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Akisa
2008-08-20, 11:04 PM
I was wondering has anyone starting to lower their requirements and are considering joining campaigns they would have otherwise avoid? Prior to the announcement of 4E I avoid the following like they were the plague; roll for attributes, fumbles and DMs who take nerf bats to classes (even if I'm not in the mood to play em).

Now I'm considering joining games were you roll for attributes. The reason I avoided in the past because there is usually power gaps between players (someone with high stats and other with low). Also you can't decide what type of character you want to play until after you roll your stats. For example let's say you want to play a monk but instead roll a 18, 11, 10, 12, 9, 11 now you can't play a monk instead you're forced to play a SAD.

As for DMs who love the nerf bat I'm still slightly avoiding but I'm starting to be more receptive. The reason for avoiding them is that I'm afraid of a controlling DM aka a conductor. Sure there are some games imbalances but players and GM should be working together. Please note I said I'm afraid and not saying it's 100% certain.

As for fumbling I'm still steadfast against them.

P.S. Invade if for reason you can't tell I'm ranting because 4E is taking away potential player pool.

FMArthur
2008-08-20, 11:41 PM
Fumbles are not for serious campaigns. At all. It's hilarious if D&D is just a small part of what is essentially a social gathering. I've had more than one well-built character kill himself with a sword swing in each scenario (one was a critical hit, one was an auto-kill!).

skywalker
2008-08-20, 11:45 PM
:smallconfused:
I don't understand why 4e is causing you to do this?

Myatar_Panwar
2008-08-21, 12:19 AM
I think that she is trying to say that 4e is lowering her expectations as to what to expect in a game of D&D.

And why can't fumbles be involved in "serious" campains. In fact, how do you define a "serious" campain? Im curious.

(no I don't use fumbles, but I think it could be a funny addition)

Dhavaer
2008-08-21, 12:20 AM
:smallconfused:
I don't understand why 4e is causing you to do this?

Me neither. Also, is this for 3.x games in particular?

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-21, 12:32 AM
And why can't fumbles be involved in "serious" campains. In fact, how do you define a "serious" campain? Im curious.

Go figure. BRP (the system behind Call of Cthulhu, Elric!, and RuneQuest - all games as serious as you can get) includes them by default.

The OP is a great non-sequitur, though.

thegurullamen
2008-08-21, 01:31 AM
I read it as a scarcity of 3.x games leading to a forced tolerance of the unwanted characteristics.

If that's the case, then no, nothing much has changed for me, but then again, I've been in an RPG dry spell since May.

Behold_the_Void
2008-08-21, 03:36 AM
Bah, gotta agree with the fumble thing. I can't stand fumbles on a 1. It just doesn't strike me as particularly heroic. At all. Or even marginally sensible.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 03:53 AM
Bah, gotta agree with the fumble thing. I can't stand fumbles on a 1. It just doesn't strike me as particularly heroic. At all. Or even marginally sensible.

I used to think the same, but then I tried, experimentally, swinging a stick around. For some reason, no matter what I did, I managed to beat myself over the head with it, stumble and fall, or fling it far away about 1 out of every 20 swings. It's a good thing I rolled a 1 on damage that time I hit myself, or I might have wound up at negative hit points and dying.

Talic
2008-08-21, 04:14 AM
Bah, gotta agree with the fumble thing. I can't stand fumbles on a 1. It just doesn't strike me as particularly heroic. At all. Or even marginally sensible.

Because there are no heroic tales where the gun jams at the worst possible moment, or someone stumbles on a rock (cough cough Troy cough cough).

NPCMook
2008-08-21, 04:18 AM
My current DM has decided to do this, and we are running a 4e adventure, some of the players rolled stats while 3 of us chose to buy stats because we wanted a real feel for the new system. The DM not only brought in a fumble chart, but brought in 3.5 Critical cards, so each time someone rolls a Crit, we have to stop determine what type of damage it is, depending on the weapon it can take several minutes since the player using a sword might debate on whether to say he's slashing or piercing.

Sure it adds a little flare, emphasis on little, to the game, but having half the party scrounge around because the other half kept rolling 1's while the DM kept hitting Nat20's. We had 1 character death, and the wizard was out for almost the entire fight thanks to him fumbling on an Icy Ray. The Character death wasn't that bad and in fact great timing since that player would no longer be joining us due to school starting again.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 04:18 AM
Because there are no heroic tales where the gun jams at the worst possible moment, or someone stumbles on a rock (cough cough Troy cough cough).

Exactly. And if you haven't noticed, it always happens no less than 5% of the time, too. Like you've probably noticed that you'll never see Zorro get through 20 sword swings without tripping and falling flat on his face or something.

Tengu_temp
2008-08-21, 04:24 AM
And one out of twenty torpedoes shot by Enterprise explodes while still in the tube.

Talic
2008-08-21, 04:25 AM
Exactly. And if you haven't noticed, it always happens no less than 5% of the time, too. Like you've probably noticed that you'll never see Zorro get through 20 sword swings without tripping and falling flat on his face or something.

Your sarcasm fails to impress.

The typical method for doing it in D&D (at least, the book method) requires a roll of 1 on the attack, FOLLOWED by a DC 5 dex check.

Now, particulary agile characters can catch themselves most of the time, and the REALLY quick ones can do it all the time, but the average person has about a 1% chance of fumbling.

Someone with a 14-15 dex? about a 0.5%.

So, if you figure that Mr. Hector had a 16 dex (0.25% chance of fumble), he'd make some sort of slip up on a 1 in 400 chance.

It should almost never be "hit yourself" unless the weapon is something like nunchucks.

But self disarms? Slipping and going to a knee (high ground bonus to opponent), load-and-fire weapon jamming? All within the bounds of common sense, and you'll even find that they can serve to increase dramatic tension, often as not.

So yeah, the blatant sarcasm? Not doing anything for your cause, and pretty much only coming off as disrespectful to those you talk to. It would have been at least forgivable, however, if you'd bothered to actually portray the mechanic you're ridiculing as if you knew it well enough to make an informed judgement on it.

Frownbear
2008-08-21, 04:31 AM
So yeah, the blatant sarcasm? Not doing anything for your cause, and pretty much only coming off as disrespectful to those you talk to.

I think it's charming and witty, myself.

kamikasei
2008-08-21, 04:35 AM
It should almost never be "hit yourself" unless the weapon is something like nunchucks.

I think this is how many people think of fumbles, though. The ridiculous scenarios whereby you can roll a one and chuck your sword at an ally or cut off your own leg.

ghost_warlock
2008-08-21, 04:36 AM
Your sarcasm fails to impress.

The typical method for doing it in D&D (at least, the book method) requires a roll of 1 on the attack, FOLLOWED by a DC 5 dex check.

I've never heard of this method. The only way I've ever seen fumbles done in D&D was "Oops, nat1, I guess you're screwed."

Frownbear
2008-08-21, 04:37 AM
Anyway, fumbles affect high-level characters more than low-level ones (a high-level TWFer might fumble every other round!), and slow down gameplay (and do 3.5 turns need to be any slower?!). I'm against them.

Talic
2008-08-21, 04:40 AM
I think it's charming and witty, myself. I generally consider the difference between wit and buffoonery to lie in knowledge of the subject matter.

Anyway, fumbles affect high-level characters more than low-level ones (a high-level TWFer might fumble every other round!), and slow down gameplay (and do 3.5 turns need to be any slower?!). I'm against them.A high level TWFer needs an increasingly high dex to have his TWF feats. This lowers his odds, and eventually gets rid of them.

I've never heard of this method. The only way I've ever seen fumbles done in D&D was "Oops, nat1, I guess you're screwed."
I suggest consulting your DMG more closely for the specific alternate rule, in that case.

ghost_warlock
2008-08-21, 05:01 AM
suggest consulting your DMG more closely for the specific alternate rule, in that case.

Which edition D&D? I have Basic, 2nd ed, 3.0, 3.5, and 4th.

Talic
2008-08-21, 05:16 AM
Which edition D&D? I have Basic, 2nd ed, 3.0, 3.5, and 4th.

The one I'm specifically referencing is 3.5.

I mean really people, the mechanic works almost exactly like scroll mishap chances...

Or is that "not heroic" also?

I mean, trail rations aren't exactly "heroic", nor is the PC or BBEG getting hit by the triple 20 insta kill rule, or crafting alchemist's fire.

Not everything has to be comprised of epic win.

Heroes still eat, sleep, and go to the latrine.

Zid
2008-08-21, 05:28 AM
Heroes still eat, sleep, and go to the latrine.

Preach it, brother! On the other hand, Ive always liked the more "low-heroic" games. Games where five goblins with pointy sticks are still a challenge to a PC if he has to fight them alone.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 05:31 AM
The typical method for doing it in D&D (at least, the book method) requires a roll of 1 on the attack, FOLLOWED by a DC 5 dex check.


It would have been at least forgivable, however, if you'd bothered to actually portray the mechanic you're ridiculing as if you knew it well enough to make an informed judgement on it.

Oh, you mean the variant rule mentioned briefly on page 28 of the 3.5e DMG, wherein if you roll a one, you make a DC 10 Dexterity check to avoid a fumble?

Yes, I admit, I never noticed that variant rule before. Frankly, like ghost warlock, I've never seen any DM use fumbles in any fashion but "oops, natural 1; you hit yourself in the foot," and certainly I've never seen one use that optional rule, which apparently you haven't either if you saw it being applied as a DC 5 check.

Okay, so in the hands of all three DMs who use that variant fumble rule as written, the average person (Dex 10) fumbles one out of every 40 swings, meaning dragons accidentally bite themselves or claw their own wings off 2.5 percent of the time. The rest of the time, it's one in 20. Is that really a terribly important distinction?

Tengu_temp
2008-08-21, 05:32 AM
triple 20 insta kill rule

Isn't this an optional rule that isn't even official, just widely-used? It also works against the players, too, because it means every blow at the character has a 1/8000 chance of one-shotting it. If you got attacked 5500 times during your career, there's a 50% chance one of those attacks one-shotted you. Even if most of these attacks were pinecones falling from trees at your head.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 05:34 AM
Isn't this an optional rule that isn't even official, just widely-used? It also works against the players, too, because it means every blow at the character has a 1/8000 chance of one-shotting it. If you got attacked 5500 times during your career, there's a 50% chance one of those attacks one-shotted you. Even if most of these attacks were pinecones falling from trees at your head.

This made me laugh so hard, I'm tempted to add it to my signature. :smalltongue:

Frownbear
2008-08-21, 05:44 AM
I mean, trail rations aren't exactly "heroic", nor is the PC or BBEG getting hit by the triple 20 insta kill rule, or crafting alchemist's fire.

You're right, they're not.
The triple-20 house rule is a bad hous erule. I'd never make PCs track trail rations.

Talic
2008-08-21, 05:49 AM
Oh, you mean the variant rule mentioned briefly on page 28 of the 3.5e DMG, wherein if you roll a one, you make a DC 10 Dexterity check to avoid a fumble?

Yes, I admit, I never noticed that variant rule before. Frankly, like ghost warlock, I've never seen any DM use fumbles in any fashion but "oops, natural 1; you hit yourself in the foot," and certainly I've never seen one use that optional rule, which apparently you haven't either if you saw it being applied as a DC 5 check.

Okay, so in the hands of all three DMs who use that variant fumble rule as written, the average person (Dex 10) fumbles one out of every 40 swings, meaning dragons accidentally bite themselves or claw their own wings off 2.5 percent of the time. The rest of the time, it's one in 20. Is that really a terribly important distinction?

Depends. Those fumble rules do certainly leave a bit open to what a fumble entails, and are generally for experienced GMs. For example. It's rather difficult to hit yourself, unless you're using a weapon easy to lose control of... Such as, say, nunchucks, a flail, a spiked chain, or the like.

However, in armor, it's very possible for a joint in the armor to lock up (auto-miss as normal, future attacks with that arm have a -1 penalty, until you take a move action to unstick it).

If people have been wounded, it's quite possible to slip on blood (drop to 1 knee, opponents get high ground advantage until you take a move action to stand).

Crossbow? Jams. Unusable until you reload it, per the crossbow's reload time.

Dragon? Misses, enemy, over-reached. Treat as entangled for 1 round.


The "oh, you miss, you hit yourself" is probably the least imaginative answer for a rule that CALLS for imagination, and making stuff up.

As for the correction? I'd say missing an entire step is a great deal more severe than getting a detail of the step incorrect. And yes, it does make a difference, especially when you keep fumble effects largely minor. In that case, they can add flavor and tension when they happen.

Frownbear
2008-08-21, 05:57 AM
Because what third edition needs is more things to track!

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-21, 06:21 AM
Exactly. And if you haven't noticed, it always happens no less than 5% of the time, too. Like you've probably noticed that you'll never see Zorro get through 20 sword swings without tripping and falling flat on his face or something.

Man, sarcasm is one thing, but now you're messing with statistics.

Even with 50 repetitions, you've still got an 8% chance or so to not get a single nat 1.

In games like GURPS and BRP, the odds of fumbling tend to be 1% to 5%, and older RQ versions, for instance, have fumble tables - drop your weapon, helmet slips on your eyes, etc.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 06:32 AM
Man, sarcasm is one thing, but now you're messing with statistics.

A statistician is a person who will stick his head in a freezer and his feet in an oven and tell you that, on the whole, he's perfectly fine. :smalltongue:


Even with 50 repetitions, you've still got an 8% chance or so to not get a single nat 1.

I wonder what the odds are of actually rolling 50 consecutive 1s? :smallbiggrin:

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-21, 06:48 AM
A statistician is a person who will stick his head in a freezer and his feet in an oven and tell you that, on the whole, he's perfectly fine. :smalltongue:

A statistician is the person who knows what 5% actually means.


I wonder what the odds are of actually rolling 50 consecutive 1s?

Math is not that hard. It's 0.05^50., or 1 divided by 20 fifty times. (Same as any other specific string of 50 numbers on a d20.)

OneFamiliarFace
2008-08-21, 06:59 AM
Can't we all just agree that in an average of 20 swings of his sword, Zorro would trip, fall, die, stab himself in the face, or otherwise fumble? He swings his sword all the time (constantly...i mean, the dude is swingin his sword when no one is around), so one should generally be able to make out a pattern of him having a roughly 5% of such a mishap.

Also, I don't use fumbles because I consider a miss to be a 'fumble' whenever a player whiffs completely. It doesn't mean that he suffers any penalty other than missing, but the flavor is that he missed due to a bit of bad luck or the general swirlings of combat (such as blood on the ground, distracting swords coming at you, and your equipment briefly malfunctioning).

Fumbles do happen in heroic action, but only when they are crucial to driving the plot/action forward. If we are using that notion, then the DM should choose when equipment malfunctions or some particularly nasty event of random mischance happens to a player. The player won't be happy, but neither will he be when he sees that Nat-1 (and/or subsequent failing of a DC 10 Dex roll apparently).

quillbreaker
2008-08-21, 07:10 AM
I was in a game where when you rolled a 1, you dropped your sword. Every time. It got to the point where everyone carried 5 of their weapon and took quickdraw.

The only critical miss rule I ever liked for 3/3.5 was, "roll again and see if you miss (confirm the fumble), and if you do, you provoke an attack of opportunity." It lowers the odds of a fumble against difficult targets and abstracts away all of the sword dropping helmet slipping foot stabbing nonsense into 'you briefly allow an opening the enemy takes advantage of', which is what all that meant anyway.".

Akisa
2008-08-21, 07:54 AM
You see the problem with fumbles is that the higher level you are the more likely you are going to fumble. The reason being is because the level 20 fighter is going to make more attack rolls then level 1 fighter. So in essence the higher level you are and more experienced you are the more likely you're going to fumble. When a fighter attacks he's not just swinging 1 or 5 times, the attack rolls only represent a chance to hit.

And we kinda seem to gone off topic...

Tengu_temp
2008-08-21, 08:02 AM
My requirements sure have lowered - from impossible to meet (a game simply being non-4e DND was enough for me to pass) to high.

Telonius
2008-08-21, 08:15 AM
I've only ever seen fumbles used on Skill checks in which the character has less than five ranks. There's usually a little more comedy potential with skill checks. And highly-trained characters shouldn't need to worry about mistaking a Unicorn for a Purple Worm.

Beginner Wizard: (fumbles Know Arcana) Hmm, now that Red Dragon is immune to cold, but quite vulnerable to fire.
Bard: (makes the check) Er ... actually, I'm pretty sure you have that backwards...
Beginner Wizard: Nonsense! What would an unschooled buffoon like you know about such things?

Rogue: (fumbles Appraise) Why, no, this doesn't seem like costume jewelry at all! Looks like the real thing to me.
Merchant: And it can be yours for only 500 gold!
Rogue: Sold!

Barbarian: (fumbles Diplomacy) (passes gas loudly during the negotiations)

As for dice rolls, I actually like the element of chance there. If the roll is that terrible (as per the DMG rules) there will be a reroll. But I've ended up with a low-ish score without feeling too bad about myself for the rest of the campaign.

Myatar_Panwar
2008-08-21, 09:11 AM
Geez, maybe I shoulden't have asked. It seems to have de-railed the orginial disc- oh wait...

As for Fumbles, I don't think I would ever put in something as rediculous as hitting yourself everytime.

I would rather make a chart where the player rolls a d100, a 1-50 would result only in a miss, then it would continue to increase in harmfulness and hillarity, ending with hitting yourself in the face with a crit on a 100.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-21, 09:34 AM
And we kinda seem to gone off topic...

That'd probably be because your original post was an indecipherable non-sequitur... It did, however, include your objection to fumbles.

Incidentally, here (http://www.soltakss.com/fumbles.html) is all the proof you need that fumbles make a game way, way more fun.


Derak the Dark Troll was engaged in melee with a berserk Great Troll with four arms and two Crushed Mauls when Derak fumbled his attack, hitting himself in the abdomen and taking himself down. The Great Troll now had two attacks at 500% or so and laughed as he swung his maul, fumbled and hit himself in the abdomen, falling beside Derak. Who says life is fair.


Two rival Wind Lords were riding into battle when one of them swung his Bastard Sword and chopped off his mount's head. After a good half hour of mickey taking from the player of the other Wind Lord, play resumed and the other Wind Lord duly fumbled and chopped off his horse's head. Revenge is sweet.

Maybe they're more hilarious for a RuneQuester, but that **** can not be beat.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 02:38 PM
Incidentally, here (http://www.soltakss.com/fumbles.html) is all the proof you need that fumbles make a game way, way more fun.

Well, they're proof that critical fumbles can be good in a comedy campaign ... and they can be. If you're running a totally tongue-in-cheek, slapstick, off-the-wall game, then people flinging their swords and punching themselves in the face can fit right into it. If you're trying to run a serious campaign, though, or if there's humor, but it's not that kind of humor, such antics can really detract from the mood as well as make players feel anything but heroic.

Some more benign versions of fumbling (like the one mentioned with a second roll to confirm the fumble, and then you grant an attack of opportunity) aren't so bad. Personally, I just think it's an unnecessary mechanic that's extra work without really adding anything valuable.

KillianHawkeye
2008-08-21, 03:43 PM
All within the bounds of common sense, ...

I believe I have found the flaw in your logic.

Repeat after me:
We are playing D&D. Realism and common sense have no place here.

NEO|Phyte
2008-08-21, 03:48 PM
I've heard one story where a fumble table thing ended up causing some greatly epic stuff.

Can't remember much of the details, but the player was knowingly and willfully engaged in a fight he had no chance of winning, against some sort of warlord fellow. He was on his last legs, and had basically one more chance to attack. He fumbled, confirmed with a 1, and confirmed THAT with a 1. DM gives the classic "sucks for you" grin, and rolls on the fumble table.

"Character and adjacent target die."

LordOkubo
2008-08-21, 04:08 PM
Heroes still eat, sleep, and go to the latrine.

Lies, Lies, and more Lies.

All the best heros do none of those. That's right, outsiders sir. And if you aren't an Outsider, then you better be an Elan/Warforge/Cleric/Druid and be able to avoid most if not all of those.

Friv
2008-08-21, 04:18 PM
I was in a game where when you rolled a 1, you dropped your sword. Every time. It got to the point where everyone carried 5 of their weapon and took quickdraw.

The only critical miss rule I ever liked for 3/3.5 was, "roll again and see if you miss (confirm the fumble), and if you do, you provoke an attack of opportunity." It lowers the odds of a fumble against difficult targets and abstracts away all of the sword dropping helmet slipping foot stabbing nonsense into 'you briefly allow an opening the enemy takes advantage of', which is what all that meant anyway.".

That was roughly how we did it in our D&D games. If you rolled a natural 1, you made a second roll. If the second roll was a failure, then you fumbled.

Like a critical threat, but for bad things. In such a case, Zorro would only fumble, like, one in a hundred times, and he's badass enough to generally recover from it fine. ;)

Yakk
2008-08-21, 04:36 PM
A statistician is a person who will stick his head in a freezer and his feet in an oven and tell you that, on the whole, he's perfectly fine. :smalltongue:
A good statistician will tell you they are in a decidedly unnormal situation, with lots of variance and kurtosis. The first moment is not all of the information.

I wonder what the odds are of actually rolling 50 consecutive 1s? :smallbiggrin:
100%, on a d1.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 05:18 PM
100%, on a d1.

Okay, now describe what a d1 looks like, bearing in mind it clearly cannot have even two sides. :smallbiggrin:

LordOkubo
2008-08-21, 05:18 PM
Okay, now describe what a d1 looks like, bearing in mind it clearly cannot have even two sides. :smallbiggrin:

That would be a marble.

The New Bruceski
2008-08-21, 05:29 PM
That would be a marble.

It's cocked! Reroll!

hotel_papa
2008-08-21, 05:44 PM
In my game, we started with each successive critical threat rolled (the rapier confirms a possible critical with a roll of 18-20) allowing +1 to the multiplier. Ergo, series of rolls with a keen rapier (that all hit) of 16, 15, 17, 19 and confirm with a 13 would be a X5 multiplier. Made things interesting.

Natural ones would provoke attacks of opportunity. Flat out. Also made things interesting. No complaints so far.

With my recent purchase of the Dragon Compendium, I introduced the crit/fumble tables, which got a generally good reception, as a replacement to the previously mentioned rules. They are pretty reasonable and balanced, in my opinion. I'd recommend looking them up.

However, as for the origional post: Is this because no one you know will play a 3.5 game anymore? Or is it that these balance issues (especially the power curve created by stat-rolling) are resolved by 4E? I'm not sure what you're getting at.

HP


PS Back in the old days, a friend of mine had a 1-ball (from pool) in his great big tupperware bucket of dice. It was the d1. We rolled it for size small shurikens.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 05:55 PM
DM: Okay, roll your attack roll on the d1.

Player: But I ...

DM: No arguments!

Player: *sighs and rolls* I got a 1.

DM: Another critical fumble!

Tadanori Oyama
2008-08-21, 06:02 PM
I've found some awesome new players since 4e. It's been nothing but uphill for me so far, especailly now that we're all streamlining the new system. My brothers both found good groups too.

One of them found a bad group so that makes 1 in 4. So, not so bad on my end of the world so far.

LordOkubo
2008-08-21, 06:18 PM
I've found some awesome new players since 4e. It's been nothing but uphill for me so far, especailly now that we're all streamlining the new system. My brothers both found good groups too.

One of them found a bad group so that makes 1 in 4. So, not so bad on my end of the world so far.

But you are playing 4E.

Are people who like 4e so hypnotized that they seriously can't figure out when people don't like it?

Seriously, I'm not even remotely confused by the original poster. But half the people in this thread can't seem to understand that she doesn't want to play 4e.

Tadanori Oyama
2008-08-21, 06:28 PM
Are people who like 4e so hypnotized that they seriously can't figure out when people don't like it?

Chill hater :smallbiggrin:. Just a misunderstanding, no need to be upset.

I'm planning 4e, my brothers aren't. Two of the good and the one bad group where 3e.

Little_Rudo
2008-08-21, 06:30 PM
To be fair, the OP didn't exactly say why she's lowered her standards for her games (presumably 3.5, but she doesn't say) since 4E started. I mean, has 3.5 tainted people's views and caused all DMs to lower quality? Are there less 3.5 games to choose from? Is she actually talking about 4E games and doesn't like the quality of 4E games? That part of the post seems unclear to me.

Knaight
2008-08-21, 07:31 PM
As for Fumbles, I don't think I would ever put in something as rediculous as hitting yourself everytime.

Its fun in some skill systems, with combat skills. The fudge system, for instance, where you can roll negative, has a word scale. You can move down it. By default a poor simply misses, even if the other target is defending even worse. You can extend that into something like terrible being a stumble, or armor locking up, or possibly even getting a weapon stuck somewhere. Abysmal could be more severe stuff, such as falling flat on your face, dropping your weapon and your enemy picking it up, you managing to disarm yourself of a shield. And once you hit subabysmal(an 1/81 chance for an untrained swordsman who's used a sword for fun a few times), then you hit yourself. Although certain weapons would be easier to hit yourself with. And zorro never hits himself, he's at least great, meaning no fumbles.

And the original poster has a kind of random post anyways. Granted, it basically comes down to I hate fourth edition, so I will now play third edition games with stupid rules, but I don't see how fourth edition affected things at all. I know it didn't affect me at all, I talked about it a bit on message boards, but it pretty much came out, I looked at it, some of my players didn't and our game continued on as usual. Although it wasn't D&D in the first place, which may have something to do with it.

Dhavaer
2008-08-21, 07:49 PM
To be fair, the OP didn't exactly say why she's lowered her standards for her games (presumably 3.5, but she doesn't say) since 4E started. I mean, has 3.5 tainted people's views and caused all DMs to lower quality? Are there less 3.5 games to choose from? Is she actually talking about 4E games and doesn't like the quality of 4E games? That part of the post seems unclear to me.

I only play here, pbp, but I've noticed a lot more 3.5 games, and even more freeform games, starting since 4e came out. There haven't been more than a handful 4e games.

Tsotha-lanti
2008-08-21, 09:44 PM
Well, they're proof that critical fumbles can be good in a comedy campaign ... and they can be. If you're running a totally tongue-in-cheek, slapstick, off-the-wall game, then people flinging their swords and punching themselves in the face can fit right into it. If you're trying to run a serious campaign, though, or if there's humor, but it's not that kind of humor, such antics can really detract from the mood as well as make players feel anything but heroic.

Any RuneQuest player (including, I imagine, Simon Phipp, whose campaigns - like the one featuring Derak - were immense political and mythological affairs) would definitely disagree.

If your players can't have a laugh now and then, it's got to be some unfunny game.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-21, 09:57 PM
Any RuneQuest player (including, I imagine, Simon Phipp, whose campaigns - like the one featuring Derak - were immense political and mythological affairs) would definitely disagree.

If your players can't have a laugh now and then, it's got to be some unfunny game.

Well, they can disagree if they want, but it's meaningless to disagree with an objectively factual thing:

In many types of games, slapstick critical fumble antics simply don't belong. I've played in the types of silly games where they fit perfectly, but I've also played in some that would have been as disrupted by them as they would have been by the sudden introduction of a "Carebear Stare" attack.

The New Bruceski
2008-08-21, 10:08 PM
Well, they can disagree if they want, but it's meaningless to disagree with an objectively factual thing:

In many types of games, slapstick critical fumble antics simply don't belong. I've played in the types of silly games where they fit perfectly, but I've also played in some that would have been as disrupted by them as they would have been by the sudden introduction of a "Carebear Stare" attack.

Ok, next time things get too tense in my game tomorrow, I'm going to try and say "I use Care Bear Stare at the orc" with a perfectly straight face.

Akisa
2008-08-21, 10:49 PM
A serious game could be funny by if it doesn't disrupt the mood of the game. A mage casting a grease spell through a wand by mistake when they're trying to figure out the effect of wand and thus causing the fighter to slip and fall. Then there also in character jokes that doesn't make them less non heoric.

skywalker
2008-08-21, 10:58 PM
Are people who like 4e so hypnotized that they seriously can't figure out when people don't like it?

It's fairly obvious she doesn't like 4e. Rhetoric, strangely, is unaffected by syntax, etc. But what else she's saying isn't very clear. I think, in the case of this board, we don't care if you don't like 4e. If you make a post saying "I don't like 4e," we say: "Okay, so what? We don't really care." We need more content, and it looks like the content is there, but not parse-able.


I was in a game where when you rolled a 1, you dropped your sword. Every time. It got to the point where everyone carried 5 of their weapon and took quickdraw.

I can do you one better. I played in a campaign for a long time where the rule was, if you roll a 1, roll to confirm. If you beat your opponent's AC, you have no problems. However, if you miss on the confirmation, the DM rolls a d6. On a 1-4, you drop your weapon. On a 5-6, you hurt yourself. Any rule that has players hoping to hurt themselves is probably not a very good rule...

Aquillion
2008-08-22, 12:30 AM
The one I'm specifically referencing is 3.5.

I mean really people, the mechanic works almost exactly like scroll mishap chances...

Or is that "not heroic" also?
The difference is that you're not supposed to be using items via UMD or above your CL during every single encounter; it's an exceptional, difficult action where the mishap chance is added to give a sense of drama and danger to invoking powers that are otherwise beyond your ability. Yes, when a hero draws on powers beyond their ability, it's not that odd for them to occasionally fail catastrophically.

Catastrophically failing to swing your sword at the goblin standing right next to you, though, is stupid. It doesn't add drama (nor should there be an effort to add additional drama to swinging your sword at a goblin), because any way you look at it these are still your regular everyday attacks; it just makes you look like a buffoon who can't preform what are, in game/setting terms, typical everyday actions without tripping over yourself.

Likewise, from a game-mechanical standpoint, anything that adds more layers of rolls to combat is a serious burden on play and should only be worth considering if it adds something major to the game. What do fumbles add to the game? It's like making the players roll every time they wake up to avoid suffering an aneurysm and dying. It's stupid and pointless, no matter how low the chance is.


DM: Okay, roll your attack roll on the d1.

Player: But I ...

DM: No arguments!

Player: *sighs and rolls* I got a 1.

DM: Another critical fumble! That's an unfair strawman!

They also get to roll the d1 a second time to try and avoid the fumble. Don't forget that part. :smalltongue:

LordOkubo
2008-08-22, 08:58 AM
It's fairly obvious she doesn't like 4e. Rhetoric, strangely, is unaffected by syntax, etc. But what else she's saying isn't very clear. I think, in the case of this board, we don't care if you don't like 4e. If you make a post saying "I don't like 4e," we say: "Okay, so what? We don't really care." We need more content, and it looks like the content is there, but not parse-able.

Funny, I thought the way that half the posters were asking whether or not she liked 4e was evidence that they didn't know that she didn't like it.
{Scrubbed}

Kurald Galain
2008-08-22, 11:55 AM
The problem lies not in "including fumbles", but in people who believe that a fumble should result in you stabbing yourself in the face with your own sword.

"You rolled a 1, something bad happens" is a workable rule for any campaign, even a serious one; "you rolled a 1 so you just killed yourself" is obviously not.

Saph
2008-08-22, 12:44 PM
The problem lies not in "including fumbles", but in people who believe that a fumble should result in you stabbing yourself in the face with your own sword.

"You rolled a 1, something bad happens" is a workable rule for any campaign, even a serious one; "you rolled a 1 so you just killed yourself" is obviously not.

Exactly. This is such a silly strawman I'm surprised at the number of people using it. The standard result of a fumble in a RPG is 'something bad happens'. It is NOT 'you stab yourself and die'. The times I've used fumbles, if the PCs fail the confirmation roll the result is something along the lines of 'fall over' or 'provoke an AoO'.

And if you think that falling over or messing up in an attack exchange 1 time in 40 is ridiculous, or unrealistic, well . . . try it sometime. :P

- Saph

Viruzzo
2008-08-22, 12:59 PM
I too agree to this, I personally love ruling "ambiental" fumbles, i.e. what you do depends on the situation. You fumble when shooting an arrow with an ally in line of fire? Maybe you hit him... You fumble when trying to hit an enemy on a cliff? He let you run through...

LordOkubo
2008-08-22, 01:43 PM
Funny, I thought the way that half the posters were asking whether or not she liked 4e was evidence that they didn't know that she didn't like it.
{Scrubbed}

Since apparently my statement was misinterpreted and removed, I will try this again.

Why would you use the loaded word rhetoric for here single statement about 4e? It seems designed to imply that she is an unthinking fool parroting talking points, despite the fact that all she said was, "Prior to the announcement of 4E I avoid..."

In no way is this rhetoric against 4e, in fact, none of the mentioned problems are even in 4e.

Aquillion
2008-08-22, 02:39 PM
Hehehe. This line of discussion reminds me of the old Ars Magica 3rd edition critical fumble tables. Geez, those were nasty. If you rolled enough ones in a row under the game's cascading failure system thingy, you could not only shatter your weapon and instantly kill yourself (automatically, in a game where the dead can never come back to life) by embedding the tip in your spine, but then thrash around madly in your death-throes and attack your nearest ally with your dying breath.

But anyway, all that brings up another issue with fumbles: It requires semi-regular DM calls in the middle of battle. That isn't a good thing, in my book -- as a DM, I have enough on my mind without suddenly being put on the spot to decide what an appropriate fumble is, with no guidance, while I'm also busy trying to decide how the monsters should be trying to kill the players.

I don't have anything against things that call for DM judgment, but it should be reserved for important things, things that benefit from a personal touch and are worth spending time on -- the DM shouldn't have to adjudicate the effects of individual combat rolls or random, arbitrary events. (Obviously, the Ars Magica critical table is not a good alternative for D&D; I was just bringing it up because it's funny.)


And if you think that falling over or messing up in an attack exchange 1 time in 40 is ridiculous, or unrealistic, well . . . try it sometime. :PIt's not that it's unrealistic, it's that it doesn't add anything to the game. Should the DM roll for stomach upset and assign the players morale penalties if he feels their tummies are not nummy enough today? Should characters in higher age categories have to roll to see when their arthritis is acting up, and when it isn't? Those would be realistic, too, but they don't add anything to the game.

Neither do fumbles. "Suddenly, the villain stubs his toe on a rock" isn't dramatic, it's anticlimactic.

And your justification ("well, the effect is too small to really matter") actually makes it worse... much worse. If the effect is too small to really matter, why waste all those dice roles, require the DM to use fiat on a semi-regular basis, and add all this other pointlessly stupid complexity to the game for a system that isn't going to have much effect? If the effect is large enough to matter... do you really think it'd be a good thing for fights to be decided, one way or the other, by a single critical fumble? For it to be a major determining factor?

These are some seriously clunky rules you're talking about at this point:

Whenever a player rolls a 1 -- one out of every twenty attacks, for players who could be making five or more attacks each at higher levels -- you have to glance at their stats and make another roll, unrelated to anything else in the normal combat sequence. Then, based on that, the DM -- do you use a fumble table, by the way? Or does the DM just pull it out of their hat? -- well, either way, the DM pauses the game for a moment and decides how badly he should hurt the players this time, either with only vague guidance or by consulting yet another table. If it involves an attack of opportunity like you suggested, this can make things even more complicated -- it's another time when you have to stop and recall who's used their attack of opportunities so far, then they have to roll for attack and damage (what if they fumble their attack of opportunity? Can that happen? Does the person who originally fumbled get an attack of opportunity back?)

All of this massively complicates a core part of combat, something that should be as simple and streamlined as possible (optimally, roll two fists of dice.) It's already complicated enough as it is, with criticals and existing attacks of opportunities and all that rot -- why would you want to add more on top of that, slowing the already-bog-slow combat even further?

I would say that anything that adds more dice rolls to the core combat mechanic should have some very high payoff to be worth it. This doesn't seem to have any real payoff at all. What does it offer that criticals don't?

Saph
2008-08-22, 03:59 PM
Semi-regular DM calls in the middle of combat don't bother me, personally. I think the game's usually more fun with a bit of variety.

As for why they're in there . . . well, like you say, they're realistic. You might not think it 'dramatic' for a monster to die through slipping and falling, but an awful lot of battles in real life are decided by exactly that. For some people, a battle where nothing ever goes wrong and no-one ever falls over or drops or jams his weapon is less dramatic, not more.

I don't always use fumble rules, but I think they help to simulate the chaos and panic of combat (which miniatures and a battlemat don't, by default, do very well).

- Saph

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-22, 04:47 PM
As for why they're in there . . . well, like you say, they're realistic.

No they aren't.

If they were, one in twenty times (or one in 40 or so times, if you like) in an Olypmic fencing competition, the match would be decided when one fencer tripped and fell flat or struck his or her own foot while fencing epee. Olypmic fencers don't look like that when they fence, probably because they look ... I don't know ... skilled.

Apparently much more skilled than 20th-level 3.5e fighters.

Saph
2008-08-22, 05:12 PM
No they aren't.

If they were, one in twenty times (or one in 40 or so times, if you like)

Remember the bit about confirmation rolls? If you're using the DC 10 Dex check, a level 20 4e fighter will never fumble.

Anyway, have you ever fenced? Fencing on a high-grip piste in bright lights with an umpire is very different from a fight underground by torchlight with blood and tripping hazards all over the floor. Tell two fencers to have a bout in that and you'll see some falls soon enough.

- Saph

Uin
2008-08-22, 05:13 PM
Isn't this an optional rule that isn't even official, just widely-used? It also works against the players, too, because it means every blow at the character has a 1/8000 chance of one-shotting it. If you got attacked 5500 times during your career, there's a 50% chance one of those attacks one-shotted you. Even if most of these attacks were pinecones falling from trees at your head.

While we're on the subject, this happened to Crusader 4 the other week, with a bloody kobald. Keep getting a feeling its slightly higher odds than random, ToB n'all.

Edit: Clarify, double kobald crit I should say, I thought it was in the racial features kobalds can't do that

Frosty
2008-08-22, 05:15 PM
That's one I never do lucky kills like that. Ever.

Shazzbaa
2008-08-22, 06:23 PM
Exactly. This is such a silly strawman I'm surprised at the number of people using it. The standard result of a fumble in a RPG is 'something bad happens'. It is NOT 'you stab yourself and die'. The times I've used fumbles, if the PCs fail the confirmation roll the result is something along the lines of 'fall over' or 'provoke an AoO'.

It's not so much a strawman if it really does get used. There seems to be an issue where the Anti-fumbles people are being accused of taking fumbles to an extreme that any sensible DM would never do... while the Pro-fumbles people are sometimes coming across as saying "If the DM uses it well, it works," a thought which... pretty much goes without saying for any rule, and doesn't justify fumbles rules.
It seems to be primarily a semantics issue, where some people think "fumbles" means "natural 1 you drop your sword or do something stupid," while others hear "fumbles" and think "something different and bad happens when you roll a 1." Thus statements like "Fumbles have no place in a serious campaign" can be simultaneously right and wrong depending on which definition you're operating on.

I'd think this is one thing that hugely depends on the group. If a player groans when he fumbles and complains of how stupid it is that he dropped his sword again, they may be a bad fit for your group. If the players get excited about what's going to happen this time and talk for the next week about how epic that one fumble was, they're probably a good fit.

I've never played under a strict fumbles system of any kind (it was always just "nat. 1 means you don't get the rest of your attacks," not any sort of DM decision), though in one of the games, a fumble would result in something bad happening in a dangerous scenario. So, fumbling on a bow wouldn't always snap your bowstring or shoot a friend in the eye, but you might shoot an ally if one of them might be in the way of a wayward arrow. You won't necessarily drop your sword or chop your legs off, and maybe nothing happens at all on a natural one, unless you're fighting in really close quarter with an ally right beside you that might get hit on a wild swing.

Basically, that a natural 1 won't necessarily do something, but if you're already doing something risky it'll go a lot worse than normal.

That said, the ideas presented in this Ars Ludi article (http://arsludi.lamemage.com/index.php/65/learn-to-explain-failure/) strike me as pretty spot-on to how I feel as a player in regards to a character's failure. A bit of a tangent (off of our tangent), but it seems relevant to the "I want to feel like a hero" attitude.

Saph
2008-08-22, 06:42 PM
It's not so much a strawman if it really does get used. There seems to be an issue where the Anti-fumbles people are being accused of taking fumbles to an extreme that any sensible DM would never do... while the Pro-fumbles people are sometimes coming across as saying "If the DM uses it well, it works," a thought which... pretty much goes without saying for any rule, and doesn't justify fumbles rules.

Well, yes, but "if the DM uses it badly, it doesn't work" also goes without saying for any rule.

I think it really comes down to your relationship with your DM; if you feel that your DM is out to get you, then you're going to hate fumble rules. On the other hand, if you basically trust the DM to make the game fun, you're more likely to be okay with them.

As an example, in our Star Wars game we regularly do 'knockbacks' for any hit that's sufficiently powerful. If the combat droid hits a PC for 40ish damage and drops them to zero in one shot, they don't just fall down, they get thrown back twenty feet through the transparisteel window, fall into the adjacent office in a shower of glass, and disappear behind the desk. It's not anywhere in the rules, but the players never complain at the GM for doing it; they think it's more fun. We don't use fumble rules in that game, but that's because when you're chucking explosives and firing heavy blaster weapons that can melt buildings, a simple miss is dangerous enough already. :) (Oh, and I agree, the Ars Ludi article's a good one.)

- Saph

Aquillion
2008-08-23, 08:36 AM
Semi-regular DM calls in the middle of combat don't bother me, personally. I think the game's usually more fun with a bit of variety.

As for why they're in there . . . well, like you say, they're realistic. You might not think it 'dramatic' for a monster to die through slipping and falling, but an awful lot of battles in real life are decided by exactly that. For some people, a battle where nothing ever goes wrong and no-one ever falls over or drops or jams his weapon is less dramatic, not more.

I don't always use fumble rules, but I think they help to simulate the chaos and panic of combat (which miniatures and a battlemat don't, by default, do very well).

- SaphBut why use fumble rules and not detailed wound penalties, or extensive bleeding rules, or infection rates for injuries?

The D&D combat system is inherently unrealistic; that's a given. There's practically nothing realistic about it. It's designed to run battles in a smooth, streamlined manner; even if it doesn't always do this as well as it could, I can't see anything you're suggesting here that could reasonably be considered worth grafting another Frankenstein component to its already-bloated form.

The fumble rules are just really, really, really badly designed. They make the combat system even more incoherent, regularly sending combat resolution into yet another sort of roll, using other dice and statistics; that's appalling design. At least critical resolution has the decency to use another hit roll, so you can easily do it without breaking stride from what you're doing already; suddenly calling for a dex check in the middle of combat is a bad thing to make part of the core system.

Occasionally, sure, when you're fighting on the rickety rope bridge or whatever... but regularly? No.


Semi-regular DM calls in the middle of combat don't bother me, personally. I think the game's usually more fun with a bit of variety.I love variety, too. But both the DM and the group only have so much time, and I would rather see variety put into meaningful things -- things the DM planned as a coherent part of the world, things that work together in the larger system -- rather than suddenly getting sidetracked into detailed maneuver-resolution and trying to determine where every limb/weapon is at all times just to satisfy OCD.

Why do you want a fumble system that differs so greatly from the critical system, anyway? What's the advantage to breaking the symmetry and sequence of the game and making the rules even more incoherent -- why do you feel the DM should have to pause the game to determine the outcome of every fumble, and not the outcome of every critical? Why is it a dex check to avoid fumbles, but a second attack roll to confirm criticals?

Tyrrell
2008-08-23, 09:13 AM
Hehehe. This line of discussion reminds me of the old Ars Magica 3rd edition critical fumble tables. Geez, those were nasty. If you rolled enough ones in a row under the game's cascading failure system thingy, you could not only shatter your weapon and instantly kill yourself (automatically, in a game where the dead can never come back to life) by embedding the tip in your spine, but then thrash around madly in your death-throes and attack your nearest ally with your dying breath.
I believe that you've got Ars Magica mixed up with Rolemaster. Ars Magica's fumbles didn't cascade , relied on you rolling 0's and were (are) largely determined by "DM" fiat rather than tables.

Not to imply that this changes your point. It doesn't

Starshade
2008-08-23, 11:12 AM
No they aren't.

If they were, one in twenty times (or one in 40 or so times, if you like) in an Olypmic fencing competition, the match would be decided when one fencer tripped and fell flat or struck his or her own foot while fencing epee. Olypmic fencers don't look like that when they fence, probably because they look ... I don't know ... skilled.

Apparently much more skilled than 20th-level 3.5e fighters.

I agree.
Sounds like the first time i tried sparring against another guy in Karate more than an olympic level, imho.

I stood, tried a kick, did a crescent kick, oponent parried with his elbow, my foot felt like i had broken some bones, and i walked with a limp for the rest of that week(didnt break anything, just felt bad).
Later attemts, i had accidents as getting a hurt rib, got a hit to a arm's nerve(that put me out for months, arm felt quite bad :smallannoyed: ), and the novice accident of getting punched in stomach with it relaxed(and loosing breath). :smallbiggrin:

Fumble in 1 in 20-40 times, is not Olympic performance, its like if some of us was fighting in platemail from a horse, swinging weaponry and fighting real Orcs or Kobolds.

ZekeArgo
2008-08-23, 11:36 AM
Fumble in 1 in 20-40 times, is not Olympic performance, its like if some of us was fighting in platemail from a horse, swinging weaponry and fighting real Orcs or Kobolds.

Um, so your example is that fumble rules are good at showing what happens when a novice faces someone above his skill level?

So... in a system that has characters starting off as at least trained experts in their field, what is the point in this?

Yahzi
2008-08-23, 12:06 PM
Why would you use the loaded word rhetoric
The word was not loaded in the context in which he used it. He was simply distinguishing between content and form, as in "rhetoric" vs. "grammer."

Aquillion
2008-08-23, 12:13 PM
I believe that you've got Ars Magica mixed up with Rolemaster. Ars Magica's fumbles didn't cascade , relied on you rolling 0's and were (are) largely determined by "DM" fiat rather than tables.

Not to imply that this changes your point. It doesn'tMaybe in the latest edition? I played the 3rd edition (the WotC one -- I believe they published it before they got D&D, and its writers went on to use several things from its edition when making D&D's 3rd edition) and I have the rulebook right in front of me. When you botch in combat, you roll a stress die on the Combat Botch Result Table (using Ars Magica's d10), which means 1's are rerolled and doubled. The 80+ result (requiring at least four 1's in a row, of course) is:


You flail wildly with your weapon and miss your opponent completely. Out of control, you tumble towards your nearest ally. Collapsing upon his weapon, your skull is smashed, and your weapon simultaneously crashes down upon your friend.And then it goes on to tell how you roll your final attack (ever) against your friend, with his defense at a penalty due to surprise.

Actually, looking at the table, any result of 56+ kills you instantly (64 ends with the lovely "You die horribly. Your friends mourn.")

Even a result of 24 on a soak botch incapacitates you immediately and leaves you dying if you don't get immediate assistance, and anything above that cripples you permanently. Of course, Ars Magica was supposed to be extremely deadly; part of the point of this is to help keep wizards out of combat and ensure that nearly all the fighting is done by expendable grunts (which is the way it's supposed to work in that system.)

Saph
2008-08-23, 05:54 PM
Why do you want a fumble system that differs so greatly from the critical system, anyway? What's the advantage to breaking the symmetry and sequence of the game and making the rules even more incoherent -- why do you feel the DM should have to pause the game to determine the outcome of every fumble, and not the outcome of every critical? Why is it a dex check to avoid fumbles, but a second attack roll to confirm criticals?

You've worked yourself up into such a rhetorical fever here that I'm not sure how to answer beyond shrugging and saying "so don't use them". My games aren't particularly 'incoherent' or 'bloated', so I don't think most of what you're saying is really all that applicable.

- Saph

Kompera
2008-08-23, 08:00 PM
A statistician is a person who will stick his head in a freezer and his feet in an oven and tell you that, on the whole, he's perfectly fine. :smalltongue:
Heh, reminds me of a former coworker. We worked for MCI, and AOL was always pushing us to improve the performance of any pop site which was under the average performance level. He would infuriate them by saying things like "Half of our pop site are always going to be under the average. That's what 'average' means."
I never figured out if he was deliberately misunderstanding their intent or not.


I don't care for fumbles. The last game I played in which used them was AD&D, and the GM used a roll of '1' on the D20 attack die to indicate that he would make one or more rolls and refer to some chart he found somewhere. The Illusionist ended up with both legs crippled (slowed movement) and after about the third time we faced the challenge of swarms of lower than 1 HD monsters the Fighter refused to use his ability to take multiple attacks, since at 5th level he got 5 swings per round and ended up fumbling in each of those combats. No amount of discussion about the ridiculousness of that statistical probability would sway the GM into reconsidering his fumble rules. The Fighter stopped playing. So did I. Neither of us for that reason alone, but it outlines the overall rigidity of thought of the GM.

The system Talic described would be less awful, since the odds would be lower than a flat 5% chance per attack roll. But it still begs the question of why a caster should be immune to fumbling her spells when a martial character has to accept that risk.

It also adds extra rolls, and in the end doesn't add any value. Who wants to die because of their own bad roll on an attack? It's bad enough to die because the opponent kills you, you shouldn't have to worry about killing yourself, killing a friend, being killed by a friend, or even giving some advantage to the opponent, such as with ye olde "you drop your sword".

I dislike criticals for similar reasons, plus statistics. It's typical in my D&D games for the players to fight against a numerically superior force. With a straight up critical on a 20 the enemy will get more criticals than the players, simply because there are more of them and they will roll more attacks overall. If a critical is a crowning moment of heroics, then it's counter-intuitive that the foes of the players should enjoy more crowning moments of heroics.

Kiara LeSabre
2008-08-24, 12:12 AM
Remember the bit about confirmation rolls? If you're using the DC 10 Dex check, a level 20 4e fighter will never fumble.

But the DC 10 Dex check thing is a 3.5e variant rule. It has nothing to do with 4e.


Anyway, have you ever fenced? Fencing on a high-grip piste in bright lights with an umpire is very different from a fight underground by torchlight with blood and tripping hazards all over the floor. Tell two fencers to have a bout in that and you'll see some falls soon enough.

But that's not how any critical fumble rules I've ever seen work. Whether you're in an underground cavern lit only by torches, with blood and tripping hazards galore, or on a perfectly flat, well-lit plane, the odds of a critical fumble are exactly the same. Now if you wanted to make them make sense, you could add all sorts of situational modifiers accounting for all of the various environmental factors involved in each particular instance and eventually get it to something approaching reasonable, sure.

Or, I have a better idea: scrap critical fumbles. They're lame, drama-killers, extra work, and not even remotely approximating a shadow of something like realism unless you take the complexity to incredible and unpleasant extremes.

A better way to incorporate them into your game is to toss them in to explain what happens in the course of combat without using any critical fumble tables at all. Maybe when you miss with your crossbow, you didn't actually miss -- it just jammed, and you had to spend your turn unjamming it while swearing mightily. Maybe you missed with your sword swing because you slipped on some blood ... or maybe that's how you evaded a blow!

Unnecessary rules complexity that adds nothing is the enemy. Creativity is the better answer.

Anyway, that's how I feel about it.

skywalker
2008-08-24, 12:36 AM
The word was not loaded in the context in which he used it. He was simply distinguishing between content and form, as in "rhetoric" vs. "grammer."

Yes, this is what I meant, sorry for the confusion, and I'd like to also say I'm sorry it had to end this way.

Okubo's probably not even reading anymore.

But I'm sorry all the same.

Helgraf
2008-08-24, 12:38 AM
No they aren't.

If they were, one in twenty times (or one in 40 or so times, if you like) in an Olypmic fencing competition, the match would be decided when one fencer tripped and fell flat or struck his or her own foot while fencing epee. Olypmic fencers don't look like that when they fence, probably because they look ... I don't know ... skilled.

Apparently much more skilled than 20th-level 3.5e fighters.

As another poster has indicated, D&D fights don't happen in a perfectly level environment with mat pads to soften any falls beneath, which are meticulously cleaned between engagements and never collect debris.

As several other posters have noted, pretty much most reasonable fumble systems do, in fact, use a confirmation roll of sorts. Back in 2nd Edition, I'd call for a dex check. If they made the check, I made a percentage roll; on a 91-100 (less 1 point per point they made the check by) something unfortunate happened. If they failed the check the odds of something unfortunate happening went up by 5% per point of failure.

So yeah, if you rolled a natural 1, _then_ massively failed your dexterity check, then it was very very likely something bad would happen to you; whether it be disarming, falling prone, giving the opponent a free swing, falling victim to a nearby terrain hazard or what have you.

In a nasty environment where you can't see clearly (stinging smoke from torches, not well ventilated dungeons) the floor is uneven (and even moreso than just cobbled stone floors in many cases), quite possibly slick with blood and lord only knows what else, and where your opponent isn't fighting with a restriction on the types of moves he can use against you, or any requirement to only hit you with his epee, yeah, I can and do consider fumbles to be justifiable.

Starshade
2008-08-24, 05:20 PM
Well, fumbles are fun. They make fighting a risk, and is thereby fun, since they break up what else would be identical to a plain PC game like "i hit, i hit, i miss, i hit, i hit, i miss, i miss totally, i fail utterly and nothing happen, i hit, i hit, etc..."
Into something dynamically. "I try to hit, hits for 4 damage, i try again, miss and hit a stone, sword shatters, i grab my dagger instead, etc..."

Prophaniti
2008-08-24, 06:09 PM
Fumbles definitely make things more interesting, and often amusing. I personally don't see why you would include crits in a game, but not fumbles. It's like saying extremely good luck can happen, but not extremely bad. If you're going to have a mechanic to represent such good fortune, it stands to reason that you should have one to represent when things go spectacularly wrong. I even use fumbles in my gritty, super-realistic campaigns, though I do use a fail-safe mechanic, as Helgraf talks about. It's not a guaranteed "You're screwed" on a 1, just as it's not a guaranteed crit on a 20. Lady Luck must further smile, or frown, on you.

If a critical is a crowning moment of heroics, then it's counter-intuitive that the foes of the players should enjoy more crowning moments of heroics.Not if you run a realism, gritty type game, or one in a darker setting, such as Cthulu or WFRP or Dark Heresy. Still, I see where you're coming from. My group likes fumbles because we like games where we're not inherently heroes, but have to earn it. Fumbles and crits, aside from occasionally being incredibly amusing (though sometimes only from hindsight or the observer's perspective)*, can help keep the characters humble, and keep the idea that it's a big world full of people out for their own and with no compunctions about sticking something sharp in you to get it.

*Seriously, some of my most memorable stories of D&D games involve spectacular fumbles by someone, sometimes even me.
Fumbles and crits will have less of a place in a more heroic, "you are the only ones that can save the world" type games, though it always struck me as just plain unfair to give the players crits but not their foes. I make the enemy use fumble rules, too, and many an orc or bandit has slipped and stabbed his neighbor (which, I must say, is very much in keeping with the more 'heroic' games you seem to prefer).

One last note: I've never had 'you die' as a possible result on the fumble charts, though hitting yourself usually is, just a very unlikely result. Most of the possibilities are along the lines of pratfalls, really. Tripping, dropping your weapon, etc., there was one on a chart I found that was pretty funny. You screw up and are "dumfounded by your own ineptness", treat as dazed for the round. Having trained in weapon fighting of various styles and experienced such moments for myself, I like seeing it as a possibility in the game. I also play fast and loose with the results, and will rarely allow something unthinkably horrible to happen unless I know everyone, inlcuding the victim, will laugh about it.

Knaight
2008-08-24, 09:54 PM
I just adapted the table from that one article of fudge factor for fumbles, in addition to absorbing damage cinematically, depending on the competence of the PCs. If they suck and fail miserably having them stumble back, bump into a switch that causes a massive explosion in the room, while crushing their backpack is hilarious. Its pretty vague, so its really easy to use, without involving tables. That hit the button is just a specific instance of instant doom. Another would be managing to light up the gunpowder in a ship. As for crushing their backpack, that has to do with equipment damage, and is also vague,

Helgraf
2008-08-25, 12:31 AM
As another poster has indicated, D&D fights don't happen in a perfectly level environment with mat pads to soften any falls beneath, which are meticulously cleaned between engagements and never collect debris.

To expand on this point a moment longer - if such an environment were to occur in a D&D game, then yes, I would either remove fumbles _for that fight_ or reduce the odds of one occuring (as outlined in the prior post) significantly to represent the fact that the environment is far more forgiving and the rules permit a far greater range of control.