fumbles and Criticals

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I myself love the idea of a 1 being a fumble and a 20 being a Critical.
What's the best way do you think is to deal with these?
I've created a fumble chart that is just fast and simple but it adds a bit of colour to show something went wrong.
my scanner isn't working or I'd post it 
This will (again) spark a massive discussion.

So far, I've seen a few ways to deal with it that seem to work out OK:

* When you roll a 1 on an (or the first) attack roll, you grant CA to all enemies until the start of your next turn.

* When you roll a 1 on an (or the first) attack roll, your miss effects don't kick in (if any) and/or your effect lines don't work either

* When you roll a 1 on an (or the first) attack roll, any dice you would roll for the power are treated as the minimum possible. (ie: 3d6+3, half damage on miss, if you roll a one, deals only 3 damage, as if you rolled a 1 on each of the three dice)

The reason for "on the first roll" is to not unfairly punish characters that use AoE spells a lot and therefor make lots of attack rolls. 
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Fumbles beyond the automatic miss are the worst houserule I have ever seen.  Most people's ideas of "colour" are really bad jokes and slapstick.  Which, if the players aren't looking for a bunch of scatological humor and three stooges impersonations, can be disrupting.

This is in addition to most of houserule attempts doing nothing more than excessively punishing the player for what is nothing other than bad luck or crappy dice.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
i was looking at some thing a little simpler to add that colour to the game.
ie;
If you roll a 1 on an attack.
lets say just for now a sword attack
you then roll again but on a chart numbering from 1-20
I just rolled a 16 for example.
It says
Sneeze
thus this means your attack misses just for this effect.


other effects are;
a fly in the mouth,
weapon gets tangled in loose clothing.

what do you think? 
I wouldn't say it was stooge humour
 
If you mean like some funy thing happened along with failing an attack but nothing worse come off the attack (or minor thingys posted Pluisjen) then two thunbs up.

To reiterate someone from other thread: you would fail Driving at -7 roll. if you fail you crash the car. If you fail on roll 1 you crash into **** store.

Such Color isnt even worth houserule name, but it is worthy bieng in game .
A crit is a crit, but fumbles in my games are usually "you are at the mercy of the DM's discretion". I've seen everything from falling out of a tree to having your weapon bounce back and conk you in the head.
The Smithy Knew He'd Lost His Groove When Scalding Sparks Left His Chin Too Smooth Dwarvenshave
yes it would include things like dropping your weapon and/or kicking it a dice number of squares away.
bow string breaks,
slip on pool of blood on the floor.
anything that gives a reason why your attack failed or just missed.

stops from just saying "ok...you missed" "who is next" 
Bow string breaking is overly nasty to do to a player, unless it's just like "minor(or standard) action to re-string". Otherwise, you've rendered their bow worthless. 1 in 20 chance of that is enough to make me not want to be an archer period with a group who'd do that to you.
The Smithy Knew He'd Lost His Groove When Scalding Sparks Left His Chin Too Smooth Dwarvenshave
its the chance of a fumble..if you loose your bow or weapon of any kind then im sure you have another weapon. If not then you have to think your way around the problem...maybe some role playing would intervene 
To reiterate someone from other thread: you would fail Driving at -7 roll. if you fail you crash the car. If you fail on roll 1 you crash into **** store.



That was me.  I'm still friends with that DM, but I am glad that campaign ended early.  It was a game of RIFTS and I swear my Crazy was the sane one.  When he wasn't crapping himself because of failed sanity/bravery/whatever checks while fighting Vampires.  Then other people would fail their checks, run away, and then slip in it.

RAGEdom
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Bow string breaking is overly nasty to do to a player, unless it's just like "minor(or standard) action to re-string". Otherwise, you've rendered their bow worthless. 1 in 20 chance of that is enough to make me not want to be an archer period with a group who'd do that to you.




That's only a 5% chance..very small for any game
That's only a 5% chance..very small for any game

  5% is hardly small.  And it's based on the assumption of perfect dice.  Unless you buy yours from the same supplier as casinos (or a manufacturer that doesn't tumble like Game Science) that chance changes.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.

On average you are bound to roll at least 3 or 4 critical fumbles per level, due to the sheer number of attack rolls you make.

It gets worse when you rely on either Opportunity Actions, Multiattacks or Area powers.

You'd go through about 3 bows per level. 

Epic Dungeon Master

Want to give your players a kingdom of their own? I made a 4e rule system to make it happen!

Your Kingdom awaits!
Update 5th Sep 2011: Added a sample kingdom, as well as sample of play.
That's only a 5% chance..very small for any game

  5% is hardly small.  And it's based on the assumption of perfect dice.  Unless you buy yours from the same supplier as casinos (or a manufacturer that doesn't tumble like Game Science) that chance changes.




pk lets say that you have a 95% chance of it being OK..would you take that chance?

On average you are bound to roll at least 3 or 4 critical fumbles per level, due to the sheer number of attack rolls you make.

It gets worse when you rely on either Opportunity Actions, Multiattacks or Area powers.

You'd go through about 3 bows per level. 



its not likely though and it's only a string you repair out off encounters

The real heart though is that you'll never get better... 5% of the time you still look like a fool at epic level.  Just what I want, a level 30 swinging around a vorpal execution axe that has a 5% chance to cut his own head off...

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That's only a 5% chance..very small for any game


I have taught archery at two different summer camps, teaching kids from 1st-8th grade.

I have never seen a bowstring break.  Ever.  And, obviously, I knew something about archery before I started that.
Sure, this was all on a range without the stress of combat--but are you really telling me that heroic fantasy archers who can become near god-like are all that incompetent compared to my first-graders?

A 5% chance may be small on any given attack, but DnD characters generally make more than one attack during the course of their career.  So it's not very small, it's almost guaranteed.

If you have a 95% chance of being ok during the next 10 minutes, you'll likely take the risk.  If you have a 95% chance of surviving any given six seconds during the next 10 minutes, I suggest you make out your will.
Speak softly and carry a sharp quill.

The real heart though is that you'll never get better... 5% of the time you still look like a fool at epic level.  Just what I want, a level 30 swinging around a vorpal execution axe that has a 5% chance to cut his own head off...



that isnt colour that's game effect..it shouldnt happen like that...unless you use middle earth or Role master fumble charts...
you right that wouldn't be fun

pk lets say that you have a 95% chance of it being OK..would you take that chance?


No.

Imagine someone slips and falls one out of every 20 boxing rounds.
Imagine someone fumbles the ball once out of every 20 carries.
Imagine baseball players dropping the bat.

A 95% chance to not look like a fool would turn the winter olympics into the keystone kops.

Now if your players want to look like they keystone kops, go for it, but I certainly wouldn't want to be playing a ranger in that campaign. (Every 10 twin strikes, you fumble. That's at least once a night for me.)

A hockey game is 60 minutes. At 6 second rounds that's 600 rounds. In six seconds lets pretend only three people on each team are actually involved with those six seconds (that seems a low number). That would mean that in an olympic hockey match there would be (600/20 * 6) 180 critical failures. (Sticks/skates breaking, horrible slips, etc).

In a battle between 5 players and 5 monsters there will be a epic fail every other round. If encounters are four rounds long, you're likely to have an epic fail twice an encounter (since many classes/monsters/events have multiple dice rolls per creature/player per round).

If a creature was hard to hit, it might deliberately provoke OAs just to cause a player to fumble.

On average you are bound to roll at least 3 or 4 critical fumbles per level, due to the sheer number of attack rolls you make.

It gets worse when you rely on either Opportunity Actions, Multiattacks or Area powers.

You'd go through about 3 bows per level. 



its not likely though and it's only a string you repair out off encounters


After becoming worthless for the rest of the encounter.

Lets take a look at an archery Ranger in practice.  Combat starts, they roll initiative and fire off three arrows with an encounter power.  There's a 5% chance his bow is gone each shot.  However in total theres a better then 14% chance* his bowstring snaps in the first round, because a one on any of those rolls causes him lose the bow.

Let's say the ranger doesn't have any more 3 shot encounters(HA!).  Even if he sticks to twin strike from here out by the 4th round of an encounter he's got a 36% chance of breaking his string.

This is screwing your players, pure and simple.



*  5% + (.05 x .95) + (.05 x (.05 x .95))
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
ok...lets go the other way.
how often would you like to make a critical ?
it's also the same chance surely 
Now if your players want to look like they keystone kops, go for it, but I certainly wouldn't want to be playing a ranger in that campaign. (Every 10 twin strikes, you fumble. That's at least once a night for me.)



I played a campaign built out of the back of the DMG1 and moving into Keep on the Shadowfell.  We only got so far as the first encounter of KotS and I'd already had three encounters where I rolled two 1s.  As a Warlock.  If I'd been a Ranger, I would have needed to carry around three bows
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
the chance of a string alone breaking is even less than you think.
first you have to roll that 1 then you roll a d20 again and again there is a 1-20 chance of that being the case that your string breaks 
A critical is something your characters want to do and can get better at doing.

Besides, fumbles are often "roll a one, you lose" whereas criticals are "roll a 20, and if the attack did damage do a bit more".
So no, the chance of those things happening should not be the same.
Speak softly and carry a sharp quill.
But criticals wouldn't utterly change a character's ability to fight in the way that dropping/ breaking a weapon would, and it's actually fitting that they show up more as you improve.

Criticals as written do, in effect scale with level: as your damage output increases, the benefit you get out of scoring a critical goes up too.
ok...lets go the other way.
how often would you like to make a critical ?
it's also the same chance surely 


A critial is the same chance with extremely little effect.

A critical doesn't take someone out for the rest of the encounter. It doesn't leave them dazed with no save or knocked out for the rest of the combat. It's not an encounter changer.

I don't want to lose a fight because I rolled a 1.
I don't want to win a fight because the creature rolled a 1.
Where is the case where a critical failure on a 1 improves the game?

if your bow string breaks you don't need a whole new bow, just two standard rounds to fix it.

rolling a 1 in a game can be just as much fun as rolling a 20.
my group will cheer if one of the players rolls that 20 and if it rolls just at the right moment well even better for the game.
i'm suggesting that a fumble add depth and just that bit of random fun to any game 
the chance of a string alone breaking is even less than you think.
first you have to roll that 1 then you roll a d20 again and again there is a 1-20 chance of that being the case that your string breaks 


Okay, so how is having a 36% chance per encounter of being at the mercy of a GMs table of bad **** any better?

Kanako help you if you get an opportunity attack or spend an action point.

This rule screws your players.  And considering how often they'll see your little 1-20 fumble chart it will quickly become boring and predictable to boot.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
ok...lets go the other way.
how often would you like to make a critical ?
it's also the same chance surely 


A critial is the same chance with extremely little effect.

A critical doesn't take someone out for the rest of the encounter. It doesn't leave them dazed with no save or knocked out for the rest of the combat. It's not an encounter changer.

I don't want to lose a fight because I rolled a 1.
I don't want to win a fight because the creature rolled a 1.
Where is the case where a critical failure on a 1 improves the game?



i guess it isnt a great thing ....in my games i love exploding dice so a roll of a 20 is an exciting event

yes the chart could become boring and predictable but it's still been fun to use and my players like it.
maybe its how i describe that fumble, no event is going to be exactly the same in my game.
dramatising the said event adds more colour than any chart could but its give me as a GM a starting point to Ham up the said event 
i'm suggesting that a fumble add depth and just that bit of random fun to any game 



I'm all for random fun, I'm just not for random fun via buffoonery.  My current character is a Chaos Sorcerer and I wish I could make cows fall from the sky on occassion or change my character's gender.  But I opted for this character to be eccentric and with uncontrollable power.  It's not something I'd generally wish for all characters at the table.

If you want to add random things as a means to depth, might I suggest doing so by designing interesting encounters?  As opposed to making the players screw up.  Randomly placed traps, rooms with weird effects, crazy monsters that behave unexpectedly.  It's significantly more work, I know.

Frictionless floors, monsters that change into other monsters at bloodied, etc.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
f you want to add random things as a means to depth, might I suggest doing so by designing interesting encounters?  As opposed to making the players screw up.  Randomly placed traps, rooms with weird effects, crazy monsters that behave unexpectedly.

that stuff is already in my games 
if your bow string breaks you don't need a whole new bow, just two standard rounds to fix it.

i'm suggesting that a fumble add depth and just that bit of random fun to any game 


I'll stick with your bow example for purposes of critiquing fumbles. One of 4E's design philosophies is balance yet right here your fumble rule is unbalanced. A ranged character is effectively removed from being a meaningful participant in combat for two rounds. Is a melee character as inconvenienced? There are rules for picking up a dropped weapon and it doesn't take two standard actions to do (assuming a dropped weapon is the 'equivalent' of a broken bow string).

How is it fun to be removed from helping in combat? Random effects hitting the PC's and the monsters alike will have a tendency to unbalance combat mechanics. This will make it more difficult to design a balanced encounter because what may have been a perfectly reasonable combat is made impossible by a badly timed fumble. The system accounts for criticals, it doesn't account for fumbles.

I also don't see what depth it adds to the game. The PC's are heroes. Do you really think they haven't advanced to the point of not making the 'rookie' mistakes a fumble represents? Do you think a lvl. 30 Demigod really has a 5% chance of slipping in a pool of blood? Even at lvl. 1 the PC's are by no means commoners that decided to pick up a sword or ran across some magic tome. If that's how the campaign is set up that's fine flavorwise but it's a far cry from what the PC's actually represent mechanically.

Dude, if you and your group like this rule for the lulz whatever.  It's your game.

Just don't state that it's ballanced, reasonable or a better play experience in general, because it's objectively not.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
If all you want is fluff, just add fluff.

When I roll a one I frequently say something like.
"I panic and shoot the ceiling"
"Klaatu barada.... nik(COUGH)"
"The creature's stench got to me. I'm sorry."
"I felt a disturbance in the force. It was like millions of people all rolling a '1'."
"Sorry. I was having a flashback."
"With all these tentacles, I wasn't sure where to swing."
"I'm just making him feel overconfident. Extremely overconfident."
"Bowstring! I forgot the bowstring!"

Doing this doesn't make anyone else's character look less like a hero and it's me roleplaying, not the DM roleplaying for me by using a table of random events.

As has been mentioned above critical fumbles mess some characters up a lot more than others.  You can make a very good shaman or battle cleric who only averages 1.25 attacks a round.  A lot of the leader classes especially only make 1 attack roll each round, with maybe 1 or 2 rounds in a typical 6 round encounter using a multiattack or spending an action point to make a second attack.  Strikers and controllers are a whole different story.  A wizard or invoker who is using area effect spells can easily be averaging 3 attack rolls every round every encounter.  And as pointed out above many strikers like rangers and sorcerers also are going to be making a lot more attack roles.

And what do all these DMs with cirtical fumble rules do with people who want to play chaos sorcerers or harbingers of doom, both of which already have mechanical rules that use natural 1s as a fundamental part of the build?  Are harbingers of doom not allowed to reroll ones?  Are their enemies extra stunned when they roll 1s?

The bigger issue is why are people trying to mess with a system that works pretty well.  4E is not perfectly balanced, but the combat system functions pretty well as is without throwing in more houserules that hurt players and bringing in unneeded charts that slow down combat and add unneeded complexity.

Dude, if you and your group like this rule for the lulz whatever.  It's your game.

Just don't state that it's ballanced, reasonable or a better play experience in general, because it's objectively not.



I hope at no point I said its a better play i was looking for colour. and that's what i use to guide me in my games.
In whatever way im doing things my players seem to like my style of Gming, I was hoping to pass on some of what i use..
An all day sunday game not to long ago, I said that it was time to have a break, we did then came back for afurther two hours. i by this point was tired and needed to stop, one of my players said,
" no no just one more hour"
i'd like to think i'm getting something right 

One of the GMs in our group, possible inspired by HackMaster 4, created a really entertaining and nasty fumble table.  But, to avoid the "Doing something stupid 5% of the time problem", he has us confirm fumbles by making a second attack roll with the same modifiers.  If the second roll hits then it becomes a standard miss instead of a fumble.


It was quite a lot of fun but then most of our group started roleplaying with HackMaster so your mileage may very well vary.


EDIT: He also instituted a far more interesting crit system that didn't require confirmation (thankfully I've never played 3.x so I've never had to experience that).  My poor fighter got critted by a kobold attacking from within a cloud of darkness... in the eye... for 50+ damage.  Went from healthly to 0 in one shot (his crits can't knock you below 0 or I'd've been at about -25-50% health if I remember correctly).  Still got scars from that one.  Of course, when he tells the story, it was something a bit more impressive than a kobold.  8o)

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if your bow string breaks you don't need a whole new bow, just two standard rounds to fix it.

rolling a 1 in a game can be just as much fun as rolling a 20.
my group will cheer if one of the players rolls that 20 and if it rolls just at the right moment well even better for the game.
i'm suggesting that a fumble add depth and just that bit of random fun to any game 

Don't listen to them, fumbles are fine and your group is having fun with them.  That is all that matters.

Yes, these posters complaining always down play the concept of 'critting' and up play the horribleness of fumbling, this is by no means the first time the concept of fumbles rolled around on the boards.  We get the same posters screaming about how bad it is.  Usually something along the lines of "it's already so, so, so horrible to actually miss with an attack, that using a fumble is putting salt into the wounds.  Doing a pittance more damage on a crit it no way ever, ever, comes close to the tragedy of missing.  That is why fumbles are horrible things to use."

Sometimes I think they want the game to run like you crit on a 12+ and can only miss if you roll a 1. (sarcasm)

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