Critical Hits Chart

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MinusInnocence
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Critical Hits Chart

I was reading a news article this morning about a guy who shot a lawn mower with its gas tank filled to the brim with three pounds of explosive material. He lost a leg.

Is there any interest in a series of charts to determine which part of the body a critical hit affects and how traumatic the injury is? I have a lot of experience with the Critical Hit and Critical Fumble decks produced by Paizo, but those only distinguish between the various kinds of weapons used. I am also thinking of drawing inspiration from the Called Shot optional rules in the Pathfinder sourcebook, [i]Ultimate Combat[/i], although I don't know how much of that stuff I would incorporate into this endeavor (maybe successfully executing a called shot would give the person who landed the crit some wiggle room in selecting his or her own result from the relevant chart).

Ultimately, this increases the randomness of crits, and a similar system for adjudicating what happens when you "botch" with a natural 1 would do the same. This inevitably affects PCs more than NPCs and monsters because the DM doesn't care how badly no-name orcs and goblins get mangled in a fight. There will always be more orcs and goblins. But the party's dwarven cleric only has two eyes, two years, etc. It would also necessarily mean breathing new life into the presently very sparse selection of [i]rejuvenation[/i]-related magic and other forms of healing. That, or a more robust market for magic and pseudo-magic options for prosthetics.

MinusInnocence
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I'm still working on this side project. The broad strokes are coming together very nicely, at least in terms of what I want the system to accomplish. It makes for far more grueling, consequential combats, and reinforces the idea that if you are not the subject of a critical hit, what damage to your hit point total represents is actually just a series of cuts, scrapes, bumps and close calls. When you drop into negatives, you were actually struck with a potentially life-threatening wound, although not necessarily fatal; that's what bleeding out represents. And a critical hit is actually a specific, physical blow. I don't know if everyone shares my conviction about that being what the hit point system represents, and those who disagree might find something like a critical hit chart or called shots to be troublesome.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Somehow I missed your first post on this, but now I'm watching this project with some interest, for a couple of reasons. First, I think that the regenerate spell is kind of pointless right now, because there are very few ways for a character to sustain injuries that would necessitate the regrowth of a body part. Most of the time, either you're dead or you are untouched. On the other hand I am not sure how I feel about the idea of losing body parts due to critical hits, because regenerate is such a high-level spell.

Second, I am still working (very slowly) on a D20 Steam system. I've already worked out some rules for artillery weapons. As a related matter, I worked out a mechanism to control the loss of limbs as a result of massive damage rather than critical hits (see https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/1545#comment-1545) for a draft). I approached the challenge this way because I wanted to make it possible for highly damaging attacks to remove limbs even if they weren't critical hits. I took this option in part because I designed artillery so that they can deliver area attacks, and in part because I wanted to make it so that going into battle against someone with a two-handed sword would be a good way to lose a limb.

This said, I'm interested to see how you'd go about basing a similar outcome upon critical hits instead of just massive damage.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
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I went back just now and re-read my original post. My comment about the party's dwarven cleric only having "two eyes, two years..." made me laugh. That's wildly ambitious, to think that anyone could survive in a typical game adventuring full-time for two years or longer. Well, actually, "survive" is a relative term. Someone like that may very well have been rapemurdered over and over again, but would almost certainly have reached 20th level or higher in the interim.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I dunno. I think that it's certainly reasonable to think that adventurers would take downtime in between their exploits. It hasn't worked out that way in Ancestral Burdens, but I'm actually planning that once the party in Cataclysm finishes off what's on their plate, there will be a break of at least a month or two of In Character time. They've been on a hayride through a nightmare, after all.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

NPCs take breaks. Heroes live out of their backpacks on the side of the road, slitting goblins' throat for every last XP.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Talanall wrote:
This said, I'm interested to see how you'd go about basing a similar outcome upon critical hits instead of just massive damage.
I'm just now coming back to this. Deactivating Facebook has allowed me to revisit a lot of ideas in the workshop (what I call my to-do list in Google Drive).

I really dig your massive damage limb loss rules. Your Fortitude DC to resist losing a body part is very generous and pretty much lines up with what I was thinking for the crit table. Especially when you start factoring in things like bleed damage and/or critical hit feats from a ruleset like [i]Pathfinder[/i], if the target doesn't have some way to resist the negative effect at the outset you're probably looking at gamebreaking stuff.

I have revisited this idea many times over the years and I keep coming back to the problem of an adventuring party needing to allocate a percentage of their daily resources to whatever we come up with for lower-level [i]regeneration[/i] effects or risk TPK the first time a goblin rolls a natural 20.

I think one potential remedy for the "why are we making crits more powerful" dilemma is that on my charts, the most severe penalties are not in addition to extra dice of damage, but instead of them. The PC is entitled, after confirming a critical hit, to just take the extra damage without rolling on the charts. But once Option B is selected, whatever you end up with is what you get. So maybe the blow lands on the orc's head and the roll is good enough to threaten decapitation. But if the orc makes his Fortitude save, you're stuck with damage as per a normal hit instead of x2, x3 or even x4, depending on what weapon you're using.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
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The Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch/Black Crusade/Only War series handles limb based critical damage in a particularly graphic way. You might want to review their rules in this regard.