Critical Hits

The possiblity for a Critical Hit occurs whenever an natural attack roll (i.e., without considering any modifiers to the roll) falls within the Threat Range for the weapon.

For example, a battleaxe has a Threat Range of only a natural 20. A longsword has a Threat Range of 19-20, so a natural 19 or more must be rolled to be able to convert the normal hit into a Critical Hit . A scimitar, on the other hand, has a Threat Range of 18-20, so if a natural 18, 19 or 20 is rolled, the potential for a Critical Hit exists.

Once the potential for a Critical exists, the die is rolled again, and all appropriate modifiers (such as Strength, Base Attack Bonus, magical bonuses, etc.) are added. If the final result is 20 or more greater than that required to hit the target's Armour Class, then the hit has "gone critical". If it fails to achieve 20 above the required score (but does achieve the required score), then it's just a normal hit, doing normal damage.

Note that having a wide Critical Threat band will make it more likely to be able to inflict damage on targets with very high Armour Classes, since you get to extend your original to-hit roll — even if you can't manage a Critical Hit, the extra roll means that you may score enough to do some damage at least.

Critical Hit Results

There are Three Critical Hit Result systems available for use in Fitz's campaigns. They are Open-Ended Damage Multiples, Specific Damage, and Vitality Damage and are defined fully below. The system in use will be decided by mutual agreement at the beginning of the campaign, and may be changed thereafter only by unanimous agreement.

Type 1: Open-ended Damage Multiples

NOTE: This is the system currently in use.

This is a simpler system than the Specific Damage system presented below, and is merely an expansion on the system offered in the D&D 3e Core Rules. A successful Critical Hit does (most often) double damage.

If the confirmation attack (the die roll which determines whether the hit goes critical) is also in the Critical Threat Range, another confirmation attack ensues. If that hit succeeds, then the attack does triple damage. If that attack also falls into the Critical Threat Range, then yet another confirmation roll is made, and so on.

Some weapons start the damage progression with triple damage (like the scimitar mentioned above); in this case, the multiplication of damage simply starts one step up and otherwise is determined exactly as above. Although the odds are pretty small, it would be possible to do ten times normal damage with a single blow when using this system.

When damage is being determined, each damage multiple is determined separately. For example, if the Critical Hit does triple damage, then damage is rolled and calculated three times and the total added together.

Type 2: Specific Damage

This system takes into account the type of weapon being used, and the results are weighted differently for stabbing, slash and bludgeoning weapon types. On-going effects of a Critical Hit are also factored in to the system. It is potentially more dangerous than a simple damage multiplier, since many of the Critical Hit Results have an immediate and on-going impact on the character's survival capabilities. A broken leg, for example, is going to impact severely on the character's ability to avoid taking any more damage, and an Artery wound will continue inflicting damage until it is dealt with, either magically or medically. It definitely makes combat considerably more dangerous than the simple damage multiples system, especially at higher levels � a 10th level fighter is likely to be able to shrug off even triple damage from most weapons (though he or she will certainly notice it), but no matter how high a level they may be, they can still bleed to death rapidly from a spurting femoral artery.

If the Critical Threat is realised (using the same re-throw system as usual), throw 1d100 and refer to the following table and the key thereafter:

Critical Hit ResultCutting WeaponPiercing WeaponBludgeoning Weapon
Flesh Wound 01 � 16 01 � 20 01 � 20
Unconscious 17 � 28 21 � 30 21 � 28
Broken Bone Below Knee 29 31 29 � 33
Above Knee 30 32 34 � 40
Below Elbow 31 � 32 33 41 � 50
Above Elbow 33 34 51 � 55
1d3 Ribs 34 � 36 35 56 � 60
Pelvis 37 36 61 � 62
Spine 38 � 39 37 63
Neck 40 38 64 � 66
Skull 41 � 43 39 67 � 70
Artery 44 � 56 40 � 48 71 � 74
Vein 57 � 69 49 � 54 75 � 82
External Organ Ear 70 55 83
Eye 71 56 84
Nose 72 57 85
Mouth 73 58 86
Internal Organ Abdomen 74 � 77 59 � 81 87 � 90
Heart 78 � 80 82 � 83 91
Brain 81 � 85 84 � 95 92
Limb Crushed or Severed Below Knee 86 � 87 96 93
Above Knee 88 � 95 97 94 � 95
Below Elbow 96 � 97 98 96 � 97
Above Elbow 98 � 99 99 98 � 99
At Neck 00 00 00

KEY to Critical Hits Result table

Flesh Wound Double damage; bleeds at 1pt per round until staunched
Unconscious FORT Save; DC = 8 + Damage inflicted by blow
  • fail = unconscious 3d6x10 minutes
  • success = stunned 2d6 rounds
  • Broken Bone Affected member rendered useless. Requires Regeneration or similar level healing to fix, otherwise roll 1d6 for recovery time:
    1:heals in 1d3+3 days
    2:heals in 1d10+10 days
    3�6:heals in 2d6 weeks
    Artery Normal damage plus the same each round until staunched
    Vein Normal damage plus ½ that damage each round until staunched
    External Organ
  • Ear, Nose or Mouth: 1d6 Charisma penalty in social situations
  • Eye: Blind in that eye. No depth perception, -2 penalty to combat, balance, pick pockets, etc.
  • Internal Organ Abdomen: Double damage, lose 1 CON per hour until Cure Critical Wounds or better is administered.
    Heart: Triple damage, lose 1 CON per minute until Cure Critical Wounds or better is administered.

    Triple damage, lose 1 CON per minute until Cure Critical Wounds or better is administered. If Heal or Regenerate is unavailable, re-throw INT:

    Roll 1d100 for INT range:
    10 � 60: roll on 1d6
    61 � 75: roll on 2d6
    76 � 95: roll on 3d6
    96 � 99: roll on 4d6
    00: roll on 5d6

    Use the score as shown, don't discard any dice. In other words, if you're rolling 5d6 for new INT, it is possible to get a new INT of up to 30. Every cloud has a silver lining.

    Limb Crushed or Severed Below knee/elbow: Double damage; acts as ARTERY wound until a tourniquet is applied.
    Above knee/elbow: Triple damage; acts as ARTERY wound until a tourniquet is applied.
    Neck: Triple damage, and acts as an ARTERY wound until staunched. If the target only has one head, resurrect, reincarnate, animate dead, or roll up a new character.

    Type 3: Vitality Damage

    This is more of a fundamental modification to the combat and damage system as a whole, rather than a mere add-on.

    In this system, the ability of a character to take damage is split between Hit-Points (as usual) and Vitality Points. The character always has as many Vitality points as he or she has Constitution points, and the number does not change with increasing level (unless the Constitution score is increased or decreased somehow).

    Normal hit-point damage is assumed to be a combination of cumulative fatigue and tiny, non-disabling nicks and scratches rather than bloody gashes and pulpy, squishy bruises. Only when the character falls below zero hit-points does he or she start taking "real" damage — at this point, damage is taken directly to the character's Vitality score. Once Vitality reaches zero, the character is dead.

    If an attack achieves a successful Critical Hit (using the resolution system defined above), rather than doing extra damage, the attack's normal damage is applied directly to the target's Vitality score.

    If this system is adopted, then most magical healing works only on hit-point damage. Only high-level magic like regeneration or heal would affect vitality-point damage, which must otherwise heal naturally (and slowly).

    NOTE: This is more-or-less the system used in the d20 Star Wars game. It's a good option for games in which combat should be dangerous, but in which the characters should normally be able to survive a reasonable amount of combat time without being turned into a hideous bloody purée.

    The dangerousness of combat in general can be defined by how hit-points are assigned. In a milieu like Call of Cthulhu, for example, a character might only ever have as many hit-points as the average of their STR and CON, and never be able to easily increase that total. In such a milieu, character deaths would be frequent (until they learned to stay out of trouble).