Crits for Corpreal Undead and Constructs


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In 3.5 Undead and constructs were immune to critical hits and precision damage. In pathfinder they are just as vulnerable to crits as any human.

Does anyone think a compromise position should be adopted? Maybe give them medium fortification so they can shrug off 50% of crits but still have weak spots.

Grand Lodge

Sounds good.

I still play where, depending on the specific undead or construct I designed, it either is or is not immune. (Often is not, but I reserve the right to change if the monster design calls for it)

I'll have to consider this as a possible third option. . . .
Maybe the % of Fortification is based on the % of the construct or undead is critically vulnerable. So if my construct should be only critically injured if his leg gets chopped off, maybe that's equal to 25% Fortification or something.

But I still figure a Crit can be a groin shot or nerve shot -- not just a head shot or legs/ arms hacked off.


The change was made to keep rogues and other precision based classes from being useless against these creatures. Without sneak attack, a dagger wielding finesse rogue has no chance of getting past a golem's DR without having the right weapon.

The second reason for the change was for consistency. The only things that cannot be crit in PF are amorphous creatures with no structure. This is mostly elementals, oozes, and incorporeal undead. Golems and corporeal undead have a structure with weak points. As such they should be vulnerable to crits and sneak attack.

How many zombie movies have you seen where headshots work better than body shots?

That said, there is no reason why a golem or undead cannot be enchanted with fortification. Just remember that there are some serious balance ramifications if the party doesn't have the right weapons to overcome DR.


You forgot swarms, Charender.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Bring a +4 weapon to the fight and almost all DR disappears.

I am in favor of letting rogues and duelists have their sneak damage it is the criticals that bothers me the most. Constructs are supposed to be tougher than people.


dulsin wrote:

Bring a +4 weapon to the fight and almost all DR disappears.

I am in favor of letting rogues and duelists have their sneak damage it is the criticals that bothers me the most. Constructs are supposed to be tougher than people.

They are. How many people have natural armor? DR? A flat bonus to HP based on size? The ability to do slam attacks?

Constructs start with these things, and can be built bigger/stronger/better/faster/harder/etc. This doesn't mean that you can't tear one apart with a lucky/really well placed hit.

Same with undead, except different advantages.


dulsin wrote:

In 3.5 Undead and constructs were immune to critical hits and precision damage. In pathfinder they are just as vulnerable to crits as any human.

Does anyone think a compromise position should be adopted? Maybe give them medium fortification so they can shrug off 50% of crits but still have weak spots.

Been doing (almost) exactly that for about 8 years. Works well. Now with PFRPG that particular house rule has jumped from one side of the fence to the other (from giving more damage than RAW to giving less), but the balance has felt right in all of our games for nigh on a decade.

Remember, at no point did Dulsin suggest removing crits/sneaks vs undead and constructs - he said halve the extra damage. So head-shotting a zombie is still better, and you can whack a crack in the body of a golem and make it crumble... just not as easily as you can on squishy things with vital organs.


So why the extra reduction in damage? It just adds another layer of complexity that isn't really needed.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ever played a Rogue in a 3.5 Undead-themed adventure ?


Gorbacz wrote:
Ever played a Rogue in a 3.5 Undead-themed adventure ?

If you are asking me, I think you misunderstood my statement:

I meant why reduce the extra damage at all? Give them the full critical or sneak attack damage. The "toughness" of the monster is well represented by the stuff it already gets -- it doesn't need any more.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, I'm asking all the "undead should not be sneak/critable, because OMG how do you crit a skeleton" people. It's all fun and games until you face the rules in action, and that particular immunity was a major PITA of 3.0/3.5.


Abraham spalding wrote:
So why the extra reduction in damage? It just adds another layer of complexity that isn't really needed.

Because it adds flavour and an extra layer of (mechanical) depth to those creature types by re-enforcing the fact that hitting them is like hitting a statue or a corpse rather than a vital being.

Sure it isn't needed. But neither is ice cream.

aside:

LOL how times have changed.

Folks used to take us to task about even allowing sneak attacks and crits against undead/constructs back in 3.x (we told them it was targeting a structural weakness). Now we have to justify it for the other reason... because structural weaknesses aren't as easy to splatter with a sword as a kidney :D


Gorbacz wrote:
No, I'm asking all the "undead should not be sneak/critable, because OMG how do you crit a skeleton" people. It's all fun and games until you face the rules in action, and that particular immunity was a major PITA of 3.0/3.5.

Nobody fitting that description in this thread...


I house-ruled back at PF's release that undead and constructs get a +4 to AC on rolls to confirm crits. I suppose fortification is probably a more elegant way to handle it. I had forgotten the game already included a crit-resistance type of mechanic and I might use that instead.

At any rate, I agree with the OP that it still feels like there should be some kind of compromise. I feel like 3.5 was too far one way and PF is a little too far the other.

In the end it's a minor issue, and I see where Abe is coming from too. These types of monsters do have mechanics to make them tougher to hurt than normal humans already, but imo it seems like some type of crit resistance would fit the flavor of undead and constructs, since one of their defining qualities is a lack of conventional weak points. A golem or zombie with an arrow through its chest/head isn't going to mind as much as that human whose heart/brain/achilles tendon/etc gets nailed, bringing him down immediately.

I could understand houseruling it and I could also understand just leaving it as-is for simplicity's sake. It'd be interesting to see if the designers had toyed around with fortification or something similar before they arrived where they did.


I've played in a game where undead could [i]only[/b] be destroyed by crits or massive damage. Since they couldn't feel pain or suffer from general damage, they would ignore any ordinary wounds. You basically had to crit them (dismemberment, broken bones, etc.) until they couldn't move anymore.

This made critmonsters/precision fighters way more useful against undead than anyone else.

Contributor

Remember that PF undead have more hp than they used to in 3.5, so that helps counter allowing crits and sneak attacks.

Dark Archive

I applied a custom-made defensive ability, "Resistance to criticals".
Basically, it downgrades the extra damage dice from precision damage and crits.

So, a fighter with a longsword inflicting a crit would roll 1d8 (base) + 1d6 (crit) + Str/feat/whatever mods.
A 5° level rogue with a shortsword inflicting a sneak attack would roll 1d6 (base) + 3d4 (precision) + Str/feat/whatever mod.

Also there is an "Improved Resistance to criticals" and a "Superior Resistance to criticals", which respectively drop the dice category two and three steps down (minimum 1, as always).


Umbral Reaver wrote:

I've played in a game where undead could [i]only[/b] be destroyed by crits or massive damage. Since they couldn't feel pain or suffer from general damage, they would ignore any ordinary wounds. You basically had to crit them (dismemberment, broken bones, etc.) until they couldn't move anymore.

This made critmonsters/precision fighters way more useful against undead than anyone else.

That's interesting, I actually really like this.

It would be pretty cool to see some official undead included in future products that had this quality.

----

As far as some of them having smaller amounts of fortification I think that would be fine as long as you tried to balance them a bit. (possibly lowered HP a tad?)

Really I think the best call is to apply it in your game as you see fit. If you don't think the wood golem should be Sneak-Attackable, then modify it appropriately. The Rogue'll pout (I know I've done my share) but it's not the most unreasonable thing in the world.

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