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Are crits king?


Advice

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I've been chatting with my friends about this. Every fighter We've hand in our groups lately has always used a high crit range weapon. I'm tired of seeing falchion or fauchard fighters with improved crit and critical feats. I know it's good, but we use the critical hit deck, so crits arent always damage multipliers, they are something (more often than not it seems) it's normal damage and a secondary effect. Either way, should you always go for crits? It seems like lots of my players are giving up feats that would be characterful and still serve the purpose of the character, in order to get "more crits". one of my players even said "I feel like if I dont always shoot for crits I'm not doing my job as a fighter." He wanted to use a lucern hammer, he liked the reach, the high damage, and the feel of it. He also liked that it scales well when your size is increased.

Do you guys feel there is far too much emphasis within the community on getting critical hits, to the point that it hedges out more interesting options that are still effective?


They're king so long as the enemy isn't immune.

Once they go to that level, the feats are all wasted.


As I don't know how exactly those crit decks work: Do they have a relevant factor for the weapon's crit multiplier?
If not the problem might just be with those crit decks, not with the rules.
I have not noticed it yet that the guys I play with always use hi threat low multiplier weapons.
Why I have a tendency for using them is that you crit more often and are less likely to do lots of overkill.


Well, lets calculate it out. I'll run some examples.

Say the target has 15 AC and you have +5 to hit. Say you crit on 20 only. Out of 20 possible outcomes of the dice, 9 will miss, 10 will hit normal, and 1 will get a crit threat. On that crit threat, you have a 9/20 chance to not crit and do normal damage instead and a 11/20 chance to confirm the crit. So your final percentages are 45% miss, 52.25% normal hit, 2.75% crit. We'll presume normal x2 crit damage, so 0.5225 + (0.0275 * 2) = 0.5775; you're doing 57.75% of your base damage per hit, on average.

Now I'll just put the results for having a 19-20 range down through 16-20:

Range - Average - Crit_Chance
20----/ 57.75% -- 2.75%
19-20/ 60.50% -- 5.50%
18-20/ 63.25% -- 8.25%
17-20/ 66.00% -- 11.0%
16-20/ 68.75% -- 13.75%

Your average base damage isn't really going up too quickly; a 19 range weapon only deals 4.8% more average damage than a 20 range and an 18 range weapon deals 4.5% more than the 19 range and 9.5% more than the 20 range weapon. Even maximal 16 range only increases your base DPR by 19%

So lets compare a range 19 weapon, the 2d6 Greatsword, to a range 18 weapon, the 2d4 Falchion. With their normal crit ranges, the Greatsword deals average damage of 9 and the Falchion gets 8 (provided +3 bab, +2 str). Taking the Greatsword over the Falchion gives a 12.5% base damage increase. 60.50% of 9 is 5.445 while 63.25% of 8 is 5.06. The Greatsword beats out the Falchion in this case, but only by a minute margin. But that margin will grow bigger as your Bab and Strength grow because the Greatsword will always beat the Falchion by only 1 point and, while 9 vs 8 is a fairly large margin, 26 vs 25 is a very small margin and that larger percentage for the falchion's range will count more. So it'd probably be a better idea, while you're a low level, to stick to a more reliable weapon like a Greatsword and pick up the Falchion when your Bab is a little higher.

Also, by my calculations, a 20/x3 crit weapon will do the same percentage of base damage as a 19-20/x2 crit weapon and a 20/x4 weapon will perform the same as a 18-20/x2 weapon.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't think 16-20 Crit is doable, you can get 15-20 with an improved crit on a 18-20 Weapons though.


Kazaan wrote:

Well, lets calculate it out. I'll run some examples.

Say the target has 15 AC and you have +5 to hit. Say you crit on 20 only. Out of 20 possible outcomes of the dice, 9 will miss, 10 will hit normal, and 1 will get a crit threat. On that crit threat, you have a 9/20 chance to not crit and do normal damage instead and a 11/20 chance to confirm the crit. So your final percentages are 45% miss, 52.25% normal hit, 2.75% crit. We'll presume normal x2 crit damage, so 0.5225 + (0.0275 * 2) = 0.5775; you're doing 57.75% of your base damage per hit, on average.

Now I'll just put the results for having a 19-20 range down through 16-20:

Range - Average - Crit_Chance
20----/ 57.75% -- 2.75%
19-20/ 60.50% -- 5.50%
18-20/ 63.25% -- 8.25%
17-20/ 66.00% -- 11.0%
16-20/ 68.75% -- 13.75%

Your average base damage isn't really going up too quickly; a 19 range weapon only deals 4.8% more average damage than a 20 range and an 18 range weapon deals 4.5% more than the 19 range and 9.5% more than the 20 range weapon. Even maximal 16 range only increases your base DPR by 19%

So lets compare a range 19 weapon, the 2d6 Greatsword, to a range 18 weapon, the 2d4 Falchion. With their normal crit ranges, the Greatsword deals average damage of 9 and the Falchion gets 8 (provided +3 bab, +2 str). Taking the Greatsword over the Falchion gives a 12.5% base damage increase. 60.50% of 9 is 5.445 while 63.25% of 8 is 5.06. The Greatsword beats out the Falchion in this case, but only by a minute margin. But that margin will grow bigger as your Bab and Strength grow because the Greatsword will always beat the Falchion by only 1 point and, while 9 vs 8 is a fairly large margin, 26 vs 25 is a very small margin and that larger percentage for the falchion's range will count more. So it'd probably be a better idea, while you're a low level, to stick to a more reliable weapon like a Greatsword and pick up the Falchion when your Bab is a little higher.

Also, by my calculations, a 20/x3 crit weapon will do the same...

Keep in mind, they are using the critical hit deck, which is significantly better than actual crits.


I personally prefer the x4 crit weapons. I prefer the Heavy Pick to the Scimitar. The Mattock to the Falchion. When you crit, you do significant damage. Crits pop up less often, but when they do the whole table is excited because the threat is going DOWN.

I probably wouldn't take the feats while focusing on a 4x crit weapon, though it'd be nice if they'd take that into account. An extra 1d6 bleed per x1 crit mod after x2 for Bleeding Critical. +2 to the DC of saving throws per x1 beyond x2 for the feats that cause status effects, like Blinding Critical. The only thing that comes to mind where this is concerned is the Holy Vindicator, who's Doom crit scales to crit mod.

Where the benefit is only for the critical itself, a 18-20/15-20 crit weapon is preferable to all others. The majority of critical focused abilities do not specify the multiplier.

I wouldn't say it's the community that favours crits. The game itself does so. Look at the Magus for example. You'd be silly to take a longsword over a scimitar. They get spells that critical, but having a good multiplier doesn't make any difference, while having a good range does. The damage die of the weapon doesn't matter when you're rolling your caster level in damage dice.

I can't off-hand think of an instance where a high multiplier weapon is incentivised over a high range one with either feats or in class abilities. At least not in the hardcovers since that's what I've got to work with. And using a crit deck, of course, makes those keen nodachis all the more valuable.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think it depends on the player and what feats you want buy. The critical feats is Improved Critical, Critical Focus, critical feat, Critical mastery and secondary critical feat if you are fighter. That's almost 1/4 of your feats on critical related feats. Not that is a problem for fighter with how many feats they get but I find some builds I like and could use those 5 feats else where.

So I don't think criticals are hedging out other possible builds using a variety of weapons.


I wouldn't say crits are "king", but they sure are fun when you land one on the enemy!


The crit deck is full of fun and powerful effects. Using that certainly encourages using high threat weapons.

Also, if a 2x crit frequently does enough to take down an opponent, the higher multiples are just less frequent overkill.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Someone did the math and this is basically how it goes, 18-20/x2 > 19-20/x3 > 19-20/x2 > 20/x4 > 20/x3 > 20/x2. This remains true until you hit really high static damage levels where 19-20/x3 becomes best. This of course doesn't take the crit deck into account and I'm not sure how that would affect these figures.

Link: The Viking Irishman’s Guide to Weaponry


SaddestPanda wrote:

Someone did the math and this is basically how it goes, 18-20/x2 > 19-20/x3 > 19-20/x2 > 20/x4 > 20/x3 > 20/x2. This remains true until you hit really high static damage levels where 19-20/x3 becomes best. This of course doesn't take the crit deck into account and I'm not sure how that would affect these figures.

Link: The Viking Irishman’s Guide to Weaponry

Unless the numbers on his chart are wrong, it's actually 18-20/x2 > 19-20/x3 > 20/x4 > 19-20/x2 = 20/x3 > 20/x2.


Crit fisher builds can be highly effective.

I still don't like them, either as a player or a GM. For a lot of reasons. And I really dislike crit tables or decks where "special thing" happen on a crit. Combat is slow enough already without looking up effects and figuring out what they mean.

If one of my players goes crit fishing, I'll probably end up with NPCs that do the same. Sauce for the goose and all that. Crit fishing players typically aren't thrilled to receive their own medicine.

Shadow Lodge

Umbranus wrote:
As I don't know how exactly those crit decks work: Do they have a relevant factor for the weapon's crit multiplier?

You draw a number of cards equal to the crit multiplier minus one. Which means that if you get a crit with a 3x or a 4x weapon, it's gonna be nasty.

Silver Crusade

Critical Hit Deck does not have a x4 effect card. Rather, the cards read "You deal [normal/double/triple] damage and [insert effect, such as bleed or daze]." There is an optional rule that we use that instead of drawing multiple cards you increase the damage one step up [normal = normal crit damage, double = one extra die above normal crit, etc.].

As I'm finding out, this is leading to massive critical hit effects, even on x2 weapons.

That aside, I enjoy games much more when weapons are not chosen for critical hit chances. I feel optimization "guides" and adherence to them lessens play by discouraging builds less effective in combat. The word "build" is one I'd reserve for video games and could care less to see in an RPG.

Grand Lodge

I have a battleaxe in PFS. Now, with 16Str and +6 to hit, I do pretty good damage on my own, being able to buff if I can't attack. When I do a crit (x3 multiplier) so that's 9 damage, plus 3d8 (minimum 12, maximum 33) I do pretty good damage. When I do a crit, I usually take the enemy down, though my partner (18 str and a longsword) does a lot of damage in his own right.


Pharmalade wrote:
SaddestPanda wrote:

Someone did the math and this is basically how it goes, 18-20/x2 > 19-20/x3 > 19-20/x2 > 20/x4 > 20/x3 > 20/x2. This remains true until you hit really high static damage levels where 19-20/x3 becomes best. This of course doesn't take the crit deck into account and I'm not sure how that would affect these figures.

Link: The Viking Irishman’s Guide to Weaponry

Unless the numbers on his chart are wrong, it's actually 18-20/x2 > 19-20/x3 > 20/x4 > 19-20/x2 = 20/x3 > 20/x2.

Yeah, it's wrong for 18-20/*2.

Assuming 10 avg dam and 10 to hit.

40% chance to hit (no threat)
15% chance to threaten * 45% chance to not confirm
15% chance to threaten * 55% chance to confirm for x2 damage

.4*10 + .15*.45*10 + .15*.55*2*10 = 6.325

19-20/x3 > 18-20/x2 = 20/x4 > 19-20/x2 = 20/x3 > 20/x2


Even without variant crit rules the critical feats make high crit range weapons optimal at high level (ignoring a two handed warrior with devastating blow).


Icyshadow wrote:

They're king so long as the enemy isn't immune.

Once they go to that level, the feats are all wasted.

True, but Pathfinder seriously cut down on the number of crit-immune enemies compared to where things were in 3.5.


Maybe it would be better to have something like an overwhelming critical which only triggers on a natural 20 (maybe 19-20 with improved crit or keen) and which would trigger things like the crit feats and the crit deck. With the rest of the crit range only adding damage.

That way normal crits return to their original purpose (allowing a choice between more swingy or more consistent damage) and the more powerful effects trigger equally often on all weapons.


bless weapon and Improved Critical skew things very slightly towards the narrower threat range/higher multiplier crit weapons, because of the auto-confirmation of the critical hit.

There's a reason my Paladin uses a pick-axe and bless weapon.


I highly suggest using the variant rules Touc mentioned. At least I think he's talking about the same variant we use, which is the one found on the newer edition of Paizo's crit deck though we'd already come up with it "in house" at my games years ago.

By allowing the x3 and x4 weapons to do more damage even with the crit deck you give players some reason to use them instead of the high crit range weapons. Sure, the special effects from the crit cards can be nice, but many players are frustrated by the number of cards which say "normal damage", and knowing that a greataxe will always get at least double damage even when such cards come up seems to make some players happy.


It's funny that they're chasing crits when you use a crit deck.

I do think "crits are king" when they deal more damage--but the GM I'm playing with right now uses the deck and it sucks. Every single crit we've landed has done something stupid and worthless compared to just having it deal double damage.

So, yeah, go for crits unless you're using the deck, not because of it.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I've found that at higher levels, fighters tend to just maximize for crits, and simply do more and more damage, so much so, in fact, that they turn tough, powerful monsters to mulch in two to three hits. we have a falchion wielding crit fighter in one of our games, and power attack, plus all the spec feats, plus weapon training and he's critting about half the time he hits, almost always confirms (critical focus) and instead of just doing 80 damage a hit, he's also stunning and blinding stuff. While that's great, it tends to turn most encounters into "did the fighter crit?" It ends up being kind like playing in a game with a save or die caster. either the enemy makes his save, and the fight goes on, or the rest of the party is kinda pointless, b/c the monster is dead.

I find the crit deck to be extremely good. Having high crit range means you can draw multiple cards, and pick the ones you want. and some of the cards you get that do normal damage are well worth it, cauing con drain, or double damage in non-lethal as well as normal in lethal. yes, some are crap, but ti means that the end-all-be-all of fighters isnt just grabing a falchion and hoping to roll 15+.

On that note, are there any reach weapons that crit x4?


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Our GM is using the crit deck in our games and so far our group loves it. He also uses the crit fumble decks. We have house rules governing it all.

If you roll a crit, you don't have to confirm it. You just chose if you want your damage multiplied or if you want to draw a crit card. We all voted to use crit fumble cards if you roll a 1 in combat just because it is more fun that way.

Silver Crusade

As a side note to the cards deck, I misprinted the rules. x2 weapons follow whatever the cards say, and the x3/x4 cards get 1 or 2 steps up in damage from what the cards say, respectfully. If the card effect cannot apply, then damage is just resolved normally.

Regardless, crit deck (and fumble) are great additions. No one (yet) has rolled up a critical hit-based character. Suppose it'll happen someday...

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

we were under the impression that if you had a x3 or x4 weapon, you drew two or three cards instead of just one and picked the one you wanted. That's how we've been doing it. and yes, if the crit does nothing at all, like you get normal damage and ability drain on an undead, then you just do your extra damage.


Xavier319 wrote:
I find the crit deck to be extremely good. Having high crit range means you can draw multiple cards, and pick the ones you want. and some of the cards you get that do normal damage are well worth it, cauing con drain, or double damage in non-lethal as well as normal in lethal. yes, some are crap, but ti means that the end-all-be-all of fighters isnt just grabing a falchion and hoping to roll 15+.

Unless you ban the crit feats nothing changes, you still want to stick the status effects to the enemy ASAP so you still want the largest crit range.


Xavier319 wrote:


On that note, are there any reach weapons that crit x4?

The hooked lance, eastern weapon. 1d8 damage die, piercing damage, and reach. 20/x4. Despite the name it doesn't have any special properties while mounted.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Myself I would say the threat range/multiplier of the weapon is often more important than the base damage.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

you think so? I've always liked the LUcern Hammer. reach, brace, good at sundering armor, 1d12 damage with a x2 multipler. Do you thinik it'd be worth dropping from 1d12 to 1d8 for a x2 to a x4 crit mult? I figure doing 3d6 when enlarged, 6d6 when vital striking, is better than x3 or x4 crit. the bottom line is, i wantss omething that has brace. my ideas are either bardiche... 1d10 19-20x2 brace and reach. or lucern hammer 1d12 x2 brace and reach. only reason the hammer is attractive is the damage type, B or P, and the 1d12 damage, which turns into 6d6 when enlarged and vital striking. the bardiche turns into 4d8 i believe.


Xavier319 wrote:
you think so? I've always liked the LUcern Hammer. reach, brace, good at sundering armor, 1d12 damage with a x2 multipler. Do you thinik it'd be worth dropping from 1d12 to 1d8 for a x2 to a x4 crit mult? I figure doing 3d6 when enlarged, 6d6 when vital striking, is better than x3 or x4 crit. the bottom line is, i wantss omething that has brace. my ideas are either bardiche... 1d10 19-20x2 brace and reach. or lucern hammer 1d12 x2 brace and reach. only reason the hammer is attractive is the damage type, B or P, and the 1d12 damage, which turns into 6d6 when enlarged and vital striking. the bardiche turns into 4d8 i believe.

Once you start to add other bonus (power attack, str, weapon spec, etc), the base damage becomes irrelevant. I had a lvl 16 fighter/barb in Kingmaker. With my Falchion, I had 15+ crit with 2d4+53 or so per hit. Do you think having extra chances to do 4d4+106 is worth it more than having 2d6 (great sword) instead of 2d4 (falchion) as base damage?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

how much emphasis you put on vital strike would determine that more. but yes, i see your point.


Xavier319 wrote:
how much emphasis you put on vital strike would determine that more. but yes, i see your point.

How about zero emphasis, because Vital Strike is terrible and a waste of a feat?


Xavier319 wrote:
how much emphasis you put on vital strike would determine that more. but yes, i see your point.

Even then.

Let's make an example.

You have, enlarged, and using Vital Strike, and assuming about the same level of STR, enhancement and outer bonus than me, roughly 6d6+50, and you crit on 20, 19+ with Imp Crit. Let's assume 100% chance to hit. That's 21+50=71 avg damage, with a 10% crit chance, so it's 77 average damage (9/10 times it does 71, 1/10 times it does 142)
With a Fauchard, you'll do 4d6+50 in a vital strike, crit with 15+. That's 64 average damage on a hit, and 30% chance to crit. 7/10 attacks you'll do 64 average damage, but 3/10 attacks you'll do 128. That's 83 damage on average. The Lucern Hammer, when doing Vital Strike (the most favourable condition to the Lucern Hammer), does less average damage than the Fauchard.

If you add other feats, such as Bleeding Critical, or Staggering Critical, etc, there's no contest. 30% of staggering the opponent is much better than 10%. In full rounds, there's no contest either, the Fauchard does much much much more damage.

So yes, Crit is king.

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