New Article: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Crit-Mas

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http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20080104

Thought's anyone?

I, for one, love it! I am implementing ASAP at my gametable.
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
I would hold off on doing that just yet. If you do, you may wish to let those who have chosen now-useless items/feats (Improved Critical; Keen weapons; etc) to respec.

While I do not have an issue with toning down critical hits, 4E is looking more and more like they are adding a skill system to a tactical miniatures game.
Maximized dice sounds quite good, so you know a crit can´t kill if a normal attack couldn´t (from a DM´s point of view)

What I would I rather have seen than high crit (+1d6) would be stunning crit or dazing crits etc...

What I also recognized was that weapons are categorized. This allows a better customization of fighters.

The last thing which still concerns me is too high hp at first level (imbalance between heroes and commoners)

From what is given I expect wizards to have about 15 - 20 hp at first Level. I would expect a commoner to have about 10 hp then and fighting type heroes about 30 hp (this could very well be tripple hp at first Level)

But given that, there have to be rules to drop a Level 1 person with one hit (not in combat situation) or things get strange:

1. level wizard on the fair:
*casts prestidigitation*
"I am immortal"
*rams a dagger in his heart* ---> automatical crit: 4 damage
"see"
*uses second wind, walks home*

edit: in 3.x i would consider it a coup de grace, resulting in 2d4 damage + fort save (which will have good chance to kill him...)

While I do not have an issue with toning down critical hits, 4E is looking more and more like they are adding a skill system to a tactical miniatures game.[\quote]

from what i read that was the origin of D&D... I am still on the side: 3.x is a good game, but there are things which looked great at first glance, but are not really funny at all (especially if yo are DM)
Improved Critical and Keen are not necessarily gone. As those would be special rules on top of the base, crit on a 20.

Better crit multipliers would reflect into high crit property.

Not sure if something like rapier would switch from having the greater threat range to high crit property to make it worthwhile or not. Be nice if we could get a handful of sample weapons to speculate over.
I am completely unable to get the "quote" feature to work correctly.

Anyway...

As for the concept of stunning crits and such I'm guessing those are in the new rules. Likely a mix of powers (perhaps easier with certain types of weapons such as hammers if one is a fighter) to magical properties of weapons or extra mojo/side effect mojo on spells.
interesting. seems a bit boring not to have any crit range, but that would be epic when you don't need to confirm.
I don't see any good reasons why there won't be a rule/feat/class-ability that allows for increased crit ranges further up in the system, as it wouldn't make the math itself more advanced, it would be "woo, 19, crit!!" instead of "woo, 20, crit!!". though a 10% chance for crit might get old very quickly.

wouldn't surprise me at all if there are feat/class abilities that allows you to stun or fling enemies around on a crit, we know pretty much that a cleric heals people around him when he crits so there are probably plenty of stuff to be done there.
With the increased hit points there is now the strange factor that a mage can likely shrug off such a blow even if it is a critical without blinking. d8 maximized is still only 8 points of damage and likely less then the predicted minium point for a wizard of 12.

Good points are that you do not have the fairly odd uber bonus specs that were designed around the almost automatic criticals with their multiplying. Multiplying really does put a wrench in the mechanics quickly.

I am curious though what the word 'versatile' means on the war pick next to the high critical? There is also a mark of Proficiency 2 which means?

Could this be a signal that WotC is returning to the 2e and earlier where a fighter did not know all weapons but had to choose which weapons to learn to use? If that is the case then does that 2 mean that it takes the equivelent of 2 choices to learn the weapon because it is marked as being versatile?

Wondering minds want to know.
While I do not have an issue with toning down critical hits, 4E is looking more and more like they are adding a skill system to a tactical miniatures game.

Reread the combat chapter in the PHB and look at the AoO examples. D&D is already a tactical miniatures game. Anyway, that's where it all started back in the 70s. The better the combat rules flow the less it will get in the way of roleplay. IMHO, 4e so far looks like a big improvement.

I like the new crit rules because it's simpler with reasonable damage. One thing not mentioned in the article is the big disappointment of getting double damage and then rolling 1. Max dice is better.
I like it. It makes my job easier behind the screen and reduces the frequency with which I'm going to need to fudge rolls to keep PCs alive (I have a Warmage who thinks he's a tank, so this happens a lot).

My players are going to have a completely different opinion of it: Longbow crit of 9 (8 +1 enh, no str) is a lot less impressive than 3d8+3 (avg 15), but they'll get used to the idea quickly enough.

The real meaty bits of this article have little to nothing to do with crits at all, however:

-Confimations are gone. I think Logan is right in that most people will welcome this. I know my players will.

-The article seems to support more of the "simplify the math" theme that we've seen running throughout 4e development so far, and simply being able to note down your crit damage on the sheet implies that other situational modifiers to your attacks are gone: things like power attack. I have mixed feelings about this, since I liked being able to adjust that probability round by round and opponent by opponent.

-It's good to see that procs (chance-on-hit abilities for all three of you that don't play MMOs) are still around, and I strongly suspect that triggering these is going to quickly become the real highlight of a critical hit, rather than maximising damage dice.

-The War Pick's weapon profile includes quite a bit of interesting information, as well:

--"Prof"
It appears that the Simple, Martial, Exotic distinction is gone as well, and has been replaced by a numeric system. A War Pick is a relatively easy weapon to use, although some amount of practice is required to get the point into the other guy, so I would guess that the system rates weapons from 1 (very simple; club, dagger) to 4 (stupidly hard; spiked chain, dire flail) and each weapon trainig feat taken increases your proficiency level by 1.

It it also possible that the proficiency level indicates the penalty applied to attack rolls with the weapon if you aren't proficient with it. Therefore, a Wizard (almost certainly a prof. level 1 character) who picks up this pick without prior training is going to take a -2 penalty on attacks with it, where he would be taking a -4 if he tried to do the same with a spiked chain.

--"Category"
This also seems to indicate the death of broader weapon categories in favor of tighter lines, possibly related to damage type or the maneuvers that can be used with given sorts of weapons (ie, a pick is very good at piercing armor or yanking their shield out of the way, where a staff is better at tangling up an opponents legs). This is probably going to be mostly relevant to Fighters, but with the "training" feats, it's possible that everyone couled pick up a trick or two with their weapon of choice.

--"Properties"
I suspect that other things we may see in this caregory are Reach, Double-weapon, and similar things. High Crit gets explained (and though it does not specify, heavily implies that the extra die is rolled rather than maximised). What "versatile" means is anyone's guess at this point, though once again, it could be related to damage types or the specific sorts of attacks/maneuvers that can be used with the weapon.



Overall, most interesting article in a while, and I hope they do more like this in the months leading up to the PHB. One of the dev team said (don't remember who or where, though... might've been Noonan) that they wanted to use these D&D articles to acclimate us to the precepts of 4e so that it felt like we already knew the rules when he opened the book for the first time. I like that idea, and I think it's a good move on their part if only they'd back up their words. This article is a good step in that direction.

So, Logan, if you read this: keep it up. For the DMs and players still out there who are unconvinced, this is exactly what we want to see.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

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I love it.

Natural 20 only w/ no confirmation was expected, as that's the way it works in Star Wars Saga, and it works very well there.

Maximum damage as opposed to damage multipliers is also welcome, as it makes a critical hit even from a mediocre-STR character hurt, while keeping a rein on a min-maxed high STR build.

Too many times in 3.5, a character with a suboptimal STR (even a finesse Fighter) did weenie damage on a critical if his damage roll was too low. Conversely, a high-STR character would have enough modifiers that his base weapon damage die didn't matter, so all he had to worry about was damage multipliers or threat ranges. Thus making only a select few melee weapons (falchion, scimitar, rapier, scythe, pick) even worth looking at. Very unbalancing.

In 4e, we should see a lot more weapons being viable selections now, between this new critical hit system and the weapon-specific Fighter "powers" (maneuvers).
@Ungeheuerlich: You know, I had the same idea -- if crit damage is toned down and both critters and PCs have more HPs, "special effects" or "hindrances" such as being Slowed, Dazed, or Stunned (at least for 1 round) would really have an impact on crits. We tried a Crit Table in AD&D (I think it was from 'Player's Option' or some Dragon issue) which had effects like "Dazed: -2 to all rolls next round" or "Stunned and unable to act during the next round. Falls prone." or "If the target is wearing a shield, it is destroyed. If the target has no shield, arm broken and useless, -4 to all rolls with that arm.". It worked without bogging down the game, and I don't think that becoming Stunned or Dazed would be any harder to keep track of, since those "effects" are probably part of 4E combat in any case.
Oh, and I think Improved Crit as we knew it from 3.5 is being axed completely.

SWSE only had one way to increase crit range at all: the Vaapad Lightsaber Form talent, so if we're going by that, increasing crit range, even to 19-20, is going to be something that requires a lot of investment, and may only be an option available for certain weapons.
Eh, it's not bad, but crits lack oomph.

It has to be noted that under the new system a crit just does what you could have done damage-wise, and often do do damage-wise, with a non-crit.

Crits will be happening more frequently, and will less dramatic results, so I can't see someone getting very excited to have scored a crit.

True, this system does avoid the "Eff you, buddy" die rolls, like failing a crit confirmation, or landing a crit but then rolling horrible damage. And that's a good thing.

Still, it seems to me that crits really should be doing more damage than this. Maybe not a *lot* more, but more, definitely, than you could roll in a non-crit hit.

EDIT: For example, every weapon could have had bonus crit damage noted, just as 3.x listed crit ranges and multipliers. So a rapier, maybe, would be +4 crit damage, normal maximized damage +4; while a greatsword would be +2xstr damage, normal maximized damage *plus* double the str bonus added again (that is, triple strength bonus all togehter), so that weapons like the rapier which are mostly about placement and finesse don't rely much on strength but the greatsword does rely on high strength for its really devastaing blows.

That would goose the crit values up just past the normal maximized range, just enough to make them special, and also allow for more differentiation between weapons.
Toning down critical hit damage to allow one less die roll is not worth it.

Sure, it is disappointing to fail a confirmation crit roll, but really, how often does that happen against foes that are mooks or minor NPCs?

Also, it removes a lot of the unique weapon qualities (i.e., threat ranges) - having the same chance of critical hits for all weapons removes more than it adds, IMHO.

Again, it looks as if I will have my work cut out if I make the move to 4th edition.


*****
Anyone else notice that it is a golem that is taking the crit in the artwork to the article?

Edit: I am also interested in "In addition, some powers and magic items have extra effects on a hit."
Also, it removes a lot of the unique weapon qualities (i.e., threat ranges) - having the same chance of critical hits for all weapons removes more than it adds, IMHO.

You don't even know how they're going to make weapons different from each other in 4e.

Oh wait, you should somewhat. Namely, fighter power selections revolving around a fighter's choice of weapon, which was mentioned in one of the first Design and Dev articles.

Why don't you wait until we get more information, as well as do a little research beforehand, before you jump to ridiculous conclusions about "removing unique weapon qualities," eh?
Toning down critical hit damage to allow one less die roll is not worth it.

Not quite true. The new critical rules get rid of a confirmation roll and damage roll, though you may still have another roll for special abilities and magic weapons. Less math and less dice rolls means faster combat.


"I crit! 14 damage!"

As opposed to:


"I threaten!"

"Do I confirm with an 8?"


Or even:


"I threaten!"

"Do I confirm with an 18?

"Sweet!"

"14 damage."
@ Portermj: That's actually the the artwork from ToB for Stormguard Warrior (I'm pretty sure. Otherwise, it's the other feat on that page)

@ PerennialRook: Gee, sucks to be him. But does this sound all that exciting?:


"Hit!"

"Nice, max damage. 14 HP down!"
<>

"Crit! Nice!"
"So...14 damage. Huh."

Doesn't to me.

[EDIT]: In case someone decides to call me on it, yes, that is a bit of strawman. However, replace "19" with any integer from 1 (or 2?) to 18. Point is, when your crit doesn't have the chance to do noticeably more damage than your regular hit, they aren't all that exciting. And didn't they mention that's what they wanted in a past D/D article?
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It's simple to see that the threat ranges are removed as there no longer a need for them. That is the only unique weapon quality I was commenting on here.


*****
I'm not completely sold on the idea.

1. Natural 20 = Instant Critical.

Okay. I like this part. This is what WotC did with SWSE. I like it. It's quick. It's simple. It's clean.

2. Critical = Maximum Damage.

Not sold. Heck, I like a good damage roll without a critical. In my mind, this doesn't really make a critical hit all that special. rather, I wish WotC went the way of SWSE. I.e., Critical = Double Damage.

I haven't decided whether I will move to 4e. A lot depends on the game group I play with. Still, if we do, I'll probably House Rule double damage ... unless it now becomes horrifically unbalanced given all the remaking that WotC is doing to D&D.
Less math and less dice rolls means faster combat.

Faster games don't equate to better games.

It is more suspenseful and exciting to have critical hits be a quasi-separate die roll. This allows the excitement of the first combat roll (do I hit?), the excitement of possibly making a critical hit (do I crit?), and finally, how much did I beat the snot out of him?

The current game mechanics for critical hits is fairly straightforward and easy - never had a problem with neophytes learning them.

Again, faster doesn't mean better.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that anything that makes a game better cannot be written in any version of D&D, as it totally relies on the people playing the game - not the game mechanics.


*****
I'm going to miss the confirmation roll, but I got over rolling each round for initiative, so, meh.

However, I don't like the critical = max damage only. That's pretty sad, I could roll lousy to hit but still roll max damage without a critical anyways. I'd rather that a critical was an extra +1d6 or somesuch, with the x2, x3, and x4 modifiers replaced with +1d6, +2d6 and +3d6 respectively. Ah, come to think about it, rolling a critical and then following your 2d6 roll for damage up with a 2 sucks. Getting max + d6s sounds like the way to go...

On the other hand, if wizards are rolling handfuls of dice for attacks (like say, fireball), max damage on a critical isn't bad - but it would once again gimp the martial classes. Of course, they have said the wizard won't be rolling handfuls of dice, so we'll see how all this plays out.
@Logan Bonner:

you mentioned in your Design & Development article that you're looking forward to reading comments from people who liked the confirmation roll -- I am one of them, and here's why: they made crits feel truly special, because every "threat" was not a automatically guaranteed crit. For example, it seems that "minion"-level monsters can only hit high-level PCs with crits, which means that an average of one in twenty will not only hit your character but also inflict *maximum* damage. So, a 1st-level goblin cannot scratch you with its short sword anymore for 1 point? It feels a bit comical to me -- not to mention that like others have already pointed out, you can always roll maximum damage "naturally", so crits don't even feel that special anymore. And if one of the "design goals" in 4E was to make PCs rely *less* on magic items, why give crit-related abilities to magical weapons that would function without them? For some weird reason, I have believed that magical weapons in 4E don't have any "to hit" bonus, adding the "plusses" to damage only -- why not do the same with these "special abilities"? I mean, +6 Frost Damage (on a crit) would be a significant amount and could also impart some sort of "Freezing"-effect on the target.

Yet you're correct that sometimes a single crit could turn the flow of battle, sometimes even taking out a PC or a monster with a single hit. Even so, I think that crits *should* be unpredictable and dangerous, and they *should*, occasionally, be also lethal. For one, it's realistic (and I like to have at least *some* sort of realism in D&D) in combat -- even a low-level PC should be able to take down an ogre or even a giant with a single hit, no matter how small that chance *actually* is. And I also like that when I'm fighting a horde of goblins, I don't suffer at least one automatical crit (and potentially "other effects" if all of them have levels in a "Heroic" Class) every round. On the other hand, I *could* be argued that monsters and PCs with high AC (Defenses) can only be hit by seeking a "vulnerable" spot and hence it'd be logical that every hit by low-level PCs against Dragons, for example, would be a crit.

Yet all in all, in my opinion confirmation rolls make the system more unpredictable but more fun and exciting -- even when you rolled badly for damage. That's the way I see it both as a DM and player. You see, most of the time crits in 3E favoured the PCs -- after all, they had more Feats and Buffs at their disposal than most monsters or solitary NPCs. This was even more emphasized in 3.0 -- you could quite easily have a crit range of 12-20 or even less and build characters who could hit for 100+ points of damage with a crit or a right combination of Templates, Spells, Prestige Classes and Feats. 3.5 Edition did away with some of that, for example by prohibiting 'Keen'-effect stacking with Improved Critical. Besides, using Power Attack at high-levels ensured (more or less) that you didn't usually confirm a crit (at least against more dangerous monsters).

4E Crit System may result in faster game-play, but it also makes crits more boring and they'll have less impact on the battle. Is that a bad thing? Not automatically, but in my opinion it takes a lot of "tension" and excitement out of the game. As I suggested above, some sort of "special effects" (even without any Buffs, Buffs, Abilities, Talents, Feats, Weapon Tricks or Magic Items) would make them more interesting *if* every 20 is *not* an automatic Crit. Maybe you should overcome the 'Fort Defense' with your "threat" (or maybe it only affects 'Bloodied' beings?), or maybe there should be a confirmation roll on a natural 20? You see, in any case since these "passive" Defenses have replaced more "protagonist-friendly" Saving Throws, the system already exists. Speaking of this subject: has it ever occurred in playtesting that a single Area Spell or Breath Weapon has resulted in TPK when it has critted everyone? Because I see it being a more of a threat to everyone in the game than any "lucky" crit in battle, yet I'm not sure whether I have interpreted correctly that 4E spells, as attacks, must overcome every target's appropriate Defense or not? So, do you roll only once for a Spell/Breath Weapon and use that roll against every target, or do you roll separately for each target? In the former case, this would result in most spells cast by PCs either affecting everyone *or* affecting nobody -- I hope that this is not the case?

Having maximized dice also helps out when you have multitarget attacks. You'll roll an attack roll against each target, so maximized dice keep you from needing to roll a bunch of dice over and over -- you can just write your crit damage on your character sheet for quick reference.

I didn't just get this -- why not include a space for 'Crit' on the Character Sheet? You know, one "box" in the Weapon Statistics wouldn't be too much, and it would also remove the need to write down that damage each time you hit.
The problem with no confirmation roll is that it actually benefits things with weak attack bonuses.

Say you've got a kobold that hits only on a 19 or 20. With a confirmation roll, he will only be critting on 5% of his hits. With auto-crit, half his hits are criticals. And if he can only hit on a natural 20, then *all* his hits are criticals. So he either crits you or he misses. That's weird.

And to compensate, they basically watered down criticals. Just having a weapon do max damage, means that a critical with a longsword adds +3.5 damage on average, and a greatsword critical adds +5. That's not really all that impressive at all, and it's almost to the point where you wonder why you're bothering to make a big deal out of natural 20s anyway.
I think max damage +1d6 by default (nonmagical weapon) on a critical would be a good compromise, now that it's been mentioned.

Then an extra d6 on top of that for weapons with "high criticals" like what was described with the pick. And then extra d6s would stack with weapon enhancement bonus, like what seems to be proposed.

That would also sort of unify the damage increase mechanism with Sneak Attack or Skirmish bonuses.
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20080104

Thought's anyone?

I, for one, love it! I am implementing ASAP at my gametable.

Auto crit on a 20 was already widely assumed. I don't really like it, exactly for the other side of this. To keep it balanced with auto critical they had to tone the critical damage so that it isn't impressive any more.

You'll roll an attack roll against each target, so maximized dice keep you from needing to roll a bunch of dice over and over -- you can just write your crit damage on your character sheet for quick reference.

Amusing that he says that and then goes right on to talk about how there are abilities that let you stack additional dice of damage on top of the critical, negating that advantage.

The weapon stats are the interesting part of the article.
Weapon Prof. Damage Range Cost Weight Category Properties
War pick 2 d8 -- 15 gp 6 lb. Pick High crit, versatile

I would guess that Prof. is weapon proficiency, but how that is tied to 2 is unclear. It could mean any number of things.

Damage d8 looks like a small increase from the current heavy picks d6. That could happen to many weapons in 4e as HP are going up a lot and critical damage is going down. I notice also no mention of size related damage change. That suggests small and medium weapons do the same damage in 4e.

Type has gone away, category could be used as a replacement but I would guess that damage type has been removed instead. Category Pick probably relates to what fighter feats can be used with the weapon.

Properties High Crit means an extra 1d6 on damage. No idea what versatile means.

Jay
I do not see the change of crits as "speeding up combat" but removing a large amount of randomness to it. I don't know about you guys, but I do not like it when there are outlying random factors that completely swing the tide of battle. Less randomness = better for players. The 3E criticals heavily favor monsters, for one lucky crit by a player to a goblin isn't too much to get excited about, but one lucky cirt by a goblin to a player means that player may be re-rolling shortly. A single miss is not game-breaking, a single crit can be the difference between life or death for a player (under 3E rules).

In battle, I want to be able to count on the consistency of my attacks and those of my enemies. The direction they seem to be moving in 4E is toward decision making rather than luck. They do not want that random chance to end encounters.

Too many times as a DM I have had to fudge rolls to avoid one-shotting an unlucky caster due to the multiplication factor of critical hits (especially those wicked monsters with augmented criticals.), and too many times have I had my well-developed monsters get one-shotted by a lucky adventurer.

Also, for who argue for "realism", I wonder how massive spikes in combat effectiveness fit into a "realistic" vision. In battle, someone swings with around the same effectiveness pretty consistently (barring exhaustion, which does not fit into D&D combat), operating within a range based on their physical strength and dexterity. It is not realistic to think that a person gets massive, sudden spikes where they strike with remarkable power. If I were to take a stick and strike someone repeatedly, I wouldn't suddenly hit them twice the force by luck. I may land a lucky hit, striking them in a vulnerable spot, but it would not result in them being cleaved in half (pardon the hyperbole).

It has also been made clear that different weapons will have different abilities based on critical hits, as is mentioned in the article.
Don't be so quick to judge. For one thing, we haven't played the game, so we don't know how helpful or not helpful max damage will be. Secondly, I don't know how often you guys roll max damage, but I almost never roll max damage. Awesome to hit rolls, crap for damage. I' not saying that this negates the overall apparent unimpressiveness of it, but it's not as utterly useless as it sounds. Finally, everyone's ignoring the fact that weapons will have properties that add damage on critical hits, and we know clerics will get special effects from their critical hits, meaning that it is highly likely that every other class will get something like that.

Also, the designers have already said that fireball doesn't do 1d6 per level anymore (I don't remember where, so I can't cite it), meaning that this may not gimp the martial classes nearly as much as you think.
I like the crit rules. natural 20 = max damage. Simple, elegant and possibly yoinked if I ever run D&D again before 4e.

As to the prof. of 2. My thought is this. Classes get a certain number of proficiency slots, rogues maybe only get 6, while fighters get 20. These are points to spend on learning weapons. The more points you spend let you be proficient in the weapon, and if your a fighter you get a basic maneuver. Like someone said certain weapons require more to learn, spiked chain being 4, dagger or spear maybe being 1.

The other option is this: The number of proficiency number is only for fighters, and it is the number of maneuvers you start with using that weapon. You might get a feat that lets you learn a number of a number of additional maneuvers, or a new become proficient in a new weapon. The higher this number the more maneuvers you can learn for the weapon. That makes so me weapons, we'll say for simplicity a longsword, more common because they have more maneuvers. Other weapons, while having lower maneuvers initially, offer other advantages. Versatile could also mean that it can be used as a tool, instead of just a weapon. A war pick could also be used while climbing a mountain possibly.

Just a few thoughts there. I'm kinda hoping something along the second idea really.

As to how beneficial getting max damage may be, if there is any kind of condition track similar to SWSE, getting max damage would be a very big boon.
The group I DM has been playing with the varient rule of no confirmation roll for 4 years now. Every group I've played in ever has ignored the confirmation rule. I'm suprised more people don't.

That said the occasional crit against low level PC's can be a source of fudge. I'm glad to see they're reducing crit letdown and damage spikes that can lead to PC death. However, keeping a crit within a weapons normal damage range seems like overkill. Unless magic weapons come standard with crit damage boost I'll probably be making up some new house rules.

Many people have posted discussing crit ranges in reference to this rules change. I'll admit, with 3x and 4x crits in 3.5 expanding crit ranges is insane, however now that crit damage doesn't exceed normal possible damage I'd be disapointed if we didn't see something relating to crit range poping up.

With magic items not being required any more I'm curious if the +1 may now mean a bonus to crit threat range, or if it's where that extra 1d6 came from in the example.
It seems characters who do crit will lose an average crit damage of number of dice + damage modifier. It doesn't matter how big the dice are; the loss is the same. Of course, that's not counting the high crit weapons or the fact that characters will crit slightly more often.

While nothing about this seems too unbalanced, what's the point of having a crit now if you aren't crit-specialized? You might as well make it so that no one can crit unless they have a crit-specialized weapon or ability. If you are going to simplify something, then remove it altogether where it has become meaningless.
Looking at this another way, they seriously amped the critical hit range of non-magical shuriken (granting that their damage stays at 1d2):

If a player needs a 14+ to hit and automatically does max damage on a 20, that gives us a (1 + (6/2))*5 = 20% chance of max damage. In 3.5, this would equate to a threat range of 17-20 with automatic threat confirmation.



While I expect (and hope) there will be many feats/abilities/enchantments that come into play on a 20, this new incarnation has sucked the excitement out of critical hits (I can no longer bring myself to capitalize the term).
While only max damage is a bit 'un-flashy' I do think putting a good cap on damage multipliers is very important.

Streamlined combat is always good, which is why even White Wolf is moving to DVs and less opposed rolling.

An idea to make critical 'neat but not over powered' would be to only allow the magical damage bonus of your weapon to be doubled. Still a flat number and makes magic weapons important without being overkill.
Versatile

Personally right now I think that it sounds like a weapon that can be used as an off hand weapon when dual wielding without penalty.

Just a thought.
Versatile

Personally right now I think that it sounds like a weapon that can be used as an off hand weapon when dual wielding without penalty.

Just a thought.

My guess is that versatile means can be used as either a one or two-handed weapon.
The thing with damage multipliers on crits is that they would be insane since characters gain +1/2 character level on damage...

Granted, the excitement of the crit is lesser, but I'll reserve judgement until I see more about how the game works.
The thing with damage multipliers on crits is that they would be insane since characters gain +1/2 character level on damage...

Has THIS been confirmed? I know it's likely, and was even perhaps hinted at in the Paladin Smites article, but still...
At worst, the a crit under 3.5 rules is like a single extra attack. That's nothing more than an attack of opportunity would get you. That's not unreasonable, nor is it wildly unpredictable. It only stacks up to insane amounts when a character crits too often, such as when they get multiple crits in a round, or when they crit a multiple-dice attack.

The proposed 4e system allows a character to crit even more often. And, from previous info, it allows spellcasters to crit their spells, which have traditionally tended to involve multiple-dice more often. In other words, taking away the damage modifier is a bandage for what is actually a worse system.

Maybe they should make crits a per-encounter opportunity. As in, the first 20 you roll, that's your crit for the encounter. (Crit-specialized characters may have abilities that give them multiple crit-opportunities per encounter.)
I kind of like max damage on a crit. Just tonight during a game someone got a crit and did less damage than they do on average because of poor rolls. How "realistic" is a crit system where someone can hit someone in a vital spot and do less than on their normal attack the previous round? True, sometimes you'll roll max damage on a normal hit and have an effect equal to a crit, but that doesn't take into account special procs that we know will be there.

I also like how this makes your weapon die more important. You can stack so much bonus damage in 3.5 that the actual die you roll for the weapon is irrelevant. This creates the possibility that a crit specialist might go for a 1d10 as opposed to a 1d6+2, even though the average damage is the same and the 1d6+2 is more reliable on normal hits.
My only hope is that rogues and characters who wield daggers and other small weapons have ample amounts of abilities which trigger on critical hits; cause critting for 4+str damage would feel very wimpy to me.

Poe's Law is alive and well.

One of the things to hinge on this is weapons and magic will have other effects on a critted target. Like stunning, hamstringing, sickening, weakening, knockback or trip. Thats just speculation but i think it will do that, and it'd be simple and offer great customization to character
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