Critical Hits

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Something I found in the David Noonan's Blog
I realize this is late, but Friday morning was just a leg-humper for me. In his blog, Rich Baker scoops me on the whole fireball crit thing. When that second crit happened, I remember thinking, "I should put that in the blog." Rich beat me to it. Did he mention that one of the crits was against a shambling mound? I'm not sure.

Looks like Plants are no longer immune to critical hits? Could be that only some types of damage can critical hit a plant (this hit was with a fireball)

What do you think?
I've always through, with the exception of elementals, and perhaps constructs, immunity to critical hits was a rather silly idea. The whole headshots on a zombie thing is classic, but impossible in D&D.
I think we really need some tidbit from the staff blog ASAP :D

One of the blogs mentions that something cool is being done to criticals.
Before, I've only read that confirmation rolls are being removed to speed up the game, but such change doesn't particularly qualifies as "cool".

So there must be something else...
One of the blogs mentions that something cool is being done to criticals.
Before, I've only read that confirmation rolls are being removed to speed up the game, but such change doesn't particularly qualifies as "cool".

It does in my book - we never even used confirmation rolls.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

It does in my book - we never even used confirmation rolls.

Same here. Nothing is more deflating to a player than to roll that amazing 20 and then lose the critical hit by following it with a 2. The first time we had that happened when 3E came out we removed the rule from our game. It's nice to see WOTC caught up with the rest of us.

I am curious though to see what else they have done to critical hits.
They are probably going to be 1e and 2e in that nothing is immune to crits. Saga went that way, so it's likely 4e will too.

I hope it includes a condition track, and removes the old conditions of 3.x.
Same here. Nothing is more deflating to a player than to roll that amazing 20 and then lose the critical hit by following it with a 2. The first time we had that happened when 3E came out we removed the rule from our game. It's nice to see WOTC caught up with the rest of us.

I am curious though to see what else they have done to critical hits.

I think the confermation role is to protect PCs. It may be more fun for a PC to lop off an orcs head with one blow, but it's less fun to spend hours makeing a 1st lvl character only to have his head lopd off by an orc in the first round of combat (or the supprise round: )
I think the confermation role is to protect PCs. It may be more fun for a PC to lop off an orcs head with one blow, but it's less fun to spend hours makeing a 1st lvl character only to have his head lopd off by an orc in the first round of combat (or the supprise round: )

That's true. Statistically speaking, the DM rolls more attacks than the PCs, which means the DM is more likely to crit on the PCs than vice versa. Of course that's true with or without the confirmation roll, but without it the odds become much better of seeing the crit.

I'm also curious what happens to threat ranges if there's no confirmation roll. Presumably there are much fewer weapons that have threat ranges better than just 20. A scimitar with Improved Crit (or keen) that will always crit on a natural 15+ (assuming the total roll hits the monster's AC) is pretty nasty.
I think the confermation role is to protect PCs. It may be more fun for a PC to lop off an orcs head with one blow, but it's less fun to spend hours makeing a 1st lvl character only to have his head lopd off by an orc in the first round of combat (or the supprise round: )

1. A first level character takes you hours to make? It takes me like 10 minutes.

2. As far as the instant kill goes, I tell my players when they first start playing that death, whether instant or long in coming, is a danger of adventuring. If it's going to bother you when you get vorped, don't play.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

I tend to look at it from a slightly different perspective. As a PC I have access to the best armor and magic to protect me that money can buy. If my DM throws a horde of little piddly things at the party, and those things can only possibly hit me with the roll of a 20, then without the conformation roll, that means that every time they hit me they critical me as well. A few lucky rolls by the DM and my high level character is toast from things that I can wipe out four per round. This is exactly how first and second edition was. The critical confirmation roll was a good addition to the game.
If the critical confirmation is removed, I know that my group will still use them. Yeah it sucks to be denied the critical as a player. It also sucks to be downed by piddly creatures because the DM got lucky…
1. A first level character takes you hours to make? It takes me like 10 minutes.

2. As far as the instant kill goes, I tell my players when they first start playing that death, whether instant or long in coming, is a danger of adventuring. If it's going to bother you when you get vorped, don't play.

10 minutes for a throwaway NPC.

Guess you don't think much about your characters. Hours can be an understatement for me.
We keep the confirmation roll for one reason:

If you roll a critical with the confirmation roll, you get roll again. If you crit again, you get keep going...

We've seen one character who got 5 crits on a single creature in a single attack.
I've never liked the idea of low-level guys who need to roll a 20 to hit will auto-crit whenever they hit. Seems very odd to me (though most encounters aren't like this).
I've never liked the idea of low-level guys who need to roll a 20 to hit will auto-crit whenever they hit. Seems very odd to me (though most encounters aren't like this).

I think it would make sense for a crit roll to satisfy two conditions: be in the crit range (e.g. 19-20), and be at least five over the number needed to hit.

I like the removal of crit confirmations, provided they keep crit ranges on a tight leash.
I like critical confirmation rolls. It makes math easier. 19-20 threat range? 10% chance of crit per hit. That means we can compare keen to flaming without knowing the opponent's AC.
2. As far as the instant kill goes, I tell my players when they first start playing that death, whether instant or long in coming, is a danger of adventuring. If it's going to bother you when you get vorped, don't play.

As long as you don't mind if players get unattached to the character's and become consequently reckless.
I like critical confirmation rolls. It makes math easier. 19-20 threat range? 10% chance of crit per hit. That means we can compare keen to flaming without knowing the opponent's AC.

Wouldn't it only be a 10% chance if the 19-20 roll was an automatic crit? With confirmation, it'd be 10% times the attacker's chance to hit.
A lot of people seem happy with the removal of confirmed criticals, I can't see why. It prevents the idiocy of a hoard of baddies that can only hit on a 20 always scoring crits whenever they hit. It can become either miss completely or stab you in the eye, no middle ground, it's idiotic.
For the love of [Insert your deity of choice], i hope there aren't critical misses in the rules. If so that'll be one of my first houserules for 4e.
I actually like the confirmation roll for many of the reasons already mentioned. If they get rid of the confirmation roll, then they should change the effect of the critical hit. Instead of 2x to 4x damage, the critical damage should be a specific dice, like just d6 that isn't affected by any bonuses such as for Strength. You could have the longsword have a range of 19-20 with +d6 damage or a battle axe with a range of 20 with a +2d6 damage. This would offset the devastating effect of always taking critical damage when a character with a very high AC is hit.
<\ \>tuntman
In Saga the threat range is just 20 like the 1e and 2e D&D.
In Saga the threat range is just 20 like the 1e and 2e D&D.

You can take a feat or talent (I don't remember which right now) that increases it to 19-20, but 19 is nit an auto-hit like 20 is.
I've always through, with the exception of elementals, and perhaps constructs, immunity to critical hits was a rather silly idea. The whole headshots on a zombie thing is classic, but impossible in D&D.

Assuming you're talking Resident Evil sorts of zombies, those are modern zombies, which are creatures animated by scientific means, not magic ... they aren't really undead. I'd consider them aberrations (whom you can crit).

Apples and Oranges.
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In Saga the threat range is just 20 like the 1e and 2e D&D.

Which makes weapons quite similar. It OK in SW, where we are speaking about blasters in different forms. But it definitely gave D&D a nice touch that some weapon were different than others.

And it would be nice to come up with a crit method in which low level play do not become a save or die type of fight. Instead of tripling hp, fix the other rules!
You can take a feat or talent (I don't remember which right now) that increases it to 19-20, but 19 is nit an auto-hit like 20 is.

Vaapad Lightsaber Form, only Jedi knights can take it and it only applies to the lighsaber.

I do see Fighters or a Prestige class getting a weapon specific version of that though.

Which makes weapons quite similar. It OK in SW, where we are speaking about blasters in different forms. But it definitely gave D&D a nice touch that some weapon were different than others.

They've hinted at bringing variation through talents and forms, rather than an tedious extraroll that may or may not produce something extra.

And it would be nice to come up with a crit method in which low level play do not become a save or die type of fight. Instead of tripling hp, fix the other rules!

I like the extra Hp, it seperates the Heroes from the non-heroic. Besides, extra complications slow the game down and is in conflict with the design phillosophy.
I think the confermation role is to protect PCs. It may be more fun for a PC to lop off an orcs head with one blow, but it's less fun to spend hours makeing a 1st lvl character only to have his head lopd off by an orc in the first round of combat (or the supprise round: )

The reason for the confirmation roll is twofold:

1) Reduce the frequency of criticals. Without confirmation rolls, 5% of the attacks are always criticals. Reducing this chance is meant to favor the PCs, particularly when special abilities are introduced that are triggered by criticals.

2) To make character's fighting skills relevant for scoring a critical. Without confirmatin rolls, 5% is for everyone. The 1st level squire has exactly the same chance as the 20th level hero to score a critical against the same target.

Whether these 2 motivations are good or bad, I leave to you to decide.
I'll throw my hat into the remove confirmation roll pot. It's so frustrating as a player when you roll maybe 1-3 20s in a night and none of them confirm.

I do think it should go back to just being plain old 20 for a crit. I don't make my players roll confirmation for a 20, but I make them roll for a 18 or 19 if their weapon says that's in the crit range.

Also, the idea of undead, etc. being immune to crits has always seemed silly to me. I understand they don't have organs, but a zombie falls apart much easier than a human.
A lot of people seem happy with the removal of confirmed criticals, I can't see why. It prevents the idiocy of a hoard of baddies that can only hit on a 20 always scoring crits whenever they hit. It can become either miss completely or stab you in the eye, no middle ground, it's idiotic.

I honestly have never had a problem with that.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

2) To make character's fighting skills relevant for scoring a critical. Without confirmatin rolls, 5% is for everyone. The 1st level squire has exactly the same chance as the 20th level hero to score a critical against the same target.

This is something that I believe should be true... the epic legendary swordsman should have (far far) better chance of scoring a critical to a weedy goblin, than the reverse.

And no, not through improved critical or something similar.. It should be inherent, related to BAB in some way.
This is something that I believe should be true... the epic legendary swordsman should have (far far) better chance of scoring a critical to a weedy goblin, than the reverse.

And no, not through improved critical or something similar.. It should be inherent, related to BAB in some way.

agreed... our best houserule, and something i'd like to see implemented, would be an AC Threshold for crits.. if you exceed your target's AC by 20+ on the attack roll, it's a crit.

dragons are suddenly a lot more dangerous, and this allows warriors a great chance to increase their crit odds against lower level creatures and casters get more crits with touch spells. it's a GREAT rule in our campaigns...
agreed... our best houserule, and something i'd like to see implemented, would be an AC Threshold for crits.. if you exceed your target's AC by 20+ on the attack roll, it's a crit.

dragons are suddenly a lot more dangerous, and this allows warriors a great chance to increase their crit odds against lower level creatures and casters get more crits with touch spells. it's a GREAT rule in our campaigns...

There's a rule like this in LOTR, where hen you beat your target's defense by a certain amount, it 's a crit...of course, in that game, it literally means an instant kill. I'd like to see something like that in D&D.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

There's a rule like this in LOTR, where hen you beat your target's defense by a certain amount, it 's a crit...of course, in that game, it literally means an instant kill. I'd like to see something like that in D&D.

I wouldn't.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
agreed... our best houserule, and something i'd like to see implemented, would be an AC Threshold for crits.. if you exceed your target's AC by 20+ on the attack roll, it's a crit.

dragons are suddenly a lot more dangerous, and this allows warriors a great chance to increase their crit odds against lower level creatures and casters get more crits with touch spells. it's a GREAT rule in our campaigns...

I'm in agreeance with this as well. The master swordsman should have more control over a crit than a lowly goblin who can hardly hold up a cleaver. Two 1st level fighters should have about the same chance to crit one another as two 20th level. But if the 20th level attacks the 1st level, he should skewer the lower level guy, even with a poor damage roll (thus it not be just a hit point difference).
There's a rule like this in LOTR, where hen you beat your target's defense by a certain amount, it 's a crit...of course, in that game, it literally means an instant kill. I'd like to see something like that in D&D.

Let's say if your attack is 10 more than the AC of the opponent, then it is a crit. Now your 1st level fighter will never crit (vs AC 10 yes, bot how many opponents have AC 10). Thus there is a mechanism that is only available at higher level, not fun.

The SWSE system is more fun, but there is not element of mastery in it. Everyone have the same 5% chance of a crit.

The 3.x way have the element of mastery, but cumbersome with its 2 rolls.

Just a thought: At a roll of 20 give the difference between the attack and the AC as a damage bonus (minimum 0). Thus the goblin that can hit with a 20 will hit with a 20, but score no additional damage. The master swordsman on the other hand can inflict more damage by its superior swordsmanship.
I admit it is still cumbersome, and there is a subtraction in the rule, and people hate complex mathematics
I wouldn't.

Neither would I. I hate losing a character on a single die roll, PC or NPC.
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