A critical question

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

OK, after being in a few arguments over alignments and how nebulous those are, I'll ask a question about others' experiences in a crunchy area:

Critical hits in melee.

Namely, especially at low- to mid-level, how often does it seem that the extra damage an x3 weapon gets over an x2 has made a significant difference in what happens to the victim? In my current game, I've seen both ends -- on the one hand, my barbarian has had two crits with her greataxe and generally left debris fields, but caught one from a ranseur and was feeling very unhappy. Figuring this is a rather trivial sample size, figured this would be a place to ask how it's gone for them?

I'm not asking to factor in crit ranges here--just whether x3 represents the over- to an x2's kill.

Liberty's Edge

When the weapon is wielded by a PC, it doesn't often matter. Mooks die with nearly any crit and BBEGs die at the speed of plot (often enough). Plus, of course, the difference between unconscious and dead is seldom of much import for NPCs.

When wielded by NPCs, it's really important, since the increased multiple (especially when used by a brute) is often the difference between unconsciousness and death for the PC.

Very swingy randomness almost always disfavors the PCs, even though players seem to like it quite a bit.

In a word: yes.

Both by the numbers and in play.
Human warrior 1 with greatsword and power attack: 4d6+12, average damage 26, minimum damage 16, maximum damage 36.

Human warrior 1 with greataxe and power attack: 3d12+18, average damage 37, minimum damage 21, maximum damage 54.

In the first session of my current campaign, our fighter, one-handing a Medium bastard sword, managed to one-shot kill a 1 HD goblin warrior, while our barbarian, two-handing a Small heavy flail, was able to do the same to a riding dog with more than twice the health. Just as you say - at very low levels, x3 weapons have the potential for overkill.

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