New Crit Mechanism (Plot)


Prerelease Discussion


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Mark Seifter's post and the subsequent discussion got me thinking about the new critical hit formula.

As far as I understand it, in PF2 you crit (or are crit) when your attack roll exceeds the target's AC by 10 or more, as opposed to PF1, where you threatened a crit on a weapon-based target number.

As I thought about it more, I realized a few implications of this new system:*

[1] High-accuracy characters probably got buffed (depends on exact numbers), ESPECIALLY against low AC opponents.
[2] Attack buffs do more for high-accuracy characters than they did in the old system.
[3] Lower accuracy characters got slightly nerfed.

I made a fast and dirty plot showing how your expected damage changes with the difference between AC and attack bonus in the old and new systems. The difference at the more "accurate" end of the plot is pretty striking. For the old system, I used a 19-20/x2 weapon. The qualitative picture doesn't change much with other weapons. For the new system, I assumed a crit was double weapon damage (no x3 or x4, for obvious reasons, and I think this is pretty strong evidence we won't see those crit modifiers in PF2). I also assumed you still miss on a natural 1.

Of course, this all depends on the exact AC and attack numbers. But it certainly looks like a difference of 4-5 on attack could really end up being quite a bit of damage, and that the difference does not go away with party-wide buffs (e.g. bard).

Overall, I suspect that's a slight buff of more 'martial' classes, and think it would be a good thing. I'll be interested to see how it turns out in the playtest.

==

*I have not gone through this for iterative attacks. I suspect, however, that the trend would hold up pretty well, since the "inaccurate" end of the plot is very similar between the two systems. In other words, the first attack would do significantly more damage, and the later attacks would do at least equivalent damage. On net, a damage increase.


The thing I'm a bit worried about is that if you're not maximizing your bonuses, whether it be attacks, skills, saves, whatever, then you're at an increased chance to fumble compared to your chance to hit.

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.


Posts from Mark seem to indicate that to-hit is going to be on the higher end of things in general rather than lower. You should expect your -10 attack to be worth using against cheap mooks, which obviously can't be the case if the chances of your first attack hitting are average.

Paizo Employee Designer

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bookrat wrote:

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

Well, a critical failure by default is the same as a failure on an attack roll. You don't drop the weapon or cut yourself or anything. You just miss either way.

Liberty's Edge

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bookrat wrote:

The thing I'm a bit worried about is that if you're not maximizing your bonuses, whether it be attacks, skills, saves, whatever, then you're at an increased chance to fumble compared to your chance to hit.

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

It's already been clarified that critical failures don't do anything on their own, they just act as a trigger for certain abilities. The example given was, as I recall, a Rogue having the option to use a reaction to attack an enemy that critically failed an attack against them.


I know folks want to whip out the old tables from RoleMaster, for all the critical failures and hits, but could we please not do this thing and keep it a bit more homogenized?

Otherwise, as currently depicted (with very little information showing) it is a race to push the 'to hit' as high as possible at the cost of all else, and changes the 'rocket tag' to an entirely different and obscene level.

The other side of it is, it would (as currently depicted) remove the 5% chance that anyone has of hitting something -- it seems like a good idea until you have a whole table going "Welp, we can't hit the BBEG, I guess we all just die, then?" or the GM going (without fudging) "Welp, my mooks can't hit you, so I guess rather than rolling out this fight you just win, congratulations."


JRutterbush wrote:
bookrat wrote:

The thing I'm a bit worried about is that if you're not maximizing your bonuses, whether it be attacks, skills, saves, whatever, then you're at an increased chance to fumble compared to your chance to hit.

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

It's already been clarified that critical failures don't do anything on their own, they just act as a trigger for certain abilities. The example given was, as I recall, a Rogue having the option to use a reaction to attack an enemy that critically failed an attack against them.

Ah. Ok, that makes a good amount of sense. Clears up my worries. Thanks!

(I really need to listen to the Know Direction podcast)


GM Wageslave wrote:


I know folks want to whip out the old tables from RoleMaster, for all the critical failures and hits, but could we please not do this thing and keep it a bit more homogenized?

Otherwise, as currently depicted (with very little information showing) it is a race to push the 'to hit' as high as possible at the cost of all else, and changes the 'rocket tag' to an entirely different and obscene level.

The other side of it is, it would (as currently depicted) remove the 5% chance that anyone has of hitting something -- it seems like a good idea until you have a whole table going "Welp, we can't hit the BBEG, I guess we all just die, then?" or the GM going (without fudging) "Welp, my mooks can't hit you, so I guess rather than rolling out this fight you just win, congratulations."

It's already basically an instant lose if you can only hit an enemy on a 20. Making it official wouldn't change that.

Paizo Employee Designer

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I mean, we haven't said what happens on a 20 or a 1 yet. Details like those are probably best saved for a comprehensive blog on successes and failures.


Arachnofiend wrote:


It's already basically an instant lose if you can only hit an enemy on a 20. Making it official wouldn't change that.

In response: There's at least still *some* chance, though, versus *absolutely none*.

However, Mark has said that we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg here, so the qualifiers that are actually mitigators on this are currently unrevealed but coming soon to a blog near us.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I mean, we haven't said what happens on a 20 or a 1 yet. Details like those are probably best saved for a comprehensive blog on successes and failures.

I was actually thinking that as I was working on this. I set this up under the assumption that you 'always miss on a 1', and 'always hit on a 20,' because I thought I remembered a similar mechanism for skills from the Glass Cannon podcast. Obviously, we poor forum folk don't yet have the playtest document (for good reasons), so it's the best I can do. :-) The exercise did get me excited about the new mechanics, though, so I thought I would share.


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GM Wageslave wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:


It's already basically an instant lose if you can only hit an enemy on a 20. Making it official wouldn't change that.

In response: There's at least still *some* chance, though, versus *absolutely none*.

However, Mark has said that we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg here, so the qualifiers that are actually mitigators on this are currently unrevealed but coming soon to a blog near us.

Was reminded of the spoony video where he reviews "The Apocalypse Stone" module where it erroneously said. "The Tarrasque can only be hit on a natural 1".

Paizo Employee Designer

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Cheburn wrote:

As I thought about it more, I realized a few implications of this new system:*

[1] High-accuracy characters probably got buffed (depends on exact numbers), ESPECIALLY against low AC opponents.
[2] Attack buffs do more for high-accuracy characters than they did in the old system.
[3] Lower accuracy characters got slightly nerfed.

It certainly does have some major implications, and the scale and frequency of bonuses had to be adjusted accordingly. Even a +1 is really significant when you’re making three attacks per round, each of which has both an improved chance to hit and one or more have an improved chance to crit!


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Seems like this will result in more rocket tag, more so if the rumors that they're going to multiply damage like sneak attack on a crit pan out. Also noted was the ability to critically fail/succeed saving throws vs spells and such. I hope this isn't a dev's baby and they're able to nix it after the playtest. We don't need more save or suck and we especially don't need save or suck or suck worse.


Makes Crits harder, but works better stories.

Crits inflict Conditions? This is good.


GM Wageslave wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:


It's already basically an instant lose if you can only hit an enemy on a 20. Making it official wouldn't change that.
In response: There's at least still *some* chance, though, versus *absolutely none*.

That only mean you will die with hope.


Mark Seifter wrote:
bookrat wrote:

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

Well, a critical failure by default is the same as a failure on an attack roll. You don't drop the weapon or cut yourself or anything. You just miss either way.

How does this work when in the live play podcast, a character took double damage for fumbling a spell saving throw?

Liberty's Edge

bookrat wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
bookrat wrote:

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

Well, a critical failure by default is the same as a failure on an attack roll. You don't drop the weapon or cut yourself or anything. You just miss either way.
How does this work when in the live play podcast, a character took double damage for fumbling a spell saving throw?

Saving throws are not attack rolls. Critically failing a saving throw is like an opponent scoring a critical hit against you, it's just that the opponent isn't rolling anything, so the way they see if you take double damage is on your end, not theirs.


JRutterbush wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
bookrat wrote:

AC of 14 and you've got a +2? You can never crit, and still have a chance to fumble. Especially if you're going to use your second and third action to attack - your chance to fumble just keeps increasing.

I'm hope there's something in play to alleviate this.

Well, a critical failure by default is the same as a failure on an attack roll. You don't drop the weapon or cut yourself or anything. You just miss either way.
How does this work when in the live play podcast, a character took double damage for fumbling a spell saving throw?
Saving throws are not attack rolls. Critically failing a saving throw is like an opponent scoring a critical hit against you, it's just that the opponent isn't rolling anything, so the way they see if you take double damage is on your end, not theirs.

I can see that, but it doesn't alleviate the concern from my original post: if you're not maxing out your saves to the utmost extent, then you're just increasing the odds of fumbling (or reverse critting, in this case).

My post was concerned with attacks, saves, skills, and possibly more. Since we know the +/-10 system works with all three of those. It seems we've address the potential problems on the attack front, but not on the saves and skills front.


bookrat wrote:

I can see that, but it doesn't alleviate the concern from my original post: if you're not maxing out your saves to the utmost extent, then you're just increasing the odds of fumbling (or reverse critting, in this case).

Just like not maxing out your AC will increase the chance to be crit in melee.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:
bookrat wrote:

I can see that, but it doesn't alleviate the concern from my original post: if you're not maxing out your saves to the utmost extent, then you're just increasing the odds of fumbling (or reverse critting, in this case).

Just like not maxing out your AC will increase the chance to be crit in melee.

Also true.

And that slightly worries me. I don't want people to be hyper focused on finding that next +1. It's one of the things that drove me away from PF1.

You lose a ton of character options when every character has to be the best. Anything less than best becomes nonviable, a waste of space, or heavily peer pressured to not take that option.

I want my players to have real options that are meaningful and useful in game. I don't want them to always be hunting for the next +1 like an addict hunts for their next fix.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well said.


But not hunting for +1 to AC already make you more prone to die, both in PF and in 5e. I like your approach, but I don't see how the >10< rule makes that +1 hunting anyworse


The Big Six is dead, so hunting for that next +1 should be largely impossible. No more must take cloak of resistance to improve your saves.


There is going to be difference between level of items. Masterwork, legendary and whatnot (don't remember the names), which go from -1 to +3.
Pretty sure everybody will upgrade armors and shields whenever it's possible, from standard quality gear to masterwork to legendary and whatever.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
bookrat wrote:

I can see that, but it doesn't alleviate the concern from my original post: if you're not maxing out your saves to the utmost extent, then you're just increasing the odds of fumbling (or reverse critting, in this case).

Just like not maxing out your AC will increase the chance to be crit in melee.

Only for confirmation roll. Roll for threat always has the same chance (5-30% chance). Also, saves are now even more important, like they weren't already the most important stat to buff.

Right now (with limited information) I'm seeing a lot less variety in statistics between characters, which is something I really don't want.


necromental wrote:
gustavo iglesias wrote:
bookrat wrote:

I can see that, but it doesn't alleviate the concern from my original post: if you're not maxing out your saves to the utmost extent, then you're just increasing the odds of fumbling (or reverse critting, in this case).

Just like not maxing out your AC will increase the chance to be crit in melee.

Only for confirmation roll. Roll for threat always has the same chance (5-30% chance). Also, saves are now even more important, like they weren't already the most important stat to buff.

Right now (with limited information) I'm seeing a lot less variety in statistics between characters, which is something I really don't want.

I'm talking in New Pathfinder. In OPF it's like you said, but in NPF if you hit by 10+ it's a crit. So let's say NPC can hit you with 5+. That means he crits with 15+. If you gain +2 AC, that means he hits you with 7+, AND he crits you with 17+.

The saves is the same, but the other way around. If you need a 12+ to save, and you roll 1-2, it's a crit. If you get, say, -4 to saves, then your chances are reduced (16+ to save), and your crit range increase (1-6 for crit)


bookrat wrote:

Also true.

And that slightly worries me. I don't want people to be hyper focused on finding that next +1. It's one of the things that drove me away from PF1.

You lose a ton of character options when every character has to be the best. Anything less than best becomes nonviable, a waste of space, or heavily peer pressured to not take that option.

I want my players to have real options that are meaningful and useful in game. I don't want them to always be hunting for the next +1 like an addict hunts for their next fix.

Then don't offer them +1 options. Just give them a choice between high / low / medium AC or something, give them set numbers for their levels and make sure they differ in other ways. Perhaps, deal more damage / have some DR, or give them unique actions they can take, etc.

Dark Archive

I'm trying to like the inevitable, but this seems to both smack in the face of easier game play ( did I threaten? I don't know let me do more math) and the aesthetic. When I roll a 20, I want that moment of excitement pure and simple not a maybe this is good. Expanded crit range is very simple you still know as soon as the die is rolled.


As I'm listening through the Know Direction interview, they said one of their design goals is to remove the need for +1 hunting in the game.

That will be a huge releif for me.


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Based on the GaryCon play experience of Marc Radle, there's a slight update to the plot I made before. Specifically, Marc states that a natural 20 is critical hit, without the need to confirm. This means that number [3] in my list above is no longer valid. There would be a slight buff to characters with a low hit chance when compared with the current rules (since it gets rid of the need for confirmation, which is unlikely if your hit chance is low).

Updated physical damage plot for PF1 vs PF2.

I'm a bit concerned that this may lower the survivability of AC-based characters, since (when attacked by a pile of mooks) each attack has a 5% chance of dealing critical damage, but it swings in the players' advantage on offense too. I'm curious to see how this will balance out in play.

I also think that this may increase the relative value of shields, even against large numbers of weaker enemies, since you can spend your reaction to (at least partially) negate a critical hit. I'd guess you have to make a judgement whether you think you can soak an unlikely crit (and thus can afford to spend your third action on something else), or if you need the defense. There are way too many unknown variables (HP vs damage, available healing, other ways to avoid crits) to really definitively say whether or not this is correct right now.

I should also add (at least) one more caveat: all of this is in terms of damage per attack. If the average damage per attack changes substantially between PF1 and PF2, the relative TRENDS in damage across 'to hit' values above will be correct, but the absolute comparison ("You do more damage when you need a 5 to hit") falls apart.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cheburn wrote:
I'm a bit concerned that this may lower the survivability of AC-based characters, since (when attacked by a pile of mooks) each attack has a 5% chance of dealing critical damage, but it swings in the players' advantage on offense too. I'm curious to see how this will balance out in play.

It's quite possible that they weren't rolling to confirm because the "confirm" rule is like the Starfinder one, where a 20 is an auto hit, and a crit if 20+whatever bonuses you had would have actually hit the thing. So a 20 from a mook against a super high AC character would result in a hit, but not a crit. Still doing some damage, but not nearly as much.

I can easily imagine a demo adventure where literally nothing can't hit on a natural 20, so the "crit only if it would have hit" rule would never come up.


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

I am wondering whether natural 1 and natural 20 might work as follows:

On a natural 1: Determine the degree of success or failure for the roll normally and then reduce it by one step.

On a natural 20: Determine the degree of success or failure for the roll normally and then increase it by one step.

With 4 possible outcomes from an adjusted d20 roll, the above would seem like the most logical way to handle the extreme rolls.


Those both sound like reasonable systems, though they don't match the information in Marc Radle's thread (which related that a 20 was a crit with no need to confirm). And I agree that it seems very likely in a playtest demo that you wouldn't have something with AC higher than 20, though I don't know the details for this particular one.

It sounds to me like you (rooneg and David knott 242) are describing similar systems. I particularly like David knott 242's system (which is similar to the one described by rooneg for SF, but includes a chance to hit on a natural 1 ... if you're REALLY accurate), and it might be interesting to see something like that in play. Both do remove some 'randomness' in terms of crits and misses, which could be either good or bad. If during the playtest, PF2 feels 'off' in terms of nat1/20 mechanics, they might be suggestions on how to improve the mechanics.


Cheburn wrote:

I'm a bit concerned that this may lower the survivability of AC-based characters, since (when attacked by a pile of mooks) each attack has a 5% chance of dealing critical damage, but it swings in the players' advantage on offense too. I'm curious to see how this will balance out in play.

I read somewhere that they're actually going the Starfinder route. In Starfinder, a 20 is NOT a critical unless you actually hit with it naturally. If it would normally still be a miss, it's only a normal hit.


From what I can see, all this new system does is make (to throw a Starfinder excuse term back at Paizo) "chasing the next +1" even more important.

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