GameMastery Critical Fumble Deck (3.5/PFRPG)

3.80/5 (based on 15 ratings)

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Add a little mayhem to your game.

The Critical Fumble Deck is a sequel to our extremely popular Critical Hit Deck and is designed to balance out the system, allowing both minor and major mishaps to occur during combat. The Critical Fumble Deck consists of 52 full-color standard-sized cards, ready to use out of the box with the enclosed rules.

Note to owners of the previous edition of this product: The only significant changes in the new Pathfinder RPG edition are that two cards now reference Pathfinder RPG page numbers instead of PH pages.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-236-4

Sample cards. Click to enlarge.

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This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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3.80/5 (based on 15 ratings)

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So Much Schadenfreude!


If you're one of those gamers vehemently opposed to the entire notion of critical fumbles, this post is not for you. I've used critical fumble rules throughout the vast majority of my (multiple decades--jeepers!) of gaming and I think they're a blast: they give combat encounters a boost in excitement, unpredictability, last-second salvation (if a monster fumbles), and a much-needed shattering of hubris (if a PC fumbles). In past years and with past systems, I've used a wide-variety of charts and tables (sometimes homebrewed) to determine the effects of critical fumbles, but for the last several years playing D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, I've relied on the Pathfinder Critical Fumble Deck.

The strength of this deck is the sheer number of possibilities it offers. Each of the 52 fumble cards in the deck contains four different effects arranged in the categories of Melee, Ranged, Natural, and Magic. That's a couple of hundred possibilities, meaning there's far more than the usual "you drop your weapon" sort of thing. The effects are well thought-out mechanically to fit into the 3.5/Pathfinder systems. For example, fumbling with a natural bite attack might turn up the "That tastes awful! You are nauseated for 1d6 rounds" card, while the "Not my pony!" effect for a ranged attack fumble means your shot hits the nearest allied animal! My favourite category is the one for magic attacks, as the designers had license to do some really crazy and creative things (after all . . . it's magic!). The only pity is that magical attacks (spells that require attack rolls, etc.) don't come up all that often in most of the games I've played in.

The deck comes with two additional double-sided cards. The first card is the rules card, which provides three different basic methods for determining how often a critical fumble occurs (my groups use the simple "natural 1" method, because critical fumbles are always fun!) and discusses how to determine saving throws if an effect allows one. The other card provides some optional rules to increase or decrease the frequency of fumbles, and then introduces a new magical weapon ability ("Sure Grip" which almost eliminates fumbles on a weapon so enchanted) and a new spell ("Fumble", which causes every miss to become a critical fumble threat!). The designers were smart to explain the different ways the deck could be used so that each group can customize things to their liking.

As someone who has suffered my share of critical fumbles over the years (as both a player and a GM), the Pathfinder Critical Fumble Deck is something I can recommend highly.

Critical Fumble, Is Well, A Critical Fumble


No, no I'm not serious.
This deck is really good. There are some mishaps, but that won't stop me from giving this product a solid 4 stars.

Critical Hit/Fumble deck review


For the full video review please see below...

Go to Video review.

Fun twist to liven up the game.


As a Game Master I find these cards a great new way to add variety to your players fumbles. While they will all inevitably groan (who doesn't when they miss bad) even my group admits it is better than the old drop your weapon or fall on the floor. Some of the fumbles are a little repetitive. The cards are well made and the art on the back is highly appropriate. I prefer option one for determining misses and fumbles otherwise your players can with some bad mojo of the dice TPK quite easily with this deck so be warned. Not for use with whiny rules lawyering game groups.

Be wary of how you choose when you Critical Fumble


When the rules provide the three options of how to determine a fumble ( it states "While the first is recommended, as it is the one that least penalizes the players, the latter two are a bit simpler to adjudicate." This may lead some people to believe that "simpler to adjudicate" is worth a little more strife for the players. BE WARNED.

Our GM went with option #3: Rolling a 1 meant a critical fumble. Anyone with multiple attacks is going to get screwed. Like, you're out of the encounter or DEAD screwed. One PC rolled a 1 and pulled a card that was "Roll to confirm the critical against your AC and you crit yourself." The 8th level PC killed herself with a Scythe. Stupid. The big boss fumbles and breaks his only weapon? Just as stupid.

Maybe I would have liked these cards more if we went with the standard option. The more powerful you are the less likely random dumb things should happen.

You want wacky randomness in your game? Let your PCs stick fight kobolds with Rods of Wonder. I'd pass on these cards.

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Grand Lodge

I have a question about the critical fumble deck. A few of the cards have something like (DMG 237) or some such after the description of the fumble. Can anybody tell me what, exactly, that means? At first I thought it meant "damage" but I'm seeing it on a few that don't necessarily deal with damage.

Paizo Employee Chief Operating Officer, Web Store Manager

JolarEQ wrote:
I have a question about the critical fumble deck. A few of the cards have something like (DMG 237) or some such after the description of the fumble. Can anybody tell me what, exactly, that means? At first I thought it meant "damage" but I'm seeing it on a few that don't necessarily deal with damage.

Those were page references that pointed you to the old 3.5 books. In this case, DMG 237 was Dungeon Master's Guide page 237.

Grand Lodge

Jeff Alvarez wrote:
Those were page references that pointed you to the old 3.5 books. In this case, DMG 237 was Dungeon Master's Guide page 237.

Ahh, thanks! There was a moment that I thought "Dungeon Master's Guide? Nahh, that can't be it, there is no such beast!" Of course, I was thinking Paizo/Pathfinder, and didn't think it would be referencing 3.5. :P

Thanks again!!

I just started using the GameMastery Critical Hit Deck and GameMastery Critical Fumble Deck cards in my Pathfinder Dragon Age game and we are having fun with them (a player got a critical hit that slowed the charging Darkspawn Ogre by half for 3 rounds, that saved them from a TPK!).

However, the instructions/rules on both sets of cards are too tiny to read for most of us. Is there a way to get that information is a larger text format? :)


Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Try clicking the rules cards pictured above.

Are any of the cards legal in organized play? Specifically the critical hit and critical fumble decks? I'd like to use them when I GM just to give the game a more exciting feel.

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am pretty sure that they are not legal for PFS.

i'm a GM and my player pulled 'Broken blade: your weapon is destroyed(Ref negates) magic weapons use their own save bonus (PFRPG 459)"

He is using a +1 war hammer, not a blade. but it still said destroyed; not broken.

how does this mechanic work. i cant seem to find anything online or even logical related to this.

the best i found is he gets a plus 2 plus have the caster level to save it. (2+5\2) = 4 maybe?

what what is the DC he has to beat to save it???? it's not listed here? there is iron door break DC28 . thats simmilar in my opinion. but it's a reflex save so is it his relex? the items reflex? where do i find that?

or do i just say "you pulled the DESTROYED item card. ooooohhhh sorry. no convoluted save for you."

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

The names of the crit results are flavorful, not mechanical, so it doesn't have to be a blade to be affected.

Damaging Magic Items says "Magic items use the same saving throw bonus for all saves, no matter what the type (Fortitude, Reflex, or Will). A magic item's saving throw bonus equals 2 + 1/2 its caster level (rounded down)."

In the Magic Items chapter, the Weapons section says "For an item with only an enhancement bonus and no other abilities, the caster level is three times the enhancement bonus."

So the caster level of a +1 weapon is (1x3=)3. It's Reflex saving throw bonus is therefore (2+1=)+3.

The rules card for this product says "Unless a DC is listed, the DC for any necessary save is equal to the armor class of the target."

So the Reflex save DC is your player's AC.

Is this item ever going to be back in stock, or is it permanently out of print? I assume the latter, since it likely won't be compatible with 2nd edition, but one can hope.

Grand Lodge

Not sure if this is a holdover from the 3.5 days of the cards' existence, but the definition of bleed should say the damage happens at the start of an affected creature's turn, not at the end.

Is it possible to still order this deck i started getting stuff for 1 e at the end of last year to start playing and had no idea about 2 e until recently

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