Weapons and Criticals

Something I liked from 3ed was that some weapons had different ranges of die rolls that would threaten a critical hit.  I liked this because it made for some different choices on which weapon was going to benefit you most.  I don't think the 18-20 range of a scimitar or rapier of 3ed and a feat to widen it to 15-20 is at all a good idea for this system, but I do think that some weapons having a 19-20 range might be cool.  Various reasons could justify it such as a rapier being a weapon for precision, a katana for its superior cutting edge or a crossbow for its power and accuracy.  Some that I think might apply are:

Crossbow
Katana (which I think should also be 1d8/1d10 and versatile)
Rapier (which I think should also be 1d6 and light)
Warpick
Trident

Ideas?
Without specifically supporting broader critical ranges, I do think that more weapon variables would make weapon choice more interesting, instead of simply picking whatever has the highest damage die.

I think it's crappy when you have in mind a specific weapon type for flavor reasons, but you feel compelled to use something else because it does more damage. 
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Without specifically supporting broader critical ranges, I do think that more weapon variables would make weapon choice more interesting, instead of simply picking whatever has the highest damage die.

I think it's crappy when you have in mind a specific weapon type for flavor reasons, but you feel compelled to use something else because it does more damage. 



so you want for instance a net or whip to have a high critical chance due to their low damage yield?
No, nets and whips should have other advantages like restraining targets or being 1 handed reach weapons.  But scimitars should not be strictly inferior to longswords, warhammers to mauls, etc.  

Unfortunately, crit ranges are not an effective way of providing different yet balanced weapons.  Increasing a weapon's crit range from 20 to 19-20 will increase its DPR by (crit damage-regular damage)/20, or about 1/5-3/5s of a point depending on damage die size (based on current packet rules).  There are few if any pairs of high damage vs low damage but 19-20 crit range that come out even, depending on your base accuracy (2d4 vs 1d8 and 1d10 vs 2d4 come out equal at 80% accuracy, at 60% you could do 1d8 vs 1d6 if you had 18-20 crit range but you could never get an even pair at 19-20).  And if they don't come out even, you're right back where you started, where someone who wants a specific weapon will be tempted to use a different one just because the DPR is higher.  It's perhaps better than 1d8 vs 1d6 and no extended crit range, but it's not that good either.  I'd sooner use things like 4e's brutal (which adds an even 1/2 point) or exploding (roll an extra damage die if you get max, subtracting one if the extra die rolls in the top half for also 1/2 a point, or alternately use combinations of smaller die for your extra with a 1/2 point lesser expected value than the original e.g. 2d4 extra for an exploding d10).  Or, if that stuff is too complex, just make all x-handed y-type weapons mechanically identical and admit that whether you call it a scimitar or a longsword or even a battle axe is purely flavor with zero mechanical impact on the game.  Or have more situational benefits that cannot be reduced to simple DPR and thus allow mathematical proof that one weapon is better than another, even by just the tiniest bit.  Strict superiority should not be obtained by sacrificing only flavor.
critical damage bonus should be described as +xW damage die(no max damage crap) and range of d20 to score a crit. without crit confirmation roll.

I.E.

greataxe could have 1d12 damage, crit range of 20, and +2d12 crit damage bonus

greastsword could have 1d12, crit range of 19-20 and +1d12 crit damage bonus.

No, nets and whips should have other advantages like restraining targets or being 1 handed reach weapons.  But scimitars should not be strictly inferior to longswords, warhammers to mauls, etc.



Yeah, he answered for me.


"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...


+1 for the double damage critical!

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...


+1 for the double damage critical!

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.



I suppose they could work out a spell equivalent where damaging spells do one extra die of damage against one target and/or targets suffer disadvantage on saves.
For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.

On the one hand, yes, critical hits are more exciting when they're very meaningful. On the other hand, it's not fun to actually die in one hit when you don't even get to save against it. It's a tough balancing act.

The metagame is not the game.

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.

On the one hand, yes, critical hits are more exciting when they're very meaningful. On the other hand, it's not fun to actually die in one hit when you don't even get to save against it. It's a tough balancing act.




Yeah I think as a general rule it's better to limit monster crits to boss monsters and solos or have a 'light critical' for grunts, maybe only allowing them if they roll 20 when they have advantage.
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...


+1 for the double damage critical!

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.



When you critical with a weapon it does max damage PLUS you roll the damage die and add it.  So it actually deals more than double damage and its damage is more consistent.  Instead of 2d8 (2-16, avg 9) it does 8+1d8 (9-16, avg 12.5)
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...


+1 for the double damage critical!

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.



When you critical with a weapon it does max damage PLUS you roll the damage die and add it.  So it actually deals more than double damage and its damage is more consistent.  Instead of 2d8 (2-16, avg 9) it does 8+1d8 (9-16, avg 12.5)



Yes I think they did that to give weapon users a better splash with crits, although I think in the current playtest they removed the attack roll for spells (I hope they bring it back) so no crits for spells at all.

Personally, I find double damage less jarring than maxing and rolling extra dice, and a bit more exciting.  Even though it's swingier, I think my players prefer it as well.
Double damage and some gravy would be fine.  I'm not sure why I prefer double damage to max damage, since it is swingier, but I do.  I liked the idea of the 2e crit tables, where larger weapons could score more impressive hits and with rules for long term injuries but they were really fiddly.  A simpler version of those tables would be preferable, although I have a fondness for the old percentile table from Dragon...


+1 for the double damage critical!

For some reason I just find x2 or more crits to be a lot more exciting.  There's a certain feeling you get from knowing that a great axe wielding giant can potentially drop you with one swing, that a max damage critical just doesn't inspire.



When you critical with a weapon it does max damage PLUS you roll the damage die and add it.  So it actually deals more than double damage and its damage is more consistent.  Instead of 2d8 (2-16, avg 9) it does 8+1d8 (9-16, avg 12.5)



Yes I think they did that to give weapon users a better splash with crits, although I think in the current playtest they removed the attack roll for spells (I hope they bring it back) so no crits for spells at all.

Personally, I find double damage less jarring than maxing and rolling extra dice, and a bit more exciting.  Even though it's swingier, I think my players prefer it as well.



While I don't with the reasoning of the doube damage opinion, I do disagree with the opinion itself.  There's nothing more disapointing that rolling a nat 20 and then rolling 1s for your double damage.  I feel like a critical hit should never deal less damage than a regular hit.  I like the max dmg + roll damage method.
As for the spell thing, I really think that some spells should be attack rolls and others shouldn't.  What makes it tricky is the lack of "Touch AC" as some spell are going to affect you just by hitting and armor won't really help.  I don't know what the best answer to that would be as I'm sure the idea of having another AC number isn't going to appeal to the "I don't want another number to write on my sheet" crowd.
Crits in general seem like a super good target for lightweight modularization. Different people have slightly different ideas about what feels right or what's most natural, and it's hard to imagine system math sufficiently frail that tweaking the way your crit damage works is a serious concern.
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i use hackmasters crit system, if you roll a crit and you roll damage if you get max damage on the die roll independant of bonuses you get to roll again and add that and you can keep on rolling as long as it happens up to a max damage cap.

While I don't with the reasoning of the doube damage opinion, I do disagree with the opinion itself.  There's nothing more disapointing that rolling a nat 20 and then rolling 1s for your double damage.  I feel like a critical hit should never deal less damage than a regular hit. 



This.  Crits should never, ever do less damage than regular hits.  Max+roll avoids that possibility while still making a big splash (a bigger splash, in fact, making it even easier for the giant to kill you in one crit if you're so inclined).  Another nice bonus of max+roll is that it's fast.  You're just adding a static number to the normal damage you've already rolled (assuming you roll attack and damage simultaneously), rather than multiplication or 4e's check your weapliment enchantment and roll again with a large number of different sized dice.

I'd rather see crits do something else besides MOAR DAMAGE. You hit a vital area, it should have some form of status effect. Perhaps that is the one key separation between martial and magical attacks? Martial attacks cause status effects on crits, while spells simply can't. Granted, the effects should be pretty strong, like reduced movement until a short rest (or heal), stunned for a round, (dis)advantage on all actions (targets get advantage on saves) for a round, etc.

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I'd rather see crits do something else besides MOAR DAMAGE. You hit a vital area, it should have some form of status effect. Perhaps that is the one key separation between martial and magical attacks? Martial attacks cause status effects on crits, while spells simply can't. Granted, the effects should be pretty strong, like reduced movement until a short rest (or heal), stunned for a round, (dis)advantage on all actions (targets get advantage on saves), etc.




I like this idea, but really I think it's a non-starter.  The first time a character takes a crit from a monster and loses a turn or has to deal with a penalty, no matter how insignificant, the 'unfun' call will come up like the great wyrm caterpelius from the depths of the abyss.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

I'd rather see crits do something else besides MOAR DAMAGE. You hit a vital area, it should have some form of status effect. Perhaps that is the one key separation between martial and magical attacks? Martial attacks cause status effects on crits, while spells simply can't. Granted, the effects should be pretty strong, like reduced movement until a short rest (or heal), stunned for a round, (dis)advantage on all actions (targets get advantage on saves), etc.




I like this idea, but really I think it's a non-starter.  The first time a character takes a crit from a monster and loses a turn or has to deal with a penalty, no matter how insignificant, the 'unfun' call will come up like the great wyrm caterpelius from the depths of the abyss.



Not from the vast majority of D&D players this edition is trying to win back I would wager. I could see it being fun in the vein of Paizo's "decks of critical hits and fumbles" that are now even available on iOS.
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I'd rather see crits do something else besides MOAR DAMAGE. You hit a vital area, it should have some form of status effect. Perhaps that is the one key separation between martial and magical attacks? Martial attacks cause status effects on crits, while spells simply can't. Granted, the effects should be pretty strong, like reduced movement until a short rest (or heal), stunned for a round, (dis)advantage on all actions (targets get advantage on saves), etc.




I like this idea, but really I think it's a non-starter.  The first time a character takes a crit from a monster and loses a turn or has to deal with a penalty, no matter how insignificant, the 'unfun' call will come up like the great wyrm caterpelius from the depths of the abyss.




100% correct and unfortunately that mindset has apparently spread.
Crits should have the option of doing stuff other than dmg. DCC has crit tables based on class. Additionally fighters have better crit dice to role.
On the one hand, yes, critical hits are more exciting when they're very meaningful. On the other hand, it's not fun to actually die in one hit when you don't even get to save against it. It's a tough balancing act.




As long as the multiplier is only x2 I think it's ok. Most regular weapon damage (die+mod) multiplied by 2 isn't enough to one-shot someone. Unless you're: 1) Very low level; 2) Have low HP and is fighting a brute monster of insane strength, like a giant; 3) Is currently very low on health.

In the first case it can be a problem, yes, but levels 1 and 2 in D&D tend to be deadly anyway. And in the latter two these are ocasions where you should be either retreating or fighting with extra caution to avoid being hit, and some strategy is advised, so it actually makes for an interesting tension.

For example... if you only have 5hp left and you know that creature can't do more than around 10 damage with its attack, you're probably just stay there fighting it face to face until you drop unconscious at -5hp (provided you're with a group that can rescue later). Now if you know that on the off chance of a critical it can do 20 damage and kill you... you're gonna think twice if it's worth to keep fighting on or do what is the logical thing... retreat... for a person in such bad shape.


That said... 5e presents a problem with its scaling "hulk-smash" damage by level... (Deadly Strike and this kind of stuff.) The tendency 5e has to scale things into "one wall-demolishing blow" may turn even x2 criticals into a serious problem.

In this case the uninspiring maximum-damage critical may be the only viable solution... although I would much rather they dropped the superhero's might blows and just came back with regular multiple attacks.
That said... 5e presents a problem with its scaling "hulk-smash" damage by level... (Deadly Strike and this kind of stuff.) The tendency 5e has to scale things into "one wall-demolishing blow" may turn even x2 criticals into a serious problem.

In this case the uninspiring maximum-damage critical may be the only viable solution... although I would much rather they dropped the superhero's might blows and just came back with regular multiple attacks.

I'm beginning to think you are correct about this.  While I don't like the idea of rolling more than a player absolutely has to each turn (in order to maintain the swift tempo of combat), a decent stopgap solution to several uplevel problems right now would be to just make deadly strike, multiattack, and all else one feature that simply granted extra attacks.

The damage gained from static modifiers and the like should be offset by the chance for each successive attack to miss; and the fact that in 5e, there aren't that many static modifiers at all to worry about.
That said... 5e presents a problem with its scaling "hulk-smash" damage by level... (Deadly Strike and this kind of stuff.) The tendency 5e has to scale things into "one wall-demolishing blow" may turn even x2 criticals into a serious problem.

In this case the uninspiring maximum-damage critical may be the only viable solution... although I would much rather they dropped the superhero's might blows and just came back with regular multiple attacks.

I'm beginning to think you are correct about this.  While I don't like the idea of rolling more than a player absolutely has to each turn (in order to maintain the swift tempo of combat), a decent stopgap solution to several uplevel problems right now would be to just make deadly strike, multiattack, and all else one feature that simply granted extra attacks.

The damage gained from static modifiers and the like should be offset by the chance for each successive attack to miss; and the fact that in 5e, there aren't that many static modifiers at all to worry about.




I never had pacing problems with rolling multiple attacks. Not even in 3e with iterative attacks. I suppose the reason why some people complain about it in 3e is because you had different Base Attack Bonuses for each successive attack. I never found that math to be any problem and all my players could always conclude their combat turn very quickly.

But even if it was a problem for some players... since 5e doesn't use iterative attacks, it's even simpler.
If you have 3 attacks and you need a 12 to hit... you roll 3d20 and see how many rolled over 12. End of story.
Even a Fireball requires more dice rolling and math than that, and oddly enough no one complains about spells that roll 10dX or 15dX.

Like you said, substituting a number of current abilities (not without their own problems) for a single multi-attack system would make it all much simpler. And it would also give more freedom in gameplay. "You have X attacks. Do with them what you like." You don't have to limit it to either one mighty-blow or several attacks that can only hit different targets.

To me this is a clear case where we could have a simpler system, that is less restraining in terms of gameplay options, and avoids a number of minor rules and minor abilities that later can cause a snowball effect of generating unnecessary complexity in the system.
To catch up a little:

I dig the idea of criticals having different effects, but I think that's the perfect place for a modular variant.  The standard crit deals maxdamage plus weapon damage roll.  Then you make d12 effect tables for each type of damage with the effects ranged from least effect to most. When you crit, you roll the same die (weapon damage) with the choice of either dealing the damage or rolling on the effect table.  That way, the effects can be specific to the weapon type and scale up with how damaging it is.  A little on the complex side, but hey, it's a variant that can just not be used by those who want a simpler game.

Honestly, I miss the 3e multiple attacks, but I think that is because it fits the style of my favorite character to play so I'm not sure how biased an opinion that is.  I kind of loved throwing 4 attacks with one hand and 2 more with the other with rapiers and improved cirtical so I crit on a 15 with a swashbuckler who deals str and con damge on crits and . . . Yeah, it was excessive, but it was fun.  Probably not a good idea for 5e lol.

Maybe Deadly Strike could be an option and you choose between that and a scaling ability that grants more attacks rather than multiplies damage.  Or maybe rescale the Attack Bonus and you can spread that bonus however you want.  You have a +5 bonus, you can throw one attackat +5 or two attacks at +3 and +2 or three attacks at +2,+2 and +1 or five attacks at +1 each.  I dont know, it's an incomplete idea.
Crits in general seem like a super good target for lightweight modularization.

Critical Hits are the poster-child for modualization.  There's a thousand different 'crit' systems, and the game functions just fine with or without any of them.

You can even do one that is largely narrative and it just adds flavour usually unless your DM rules that jumping with your split knee or resisting a knock down should be more difficult. 
Something I liked from 3ed was that some weapons had different ranges of die rolls that would threaten a critical hit.  I liked this because it made for some different choices on which weapon was going to benefit you most.  I don't think the 18-20 range of a scimitar or rapier of 3ed and a feat to widen it to 15-20 is at all a good idea for this system


It could actualy go to 12-20 if you had a keen weapon ;)
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Something I liked from 3ed was that some weapons had different ranges of die rolls that would threaten a critical hit.  I liked this because it made for some different choices on which weapon was going to benefit you most.  I don't think the 18-20 range of a scimitar or rapier of 3ed and a feat to widen it to 15-20 is at all a good idea for this system


It could actualy go to 12-20 if you had a keen weapon ;)

Nope, Improved Critical feat and Keen do not stack, except in 3.0. IIRC.

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Something I liked from 3ed was that some weapons had different ranges of die rolls that would threaten a critical hit.  I liked this because it made for some different choices on which weapon was going to benefit you most.  I don't think the 18-20 range of a scimitar or rapier of 3ed and a feat to widen it to 15-20 is at all a good idea for this system


It could actualy go to 12-20 if you had a keen weapon ;)

Nope, Improved Critical feat and Keen do not stack, except in 3.0. IIRC.




Yeah, in 3.5 the only way to get wider than a 15-20 was the class Disciple of Dispater from Vile Darkness (like 85% sure on the book).  That class had an ability that doubled its crit range and stated it stacked with keen/imp crit.  You could get it down to a 9.  18-20 rapier, 15-20 imp crit or keen, then the ability made it 12-20, then it improved at later level to make it 9-20.  Pretty disgusting.
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