A crazy idea to make crits less swingy


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What would it do if non-PCs could not critical hit?

Or, said another way to try and clarify intended meaning: What would it do if PCs could not be critically hit?

GM doesn't care if a roll is 10 over or not, just over DC. Combat is less random, and PCs still get the awesomeness of getting crits.


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As a houserule that would be fine. Especially if your group is not finding it fun to be horribly maimed by a monster at the whim of the dice.

For the game as a whole, it feels off to me to have it one sided like that. The rules should apply to both player's and GM's characters.

So taking critical hits out of the game entirely would be better than the one-sided rule.

Another change that might go better for what you are looking for is to remove the extra damage from a critical hit. Just have the potential for the other critical effects. Knockback, Knockdown, stuck to an adjacent surface, slowed, enfeebled, things like that. Maybe even change the effect for daggers from the persistent bleed.


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Hmm... I don't know. It is a tight solution. But I'm already bothered by NPCs getting scaling damage die independent of Weapon (I don't mind this on monsters - that makes sense, just NPCs) while PCs are reliant on Magic Weapons. This seems like another step in that direction.

Basically - I like NPCs having a simpler character creation process but I don't know that I like them operating fundamentally different after that. This would be a very significant shift.


I like the new critical hit/miss +10/-10 mechanic, it makes PCs feel appropriately powerful according to their current level.
If I have a 10th level fighter, I want him to mow through "minions". There are several systems that use minion and minion groups respectively to be dealt accordingly. I think this approach with scaling crit hits/misses is a very nice approach to this topic without copying minion mechanics from other systems like in 2D20 Conan or FFG Star Wars.
What always bothered me in 5e was that due to non scaling AC and "low" damage output even for high level characters, they could be bogged down by a few goblins for instance and thus the adventure was slowed down and momentum lost. There is no heroic feel in that.
And still with those new crit hit/miss mechanics just throw enough minions at a group with group tactics and even accompanied by higher monsters as leaders and they could still pose an adequate obstacle.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Another change that might go better for what you are looking for is to remove the extra damage from a critical hit. Just have the potential for the other critical effects. Knockback, Knockdown, stuck to an adjacent surface, slowed, enfeebled, things like that. Maybe even change the effect for daggers from the persistent bleed.

You mean something similar to the AGE system, where you can "purchase" additional effects from a set table?

That would indeed be a nice option, you could trade additional damage for an effect. This could make combat even more dynamic, that's a nice idea.


Ephialtes wrote:
If I have a 10th level fighter, I want him to mow through "minions".

In PF1, you could easily slaughter ordinary orcs at level 10. The problem is, it was so easy (they could probably only hit you on a natural 20) that this pushed adventure design in the direction of ordinary orcs ceasing to exist at that point. Instead you started to only ever meet orcs with 6+ levels of Barbarian.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Ephialtes wrote:
If I have a 10th level fighter, I want him to mow through "minions".

In PF1, you could easily slaughter ordinary orcs at level 10. The problem is, it was so easy (they could probably only hit you on a natural 20) that this pushed adventure design in the direction of ordinary orcs ceasing to exist at that point. Instead you started to only ever meet orcs with 6+ levels of Barbarian.

There could be group tactics in such cases which do not overpower low level creatures but make them a greater nuisance. I remember in 3.5 grappling was quite a danger to even higher level chars, though I have to look how PF1 handles it.

Or you could have a group of lesser creatures only attack once per group but grant them an additional +1 to hit per creature beyond the first. For instance 5 orcs attacking as a group gains additional +4 to hit.


The method I've advocated for is to make critical rolls, at least on weapon attacks and cantrip "attacks," be maximized damage, rather than double damage. I think I'm okay with 2x damage on critical failures of blaster spells (those that require a save, rather than an attack roll), but with the increased damage dice to them I'd want to base my opinions off of update 1.5.

Regardless, maximizing damage is slightly less on average than the 2x critical would be. The big sell here is that it's not going to spike upward into the very high damage range. Imagine rolling 4d12 as a mid-level Cleric w/ MC Wizard could do (crazy that you can do this at 8th level). You roll a Nat20 on the boss, and get lucky on your damage rolls. That 8d12 has a maximal damage of 96 and that'd be almost half the HP bar of the very tough 11th level boss fight, or a one shot on a creature of 7th level. Oof. Now, we know that the maximal damage is incredibly rare, but something like 70 damage isn't out of the realm of likelihood on that 8d12. And that can mean that, as damage dice get really big, the spike damage potential of even more damage dice on a crit gets out of hand.

"But maximized damage dice is a total nerf! Boo this man!" I can hear the crowd jeering me already. And you'd be right to boo if there wasn't a 2nd piece to my suggestion. Because maximized dice is much weak, and because it is very much more controllable from the game design perspective, you can now allow for more crits and better crit effects.

There would still need be a re-balancing effort, though. Fighters with increased crit range would see their damage-per-round figures go upward. To compensate, there'd need to be other bumps to other classes, like Barbarian or Rogue, who specialize in DPR through other means. Their damage comes from sources that aren't tied directly to weapon damage dice, though, so it seems easily enough achieved. Ranger and Monk would be harder. This rebalancing leads to an extra bonus of making niche and kinda wonky gish-style builds a bit less powerful. Right now Magical Striker on the Wiz/Sorc and the Zeal Domain's Weapon Surge power are prohibitively powerful. Look at the example above! Letting them get increased damage dice (even higher than the Fighter's total number of dice rolled) but reducing their crit potential (lower attack bonuses) would be a nice balance point. If Fighter is allowed to have attack bonuses that have a higher chance at crit and the Cleric or Wizard would be held at or near the Nat20 only for crit, there'd be a fun "maybe I high-roll damage" effect Vs a Fighter rolling very consistently but lacking the upper-end damage spikes.

Anyways, just a thought. Sorry to post such a long wall of text!


I honestly find this a bad idea. But I would definitely be very welcome with maxing all the DICE, which could keep the feel of a critical hit still in the game, but giving some predictability as well. It could even open up some design space, giving opportunity to create feats that could mitigate or increase the damage, turn half of it into elemental stuff or even add new effects to it (half the damage can only be recovered by natural healing, because it blocks any magical effects).

Removing things from the game is rarely a good idea.


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The Once and Future Kai wrote:

Hmm... I don't know. It is a tight solution. But I'm already bothered by NPCs getting scaling damage die independent of Weapon (I don't mind this on monsters - that makes sense, just NPCs) while PCs are reliant on Magic Weapons. This seems like another step in that direction.

Basically - I like NPCs having a simpler character creation process but I don't know that I like them operating fundamentally different after that. This would be a very significant shift.

If the critical specializations scaled with weapon quality and replaced the damage doubling for everyone I think combat would be more interesting and dynamic. Don't know how this would affect higher level fights but it could be interesting.

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