Fumbles/critical failure

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I was just wondering if any of you make use of botch's in your games,if so what is your method of applying it.I do,if a player rolls a 1 I have him make a confirmation roll to determine whether or not he fumbles.I then make a judgement on what kind of error is a likely possibility in the circumstance(provoking an OA is common).I had friends who used extensive tables to determine such things...everything from drop weapon to hit ally/self.I think the possibility of screwing up in outstanding fashion adds a little realism and panache' :D ...If you use a table please post it.I'm also interested in approaches more inventive than my own,Thanx
Both of my DMs use it and I hate it. Nothing kills the atmosphere like people regularly dropping their weapons/slipping and falling on their bum/making a mess in their pants.

They think it's hilarious. I think it makes things a bit extra silly. We get enough hilariousness from the players playing silly characters, but now our BBEGs occasionally perform slapstick routines because of critical failure.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
Everyone in my groups is 30+, and we've all played for a while and played with critical misses. And when we all sat down to play in these games, none of the players wanted critical misses in the game, and I'm fine with that too. Missing with a daily is kind of critical enough.

But if you wanted one, I'd do something like roll a d20.
1-10, you slip and grant CA until next turn
10-15, you drop your weapon or are forced to move in a random direction d4 spaces
15-19, something popped, you're at a -2 to atk, -2 def, slowed ... one of those until end of encounter (maybe randomly pick a body part w/ a d10, and that's were you apply the injury, don't injure the same place twice in one encounter or it gets prohibitive)
20, you either srike an ally or yourself w/ basic atk dmg, or if that isn't feasible, you have the penalty above for like a week of game time
I don't use it for comic relief mind you...extra grit.It's funny when the monsters fumble,but the pc's,not so much.But in combat people sometimes make bad mistakes,get weapons knocked out of there hands,slip on blood,trip,overextend themselves....friendly fire.I try to be fair but sometimes "S**t Happens".I allow a recovery roll(fumble confirmation).
realistic? you seriously think it's realistic that there is a 5% chance on any given attack that it just causes you to trip and fall?

were you a novice sure. i can see myself attempting martial arts and falling on my arse every so often, and pulling off a move flawlessly by pure luck... but we're talking about trained professionals here. i highly doubt 1 out of every 20 rounds fired by a soldier in a war causes his pants to fall or his gun to jam.

personally though? i have a hatred of such charts or houserules. i'll bite my tongue and let it pass if only because i trust the DM to not bone us too hard, especially since such rules effect the PCs much harder then the NPCs, but in my games... a "1" is a miss & a "20" a hit, regardless of AC. if you roll a 20 and it would normally hit, max out all damage, as per the rules. if you would miss even with a 20, roll damage as normal, as per the rules.
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
I don't use it for comic relief mind you...extra grit.It's funny when the monsters fumble,but the pc's,not so much.But in combat people sometimes make bad mistakes,get weapons knocked out of there hands,slip on blood,trip,overextend themselves....friendly fire.I try to be fair but sometimes "S**t Happens".I allow a recovery roll(fumble confirmation).

It adds "grit" and reality, yeah, but it also makes some players feel like they're getting hosed. When you already had some bad luck, no one wants more.
Don't use critical misses or fumbles. To suggest that a skilled practitioner of any martial skill would completely, utterly screw up once out of every twenty attempts is completely ludicrous from a realistic standpoint. From a game standpoint it does nothing to heighten dramatic tension, or really contribute to the scene unless you are going for a three stooges effect.
realistic? you seriously think it's realistic that there is a 5% chance on any given attack that it just causes you to trip and fall?

were you a novice sure. i can see myself attempting martial arts and falling on my arse every so often, and pulling off a move flawlessly by pure luck... but we're talking about trained professionals here. i highly doubt 1 out of every 20 rounds fired by a soldier in a war causes his pants to fall or his gun to jam.

Oh, it was so much better in 3.5, because as you get more experienced, you had a higher chance to fumble because of iterative attacks. A hardened warrior would actually throw his weapon or randomly hit his allys MORE often than a commoner with a sword.

personally though? i have a hatred of such charts or houserules. i'll bite my tongue and let it pass if only because i trust the DM to not bone us too hard, especially since such rules effect the PCs much harder then the NPCs, but in my games... a "1" is a miss & a "20" a hit, regardless of AC. if you roll a 20 and it would normally hit, max out all damage, as per the rules. if you would miss even with a 20, roll damage as normal, as per the rules.

Think about this: People often want to impliment fumbles as a "balance" of Crits. They think that there should be something terrible happening to balance out the great thing happening.

However, doing the math, the auto miss that comes with a 1 ALREADY balances the extra damage of a crit. It's like:

A normal hit is 1D.
A Crit is 2D (maximizing damage makes it effectivly twice teh average, in most cases).
A roll of 1 (a fumble) is 0D (No hit).

(2D+0D)/2 = 1D, or in other words, a normal hit.

So to sum up, auto missing already IS a fumble. You don't need to have guys lopping off their own arms to "balance" critical hits (unless you use a Crit Chart or called shots, in which case your game is already messed up, so go wild!)

But to the OP, if you SERIOUSLY want to impliment an additional fumble effect:

1) Keep it minor. Provoking OA might be alright, but only if ONE enemy gets to do it, not all of them. That would be way too painful.

2) Realize that it is not more "realistic". Make the descision entirely because you think it will improve your enjoyment of the game, not because you believe it to be more "gritty". 5% chances of being a moron is not realistic. Humans are stupid, but not THAT stupid.

3) Realize it is not fair or balanced in any way. As I demonstrated, a roll of nat 1 is already a fumble. Adding mroe will make combat significantly more prone to "Aww, a random penalty happened!". As well, it effects PCs more than enemies because the enemies are only there for one battle. The PCs have to live with those effects for entire adventures.

4) If you players decide they don't like them, remove them IMMEDIATLY. It doesn't matter if you think they make the game have more "grit", if it isn't fun for the players, it isn't worth having.
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Here's the houserule I use: If someone rolls a 1 on an attack roll, they must roll the d20 again. On 2-19, nothing happens. On a 1, something bad happens--droppped weapon, stab self, or something situational. But on a 20, they drop the weapon and catch it at it falls, putting themselves in a position for a quick attack while they recover their balance. In other words, they get to make a second attack roll. In all my years, I've never had anyone get the 1 on that second attack roll, but 20s happen all the time--I've even had crits come from the extra attack--so my players like the houserule. It adds a sense of tension and hope.
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Oh, it was so much better in 3.5, because as you get more experienced, you had a higher chance to fumble because of iterative attacks. A hardened warrior would actually throw his weapon or randomly hit his allys MORE often than a commoner with a sword.

So 4e fixed fumbles, too? ;) :P

Kidding aside, fumbles are just a bad idea. As has been said, missing is a bad enough penalty on it's own. Combat comes down to who hits who more often. Looking at it this way, a miss puts you behind the guy that's trying to kill you. Falling behind in a life or death battle is bad enough, IMO. Why add humiliation or an extra penalty? There are a lot of combats in 4e that see the PCs on the (way) short end of the HP stick, too. Missing can be even worse now than ever before. Piling it on with a fumble chance is, well, piling it on. No need for that, IMO. But, if your group digs it, go for it. I'd not play that way myself, but what the hell do I know? :D
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

When I used to DM 3.5, I would implement fumbles and such rules. I'd say it were more guidelines depending on situation but generally I did the following:

If you roll a 1 on an attack roll, you make another roll.
1: You do something awesomely bad (like break your bow or throw your sword into a close ally).
2-5: You do something pretty bad (like strike an ally or drop your weapon).
5-10: You do something bad (like hit an ally for half damage or stumble randomly).
11+: You just miss.

The exact actions can vary depending on situation. (Striking an ally is worse if he's low on HP, but stumbling can be bad on a bridge.)

And I used the situation to dictate what would happen. For example, if someone was firing into melee then fumbled, their odds of hitting an ally were extremely high. If they were on a bridge and fumbled, they might be prone or even hanging off of the bridge. If they charged and fumbled, they might just completely miss and wind up on their face.

Yes, I know people will say its too harsh, but I found that it made memorable fights and my players seemed to enjoy it. It also made people rethink doing stupid things that would normally be sucessful (shooting into combat was a favorite). We still talk about a battle that went south really fast because the ranger broke his bow and the fighter dropped his sword. It may annoy players who don't like unexpected actions, but my group thought it was good fun.

Currently, I'm a PC in a 4 campaign. The DM uses the 1 misses (and that's it) rule. Last session, another player actually commented about how he misses the critical fumbles and refered to the battle with the broken bow.

Anyway, good luck!
Don't use critical misses or fumbles. To suggest that a skilled practitioner of any martial skill would completely, utterly screw up once out of every twenty attempts is completely ludicrous from a realistic standpoint. From a game standpoint it does nothing to heighten dramatic tension, or really contribute to the scene unless you are going for a three stooges effect.

While I don't think critical misses are a good addition to the GAME, this is the second person I've seen say this, and I don't think it bears out. In real fighting, even experts wind up out of position all the time. It might not be disastrous, but you see a slip or two in almost every MMA fight, and those guys are as close to masters of the martial arts as you're going to find. Is 1 in 20 accurate? Maybe it's a little high, but people are people, even the masters make mistakes or just have bad breaks. In UFC champion Andersen Silva's las fight, for example, his opponent blew a knee out of nowhere in a completely non-contact move, that's an example of a worst-case-scenario critical fumble. Marines sometimes lay down friendly fire, even if it usually doesn't actually hit other marines (although it happens...). Every Jackie Chan movie has a reel of his critical fumbles during the credits.

Even experts blow it, they just recover before it kills them.
Perhaps you guys are right.I have been playing in games with fumbles since I started D&D(the little red books).I was taught them by the neighborhood grognards,and have gone hence with the torch ever since.5% is too much..BUT,that's why I use confirmation.The more experienced a PC is the less likely to fumble.It CAN get quite arbitrary with relative AC and wotnot..I might provide a static target # vs. botch and that we be stable in regards to advancement.Or after the first roll a roll of 1-5 could botch,and that drops the % to about 1.2% .How does that seem? I have every intention of continuing to use them(old habits...I know) but,I want to be as fair as possible to my players.Thanx for the feedback...I didn't realise how many people hated botches(kind of a no brainer I guess LOL).
Perhaps you guys are right.I have been playing in games with fumbles since I started D&D(the little red books).I was taught them by the neighborhood grognards,and have gone hence with the torch ever since.5% is too much..BUT,that's why I use confirmation.The more experienced a PC is the less likely to fumble.It CAN get quite arbitrary with relative AC and wotnot..I might provide a static target # vs. botch and that we be stable in regards to advancement.Or after the first roll a roll of 1-5 could botch,and that drops the % to about 1.2% .How does that seem? I have every intention of continuing to use them(old habits...I know) but,I want to be as fair as possible to my players.Thanx for the feedback...I didn't realise how many people hated botches(kind of a no brainer I guess LOL).

Yeah, people tend to hate getting kicked when they're down.
While I don't think critical misses are a good addition to the GAME, this is the second person I've seen say this, and I don't think it bears out. In real fighting, even experts wind up out of position all the time. It might not be disastrous, but you see a slip or two in almost every MMA fight, and those guys are as close to masters of the martial arts as you're going to find. Is 1 in 20 accurate? Maybe it's a little high, but people are people, even the masters make mistakes or just have bad breaks. In UFC champion Andersen Silva's las fight, for example, his opponent blew a knee out of nowhere in a completely non-contact move, that's an example of a worst-case-scenario critical fumble. Marines sometimes lay down friendly fire, even if it usually doesn't actually hit other marines (although it happens...). Every Jackie Chan movie has a reel of his critical fumbles during the credits.

Even experts blow it, they just recover before it kills them.

Yes mistakes happen, mistakes represented mostly in game mechanically by a miss. Try like 1 in 20 is a lot high. I am not going to get into it as regards the HTH, I have vast experience and have been in numerous fights, I have never had what I would consider a critical fumble. Misses sure, but to the point that I am seriously disadvantaged, hurt myself seriously, or hit the wrong person, never. Lastly MMA really is not all that. Originally it was pretty close to the real thing, but these days there are too many rules, that don't reflect a real fight. Grappling is great until you figure out that the guy who jumped you has friends. I have been watching UFC for years and have yet to see anyone with real hitting skills. Regardless slipping happens, positioning is never perfect, these are everyday things in fighting. All of this minor stuff is represented in the randomness of the dice.

Jackie Chan movies have a reel of critical fumbles because he is not fighting, he is dancing in a choreographed fight scene, and running stunts usually involving vehicles with minimal safety gear.
Yeah, people tend to hate getting kicked when they're down.

no they just hate kicking themselves when they're down ;) :P
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"All right, I've been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back. GET MAD! I DON'T WANT YOUR **** LEMONS! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THESE?! DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Make life RUE the day it thought it could give CAVE JOHNSON LEMONS! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'M THE MAN WHO'S GONNA BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that's gonna BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!" -Cave Johnson, Portal 2
Thanks,McThorin.I really do use it as a dramatic tool though,I'm not just out to screw the PCs.How many times in film do we see the hero trip and fall,and his weapon or magic Item or whatever goes sliding across the floor.He then has to negotiate danger to get to it,or an ally picks it up and throws it to him at a crucial moment etc...
Since we are talking about house rules anyway....I use another one -Fate Points-it's carried over from Warhammer fantasy.It's basically a get out of death free card.It represents the fact that the PC's are destined for something more.If at any point a character is dying he/she may spend a fate point and I as DM must arbitrate a reason for that character to survive with life and limb.A mortal cut hits the side of the helmet KO'ing him instead,or falling of the mountainside he lands in a Roc nest etc...each player starts w/ one pnt.So you see...I do have some mercy.
Yes mistakes happen, mistakes represented mostly in game mechanically by a miss. Try like 1 in 20 is a lot high. I am not going to get into it as regards the HTH, I have vast experience and have been in numerous fights, I have never had what I would consider a critical fumble. Misses sure, but to the point that I am seriously disadvantaged, hurt myself seriously, or hit the wrong person, never. Lastly MMA really is not all that. Originally it was pretty close to the real thing, but these days there are too many rules, that don't reflect a real fight. Grappling is great until you figure out that the guy who jumped you has friends. I have been watching UFC for years and have yet to see anyone with real hitting skills. Regardless slipping happens, positioning is never perfect, these are everyday things in fighting. All of this minor stuff is represented in the randomness of the dice.

Jackie Chan movies have a reel of critical fumbles because he is not fighting, he is dancing in a choreographed fight scene, and running stunts usually involving vehicles with minimal safety gear.

But how often have you, in all these fights, lunged to punch someone and missed and stumbled where now you're back's open, or slipped and fell when you didn't mean to? Because those are the kind of things that would grant a moment of CA (which is the PHB's suggestion for critcal fumbles). 1 in 20 sounds about right for that. if you're not trainded, it's probably more like 1 in 10.

Hitting an ally, if you figure it happens only after your roll a one followed by a 20, has odds of something like 1 in 400. Could you slip and hit you buddy once over the course of like 50 fights (figure 8 rnds/encounter)? Yeah, I'd believe that, even from an expert. Most soldiers won't see 50 serious firefights in a whole war.

And you can say MMA has a lot of rules, but are you arguing that these guys who spend their whole lives training to get in a one-on-one fight aren't the equivalent of martial artist PCs? I think an MMA fighter, or your average Navy Seal for a more broadly rounded warrior, is a pretty good PC warrior analog. These are guys spending their lives training to fight.

It's too easy to throw around words like "master" and mean it as "perfect." Even among the best, perfection even for a day is nearly impossible, so I don't think the critical miss concept is unrealistic. It's just unfun.
How many times in film do we see the hero trip and fall,and his weapon or magic Item or whatever goes sliding across the floor.

Generally only once for the entire cast (excluding joke characters) over the course of the entire series of movies.
The Bruce Campbell of D&D.
The DMG tells why critical misses are a bad idea, especially for casters who attack several times with a power.

I would suggest only if the first attack/skill/ability roll in your turn is a 1, you roll again on a d20

1 You fall prone at the end of your current action
2 You grant combat advantage until the beginning of your next turn
3 You look a little silly but nothing else happens
4+ Nothing special.

Ceterum censeo capsum rubeum esse delendam

Thanks,McThorin.I really do use it as a dramatic tool though,I'm not just out to screw the PCs.How many times in film do we see the hero trip and fall,and his weapon or magic Item or whatever goes sliding across the floor.He then has to negotiate danger to get to it,or an ally picks it up and throws it to him at a crucial moment etc...
Since we are talking about house rules anyway....I use another one -Fate Points-it's carried over from Warhammer fantasy.It's basically a get out of death free card.It represents the fact that the PC's are destined for something more.If at any point a character is dying he/she may spend a fate point and I as DM must arbitrate a reason for that character to survive with life and limb.A mortal cut hits the side of the helmet KO'ing him instead,or falling of the mountainside he lands in a Roc nest etc...each player starts w/ one pnt.So you see...I do have some mercy.

I think they're a good idea, but with how easy it is to revive a knocked out PC, I'm not sure they're necessary. If at least one PC isn't knocked out, I don't think it was a very hard fight.

In terms of a fate point or Force Point (Star Wars) type of mechanic, I think 4E's action points work really well.
My own personal anecdote about critical misses (specifically, with random effects), and why I hate them:

A few years ago, I played in a 3.5 campaign where the DM (a great guy, generally) decided to included his own homemade critical hit and miss charts. Whenever you made a critical hit or miss, a random effect happened. He also removed the confirmation roll, so you had a 10% chance of critting one way or the other.

This led to really annoying situations in combat, such as:

* One player falling over, hitting his head, and being unconcious for d6 rounds (which ended up being the entirety of the fight).
* Same fight, one of us hamstrung the big guy, giving him Dex. attribute damage, but no hitpoint damage. (As an aside, one of the reasons I like 4E is that you generally do damage when you hit someone, as well as a condition).
* A giant hell-hound being instantly killed in a single shot from an untrained sorcerer taking a shot with a crossbow (only because he was out of magic missiles at the time).
* The cleric missed a wolf, and hit the friendly no-name NPC beside him for triple damage, instantly killing him.
* And the most disappointing: A fairly tough NPC, who was supposed to be a tough mid-boss fight, hitting himself with own flail only two rounds into the combat, for double (or was it triple?) damage, clobbering himself, leaving us to merely mop up.

Those are just the ones that I can remember off the top of my head. In not one of these situations did we, the players, think "Cool!". We may have laughed sometimes, sure, but we all facepalmed at how frustrating the charts were. At least twice, as above, the charts made hard combats into trivial non-issues, which really frustrated the DM, but he refused to give up on them.

So, anyways, my suggestion concerning critical misses: DON'T.
I'll chime in here with another vote against them. In one battle with a critical fumble table I had my character's chainmail armor, a relic of Ares himself, "slip a buckle and fall off." Say what? Later, that same combat, the monk in the party critically failed and hit himself in the head. For 4x the normal damage, maximized. Not cool. Certainly not real.

In real combat, if you lunge and leave yourself wide open, you aren't a trained profesional, you're an amature hack playing at being a fighter. In real close combat, it's a game of inches, and a mistake tends to leave a miniscule opening, not some huge easily exploitable opening.
I don't use it for comic relief mind you...extra grit.It's funny when the monsters fumble,but the pc's,not so much.But in combat people sometimes make bad mistakes,get weapons knocked out of there hands,slip on blood,trip,overextend themselves....friendly fire.I try to be fair but sometimes "S**t Happens".I allow a recovery roll(fumble confirmation).

I agree. The group I play with has it. If someone rolls a 1, they get a dex check to get an 11 or higher, if they get it, they recover. If they miss it, they have a minor mishap from a chart that the DM has. If the result is a second 1, then it's a major mishap.

In my games, a 1 is automatically a fumble, and I'll determine what happend depending on what is happening at the moment of the fumble. A second 1 will make it worse, a third 1 even worse, and so on.
I'll chime in here with another vote against them. In one battle with a critical fumble table I had my character's chainmail armor, a relic of Ares himself, "slip a buckle and fall off." Say what? Later, that same combat, the monk in the party critically failed and hit himself in the head. For 4x the normal damage, maximized. Not cool. Certainly not real.

Well, that's just stupid. The mishaps need to make sense, or else they detract from the game.
Well, that's just stupid. The mishaps need to make sense, or else they detract from the game.

You know, there's really two things being argued here:

1. Are critical fumbles a good idea at all.
2. How stupidly horrific can critical fumbles be, and isn't that really, really stupid.

Just because you allow critical fumbles and the possibility of hitting an ally, doesn't mean it has to be for 5x kamehameha damage every time someone roles a 1.
Still allinall, though, players don't seem to like 'em, even when they think they're going to.
You know, there's really two things being argued here:

1. Are critical fumbles a good idea at all.
2. How stupidly horrific can critical fumbles be, and isn't that really, really stupid.

Just because you allow critical fumbles and the possibility of hitting an ally, doesn't mean it has to be for 5x kamehameha damage every time someone roles a 1.
Still allinall, though, players don't seem to like 'em, even when they think they're going to.

You're speaking for a lot people you have no right to speak for with that statement. I know of MANY players who DO like them. If you revise your statement to be "Still allinall, though, SOME players don't seem to like 'em....", then it would be a correct statement.

I do agree, though, that it doesn't have to always be hit ally for some huge amount of damage. That should be reserved for situations where 1) it makes sense and 2) where the person has rolled 2 or more 1's in succession. Basically, it should almost never happen.
I've always been fascinated by the fumble tables that make hitting an ally - or yourself - a possibilty because of the "realism" or "grit" these silly ideas add. How is shooting yourself with a longbow anything but comic? What about impaling yourself with a 6' long spear (somehow)? This is just nonsense. It doesn't make the game grittier at all. It makes it silly. And so does hitting an ally. That is certainly a possibility in close-quarter combat with blades and arrows a plenty flyin' around, but let me ask this question: If every 20 or so attacks, your "pal" hits you instead of the enemy, why in god's name are you still adventuring with this inept (or malicious) fool? After all that training, he still can't tell who he should be stabbing. What idiot would willingly travel with "friends" like that? None. So, if you like fumbles for "realism" or "grit", you need to take another look at your decision. If, however, you play for comedy, you're all good.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

First of all, you do not need to have explicit critical fumble tables in order to describe something cinematic. If say a monster attacks and misses and then the PC attacks and crits, you can just describe the action as the the monster misses and is off balance and you take advantage of the situation an drive your strike home. Just pretend a critical fumble after a miss as pretty much like a critical fumble followed by a normal hit on the counter attack. It's faster and allows for the DM to use his creativity rather than having to consult a chart and use what's there.

If you have a critical fumble chart that includes the following: falls down, loses weapon, grants combat advantage, is hobbled (slowed), cannot move. Well, there are actually powers and actions that actually do these things. Why not just have the player or monster use powers and actions that actually try to impose these conditions? If you want to knock someone down, use Spinning Sweep. If you want to disarm the target, use Exorcism of Steel. Do your players want to just attack and hope that something cool randomly happens when your opponent fumbles, or do your players want to actually do something specific that is cool? I think players will have more fun if they have control of the effect they impose. 4E has many powers and actions that can do cool things on purpose. Even 3E had them as well.

As someone already mentioned, critical fumbles penalises players who use powers and actions that attack multiple targets. These powers and actions are really cool. Critical fumbles end up penalising players for using cool powers because they now get a higher chance for something uncool to happen to them when they use a really cool power.

Here's my experience with using critical fumbles:

At first, they were cool. It's funny that when the orc attacks me, fumbles, bite's his tounge (this was on the chart) and takes damage himself. It's funny when I make an attack and skip and fall on my butt.

Then after a while, the novelty wears off. Playing an adventure with a broken hand or broken bow is just not fun. All you're doing is trying to stay alive and not really accomplishing anything.

After realising how unfun this is, I went to try to create a new and improved critical fumble system that will put the fun back in. I spent hours doing the analysis and trying to balance things amoungst all type of combattants (ranges, melee, casters, single target attacks, multi-target attacks).

In the end, I made a breakthrough. :lightbulb My conclusion was that critical fumbles suck. When I started playing without critical fumbles, no one complained. When a player rolls a 1 and I tell them there is no critical fumble, they have a big sigh of releaf. They're glad that their weapon doesn't break or is not lost. We continue and everybody has fun without the bitter memories of those critical fumbles. The lack of critical fumbles do not make the games I played in less fun.

If your players enjoy or want to play with critical fumbles, go ahead. Then try a few games without them and see which people prefer.
<\ \>tuntman
I've always been fascinated by the fumble tables that make hitting an ally - or yourself - a possibilty because of the "realism" or "grit" these silly ideas add. How is shooting yourself with a crossbow anything but comic?

It isn't, but it is possible to cut your leg or foot. People slip in combat. Arms get hit in mid swing by limbs and other things, cause swings to go wild. It DOES happen, both in RL and in fantasy games with these sorts of house rules. It just shouldn't happen often, and only with a weapon that makes sense.

If every 20 or so attacks, your "pal" hits you instead of the enemy, why in god's name are you still adventuring with this inept (or malicious) fool?

Which is why it shouldn't be possible hit yourself or an ally unless you roll 2 or more 1's in a row. That and there should be several effects for 2 or more 1's, and most of them should not be hitting yourself or an ally.
I've never used critical fumbles before, through the whole run of 3.0/3.5 (other than descriptions being more detailed - and negative - than normal) - no mechanical element to them.

I'm considering it with 4th though, simply because of the "Combat Advantage" condition thing. Having a 1 on an attack simply grant Combat Advantage to foes until the start of your next turn seems like enough random to be fun, without being completely disruptive. *shrugs*
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A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
To further expand on my previous post, if you really, really, really want to add a critical fumble into the game, there's a small discussion of an optional rule in the "House Rules" section of the DMG. I can't remember they're exact rule, but I'd probably rule something like this:

If you roll a '1' on an attack roll, and would miss anyways (so, no critical misses if your bonus is high enough to always exceed the target's defence no matter what you roll), then you grant combat advantage to the target of your attack (and ONLY to the target of your attack) until the beginning of your next turn. The simplest way to handle area powers is that the targets you roll a '1' against (since you make an attack roll for each target) are the ones that get the combat advantage (though I know that's not completely balanced).

There, nice and simple. Basically, you screw up badly and give your target an opening which he can choose to abuse or not. This way there aren't any stupid effects that happen for no apparent reason.
I'm considering it with 4th though, simply because of the "Combat Advantage" condition thing. Having a 1 on an attack simply grant Combat Advantage to foes until the start of your next turn seems like enough random to be fun, without being completely disruptive. *shrugs*

Sneak Attack.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
You're speaking for a lot people you have no right to speak for with that statement. I know of MANY players who DO like them. If you revise your statement to be "Still allinall, though, SOME players don't seem to like 'em....", then it would be a correct statement.

I do agree, though, that it doesn't have to always be hit ally for some huge amount of damage. That should be reserved for situations where 1) it makes sense and 2) where the person has rolled 2 or more 1's in succession. Basically, it should almost never happen.

You're overlooking the word "seem" and pretending I said "all."

But really, you're just trying to pull something out of context to start a fight.
It isn't, but it is possible to cut your leg or foot. People slip in combat. Arms get hit in mid swing by limbs and other things, cause swings to go wild. It DOES happen, both in RL and in fantasy games with these sorts of house rules. It just shouldn't happen often, and only with a weapon that makes sense.

That requires quite a bit more depth than most are willing to include when creating these charts. And it begs the question: If it's so uncommon and there are so many variables involved, why bother creating rules for these admitted exceptions in the first place? IMO, hitting = good and missing = bad is about all ya' need.

Which is why it shouldn't be possible hit yourself or an ally unless you roll 2 or more 1's in a row. That and there should be several effects for 2 or more 1's, and most of them should not be hitting yourself or an ally.

Again, if it's supposed to be such an extremely rare happening, why bother with it at all? And, to balance it out, shouldn't we also create charts that work with all of the good flukes that can come up in combat, too? So on, let's say, 2 20s the baddy (or PC) is instantly slain. That happens in combat, no? Or on a 20 and then a 19, they lose a limb. People lose arms and legs all the time in combat. Maybe a 20 backed by an 18 is a concussion giving the player a -2 attack and all defenses until the next day. We don't bother with that stuff, though. So why make a fumble chart?
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[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

cause people in general are prone to failing, in more ways then just combat. yet strangely enough combat is the only place where the "1" is a horrible mishap.

what about when talking with an NPC, shouldn't there be a critial fumble chart for social faux-pas?

and what about walking... if real life sets a precedence, i can assure you that i crit fumble walking often... much to the amusement/dismay to those around me.

so i ask... why only the combat crit fumbles?
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Sneak Attack.

Ah, but that would be a feature, rather than a bug.
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
what about when talking with an NPC, shouldn't there be a critial fumble chart for social faux-pas?

Butler: "May I introduce you to Lord Allmighty?"

Lord: "Well met, fine sir!"

PC: *Rolls a 1* "I had sex with your mother."
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Butler: "May I introduce you to Lord Allmighty?"

Lord: "Well met, fine sir!"

PC: *Rolls a 1* "I had sex with your mother."

That's how we've played it for years.

:D

I thought that was the default?
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)
Butler: "May I introduce you to Lord Allmighty?"

Lord: "Well met, fine sir!"

PC: *Rolls a 1* "I had sex with your mother."

OK, perhaps i break my own advice, because I do do that. Diplomacy check = 1 = Oh REALLY?!!
You're overlooking the word "seem" and pretending I said "all."

But really, you're just trying to pull something out of context to start a fight.

Er, no. You very clearly did say that ALL players seem to..... Since you didn't qualify "players" with a number, and simply used "players", that encompasses all of them. You did say seems, but that doesn't limit the number of players that "seems to dislike.." You may not have intended to speak for ALL players, but you did type it. ::shrug::
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