Sunday, January 24, 2010

Critical Hits: More damage or other affects

One thing I've been mulling is, do I handle critical hits with as much fun as I can?

Im starting with the assumption you have critical hits, I've never seen players who don't like the suspense of seeing that 20 potentially roll up. But is additional damage the solution? It is certainly a valid and I wouldn't bypass it, but I was thinking..maybe more choices are needed?

What if you could choose to either do double damage, stun the target or knock them prone?

Specific effects like "broken arm" and "slashed eye" I am not interested in, not every opponent has an arm or an eye. Generic effects that can be fit into any situation are (in my case) the way to go.

Rolling a fumble could be simplified by turning your opponents attack into a critical hit (if it connects).



  1. While I have a real appreciation of what happens to bodies in trauma, the term 'Save or suck' comes to mind whenever I have suggested other effects (stunned and prone), as players want to be able to keep fighting/acting in combat and only go down when their lifeometer reaches 0 or negative whatsit.

    Just my two-bits,

  2. My assumption is that your typical mechanic is roll to hit, and roll to do a random number of damage. In that case, I would think a critical hit should be some sort of maximized, doubled, or other type of increased damage beyond the norm.

    Beyond that, I would consider having the player roll another die. The result could be either no additional effect (likely), some type of critical fumble that knocks the target prone (unlikely), or lowers the guard of the target so that the next attack is easier to hit (likely). In D&D terms, the last option would effectively be an AC penalty to the target.

    This way the player always gets a big hit on a critical, an potentially allow an opening for another hit in future rounds. Something to mull over...

  3. My only concern would be prolonging combat.

  4. I'm of the mind that you simply keep to the additional damage approach. Perhaps maximum damage plus an additional (exploding?) die?

  5. Being a fan of Rolemaster and thus a fan of detailed criticals and importantly different criticals types depending on weapon I highly endorse flamboyant criticals. Very highly endorse.

    Some just brainstormed, possibly bad ideas of non-save or suck criticals along the lines I think you are after.

    - destroy target's shield
    - disarm target
    - break target's weapon
    - get extra attack roll
    - target loses next attack
    - target is -x next attack
    - pushback target
    - target makes moral check (and or his buddies do)
    - target AC is reduced by 1 until repaired/healed
    - regain some hitpoints, say 1 hitdie worth (if they are luck/fate/moral/etc and not physical)
    - free action; character can run away, maneuver to flanking position, quaff potion, grab treasure, some small action while target recovers from stunning blow

    Alternatively, if you agree with me that it's fine to limit fumbles and criticals to players only. You can have crazy debilitating save or suck criticals, limbs being hacked off, spleens exploded, etc.