Thursday, March 5, 2009

(House Rules) Criticals and Fumbles

A natural 20 always succeeds and a natural 1 always fails.
This bothers me.
The DM guide offers an alternative which I approve of.
A natural 20 becomes a 30 (Plus or minus your adjusters). This means a much greater chance of success but not automatic.
A natural 1 becomes a -10 (Plus or minus your adjusters). Massively low but still a slight possibility of success.
This also counts in combat. I didn't like the fact that my twenty archer's would automatically hit whoever they were aiming for once a round, regardless of distance.


Joebroesel said...

I agree. The 20 is a lucky shot but was too powerful. You wouldn't expect to hit a AC 100 monster even with a lucky shot :)

With the 1...... the -10 also makes sense, but what I never liked was that nothing bad can happen! I shoot into a group of 4 friends surrounding a monster. I have precise shot but roll a 1, ergo completely mess it up, therefore I'm not hitting the monster. In my opinion, I should have to roll whether I have a chance of hitting my friends or injuring myself.

We could combine that with the -10. The further down I am, the more chance to injure myself or that something else happens (which could also be a random event determined by the DM, like 10% chance the arrow misses and flies on and wakes the dragon that was sleeping a bit further away ;-) )

I just think it would be more fun if we can "really" mess up depending on the situation. Why not:

Chance for something to happen = Minus points after bonuses * 10%?

The more, the more impact the event has (e.g. hit points to self, hit points to others, random events) and the DM decides.

As for Kirks suggestion: I'm all for it!

Insanodag said...

I am not taking any of you to Vegas!

20 Archer's each having a 5% chance to hit is not an automatic hit. It is quite likely that it will happen, but not in any way automatic. The chance of all the archers missing is .95^20 which is (scrambles for a calculator) 0.36 which means that all twenty archers would miss a third of the time.

Just because an outcome is probable, it doesn't have to happen.

Chen's close brush with death is an example. For ten turns he had a 10% percent chance to stabilise, which commonsensically is exactly the same chance that 20 archers have to hit something with an AC of 450. Chen didn't stabilise.(In fact, his chance of failing was also about a third).

So there goes the automatic hits from 20 archers argument.

From a realism point of view, if somebody steps in front of twenty archers, they should probably be hit by something or other, no matter how much armor they are wearing.

From fiction, there is also the whole "Lucky bowman hits the weak spot of the dragon" of Hobbit fame, and so on.

And finally, from a game perspective, the question becomes, if something does not have any chance of hitting something else, why are they there in the first place?

Hedzor said...

While freely admitting that maths isn't my strongest subject, surely the probability of hitting 1 time in 20 is still 1 in 20?
The real point I was trying to make though, is that it felt wrong to be able to hit Wer's boar at 1500' away when it had an AC of 30.
The alternative rules state that a 20 becomes a 30.
If you include the distance modifier then the archers would only be hitting AC 12.
That seems fairer to me than an arrow driving/dodging through heavy armour at an extreme distance.
I'm not so sure about fumbles though. That just seems a bit mean.

Insanodag said...

I thought the maximum range for a longbow was 1099 feet? (10 range increments Which would be at -20 to hit). Obviously I wasn't paying close attention to what was going on outside the castle....

The probability of hitting a 1 in 20 is still 1 in 20, which is pretty unlikely, but not unheard of. The probability of of one in twenty hitting a one in twenty is .65 which is about 2 in 3.

My problem with the rule is that it is rulesy and open to rulesy abuse.

By using a combination of spells, magic items, feats and special abilities, it will not be inconceivable to 'buff' up a character above this range for a limited amount of time. This effectively means that this character can wade into a sea of low-level enemies who have absolutely no chance to hit them.

There is no chance of lucky shots, he will NOT get hurt in any way.

This lack of danger will likely cause some existential angst in our heroes, so the DM will then have to repair this problem with more optional rules....which will be open to more abuses and so on.

The 20-hit rule is an elegant way to contain abuses and bizarre combinations of rules, and makes life easier for the DM.

Joebroesel said...

Ok, after writing my first comment without thinking too much I have to alter my opinion :)

I'm not happy completely with the chances the natural 20 gives you, but the disadvantages are less compared to the +10 rule. Right now our fighters could hit AC45 at maximum. Everything above that would be invincible. You would expect that there is a small chance to kill somebody whatever AC they've got which is not possible in the +10 setting.

Don't forget that monsters that have a high AC, normally also have a lot of hit points, so getting through once in 20 hits doesn't kill it. As for the archers, a bit of damage while running through a area filled with arrows would be expected even for a high-AC character.

If you want to decrease the chance without taking it away completely for high AC characters, we could use a different system for a critical hit which includes the chance of hitting high ACs. After reading up on different ideas, there are a few nice tables and ideas out there :)

Charlie Stilton said...

Without getting into all the stats of it - I'll try to come from a more 'realistic' and dare I say 'exciting' point of view... Even at the extreme range the archers were firing, they had targets of two clerics, a monk, a large goat, and a (small) 'whetever-Wer-is'.

They should have hit something...