I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Friday, November 23, 2018

Super-critical hits!

Random idea I can't get off my mind lately:

Super criticals

Roll 1d4.
1: Maximum damage.
2: Double damage.
3: Triple damage;
4: Special (depends on weapon, armor, etc).

Example: if your usual damage is 1d6+3, maximum damage is 9, double damage is 2d6+6* (Average 13), triple damage is 3d6+9* (average 19.5).

*OR just roll 1d6+3 and multiply by two or three.

How?

A super-critical is achieved when you crit and beat the target AC by 10 or more, or when you have advantage an roll 20 on both dice. In some circumstances, all your crits will be super-crits, while in others none will (however, you can reach crits through combos - see my next post).

I thought of this as a rule for my Dark Fantasy Basic but you can obviously use for D&D 5e, etc. Notice that "maximum damage" result is slightly worse than the usual 5e crit... but it kinda FEELS better IMO, and is one less roll.


Why?

I just like crits! They are exciting, fun and a great way of differentiating weapons and characters, since only a few hits will be crits. It also gives you that "urgency" - the fight may suddenly take a sharp turn for the better or worse...

However, I get bored by long tables and dislike stopping combats to check complex rules/charts.

Super-crits are intuitive and significant. "Special" results - you can put whatever you want there, but should be very significant, and maybe IN ADDITION to triple damage - will happen less than 2% of the time. THEN you can use a table or complex rules. Almost 99% of the time, things will be straightforward.

Notice that this crits will make the difference between creatures of different HD/CR more significant. A level 10 fighter will be very likely to destroy one orc per critical hit in 5e - or even an ogre (4+1 HD) in B/X or DFB.

Likewise, heroes must think twice before attacking something that is out of their league. In 5e, this means the need for "minions" for high-CR foes is made a bit less relevant.

Well, that's it for now.

19 comments:

  1. I like this idea. Perhaps a slightly different approach:

    3) Standard critical hit: +10 AC (Roll weapon damage as normal, add max damage to the roll. Guaranteed above average roll for critical hits)

    2) Standard Critical Hit + Nat 20 (Nat 20 not required to reach +10. Can be a single roll, or advantage where 1 high roll and 1 nat 20): maximise both rolls

    3) Roll with advantage for 2 Nat 20s: roll regular damage, add (2) to roll.


    And I think that works well for a scaling system. If you use your idea of stacking advantage (3 advantage =+2, 4 advantage = +3, etc), you can scale the results so on so forth, although it would quickly become unnecessary.


    Not sure how well this works with crit features such as Barbarians, but it could be a start.

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  2. I've made critical hit cards with effects like below. My players like them.

    1d20 - Effect
    1-10 Critical Hit. Roll double dice for damage.
    11 Stunning Hit. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy can’t take actions or reactions until end of it’s next turn.
    12 Shoving Blow. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Strength saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is knocked prone. If enemy is larger than you or has more legs, it gets [Advantage] to saving throw. Not all enemies can be knocked prone (DM’s discretion).
    13 Thrusting Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Dexterity saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is off-balance and grants [Advantage] to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
    14 Opening Strike. Roll double dice for damage. You may make immediate additional attack against this enemy as a reaction.
    15 Carving Strike. Roll double dice for damage. You may make immediate additional attack against this enemy as a reaction. You gain [Advantage] to this attack roll.
    16 Supporting Strike. Roll double dice for damage. You and any ally within 5 ft. of the enemy may make immediate additional attack against this enemy as a reaction.
    17 Discouraging Blow. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Wisdom saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is shaken. For 1d4 rounds it can only take Move, Disengage and Dodge actions. Creatures immune to frightened condition are immune to this effect.
    18 Crushing Blow. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is Blinded for 1d4 rounds. Creatures immune to blinded condition are immune to this effect.
    19 Improved Critical. Roll double dice for damage. Roll another critical effect.
    20 Power Critical. Roll triple dice for damage.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1d20 - Effect
    1-10 Critical Hit. Roll double dice for damage.
    11 Stunning Hit. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is stunned and can’t take actions or reactions until end of it’s next turn.
    12 Shoving Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Strength saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is knocked prone. If enemy has more than two legs, it gets [Advantage] to saving throw. Not all enemies can be knocked prone (DM’s discretion).
    13 Thrusting Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Dexterity saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is off-balance and grants [Advantage] to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
    14 Encouraging Strike. Roll double dice for damage. You gain [Advantage] to ranged attacks against this target until the end of your next turn.
    15 Bleeding Strike. Roll double dice for damage. On the beginning of his next turn, the enemy gets additional weapon damage then makes DC 10 Constitution saving throw. On failure, the bleeding continues.
    16 Weakening Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy deals only half damage with every hit.
    17 Discouraging Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Wisdom saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is shaken. For 1d4 rounds it can only take Move, Disengage and Dodge actions.
    18 Debilitating Strike. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is Restrained for 1 round.
    19 Improved Critical. Roll double dice for damage. Roll another critical effect.
    20 Power Critical. Roll triple dice for damage.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1d20 - Effect
    1-10 Critical Hit. Roll double dice for damage.
    11 Stunning Spell. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is stunned and can’t take actions or reactions until end of it’s next turn.
    12 Shoving Spell. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Strength saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is knocked prone. If enemy has more than two legs, it gets [Advantage] to saving throw. Not all enemies can be knocked prone (DM’s discretion).
    13 Thrusting Spell. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Dexterity saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is off-balance and grants [Advantage] to attack rolls until the end of your next turn.
    14 Energetic Whip. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy is shrouded for 1d4 rounds in waves of magical energy of one type, determined randomly by 1d6 roll: 1-acid, 2-cold, 3-fire, 4-force, 5-lightning or 6-thunder. Each round taking 2d6 damage of this energy type. If it’s a cantrip, damage is 1d6.
    15 Spellbounce. Roll double dice for damage. Choose another target for the same spell within 30 ft. from the initial target. Roll for attack normally.
    16 Shockwave. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy makes Constitution saving throw (DC = damage taken). On failure, enemy is Blinded for 1d4 rounds. If it’s a cantrip, duration is 1 round.
    17 Discouraging Blow. Roll double dice for damage. Enemy is shaken. For 1d4 rounds it can only take Move, Disengage and Dodge actions. If it’s a cantrip, duration is 1 round.
    18 Distorting Spell. Roll double dice for damage. For 1d4 rounds enemy is vulnerable to one energy type, determined randomly by 1d6 roll: 1-acid, 2-cold, 3-fire, 4-force, 5-lightning or 6-thunder. If it’s a cantrip, duration is 1 round.
    19 Improved Critical. Roll double dice for damage. Roll another critical effect.
    20 Power Critical. Roll triple dice for damage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This isn't an exhaustive write up. For example, some weapon design space such as staff slings are left out since that can be just tied into the more generalised approach attempted here. I hope this makes at least as much sense to you as it does to me.

    =====

    In reading this blog, and the various ongoing projects, I think weapon design and distinctions can be divided into 3 sections: Weapon Speed (if using the alternative initiative system), regular attack and damage, and critical effects and maneuvers. This series of posts will probably more high level than anything too concrete, as I am not too great at the sounding out all the details without discussion.

    As a brief tangent that occurred while writing this: Magic weapons do not add static modifiers to hit or damage (+1, +2, +3). Instead they add an extra die of damage and or other magical effects, and bypass non-magical weapon resistances. Any static bonus should be deter dealt with weapon specialisation. A clumsy fool with Excalibur doesn’t hit better while swinging the blade, but they’re going to grievously injure anyone who they land a blow on.

    A note on general design philosophy going in: my preference for game design is that table matrices are fine if they only come out to adjust things at level up, and then things run smoothly from there. I personally add attack matrices to all of my character sheets I personally build and just roll and check what I hit. Therefore, if things seem a bit complex, the idea is to condense it into something that can be fairly easy to update once every 5 sessions with level up and then run from there.

    In general review of the write up, if the set up works well, fighting may end up being too tactical for many 5e players (then they do not have to use this system), but it does allow for fighting to get dangerous in it’s own way that makes narrative sense, but I think allows martial players to shine.

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    Replies
    1. 1) Weapon Speed
      Weapon speed would be a property of the weapon based on “weight” of the weapons. This is a nebulous abstraction of weapon size and weight*, and probably a good place to heavily influence weapon speed and advise damage properties. I think the discussion on initiative modifiers is a good place to start and refine things from there. If you have weapon specialisation feats, perhaps use that to modify the initiative score (+/- half proficiency from score, depending on whether you want high or low numbers?). The individual weapon properties will have an “initiative score” attached to them, and the weapon initiative score will be the sum of those properties.
      *and why max STR level 20 barbaric kobolds can punch harder than a Frost Giant (who only have 23 STR) but cannot swing a Great club effectively (stupid rule. Just have STR caps for small races if you want to go this route or bring back size modifiers for weapons from 3.x).

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  7. 2) Weapon Attack and Damage

    You already have a strong weapon damage breakdown blog, that I mostly agree with. The only change I would make is to have martial weapons use two smaller die plus variable damage output (Morningstar = 2d4 bludgeoning/piercing) or one damage die but a superior critical hit property. More on this when discussing Great Axes vs. Greatswords.
    Before getting into some specific weapons, I’d like to talk a bit about your scaling weapons. I like the idea that different weapons get certain benefits out of you having a higher acore depending on weapon design. However, to try and emphasise the “having two high physical stats is better”, I would look at perhaps having the weapon have a secondary scaling to attack. A STR based weapon relies on good edge alignment (DEXish), and a agile weapon relies on steady limb work (STRish). So a modification of your scaling effect is that the primary stat of a weapon is it’s modification to attribute score to damage (with the regular attribute score added to hit), while the secondary stat is the additional bonus to hit. This allows a High Dex/low Str wizard potentially get a lot of strikes in with a club, but not with a lot of power behind the blows (more closed strikes instead of arcs perhaps). This weapon scaling can also be a way to distinguish simple and martial weapons, as they will have different score requirements. Not sure if you could break your letter grade concept down to the weapon property table, meaning that building a weapon from properties alone will give you a hit/damage scaling score, along side weapon dice, but that would be really cool if it works. The end goal is a weapon building matrix that folds all properties into a simple table that allows one to "design" any weapon.


    For specific weapon design, I think the only ones on the list that I really muse about are Polearm categories (Spears, Pike, Halberd, Glaive). I think I have a means to break them down.


    Polearms come in 3 length categories: Close, Short Reach, and Long Reach. Close is the Quarter Staff and Simple Spear. They can be used one handed for 1d6 (spear and shield primarily, although a quarterstaff jab to the head sucks as well if you ever got into broomstick fights). Two handed, one can make two attacks a 1d8 and 1d4 using Main attack and bonus action attack. As a note, this should be a pattern that follows for all Double and Two Weapon Fighting. This is based around the idea that I want the baseline to be 1d6 +1d6, and that upping one die drops the other. Not sure if this is statistically valid, but it feels like it should be. All Close weapons can do all attacks against any target in range.


    Short Reach and Long Reach weapons have the advantage of being able to engage with an enemy that is farther away, but with the Long Reach weapons not being able to target adjacent enemies. The Short Reach War Spear is 1d8 (1d10) Versatile, and Long Reach are 1d10 Two Handed (1d12 charge). The bonus action attacks are 1d4+Str for both categories and cannot be made against a foe targeted by the main attack.


    For the Greatsword vs. Greataxe and Maul, I think the difference between the weapons can be made with the Greatsword being able to switch out damage types (2d6 slashing, or 1d6 piercing (half-swording), or 1d6 bludgeoning (Mordhau), and the Maul and Greataxe having more impressive critical options.


    Fist fighting should just fall under TWF style rules, with gauntlets making damage 1d4. This makes the monk’s fist naturally as hard as steel when striking, and it grows over time.

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    Replies
    1. 3) Critical Damage
      Your discussion on scaling critical hits and stacking advantage can be another way to differentiate weapons. If you use Elven Accuracy Feats with 5e (and Lucky), I would make the more general “You can roll up to 3d20, after which, every additional source of advantage is a +1 to your roll”. Otherwise, I would rewrite the Elven Accuracy as “Add +1 to any roll you make with advantage using DEX, INT, or CHA for attack rolls.”. Anyways, this system does encourage people to plan more tactics to get every advantage they can, while (IMO), being easier to adjudicate than various bonuses.

      As far as when critical hits land, I like using a base natural 20 always critically hits, with additional sources of critical hits (roll +10 over AC, critically hit or roll +10 over AC on multiple dice) adding combinations to your roll. Instead of the random rolls, I would instead have damage type determine the effects of the critical. These additional effects show up as secondary effects if you roll 2 or more critical hits. With three or more sources of critical hits, the damage dice improves. First thought on critical scaling:

      - Regular Critical: (Natural 20 or +10 over AC): Roll regular damage, add maximum damage to the result.
      - Superior Critical (2 Natural 20s, Natural 20 and +10 over AC either in 1 roll or in advantage): Apply the previous step, and then one of the following. Use Concentration rules for Con saves.
      o Slashing Weapon: Hamstring: Target must make a Con Save or have disadvantage on the next round of attacks, and must make Concentration checks on any spells with Somatic components
      o Bludgeoning: Target must make a Con save or be slowed down by 10’ for your STR modifier for a round (most creatures are reduced to 0 for a round).
      o Piercing: Bleed. Target must make a Con save or take an additional weapon die damage the following round (so a morning star would be 2d4 in this case, rapier is 1d8)
      o Hacking (Greataxe): Apply Hamstring and Bleed (two Con saves)
      o Crushing (Maul): Apply Bludgeoning and Hamstring

      - Any additional source of critical damage either maximise the dice the dice being rolled (including bleed), or add another roll of weapon damage if all other dice are maximised. This way, the number of dice being rolled always remains the same. For Barbarian criticals and rogue Sneak attack, I am tempted to say that their boost in SA and critical dice happens on the first critical, with maximisation applying to either all the dice at once or in stages. Additional dice is only the base weapon die. I admit that this will need to be smoothed over. Perhaps just have 3 criticals maximise all dice (so Rogues have max weapon and SA dice, Barbs have maximised Brutal Critical Dice) + secondary effect (max bleed if applicable). Additional crits just deal with weapon damage (alternate between adding a weapon die and maximising the die).

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    2. 4) Maneuvers
      While I like the Battlemaster’s maneuvers, I think what the distinction between a Battle Master and regular martial characters is that regular martial characters trade damage for a (Trip/Shove/Grapple/Goad), while Battlemasters incorporate such maneuvers into their attacks using superiority dice. Since such efforts are trying, you end up needing a short rest to stretch and rest to attempt such maneuvers again through out the day. And, even if the Battlemaster runs out of superiority dice, they can still use these maneuvers as well. This is not really adding anything new to 5e, but it expands on what options are actually available to a martial character.
      Going through the list of Maneuvers, the ones that can be seen as more general:
      Disarming Strike – Disarm (Grapple Attack)
      Evasive Footwork – Dodge Action
      Feinting attack – Bonus action set-up with Weapon and Shield (or Bucklers, cloak, Net) Slight of Hand vs. Passive Insight
      Goading/Menacing attack – Bonsu action Intimidation vs. Passive Insight. Either provoke attacks or fear
      Parry: covered by weapon specialisation
      Pushing/ Trip attack: Shove action
      Riposte – Allow any character to prepare against charge and get a free attack against a charging character that misses. Polearms can set against charge and do +1 die size (max 1d12) to charging creature.
      Sweeping attack: In this case, I would allow a Cleave attack where if you kill a creature, and you have damage left over, if your attack can hit a creature within 5’, you can spend your damage on that creature. Repeat until have spent all damage rolled.

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    3. 5) Weapon Specialisation
      For weapon specialisation, I like the idea of choosing a weapon category, and with any weapon within that category, roll 1d4 with your attack. If your attack would hit without the roll of the 1d4, and does not crit with the roll, add the roll to damage. If it would crit without the 1d4 add to damage. Since the roll is made before the critical is applied to damage rolls, it is not doubled by critical rolls.
      As far as what the categories are, I would take inspiration from the weapon feats suggested in UA: Fell handed for Axes and Maces (knock opponents prone if you have advantage on your attack and both rolls hit. Note that this stacks with Bludgeoning critical hits). Perhaps Piercing weapons like Dagger, Swords (including half-sworded Great Swords) can get an additional 1d4 damage if they have advantage and both attacks hit, while Slashing weapons allows for the next attack on the target to be made with advantage. This idea would need more work, as perhaps you do not want piercing to be more damage.
      Two-weapon and double fighting I feel is reasonably covered by just having proficiency to all attacks, and specialisation allowing you to add ability modifier to all damage. Perhaps instead of a Sweeping attack, TWF can get a Rend attack where they add 1d4 damage to a target that they hit with two or more attacks.

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    4. 6) Some thoughts on Shields and Armour

      3 categories of shields: Light Shields, Regular Shields, Tower Shields
      Light Shields: These include bucklers and the like. They grant +1 to AC and allow one to feint to gain advantage on attacks. Consider folding them in with light weapons to allow rapier and buckler TwF to grant +2 AC if doing only main attacks, or +1 AC to get a buckler punch in. This can include Parrying daggers as well.

      Regular shield: +2 AC, can be used to add +2 AC to someone adjacent to you as a reaction. Protection style adds disadvantage to the attack.

      Tower Shield: Counts as Quarter Cover when you are in movement, can be turned into Full Cover as a reaction for all damage from a specific direction (perhaps half AOE spells like Fireball, maybe even Lightning bolt if you invest the money to make a metal/wood shield that can resist both). Reduces movement by 5’ and takes up a good chunk of encumbrance (perhaps 3 slots if using your slot-based encumbrance). So a full plate tower shield Fighter is moving at 15’ a round, but can be having 22 AC with reaction full plate. They are limited to a 1d8 weapon for damage. Perfect Cleric.

      While Dex passed characters get Slight of Hand checks to give themselves advantage with light shields, regular and Tower Shields can shove (Athletics) to knock prone. I would make Shield Master allow you to use the shield as a 1d4 bludgeoning weapon to have the knock prone effect (if you have advantage, you could potentially reduce your opponent’s speed to 0 and prone giving you some free attacks.

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    5. Awesome stuff Sean! Let me give my 2c briefly:

      1) I like the idea of weapon speed, and weapon speed modifying initiative seems good to me. I would try to implement some "combo" ideas too, like giving fast weapons a better chance to hit again in a crit, etc.

      2) I like it too. It would probably be easy to create a kind of generator in a matrix or excel sheet, but I'm wary of using that much math at the table. Half-swording is a great explanation for the 2d6 great-sword. Overall, I like the idea of changing damage types. Greataxes and mauls need better crits, indeed.

      3) Needless to say, I find differentiating weapons by crits a great idea.

      4) I feel the same - what the BM can do WITH damage, other fighters should be able to do INSTEAD of damage.

      5) Like I said before, I like your idea of adding 1d4. I think it would be even easier to simply roll 1d24, DCC-style! I like the UA weapon feats too, the ones for spears and swords are great.

      6) Yeah, good stuff. Buckler definitely counts as weapon. Tower Shields trading mobility for protection seems both realistic and fun.

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  8. As far as "math at the table", what I am picturing is a series of tables. Simple weapons would have their series (1d6 die modify based on properties). I like the idea of martial weapons having 2dx damage as a matter of course, with the possibility of reducing to a single die to gain a property.

    ^All that math can be used to make a standard weapon list, with the tables used to allow for custom crafting. The player just rolls to hit and damage. The only source of complexity is done when acquiring the weapon, and upon stats changing, which is the usual breaks in game anyway.

    As for differentiation with crits, I can see adding 1d4 damage to a Heavy crit, and able to use all light weapons in a critical attack. It's a bit weighed in the Light weapons favour in terms of damage dice, but they have to land the blow.

    A in all, some things to muse on over Christmas.

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  9. One thing I want to add to this is that Fighting Styles can be acquired with Feats, allowing any class to pick up a Fighting Style, with Fighters being able to pick up 2 naturally (Champions 3), and can use ASIs to pick up more if required.

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    Replies
    1. This is definitely a good idea. Fighting Styles are too weak to be a feat by themselves, but maybe a half-feat would work (+1 Str or Dex and one style).

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    2. To keep things simple, perhaps Weapon Master could be either expand weapon proficencies, or pick a Fighting Style. Although, it could just be two feats.

      As a note, I am slowly working on those weapon design tables I mentioned earlier. Here's hoping it works out well. It's on an Excel Onedrive file, so I should be able to share once I finish it.

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  10. Some time ago you did a lot of work regarding using 2d6 as the base system. What made you change and go back to using a d20 system?

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    Replies
    1. I think it started with an effort to "unify" the system, and due to the fact that I prefer d20 for combat. Here is a more detailed explanation:

      https://methodsetmadness.blogspot.com/2016/11/unified-bx-did-i-finally-crack-code.html

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