What if... (Critical Hits)


Combat & Magic

Dark Archive

I just read through the sidebar on p.11 titled "Designer Notes: Starting Hit Points" and it brought me back to an idea I've been having lately:

What if critical hits just weren't possible until a certain level?

This would make combat a hell of a lot less unpredictable for a while and it's perhaps a possibility that certain classes might have features allowing them to crit before the minimum level.

Post your thoughts.


Demon9ne wrote:

I just read through the sidebar on p.11 titled "Designer Notes: Starting Hit Points" and it brought me back to an idea I've been having lately:

What if critical hits just weren't possible until a certain level?

This would make combat a hell of a lot less unpredictable for a while and it's perhaps a possibility that certain classes might have features allowing them to crit before the minimum level.

Post your thoughts.

.. Enh..

All this makes me think of is my party's Dwarven Cleric, critting his very first two attacks on goblins in Pathfinder 1. Complete goblin smash, and glorious.

Dark Archive

Majuba wrote:


.. Enh..

All this makes me think of is my party's Dwarven Cleric, critting his very first two attacks on goblins in Pathfinder 1. Complete goblin smash, and glorious.

Goblins have very few hp and are very easy to put down without critting - the glory was all in your head.

I was also just thinking that racial enmities could also be expressed in rules as being able to crit certain races before the minimum level too. In which case, maybe you would have crit after all, a couple of the base races aren't too fond of goblins.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
What if critical hits just weren't possible until a certain level?

Where's the fun in that?

-Skeld

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I concur. We actually house ruled a few things to make combat much bloodier, quicker, and more dangerous.

1. Damage = Weapon + Str (if melee) + 1/2 Challenge Rating + Misc.

2. Eliminate Critical Threat Range. Upon confirmation of a critical, i.e., the second roll = instant kill.

3. Keen weapons stack with improved criticals.

The first battle we tried out was harsh ... beautifully so.

Dark Archive

Saurstalk wrote:
1. Damage = Weapon + Str (if melee) + 1/2 Challenge Rating + Misc.

Adding half the challenge rating to damage makes no sense whatsoever.

Saurstalk wrote:
2. Eliminate Critical Threat Range. Upon confirmation of a critical, i.e., the second roll = instant kill.

I much prefer the semi-lengthy tactical skirmishes that d&d is famed for to the bloodbaths this rule incites.

Saurstalk wrote:
3. Keen weapons stack with improved criticals.

And I'll bet the whole party wanted Keen weapons soon afterward, since your rules together make it the only magical weapon property worth having.

Saurstalk wrote:
The first battle we tried out was harsh ... beautifully so.

And you know what they say about beauty.

Dark Archive

Skeld wrote:
Where's the fun in that?

The fun would be in the roleplaying and tactical decision-making until perhaps level 4 when the PCs have some decent hp to lose and regain.

Gone would be the days of way-too-lucky goblin archers.

Hell, imagine a dire rat beating the party on initiative and critting and killing a lvl 1-2 PC before they even get a chance to speak. Explain that in flavor text as a DM...

"The rat leaps through the air mystifyingly, landing with a mouthful of the rogue's neck. The rogue collapses, blood spraying across the nearby dungeon wall."

Pretty ridiculous. Something needs to keep PCs alive long enough to give them a fighting chance to be a part of combat and a part of the story.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
The fun would be in the roleplaying and tactical decision-making until perhaps level 4 when the PCs have some decent hp to lose and regain.

What party bases their tactics around an unreliable random occurance? Unless you have a character who's built around scoring criticals, which isn't going to be any kind of low-level character, critical hits shouldn't factor into tactics.

The roleplaying arguement I'll kinda buy.

My last comment would be, why 4th level? Why not 3rd? Or 5th? It's completely arbitrary. We want players to have "enough" HP to absorb a critical hit, but with no definition of what "enough" is.

I just don't buy into the "1st level PC's die to easy and we should invent rules to bubblewrap them against danger" midset. In Pathfinder, it's a dangerous world. And adventuring should be a dangerous profession in a dangerous world.

-Skeld

Dark Archive

Skeld wrote:

What party bases their tactics around an unreliable random occurance? Unless you have a character who's built around scoring criticals, which isn't going to be any kind of low-level character, critical hits shouldn't factor into tactics.

The roleplaying arguement I'll kinda buy.

My last comment would be, why 4th level? Why not 3rd? Or 5th? It's completely arbitrary. We want players to have "enough" HP to absorb a critical hit, but with no definition of what "enough" is.

I just don't buy into the "1st level PC's die to easy and we should invent rules to bubblewrap them against danger" midset. In Pathfinder, it's a dangerous world. And adventuring should be a dangerous profession in a dangerous world.

-Skeld

Any GOOD party plans for random problems.

You'll "kinda buy" the roleplaying arguement?

I think you should read the sidebar on page 11. It answers questions like "Why level 3?" and "Why respond to a thread about the sidebar on page 11 if I didn't read the sidebar on page 11?"

And 1st level PCs do die too easily - It's a self-evident fact.

If a dire rat pumped full of PCP was somehow able to kill a quadriplegic child I'd be mystified. Let alone in a single attack.


Tangent start.

I think your underestimating both the dire rat and the effects of PCP on it. A dire rat is the size of a small dog, and by small dog, im not referring to a yorkshire terrier, im talking about a husky or a labrador; dire rats are 4 feet long and weigh 50 pounds! And as for PCP, a chihuaha hopped up on that could kill a person in six seconds if it got close to the throat.

The attack roll for the bite is an abstraction: it may be one powerful snap like a crocodile, or it might be a tooth-gnashing frezy of bites like a shark.

Tangent done.


The only thing that's missing in current D&D is that you can be a hell of a fighter and hit a goblin or even a rat or what ever which, I don't know 20 points above its AC.
But if you havn't rolled(!) a critical its just the same damage as ever.

I would suggest to add the BAB (or half of it) to all damage rolls and remove the confirmation rolls for crits.

Fights more dangerous, crits applied faster, and whole system a bit more "realistic"

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
Saurstalk wrote:
1. Damage = Weapon + Str (if melee) + 1/2 Challenge Rating + Misc.

Adding half the challenge rating to damage makes no sense whatsoever.

Saurstalk wrote:
2. Eliminate Critical Threat Range. Upon confirmation of a critical, i.e., the second roll = instant kill.

I much prefer the semi-lengthy tactical skirmishes that d&d is famed for to the bloodbaths this rule incites.

Saurstalk wrote:
3. Keen weapons stack with improved criticals.

And I'll bet the whole party wanted Keen weapons soon afterward, since your rules together make it the only magical weapon property worth having.

Saurstalk wrote:
The first battle we tried out was harsh ... beautifully so.
And you know what they say about beauty.

1. Well, it usually levels out to class level. But for some creatures that have multiple hit die, and invariably, higher challenge ratings than class levels, it takes that bonus into consideration as well.

2. As for eliminating critical threat range, my group tends to tire from long drawn out battles. They prefer quick and decisive.

3. Actually, no. My party is into roleplaying as opposed to power gaming. The reason I included this was that I never saw the point of eliminating it from 3e to 3.5. A keen weapon is an extra sharp weapon. The feat Improved Critical demonstrates the wielder's knowledge of how to maximuize damage with the weapon. They serve two different purposes, and thus, they stack.

Yes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. For my gamers - these were definite improvements and no one's balking. In fact, everyone was more than happy to implement these . . . even at the risk of shortening their characters' life spans.


Saurstalk wrote:

1. Well, it usually levels out to class level. But for some creatures that have multiple hit die, and invariably, higher challenge ratings than class levels, it takes that bonus into consideration as well.

2. As for eliminating critical threat range, my group tends to tire from long drawn out battles. They prefer quick and decisive.

3. Actually, no. My party is into roleplaying as opposed to power gaming. The reason I included this was that I never saw the point of eliminating it from 3e to 3.5. A keen weapon is an extra sharp weapon. The feat Improved Critical demonstrates the wielder's knowledge of how to maximuize damage with the weapon. They serve two different purposes, and thus, they stack.

Yes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. For my gamers - these were definite improvements and no one's balking. In fact, everyone was more than happy to implement these . . . even at the risk of shortening their characters' life spans.

Your players are like my favorite group. If combat lasted more than a couple rounds, everyone got bored and wandered off. All the emphasis was on planning, character interaction, and role-playing.

With regards to stacking of keen and Improved Critical, I seem to recall that Sean K. Reynolds did a long mathematical analysis indicating that the rapier and scimitar should just be dropped in favor of the longsword, if they don't.


Demon9ne wrote:


What if critical hits just weren't possible until a certain level?

This isn't Unreal Tournament, where you're protected for a couple of seconds after spawning. A hit to the head is a hit to the head.

Dark Archive

KaeYoss wrote:
This isn't Unreal Tournament, where you're protected for a couple of seconds after spawning. A hit to the head is a hit to the head.

It's not about being protected. It's about precision. I think it's plausible that until level 3 or 4 (or 3 or 4 HD) you're plenty able to get in some head shots, dealing normal damage. Once you hit the proposed tier though, you're precise enough hit areas in the body full of big arteries and nerve endings - That's a critical hit. An "eye shot" as opposed to a "head shot". And in this scenario it might be a lucky roll for the player, but for the character it represents skill.

An interesting spin on the idea: linking the ability to achieve critical hits to base attack bonus, rather than level/HD.

Or:

We have the proposal in the sidebar (p.11): everyone "spawns" (as you put it) with more hit points. Which really doesn't do anything for game balance - it just changes the damage:hp ratio at earlier levels.

I'm just throwing around another perspective.


I use a critical effect table (which admittedly slows down combat) but I also have regular attacks that hit by 20+ create critical effects even if they don't actually threaten a crit.

So the 15th level fighter mowing through goblin mooks is taking heads and arms off left and right, even when he's not critting. Conversely, that one silly goblin that manages to double 20 and confirm a crit on him might have just poked out an eye, so he can't completely rest on his laurels.


Crits don't have to equal skill. Sometimes you get lucky and hit him where it hurts. I don't think that's something that should be limited to higher levels. Even a commoner can cut your throat.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
Any GOOD party plans for random problems.

I'm differentiating between having a contingency plan and tactical planning, so maybe this is a difference in semantics. Keep in mind that not all parties are good (in the sense of working together as a cohesive unit, not good in the alignment sense). An argument can be made that a party of 1st level characters wouldn't be good because a) they likely haven't been adventuring together very long, and b) they are inexperienced by definition.

Demon9ne wrote:
You'll "kinda buy" the roleplaying arguement?

Yes; I kiinda buy the roleplaying argument. As in I don't completely buy it, but I do understand the point your trying to make. A dire rat probably shouldn't be able to kill a 1st level Fighter. Then again, David shouldn't have been able to kill Goliath. Improbable shouldn't mean impossible.

Demon9ne wrote:

I think you should read the sidebar on page 11. It answers questions like "Why level 3?" and "Why respond to a thread about the sidebar on page 11 if I didn't read the sidebar on page 11?"

And 1st level PCs do die too easily - It's a self-evident fact.

To be fair, I have read the sidebar on page 11 and it doesn't say anything about level 3 or critical hits. It does discuss the frailty of 1st level characters and the various ways that people have tried to houserule starting HP's up.

I still think putting a moritorium on crits until level 3 versus any other level is arbitrary. Your argument seems to be that level 3 characters have more HP and should better able to survive crits. My counterpoint is that there's no basis for choosing one level over any other level. For example, level 4 characters would be even better at surviving crits, so why not use that level?

To further complicate things, a level 3 Fighter can have twice the HP's of a level 3 Wizard. Since a level 3 Wizard isn't as good as surviving a crit as a level 3 Fighter, should enemies not be allowed to score crits on the Wizard until maybe level 5? Maybe instead of using level, we should just hold off on crits until everyone in the party has 25 or more HP. Or maybe it should be 30. See what I'm getting at? It's arbitrary. The limit is whatever you feel "comfortable" with.

I still not yet convinced this is a good idea.

-Skeld

The Exchange

If you read the whole thread it is nothing but a person asking for opinions on an idea he has then when opinions are put forward he hacks them apart and belittles them to try to make his original thought look superior.
I would say let him use his houserule in his house. He doesn't really want opinions, he want to argue his point.

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Demon9ne wrote:
It's not about being protected. It's about precision.

If crits were about precision they wouldn't be determined by getting lucky on the die. Your threat range would be based on BAB not solely the weapon. Having to roll a natural 20 to threaten with most weapons is about the luck and unpredictability of combat even for veteran characters.

If it were about skill...I'd say that an argument could be made that crits would be less likely at higher levels as PCs and thier opponents would make fewer mistakes that would leave them vulnerable to crits.

In the end I think it all equals out and crits should be left alone. Besides critical hits have nothing to do with why I support increased HP.

I favor increased HP so that PCs may face more encounters per day at low levels.


Then why do certain weapon crit more often?
Are those the "lucky ones"?

The Exchange

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
Goblins have very few hp and are very easy to put down without critting - the glory was all in your head.

Err, last I checked, it's all in our heads. Isn't that the whole point?


Demon9ne wrote:

The fun would be in the roleplaying and tactical decision-making until perhaps level 4 when the PCs have some decent hp to lose and regain.

Gone would be the days of way-too-lucky goblin archers.

Hell, imagine a dire rat beating the party on initiative and critting and killing a lvl 1-2 PC before they even get a chance to speak. Explain that in flavor text as a DM...

"The rat leaps through the air mystifyingly, landing with a mouthful of the rogue's neck. The rogue collapses, blood spraying across the nearby dungeon wall."

Pretty ridiculous. Something needs to keep PCs alive long enough to give them a fighting chance to be a part of combat and a part of the story.

Why? I've seen nutria kill dogs in exactly the same way, and what's a nutria if not a dire rat? The thing that keeps PCs alive is PCs keeping themselves alive through planning, training, and execution. The fun lies in PCs having to sweat for a while, rather than just knowing that the rules are keeping them safe regardless of their choices.

And how does removing crits "keep them safe"? A monster with a crossbow can do 8 points of damage on a single attack anyway, more with bonuses. The rogue in your prior exemplar is killed just as dead.

The point of the game, one way or another, is that the PCs are never safe unless they're not adventuring, and even then the jury's still out. PCs can die, at any time, regardless, because that's what an adventure is. [URL=smurf][/url]

Sczarni

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
DracoDruid wrote:

Then why do certain weapon crit more often?

Are those the "lucky ones"?

Those are the ones that are either easier to move unpredictably, or harder to keep track of that 'danger area' of the weapon. So in effect those good at wielding these weapons are making their own luck.

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The Black Bard wrote:

Tangent start.

I think your underestimating both the dire rat and the effects of PCP on it. A dire rat is the size of a small dog, and by small dog, im not referring to a yorkshire terrier, im talking about a husky or a labrador; dire rats are 4 feet long and weigh 50 pounds! And as for PCP, a chihuaha hopped up on that could kill a person in six seconds if it got close to the throat.

The attack roll for the bite is an abstraction: it may be one powerful snap like a crocodile, or it might be a tooth-gnashing frezy of bites like a shark.

Tangent done.

Absolutely. Heck, a dire rat nearly killed The Man in Black, and he was a pretty high-level character (had the Dread Pirate prestige class and all).

Anyway...

I don't see the logic of stalling crits until a higher level. The point of critical hits is that once in a while you'll just blow your enemy away, and that there's always the danger that one of your foes will do the same to you. It's not a rule based on logic -- it's a rule that emerged well after D&D's inception based on the sheer joy people get when they roll a nat 20. If you're going to revise it to be more logical/survivable, then the best bet in my opinion is to either do away with them entirely or to go the 4th edition route of simply making them do maximum damage for your weapon.

Dark Archive

I'm not sure where to continue. Perhaps here:

Fake Healer wrote:

If you read the whole thread it is nothing but a person asking for opinions on an idea he has then when opinions are put forward he hacks them apart and belittles them to try to make his original thought look superior.

I would say let him use his houserule in his house. He doesn't really want opinions, he want to argue his point.

Would this 'belittling' post be the second wrong that makes a right then? Way to waste 30 seconds of your life.

To everyone but that guy, I sincerely appreciate your positive AND negative feedback. Furthermore, if my sarcasm has offended you, I do apologize. Moving on...

Skeld wrote:
To be fair, I have read the sidebar on page 11 and it doesn't say anything about level 3 or critical hits. It does discuss the frailty of 1st level characters and the various ways that people have tried to houserule starting HP's up.

You are correct. The sidebar is suggesting an amount of extra hit points. And again, level 3 or 4 was just just the number I threw out because around that level (if the rules stay as they were) PCs will be able to eat some more damage.

Here is what I don't understand: Are these extra hps going to these classed characters only? What about commoner-type npc characters and monsters? Will everything have more hit points early on or are adventurers just plain tougher for some reason? Because if things are a bit imbalanced now at lower levels and everything gets tougher evenly, it will obviously still be imbalanced.

Skeld wrote:
I still think putting a moritorium on crits until level 3 versus any other level is arbitrary. Your argument seems to be that level 3 characters have more HP and should better able to survive crits. My counterpoint is that there's no basis for choosing one level over any other level. For example, level 4 characters would be even better at surviving crits, so why not use that level?

I see what you mean. I was thinking 3 or 4 because you're not quite flying around or tossing fireballs yet, so to speak, and you'd have a decent amount of hit points by now - in the approx range of the sidebar. My original thoughts on the tier being level 2. I figured it would be a rule that's overly complicated for only 1 level consisting of little xp. I realize at this point I could have been more explanatory earlier on, but I wanted to get my thoughts down quickly at the time.

Skeld wrote:
To further complicate things, a level 3 Fighter can have twice the HP's of a level 3 Wizard. Since a level 3 Wizard isn't as good as surviving a crit as a level 3 Fighter, should enemies not be allowed to score crits on the Wizard until maybe level 5? Maybe instead of using level, we should just hold off on crits until everyone in the party has 25 or more HP. Or maybe it should be 30. See what I'm getting at? It's arbitrary. The limit is whatever you feel "comfortable" with.

With said rule, NOTHING would crit before the HD/Level tier. A group of PCs would be able to tear apart gigantic mobs of low HD or low level creatures, because after the point you hit the tier you are somewhat of a new machine - far more dangerous. The point being that the critical hit, I feel should be part of the adventurer's arsenal - not everyone's.

Maybe the more appropriate house rule would be anything below the tier dealing max on a crit and anything above the tier dealing damage max + damage rolled normally.

Locke1520 wrote:
If crits were about precision they wouldn't be determined by getting lucky on the die. Your threat range would be based on BAB not solely the weapon. Having to roll a natural 20 to threaten with most weapons is about the luck and unpredictability of combat even for veteran characters.

There's nothing lucky about dice, only probable and improbable. And I personally find it more probable that after a few levels you're far more capable of hacking a larger number of goblins into meaty bits without the old "the goblin with the absolutely impossible shot and sub-par combat prowess puts an arrow in your neck from a football field away" routine.

To wrap this up:

A commoner stabs you = damage.
A commoner slits your throat = damage that exceeds positive hit points.
An adventurer stabs you = damage.
An adventurer slits your throat = damage that exceeds positive hit points.
A battle-hardened adventurer breaks your arm and stabs you in the neck with the broken bone jutting out of it in one trained, fluid motion = critical hit.

A bit lengthy. I'd love for someone to at least say "You're still wrong, but I understand where you're coming from". =)


I still don't like it, for several reasons:

It feels like an arbitrary rule in a computer game. It feels like Diablo, or 4e, with things like "Sword of the Zephyr, minimum level 8" or "You must be level 10 to use a magic ring, or level 20 to use two", or "godplate is for level 16+ only". I don't like that sort of thing.

It's arbitrary: Why at level 3? Why not at 5? There may be reasons behind all of them, but no level should be inherently different from another. General options and rules should not have level limits. I don't mind enhancer feats to have level limits or virtual level limits (enabler feats less so), but I think this is different.

It adds more bookkeeping at lower levels, as you have to check constantly whether someone or something can crit.

It still doesn't make sense to me. You're saying a 1st-level fighter shouldn't be able to crit a commoner, but a 5th-level commoner should be totally able to crit a 20th-level fighter? The training thing doesn't work for me as an explanation.

It makes lower levels weaker: Say the limit is level 4+, and your party of 3rd-level characters has to face a 4th-level fighter. They can't crit him, but he can crit them. He's just got an additional advantage over them.

I can see that characters in the first couple of levels are a bit frail, and I don't mind that being fixed, but I'd prefer a more consistent approach, like extra HP to lessen the blow of any crit they might get.

And I'll play prophet now and tell you one thing: The first time a low-level character gets a natural 20 and isn't allowed to go through with his crit, the DM will have a riot on his hands! There should remain a bit of danger in the game. Threat of death makes you feel more alive and all.


Over on the Races and Classes board, we came up with an idea that could work well.
Here you go! (you might have to dig a little way first). Basically, like with the Combat Maneuvers, you get 'special effects', like extra damage or bleed, or whatever. I don't know if this seems cooler to you, but it means criticals are good, but so's a good attack roll with a high bonus. Maybe this is actually the reverse of what you're wanting, but it's my feedback, I'll contribute what I want. :D


Fake Healer wrote:

If you read the whole thread it is nothing but a person asking for opinions on an idea he has then when opinions are put forward he hacks them apart and belittles them to try to make his original thought look superior.

I would say let him use his houserule in his house. He doesn't really want opinions, he want to argue his point.

Too True Fakey. Most of this has been snide.

Demon9ne wrote:

I'm not sure where to continue. Perhaps here:

Would this 'belittling' post be the second wrong that makes a right then? Way to waste 30 seconds of your life.

Fakey has been around a long time, and I have never seen him to ever just randomly belittle people. You are coming off defensive versus asking for help/opinions. Instead of dicussing different ideas that are presented you are defending yours and bashing others.

Fizz

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
The point being that the critical hit, I feel should be part of the adventurer's arsenal - not everyone's.

This is the part of your entire suggestion that I disagree with the most. When it comes to PC vs. NPC's (be they monsters, commoners, or other adventurers), what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Crits should be in for everyone at all levels or out altogether.

-Skeld

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Demon9ne wrote:
What if critical hits just weren't possible until a certain level?

I am not on board with this one...

Critical hits are the way to cool to avoid just because everyone is just starting out.

I had a party take out a way-too-powerful blue dragon because the fighter scored a critical and drew out the most devastating card from the Critical Hit Deck!!! It was a priceless moment that I would hate to rob the players from.

(yes, the dragon was suppose to chase the party off so I had to change some things around, but it was good fun).

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Fizzban wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:

If you read the whole thread it is nothing but a person asking for opinions on an idea he has then when opinions are put forward he hacks them apart and belittles them to try to make his original thought look superior.

I would say let him use his houserule in his house. He doesn't really want opinions, he want to argue his point.

Too True Fakey. Most of this has been snide.

Demon9ne wrote:

I'm not sure where to continue. Perhaps here:

Would this 'belittling' post be the second wrong that makes a right then? Way to waste 30 seconds of your life.

Fakey has been around a long time, and I have never seen him to ever just randomly belittle people. You are coming off defensive versus asking for help/opinions. Instead of dicussing different ideas that are presented you are defending yours and bashing others.

Fizz

Both (Fake healer and Fizzban) are QFT.

On the flip side in your system when do characters stop fumbling? the is it balanced to have crits w/o fumbles?

Demon9ne The RAW already have a mechanic to do what you want. It's the confirmation check. Your attack bonus compared against the target's AC. The better you are in combat the more likely you are to crit.

I'm no mathematician but when the probability is a flat 1 in 20 rolling a 20 just when you need it is lucky. Increased threat ranges increase the probability of bad things happening reducing the amount of luck involved but the basic theory still stands. The probabilities of the dice stand in for battlefield luck.

And again, removing crits from low level play doesn't really solve the same problem that increased HP solves.


What about:
1) removing the crit chances from weapons
2) making a natural 20 an actual 30 (no direct hit)
3) a natural 1 an actual -10
4) make all hits crit if they beat the AC by 20+

Dark Archive

About the argumentativeness:

Short of name-calling, I'm really not equipped with the internal sensor to tell what is offensive and what isn't. Note though my apology above. We're here to discuss mechanics, let's do that. Because the only thing more fruitless than argument is discussing argument.

Demon9ne wrote:
Are these extra hps going to these classed characters only? What about commoner-type npc characters and monsters? Will everything have more hit points earlier or are adventurers just plain tougher for some reason? Because if things are a bit imbalanced now at lower levels and everything gets tougher evenly, it will obviously still be imbalanced.

Can anyone give a definitive answer on these questions or is it too early yet to tell? Because my point in all this theorization is that I don't believe low hps too early are the problem - I think high damage too early is the problem. Btw, lot's of great points made above. I'll have to post or edit later when I have a bit more time. Thanks.

The Exchange

Demon9ne wrote:

About the argumentativeness:

Short of name-calling, I'm really not equipped with the internal sensor to tell what is offensive and what isn't. Note though my apology above. We're here to discuss mechanics, let's do that. Because the only thing more fruitless than argument is discussing argument.

Here is your very first response to a poster on this thread....

"Goblins have very few hp and are very easy to put down without critting - the glory was all in your head."
Sounds pretty belittling to me.

And here is the next four responses you made to people....
"Adding half the challenge rating to damage makes no sense whatsoever.

I much prefer the semi-lengthy tactical skirmishes that d&d is famed for to the bloodbaths this rule incites.

And I'll bet the whole party wanted Keen weapons soon afterward, since your rules together make it the only magical weapon property worth having.

And you know what they say about beauty."

The bolded portions vary from belittling to insulting of players' play styles.
That was the foundation for my post calling out your treatment of other posters. Now you don't want to discuss the argumentativeness.....that's convenient. Hard to take the high road when you walk low.

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Demon9ne wrote:
Are these extra hps going to these classed characters only? What about commoner-type npc characters and monsters? Will everything have more hit points earlier or are adventurers just plain tougher for some reason? Because if things are a bit imbalanced now at lower levels and everything gets tougher evenly, it will obviously still be imbalanced.

If I were the designer I would increase PC & other recurring charatcer's Hit Points only. Monsters and opponent NPCs are only intended to be "on screen" for a few short and bloody moments and the heroic PCs are expected to keep plodding through encounter after encounter.

But since I'm not one of the designers it's probably too early to say.


Myself and everyone that I have ever played with enjoy's criticals. Especially at low levels. They add an extra dimension of excitement to the game. Yes I have watched characters die, both mine and others, but I have found it's much easier to accept the loss of a character to a crit due to its more intense nature. My group uses the crit rules from the book Torn Asunder. They add some realism to the game not present in most of the bland rules presented from other sources.

Of course I have always been one who thinks the standard HP system is broken. It does all come down to personal and party preference though. If your players enjoy long, drawn, out arcade style battles then that is definitely the way you should play. My personal preference is for tactical deadly combat in which the characters actually fear for their lives from beginning to end.

Dark Archive

KaeYoss wrote:
It feels like an arbitrary rule in a computer game. It feels like Diablo, or 4e, with things like "Sword of the Zephyr, minimum level 8" or "You must be level 10 to use a magic ring, or level 20 to use two", or "godplate is for level 16+ only". I don't like that sort of thing.

I agree in the sense that I don't particularly enjoy rules that have no equivalent reason behind them, other than game balance. In video games that is definitely also the feeling I get. But a GM within the structure of a roleplaying game can explain to a player why: that the level cap is in place because it takes a certain degree of experience in dangerous combat situations. Within a video game all you can really do is imagine there's a good reason that there's a million items you can't use.

KaeYoss wrote:
It's arbitrary: Why at level 3? Why not at 5? There may be reasons behind all of them, but no level should be inherently different from another. General options and rules should not have level limits. I don't mind enhancer feats to have level limits or virtual level limits (enabler feats less so), but I think this is different.

Why shouldn't any level be inherently different from another? And would you feel as strongly if there weren't a level-limit? If there were a base attack bonus limit, would that be better somehow?

KaeYoss wrote:
It adds more bookkeeping at lower levels, as you have to check constantly whether someone or something can crit.

I don't feel it's much in the way of bookkeeping, kind of depends on your methods as a GM.

KaeYoss wrote:
It still doesn't make sense to me. You're saying a 1st-level fighter shouldn't be able to crit a commoner, but a 5th-level commoner should be totally able to crit a 20th-level fighter? The training thing doesn't work for me as an explanation.

In your scenario, neither the level 1 fighter or the commoner have seen enough combat - they can hurt each other all they'd like, but nothing that would constitute a critical hit in damage or description. The 5th-level commoner has seen more than a fair share of dangerous combat and could crit the 20th level fighter. The problem is hitting the 20th level fighter, and the bigger problem is when he hits you back.

KaeYoss wrote:
It makes lower levels weaker: Say the limit is level 4+, and your party of 3rd-level characters has to face a 4th-level fighter. They can't crit him, but he can crit them. He's just got an additional advantage over them.

Being that he's level 4, he should have a few additional advantages over them - another feat, a stat point, possibly better gear and magic items in most campaigns. But more importantly, he's seen more combat than them in the past, and is better able to hurt that which would attempt to hurt him. If 4 is the tier, then the 4th level fighter's weapons are now practically extensions of his arms in terms of brutality. This would be the classic movie scenario where the enemies are encircling a single opponent slowly, knowing full well that it is killable, but not wanting to be the first struck.

KaeYoss wrote:
I can see that characters in the first couple of levels are a bit frail, and I don't mind that being fixed, but I'd prefer a more consistent approach, like extra HP to lessen the blow of any crit they might get.

Absolutely. But as I've asked, consistency for whom? Does everything get extra hit points at low levels?

KaeYoss wrote:
And I'll play prophet now and tell you one thing: The first time a low-level character gets a natural 20 and isn't allowed to go through with his crit, the DM will have a riot on his hands! There should remain a bit of danger in the game. Threat of death makes you feel more alive and all.

I usually circumvent this situation by handing out typed house rules to my players before any dice are ever rolled. I answer questions. Then game on. Thanks for the input.

pneumonica wrote:
I've seen nutria kill dogs in exactly the same way, and what's a nutria if not a dire rat? The thing that keeps PCs alive is PCs keeping themselves alive through planning, training, and execution. The fun lies in PCs having to sweat for a while, rather than just knowing that the rules are keeping them safe regardless of their choices.

I don't know who or what nutria is, but with out without crits everything is still dangerous. If my PCs think they're safe, all the better. =) PCs should sweat equally at all levels.

pneumonica" wrote:
And how does removing crits "keep them safe"? A monster with a crossbow can do 8 points of damage on a single attack anyway, more with bonuses. The rogue in your prior example is killed just as dead.

I don't know so much that the point is keeping PCs 'safe' or having combat that's any less dangerous. I want combat to feel realistically dangerous and I want the PCs to feel that their hardships are paying off in the amount of sheer hurt they can inflict.

pneumonica wrote:
The point of the game, one way or another, is that the PCs are never safe unless they're not adventuring, and even then the jury's still out. PCs can die, at any time, regardless, because that's what an adventure is.

Well put - Absolutely.

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