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.


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.


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.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Concocting constructs

Here is a small part from TERATOGENICON, the ultimate monster generator! If you like it, consider acquiring the book on DTRPG. I wrote this post before publishing the book, so some of the text has been update. The tables and pages you see below are exactly as presented in the book. 

(The images are copyright WotC, as far as I can tell, and are not included in the book - which is lavishly illustrated by Rick Troula!)

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Celestial Creation

From an early draft of Teratogenicon:

Celestials are creatures native to the Upper Planes. Many of them are the servants of deities, employed as messengers or agents in the mortal realm and throughout the planes. Celestials are good by nature, so the exceptional celestial who strays from a good alignment is a horrifying rarity. Celestials include angels, couatls, and pegasi.
A typical celestial has the following traits:
Size: any.
Alignment: Lawful Good.
Abilities: varies.
Common resistances/immunities: charm, fear, nonmagical attacks.
Senses: Darkvision.
Languages: Common, Celestial, and many other languages.
Challenge: 2d6.

Habits, diet and habitat

Celestials live in different planes to humankind and often come with a specific mission. Angels and their kind can live anywhere and do not need to eat, drink or sleep. Animal-shaped celestials, such as unicorn and pegasi, are usually more mundane in this aspect.

Appearance & Powers

A celestial’s heavenly nature manifests in their appearance, as auras of gold, shining armor, and feathered wings. When they take humanoid form, they are healthy, strong, and thin specimens. Some celestial are somewhat more mysterious and less human, as if to indicate they are somewhat superior or different from mundane beings (the last eight entries are darker than the rest; use 1d12 if you want a more traditional look).
Attacks. Celestials often carry big magic weapons with impressive special properties. Even when unarmed, their attacks are usually considered to be equivalent to magical weapons.
Some celestials can project attack with beams of radiant damage, auras of fire, and so on (spheres of energy originate on the celestial but do not affect it). Celestials without ranged attacks will often have strong defensive powers (teleportation, invisibility, etc.).
Energy. This table applies to the celestial’s attack and possibility to their features as well – fire halos, radiant wings, lighting auras, and so on.
Animals. Some celestials look like animals - examples are winged lions, golden stags, unicorns, etc. Some were actually animals once, now ascended by the contact with higher powers (in this case, their attacks will probably be unarmed – although some animals may carry weapons in their mouths or possess intelligent weapons that fight by themselves on command). Other celestials have animal features, animal motifs in their clothing, animal companions, or the ability to transform into animals. The list below contains the animals most commonly associated with celestials.
Color/metal. These colors and metals are commonly applied to celestial features – clothes, eyes, wings, hair, skin, etc.

Origins and goals

Celestials are usually created by deities, but there are other possibilities. Their goals are usually benevolent, but not always. Notice that some deities have draconic laws against insignificant sins (wearing the wrong color in a temple, eating forbidden food, etc.).


All art: copyright Peter Mohrbacher.

If you enjoyed this post, you'll certainly enjoy the final version: Teratogenicon, the ultimate monster builder! It is full of random tables like the ones above and it has amazing art by Rick Troula. Chek the previews to see what I mean!