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Sullivan
2015-01-11, 03:17 AM
so when you crit with a nat 20 you roll again and if it's another 20 instant death. I love this rule and felt like sharing it. I got this from a friend, so I don't know if it is a well known house rule or not.

Extra Anchovies
2015-01-11, 03:41 AM
It's also in one of the DMG sidebars in the first couple of chapters, IIRC.

Arracor
2015-01-11, 03:42 AM
The way my group played it is, if you roll a nat 20, and then another nat 20 on the crit confirm, you roll one more time for instant death. 3 nat 20s in a row is an instakill. Conversely, 3 nat 1s when attacking.......... well, you just killed yourself.

redwizard007
2015-01-11, 07:43 AM
Um... Not a lot of fun if the DM is using mobs. Anything relying purely on random die rolls strongly favors the underdog, and usually that's not the PCs (in my experience.) Also, how do you justify a one hit kill of an ooze, construct, Dragon (not Smaug,) or purple worm, etc with say... A quarter staff?

Grod_The_Giant
2015-01-11, 10:57 AM
Um... Not a lot of fun if the DM is using mobs. Anything relying purely on random die rolls strongly favors the underdog, and usually that's not the PCs (in my experience.)
To elaborate slightly: The PCs will be in far, far more encounters than any other creature in the campaign. They will roll far, far more attacks, and have dice rolled against them far, far more times than any individual monster. If there's a 1/400 chance that someone is instantly killed, it's much more likely to be the PCs than anyone else. Same for fumbles-- the players will fumble much more often than anyone else, just because they make far more rolls than anyone else.

That's not to say that it's a bad thing, but it does work against the players more than it will work in their favor.

Arracor
2015-01-11, 02:33 PM
Interesting take... but in my experience (4 years using those rules across several games) the result has largely been players gibbing something. And in those 4 years it's maybe happened 4 or 5 times total.

ReturnOfTheKing
2015-01-11, 03:41 PM
Just want to point out, the title of this thread deserves some kind of amazingness award.

jqavins
2015-01-12, 01:09 PM
To elaborate slightly: The PCs will be in far, far more encounters than any other creature in the campaign. They will roll far, far more attacks, and have dice rolled against them far, far more times than any individual monster. If there's a 1/400 chance that someone is instantly killed, it's much more likely to be the PCs than anyone else. Same for fumbles-- the players will fumble much more often than anyone else, just because they make far more rolls than anyone else.
To elaborate a little more, it there's a 1/400 chance of the character being instakilled on each attack an opponent makes against him, and another 1/400 for each attack roll he makes against an opponent, then the chance of being instakilled reaches 50:50 at 277 rolls by and against combined. So, let's make up some arbitrary but reasonable-sounding average numbers. Three rounds per combat, with two attack rolls by the character and two against the character per round, so 12 rolls per combat. Four combats per adventure, so 48 rolls per adventure. Then you've got a 50:50 chance of being instakilled within six adventures.

If it takes three natural twenties or ones, then it comes out to 5545 rolls, so 116 adventures. More like it, but still I ask: how do you instakill yourself with a bow?

TylertheCreator
2015-01-12, 01:36 PM
Critical fumbles are a terrible house rule, in my experience. No one has fun with them. The players come to the table so they can pretend to be heroes. ****ing up and stabbing yourself to death is something no hero would ever do, and it just causes frustration and, in short, a lack of fun.

Similarly, triple-critting and instantly killing something like a pit fiend with your sling is just not believable. My players wouldn't enjoy that, but I can understand that some players would, and in that case I would advocate using the hell out of that rule. You just have to know your table in this (and every) situation.

Extra Anchovies
2015-01-12, 01:39 PM
Also, how do you justify a one hit kill of an oozeImmune to crits, so they can't be insta-killed
construct,same as above
Dragon (not Smaug,)through its eye
or purple worm, etcdown its larynx/trachea, choking it.

Generally, if the 3.5 designers didn't make it crit-immune, it had some weak point in its anatomy.

Sullivan
2015-01-12, 02:43 PM
we play with pc's going to 0 hp so no ripped up character sheets and I have made the statistics very clear, but people still love it. The idea of one shoting a dragon is a very romantic notion, despite being impossible. also youtube watermelon fail and I'm thinking a crit miss on a bow might look something like that.

Banjoman42
2015-01-12, 05:55 PM
To elaborate slightly: The PCs will be in far, far more encounters than any other creature in the campaign. They will roll far, far more attacks, and have dice rolled against them far, far more times than any individual monster. If there's a 1/400 chance that someone is instantly killed, it's much more likely to be the PCs than anyone else. Same for fumbles-- the players will fumble much more often than anyone else, just because they make far more rolls than anyone else.

That's not to say that it's a bad thing, but it does work against the players more than it will work in their favor.

You would think, yet my players manage to do it three times in a single encounter. They weren't even loaded dice, because they were using mine!

steelsmiter
2015-01-12, 06:21 PM
The rule was alright when I was about 15, but I switched to a non-d20 system (and have since perused various other non-d20 systems) in 05 and haven't looked back.

nonsi
2015-01-15, 03:53 AM
Critical fumbles are a terrible house rule, in my experience. No one has fun with them. The players come to the table so they can pretend to be heroes. ****ing up and stabbing yourself to death is something no hero would ever do, and it just causes frustration and, in short, a lack of fun.


It all depends how your Fumble rules look like.
With the following proposal, it's gonna be an exceedingly rare occasion (if ever):

When scoring a natural 1 on a melee attack (1-2 for non proficient), unless you actually score a hit (some targets are just too easy), you fumble.
Roll d6.
- On a result of 1 or 2, have the attacker roll an additional attack against a square adjacent to the target that's within his reach (including self, for self inflicted injury). The target of such an attack always loses its Dex-bonus to AC. If no target is available, the attacker simply missed stylishly. This option is discarded in case of a reoccurring fumble (you never fumble a fumble).
- On 3 or 4 the attacker drops his weapon.
- On 5 or 6 the attacker is rendered prone.

The chance of self injury to any degree is less than 1 per [20 * 3 * 4]. The chance of actually killing yourself is less than 1/10 that.
It could be zero, if you rule out self, but event the great Anderson Silva has sustained a self inflicted injury, so it's very rare but possible.
Alternatively, you could rule that with a given BAB or high enough into the Weapon Focus tree, you become immune to fumbles.





Similarly, triple-critting and instantly killing something like a pit fiend with your sling is just not believable. My players wouldn't enjoy that, but I can understand that some players would, and in that case I would advocate using the hell out of that rule. You just have to know your table in this (and every) situation.


I'm categorically against insta-kills. My experience with them is that they never make the game more fun.

JoshuaZ
2015-01-15, 08:43 AM
we play with pc's going to 0 hp so no ripped up character sheets and I have made the statistics very clear, but people still love it. The idea of one shoting a dragon is a very romantic notion, despite being impossible. also youtube watermelon fail and I'm thinking a crit miss on a bow might look something like that.

So PCs get a special bonus? Why not just make so PCs never die then? If you need to make a rule function differently for PCs and NPCs that should be a red flag.

jqavins
2015-01-15, 08:54 AM
So PCs get a special bonus? Why not just make so PCs never die then? If you need to make a rule function differently for PCs and NPCs that should be a red flag.
So everything should be the same for PCs and NPCs? They all use the same method for determining ability scores? Most NPCs have a character class other than commoner, expert, aristocrat, adept or warrior?

Let's be clear: I am generally against self injury, definitely against non-trivial self injury, firmly against insta-kills, and four square against self insta-kills. But still, PCs are different from NPCs; PCs are special.

Admiral Squish
2015-01-15, 12:40 PM
Basically, my group usually goes with double-20 +confirm is an instant kill on a monster. Monster don't get insta-kills, because that wouldn't be fun.
A natural 1 threatens a fumble if you can't make the roll on your second try, for both players and monsters.
Personally, some of the most hilarious moments of game I've ever personally witnessed have been critical failures. You have to have a sense of humor to take it, but it can be really fun. And keep in mind that while it might be happening to you now, it's gonna happen to somebody else soon enough.

JoshuaZ
2015-01-15, 05:02 PM
So everything should be the same for PCs and NPCs? They all use the same method for determining ability scores? Most NPCs have a character class other than commoner, expert, aristocrat, adept or warrior?

Sure, PCs are special, they are the elite. But so are some NPCs. A major NPC gets to have high ability scores and gets class levels from PC classes.

urkthegurk
2015-01-15, 05:40 PM
To elaborate slightly: The PCs will be in far, far more encounters than any other creature in the campaign. They will roll far, far more attacks, and have dice rolled against them far, far more times than any individual monster. If there's a 1/400 chance that someone is instantly killed, it's much more likely to be the PCs than anyone else. Same for fumbles-- the players will fumble much more often than anyone else, just because they make far more rolls than anyone else.

That's not to say that it's a bad thing, but it does work against the players more than it will work in their favor.

Its true that any added chaos should implicitly hinder the PCs... but PCs seem to always become these kinda avatars of chaos, however lawful their alignment... They'll go toe-to-toe with something like a beholder or a dragon when they're woefully underleveled, and they'll pull some kinda miracle out've their ass- or they all die, you know, that happens too.

To be clear, I'm talking about careful strategists as players, as much if not more than the kick-in-the door folks, or the storytellers. PCs may have an upper hand in the majority of the printed, prepared material for the adventure. But this is D&D, characters can (theoretically) do anything. They can decide to skip a bunch of the in-between stuff, and skip to the 'next chapter'. They don't haveta follow the script where you go from fighting little stuff to bigger stuff as you yourself get tougher. You can try'n see if you can really shake stuff up.

A solid BBEG will know this is a possibility and protect against it. But plenty of powerbrokers and stuck in their own wars with each other, their peers, and they're not expected a rash attack from below. PCs are gonna go do that!

So yeah, the more chaos you introduce to the mechanics, the more you encourage players to exploit it in some way. Insta-death crits, or hiring your own army of mooks, or conning your way into a whole lot of treasure far 'to early' in the game... If players are gonna face real threats, they need to be able to make real gains, to keep things interesting.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-01-15, 08:21 PM
So yeah, the more chaos you introduce to the mechanics, the more you encourage players to exploit it in some way. Insta-death crits, or hiring your own army of mooks, or conning your way into a whole lot of treasure far 'to early' in the game... If players are gonna face real threats, they need to be able to make real gains, to keep things interesting.
I'm not sure what chaotic dice mechanics have to do with the idea of "real threats, real gains, real influence." If anything, I'd think that things would be more meaningful when you know your successes and failures are because of your own actions, not a lucky or unlucky die roll.

urkthegurk
2015-01-16, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure what chaotic dice mechanics have to do with the idea of "real threats, real gains, real influence." If anything, I'd think that things would be more meaningful when you know your successes and failures are because of your own actions, not a lucky or unlucky die roll.

Well *I* think that, yeah. That's why I DM. Players, however, may beg to differ.

Again, some folks of played with love to strategize. They don't rely on luck, but if they're any good, they take it into account.

However, my point above is that, giving additional chaos provokes and influences player actions. I'm merely suggesting it isn't always in the monsters/DMs benefit. Mechanics like this encourage risk-taking, which can result in players deliberately biting off more than they normally would... which CAN mean they bring down the BBEG earlier than usual.

Imagine a game without crits, and how that influences player behaviour. Or a game using 3d6 instead of 1d20. I've tried both, and its less wild, grittier... More to the point, the reduction in chaos puts PCs in their place. If they're 3rd level, they'll learn that taking on 6th-level threats may not go well, and they'll learn to deal.

However, to speak to the OP!


so when you crit with a nat 20 you roll again and if it's another 20 instant death. I love this rule and felt like sharing it. I got this from a friend, so I don't know if it is a well known house rule or not.

This is definitely too harsh. Insta-kill mechanics are all well'n'good, but this smacks of earlier editions where player death, sans saving-throw no less, was a little more blase.

The 'dead and dying' rules exist for a reason. Never kill a player character without letting them have at least some kind of roll. Preferably a couple. Sure if they jump in lava, of they're being stabbed repeatedly while dying, they're gonna fail those saves... but you can't have a goblin warrior waltz up to Krogar the Barbarian, roll two twenties in a row, and you're done. The players will riot, and rightly so. If you're gonna do something like that, at least have demogorgon appear and skin them alive, so they can get a good story out've the experience.

However, you CAN have them drop to 1 or to 0 hp, make them loose HD from their pool (for 5th ed) make them loose a healing surge (for 4th)... etc. And if they can't pay the tax, they should suffer additional penalties.

For 5th edition, here's a list of penalties a hit like this could impose:

~Disadvantage on one of (con, dex, str)
~ Loose remaining HD
~ 1/2 speed, can't take 'dash' action.
~ Dropped to 0 hp
~ Gain a level of Exhaustion
~ you know what, just quadruple the damage

Players take a penalty like that, the party can pull their fat from the fire, and they'll recover. Monsters and NPCs rarely have that luxury. Voila, the discrepancy of the players being disproportionately affected by the mechanic is resolved!

Hanuman
2015-01-17, 08:47 PM
You could do all sorts of things with this, I think the most balanced thing to do would be to add bonus damage (not crit amplified) equal to twice the attacker's BAB selecting from any damage type the striker has the potential to use or resistances she has.

So, for instance a barbarian, tome of battle, or path of war class with fire rage or fire maneuvers could add fire damage, where as a race with cold resistance could deal cold damage, or a low level wizard who is out of spells and had prepared magic missile could deal force damage.

At 10th level a combat class will be doing +20 damage with a type that is pretty flexible.

If this isn't already in the realm of massive damage rules, I'd go with action points and hero points, as those can be bent to the DM's bias to accomplish a favorable result for everyone, not just whoever benefits from a sword-outta-nowhere.

Grod_The_Giant
2015-01-18, 01:11 PM
Players take a penalty like that, the party can pull their fat from the fire, and they'll recover. Monsters and NPCs rarely have that luxury. Voila, the discrepancy of the players being disproportionately affected by the mechanic is resolved!
That's not bad, aye.

Actually, it could be the basis of a new crit system. If you score a hit, you get to inflict one such condition, and roll to confirm. If you roll another crit on that roll, you get to inflict two such conditions (with standard rules for adding multipliers for damage) and roll again to confirm, continuing until you stop critting. Your one-in-8000 triple-twenties can still deal an utterly devastating, encounter-winning hit, but players won't be instantly obliterated*.


*I mean, they could potentially, if you're dealing double- or triple-crit damage, but the GM would have wiggle room to assign other penalties instead of extra damage.

ComatosePhoenix
2015-01-18, 10:42 PM
I wouldn't apply insta death to monster criticals, especially not the wandering Orc, or goblin. At the same time I am a fan of "Critical misses" as a chance to insert some comedy into the scene. No warrior is dumb enough to stab himself in the face, but they could whiff their swing to get their blade lodged into a nearby tree. or


Instant death on player critical is just good fun, it gives something fun for the warriors to look foreward too and there is nothing like quite as entertaining as having the wizard get lucky when a ogre gets too close and shanks it in the eye.

Finally sometimes the Hit point system just doesn't feel organic enough. overall I think the D&D games do a good job of having every hit feel pretty solid. Other times you just want to cut loose with barbarian strength and splatter the walls with the blood of your enemies.

CoOkIisme
2015-01-19, 05:35 PM
At the same time I am a fan of "Critical misses" as a chance to insert some comedy into the scene. No warrior is dumb enough to stab himself in the face, but they could whiff their swing to get their blade lodged into a nearby tree.
I definitely agree with you on this subject. In my campaign, we have a running gag, were, if a PC misses badly enough, their attack will slice a flower, no matter where we are. My, being the druid, has taken it upon himself to periodically hold funerals for all of the flowers we've killed. :smallbiggrin:

Ceiling_Squid
2015-01-19, 08:50 PM
To elaborate a little more, it there's a 1/400 chance of the character being instakilled on each attack an opponent makes against him, and another 1/400 for each attack roll he makes against an opponent, then the chance of being instakilled reaches 50:50 at 277 rolls by and against combined. So, let's make up some arbitrary but reasonable-sounding average numbers. Three rounds per combat, with two attack rolls by the character and two against the character per round, so 12 rolls per combat. Four combats per adventure, so 48 rolls per adventure. Then you've got a 50:50 chance of being instakilled within six adventures.

If it takes three natural twenties or ones, then it comes out to 5545 rolls, so 116 adventures. More like it, but still I ask: how do you instakill yourself with a bow?

That doesn't sound right. The probability shouldn't scale up at all. It's not that you can say "you're due for an instakill" to someone just because they've been on a cold streak for a while.

Isn't it a 1/400 chance every single time you roll the die, regardless of previous results? That sounds very closely related to the gambler's fallacy.

You can argue that within such a large pool of rolls, it's statistically likely to have occurred at least a certain number of times, but applying an explicit (50:50) probability to the situation seems misleading.

Then again, it's been a long time since I took any statistics classes, so bear with me if I'm mistaken.

Sullivan
2015-01-19, 11:03 PM
Idk if there are any math nerds out here, but this has always confused me a bit. couldn't we just say there are (399/400) ways to not roll 2 20's then look at all the combinations for n number of rolls, so (399/400)^nth power. so when you take the log at .5 you end up with around n = 277.

jqavins
2015-01-20, 08:37 AM
So, let's make up some arbitrary but reasonable-sounding average numbers. Three rounds per combat, with two attack rolls by the character and two against the character per round, so 12 rolls per combat. Four combats per adventure, so 48 rolls per adventure. Then you've got a 50:50 chance of being instakilled within six adventures.That doesn't sound right. The probability shouldn't scale up at all. It's not that you can say "you're due for an instakill" to someone just because they've been on a cold streak for a while.

Isn't it a 1/400 chance every single time you roll the die, regardless of previous results? That sounds very closely related to the gambler's fallacy.

You can argue that within such a large pool of rolls, it's statistically likely to have occurred at least a certain number of times, but applying an explicit (50:50) probability to the situation seems misleading.

Then again, it's been a long time since I took any statistics classes, so bear with me if I'm mistaken.
If you (mis)read what I wrote to mean that after five or more adventures without an instakill you're due, then, indeed, you've run afoul of the gambler's falacy. The correct way to read it is that, starting from any moment that you're alive, there's a 50:50 chance you will be instakilled within the next 6 adventures. If you survive survive adventure number 1, there is still a 50:50 chance of being instakilled within the next six adventures, i.e. adventures number 2 through 7.

Idk if there are any math nerds out here, but this has always confused me a bit. couldn't we just say there are (399/400) ways to not roll 2 20's then look at all the combinations for n number of rolls, so (399/400)^nth power. so when you take the log at .5 you end up with around n = 277.
Yes, that's the way it's done. log0.99750.5 = (log 0.5) (log 0.9975) = 276.912 approximately; since there are no fractional die rolls, round up to 277 after that long the chance is actually a tiny smidge more than 50:50.

Sullivan
2015-01-20, 10:23 PM
Thinking about this makes me think that the champion archetype in 5e might pose a problem with a 1/10 chance of criting at lv5. I might have to nip this one in the bud and make it clear that death dies can only happen on nat 20's and not any crit.

Hanuman
2015-01-21, 06:42 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVlIsUoQsjY

Nth power!