Saturday, October 3, 2015

Critical Hit rule ideas

Sparked by a great idea in the comments of my previous post by dripton, I thought of some critical hit variations for GURPS. I haven't tested any of these.

On top of the "margin matters" idea from dripton, here are some options.

You Can Still Defend, But . . .

On a 3-4, you cannot defend against the critical hit unless that was exactly the roll needed to hit at all. Otherwise, you can defend at a -10.

Ex: You have Broadsword-15 and roll a 4 - the defender gets no defenses, roll on the critical hit table. You have an effective skill of Broadsword-4 and roll a 4. You critically hit, the opponent defends at -10.

Notes: Makes it possible to defend against non-3, below-hit-score-needed critical hits . . . but also means a lot more trips to the critical miss table for the defender! Dodging at -10 is a quick trip to the floor. You could say this doesn't affect critical failure, though.

You Can Still Defend

As above, but a non-3 or 4 critical hit is only a -5 to defend on top of any other penalties.

Notes: Basically you get a freebie Deceptive Attack if you critically hit. Much more likely to defend, but perfect shots are still perfect shots.

Roll, Roll Again

If you roll a 3 or 4 on a critical hit, your critical hit always has some special effect. Roll on the table, and re-roll any "No additional effect" results.

Notes: Criticals on a 5-6 are just no defenses, but on a 3-4 they're always special. Beware the "I need a 3 to hit" guys - either they really nail you or, nothing.

Basic Combat Plus

A 3 is maximum damage. A 4 is a table roll. 5-6 are just "no defenses."

Notes: This is a slightly souped up version of the basic combat system, which only rewards a 3 with any kind of bonus. Further note: I use the basic combat rules in my DF game to speed things up, because a table roll for a 1d+6 arrow or 3d+10 sword strike is just wasting time.

Just some ideas. No, I'm not trying any of these in my game any time soon. The last one is nice, but it's still an extra roll I'm not convinced we need.

Doug did something interesting with this idea, too.


  1. I totally have an idea here . . . but I'm going to make a post of it. :-)

  2. I use something akin to 'Declared Defenses' in my GURPS game, so people have to announce their defense (Dodge is assumed--you can declare that you aren't even dodging if you want). Therefore, I always allow a defense roll, but only a critical defense roll will stop a critical hit.

    Thus, I get a bit more variety in my hits and crits You could score a critical hit, AND your opponent could also critically fail the parry--even worse than just being critically hit! You hit them, and they drop their weapon or trip or whatever, as well!

    I don't use the critical hit chart because, to me, you already have a chance of doing max damage. You just need to ROLL SIXES. I also don't like rolling on a table in the middle of combat, and I don't like the fact that it varies SO much, when a crit is already a fairly uncommon event. Sometimes nothing. Sometimes ignoring armor (awesome!) or the enemy has no armor (boo!). Sometimes triple damage on someone you may not have really intended to behead.

    1. I've heard of people doing that, but I don't play that way. Declaring defenses ahead of time is basically a cumulative penalty for being attacked, which I have a lot of game mechanical objections to. I realize that your method is not uncommon, though, it's just something I can't see myself using outside of specific circumstances with specific defenses. Basically, guns with Dodge, sometimes.

      Max damage is tough the more dice you roll, though - having max damage on a 3 is uncommon enough, and really sweet when someone unloads a really high-damage attack that otherwise would have far less than a 1-in-216 chance of max damage.

  3. I like the idea of the last concept ("Basic Combat Plus") and critical hits in general...until I remember that: (1) it works against the PCs also; (2) PCs are in a lot of fights; (3) while it may mean more mooks get mopped up faster, it also means that PCs are more likely to suffer the effects of a critical hit table roll. =(

    The ideas are cool, though. I actually like them from the GM point of view,

  4. I wonder how it might play if you give the player a choice of one of several pretty good effects on a crit, so that 'what you want to do' is more of a factor. You might give options of things like No Defense, Max Damage, Double damage, Ignore DR, Pick Hit location (prolly not eye, etc.), etc.

    That way, the dude critting on an already defenseless dude can clobber him, while the guy skewering Parry McDodge can just HIT the shifty beggar

    1. My big concern would just be adding a decision layer and analysis paralysis.

      Might work if it's restricted to a 3, and not all options were always on the table. That way it's not always coming up for skill 16+ guys who then spend time mulling over their options . . .


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