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Zhorn
2018-12-16, 12:14 AM
So I've played a few games with crit tables in the past, and while I like the concept in making combat more dangerous, most tables my DMs have used have been a bit too extreme for something with a 5%+ chance on each attack, essentially turning every weapon into a vorpal sword, even when the damage was actually capping out at 4d6+mod when put up against monsters with 100+ hp remaining, meanwhile someone scrapes through 10d10 damage with 1 hp remaining and they skip away without a care in the world because it wasn't from a crit.
So instead for setting up for my upcoming game, I wanted to do something with a modified amalgamation between Lingering Injuries and Massive Damage, while rolling crits will make the effects more likely, it's mostly the large damage number that is the sole trigger.

Sources:
Lingering Injuries (Dungeon Master's Guide p272)
Massive Damage (Dungeon Master's Guide p273)
Hit Dice by Size (Monster Manual p7)

My Thoughts:
- Additional effects are triggered by ANY damage from a single source being sufficiently big (not limited to attack rolls).
- All effect should be recoverable (ie: no one-hit-kills, that is what the damage is for).
- No saving throws to avoid the effect. The attack has already hit and the damage has been dealt.
- Keep injuries simple. Effects are constant, and not causing saving throws each turn.

Here's the table I'm currently leaning towards, compiled and edited from multiple sources:
If a creature takes and survives damage that equals or exceed their damage threshold, they are subjected to a d20 roll on the massive damage table (unless they are already subject to their own specific damage mechanic like the Hydra). If the damage type and the resulting roll don't logically pair, the Dungeon master can choose to overrule the roll to a more appropriate result.

Damage Thresholds
As an expression of a creature's size, toughness and general overall physicality; a creature's damage threshold is calculated via a combination of its Armor Class, Constitution Score, and one maximized Hit Die. In the case of multi-classed characters, the Hit Die is taken from the hit Hit Die size they have a majority of.

Damage Threshold = Hit Die (Maxed) + Armor Class + Constitution Score

Variant: Critical Wounds
If you still want critical hits to trigger a roll, I've arranged the table so the the less drastic results are in the 1-10 range.
If a creature is subjected to a critical hit, but the damage is otherwise under the damage threshold for the creature, then they are subjected to a d10 roll on the massive damage table. This roll is not used if the creature is being subjected to a roll triggered by massive damage.

Massive Damage Table
Roll Effect
1-4 Lucky
The creature survived the attack with no additional effects.
5-6 Grounded
The impact of the blow has rocked the creature off its bearings. The creature becomes prone (see prone condition).
7-8 Winded
A harsh blow leaves the creature with an injury they will still be feeling later. One of the creature's available hit die becomes inactive.
9 Ugly scar
The attack has left a disfiguring wound that will not heal properly naturally. Unless the creature is subjected to magical healing, they will have an ugly scar that imposes disadvantage on Persuasion checks, and advantage on Intimidation checks while it is visible.
10 Grievous Wound
A deep wound is causing the creature to bleed profusely. At the end of each of the creature's turns until it receives healing or medical attention to treat the wound, they take damage due to blood loss equal to one hit die of the creature's size.
11-12 Lose an eye
A wound to the eye has rendered it nearly unusable. They have disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and ability checks that rely on eyesight. If they have no eyes left, then they are blinded (see blinded condition).
This condition remains until the creature is restored to their hit point maximum or finishes a long rest.
If the creature's eye was already damaged, or the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the eye is lost completely instead.
13-14 Impaired
A severe strike to the head has left a lasting mental injury. They lose 1 point from one of their mental ability scores. Roll a d6. On a 1-2 it is Intelligence, on a 3-4 it is Wisdom, on a 5-6 it is Charisma.
If the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the penalty is 2 points from the ability score.
15-16 Crippling Injury
A serious physical injury has broken something inside the creature. They lose 1 points from one of their physical ability scores. Roll a d6. On a 1-2 it is Strength, on a 3-4 it is Dexterity, on a 5-6 it is Constitution.
If the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the penalty is 2 points from the ability score.
17-18 Maimed Limb
One of the creature's limbs (Dungeon Master's choice) has been injured to the point of being nearly unusable.
If it's a leg, they cannot walk without the help of another creature, a crutch or a peg leg, and their speed is halved. If it's an arm, they cannot use two handed weapons anymore, or hold anything in both hands.
This condition remains until the creature is restored to their hit point maximum.
If the creature's limb was already maimed, or the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the limb is lost completely instead.
19 Staggered
The cumulative damage is taking a toll on the creature's ability to function. The creature gains one level of exhaustion (see exhaustion condition), up to a maximum of exhaustion level 4.
If the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the creature is immediately elevated to exhaustion level 4.
20 System Shock
The creature has gone into system shock from the massive damage. If the damage was a result of a normal hit, the creature becomes stunned for one full round (see stunned condition).
If the massive damage was the result of a critical, then the creature falls unconscious (see unconscious condition). Unless the creature is subjected to any further damage, regains any hit points, or another creature spends an action to shake or slap the sleeper awake, they will remain unconscious for at least 1 minute up to at most 8 hours (Dungeon Master's choice).

Edit: the above rulings have been adjusted in accordance with information from this thread.

Still trying to work out a good damage threshold for this though (edit: mostly settled).
- Not a fan of thresholds based on max hp, as they can be brutal for low levels and impossible to touch for high level creatures.
- Remaining hp is also too swingy
- Static values lack the effect that a creature's physicality feels like it should have, and removes some lower level creatures from ever causing the types of risks they should reasonably be able to do.
- Should be a value reasonably quick to work out when looking at a creature's stat block.

Some ideas I've been toying with:
- Con score + Size value, Tiny-Medium (10), Large (20), Huge (30), Gargantuan (40). Doesn't vary much between creatures of similar size, ignores level/CR, but scales between sizes. Have small using the same number as Medium so halfing and gnome players are treated the same as the other player races, and the same for Tiny so at least every hit to them isn't a massive damage roll.
- 2x Hit Die (maxed) + Con score. Gives a similar spread to above, but gives a noticeable difference between tankier classes like Barbarians compared to squishy Wizards
- 1x Hit Die (maxed) + Con score + AC. Further distinction between creatures orientated towards taking damage vs those who void it, also give players some control over how to raise their damage thresholds.
(edit: see posts #8 and #9 for some worked out examples for context on the current choice)

Thoughts, ideas, constructive criticisms?

Zhorn
2018-12-16, 09:09 AM
Further musings:

As a way to keep attacks from low level creatures still carrying that extra risk factor, perhaps re-ordering the table to have the only the effects without a crit-component in the 1-10 slots, and have the more dangerous effects in the 11-20 slots. The idea being if a creature scores a critical hit, but the damage they roll is below the damage threshold, a d10 is rolled, with a d20 reserved for only when the damage threshold is met.
- Critical hit but below the threshold = knocked over, nasty scars, lose a hit die (a nasty tavern brawl)
- Regular damage above the threshold = concussions, cracked ribs, eye swollen shut, stunned (clubbed by a giant)
- Critical hit above the threshold = lost limb, severe exhaustion, loss of consciousness (mauled by a Tarrasque)
This could allow for the the damage threshold for players being reasonable to increase as part of character progression, while still keeping some of the risk factor for lower level creatures.

PhoenixPhyre
2018-12-16, 10:07 AM
There are tables and examples for exactly this in the DMG. Personally, I'm not so fond of such things (either crit cards or injury tables) as it slows down play and mostly only affects the PCs, but YMMV.

Icecaster
2018-12-16, 10:39 AM
This is a very cool idea! I've always liked the idea of using massive damage, but every time I go through the trouble of getting it from the DMG I end up dissatisfied with the results. This seems like a much better system.

As for the actual results, I don't really have that much to critique. For maimed limb, I would probably specify that a creature can still move prone (as that seems to be the implication), and for grievous wound, the "hit die of the creature's size" seems a little confusing. Does that mean that all Medium creatures use a d8 since that's the Medium hit die for monsters? Even a barbarian and a wizard? If so, I might explicitly say that, because size-based hit dice isn't technically a player mechanic RAW. I would also stipulate that a creature can stop bleeding off of a good enough Medicine check, otherwise if a party has no magical healer the character will die.

I can't decide between what constitutes a threshold either :smalleek: I like the idea of size factoring into it, though, because bigger creatures are tough. Players are hard, so I think to fine-tune it you'll probably just have to playtest it. Overall, very well put together and thought through

CardboardDragon
2018-12-16, 10:43 AM
Unless I'm missing something, it seems like only a few of these injuries have permanent effects, and the ones that do are major (permanent ability score loss, even just one point, is a big deal in my opinion). I guess that's not inherently wrong but it seems like the threat difference between the ability-loss injuries and all the other non-critical injuries is massive. Maybe to increase the threat of the other injury types, they could last through multiple long rests, require some kind of special magic to cure, or maybe behave like a disease where the victim must make saves at each long rest until, at a certain number of successful saves they recover (or it becomes permanent with a certain number of fails)? This probably violates your "keep injuries simple" principle, though, so I guess it wouldn't fit.

Another approach to alternate crit tables that a lot of people I know use, and which I've considered using in my own campaigns, is to have a chance of a long-lasting injury whenever a character is knocked unconscious. That bypasses the problem of unconsciousness becoming trivial when healing magic becomes involved - but it introduces a new bit of weirdness, which is that a character reduced to 1hp has no chance of suffering a long-lasting injury, but if that character then gets punched by an unarmed goblin they could end up with broken ribs that take weeks to heal.

Icecaster
2018-12-16, 12:19 PM
Unless I'm missing something, it seems like only a few of these injuries have permanent effects, and the ones that do are major (permanent ability score loss, even just one point, is a big deal in my opinion).

This is also true. Usually for cases when a score is reduced, as with the Shadow creature in MM, the ability score is restored at the end of the rest, but that's always stated with the source of the reduction. Otherwise, your best bet is greater restoration, which is something most parties don't have access to.

Zhorn
2018-12-16, 09:42 PM
There are tables and examples for exactly this in the DMG. Personally, I'm not so fond of such things (either crit cards or injury tables) as it slows down play and mostly only affects the PCs, but YMMV.

I have tried out the Lingering Injuries table in the DMG (p272), and used them as a jumping off point, but steered away from them as there were too many rolls, have a DC roll every time an action is taken. Hence trying to streamline it into "you've already taken the damage, here's your effect, it is constant till you fix it".
The System Shock table (DMG 273) is nice and straight forward, but the first two results with dropping the creature to 0 hp are too harsh, for both monsters and players. I kept one result as a creature being knocked out, but they retain their hitpoints, it at a much lower chance of happening, and it functions mechanically similar to a sleep spell.


for grievous wound, the "hit die of the creature's size" seems a little confusing. Does that mean that all Medium creatures use a d8 since that's the Medium hit die for monsters? Even a barbarian and a wizard? If so, I might explicitly say that, because size-based hit dice isn't technically a player mechanic RAW.

Yes, players would be d8's if they are medium size (MM p7, for those playing along at home). For monsters it is pretty easy considering their hit die is listed as part of their stat block. It's mostly thematic fluff, but I think of it like; for a larger creature it would take a more considerable would for bleed damage to matter, and for a smaller creature, anything larger than their hit die would be representing something more serious than bleeding heavily.
Also, by being size based, there is tactical advantage in reducing your size, and a risk involved in increasing you size if you are at risk of bleeding out.


I would also stipulate that a creature can stop bleeding off of a good enough Medicine check, otherwise if a party has no magical healer the character will die.
I fully agree that is viable. I tried to avoid stipulating "magical" healing or any specific method of recovery because it should be up to the players making an attempt and the DM saying if it works or not. I'd allow things like trying to cauterize the wound to stop the bleeding also.
But the intent of this wound IS that a creature would bleed out over time if the wound wasn't addressed in some manner, but unlike the automatic drop to 0 hp results in the DMG, the creature has some agency in addressing the issue (which is also why the bleed damage is at the end of the creatures turn, not the start).


seems like only a few of these injuries have permanent effects, and the ones that do are major
Yes, some are more long lasting than others. The intent is that at the very least ALL the injuries should matter beyond their initial hit, but how long they matter for comes down to player actions and DM fiat. "Lose an Eye" can be an eye swollen shut for the rest of the day, lost completely for several session, or it could be fixed with a single round of healing.

permanent ability score loss, even just one point, is a big deal in my opinion
As is the intent. Severed tendons, fractured bones, mental trauma are all serious and scary results of injury.

your best bet is greater restoration, which is something most parties don't have access to.
Yes again. Fixing these types of injuries should be tricky, but not impossible. If anyone has seen the Adventures League rules, they have a nifty spell services table where the gold costs for healing spells is:
(10 x [Spell Level]^2) + ([Consumed Materials] x 2)
Making a Greater restoration 450 gp (or just 100 gp worth of diamond dust is a character has an Acolyte background), or you could even use the healing as a reward for a side-quest.

Usually for cases when a score is reduced, as with the Shadow creature in MM, the ability score is restored at the end of the rest, but that's always stated with the source of the reduction
Can be, but not always. See the Intellect Devourer (MM p191), it can drop a creature's Intellect down to 0, but gives no information on how to restore it.
Again though, I didn't want to get too specific in the original post about how to resolve this, because not every game/setting/play-style is identical, and it should be up to the people involved to come up with solutions that work for their circumstances.


Maybe to increase the threat of the other injury types, they could last through multiple long rests, require some kind of special magic to cure, or maybe behave like a disease where the victim must make saves at each long rest until, at a certain number of successful saves they recover (or it becomes permanent with a certain number of fails)? This probably violates your "keep injuries simple" principle, though, so I guess it wouldn't fit.
By all means, tweak for your personal use however you like, but yes, adding in multiple saving throws or having a cumulative weightings to the table does make things too complicated to suit my intentions.

Zhorn
2018-12-18, 04:45 AM
So throwing around some numbers for the damage threshold, lets just set up some basic stats to select from to compare against. Using a few monsters of varied sizes and CR's directly out of the Monster Manual, along with a few bare bones character templates to compare those rulings to players.

Tiny
- Imp (MM 76p)
- Demilich (MM p48)
Small
- Cockatrice (MM p42)
Medium
- Orc (MM p246)
- Mindflayer (MM p222)
- Lich (MM p202)
PC's
- Level 1 Wizard with HP: 5, HD: d6's, Con Score: 12, Dex Score: 14, AC: 12
- Level 20 Wizard with HP: 119, HD: d6's, Con Score: 16, Dex Score: 16, AC: 13
- Level 1 Barbarian with HP: 15, HD: d12's, Con Score: 16, Dex Score: 14, AC: 15
- Level 20 Barbarian with HP: 224, HD: d12's, Con Score: 20, Dex Score: 16, AC: 18
Large
- Ogre (MM p237)
- Oni (MM p239)
Huge
- Hill Giant (MM p155)
- Adult Red Dragon (MM p98)
Gargantuan
- Roc (MM p260)
- Tarrasque (MM p286)

Half max hp as per Massive Damage RAW from DMG p273
- Imp: 5
- Demilich: 40
- Cockatrice: 13.5
- Orc: 7.5
- Mindflayer: 35.1
- Lich: 67.5
- Level 1 Wizard: 2.5
- Level 20 Wizard: 60.5
- Level 1 Barbarian: 7.5
- Level 20 Barbarian: 112
- Ogre: 29.5
- Oni: 55
- Hill Giant: 52.5
- Adult Red Dragon: 128
- Roc: 124
- Tarrasque: 338

Verdict: Swings too wildly between low and high

Con modifier x Hit Die No# (ie, level)
- Imp: 3
- Demilich: 0
- Cockatrice: 6
- Orc: 6
- Mindflayer: 13
- Lich: 54
- Level 1 Wizard: 1
- Level 20 Wizard: 60
- Level 1 Barbarian: 3
- Level 20 Barbarian: 100
- Ogre: 21
- Oni: 39
- Hill Giant: 40
- Adult Red Dragon: 133
- Roc: 80
- Tarrasque: 330

Verdict: Like the RAW version, there's a massive swing here, with even strong creatures like the demilich having a non-existent threshold.

Zhorn
2018-12-18, 04:46 AM
Con score + Size value
- Imp: 23
- Demilich: 20
- Cockatrice: 22
- Orc: 26
- Mindflayer: 22
- Lich: 26
- Level 1 Wizard: 22
- Level 20 Wizard: 26
- Level 1 Barbarian: 26
- Level 20 Barbarian: 30
- Ogre: 36
- Oni: 36
- Hill Giant: 49
- Adult Red Dragon: 55
- Roc: 60
- Tarrasque: 70

Verdict: Has a steady trend from small to big, varies a little withing the size brackets, but not by much. Divorcing from max hp and number of hit die removes most of the chaos.

2x Hit Die (maxed) + Con score
- Imp: 21
- Demilich: 18
- Cockatrice: 24
- Orc: 32
- Mindflayer: 28
- Lich: 32
- Level 1 Wizard: 24
- Level 20 Wizard: 28
- Level 1 Barbarian: 40
- Level 20 Barbarian: 44
- Ogre: 36
- Oni: 36
- Hill Giant: 43
- Adult Red Dragon: 49
- Roc: 60
- Tarrasque: 70

Verdict: Similar variance between sizes to the previous, but hit die becomes king.

1x Hit Die (maxed) + Con score + AC
- Imp: 30
- Demilich: 34
- Cockatrice: 29
- Orc: 36
- Mindflayer: 35
- Lich: 41
- Level 1 Wizard: 29
- Level 20 Wizard: 35
- Level 1 Barbarian: 43
- Level 20 Barbarian: 50
- Ogre: 37
- Oni: 42
- Hill Giant: 44
- Adult Red Dragon: 56
- Roc: 55
- Tarrasque: 75

Verdict: I'm thinking the is the way to go. Damage threshold is consistently 'big' while not being ridiculously out of range, and has enough variable factors to allow characters to have a decent level of control to actively increase their threshold.

Anyone have some further suggested formula to go by? Simple math is preferred as to be able to work out at a glance.

JNAProductions
2018-12-18, 10:44 AM
Why would AC take part in the calculation?

Zhorn
2018-12-18, 08:25 PM
Why would AC take part in the calculation?
mechanically?
1 - it is a variable number that all creatures have. Even an unarmored player has a base AC of 10, which worked well for one of my earlier formulas.
2 - It has a nice and steady upwards trend, where bigger and stronger creatures tend to have more of it, but not growing at a ridiculous rate.
4 - It is divorced from Level and HP, so if you want to stack more HP onto a creature, it doesn't feed back into the damage threshold (which was a chaotic element of the RAW system)
5 - It is not putting all eggs in one basket. Look at the Demilich as an example; a CR 18 monster, basing it off CON and HD alone yielded too low a number.
6 - It is a controllable number, so player characters have a thing they can actively utilize.

Thematically?
7 - It felt like something that would contribute to a creature's physicality.
8 - It doesn't just represent Hit or Miss with attacks, but also glancing blows, rolling with the punches, tougher hides, etc
9 - Two wizards get hit with a lot of damage, one uses Mage Armor and Shield spells, they other doesn't, but both still took the damage. Even getting hurt, it would make more sense the one with the protection spell should be able to handle more damage before a Lingering Injury was triggered.

Ultimately, I like the curve it produced and the steady rate it increased from a sufficiently high starting point.