[TPK GAMES] Get your crit together!


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Shadow Lodge

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Critical hits and fumbles are about to get a lot more interesting. Laying Waste, the successful critical hit kickstarter project, drops Thursday at midnight.

Everything You Know About Critical Hits is Wrong…

With 600 critical hit and fumble effects, Laying Waste presents a slick system to maximize the enjoyment of critical hits and fumbles in the Pathfinder RPG or any OGL d20 systems. This system replaces the standard critical hit and fumble rules, adding realism and balance to combat, while still being simple and elegant enough to use with ease. Over 100 playtesters have given us their feedback and approval.

Players and GM characters are actually rewarded for *all* of their threat rolls and for their level of skill with weapons! Critical hits will add a very fun element to the game now, rather than simply making combat go faster by doing huge amounts of damage. It is even possible to receive lasting wounds from particularly terrible fights, the sort of thing to show off over tavern ales and campsite fires.

The emphasis of this product is fun however, and not sheer destruction. While the possibility exists for horrific maiming and wicked injuries, clerics also have ways to treat such injuries and it will take a very honed and practiced sword hand to deal the most grievous of blows. Within the 166 pages are over 100 feats, 16 new martial archetypes and a plethora of optional combat rules to add to your games.

Now get your crit together and enjoy Laying Waste upon your enemies now and for years to come! This book is a must-have for every gaming table.

From the talented minds of Brian Berg, Clinton Boomer, Brian Boonstra, Creighton Broadhurst, Rick Cox, Thilo “Endzeitgeist” Graf, Hal Greenberg, Adam Meyers, Jason Nelson, James Olchak, Tom Phillips, John Reyst, Rachel Ventura, Jim “Drawmij” Ward, and Mike Welham.


Want much-ly. So bummed that I missed out on the Kickstarter.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I have been not-so-patiently waiting for this one to be done. Even missing the Kickstarter soon we will all get to play with it. I wonder how many groups will use it.

It will be nice to finally have a cool crit system. Over the years I have seen many attempts to implement it, most of them just random tables. There was a Dragon Magazine article from the 80's that we tried for a few sessions back in the day but it was underwhelming. We even looked at MERP and its cousin, Rolemaster, and all they had going for them were their crit tables. They proved to be unplayable, even if it was fun to shoot someone with a bow and have an arrow go in one ear and out the other.

I trust that this will instead be a success.

Shadow Lodge

For sure. We had over 100 people playtesting, providing feedback and improvements. It turned out to be a great system. My players insist on using it for all our games now.


As one of the Kickstarter backers and playtesters, I have to say that this book (and the new crit system) is awesome. Really looking forward to receiving the final book.


To steal a line from a commercial, "This is the future of awesome!"


1 person marked this as a favorite.

And this is not the end of the system...a second book is on the horizon to address magic criticals! I am looking forward to that even more than this and if this is as good as it sounds, then once I digest it, I will be even more enthralled for the second book...

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Holy crit!

The crit has really hit the fan now!

This crit's for real!

(Ok, I'll stop.)

I'm really looking forward to using this at my game table. So very cool.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I am a backer of the Kickstarter but I was not in the playtest (my time is too limited and sporadic).

I recall that there will be Hero Lab support. That is a must for my gaming group. but I am wondering how much can be used "as is". I am guessing that the system itself will not need Hero Lab* at all, but only the feats, Prestige Classes, etc. would need to be added to a data file.

*: I know that nothing requires Hero Lab. However, for my group it is necessary. Also, I am so blind that I can no longer write on a character sheet. I require the use of an electronic character generator of some sort. My desire for Hero Lab support is based on recognition of my own limitations and not snobbery against those that do not use them. I sometimes miss the days of filling out a sheet by hand. But only sometimes.

Shadow Lodge

There's someone working on the Hero Lab files as we speak. The only problem is that we are talking about new mechanics that don't exist. But hopefully we can craft it in such a way that at least puts all of your abilities on the table (so to speak).

100+ feats, 16 archetypes, new magic weapon and armor properties, plus spells. That's what should be covered with our Hero Lab components.

Grand Lodge

My players have been enjoying Laying Waste all through the play-test. It took a couple of sessions for everyone to memorize the new system, but since then, it is easy, makes sense, and is loads of fun. Critical hits (and fumbles) are now eagerly anticipated for the fun that an effect other than simple extra damage will generate.


I really liked Feats Reforged so I'm looking forwards to this...


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Tom Phillips wrote:

Holy crit!

The crit has really hit the fan now!

This crit's for real!

(Ok, I'll stop.)

I'm really looking forward to using this at my game table. So very cool.

Really? More ways to kills us, precious? Besides the puns.

Bad evil chrome skull!!! Bad!

Whacks with rolled up newspaper soaked in holy water
:)

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32, 2012 Top 4

Scott Williams 16 wrote:

Really? More ways to kills us, precious? Besides the puns.

Bad evil chrome skull!!! Bad!

It's for the greater good. Now, take your medicine!

Shadow Lodge

Surprisingly, the system deals a lot less damage, instead trading the sheer damage output for great effects that vary in severity based on your skill. Also, threats actually mean something, even if you don't get a critical effect.

But yeah, more ways to kill you. Combat feels more alive, more brutal and bloody. More realistic. You will use the Heal skill more, I guarantee.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Looking it over it should be fun. It adds to the game but is not particularly complex. Being complex and not-fun is the definition of many other approaches I have seen.

The fumbles are not especially bad, but in some situations they could be devastating. "You were using a poisoned knife? Oops".

Now to get my group to use it, even when I do not GM.


Ok, I'll be digesting this for a while and won't get to see it in play until next weekend but at first glance, this is superb!

It seems to provide the flavor I want from combat, it utilizes the Pathfinder conditions to great effect, and addresses the "Crits aren't fair to PCs!" complaint through the saving throw.

I love that crits scale and the names for many of the crits and fumbles are priceless.

I'm so bummed that I had to miss out on the kickstarter, but anxiously awaiting the Hero Lab files and the magic-crit companion!

Shadow Lodge

BPorter wrote:

...at first glance, this is superb!

It seems to provide the flavor I want from combat, it utilizes the Pathfinder conditions to great effect, and addresses the "Crits aren't fair to PCs!" complaint through the saving throw.

Thank you! I completely agree. That was actually the impetus for writing this sourcebook. We wanted to make combat more fun, less about doing hundreds of points of damage and more about the OMG! factor of adrenaline pumping excitement. Also, with the scaling saves and different categories of crits, they are fair to PCs. While the PCs are much more likely to roll fumbles they can save against them and as they gain more experience are much less likely to actually suffer a fumble effect.

Existing products didn't really meet my needs as a GM, so this came to exist because I wanted more flavor out of combat. The kickstarter backers had their own ideas and philosophies too, and the end result really made all of us happy.

Honestly, this is one book that every gaming group should own.

Shadow Lodge

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As of this morning Laying Waste is the #1 Pathfinder compatible download on DriveThru! Thank you everyone!


I have a question regarding broken bones and such. It says that rest or restorative magic is needed to heal it up, but which kind? In reality, broken bones take a longer time to heal than say, a sprained ankle. But in mechanics, both would be (in the case of a leg injury) a movement penalty and ability score damage. What would you all suggest? At the moment, I've been houseruling 1 week/ point of ability score damage for broken bones for it to be completely healed, but limited usability if they've received magical aid to restore some of the score penalties.

EDIT- by 'magical aid', I meant things like Lesser Restoration and such, not spells like Regeneration.

Shadow Lodge

I hear ya. Unfortunately, game mechanics are fantasy and often far removed from reality, so it becomes very subjective sometimes in regards to effects. In Laying Waste, we tried to be somewhat realistic, at the same time not impair the targets so much that the game would cease to be fun. In real life, a broken leg is not fun.

When we mention restorative magic, that's not cure light wounds, that would be restoration. Since it repairs ability damage, it seems fair that it could mend a broken leg. Also, as written in the core rules, ability damage returns at 1 point per day. You certainly could choose to house-rule it to 1/week, but I'd caution against it with this system, as your chances of taking ability damage are higher.

Now, if you are in a low-magic game, where extended rests are more common, that might be freaking awesome. Your game, your rules. Have fun!


Necroblivion wrote:

I hear ya. Unfortunately, game mechanics are fantasy and often far removed from reality, so it becomes very subjective sometimes in regards to effects. In Laying Waste, we tried to be somewhat realistic, at the same time not impair the targets so much that the game would cease to be fun. In real life, a broken leg is not fun.

When we mention restorative magic, that's not cure light wounds, that would be restoration. Since it repairs ability damage, it seems fair that it could mend a broken leg. Also, as written in the core rules, ability damage returns at 1 point per day. You certainly could choose to house-rule it to 1/week, but I'd caution against it with this system, as your chances of taking ability damage are higher.

Now, if you are in a low-magic game, where extended rests are more common, that might be freaking awesome. Your game, your rules. Have fun!

Actually the houserule came somewhat at the player's insistence, as they found it absurd that a PC (who'd fumbled and received a broken wrist via the Crit Fumble deck, and then 2 points each to two different stats) would be up-n-at-'em after two days' rest, and yet an NPC in the AP who they had to travel with, which had a broken leg, explicitly had it written into the adventure that 'nothing short of a regenerate spell will heal [her] broken leg...'

I probably wasn't as clear as I should have been regarding the houserule; the penalties to the ability score itself heal up at the normal rate, meaning any dex-, str-, or con-based penalties for having stats lower than usual go away. But the thing is still in a cast and practically useless for X amount of weeks (X being the total amount of ability score damage taken- so you might have a light fracture or a really bad compound fracture). Lesser restoration only helps to remove the ability score penalties, but it still needs time to heal to usefulness. CLW? Yeah right- a broken anything is not a 'light' wound. Restoration reduces the time needed by one increment (so, if it would take 2 weeks to heal, then 2 castings of Restoration would do the trick. Regenerate fixes it up in a snap (and iirc, is the only spell that explicitly says that it repairs broken bones...).

Everybody at my table is happy with that, so we're rollin' with it :)


Will it be for sale here at Paizo?

Shadow Lodge

You bet, you can grab it here now!


Thanks!

Shadow Lodge

Community reviewer Megan Robertson gives Laying Waste 5 stars!

Megan Robertson wrote:
"The core concepts are simple and easy to grasp... Throughout, there are numerous examples to show you how everything works and plenty of optional extras that you can bolt on if you wish - or leave out without disrupting the core system... Spice up your combat with crunchy rules that facilitate role-playing by providing ways to give cinematic descriptions of what is going on rather than merely delivering large numbers of points of damage."

You can read the full review here!


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

In my group the current GM does not want to use it yet. :/ But half of us players do. So we will either have to use peer pressure or wait until one of us runs. I have been looking forward to this since the Kickstarter.

Shadow Lodge

It's honestly an easy transition. It takes a couple critical hits and fumbles to see how it works, then it's nice and smooth once everyone knows the basics. I think GMs of all people would want to use this, as it makes combat more fun and balanced.

Dark Archive

An element which I liked of this, coming from playing with the critical hit decks for a long while, is that the wound severity system makes -what- a combatant rolls on the dice much more meaningful. This goes both ways of course, but specifically when it comes to big bad guys it is favorable for player characters--particularly if they have a decent armor class.

For critical hit cards, all that needs to occur for them to fire is confirming the crit--e.g. hitting the target's AC again, and then delivering the crit effect; a prime example is the deadly Decapitation critical hit card: double damage and a fortitude save vs. immediate death, DC set by the confirmation roll.

Once you start pushing up past the CR 9 mark or so with larger critters, confirming a crit roll can very frequently become a matter of 'roll anything but a 1' which, in the case of a Decapitation card, can be pretty bad news in a hurry for a PC on the receiving end.

Snagging the chart equivalent from laying waste, which starts with Neck Cut at a light wound and then hits Decapitation once it pushes to a severe wound, suddenly that same monster might conceivably need to roll a 14 or better to score a full-on Decapitation chance against the PC.

As a group that's been using the critical hit decks for a while, the other side of the coin is players concerned that they'd rarely ever get to reach the severe wounds as PCs for higher-AC enemies--over the years we've had a couple occasions where a sudden Decapitation drastically changed the tides in a battle.

In any event, we played a pretty long session exploring Laying Waste in action and thus far it seems pretty promising; the one thing I think it could badly use are consolidated charts to print out for play at the table--and at least in the case of Neck Cut - > Neck Slash -> Decapitation, all three severity charts just listed Neck Cut, which threw some folks off at play (not sure if other iterative name changes have the same situation going on or not.)

Are we correct in reading that there's no secondary roll involved in fumbles using Laying Waste? With the fumble cards we'd had confirmation checks--so the whole table was fumbling much more frequently with Laying Waste (and having a few chuckles after the text called out that the system was trying to address PCs running into more fumbles than critters, etc.)

Regardless, Laying Waste has been interesting so far and I'm keen to see further play, especially with some of the new supplemental options in the field.

Shadow Lodge

Glad to hear you are enjoying Laying Waste. We read over a ton of feedback from other critical systems before we went to work on our own.

There is a quick chart in the back of the book to print out for players. It doesn't have all the hit tables, but we might make one for free, that's a great idea.

As for fumbles, you are correct. You don't have to make double rolls, just a saving throw to dodge the effect.

Dark Archive

Ahh, figured as much. Even with the saving throws afforded to the effects, we actually ended up netting considerably more frequent fumbles than we had with the fumble cards (which entailed a natural 1 followed by a confirmation check, e.g. trying to hit the target again.)

Generally folks would succeed on the confirmation check to avoid fumbles before, so a few players ended up getting hit with three or four fumbles throughout the night apiece. With the for-sure-fumble followed by a saving throw, folks were having a harder time hitting DC 20 saves compared to avoidance via confirmation rolls previously.

We put together makeshift single-page charts for our reference--essentially three column portrait spreadsheets with the light/moderate/severe charts, one page per category (piercing/slashing/bludgeoning.) Printing out copies of those charts for everyone at the table helped out with speeding up the process of determining which wound was in play.

The downside to trying out the new system was primarily how long it took us to flip back and forth in the PDF to read the results of a given crit--honestly I feel like it would be much more practical to consolidate the iterative versions of each of the given wound effects (e.g. 'Brained', instead of appearing on three different pages, appears once with separate summaries of its light/moderate/severe versions.)

If the light/moderate/severe versions of slashing/piercing/bludgeoning were consolidated, you could have a single page for the percentile chart for each and probably trim 10 - 15 pages on the individual entries while streamlining reviewing them. We could technically make index cards for the various wound effects or something of that nature--but then we're nudging back towards using cards again at that rate.

There were a few general minor peculiarities that I suspect might be things you'd want to edit later (in the Brained example, the light and severe versions have recovery options which the moderate does not.) Still, on the whole it feels well put together and we had fun exploring it; the gang was certainly bummed at the lack of magic crits however.

On an aside, how do you propose attacks with multiple damage types be handled with the Laying Waste system? Do you declare if it's piercing/slashing/etc. prior to making the wound check, decide after comparing results on the wound chart, etc.?


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I would think that you would have to declare it as you choose which chart to use. You cannot both slash and stab (pierce) with a sword in the same blow.


@Gozuja - Hey bud, I've read your Slumbering Tsar log on the interwebz. Good stuff. Did you guys ever finish that beast? Looks like you took a hiatus early last year on that campaign.

Edit: Sorry for the major derail. That totally just caught me off guard.

Dark Archive

KaiserDM wrote:

@Gozuja - Hey bud, I've read your Slumbering Tsar log on the interwebz. Good stuff. Did you guys ever finish that beast? Looks like you took a hiatus early last year on that campaign.

Edit: Sorry for the major derail. That totally just caught me off guard.

We dove back in around October/November of last year and saw through to the grand finale back in March or so after a wild final battle. I've been regrettably too busy to do a write-up and wrap-up on it all yet, I've unfortunately gotten a lot busier over the last year or so. Still, it was good times and I'm happy you hear you enjoyed reading our escapades!

Currently we're about a third of the way through a Razor Coast campaign and trucking along.

That is where we're trying out Laying Waste currently--as it happens, severity checks against relatively lightly-armored pirates and the like make for some pretty grievous injuries!


Cool, very cool. Just so happens, I bought Slumbering Tsar a few weeks ago and just read through it. Amazing book. I think Laying Waste will be a perfect addition to the campaign to add a little (more) grittiness to our adventure.

Glad to see you guys made it through such a long, arduous journey.

Good luck with Razor Coast. Cheers.

Shadow Lodge

We are updating the PDF this afternoon to address a couple minor fixes. Print copies are coming soon.

Shadow Lodge

What are your favorite archetypes from Laying Waste thus far?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Gozuja wrote:

Ahh, figured as much. Even with the saving throws afforded to the effects, we actually ended up netting considerably more frequent fumbles than we had with the fumble cards (which entailed a natural 1 followed by a confirmation check, e.g. trying to hit the target again.)

A little houserule we have is that if you score a crit you can save it to avoid a fumble later. So instead of scoring a crit, it is just a normal strike, but when a fumble comes up you can turn it in to avoid the fumble.

Shadow Lodge

Cool! I'll be curious to see what other houserules come out of this.


My group is now officially using this in our Carrion Crown campaign. Funny thing happened last weekend: our fighter fingertipped a creature with no fingers! It didn't matter, though, because the max damage killed the creature (a flaming skull) outright.

I have a question from our alchemist: how do the new crit rules work for an alchemist's bombs? My guess was that they will be coverd in Laying Waste II: MORE Wasted!. Any ideas for my group to fill the interim?

Dark Archive

Let me start with the fact that I've enjoyed every TPK Games product I've bought (Deductionist and Malefactor base classes). That being said, I have some concerns about this product that I was hoping could be addresses before I buy it. My main concern is that the conventional wisdom is that fumbles penalize martial classes as they get better at combat (i.e. the more you roll, the better your chance of fumbling); how is this mitigated? My second concern is that combat is already a laborious process, and the current crit rules have the benefit of being easy to apply; do the new rules add a noticeable slowdown to combat?

Shadow Lodge

@Itchy, that's great! Also, I'll put "MORE Wasted!" down for a possible title... Also, you are correct about alchemy. At this time, I don't have a good option for you. I'm not sure alchemist bombs actually do critical damage.

@BlackOuroboros, you are correct. That's why we created a fumble system based on flat DC 20 saves. As you gain more attacks, your skill increases, and your chances of actually suffering a crit are much lessened.

Does it slow down combat? At first, yes. It takes a few crits for everyone to see how it works, and then you should be golden. It's even faster if you have the app though! It's sort of a trade-off, and one I opted for. You won't do 100+ points of damage on critical hits that would end a major fight. Instead, you'll deal very flavorful effects and you'll get a few more rounds out of your fights (which makes combat more fun).


Necroblivion wrote:

@Itchy, that's great! Also, I'll put "MORE Wasted!" down for a possible title... Also, you are correct about alchemy. At this time, I don't have a good option for you. I'm not sure alchemist bombs actually do critical damage.

Does it slow down combat? At first, yes. It takes a few crits for everyone to see how it works, and then you should be golden. It's even faster if you have the app though! It's sort of a trade-off, and one I opted for. You won't do 100+ points of damage on critical hits that would end a major fight. Instead, you'll deal very flavorful effects and you'll get a few more rounds out of your fights (which makes combat more fun).

Ha! MORE Wasted was a joke, but if you use it, I'm printing this forum to prove to my group that it was my idea. :)

No worries! I'll talk over the alchemist bombs question with the two rules gurus in my group and I'll let you know if we work something out. If it works out, you can use it or not! Looks like alchemist's bombs do crit, but only the base 1d6+Int damage is doubled.

Our group it using the critical hits, but not the fumbles. This is mainly because I don't like fumbles. I have always found them un-fun (as have about half my group), but that's my opinion only.

By the by, I noticed in the most recent update that the quick start guide page dropped out. It used to be the second to last page, now it's either gone or moved and I can't find where it moved to.

I was going to print that page out to give to all my players to help speed everything along.

Shadow Lodge

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Correct. We are producing a much better quick start guide and game aid that will be added to the downloads and distributed free. Coming soon.


Necroblivion wrote:
Correct. We are producing a much better quick start guide and game aid that will be added to the downloads and distributed free. Coming soon.

Excellent! Thanks!

Shadow Lodge

Print versions have been released. They are now available through DriveThru, d20pfsrd.com, Amazon, and TPK's webstore. Hardcover versions are only available from DriveThru and our TPK Webstore. We are hoping to be selling print on Paizo.com sometime after GenCon as well.


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Apologies for the late post-session feedback but Laying Waste was an even bigger hit than I anticipated!

So far, all indications are that this is THE critical hit/fumble system I have been looking to implement for many, many years.

It's proven to provide the high-five-inducing spectacular "YES!" moments of the old Rolemaster critical hits without the complete-randomness limitations of that and similar systems. It was also very intuitive for me and my players.

Laying Waste is on the fast-track to become one of 3PP rulebooks that are considered "core" for any Pathfinder game (along with Deep Magic & Spellpoints Compilation).

I've got another session coming up this weekend so the system will get another live-fire exercise very soon.

Thanks again for a terrific product.

Shadow Lodge

BPorter, that's fantastic to hear. Glad your group is enjoying it!


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

Loving this product! Any word on the iOS app?


Elorebaen wrote:
Loving this product! Any word on the iOS app?

You can check out the Laying Waste IOS app here!

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