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  • Love them. Use them in my games.

    51 67.11%
  • Use the Critical hits, not the critical failures.

    14 18.42%
  • Use the Critical failures, but not the critical hits.

    0 0%
  • Use them with the baddies only

    2 2.63%
  • Use them with the party only

    3 3.95%
  • Dont believe in them. Just slows the game down.

    3 3.95%
  • Dont believe in them. Makes things unfair and unbalanced.

    1 1.32%
  • Got a great story to share... see my thread, found below.

    3 3.95%
  • Other

    4 5.26%
  • I'm on the fence with the idea. Let me go read the threads.

    6 7.89%
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Thread: Critical Hit & Critical failures... Do you use them in your games?

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  1. #1
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up Critical Hit & Critical failures... Do you use them in your games?

    Since the 1970's, I've used critical hit and failures tables in all of my games with great enjoyment. There are even plenty to be found online with a simple search, or one could just create their own. Of course, to make it work, imo, the baddies must also follow the critical hit and failure tables in each game. If you gotta have balance, then this is the way to go. To me, it just brings more enjoyment to the game.

    What say the rest of you? Please recount any stories you may have regarding these tables.

    What share you?

    Thoth-Amon
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 04-30-2009 at 02:31 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
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    I used them one time in my 1st AD&D campaign and end up with party members with eyes, nose, hands, and legs missing ran that game five years.
    "Hey wich one of you punks stole Dr.Rockso's banana?"

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    Anything that requires special tables, imo, slows down play, especially if it happens too rarely to keep the results in memory. Then again, I don't feel a "natural" anything should warrant special rules, heh, but that's most likely a wholly separate discussion. There's enough interesting things happening without worrying about whether or not the hero fumbles the sword, or the monster plays Operation blindfolded.

    In the DnD game I'm playing in, a '1' on the attack roll calls for a reflex save (which, at this point, has us rolling a '1' to fail); failure on *that* roll calls for yet another roll on a table, which can have a result of "roll again" or "nothing happens." Way too many rolls and lookups slowing up the action. In the time I've been playing with them, it's happened in all of one session since September of last year. Not frequent enough to warrant tracking, if I ran things; the DM obviously thinks otherwise :P

  4. #4
    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    Thumbs up

    This particular game, see below, went on for a few years too.

    I had a fighter, 12th level, that lost an arm in combat. He was one of my favorite characters of all time. Even after losing his arm, at around 6th level, he still made due, retired years later as a captain of a small keep.

    If you were to ask him if it was worth it, he would have say... yes! He had a successful life, after all. He saved alot of people from baddies, became kind of a hero to a small town, ended up retired with a wife and kid.

    Why didn't i play him further? I would have but my brother and i moved across country, so i retired him.
    Last edited by Arch Lich Thoth-Amon; 04-30-2009 at 03:49 PM.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    I like them, because it adds a bit of flavor to the game. I don't have limbs being lost or anything of that sort, (unless it is a killing blow), and my table is simple enough that I keep it in my head.

    I remember rolemaster had some crazy complicated tables for this sort of thing though.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    When I'm GMing, I always use critical hit and failure rules. But here's my system.

    Critical threats are followed by critical confirmation as normal.

    Critical failures are followed by failure confirmation, wherin the player who rolled the natural one has a second chance to hit the target score. If he does, the initial role is treated as a simple one, and if a one+bonuses would still succeed, he still succeeds, otherwise if the faliure confirmation saves them but 1+bonuses won't succeed, its a normal miss.

    On the critical failures, well, that's just a part of my style, I love the idea of bloody and gruesome battles, I've had players with arms hanging limp at their sides, etc etc. Nothing so far gone it couldn't be magically healed back in place, so far. (though if anybody ever crits on a Scythe and it doesn't kill I swear I will take an arm away lol)
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    One of the members of our Tsojcanath game group obtained both a deck of cards for critical hits and critical misses. We have used them when they are at the game, (which is most times now). They actually make things rather interesting. This is how the character of Hockerbrecht, in that Tsojcanth game, managed to bend his magically enchanted sword during a battle. He rolled the one and that is what the card he pulled out of the deck said happened. He has actually used it in a couple of encounters since, even thought it is bent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth-Amon View Post
    What say the rest of you? Please recount any stories you may have regarding these tables.

    What share you?

    Thoth-Amon
    I use critical hits, I don't use any tables. I have found tables to be abusive at best. Stuff like cutting our own head off on an archery mischance? Oh give me a break. I'll use an improvement in damage or a some minor event if a critical miss, weapon malfunction or some such. I don't like the dice ruling too much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Stuff like cutting our own head off on an archery mischance? Oh give me a break.
    Seems to me we used to have a short table for archery fumbles. Used to have that one memorized, but it's been twenty years. Seems to me the results included something like
    1-3. damage to inside of the off-hand arm, mitigated some by wearing an arm guard (anyone who's really shot off more than a couple arrows knows about THAT one.)
    4-5. string snaps
    6. Bow stressed, make a save vs crushing damage at minus something or another or the bow snaps, and the character takes some damage.

    But... but... "arrow goes thru both ears of the target cleaning out all ear wax and killing the target dead, dead, dead" is too fun a result. I miss critical hits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Razmus View Post
    1-3. damage to inside of the off-hand arm, mitigated some by wearing an arm guard (anyone who's really shot off more than a couple arrows knows about THAT one.)
    4-5. string snaps
    6. Bow stressed, make a save vs crushing damage at minus something or another or the bow snaps, and the character takes some damage.
    1 The arm guard mitigates it totally. That's the reason for the arm guard. Your arm getting touched by the string is actually so common an event that it should not be on a critical fumble chart. It's the reason for the arm guard.


    4-5 In all the years I have shot archery I have never seen a string snap, my own or someone else's. I've worn a number of them out over the years, but never broken one. The twisted fiber and bee's wax nature of a bowstring means that sudden failure is highly unlikely. The vigilant archer will note the fraying of the strings fibers and replace it long before it could fail in that manner. You could cut one, but I've never seen one just break. Frankly the strings, even if linen are much stronger than they need to be. This is a good thing.

    A bowstring is a twisted cord made of thread such as you might sew with. In modern usage we use a slightly thicker starting cord, but the old Flemish twist string is still popular. Nothing but friction and bee's wax hold a string together. And that is all you really need.

    The second kind of string is the continuous loop. It is held together by the servings, again, no knots. All a good archer needs to make a string is a skien of thread a block of wax and a couple of pegs in a board or sticks in the ground.


    6 I have seen this, it is still rare as hen's teeth. Heck I had a bow break in my hands.


    More common archery fumbles would be the miss-knocked arrow. A dropped arrow, target panic (freezing), shedding a fletching (Arrow hares off somewhere not intended. Not too drastic.) Problems with the bow itself are very rare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    1 The arm guard mitigates it totally. That's the reason for the arm guard. Your arm getting touched by the string is actually so common an event that it should not be on a critical fumble chart. It's the reason for the arm guard.
    Yep, its the reason. And I've seen cub scouts get a bruise right through the arm guard when their arm is in the wrong place.
    I wouldn't expect Legolas would allow the string to touch his arm.

    4-5 In all the years I have shot archery I have never seen a string snap, my own or someone else's.
    I've never seen one snap either, but I've only shot target tips -- never a razor sharp broad head. Perhaps it isn't possible... but I'd keep this one on MY critical fumble table before putting 'cut off your own head' on the table though. (Could have been worse, back in the 80's, we could have had a result for 'hold the bow backwards - shot yourself in the chest at point blank range.' ;-) Hmm... perhaps Aeren Bignose gets a little too distracted while aiming and picks up a new nickname, Rednose, for the rest of the adventure... )

    More common archery fumbles would be the miss-knocked arrow. A dropped arrow, target panic (freezing), shedding a fletching (Arrow hares off somewhere not intended. Not too drastic.) Problems with the bow itself are very rare.
    "Ooo! Dropped arrow... are you wearing footgear? How many toes did you have when the battle started? " j/k
    Most of those I'd say were regular bad misses, although now that you mention it, I seem to remember some result or another was splitting the arrow or so.
    Freezing would be a missed Fright Check rather than a fumble, in my game now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Razmus View Post
    Yep, its the reason. And I've seen cub scouts get a bruise right through the arm guard when their arm is in the wrong place. I wouldn't expect Legolas would allow the string to touch his arm.
    I've done youth shoots. I cannot say I have ever seen that. But we don't let them snap the string against their arms either.


    Quote Originally Posted by Razmus View Post
    I've never seen one snap either, but I've only shot target tips -- never a razor sharp broad head. Perhaps it isn't possible... but I'd keep this one on MY critical fumble table before putting 'cut off your own head' on the table though.
    I didn't say they couldn't be cut.


    Quote Originally Posted by Razmus View Post
    "Ooo! Dropped arrow... are you wearing footgear? How many toes did you have when the battle started? " j/k
    Most of those I'd say were regular bad misses, although now that you mention it, I seem to remember some result or another was splitting the arrow or so.
    Freezing would be a missed Fright Check rather than a fumble, in my game now.
    A miss nocked arrow is a mess, you end up dry firing the bow, the arrow gets in the way and in general it's a mess. I would call it a critical fumble, not just a miss. A broken "self nock" would have the same result.

    Target panic I think would be a miss. You don't freeze up period, you just hesitate long enough to blow your aim.

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    Here's my thing.
    I have a good bit of real life experience with hand-to-hand combat in the military. I can tell you that the most inexperienced, lowly private can lay low an experienced, well-trained platoon sergeant with a well-placed blow or lucky choke hold or armbar. Those are the real-life critical hits.
    As for critical misses or failures...stuff happens. Arms twitch, people sneeze, rocks get in the way, guns jam. All of these things can spell absolute failure for a warrior.

    I use them and apply them as creatively as possible. I find that the players usually think it is fun and interesting.
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    Never played in a game or DM'd a game without them. Adds spice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM_Running_Farland_3.5 View Post
    Here's my thing.
    I have a good bit of real life experience with hand-to-hand combat in the military. I can tell you that the most inexperienced, lowly private can lay low an experienced, well-trained platoon sergeant with a well-placed blow or lucky choke hold or armbar. Those are the real-life critical hits.
    As for critical misses or failures...stuff happens. Arms twitch, people sneeze, rocks get in the way, guns jam. All of these things can spell absolute failure for a warrior.

    I use them and apply them as creatively as possible. I find that the players usually think it is fun and interesting.

    LOL, I agree with you there. I was in the USMC and went through a little extra CQB training than most and even after I left the service, I was a white belt in Wado-ryu and my instructor was also a former Marine. We were sparring, and he told me to use what I learned in class that day and he would throw simple attacks my way to see how I responded. This guy had military training and he had a hard earned black belt (anyone who knows the style knows they don't hand out black belts like Tae-kwon do). This guy threw 3 different attacks that left his inner thigh open everytime, to which I kicked him next to the huevos all three times and received a warning from him each time, "If you do it again, I'm gonna put you on your a**." I replied, "Stop leaving it open." After 3 tries, he stopped doing it and did not exact said revenge. But it goes to show ... even the best get beaten by the newest.

    I personally use Crits for both hits and failures, and I balance it by making this an option for the monsters as well. Once you get in high levels though, they can become a little ridiculous. They either remain small damage, or you have to make them as epic as your characters which can ruin a game quickly when someone's 20th level wizard blows himself up with a fireball.
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