Consequences for Critical Failure?

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I'd be interested to know what you guys are doing with Critical Failures. Back in 2E we had to skip our next turn, something I loathed as player and DM--it's just not fun. Recently, the only consequence for my Next players has been a chance to hit allies if they're in the way or adjacent to the missed target. But this seems unbalanced given the awesome benefits to a critical hit. I don't mind if critical hits are more fun than critical failures are aggravating, after all this is a game, but I want to introduce a regular mechanic as a consequence for those dreaded 1s.



  • Weapon dropping - this could be interesting. Your weapon goes flying, bow becomes unstrung, drop your spellbook--will take an action to recover.

  • Weapon breaking - seems mean, me no like.

  • Hit self - I've seen this implemented but it never made sense to me.

  • Hit ally - I've used this when aiming past allies, but not enforced it evenly for melee attacks.

  • Penalty on next turn - disadvantage on next action and/or move penalty, though it's a pain to track this stuff.

  • DM and other players make fun of you - this always happens, but it's not really punishing.


Suggestions?
In my games, if a 1 is rolled, I have a small chart of possibilities that I roll for on a % roll.

Possibilities include:

-Merely dropping your weapon. Spend a move action on picking it up next turn. Provokes attack of opportunity, if enemies are near.

-Accidentally throwing your weapon/or it flies out of your hand. The weapon flies 10-30 feet away from your position and you must spend your next turn moving to retrieve it, then your next turn picking it up or spend two move actions for your turn to pick it up.

-Hit ally. Melee weapons only hit nearby enemies, ranged weapons hit regardless of distance. If there are no allies nearby, you have a combo of flinging the weapon out of your hand and it strikes your ally anyway for damage (no str bonus included on damage if this happens). Spend the next turn retrieving the melee weapon or the ally can toss it your way on their turn for a move action. If ranged, doesn't matter.

-Hit self. In melee combat, you screw up so badly with the handling of your weapon that you wind up hurting yourself. Perhaps the enemy was too fast and it caused you to swing so hard that you hit your own leg/arm. In ranged, you're just a really bad aim, or had the weaon turned around backwards (crossbows).

I'm also toying with the concept of including weapon destruction or damage. Incurring penalties to the hit/damage output of the weapon. Though I'd likely make it a relatively small chance of happening. Say, 5%.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
What system are you using? We play 4E and while there are no set penalties for rolling a 1, we do have a Chaos Sorceror who has effects occur whenever she rolls a 1, and its pretty fun. The main is she pushes all creatures, thats enemies and allies, in a 5 square radius back one square. It's like she tries to cast and instead there is a big explosion. She actually knocked a teamate into a pit filled with spiders this way, it was pretty funny.

When she hits Paragon level she will be able to take a feature that makes it even more chaotic. She can either have the forced movement occur, or roll on a second table for I believe six possible outcomes. My favorite is the character and her target automatically switch positions, so that dragon she tried to snipe is now in the middle of the group and she is on the other side of the gorge. ;)
My group uses the Roll a 1, then verify failure by failing a DC 15 Dex check. (Yes, straight d20 + DEX)

Usual results are loss of iterative attacks, dropped weapon, or invoke an attack of opportunity from an enemy.

Tangent/
Personally, I would do away with anything but an auto-miss on the 1. In 3.5e, where multiple attacks become increasingly important for any melee class, it's rediculous that the level 16 Fighter is more likely to fumble than the same Fighter did at levels 1-5.
(Four chances to lose one's weapon compared to one chance). Heaven help you if you happen to use two-weapon fighting and get 7 attacks at later levels, so that you're even more clumsy than you were at level 1.

While I won't argue that a well-timed crit-fail can be amusing, it gets frustrating watching my allies appear horribly clumsy. I'll grant it's a matter of perspective, but I can't see the point of penalizing the character and player for the offense of leveling and improving in combat potential.

It has gotten to the point that I've internally vowed to never again play a class that uses an attack roll while the group's houserule is in effect. I refuse to get more clumsy as my character supposedly gets more heroic.

/End Tangent

Back on track to OP, I suggest checking with your group as to what they would enjoy. I'm not familiar with the rules of Next, but you may want to use a check based on whatever stat benefits the character's To-Hit roll.

Set DC at 15, pass and nothing bad happens.

Miss by 1-5: Lose all remaining actions for turn

Miss by 6-10: Drop weapon, or Attack of Opportunity from enemy as appropriate per DM

Miss by 11+: Drop weapon, and fall prone

Roll a 1 on confirmation: DM cackles and something unlikely, but appropriate, happens. (Accidentally strike self, ally, or: weapon is flung 10-30 feet away in a random direction, embedding itself in the solid stone wall or floor, requiring effort to remove, for example)
I do nothing beyond the auto miss.  I've never found fumbles much fun.
I do nothing beyond the auto miss.  I've never found fumbles much fun.



I played MERP with some friends back in high school, and the Rolemaster game system has some of the most extensive critical miss and fumble charts out there. One fight a character missed a roll and pulled a groin muscle, and the entire fight stopped for a full round as everyone laughed at him (as per the charts). I had a character die within the first five minutes of the game after he crippled himself with a miss, and had an orc I was fighting accidentally run himself through on a miss without my guy ever landing a blow.

At the time the charts elicited a lot of laughter and finger pointing, but they also disrupted the games. Most characters didn't last very long and I don't have many memories of those sessions beyond how they ended, with a fumble roll.

To paraphrase Mel Brooks, tragedy is when I stub my toe, comedy is when you fall down a hole and die. When it happens to others it's pretty funny, but when it happens to my guy, it kinda sucks.

As a player and as a DM, I do love a good botch 1 roll; can be a small hinderence or death of a beloved character.
I have played a few games, some DMs don't use it at all (since it's not an offical 4e rule) but some do, an I prefer those that do.

My favorte use of them has been from NERD POKER, a DnD podcast; when they roll a 1; the DM rolls a d100 to see what the % is of fuc!ing up, anything below 75 is just an automiss and end of turn.
But if the DM gets above 75, **** starts getting real; anything from massive damage, crippling effects, and in some cases outright death if its bad enough (landing on 99 or 100)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

In my modified 3.5e system I use critical hit and fumble tables.  I treat rolling 1s like rolling 20s - d20 is rolled again to confirm the fumble (if the DC is missed the fumble is confirmed).  If a critical hit or fumble is confirmed, percentage dice are rolled and I look at the chart to see what additionally happens.

I also allow for "breakaway" critical hits and fumbles - if someone rolls a 1 and on the confirmation rolls another 1, then they roll again; or if someone rolls a 20 (or in the weapon's crit range) and on the confirmation rolls another 20 (or in the weapon's crit range), then they roll again.  The number of breakaways adds 30 for each additional crit to the percentage roll against the critical table. So if a person rolls two 1s then they roll d%+30, three 1s is d%+60, four 1s is d%+90.  Since the table only goes to 100 and 100 is roll twice on the same table, I only go to 100.

And there are no instant death chances, so no one dies from fumbling.

And some very humorous moments have come out of this system.  For example:

Player rolls three 1s in a row, and while his d%+60 generated a 100 the two effects were that he fell on his rear end and he drops his weapon (within easy grasp).  Favor continued to smile on this character because the orc that was going to take advantage of his prone state, also rolled two 1s and fell on his rear end.

I also apply the breakaway system to skills and saves, so that no DC is ever completely out of reach.  It also gives me a narrative/descriptive kickstart point.  For example, if the DC to open a lock is 25 and the rogue rolls two 20s, that tells me that he/she had a very easy time of opening that lock - whether by luck or a tiny bit of knowledge from memory that is for me to decide on the spur of the moment.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Nothing. Just let the player be descriptive.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I mostly use fumbles for fun effect. It's never something that will penalize the player, it's only a dice roll after all(which he has no control over). Sometimes it will have consequences(such as dropping weapons...) but again it will be more like falling in the mud or being really bad at hitting on the princess the characters likes so much.
I never use critical fumbles.  It's usually only the DMs and spellcasters who don't have to roll to hit who think they're fun.  Everyone else who has to roll attacks is penalized, and penalized more often the more often they attack.  IOW, Fighters ride the short bus again.  Plus, fumbles tend to hurt PCs far more than monsters since monsters don't stick around very long, not even counting the fact that a lot of DMs tend to conveniently forget it when the monsters fumble.  Even one of the best DM's I've ever played with was busted more than once by me forgetting to roll monster fumbles.  And that's odd because he's not a Killer DM.  Maybe he just had too many things going on to remember.  But everyone see it and calls it out when a PC rolls a 1.

You roll a 1, you miss.  That's bad enough.  If you want to go beyond that you can be descriptive, and that's far more interesting than rolling on some chart to see how silly you look, how much you hurt your friends, or how bad you sucked.  If you like sucking, feel free to RP that as much as you want.  As a DM, I won't even require that you take a 6 in some ability score either!

Personally, I refuse to play in any game that has critical fumbles.  I loathe them because they punish PCs over monsters and punish particular types of PCs more than others.  They're unfair.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

@Redsiegfried:

You have the right to your opinion, but I question your facts:
It's usually only the DMs and spellcasters who don't have to roll to hit who think they're fun.


DMs roll to hit all the time, but a DM that does not give his/her NPCs the same potential pitfalls as the players is a bad DM.

As for spellcasters there are plenty of spells that require a to hit roll.  They are usually a touch AC attack but they do exist.


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RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
@Redsiegfried:

You have the right to your opinion, but I question your facts:
It's usually only the DMs and spellcasters who don't have to roll to hit who think they're fun.


DMs roll to hit all the time, but a DM that does not give his/her NPCs the same potential pitfalls as the players is a bad DM.

As for spellcasters there are plenty of spells that require a to hit roll.  They are usually a touch AC attack but they do exist.





Indeed. All my monsters and NPCs can critically miss as well. I've had a few moments where this came up. And the players used it to great advantage.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
You roll a 1, you miss.  That's bad enough.  If you want to go beyond that you can be descriptive, and that's far more interesting than rolling on some chart to see how silly you look, how much you hurt your friends, or how bad you sucked.  If you like sucking, feel free to RP that as much as you want.  As a DM, I won't even require that you take a 6 in some ability score either!



Agreed.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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My warlock teleported, and then attacked with eldritch blast. He rolled a natural 1. I stated that he miscast, and the blast was released into that "place you go to between places."

Later, someone else rolled a natural 1. I stated that the eldritch blast that had been released earlier had reemerged from the teleport and thrown off the attack.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

My warlock teleported, and then attacked with eldritch blast. He rolled a natural 1. I stated that he miscast, and the blast was released into that "place you go to between places."

Later, someone else rolled a natural 1. I stated that the eldritch blast that had been released earlier had reemerged from the teleport and thrown off the attack.



This is very cool.
I've tweaked it some since people's dice have been cursed in my game, but I have them roll the d20 again

if they get 11 or higher they just miss
if they get 2-10 they just grant CA until the end of their next turn, maybe get knocked prone if its funny, but nothing too serious
if they roll two 1s in a row then it is time for creative consequences

for example, my friend tried to use "Vengeance is Mine" against the zombified remains of a named hobgoblin he had brutally killed in an earlier adventure and the dice gods decided (with two rolls of 1) that vengeance actually belonged to the hobgoblin, so the clobbering my friend received was story relevant, hooray

Indeed. All my monsters and NPCs can critically miss as well. I've had a few moments where this came up. And the players used it to great advantage.

Some of the most anti-climactic final battles i have been a part of are ones where the super tough bad guys roll a 1 and fumble. It ruins the whole fight, and takes the feeling of "We just overcame something epic and tough" away from the players. I hate when DMs do this, and its something I would genuinley consider leaving a game over if it came up too often. (obviously I ask the DM not to do it again and we have that whole conversation)


----


Games I run - Nothing aside from an auto miss happens. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"

"Your advice is the worst"


Indeed. All my monsters and NPCs can critically miss as well. I've had a few moments where this came up. And the players used it to great advantage.

Some of the most anti-climactic final battles i have been a part of are ones where the super tough bad guys roll a 1 and fumble. It ruins the whole fight, and takes the feeling of "We just overcame something epic and tough" away from the players. I hate when DMs do this, and its something I would genuinley consider leaving a game over if it came up too often. (obviously I ask the DM not to do it again and we have that whole conversation)


----


Games I run - Nothing aside from an auto miss happens. 




I would say it's a poorly designed final BBEG encounter if a single fumble can ruin the challenge of the fight.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
13th Age fumble rules:
* it's the only time you actually have no effect on the enemy, not even normal miss damage. Normally you still do damage even on a miss -- usually half damage or damage equal to your level -- as it represents how you are wearing down your enemies even as they succeed in parrying/evading/shrugging off your attacks. But on a 1, you failed so badly that the enemy didn't have to do anything to avoid the attack.
** story implications can provide additional penalties
* ranged attacks (both magical and mundane) have a special rule: instead of just missing entirely, there's a risk of harming your allies as well: on a natural 1, if the enemy you were attacking has an ally engaged with him in melee combat, make the attack against your ally.

I also apply the above rule on ranged fumbles to melee with heavy melee weapons; after all, why shouldn't a huge, cumbersome weapon not risk being swung at the wrong creature?
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57047238 wrote:
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I don't use them.  I want to play D&D, a game of great heroes and larger-than-life fantasy, not The Three Stooges RPG.  Heck, I don't even use the '1 is an automatic miss' rule.

At worst, I will describe a natural 1 that misses in a somewhat embarassing, but non-mechanical, way ... your arrow winds up wedged in your wizard's pointy hat (not his head), you spin around in place (with no penalties).
@Redsiegfried:

You have the right to your opinion, but I question your facts:
It's usually only the DMs and spellcasters who don't have to roll to hit who think they're fun.


DMs roll to hit all the time, but a DM that does not give his/her NPCs the same potential pitfalls as the players is a bad DM.

Of course DMs roll to hit.  You misread what I said.  I meant that DM's tend to think they're fun because some of them enjoy watching PCs play Three Stooges - it's a lot more painful for a PC to crit fumble than a monster who's going to die in a few rounds anyway.  This is a fact, and it's why most modern game systems don't do crit fumbles anymore. 
As for spellcasters there are plenty of spells that require a to hit roll.  They are usually a touch AC attack but they do exist.

You have a right to your opinion, of course, but not your own facts.  Yeah, some spells are roll to hit because they're touch AC, but touch AC is usually trivial to hit and severely gimps armor wearers.  That's why those who play casters tend to enjoy fumbles more - because it hardly affects them at all.

Face it, crit fumbles are another of those things that need to die in fire.  It's a relic of DM vs. PC mentality and is unfair to those who roll to hit a lot.  In other words, everyone but casters in pre-4e, and everyone period in 4e.  This is why they're almost universally considered a bad idea in D&D.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I basically agree with everyone who says that fumbles aren't fun.

We used them in my group for a while when I was playing a two weapon fighting rogue. I almost died a few times because of a fumble.

If you use them, the fireball slinging wizard should have his spell fizzle sometimes too, more often for higher level spells.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

I'd be interested to know what you guys are doing with Critical Failures.



They're boring.  Systems designed by people who understand basic math don't use them.  Only systems designed by people who are bad at math do.

As such, since D&D doesn't have critical failures, and I am not bad at math, I do not houserule them in.
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Re: "The DM rolls to hit too."

Yes, but his NPCs are expected to die, this fight, every fight.  He has no emotional investment in them.  It doesn't matter if Gobby the Goblin dies because Boggo the Goblin accidentally stabbed him in the head.  He was going to die one way or the other.  That was his purpose in life.

A PC is a protagonist.  He is important.  He is not disposable.  And one player has (or at least should have) put a lot of effort into designing his PC, both mechanically and in terms of background/personality and the rest.  A battle should be challenging enough just worrying about the enemies, not a random fluke of the dice adding inadvertent friendly fire or disarmament to the mix.
If you use them, the fireball slinging wizard should have his spell fizzle sometimes too, more often for higher level spells.

In a PF game I had proposed that those who have to save vs. a caster's spell get to have critical successes and failures too - except they affect the caster and not the target.  IOW, if the target saved with a nat 20 something akin to a fumble would happen to the caster.  And if the target failed the save with a 1, something awesome would happen to the caster, akin to a critical hit.  No one in that group thought that was a good idea ... go figure, everyone else in the group was playing a caster except me. 

What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment.   

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Yeah, for more serious games fumble rules really ought to be off the table.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
The Warlock in one of my best games rolled a critical fumble on his eldritch blast while he was fighting some orcs. He was standing on top of a cave entrance. I deemed that his eldritch blast landed at his feet and caused part of th entrance to crumble beneath him. The fall reduced him to -1 hp. The last remaining orc dragged his unconscious body further into the cave. This left us with a tense dramatic opener for our campaign and let the rogue come into play. The rogue found the cave and the orc. He then dispatched of the orc with a sneak attack and decided to rob the dying man before him, before stabilizing him. The two had a chat while the warlock recovered and decided that it'd be safer if they both traveled together. When the warlock discovered a few of his things missing, it was blamed on the orc.

Anyway, I'd hope this kind of proves that fumbles can work in serious games. At least, it does for me. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Not really, no.  Especially the 'steal from your teammates' B.S.
Not really, no.  Especially the 'steal from your teammates' B.S.



*shrug*

My players enjoyed it.

Then again, my players love being evil. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Not really, no.  Especially the 'steal from your teammates' B.S.



its not really a concern if the players are comfortable enough with eachother

a lot of what's being discussed in this thread is a 'your mileage may vary' scenario, if the players like fumbles, have 'em, if they don't, ditch 'em, or if they think they're too harsh, dial them down, what I should do is come up with something interesting that can happen with a nat 20 on a fumble roll so there's a potential for a positive to the whole business, probably a good idea for my game where the 1s have such cosmic timing

I think critical fumbles are just fair, when you can have critical hits on the other hand.


We did the 1 as an auto-miss with a chance of a fumble. To confirm we rolled against the THAC0 in 2E – would be an attack against DC20 in 3.x. The idea behind this was, that you fumbled less at higher levels. Everything that helps you to control your weapon better also helps you to avoid fumbles. On the other hand, you are more likely to fumble with an unfamiliar weapon.


As for the effect of the fumble it depended on how good or bad the confirmation roll was – all of Sean’s options were possible.


All in all critical hits and fumbles worked well in our games.

We did the 1 as an auto-miss with a chance of a fumble. To confirm we rolled against the THAC0 in 2E – would be an attack against DC20 in 3.x. The idea behind this was, that you fumbled less at higher levels.

But you're still making the classic mistake that folks make when they try this idea - you still fumble more often the more attack rolls you make, which is unfair to those who make more attack rolls.  It penalizes them for improving at what they're best at.  IOW, more Fighters drool and casters rule.

Just because the chance to confirm the fumble gets smaller it doesn't necessarily mean you're less likely to fumble if you keep getting more attacks as you level up.  Depending on how much the confirmation chance drops, you could (and usually are, in my experience with this kind of system) still be much MORE likely to fumble the higher level you get.

In 3E, why should a 20th level Monk be five times more likely to accidentally kill himself than a 1st level Monk, simply because he makes more attack rolls? 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

You roll a 1, you miss.  That's bad enough.  If you want to go beyond that you can be descriptive, and that's far more interesting than rolling on some chart to see how silly you look, how much you hurt your friends, or how bad you sucked.  If you like sucking, feel free to RP that as much as you want.  As a DM, I won't even require that you take a 6 in some ability score either!



Agreed.


Agreed.

Some of the most anti-climactic final battles i have been a part of are ones where the super tough bad guys roll a 1 and fumble. It ruins the whole fight, and takes the feeling of "We just overcame something epic and tough" away from the players.

I use the auto-miss + description for the monsters (when I remember) - but when the Big Bad gets an unlucky streak of 1s the players still feel like he's a loser, but a hardcore boss. Them's the breaks though I guess!

I've been lucky that only a single session I've been in had it - it was a first time DM who thought it was funny how the warden would stab his foot ([W] damage + slow save ends) or how the seeker shot his encounter power into an ally. It wasn't funny for us :| Thankfully he got over it pretty quickly when he noticed only he was enjoying the critical failures.

Now that the topic is also started to broach critical successes - I tend to add a description there too - either from myself or the player (depending on what the player enjoys most). It usually involves a Monster Hunter (PSP/Wii) style limb removal or object breakage. Things like one of the kank's manibles shattered, or that the orc's weapon was cleaved in two. Just something a little cinematic to emphasise how special the 20 was. Depending on the situation, I might impose a penalty to certain attacks, or reduce AC for that monster to make the player feel good about themself.

In 3E, why should a 20th level Monk be five times more likely to accidentally kill himself than a 1st level Monk, simply because he makes more attacks?

I agree with this mentality, and not just on critical failures. There's a few other things which make great mechanical sense in 4e (passing DCs) that are terrible from a roleplaying point of view.
We did the 1 as an auto-miss with a chance of a fumble. To confirm we rolled against the THAC0 in 2E – would be an attack against DC20 in 3.x. The idea behind this was, that you fumbled less at higher levels.

But you're still making the classic mistake that folks make when they try this idea - you still fumble more often the more attack rolls you make, which is unfair to those who make more attack rolls.  It penalizes them for improving at what they're best at.  IOW, more Fighters drool and casters rule.

Just because the chance to confirm the fumble gets smaller it doesn't necessarily mean you're less likely to fumble if you keep getting more attacks as you level up.  Depending on how much the confirmation chance drops, you could (and usually are, in my experience with this kind of system) still be much MORE likely to fumble the higher level you get.

In 3E, why should a 20th level Monk be five times more likely to accidentally kill himself than a 1st level Monk, simply because he makes more attack rolls? 


It worked out well for 2E where all attacks were made with the same base attack bonus. Only fighters (or someone fighting with two weapons) got multiple attacks and not as many (or as early) as in 3E.


So your point is true for 3E but not for 2E.


Concerning the spell-casters I’m with you. A lot of the changes from 2E to 3E made spell-casters more powerful (Bonus spells for mages, meta-magic feats, shorter memorization time for high level casters) But the problem is, casting doesn’t require skill checks in DnD. Other systems that do, have failure chances for spells as well.




I agree that spell-casters get a reduced risk for crit fails, but also for crit hits. Perhaps the system could be tweaked? Spells which require an attack roll benefit from crit hit bonuses and crit success on saves vs spell attacks negate all damage (for spells which suggest half damage)? This is probably not a good idea because it would imbalance so much else between the classes.
I agree that spell-casters get a reduced risk for crit fails, but also for crit hits. Perhaps the system could be tweaked? Spells which require an attack roll benefit from crit hit bonuses and crit success on saves vs spell attacks negate all damage (for spells which suggest half damage)? This is probably not a good idea because it would imbalance so much else between the classes.



In D20:  Classes are already unbalanced, and your change is not a meaningful addition to that imbalance.  So knock yourself out:  You aren't breaking the system any more than it's already broken.

In D&D4:  Your suggested change is already in place, except there are no critical failures because critical failures are bad game design.
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In 3E, why should a 20th level Monk be five times more likely to accidentally kill himself than a 1st level Monk, simply because he makes more attack rolls?

That is a bad and unlikely extreme.  Furthermore, in an extreme fumble system like you are assuming, in fact it is more likely that the 1st level monk would kill himself rather than the 20th level monk because of the hit point difference - the level 20 monk could probably withstand his self-inflicted wounds where the 1st level monk would probably knock himself unconscious.

It is a bad DM that allows bad luck with dice determine the fate of his players.  At worst fumbles should be embarrassing, maybe they hurt a lot but never deadly.  In my current campaign a player rolled three 1s in a row - all that happened was his character fell on his ass and let go of his weapon.

Furthermore, chances are that a confirmed fumble in my game would negate the rest of that character's attacks.  So if the high level monk fumbled on his first attack the remaining four would not even happen - probably because he loses his footing and cannot continue or something to that effect, or a high level fighter loses his weapon and he either has to pick up the weapon he dropped or draw another.  Either way, the only way the character dies is if his opponent can take advantage of the situation and even then the chances of that happening in one round is slim.  I am reminded of the scene in Die Hard 2 when McClain is pinned under debris (on the people mover) and his gun is ten feet away.  He killed the bad guy anyway because the bad guy goy cocky, took his time changing clips, and did not realize (until it was too late) that McClain would get to his gun.  We all knew McClain would get to his gun but there was still tension in the air.

That being said, you do have a point that more attacks means more chances of failure.  Therefore, I intend to float the idea to my players in the campaign I am running that as the party levels, it becomes more difficult to fumble - something along the lines of: for every additional attack your class gets you get a +5 on the confirmation roll; so that level 20 monk with five attacks gets a +20 (4 additional attacks multplied by +5 bonus), therefore chances are the only way he can confirm the fumble is by rolling another nat 1.  Furthermore, with this in mind, if you can only confirm a fumble by rolling a nat 1 then it does not break away.

But as someone else said, "mileage will vary."  Maybe my group will be OK with the fumble system as is (they have only just reached the multiple attack stage so they have not felt that sting yet).


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RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
In D&D4:  Your suggested change is already in place, except there are no critical failures because critical failures are bad game design.


Critical failures may be badly designed as they are but they are not bad game design IMO.

DaBeerds suggested a nice fix (which comes down to the confirmation roll using the highest base attack bonus for all attacks).

DaBeerds suggested a nice fix (which comes down to the confirmation roll using the highest base attack bonus for all attacks).

While it's true that you can tweak the confirmation chance to make a high level character have a lower chance per attack of confirming a critical miss than a low level character does, it does nothing to change the fact that at any given level, the monk is still more likely to get critical failures if he chooses to make more attack rolls.  This punishes him for doing something that is normally to his benefit - attacking more.  The chance of confirming the critical is irrelevent, unless it's a 0% chance.  The fact remains that no matter what chance the monk has of confirming a critical failure, he's still being punished if he rolls for more attacks.

I'm not trying to be a jerk here, but people just don't seem to understand this.  Tweaking the confirmation chance is a common "fix" for the critical miss problem, but it doesn't fix anything.  I've seen it over and over again in pre-4E games and it's frustrating to me because it clearly gimps anyone who rolls to attack a lot (in other words, non-casters).  The only way to fix the fact that a PC who rolls to attack more often will get critical fumbles more often is to not have critical fumbles. 

And no, I don't think the chance of getting critical hits balances out the critical misses because critical misses are far more punishing to PCs than critical successes are rewarding to PCs. 

And oh yeah, just because a 2E Fighter doesn't get as many attacks as a 3E Fighter doesn't mean the 2E Fighter still isn't punished for multiple attack rolls if you use critical misses. 

Of course, play your game whatever way your group finds fun, but maybe in the interest of full disclosure and fairness, you may want to inform people who play PCs that make more attack rolls that critical misses will affect them more often than the people who don't make attack rolls as often.  No matter what mechanic you use for crit misses, if it's tied to the attack roll then the folks who make more attack rolls will be affected more.  Then sit back and watch them roll up a party of nothing but casters. ;)

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Keep On The Shadowfell" would be hailed as a brilliant, revolutionary triumph in game design if it were followed by the words "A Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

In D&D4:  Your suggested change is already in place, except there are no critical failures because critical failures are bad game design.


Critical failures may be badly designed as they are but they are not bad game design IMO.



You are free to hold opinions that are objectively wrong, if you want to.  They're still wrong.


DaBeerds
suggested a nice fix (which comes down to the confirmation roll using the highest base attack bonus for all attacks).



Nope.  Reducing the instance of critical fumbles does not address what makes critical fumbles bad game design.  It just makes the bad game design happen less often, which is better but still not as good as "not designing badly in the first place".
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.