like he didn't even shoot himself, he probably unstrung it improperly and let it snap at him. With a bow with a draw of more than fifty or sixty pounds, that can be a real bitch.

Also, that fencing incident is ridiculous :smalltongue:.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-12-11, 05:11 PM
I think that the "hurting yourself" fumbles are so incredibly rare that there's not necessarily a reason to have them in a game. Now, "dropping your sword" sort of fumbles...

Well, if every attack roll is an abstraction of the attacks and parries you're making during a combat round, that doesn't sound so unreasonable.

awa
2012-12-11, 05:23 PM
the problem with the abstract rout is it give no reason why monks two weapon characters and archers (precise people who make lots of attacks) should dropping their weapons so much more then the screaming barbarian leaping psychotically at everything that looks at him funny (character making one really powerful attack)

edit i see im actually in the generic rpg section not the 3.5 so ignore that

Bacon Elemental
2012-12-12, 03:30 PM
A better example of fumbles:

Every YouTube video with the words 'millitary' and 'fails' in the title.

Slipperychicken
2012-12-12, 06:06 PM
With the probabilities you're looking at (1 in a billion? a trillion?) for something like the bow incident happening on any given action, using random generation to achieve them is really going to do little more than waste your time rolling more dice (or whatever method you use). If you do try to roll dice to accurately simulate this,

a) To get a one-in-a-billion chance, you'll need to roll something truly preposterous. In the range of hundreds or thousands of double-naughts on a d100.

b) You're going to roll your d100s' corners off before this happens.

Vaz
2012-12-12, 07:14 PM
Freak accidents are more usually down to user failure to follow proceedure, as well as being in the wrong place at the wrong time; similar to how a Critical Hit regards to a dragon being in the wrong place at the wrong time taking an arrow through its eyeball at 300 yards while it is flying up, away and leftways to the shooter.

The better archer can increase his chances of such an occurence, as well as decrease chances of critical fumble; a master swordsmith is filing something down. He has been making blades for years; never suffered a worse injury than singeing the hair off his forearms; then one day his "Controller" rolls a fumble, sneezes, metal filings go into his hair. He finishes work, takes off his goggles, filings fall out of his hair, and go into his eye causing it to itch. rubbing his eye drags the filing across the eyeball, scratching it, causing possibly permanent blindness.

In regards to others; horses balking at jumps, martial "artists" hitting themselves in the gonads with nunchucks...

Zahhak
2012-12-12, 09:14 PM
The problem with fumbles is they happen so rarely as to be statisticaly irelevent (assuming highly trained individuals such as pcs proffiecient in their weapons)

And yet in DND, there's a 5% chance of it happening for basically everything you do.

awa
2012-12-12, 10:03 PM
well that is one way of doing fumbles its not the only one.

personally my fumble house rule is you need to get an end result of -1 or worse.

this means in practice fumbling is only going to happen when your stacking penalties. say trying to use a weapon your not proficient in while drunk or while heavily cursed.

The charge of the light brigade was a pretty bad roll (sense motive, listen, spot ? a combination of all 3?)

I think part of the thing that bother me about fumbles is it makes the pc look like hes in some kind of slapstick show. now if fumbles were you lose your balance on a puddle of blood take a small penalty to defense. or better yet your enemy pushes you off balance take a small penalty to defense.

but no its always got to be you shoot an arrow it bounces off a wall and you sneak attack your self.

Or your ubercharger swings his ax and accidentally explodes

Slipperychicken
2012-12-13, 12:54 AM
And yet in DND, there's a 5% chance of it happening for basically everything you do.

In 3.5, critical fumbles are a houserule. Natural 1 on skill/ability checks isn't automatic failure. Only saving throws and attack rolls are automatic failure on nat 1, but by the rules this incurs no further penalty than automatically missing (or failing the save).


Outside of combat, one should regularly Take 10, to avoid failures from rolling low. Which is exactly what Take 10 is for; so the master locksmith doesn't waste resources and fail at building a lock.

Kiero
2012-12-13, 06:47 AM
The problem with fumbles is they happen so rarely as to be statisticaly irelevent (assuming highly trained individuals such as pcs proffiecient in their weapons)

Depends what you mean by fumble. In my martial arts experience, someone over-committing to something or otherwise jeopardising their balance and ending up on their arse isn't that uncommon. I'd call that a fumble.

awa
2012-12-13, 08:06 AM
Do you see your martial arts instructer fall down 5% of the time?
If they throw 100 punches do they fall over 5 times? if so the most common fumble system is not in play

worse most dms ive played with like fumbles to be spectacularly bad such as hitting your self for full damge or bare minimum droping your weapon.

Now in the more abstract system you can attribute some of that stuff to enemy action but in dnd it's ussualy just ends up that pepole have a 5% of drroping thier weapon every attack

Asheram
2012-12-13, 08:18 AM
Diplomacy fumble? Charge of the light brigade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_of_the_Light_Brigade).

JoshuaZ
2012-12-13, 08:35 AM
a) To get a one-in-a-billion chance, you'll need to roll something truly preposterous. In the range of hundreds or thousands of double-naughts on a d100.

b) You're going to roll your d100s' corners off before this happens.

A is wrong but B is probably still right. The chance of rolling a specific number on a d100 is 1/100, and the chance of rolling k of them in a row is 1/100^k. So two double-zeros in a row is 1/10,000. Three in a row is 1 in a million. Four in a row is 1 in a 100 million. Five in a row is in 1 in ten biliion. (Using American not English billion here). Five is a lot smaller than hundreds. But the second point is valid since if one wants something to happen 1 in a billion times, you are going to need to do it about a billion times.

nedz
2012-12-13, 09:45 AM
Ah, but the secret to the success of D20 systems is that: events with a probability of around one in a million, happen 10% of the time. This makes everything more exciting.

awa
2012-12-13, 09:51 AM
i thought charge of the light birgade was more of sense motive listen or spot check faliure then diplomacy

nedz
2012-12-13, 11:09 AM
i thought charge of the light brigade was more of sense motive listen or spot check failure then diplomacy

I thought that it was a fumbled Speak Language roll poorly worded orders but you can't fumble skill rolls.

awa
2012-12-13, 11:51 AM
cant fumble anything in dnd
in dnd all fumbles are house rules

Altair_the_Vexed
2012-12-17, 08:18 AM
When LARPing, I often got my sword caught in the vegetation, or hit the ceiling, or otherwise momentarily stuck.
When LARPing with modern weapons, I've experienced many a mis-fire (of blanks, toy caps, etc).

I think fumbles should be much more about the chance to leave yourself open to attack, or penalise your next attack, than the chance that you injure yourself.

SoC175
2012-12-17, 08:35 AM
Grenade fail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8WHo674NgQ)

Yora
2012-12-17, 10:40 AM
Wii fumble (http://oi48.tinypic.com/14w5bg1.jpg)

Malimar
2012-12-17, 06:58 PM
Grenade fail (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8WHo674NgQ)

Related. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLjBDB2lkiw)

Winter_Wolf
2012-12-17, 08:19 PM
With the probabilities you're looking at (1 in a billion? a trillion?) for something like the bow incident happening on any given action, using random generation to achieve them is really going to do little more than waste your time rolling more dice (or whatever method you use). If you do try to roll dice to accurately simulate this,

a) To get a one-in-a-billion chance, you'll need to roll something truly preposterous. In the range of hundreds or thousands of double-naughts on a d100.

b) You're going to roll your d100s' corners off before this happens.

I want to introduce you to my dice. They hate me, and will do everything in their power to destroy my characters. I could use your dice, and they'd have heard from my dice that it's okay to do everything in their power to destroy my characters.

Unless the character is subpar and I'm trying to kill it off in game. Then the dice will keep 'em alive forever. The character won't ever amount to much, but by gum they'll struggle along and stay alive the whole campaign.

For real life fumbles, I don't have a link handy (and I can never seem to find these things again when I need them), but I saw a few martial arts clips with people who were bested by mundane inanimate objects: bricks, boards, sticks, and the like. And by "bested" I mean "concussed, lacerated, broken, or otherwise visibly injured". If it wasn't Youtube, then it was probably Youku (China's wishes-it-was-Youtube).

Zahhak
2012-12-18, 04:44 PM
When LARPing with modern weapons, I've experienced many a mis-fire (of blanks, toy caps, etc).

When firing real weapons, I've never had a misfire out of thousands of rounds, and I've only ever seen one weapon malfunctions that didn't get fixed with tap-rack-bang out of probably millions of rounds that I've seen fired.

Slipperychicken
2012-12-18, 05:48 PM
When firing real weapons, I've never had a misfire out of thousands of rounds, and I've only ever seen one weapon malfunctions that didn't get fixed with tap-rack-bang out of probably millions of rounds that I've seen fired.

To be fair, real weapons are surely built to much higher standards. If a toy gun malfunctions in a game of dress-up cops and robbers, who cares? If a real weapon malfunctions in real combat, that could mean lives (not to mention the manufacturer's reputation and revenue).

Zahhak
2012-12-18, 06:47 PM
My point was about weapon malfunctions on real weapons in reference to critical failures in game rules, which I maintain are a load of silly nonsense.

Jon_Dahl
2012-12-19, 05:27 AM
I've been using own fumble tables since 2009 and for 80+ sessions, and they are very mild. I have never seen anything unrealistic happen because of them. High table rolls can have a bit radical results, but nothing severe.

The worst fumble ever was when paladin was in a tavern, wielding a two-handed sword in the middle of chairs and tables. He tried to block a longsword attack, stepped forward and tripped himself. He fell on his sword and cut himself in the neck. Then his opponent struck him while he was prone and almost killed him. Other PCs managed to save him.

The chances for such event are approximately 0.05% and it can ONLY happen under actual combat-stress.

razorback
2012-12-19, 07:37 AM
When firing real weapons, I've never had a misfire out of thousands of rounds, and I've only ever seen one weapon malfunctions that didn't get fixed with tap-rack-bang out of probably millions of rounds that I've seen fired.
Personally, I've had 3 misfires in my life out of thousands.
I've seen at least 10 others happen, a couple I would attribute to an improperly cleaned weapon, but the rest were misfires.
Twice I've seen a round fired and ricochet and hit someone. Once the shooter of a SKS AK-47 knockoff had a round hit the target and deflected somehow and the jacket had deformed enough that it didn't penetrate but it left the skin lacerated and he had a pretty impressive bruise. The other was a 9mm that glanced off an observer's shoulder, tearing shirt and skin. Neither were terrible but if they had been less lucky, either shot to the face could have had permanent damage.
Two guys I train with in martial arts are both police officers, one a trainer and ex-SWAT. I asked them about this after reading this thread. Both have said that they have seen dozens of misfires but this is over span of about 15-20 years each, so I have no idea how small of a percentage this is since I'm assuming the have probably seen hundreds of thousands of rounds fired between the two of them, but it does happen.

Zahhak
2012-12-19, 11:33 AM
The two you train with may have heard something similar to what I was told when I was learning how to use a firearm, which was something like "If you have a weapon misfire it's for one of three reasons: the weapon is faulty (but its manufactured to high enough standards that this wont be the case), the ammunition is faulty (which is also manufactured to high enough standards that this wont be the case), or that the operator is an idiot and didn't properly clean his weapon (which will always be the case)."

Altair_the_Vexed
2012-12-19, 01:22 PM
Okay, with my comment about miss-fires (and the bit about LARP melee) I wasn't trying to suggest that they're common, just that any fumble system should be geared more towards mishaps, mistakes and penalties, rather than chopping your own leg off.

Doxkid
2012-12-20, 08:00 AM
I once threw a ball and missed a building 10 feet away.

themocaw
2012-12-21, 05:06 PM
A couple of ideas for modern military fumbles, assuming a d20 system.

1. You fire off your weapon too close to a friend's face. He is deafened for one round.

2. As you turn to bring your weapon to bear your sling gets caught on something. -2 to your next attack.

3. Instead of a short, controlled burst, you panic a bit and spray and pray. Spend twice as much ammo for that auto-fire.

4. You lost count of how long it's been since you pulled the pin on that grenade. DM rolls 1d6: on a 1 it goes off too soon and you take blast damage. On a 2-4 it goes off normally, on a 5-6 it goes off at the end of the next round.

5. You fumbled your Drive roll and crash through a fruit stand, taking damage. You're not even sure where that fruit stand came form.

Zahhak
2012-12-21, 06:54 PM
1. You fire off your weapon too close to a friend's face. He is deafened for one round.

Unless you have a large number of wandering NPCs that aren't on the map, this seems like a strange thing to have as a fumble.


3. Instead of a short, controlled burst, you panic a bit and spray and pray. Spend twice as much ammo for that auto-fire.

This seems like it should be reserved for untrained/poorly trained characters. Although you could also add in a cooking off rounds.


4. You lost count of how long it's been since you pulled the pin on that grenade. DM rolls 1d6: on a 1 it goes off too soon and you take blast damage. On a 2-4 it goes off normally, on a 5-6 it goes off at the end of the next round.

4-6 seconds is hardly enough time for this to really be an issue, I think.


2. As you turn to bring your weapon to bear your sling gets caught on something. -2 to your next attack.

This I could buy as an example.

I'd probably add in hitting someone with a ricochet, or tripping and missing completely.

themocaw
2012-12-21, 07:38 PM
Unless you have a large number of wandering NPCs that aren't on the map, this seems like a strange thing to have as a fumble.

Yeah, that's probably something I'd only pull off if two players were standing, like, shoulder to shoulder or something. I just wanted to bring it up as a possibility: a Crit Fumble that affects an ally without being the usual "oops you miss and shoot your buddy" thing.

Another possible example if two allies were close to each other is hot brass from one weapon hitting the other guy or going down his shirt.

TuggyNE
2012-12-21, 09:15 PM
Yeah, that's probably something I'd only pull off if two players were standing, like, shoulder to shoulder or something. I just wanted to bring it up as a possibility: a Crit Fumble that affects an ally without being the usual "oops you miss and shoot your buddy" thing.

Another possible example if two allies were close to each other is hot brass from one weapon hitting the other guy or going down his shirt.

Many classic fumble tables include this sort of "unintended consequences for someone nearby", but they usually fail to make any kind of allowance for checking whether anyone is actually nearby. The result then tends to be that hot brass flies 50 feet away to the nearest ally (passing, perhaps, a couple of foes on the way), or a dropped greataxe flies straight up 20 feet to hit the hovering pixie, or a misaimed arrow reverses course and strikes a friend directly behind the shooter for automatic critical damage. As long as you include a sanity check, though, most of these stupid results can be eliminated. (Still doesn't deal with the probability concerns, but that's another topic for another day.)

Eric Tolle
2012-12-23, 12:16 AM
Acrobatics fumble (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAepgZ5iM5k)

Firearms fumble (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBVK1_qtrqE)

Intelligence fumble (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io63z-aRMbg)

Every fumble should have that music attached.

In other news, my wife relates that in middle school she got a substitute teacher one day, who bounced into the classroom with great puppy-dog-like enthusiasm. Seeking to be edgy and cool, she turned to the girl next to her and whispered, "Who IS that dweeb?"
"That's my DAD." >:(

Diplomacy fumble.

Which is still not as bad as my first date. The less said the better. Let's just call it a Charisma failure, and leave it at that.

PersonMan
2012-12-23, 05:43 AM
Many classic fumble tables include this sort of "unintended consequences for someone nearby", but they usually fail to make any kind of allowance for checking whether anyone is actually nearby. The result then tends to be that hot brass flies 50 feet away to the nearest ally (passing, perhaps, a couple of foes on the way), or a dropped greataxe flies straight up 20 feet to hit the hovering pixie, or a misaimed arrow reverses course and strikes a friend directly behind the shooter for automatic critical damage. As long as you include a sanity check, though, most of these stupid results can be eliminated. (Still doesn't deal with the probability concerns, but that's another topic for another day.)

"Master, can you tell me again the story of how the great swordsman Ranahann the Fumble killed the mighty dragon Deathdoomfirebreather of Terror?"

"Well, my apprentice, the story says that the two had been forced to aid one another while battling a much greater evil. Just are the beast collapsed from its wounds, Ranahann swung his axe for the final blow...and missed, dropping his weapon. Suddenly, it surged from the ground and flew upwards in a great arc, avoiding the dozens of imps in the sky, to cleanly cut Deathdoomfirebreather's head off. Since then, such awe-inspiring martial techniques are known as 'fumbles'."

TuggyNE
2012-12-23, 07:37 PM
"Master, can you tell me again the story of how the great swordsman Ranahann the Fumble killed the mighty dragon Deathdoomfirebreather of Terror?"

"Well, my apprentice, the story says that the two had been forced to aid one another while battling a much greater evil. Just are the beast collapsed from its wounds, Ranahann swung his axe for the final blow...and missed, dropping his weapon. Suddenly, it surged from the ground and flew upwards in a great arc, avoiding the dozens of imps in the sky, to cleanly cut Deathdoomfirebreather's head off. Since then, such awe-inspiring martial techniques are known as 'fumbles'."

OK, I LOL'd. :smallbiggrin: Have an Internet cookie, but make sure not to drop it.

PersonMan
2012-12-24, 05:30 AM
OK, I LOL'd. :smallbiggrin: Have an Internet cookie, but make sure not to drop it.

If I do, you will know, because I consider you my ally.

JustSomeGuy
2012-12-24, 01:50 PM
Regarding firearms fumbles, i ONCE cross-lane fired (as in, short at the target in the lane next to mine, because each lane had a number in the middle front of it and a post for the standing supported firing position - and when leaning on the post you happen to be closer to the left lane's number and i wasn't particularly paying attention, it being something i'd done hundreds of times before and i just wanted to get on with it, dur-hur!); but countless numbers of times i've had eith my own empty cases (bouncing off the fire trench/tree/inanimate object to my side) or the person next to me's empty cases fall down my collar and be hot enough to begin the 'flinch-jump-try and grab it to stop it hurting' routine. I'd call that a fumble. Also, stoppages.