Expanding Weapon Critical Ranges and the Keen Rune


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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I'm a big fan of the new critical system for weapons, I think the 10 over target number makes to-hit bonuses incredibly valuable and results in crit city when you take on lower level bad guys, which feeds into player power fantasies nicely.

However I'm a little disappointed with the lack of weapons that can crit more often, weapons with some inherent attack bonus beyond the normal would clearly be overpowered but I was very interested in examining how the keen rune interacted with it. I was quite disappointed as the design of "Crit on a 19 or 20 so long as the attack hits" was quite clunky and sidestepped the 4 degrees of success rule.

Additionally once again daggers are the poor cousin of short swords, while you can throw them, they are otherwise inferior. The archetypical knife wielding class, the rogue has almost no reason to use them. Many new players would logically choose their rogue to wield daggers as it fits the class fantasy, but the lower damage becomes increasingly notable as the damage scales.

So I was thinking about a new weapon trait, Lethal which would make weapons crit more often.
A Lethal weapon would either give you +1 to hit on an attack that successfully hit, so upgrading your attack to a crit, or if this makes wording easier, critical hit on an attack that hits by 9 over AC/TAC rather than 10. This makes crits with the weapon 5% more likely while not altering the hit rate.

The humble dagger could then become
1d4 P Agile, finesse, thrown 10ft, versatile S and lethal
This way, there is an argument to use it over a shortsword.
I know its late in the playtest, but the idea has been rattling around for a while and I wanted to throw it out there.


Not a bad idea, not personally a fan of it but it's not bad. Admittedly my knee-jerk reaction to expanded crit range by weapon is "Oh boy, here comes the crit-fishing" but with weapon damage actually having strong variance from light to heavy weapons in later levels and with crit range never passing 19-20 it could certainly be reasonable, probably even on par with Deadly (Which I personally like as a sort of replacement for expanded crit range/multiplier).

On Dagger, I do understand that dislike as they are such iconic weapons, though I am of the stance that simple weapons -should- be weaker than martial. That said it would be kind of nice to have a feat option for anyone to get the +1 die size ability Clerics and Paladins can get. I'm not sure that's so wise though as it takes that unique ability away from those classes and has occasional odd cases like a Dagger bumped to 1d6 being strictly superior to a Shortsword. XD


I had actually thought about that kind of thing myself before I ever even had the chance to go through the document. Adjusting the critical window by just a single point would make for some more interesting choices if it was put on some of the more crit-heavy weapons from 1e was exactly what I had thought about for the concept of "Improved Critical" or "Keen." While I still like the idea, I doubt we'll be seeing a change like that in the playtest. Keep talking about it though and it may come into consideration by the devs if it hasn't already.


I think they already have to tools they need, if they just make daggers deadly d10 or d12. This would make them very effective against low ac targets, but less effective (compared to other weapons) against high ac targets.
This would give daggers a reason to exist, even if only situational.


Or maybe, you can just make a Rogue feat...

Like maybe,
Knife Fighter LVL1:

When using Daggers, apply 1.5x your Str or Dex mod to dmg instead of the regular 1x

That would make having a 18 Dex mod turn Daggers into D8 weapons, and 22 Dex would be a D12.

Now the interaction with potency runes complicates things up near lvl 20, but let's just say, unless sneak attacking, you lose 12dmg to an actual D12 wielder (without other feats taken into account), and with sneak attacking, you gain 4dmg over them.


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Right now if you are fighting a boss; they will crit you and won't crit them unless you get a natural 20. This means the keen rune is still useful against bosses, if keen was changed to critical at +9 or even +8 it would make it much better against mooks but would do nothing in a hard encounter.


What's weird is that there's already a perfect trait for cases like that.

Backstabber is exactly the kind of trait you expect on a dagger, and it also gets the dagger in the grey zone of making it a simple weapon that's worse than a martial, but, occasionally almost as good in the hands of someone utilising it in a specific, trope, way.


Yeah I was surprised that allot of the low damage dice weapons don't have more stats like backstab.


Those traits are still super-not-worth it. If a -1 on the attack is worth a -2 on the die size (d8 -> d6), then most traits* are worth about a third to a half of a point of die size (so, a "d7.5" with a trait ~= 1d8)

*Fatal, deadly, backstabber, etc.


Hmm I guess they could try something like backstab x (to increase damage) or let deadly have multiple die like deadly 2d8. Also backstab should increase at expert, master and legendary or be based on die count.


Draco18s wrote:

Those traits are still super-not-worth it. If a -1 on the attack is worth a -2 on the die size (d8 -> d6), then most traits* are worth about a third to a half of a point of die size (so, a "d7.5" with a trait ~= 1d8)

*Fatal, deadly, backstabber, etc.

Yes, but on the same hand, simple is supposed to be on average 1 die less.

Comparing a dagger to a short sword we see exactly that.

But a dagger with backstabbing suddenly becomes (conditionally) :

Normal with 18 dex:
7.5 vs 7.5
+1 weapon with 18 dex:
10 vs 11
.
.
.
+4 weapons with 22 dex:
20.5 vs 23.5
+5 weapon with 24 dex:
25 vs 28

It is certainly more comparable and the difference is just around 10% which seems fine for simple vs martial.

And being lighter and thrown is certainly better (imo) than being versatile.

We shouldn't be looking to make a simple weapon better than a martial, just viable enough, and a 10% difference (less for a sneak attacking rogue) is close enough imo.

I mean, for a sneak attack it's just 39 vs 42.

P. S. :

Fatal is another beast BTW. Having almost 4x multiplier on a crit, on specific builds and parties, results in pretty much equal to better dpr than a straight up 2 die increase... (Pick as an example is the equivalent of a d14* one handed on a crit, which is insane)

*d10+1 (d12) die plus a static for another 1d10+1 (6.5)


shroudb wrote:

Fatal is another beast BTW. Having almost 4x multiplier on a crit, on specific builds and parties, results in pretty much equal to better dpr than a straight up 2 die increase... (Pick as an example is the equivalent of a d14* one handed on a crit, which is insane)

*d10+1 (d12) die plus a static for another 1d10+1 (6.5)

Fatal only "works out" if you're fighting low-AC creatures that you're actually likely to crit.

And by "low AC" I mean "You need to meet its AC by rolling a natural 5 or lower." Yes, that low.

If you have a +12 to hit, then you need to be going up against monsters with--at best--17 AC in order to see a 1.5 DPR increase over using heavier die weapons.

I did this math and DPR calculations extensively for chapter 3 (the "be a cleric and fight undead" mission).

This calculation included things like Double Slice where you got 2 attacks at your best attack bonus. No weapon, not a single one, did more damage than just swinging a d12 greataxe three times.


Draco18s wrote:
shroudb wrote:

Fatal is another beast BTW. Having almost 4x multiplier on a crit, on specific builds and parties, results in pretty much equal to better dpr than a straight up 2 die increase... (Pick as an example is the equivalent of a d14* one handed on a crit, which is insane)

*d10+1 (d12) die plus a static for another 1d10+1 (6.5)

Fatal only "works out" if you're fighting low-AC creatures that you're actually likely to crit.

And by "low AC" I mean "You need to meet its AC by rolling a natural 5 or lower." Yes, that low.

If you have a +12 to hit, then you need to be going up against monsters with--at best--17 AC in order to see a 1.5 DPR increase over using heavier die weapons.

I did this math and DPR calculations extensively for chapter 3 (the "be a cleric and fight undead" mission).

This calculation included things like Double Slice where you got 2 attacks at your best attack bonus. No weapon, not a single one, did more damage than just swinging a d12 greataxe three times.

A) a D10 forceful with steady will always outdamage d12 on 3+ attacks

B) that's why I said it's build/party dependent.

In my case, we had a bard and a rogue in our party.

That means I had a constant +1/+2 and enemies had around -2/-3 to ac

I made a Gish.

That gave me another +1, +1die, and access to both staff and wands of true strike.

I had, on average a 58-65% crit rate vs equal CR for around 100 damage at level 10.

On an optimal scenario:

Spoiler:

That was around 98*0.6+28*0.375= 69.6

At that level and with that party, a steady strike falchion fighter would look something like that:

Hit on a 5/10/15 for 3d10+7/+10/+13
26+(15.9+5.2)+(10.3+10.4)= 67.8 dpr

A greatsword would be 3d12+7 for
29.1+(15.9+4)+(9.3+6.5)= 64.8


On a normal scenario (having to move) :

Spoiler:

Pick: 0.6*72.5+0.375*21= 51.4
Greatsword: 49
Falchion: 47.1

So, about the same as a normal full damage build, but heaps more fun.

(I could have optimised it more, but I just liked using power attack and going for that one big hit, and it still pulled those numbers)

Fatal is fine imo, it's just not intended for "solo".

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