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Thelion
2007-06-25, 10:29 AM
I was recently having a discussion with my girlfriend about critical hits, since I still think crits should be more than just an improved amount of damage. When a monster hits a PC (or the PC hits the monster) it seems logical enough to me he damages his opponent for the rest of the combat.

For example: the group fighter smashes his warhammer on the hand of an ogre so hard, the ogre has some trouble using this hand to counterattack and gets a -2 penalty on attack rolls, until someone heals it with a spell or a heal check (I don't know anything about that yet, it's just a thought at the moment)

or

A giant hurls a rock at a PC which causes the PC's foot to break (or something like that). The PC, until healed, gets a penalty on movement to represent the problems with his broken bodypart.

I don't know what you think of this, but it seems usable to me. Does anybody has some thoughts about this point?

Lord Zentei
2007-06-25, 10:34 AM
As long as they don't bog down gameplay and as long as the players are OK with the idea that such rules can work both ways, then more realistic critical effects are just fine.

There are already rules for conditions such as "stunned" and suchlike, as well as the rules for "symbol of pain" that can be used.

Miraqariftsky
2007-06-25, 10:36 AM
I see now flaw in your logic.

Skyserpent
2007-06-25, 10:41 AM
the Gamemastery Critical Hit Deck is exactly what you're talking about. Whenever you crit with a weapon, you get to draw, the card has a different listing for each damage type so we have things like:

Eye-Patch for you! Your opponent takes a -4 to spot and search checks and bleeds for 1d3 rounds. Until healed.

or

Tendon Slash: Your opponent takes a -10ft to his movement until healed.

Things like that... it's really fun!

CrazedGoblin
2007-06-25, 10:41 AM
isent that runequest, where you can target body parts??

Miraqariftsky
2007-06-25, 10:44 AM
Bah. Just let either the DM or the player get creative with the descriptions of the hit.

For the player--- hey, it's a critical! Grant him/her some leeway: let him/her say where s/he hits the opponent.

For the DM--- it's a critical, darn it! Time to break out the guts and gore, eh?

Thelion
2007-06-25, 10:56 AM
the Gamemastery Critical Hit Deck is exactly what you're talking about. Whenever you crit with a weapon, you get to draw, the card has a different listing for each damage type so we have things like:

Eye-Patch for you! Your opponent takes a -4 to spot and search checks and bleeds for 1d3 rounds. Until healed.

or

Tendon Slash: Your opponent takes a -10ft to his movement until healed.

Things like that... it's really fun!


Exactly, this is the stuff I was looking for! What is this Gamemastery Critical Deck exactly?

sikyon
2007-06-25, 11:58 AM
It seems to me that whatever sort of damage you do to an opponent should cause some sort of "injury". Ie. if I hit you in the foot, I really don't think that's a critical. If I stab you through the heart, on the other hand...

Basically, considering the hit point system if I smack you full out with a greatsword you should die or be crippled, no matter where I hit you. No human can survive that. But you're not human, you have class levels! Thus, it doesn't even slow you down.

martyboy74
2007-06-25, 12:06 PM
It seems to me that whatever sort of damage you do to an opponent should cause some sort of "injury". Ie. if I hit you in the foot, I really don't think that's a critical. If I stab you through the heart, on the other hand...

Basically, considering the hit point system if I smack you full out with a greatsword you should die or be crippled, no matter where I hit you. No human can survive that. But you're not human, you have class levels! Thus, it doesn't even slow you down.

If its a spell-storing Greatsword, and it contains Slow, and you fail your save it does. :smalltongue:

goat
2007-06-25, 12:11 PM
Exactly, this is the stuff I was looking for! What is this Gamemastery Critical Deck exactly?

It's as he said, a deck of cards. Rather than (or along with) double damage, you draw a card and apply the relevent effect based on your damage type.

warty goblin
2007-06-25, 12:33 PM
While this is in principle a fun idea, it has one nasty side effect, namely it works against the PCs in the long run, because powerful random effects always, over the long run, favor the NPCs, since there are an essentially infinite number of them (aka, however many the DM creates).

Also, you get some strange inversions of the way things normally work, such as this:

Player encounter giant flaming demon.
Player 1) Let's kill it!
Player 2) OK!
(Player 1 rolls and crits)
Player 1) OK, so I was powerattacking with my greataxe and with my strength bonus that's... 31 damage and I rolled a "painful hit to elbow" on the crit chart, so demon boy's got -4 to attacks next round.
Player 2) I missed it with my first attack, but my second is a hit for 15.
DM) OK, the demon recoils from your attacks, clutching its elbow in pain and howling like a thousand bloody-tongued hounds. But it quickly recovers and attacks Player 1
(DM rolls, its a crit, rolls on crit table for giant flaming demon weapons, get's "infernal rotting gut wound")
DM: OK, the demon's huge claw leaves an infernal rotting gut wound in your...uh... gut. You take 40 damage and you loose 3 HP/round until healed
Player 3) Don't worry, I'll fix you up again! (heals player 1)
Player 4) I attack with a ray of frost (hits for some damage)
Player 1) OK, my turn again, I'm gonna smear this infernal rotting gut wound dude! (hits)
Player 2) I'm by your side Thork my barbarian friend! I attack and...yes! A crit! And I got "Disable a limb" That demon's missing an arm now baby!
DM) The Demon keels over dead.



Players encounter 250 CR 1/2 goblins with bows:
Player 1) Let's get 'em!
Player 2) OK!
(they quickly kill about fifty of the goblins)
DM) The rest of the goblins fire. Let's see, that's 1/20 of two hundred...that's ten cricital hits...split four ways is let's say 2 each with the remaining two on the fighter and barbarian cause they're in front
(The DM looks up "bow criticals" on his crit table, rolls ten times)
DM) OK, wizard, you have an arrow through your hand, you need to make a concentration check to cast any spell with a somatic componant. Oh, and you take -5 to the roll as well. The other arrow hit you in the foot, that's -5 speed until healed. Cleric, you got a punctured lung, you can't run and take a -2 penalty on attack rolls. Also, speaking is now a move action because its so difficult now. Another arrow is stuck in your leg, no running, charging or five foot steps. Fighter, you've got two arrows in your bicep, that's -4 attack and -2 damage and you can't power attack. Also, you took an arrow to the forehead which fortunately failed to pierce your exceptionally thick skull, but you are blinded by the blood, so everything more than 10 feet away has concealment. Barbarian, you've got an arrow in each foot, so you really can't move more then five feet around...yes I'll let you add your bonus speed to that, so 15 feet a round. That last arrow, yeah, let's just say that its a "family planning" arrow and leave it as that...
Player 1) Let's run for it!
Player 3) I can't run!
Player 1) Then let's hobble for it!
Player 2) OK!

In short, massed weak enemies become far more dangerous than before, while single enemies end up at an even greater disadvantage against the multiple PCs.

Peregrine
2007-06-25, 12:57 PM
The called shot system in The Quintessential Fighter (Mongoose Publishing), which I've been known to recommend in the past, basically covers this. A normal critical hit is a body blow. You can forgo the extra damage to cause other kinds of injury.

It's OGC, so I can post details here... later, when I've got time.

Matthew
2007-06-25, 01:12 PM
Yep, running called shots in a similar manner to criticals is generally the best way to do it. Have to look into that book.

Human Paragon 3
2007-06-25, 01:52 PM
I was considering a character while back that relied on called shots to body parts. The idea was an evil ranger whose code prevents him from killing any living creature, so instead he chops off their arms and/or legs and lets nature take its course. Unfortunately there were no rules in DnD for such a thing, so I shelved the idea indefinately.

herrhauptmann
2007-06-25, 02:00 PM
Used a critical hit/fumble table once.
If a critical hit is a really good hit, what about a fumble. Should make those even worse.
It ended when the barbarian fumbled against teh goblin, and ended up killing his monk friend with a decapitation.

Matthew
2007-06-25, 02:03 PM
Sounds like a badly thought out system. That's the thing, Critical Hits, Called Shots and Fumbles are not inherently bad ideas, but they have to be carefully balanced when introduced to any game or they will unbalance it.

herrhauptmann
2007-06-25, 02:09 PM
It wasn't too bad, the percentages for hitting a nearby square with your attack was like 5% or something. Then determine which square you hit. Next roll to see the ac you hit. (He crit'ed.) Consult the chart again. 2%: Neck.

We decided not to use it. Though it was funny, it sucks to die on the first action of the first round of combat, at the hand of an ally.

Skjaldbakka
2007-06-25, 03:15 PM
In short, massed weak enemies become far more dangerous than before, while single enemies end up at an even greater disadvantage against the multiple PCs.

but if you are really annoyed at the fact that high level PCs absolutely crush armies, there you go . . .


I have problems with fumbles though, because they penalize being high level (the more you attack, the more often you fumble, ergo, level 20 fighter fumbles every 4rnds- WTF).

Seffbasilisk
2007-06-25, 03:18 PM
but if you are really annoyed at the fact that high level PCs absolutely crush armies, there you go . . .


I have problems with fumbles though, because they penalize being high level (the more you attack, the more often you fumble, ergo, level 20 fighter fumbles every 4rnds- WTF).

Additionally it explains why kingdoms and such would still emply armies instead of 6-10 high level PCs.

Spiryt
2007-06-25, 03:40 PM
Additionally it explains why kingdoms and such would still emply armies instead of 6-10 high level PCs.

You know i never understand why armies should be made from 1rst level guys.

Standard, pretty valuable troops could be level 3, veterans 5. Elite troops 5-7.

Militias, levy's, called to arms should be 1rst.

Skjaldbakka
2007-06-25, 03:44 PM
I tend to stat most veteran troops at 2-3rd level NPC, non-coms at 2-3rd level PC, and officers as either aristocrats or higher level PCs.


Of course, I also use leadership trees to make armies, but they form a much smaller core of loyal troops. The rest are low level hired mercenaries.

TSGames
2007-06-25, 04:10 PM
I was recently having a discussion with my girlfriend about critical hits, since I still think crits should be more than just an improved amount of damage. When a monster hits a PC (or the PC hits the monster) it seems logical enough to me he damages his opponent for the rest of the combat.

For example: the group fighter smashes his warhammer on the hand of an ogre so hard, the ogre has some trouble using this hand to counterattack and gets a -2 penalty on attack rolls, until someone heals it with a spell or a heal check (I don't know anything about that yet, it's just a thought at the moment)

or

A giant hurls a rock at a PC which causes the PC's foot to break (or something like that). The PC, until healed, gets a penalty on movement to represent the problems with his broken bodypart.

I don't know what you think of this, but it seems usable to me. Does anybody has some thoughts about this point?
This sounds a lot like the book Torn Asunder:Critical Hits, by Bastion Press. This uses a critical hit variant that allows the scorer of the critical hit to damage a random body part of the receiver of the hit or even do other effects such as making the opponent drop his weapon. It sounds, to me, like this is exactly what you are describing. However, it is very hard to find, and I believe it may be out of print, so try to borrow it from a good friend. (I would never, however, suggest that you should go onto irc.enerla.net to a certain channel #RPGBOOKZ and download it for "backup purposes")

Miles Invictus
2007-06-25, 09:59 PM
Here's an idea for a variant:

Trade critical damage multipliers for ability damage. A 2x weapon now does 2 ability damage on a critical, a 3x weapon does 4, a 4x weapon does 6, and so on. Roll 1d6 to see which stat gets damaged, or let the attacker choose -- whichever works.

Anyone want to give it a try?

Matthew
2007-06-25, 10:09 PM
You know i never understand why armies should be made from 1rst level guys.

Standard, pretty valuable troops could be level 3, veterans 5. Elite troops 5-7.

Militias, levy's, called to arms should be 1rst.
Probably because, according to the DMG, the overwhelming majority of the NPC population is level 1-5, with the huge majority being level 1-2. A quick look at the DMG's Demography section pretty much clears things up.

Peregrine
2007-06-26, 10:00 AM
As promised, here's the called shot rules from Mongoose's The Quintessential Fighter, summarised and clarified by me. This is Open Game Content (http://www.giantitp.com/OGC.html) with the following copyright:


Open game content from The Quintessential Fighter Copyright 2001, Mongoose Publishing.

Called shots in four easy steps:
1. Score a critical threat against an enemy.
2. Declare your called shot (i.e. what your target is).
3. Make another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the first.
4. If this hits, apply normal damage plus the called shot effect. If it misses, apply only normal damage.

(Called shots are thus just like critical hits, except that you apply a certain effect instead of multiplying damage.)

Called shots can only be made with melee attacks, and only against creatures vulnerable to critical hits. The effect of a called shot can be negated by any cure spell or a Heal check (DC 15).

Each called shot areas has a certain Base Attack Bonus required to target it, a certain effect, and a duration for the effect.

Arm: Can only target an arm not wearing a shield. Causes target to drop anything carried by that arm. Deals 1d4 extra damage. -4 circumstance penalty to all checks and attack rolls made with that arm. Duration is 1d6 rounds. Minimum BAB is +2.

Eye: Deals 1d6 extra damage. -4 circumstance penalty to all attack rolls, Dex-based checks and Ref saves. -10ft base speed. A second called shot to the eye causes blindness (presumably this is written for two-eyed creatures). Duration is 1d6 hours, after which the target must make a Fort save (DC 15) in order to regain eyesight. Otherwise the eye is permanently blinded, requiring a regeneration spell or similar to heal. Minimum BAB is +10.

Groin: Staggers target. Duration is 1d6 rounds. Minimum BAB is +2. No mention of target's gender.

Head: Stuns target. Deals 1d4 extra damage. Duration 1d4 rounds. Minimum BAB is +8.

Leg: Deals 1d4 extra damage. Halves base speed. -4 circumstance penalty to Climb, Jump, Swim. Duration is 1d6 rounds. Minimum BAB is +2.

Truwar
2007-06-26, 10:48 AM
It seems to me that whatever sort of damage you do to an opponent should cause some sort of "injury". Ie. if I hit you in the foot, I really don't think that's a critical. If I stab you through the heart, on the other hand...

Basically, considering the hit point system if I smack you full out with a greatsword you should die or be crippled, no matter where I hit you. No human can survive that. But you're not human, you have class levels! Thus, it doesn't even slow you down.

Hit Points do not necessarily represent the amount of brute damage your body can absorb. It is more a combination of luck and resilience. I am guessing that even if you have the Hit Points to take a hit from that storm giantís huge two-handed sword, it does not mean he can chop you over the head with it and you will hop right back up. You Hit Points represent your characters ability to stay in a fight and are not really a raw representation of the amount of abuse your body can absorb, that is why you get more as your skill (aka level) increases.



Used a critical hit/fumble table once.
If a critical hit is a really good hit, what about a fumble. Should make those even worse.
It ended when the barbarian fumbled against teh goblin, and ended up killing his monk friend with a decapitation.

The thing to remember about criticals is that heroes fight a LOT of enemies. Sure it is cool to roll a good crit and chop that goblinís head of, but eventually some lucky kobold is going to put a crossbow bolt through your ear.


Trade critical damage multipliers for ability damage. A 2x weapon now does 2 ability damage on a critical, a 3x weapon does 4, a 4x weapon does 6, and so on. Roll 1d6 to see which stat gets damaged, or let the attacker choose -- whichever works.

Now THAT is a good D&D variant. Simple to implement and nicely representative of wounding. You could even come up with a branch of feats that allow you to choose which stat you want to damage.

Matthew
2007-06-27, 07:35 PM
Thanks for posting that up Peregrine - interesting stuff. Called Shots to the Head are a bit monstrous, Dazed effect might have been a bit better than Stun, I think, but I suppose the BAB requirement balances it out somewhat.

Raum
2007-06-27, 08:38 PM
The group I usually play with uses the Torn Asunder critical rules. Frankly, I detest it. Not because the Torn Asunder rules are bad but because d20 isn't built for called shots and location based criticals. D&D is abstracted and changing the abstraction for combat affects too many things. Mechanically, you'll also need to address how you heal criticals (there's no spell short of Heal that heals a torn ligament) and how the critical affect game balance.

Game balance is what bothers me the most. Criticals as location based debuffs hurt melee combatants more than any other PC role. In effect, it's a nerf to fighters, rogues, monks, etc.

Matthew
2007-06-27, 08:42 PM
It certainly has it's moments, but D&D combat is actually a combination of totally abstract and very precise. Disarming Attempts, Movement Speed and other elements are worryingly precise for an abstract combat system. All the same, whilst I agree that Called Shots are a potentially unbalancing mechanic and can break suspension of disbelief, I do still rather like them... in moderation.

Corolinth
2007-06-27, 08:48 PM
Ahhh, lovely 2nd edition rules that went by the wayside when WoTC published 3rd edition. Called shots and critical hits that did things beyond raw damage. I kind of wish a lot of that stuff hadn't been dropped out.

Raum
2007-06-27, 08:54 PM
So do the friends I'm gaming with. :)

For that matter, I don't object to called shots and location based damage, I object to the affect it has on combat classes. I've seen our two hand, power attacking fighter made entirely irrelevant to the combat by a critical. On the positive side, called shots to hand or mouth can disable casters as well. But since many pure casters avoid personal combat, it's functionally a nerf to melee combatants.

Matthew
2007-06-27, 09:12 PM
Yeah, it's a hard one to keep 'balanced', much like the much hated 'fumble'. I guess I like the variety it adds to combat options. Usually it's not very overpowered in our games, at most similar to a Disarm or Trip, but Head Shots have the potential for the Dazed or Staggered effect, sometimes even Stun or Unconscious. Always a work in progress, though.

On the other hand, when Called Shots result in -10 moments the description is already there...

I always remember the MERP Critical Hit/Location Charts. Those were hilarious and absolutely deadly (and usually morbidly funny)

Steelwraith
2007-06-27, 09:27 PM
Critical hit (and miss) tables can be alot of fun, but like others here have explained there can be issues.

First, I would try to keep the tables vague, so that the DM has room to fudge. If the chart says 'you hit your closest ally in the neck for maximum damage' there's not a heck of a lot the DM can do... but if it says 'you hit an ally' then the DM can possibly direct the damage to an ally who isn't badly hurt, or fudge the damage dice, or take into account other factors that the table couldn't.

Second, if you're planning to have the party wade through hundreds of weak critters, I would suggest a rule stating that if you need a 20 to hit, you can't crit. Another option would be to make players immune to crits... after all, they're heroes, not fodder. Of course, the same might apply to certain opponents as well...

Lastly, make sure the tables make sense. Having that rogue backstab the guard, critting, and rolling foot for location is pretty absurd... unless of course the rogue meant to do that.

Matthew
2007-06-27, 09:33 PM
Hmmn, the chances of scoring two 20s in a row are pretty low anyway, but I kind of agree. I think we used to House Rule in (A)D&D that if you needed 21 to Hit than your Character could not score a Critical hit.