Critical Failure and Slow Fall Question / Debate


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So, I've always been one to punish critical failures to varying degrees pending on the action involved much like critical successes. Not sure what the stance is with people here, but I've heard people gripe about how punishing for critical failures can "kill their mood".

So the drop is sufficiently safe enough for the Monk to normally slow-fall without harm. He however rolled a critical failure on his acrobatics check on an attempted 20ft leap across a room.

I ruled that, based soley on the fact he got a critical failure, his monkly grace could not save him at that time. The damage was negligable, but he insisted that he should benefit from it anyways.

Thoughts and opinions?


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:

So, I've always been one to punish critical failures to varying degrees pending on the action involved much like critical successes. Not sure what the stance is with people here, but I've heard people gripe about how punishing for critical failures can "kill their mood".

So the drop is sufficiently safe enough for the Monk to normally slow-fall without harm. He however rolled a critical failure on his acrobatics check on an attempted 20ft leap across a room.

I ruled that, based soley on the fact he got a critical failure, his monkly grace could not save him at that time. The damage was negligable, but he insisted that he should benefit from it anyways.

Thoughts and opinions?

Was the possibility of critical success/failure on skill checks told to the players before hand? If not, I'm totally with your player. You can't critically fail a skill check. On top of that, no check of any sort (successful or otherwise) is needed to use Slow Fall. As long as he was within arms reach of the wall, he should of got it. From his point of view, you stripped him of a class ability with no just cause. The failure of the Acrobatics check already caused a problem - he fell instead of making it across. No need to double punish someone for 1 failed roll.

Critical success/failure with added stuff is just a bad idea, even more so with attack rolls. A high level character is more likely to critically fail on any given round than a low one. (5% chance with any d20 roll, higher level characters have more attack/round so more chances to critically fail.) That doesn't make sense. Nor does an expert climber having the exact same chance of a critical failure as a complete novice. Personally, if a critical success/failure mechanic is needed, it should be based on how you rolled compared to the DC of the check, not based on whatever number the die itself landed on.


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Well. You're firmly in homebrew/houserule territory by default as its not RAW supported. Was your group told that you would be doing punitive arbitration on critical failures when they joined/sat down to start the campaign? If so, they need to understand/accept that you will be changing things to facilitate.

Correlation question. Say the jumper had a ring of feather fall and fumbled the acrobatics check. Would he take damage of some kind also? If not, you may wish to rethink this specific instance.

Nothing wrong with house rules to change the base game, as long as everyone is on the same page.


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There is no such thing as a critical failure (or success) in official PF rules. You either succeeded or you failed, there is no 'fail spectacularly' or 'succeeded majestically'.

Rolling a 1 does not automatically fail a skill check. If the monk had a +19 Acrobatics modifier (not all that hard, depending on level), he can make a 20' leap without having to bother rolling.

I agree with Rathendar; did you tell your players beforehand you'd be randomly screwing them with arbitrary nonsensical houserules?


I think I can answer all at once;

1. They were told of every possibility that could happen, it's nothing new to the group as a whole, but is to this player in question.

2. I ruled it as, since he crit failed that he was away from the wall (being mid jump) lost a chance of saving himself. As it would happen for every other character in question.

3. In the 22+ years I've been gming and 26+ years I've been playing; there has been little to no issue with critical success/failure mechanics.

4. I've always found the "well [insert professional here] doesn't fail" argument, because it's farthest from the truth. Many tight roe/trapeze artist have fallen to their deaths. Just as many a fireman has sadly died in a fire... in short, s#!+ happens to the best of us.

If you consider that for example, a fighter has an attack modifier +10 vs a fighter of lower stat value (we'll say an attack of +5); their chances of success/failure is not statistically the same being that the +10 will hit more often with lower average rolls.

5. Comparing Feather Fall to Slow-Fall is a big, no-no. One can be used to leap off a dragon or what have you mid-flight. Doing so with Slow-Fall will likely still kill you. That's my two cents anyway. Feather Fall is more like insurance where as Slow-Fall is you actively trying to do something.

6. Since I believe I answered everything I'll address the last bit here. A game of chance without chance of failure is not entertaining by any means.

That being said, he's one of those players who recently started roleplaying (like 1-2 years) but is an avid supporter of 5th D&D. When you get him to talk about it, his claim of support amounts to how simple it is and how the GM can run the game how he wants with the majority of rules being optional...(see where I'm going?)

I've been talking to him and he thinks everything that 5th Edition has done is new, but almost denies it when I show him that most referenced material goes back to 1st-3.5 D&D. The most recent example being our discussion on Flanking. Everyone knows how it works, but he insisted that it had been worked to function simply by being adjacent to allies.

There's nothing arbitrary/nonsense about the chance of failure as stated above.

If you want to succeed at every turn? Play a video game is my reply, because they hold your hand and give you a reset button.


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I think this is in the wrong forum. It is not a rules question, but a house rule or advice thing. You are already outside the rules of PF. If your players like how you play it, then all the power to you.

Either way, I've flagged the post as wrong forum.


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:


4. I've always found the "well [insert professional here] doesn't fail" argument, because it's farthest from the truth. Many tight roe/trapeze artist have fallen to their deaths. Just as many a fireman has sadly died in a fire... in short, s&+$ happens to the best of us.

If you consider that for example, a fighter has an attack modifier +10 vs a fighter of lower stat value (we'll say an attack of +5); their chances of success/failure is not statistically the same being that the +10 will hit more often with lower average rolls.

Yes, tight rope walkers do somethings fall to their death, and firemen burn. But I can guarantee you it isn't 1 in 20 times (the rate of a critical failure).

On a normal attack, yes. But that isn't what we are talking about. A critical failure is only on a natural 1. It doesn't matter what your total attack bonus is. If both those fighters have the same number of attacks, their chance of a critical failure is statistically the same. If the +10 attack bonus fighter has 2 attacks (likely), his chance of critically failing in any given round is more than the other fighter, as it is based entirely on the die roll. The higher level fighter has more chance of doing something really, really, bad in a round than the less skilled one.

And no one has said anything about people not failing. Just that more skilled individuals should have less of a chance of it and not more. Less of a chance is not the same thing as no chance.

Quote:
5. Comparing Feather Fall to Slow-Fall is a big, no-no. One can be used to leap off a dragon or what have you mid-flight. Doing so with Slow-Fall will likely still kill you. That's my two cents anyway. Feather Fall is more like insurance where as Slow-Fall is you actively trying to do something.

No, it is completely valid. You said you rules he couldn't use his Slow-Fall because of a critical failure. What sort of critical failure happens if you have feather fall on you? If you aren't applying the result of critical failures every time it happens, you are cherry picking and playing favorites. Either a critical fail happens and something bad happens, or it doesn't. Playing it both ways is bad form.

Quote:
3. In the 22+ years I've been gming and 26+ years I've been playing; there has been little to no issue with critical success/failure mechanics.

Personal experience ultimately means absolutely nothing. Just because you don't have a problem with it doesn't make it right. My personal experience (and based on the responses given at other times people ask about it, the experience of many others as well) is that a critical failure is ultimately a bad thing. You are already punished for rolling low, no need to make it even worse.

Of course, not like any of this really matters. You already have your own opinion. You likely just want the validation of others instead of a real discussion anyway.


The not failing is implied at a certain point, I was typing a rather wordy explanation and comparison to get the point across but the short version of it is, simply using climb; if you have a total modifier of +15, all you need is rope and you can climb anything. And that's by lvl 7 I believe.

#4. It's not that simple though, not everyone rolls this same 1/20 chance. We all have those friends who have notoriously bad rolls at the best/worst of times. People like myself who roll 2-3 crits back to back and people who fall between the median. You can't tell me in the example give though, that both fighters stand the same chance of hitting an AC 15 target. More so when you consider the above mentioned factors; I've seen it with both table dice and dice rolling programs.

#5. But it's not when you consider the wording of each used, apples to oranges and tomatoes. Feather Fall as stated is an insurance, so long as it's duration is up you can get knocked off of your flying mount from death defying heights and live.

Where as Slow-Fall specifically states you have to be able to grab something to slow yourself down. This is like comparing bow combat to firearms. Each are ranged weapons, but they function differently. Just as both Slow-Fall and Feather Fall indeed slow you down, one needs something to slow yourself down with.

#3. I wasn't speaking for myself, but my group as a whole. You're comment here just makes me think you had no intention of waiting for a reply anyway. But from everything I've read over the years it's split pretty evenly down the middle. However, everyone I have played with prefers the risk of failure with exception of this new guy.

edit: rather, he was fine with it. But only took issue with it when it affected an ability that doesn't require a roll in itself. But he happened to fail his acrobatics check with a natural 1 falling away from anything out of reach.


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:

The not failing is implied at a certain point, I was typing a rather wordy explanation and comparison to get the point across but the short version of it is, simply using climb; if you have a total modifier of +15, all you need is rope and you can climb anything. And that's by lvl 7 I believe.

#4. It's not that simple though, not everyone rolls this same 1/20 chance. We all have those friends who have notoriously bad rolls at the best/worst of times. People like myself who roll 2-3 crits back to back and people who fall between the median. You can't tell me in the example give though, that both fighters stand the same chance of hitting an AC 15 target. More so when you consider the above mentioned factors; I've seen it with both table dice and dice rolling programs.

#5. But it's not when you consider the wording of each used, apples to oranges and tomatoes. Feather Fall as stated is an insurance, so long as it's duration is up you can get knocked off of your flying mount from death defying heights and live.

Where as Slow-Fall specifically states you have to be able to grab something to slow yourself down. This is like comparing bow combat to firearms. Each are ranged weapons, but they function differently. Just as both Slow-Fall and Feather Fall indeed slow you down, one needs something to slow yourself down with.

#3. I wasn't speaking for myself, but my group as a whole. You're comment here just makes me think you had no intention of waiting for a reply anyway. But from everything I've read over the years it's split pretty evenly down the middle. However, everyone I have played with prefers the risk of failure with exception of this new guy.

Or rather, he was fine with it but mad because he thought it would somehow save him 10ft out with nothing to grab.

#4 Actually, I can tell you that the average is almost exactly 5% or 1/20. Over your career, 26 years of it iirc, you have rolled a lot of d20s. We'll just assume that if you played every week of that, you rolled at least 40 times. Or 2,080 times a year, for a total of 54,080. If you were to roll all of that right now, record it down, you'd find that the statistical average of in practice and mathematical amount would be about 5%, or 1/20. Now, it may not be that in every group of 20 rolls that you will get 1 of each die value, which in of itself is incredibly unlikely. But yes, I can say without a doubt, that the odds are that everyone rolls about 5% or 1/20 odds for each result on the die. And the more dice you roll, the closer and more true that gets.

#5 Feather Fall only works if you are falling. If you are on a mount, you are not falling, thus doesn't work. Furthermore, it is unnecessarily pedantic to say that the monk, who was next to a wall, was unable to touch the wall as it is claiming that a creature forgot to breathe and died when they rolled a nat1 on their intelligence check.

#3 Your comments here have shown that you have no intention of having a debate only to have people say you are right, and well, for a bit, I agreed with you, that if your players like it, then that is fine, but if your players don't, then you have a problem. Your solutions are Remove the Player, Find an Agreeable Ruling for Everyone Involved, or Do Nothing. But I don't agree on this senseless bashing of the player who felt that you were punishing him for the most basic of things. Do you have the caster roll a spellcraft each time they cast a spell so they don't forget how to cast? After all, it states they need to memorize their spells, that seems to be intelligence based. I sure don't because I don't want to waste time making people not enjoy playing this Game. What roll do you require to use the toilet? Dexterity to wipe your butt?


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It just occurred to me that there if you squint and turn your head sideways while reading there is one type of critical failure in PF. Rolling a natural 1 on a save vs. a damaging effect will subject one of your items to possible damage, but the item gets a save to avoid it.

So, as with critical hits, there is a second roll to confirm. If a houserule for any other type of fumble were to be discussed at a table I played at I would strongly argue for a confirmation roll.


#4. Pending on when you ask over the years, our games are/were anywhere from one to three days at 4-16 hour sessions every week or every other week; this goes more so for our school years when nobody worked. That being said, last year alone I've rolled maybe 10-20 crit failures. That's about 60-100 rolls per session, not counting my rolls as NPCs.

It's an ongoing joke that I should NEVER-EVER be allowed to roll anything, character or NPC wise because my rolls are stupid And This is coming from my table group.

#5. And care to guess what happens when you "fall" from a mount? I'll give you a minute to absorb that. Flailing about at something out of arms reach is not the same as breathing.

Or better yet, go outside. Put out a 2x4 straight up about 6-7ft outside of arms reach and 6-7ft away from the wall. Imagine you jumped out 6-7ft away from the wall. Now fall face first and try to reach for the top of said 2x4, it's not going to happen unless you're Dhalsim from Street Fighter. Monks very well can't fly and change direction mid-air last I checked.

I agree, if he just slipped and "rolled" down the side, sure. But he attempted a long jump and botched it. The group as a whole had a laugh, since as I said above the damage was negligable (a whopping 1!) after DR (we use the DR variant rules, he had the bonus from cleric spell).

#3. I've adressed all subjects at hand, I got accussed of not listening because someone made an assumption about what I said about not having anyissues; instead of reading the comment, they chose to be snarky.

The "bashing" as you put it was pointing out the hypocrisy of agreeing that the GM's rule is law and how the rules themselves are guidelines but then try to rules lawyer me.

I'll continue to answer despite your passive aggressive behavior. I have them roll Spellcraft for the required checks, spells have other mechanics such as limited uses and save throws. If it's a skill check or attack roll, failure is an option.
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@Java Man, we don't do confirmation rolls it just slows everything down and is a b#**&@## mechanic anyways that they introduced in 3.0 D&D.
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Jeraa and Trinity got upset at my comment relating to video games and instant gratification, I can only assume, because that's when everyone started getting touchy.

Could also be because, somehow people are relating Feather Fall to Slow-Fall as equals. Despite the keywords in them both, one requiring a "FALL" and the other requiring a wall-like surface. There should honestly be no debate here.

As for the topic in general, I never asked for anyone to agree with me. I asked what people's thoughts and opionions were. To which, it amounted that; if the group was told about it before play and they were okay with it, "rules-are-rules".


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yeah, this is the wrong forum. flagged to go to house rules. nothing wrong with your question, but it doesnt belong in the rules forum, because it isnt a pathfinder rule


Reading over the actual ability again, it even states;
"a monk within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to slow his descent."

So I'm not sure what all the hub-bub is about anyway.

edit: Thanks to everyone though for your input, I like to get a feel for other players and GM thoughts every now & then. Snark aside, the replies were reasonable (i.e. what works for some doesn't for others).


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Your quote was "Feather Fall as stated is an insurance, so long as it's duration is up you can get knocked off of your flying mount from death defying heights and live." Which suggested that they could have it up prior to them falling off the mount. The spell states in two instances that the Target must be "one Medium or smaller free-falling object or creature/level" and a Duration of "until landing or 1 round/level." Which if you are firmly seated in your mount, you are not falling and are safe and secure enough to be called "landed."

To answer the rest of it, I call it player bashing because of the fact that I find that with only one singular incident (going so far to claim his inexperience was at fault for it), you need to come on here and complain about them, hoping to get others to agree with you, asking for thoughts and opinions. When people answered that they disagreed with you, you responded back and discussion was had (and also where you made your video game comment, which made me chuckle). It was the response after that one that I didn't jive with. For one, the statistics are hard to argue, because we can prove the statistics, it might take a lot of die rolling, but we can prove it. The next was your claim that the ability didn't work because he wasn't able to get within arms reach, which in most cases is if the wall is within or along the border of the 5 ft square they are touching. If the monk, with his nat1, still managed to make it to that square or over (but limited due to your critical failure rules), they are within arm's reach. However, for all that matters, the nat1 could have meant, in your rules, that he didn't even leave his square.

As for your response to number 3, I have found, through personal experiences that many prefer succeeding to failing, and that most prefer not having them, but my personal experience does not mean fact. I can only speak for those I know. But as I have stated before, the only thing that matters is if your group enjoys it. I gave you possible solutions to this problem, and you know best for your group.

As for your statement on what the rules are, we don't know what the exact things you said to the group were, it could be "We are using critical failures for rolls" or it could have been, and likely not from my understanding, "We are using critical failure rules, this can even lead to the loss or nullification of abilities." If the latter, then your player has no reason to complain, if the former, I can understand his complaint. To him, it was likely not about the measly one damage, but the fact that you removed his ability in what he feels in an unjust manner. This may be because of poor description or from something else, I cannot say.

However, your video game comment was not what upset me, it was your bashing of a player for taking fault in your decision and the claim that someone disagreeing with your logic and evidence (through their own, albeit unable to be proven evidence like your own) meant they were not willing to discuss or debate on your terms (which were not stated in the initial post and as you said, you never asked people to agree with you). But you did ask for "Thoughts and opinions" and received them, even if they are not the ones you'd like to see.

I don't like Critical Failures, but as I have stated in both of my other replies. What works for your group is all that matters. Talk to the player and try to help assuage their fear that you are there to harm their enjoyment, that the removal of the ability wasn't meant to lessen his fun but to go along with your critical failure rules. If he disagrees with the fact that it removed his ability, try talking to each of the other group members individually, figure their opinion on how they want to go about it from now on, and if they stand to be the only one upset with the rules for that, well, do what you feel best.

I apologize for my passive aggressiveness, but I agree with your player in that the removal of an ability can make a character seem un-enjoyable, especially if it is something you the player really like. I do not apologize for my examples given, if a Monk needs to make an acrobatics check to touch a wall, a spellcaster should be required to make an intelligence or spellcraft check to remember their own spells. Seems only fair since you are punishing the martial for something he should be able to do but letting the casters go on without problems (or so it seems, as you made seem with your last response).


So in such a case, the debate is what situations would prevent an immediate action, for casting Feather Fall or using an enchanted item. Odds are the mage would've eaten it in the same scenario then, though making the mage jump is a dick move.

He didn't lose the ability, he was just out of reach. My ruling on it that, again, comes down to their choice words; Adjacent (not same as nearby) vs Arm's reach. We've always ran it like that I believe, though I don't remember 100% how it worked in AD&D.

Using the 5ft squares/2m hexes that D&D/PF uses for their combat grid. If you study any kind of martial arts, then you know that your entire body is often used, usually stepping forward. This is why a guy with a dagger can stab a guy who possesses a superior reach weapon such as a short spear or sword w/o closing the 5ft/2m distance.


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Critical success/failure is a bad feature on d20 games, they fit better in d100 games.

A 5% of unavoidable failure on every attempt is too high. You could roll a second die against the same DC every time a 20 or 1 is rolled to confirm the 'critical'.

In our table we always interpreted that the monk just 'slide' down like a ninja the slow-falled distance and the distance left (if any) is the DC check on acrobatics.


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Well first of all critical failure rules are bad, due to being incredibly unrealistic even by normal human standards and even more when we start talking about the superhumans/demigods that player characters become as levels increase.

However some people like playing 'bad' games. (objectively there is no such thing, but it is the same as music, lot of people like bubblegum pop, still you can call it bad music and are right about as close to objectively as one can.) So going further into that topic is not an issue.

The main thing that matters is how you discussed the critical failures working. Did you make it clear? If you were vague the player is perfectly within their rights to be peeved with you.

If one is adamant in using such rules, the situation should have been resolved like this. So monk tries to jump 20ft, within arms reach should even in worse case scenario mean that there is only 10ft area where they can't reach a wall. So then you look at what the result of the skill check would have gotten them(up to last square of failure due to auto fail on 1 existing) and see if they are adjutant to a wall.


I accept your right to call other game mechanics "bad", good sir. =D

It depends on wo you talk to when you bring up realism, but the fact it's also a fantasy game makes that word fuzzy; for example, is it realistic for someone to stub their toe and break it 3-4x a month? For you and myself, probably not. But I know someone who actually does run into door knobs and breaks their toe as above, just as often.

Now, this is an extreme use of having someone roll (I assume Dex/Ref), but it stands to reason that someone f$*#ing up, again and again is quite realistic. Many heroic characters that players are trying to create are often modeled after epics of one culture or another. The common theme however, was that these heroes were more often than not mortal men who were just skilled far above those in their region/time.

I was quite clear, there's never been any confusion on the matter. I believe what it comes down to is he determines adjacent squares to be "arm's reach". As stated above, an average humanoids arms typically are only about 3ft.

That's exactly how it works visually, he however did not choose to slide but perform a long jump that he failed where laughs were to be had. Interestingly enough, that puts him in the center of the room (w/o anything to grab), which is what I ruled.


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"Game without failure" and "The Three Stooges: The RPG" are two VERY VERY different things.


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So... not making a long jump somehow resulted in the monk stopping in mid air and falling straight down, willy cyote style, because monks *can't* change direction mid air?

Personal experience tells me, you miss a long jump, you continue moving down AND forwards till you hit something. Probably the face of that cliff you failed to reach.

Also, critical failures are made MORE fair in your eyes because some PLAYERS are notoriously less lucky than others?

Not seeing it.

Liberty's Edge

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OP, the common opinion is that a GM should not spring a houserule on a player without telling him about it beforehand. You did not tell this new player beforehand that a failed skill roll might completely prevent him from using his class feature

You arbitrarily took your player's ability to act from him so that you had your fun (verisimilitude) but did you consider how this impacted his own fun ?

I am quite happy that you did not start this thread just to have people agree with you, especially since most do not


Luckily, there's been no Three Stooges moments and to my knowledge nobody has any wishes to pursue it.

@toastdamphibian, I don't know where you got the idea from. He failed his jump and therefore didn't make it, thus he fell, pretty simple. No cartoon physics involved/needed.

Who said anything about it being more fair? Everyone keeps pulling out arguments that everyone is a super hero or uses the argument that professionals don't fail in the world.

Nobody said anything about "fair" I said (if anything) that it was more feasible than the basic "no fail" mechanic. I'm also going to assume you didn't bother to read because I covered the specific reason why I believe the no-failure rules to be inadequate. Short version is it means the tension/drama/doubt is gone when players can pass all checks w/o any worry of failure.

@The Raven Black, he was told. He just had a diferent idea of what arm's reach was. We discussed it, as stated only people here seem to be really hurt by what happend to him.

Far as your last comment, I'm not sure if you're trying to be cheeky or a douche. Lack of tone missing when reading and all.


Jeraa wrote:


Critical success/failure with added stuff is just a bad idea, even more so with attack rolls. A high level character is more likely to critically fail on any given round than a low one. (5% chance with any d20 roll, higher level characters have more attack/round so more chances to critically fail.) That doesn't make sense. Nor does an expert climber having the exact same chance of a critical failure as a complete novice. Personally, if a critical success/failure mechanic is needed, it should be based on how you rolled compared to the DC of the check, not based on whatever number the die itself landed on.

about the high level warrior having more chances to fubmle since he attack more often. i had the same opinon so i added a 'safty net' to my fubmle checks:

when an atttack is rolled a nat 1 the attacker (player or npc\monster) rolls a d100% having a 5% chance to merly miss for each point of bab he has. this way the more expirienced the fighter is the less chance he has to fumble. while a level 1 fighter who make a fumble has 95% chance to make a critical failure and only 5% to currect in time, a level 20, who is at the pinacle of fighting, would fumble only on a 100% roll -a realy rare ocesion for such a sessioned man.

as for skill checks. i go with the normal rules. if a nat 1 with the total modifier would make a sucess you don't force fail. you can't fall of the earth...


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:

So, I've always been one to punish critical failures to varying degrees pending on the action involved much like critical successes. Not sure what the stance is with people here, but I've heard people gripe about how punishing for critical failures can "kill their mood".

So the drop is sufficiently safe enough for the Monk to normally slow-fall without harm. He however rolled a critical failure on his acrobatics check on an attempted 20ft leap across a room.

I ruled that, based soley on the fact he got a critical failure, his monkly grace could not save him at that time. The damage was negligable, but he insisted that he should benefit from it anyways.

Thoughts and opinions?

1) Critical failures typically unfairly punish martial characters

2) You can only critically succeed on saves and attacks rolls, so you should only be able to critically fail on them the same.
3) If you going to use crit failure are you having them roll to confirm failure like you do on a crit success?

If not you're just setting up players to fail unfairly.

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I can't help but feel like you're being overly dismissive despite creating a thread that welcomed comments and criticism.


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:

So, I've always been one to punish critical failures to varying degrees pending on the action involved much like critical successes. Not sure what the stance is with people here, but I've heard people gripe about how punishing for critical failures can "kill their mood".

So the drop is sufficiently safe enough for the Monk to normally slow-fall without harm. He however rolled a critical failure on his acrobatics check on an attempted 20ft leap across a room.

I ruled that, based soley on the fact he got a critical failure, his monkly grace could not save him at that time. The damage was negligable, but he insisted that he should benefit from it anyways.

Thoughts and opinions?

Pathfinder has no rules for critical fumbles beyond auto-miss on an attack or auto-fail on a save. Not only does a natural one not deny class features, a natural one on a skill check is still entirely capable of succeeding.

Natural 1's happen. They happen 5% of the time, no matter how good you are, and as more dice get thrown around, they happen more often. They are a normal, natural part of the game. They should not be "punished." They should proceed quite normally.

A hero should not fail in their area of competence because they suck. If a hero fails in their area of competence, it should be because they face a worthy obstacle or there is unfortunate circumstance preventing them from performing to their fullest; they are still a hero, and a capable individual.

What's more, the ability you denied this player was slow fall. It exists precisely for this circumstance. And it is an extremely niche ability that seldom comes up, that's almost pure flavor. It's purely, "Oops, I failed that check, but I still salvage it and look cool." You took away the ability to fail heroically, and turned it into, "You failed like a buffoon at this thing you are supposedly good at because you suck."

Fumbles based on a d20 roll are a Bad Idea.


Cyrad wrote:
I can't help but feel like you're being overly dismissive despite creating a thread that welcomed comments and criticism.

I don't see how, I've only stated my pointed of view and why. You can't expect me to be criticized/questioned about why I do something and then say I'm dismissive when I explain in a rational manner.

Claxon wrote:


1) Critical failures typically unfairly punish martial characters
2) You can only critically succeed on saves and attacks rolls, so you should only be able to critically fail on them the same.
3) If you going to use crit failure are you having them roll to confirm failure like you do on a crit success?

If not you're just setting up players to fail unfairly.

1. I've stated my reasons above.

2. This is what at least half the player base believes, yes.
3. We don't do confirmation rolls for sake of gameplay speed. I'm of the school that if it's something within your character abilities and game world's physics; if you roll a crit success, you did it.

Omnius wrote:


Pathfinder has no rules for critical fumbles beyond auto-miss on an attack or auto-fail on a save. Not only does a natural one not deny class features, a natural one on a skill check is still entirely capable of succeeding.
Natural 1's happen. They happen 5% of the time, no matter how good you are, and as more dice get thrown around, they happen more often. They are a normal, natural part of the game. They should not be "punished." They should proceed quite normally.
A hero should not fail in their area of competence because they suck. If a hero fails in their area of competence, it should be because they face a worthy obstacle or there is unfortunate circumstance preventing them from performing to their fullest; they are still a hero, and a capable individual.
What's more, the ability you denied this player was slow fall. It exists precisely for this circumstance. And it is an extremely niche ability that seldom comes up, that's almost pure flavor. It's purely, "Oops, I failed that check, but I still salvage it and look cool." You took away the ability to fail heroically, and turned it into, "You failed like a buffoon at this thing you are supposedly good at because you suck."
Fumbles based on a d20 roll are a Bad Idea.

.

I addressed my stance and the groups stance on the inability to fail on a 1 for skill checks above; short version is, it's not a big deal if you are heavy combat focused.

It may not deny a class feature, but if you aren't in the correct situation for something to work then it doesn't work, right? Can't drive a car w/o gas much as the monk was not in arm's reach of a "wall".

Slow Fall (via the monk ability) is more something you do intentionally; while your party takes the stairs you slide down the wall/heavy curtains etc. As stated, would he have fallen straight down I'd have allowed it.


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What's the rules question again?


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... how is this still here?

Re: cartoon physics
Okay, go outside. Try and jump from the roof of one building to another, but fail. How far apart are those buildings going to need to be for you to hit the ground before the wall comes within "arms reach"

Re: reach
Game reach is 5ft. Go outside, draw two 5ft squares on your lawn. Set a brick in the center of one, on the ground, then headbutt it while standing in the center of the other.

Can't reach it? Should be easy to hit, the brick is prone.

Arms' reach is how far your arms reach, and for a normal pathfinder person, that is "anywhere in an adjacent 5ft square".


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:
Claxon wrote:


1) Critical failures typically unfairly punish martial characters
2) You can only critically succeed on saves and attacks rolls, so you should only be able to critically fail on them the same.
3) If you going to use crit failure are you having them roll to confirm failure like you do on a crit success?

If not you're just setting up players to fail unfairly.

1. I've stated my reasons above.

2. This is what at least half the player base believes, yes.
3. We don't do confirmation rolls for sake of gameplay speed. I'm of the school that if it's something within your character abilities and game world's physics; if you roll a crit success, you did it.

Just so you're aware, you're coming across as wanting validation for your view, not criticism on how most of us strongly disagree and would dislike your implementation of these rules if you were our GM. We have provided honest feedback to you, but you aren't coming across as open to these comments.

On my end, that means I probably wont be involved with the thread further because it just seems like you want to justify the decision you've already made to players who disagree with you.


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I could make a lot of comments here but it would just feel like dogpiling on the OP. I'll just say, critical failures for skills is a VERY, VERY bad idea in any context as it makes even SUPER SIMPLE tasks fail 5% of the time... If that happened in real life, every 20th slice of bread you bought would be mangled and every 20th time you bought gas the pump would malfunction and every 20th time you walk outside your door you'd trip and fall over your paper... Professional swimmers don't start to drown 5% of the times they try to swim...


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Honestly it seems like you already made your mind up, and you didnt come here looking for opinions. It happens sometimes, and if you're 100% sure your idea works for your table then keep at it, but by now I think you see that most of us don't agree with you.

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Goemon Sasuke wrote:

A game of chance without chance of failure is not entertaining by any means.


There's nothing arbitrary/nonsense about the chance of failure as stated above.

If you want to succeed at every turn? Play a video game is my reply, because they hold your hand and give you a reset button..

This attitude is my biggest contention with your arguments as it seems to be the heart of the justification in denying the player the intended use of his class feature. Decisions surrounding the roll of the die is gameplay -- not the roll of the die itself.

In game design, gameplay centers around players making meaningful choices. In a game of chance, gameplay arises from players making decisions with respect to non-deterministic outcomes (chance, probability, RNG, etc). In D&D/Pathfinder, that gameplay involves tactics and preparation. Your player made the meaningful decision to use a character that can mitigate/negate fall damage and made the conscious choice to attempt the Acrobatics check in knowing he can use this ability to mitigate the consequences of a potential failure. These legitimate decisions were made completely meaningless for a totally arbitrary reason.

The stated interpretation of how slow fall works is also highly contentious. Professional extreme sports athletes train themselves to mitigate dangerous falls by pure instinct and reflexes, a skill that saves lives in even the most unexpected of catastrophes. I fail to see how slow fall couldn’t work the same, especially when the ability requires no action economy (unlike feather fall). I could agree with you if the monk was paralyzed or unconscious, but that’s not the case.


Cyrad wrote:
I could agree with you if the monk was paralyzed or unconscious

It's worse than paralyzed or unconscious... He rolled a ONE!!!! He's lucky he didn't choke on his tongue because he forgot how to breathe when he jumped!!! :P


Well it's his own fault, he should get better at rolling dice, like his dm!


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Quote:


That being said, he's one of those players who recently started roleplaying (like 1-2 years) but is an avid supporter of 5th D&D. When you get him to talk about it, his claim of support amounts to how simple it is and how the GM can run the game how he wants with the majority of rules being optional...(see where I'm going?)

I've been talking to him and he thinks everything that 5th Edition has done is new, but almost denies it when I show him that most referenced material goes back to 1st-3.5 D&D. The most recent example being our discussion on Flanking. Everyone knows how it works, but he insisted that it had been worked to function simply by being adjacent to allies.

There's nothing arbitrary/nonsense about the chance of failure as stated above.

If you want to succeed at every turn? Play a video game is my reply, because they hold your hand and give you a reset button.

Kind of sounds like you don’t particularly care for this player. Are you certain you’re not punishing him because he doesn’t bow down to your greater game knowledge?


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toastedamphibian wrote:
Well it's his own fault, he should get better at rolling dice, like his dm!

True, with years of training I'm sure he could LEARN to not roll one's... By the time he's middle level, I bet he can roll a 1 less than 1%!!! [of course it requires the PLAYER have several ranks in sleight of hand or bluff ;)]


If he keeps on with his current group, he probably will. Good incentive to train those deceptive skills.


toastedamphibian wrote:

... how is this still here?

Re: cartoon physics
Okay, go outside. Try and jump from the roof of one building to another, but fail. How far apart are those buildings going to need to be for you to hit the ground before the wall comes within "arms reach"

Re: reach
Game reach is 5ft. Go outside, draw two 5ft squares on your lawn. Set a brick in the center of one, on the ground, then headbutt it while standing in the center of the other.

Can't reach it? Should be easy to hit, the brick is prone.

Arms' reach is how far your arms reach, and for a normal pathfinder person, that is "anywhere in an adjacent 5ft square".

1. You prove my point here more than anything, I have a good 7-9ft long jump standing. Running I can maybe do 8-11(?) which leaves in either case a gap of 12-15ft, this is assuming I don't slip for whatever reason. If the car is parked, I may land on top of that but most cases it's being used so I'd drop 30ft down.

2. I've covered this above, so this proves you are ignorant or don't bother to read. But in any case, in your example I assume you have to lunge/step forward to reach you representation. "Arm's reach" is not the same as adjacent in english or any other language.

graystone wrote:

I could make a lot of comments here but it would just feel like dogpiling on the OP. I'll just say, critical failures for skills is a VERY, VERY bad idea in any context as it makes even SUPER SIMPLE tasks fail 5% of the time... If that happened in real life, every 20th slice of bread you bought would be mangled and every 20th time you bought gas the pump would malfunction and every 20th time you walk outside your door you'd trip and fall over your paper... Professional swimmers don't start to drown 5% of the times they try to swim...

It's worse than paralyzed or unconscious... He rolled a ONE!!!! He's lucky he didn't choke on his tongue because he forgot how to breathe when he jumped!!! :P

We've actually talked about this before in our group, the issue is people are confusing probablity with percentage.. or something like that. One of our players is a math teacher so I'm not keen on the language, but there's a difference anyhow. Thus why not everyone rolls a 1 every 20 rolls much as they don't roll a 20 every 20 rolls.

And jokes aside, yes it is worse. You can fail without rolling a 1, but a 1 is a critical failure. You don't call it a critical failure and say you just failed... it's called CONSISTANCY but more to the fact he was NOWHERE near a wall.

Cyrad wrote:


The stated interpretation of how slow fall works is also highly contentious. Professional extreme sports athletes train themselves to mitigate dangerous falls by pure instinct and reflexes, a skill that saves lives in even the most unexpected of catastrophes. I fail to see how slow fall couldn’t work the same, especially when the ability requires no action economy (unlike feather fall). I could agree with you if the monk was paralyzed or unconscious, but that’s not the case.

And yet, many professional athletes get injured or killed on said falls. I understand what you mean, it shouldn't happen because they are trained. But s@!! happens to the best of us.

Knight who says Meh wrote:
Kind of sounds like you don’t particularly care for this player. Are you certain you’re not punishing him because he doesn’t bow down to your greater game knowledge?

I feel that reading comprehension is a lost skill these days. If you bothered to read you'd see it was to highlight the hypocrisy of the "GM is right mindset" he praises so highly, only to do the opposite.

He's a great player, a little shaky on his character background and his abilities for the time being but he's getting into it and figuring out what he wants to do long term.

I'm surprised this thread is still going, but mostly for the fact that people insist on telling me I'm looking for validation when I had already summarized everything and gave thanks. Or I'm somehow a dick for responding with rational answers that people don't like.


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You can stop insulting the intelligence of everyone who disagrees with you. It's poor form.

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Goemon Sasuke wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
The stated interpretation of how slow fall works is also highly contentious. Professional extreme sports athletes train themselves to mitigate dangerous falls by pure instinct and reflexes, a skill that saves lives in even the most unexpected of catastrophes. I fail to see how slow fall couldn’t work the same, especially when the ability requires no action economy (unlike feather fall). I could agree with you if the monk was paralyzed or unconscious, but that’s not the case.
And yet, many professional athletes get injured or killed on said falls. I understand what you mean, it shouldn't happen because they are trained. But s~!~ happens to the best of us.

Even the most dangerous profession in the US only has a ~0.135% fatality rate. Games with actual critical failure rules have ways to mitigate critical failures and tend to make it less common to happen for skilled characters.

My major contention with your justification for doing this to your player was also not addressed.

What happened is like playing a game where you buy an expensive elixir that gives you temporary fire immunity without knowing your GM made up some rule that all elixirs have a 5% chance of not working with absolutely no way to figure out if an elixir is a dud or not. And your GM doesn't tell you about this house rule until after you already paid the gold, used the elixir, and took an unavoidable fireball. That's bad GMing. It's bad GMing because it denies the fruits of a player's smart decisions for a completely arbitrary reason.

And the hypothetical house rule accomplishes nothing except make elixirs less viable. It doesn't make for interesting gameplay -- it just denies options from the players, punishes characters that rely on d20 rolls to contribute to the party, and deincentivizes calculated risks.


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Hellow everyone!!

I dont know if somebody has done this yet, because i didnt read all the messages in this forum. That said im going to answer you from my point of view.

- Basic rules, core Rulebook: Slow Fall (Ex): At 4th level or higher, a monk within arm’s reach of a wall can use it to slow his descent. When first gaining this ability, he takes damage as if the fall were 20 feet shorter than it actually is.

The question here is: Was the monk too far from the wall due to that critical failure? If the answer is "yes", then he could not benefit from his aptitude even if he wanted to.

However, if the answer is "no, he was close enough but i still blocked that skill", then i think you nerfed your player because you wanted him to suffer due to that 1 in the dice, even if his class allowed him to land safely in a worse case scenario.

I dont want to make it seem that i'm judging you, actually, i know beign the DM also means beign under a lot of preassure and, sometimes, in our effort of making our players feel the pain for their mistakes or, at least, make the dungeon appear dangerous, we can commit some small mistakes.

In this case i think the answer is right in front of you, just a little bit of reading will give you the answer for your question

In the other hand, i'm going to say that you didnt describe the situation. I could imagine a campaign with critical failures in skills, and i also like to imagine the monk jumping, slipping in the landing, hitting his head and just falling down due to the momentary unsconciounes...just like in movies, and everyone looking down like "bruh, wasnt him supposed to be the best in this, cant wait to see the cavalier jumping"

Gold rule: the DM is law.

Just try to make the game fun to everyone and it will be ok.

EDIT: I just read what you wrote about reach and adjacents squares...Well, i'm afraid that in this game the answer is "yup", andjacent squares means you can reach something if your reach is 5'

You should not enter in that kind of discussion here, because that kind of basic rule is just too Deep in the game to be changed. Your player could say to you that an enemy cant grapple him because he's just in the corner of his 5' square so that enemy with the lance cant move enough his arm to reach him and make a grapple check.

When you have to "force" your point of view just to explain something normally its because you are not right, and indeed i think you are not, in that case.


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:
So, I've always been one to punish critical failures to varying degrees pending on the action involved much like critical successes.

What reward would you have granted the monk had he rolled a 20? A 20 is a critical success, so the reward should be better than just a success.


Guys, I think you're focusing on the wrong thing here. I'm pretty impressed with the lack of need for confirmation rolls for crits.

A monster with a x3 or x4 weapon crits 5% of the time, regardless of pcs ac. That sounds very dangerous. Much worse than the 1 damage the monk took


Graelsis wrote:

The question here is: Was the monk too far from the wall due to that critical failure? If the answer is "yes", then he could not benefit from his aptitude even if he wanted to.

However, if the answer is "no, he was close enough but i still blocked that skill", then i think you nerfed your player because you wanted him to suffer due to that 1 in the dice, even if his class allowed him to land safely in a worse case scenario.

EDIT: I just read what you wrote about reach and adjacents squares...Well, i'm afraid that in this game the answer is "yup", andjacent squares means you can reach something if your reach is 5'

You should not enter in that kind of...

The first part is correct, he was not within arm's reach. Adjacent (i.e. not even the same square) does not mean arm's reach, thus he was nowhere near a wall and couldn't slow his fall.

The point of the 5ft square description was for people to visualize that even though by game rules you can attack someone in a 5ft square, it assumes that you move in and out to attack your target. Someone in a adjacent square is not per-se, within "arm's reach".

meyerwilliam wrote:
Guys, I think you're focusing on the wrong thing here. I'm pretty impressed with the lack of need for confirmation rolls for crits. A monster with a x3 or x4 weapon crits 5% of the time, regardless of pcs ac. That sounds very dangerous. Much worse than the 1 damage the monk took

Crit confirmation is a BS mechanic they made up for D&D 3.0. Anyone who played before this abomination of a rule understands that it just slows thigns down and is only there to rob players of their critical rolls in the first place.

I'm interested to see how you guys would handle Basic/1st/2nd AD&D, seems like many of you would flip your s@$& because there's no confirmation rolls.


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*Facepalms.*

Can you go a minute without insulting everybody else in the thread?

Besides, most of the changes in new editions had a good reason.


Omnius wrote:

*Facepalms.*

Can you go a minute without insulting everybody else in the thread?

Besides, most of the changes in new editions had a good reason.

My god you are sensitive, who the hell have I insulted again? Does everything offend you? I haven't once said anything that can be considered "offensive" despite asshats telling me I'm "hurting their feels" for disagreeing with them.

It's called comparison... everyone is losing their minds over crit rolls and lack of confirmation. Most of the flavor is all there and very much the same, as I told my new player a lot of the terminology has been around since day 1. They just take some things and polish them renamed them or removed them altogether.

Thac0 = BAB
AC = AC
Save Throws = Save Throws
HP = HP
Movement = Speed
Proficiencies = Skills/Feats
Kits = Archetypes

Attributes are still the same, but their bonuses got changed to a straight +bonus vs hit probability/damage adjustment/Bend Bars/Lift Gates etc. for Strength. Sadly has the best modules to date as I haven't found many that can compete in the newer stuff.

edit: the point is that contrary to belief, your game isn't ruined because due to lack of confirmation rolls.


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Goemon Sasuke wrote:
I ruled that, based soley on the fact he got a critical failure, his monkly grace could not save him at that time. The damage was negligable, but he insisted that he should benefit from it anyways.

If you're using a battlemap and his figure wound up adjacent to the wall and you say he can't slow fall based soley on a 1, that's a dick move.

FWIW, the changes in editions, including crit confirmations, are why so many of us play newer editions. I really hope all the martials in your games wield scythes.


Goemon Sasuke wrote:
You can fail without rolling a 1, but a 1 is a critical failure. You don't call it a critical failure and say you just failed...

Well I wouldn't call it a critical failure as skills don't have that mechanic...

Goemon Sasuke wrote:
And yet, many professional athletes get injured or killed on said falls

No one is arguing that, just the frequency. 5% is WAY, WAY to high. Call it probability or percentage, you're making it a daily occurrence instead of a lifetime mistake.

In pathfinder, even creatures with the climb skill have to make a check every round. That means even a creature 30' climb has a 5% of falling to their death on a SINGLE 600' climb. The poor human climbing it makes 80 checks to fall to their death... Ask your teacher friend to figure out THAT probability: hint it's over a 90% chance of critical failure from a single climb, let alone a lifetime of mountain climbing.

Goemon Sasuke wrote:
We've actually talked about this before in our group, the issue is people are confusing probablity with percentage.. or something like that. One of our players is a math teacher so I'm not keen on the language, but there's a difference anyhow. Thus why not everyone rolls a 1 every 20 rolls much as they don't roll a 20 every 20 rolls.

I'm an electrical engineer with years of math under my belt. I'm quite capable understanding the math and it's you that's skewing it. While a 5% doesn't mean a consistent 1 in 20 failure, meaning literally every 20th is a one, it means that it effectively does when looked at it over time. Effectively, your houserule makes people fail horribly 5% of the time when they aren't meant to even automatically fail.


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So what precisely is the rule question here?

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