More critical hit goodness (courtesy of Peter Dell’Orto)

+Peter V. Dell’Orto did a nice post on critical hits yesterday.

One thing that came up a few times is that there are cases where if you only crit on a 3 and have a skill of 3, then you’re either rolling an awesome crit, or you’re screwed.

This can be avoided, though, by using margin of success. There are only four values that result in critical hits: 3 through 6, and 5 and 6 only come into play with a large skill.

When you look at the Critical Hit table, though, there are really only a few outcomes.

  • No Defense
  • Defender drops what he’s holding
  • Extra Damage (max normal, double, or triple)
  • Major Wound no matter what damage
  • Half-DR
  • Extra shock


Further, the roll of 9, 10, 11 means the “no defense” result, and that happens about 36% of the time, or about one time in three of all possible results.

So on a crit, roll 1d plus the margin of success of the crit (not the entire attack). Results as follows, and borrow from Peter’s post.

1 – Defend at -5
2 – Defend at -10
3 – No defense
4 – No defense and Half DR
5 – No defense and Extra Shock penalty
6 – No defense and Drop what he’s holding
7 – No defense and Major Wound no matter the damage
8 – No defense and Double Damage
9 – No defense and Triple Damage

So if you only crit on a 3, then half the time you get either a limited or eliminated defense. And the best you can do is fairly limited, with no extra wounding. You need a margin of success of at least 1 to start getting extra wounding potential.

Now, you could easily mix this up.

Nix one of the limited defense options. Also, mix up some of the results so that even a zero-margin crit can result in extra damage. Add back the “max normal damage” result.

1 – Defend at -5
2 – No defense
3 – No defense and Half DR
4 – No defense and Extra Shock penalty
5 – No defense and Drop what he’s holding
6 – No defense and Max normal damage
7 – No defense and Major Wound no matter the damage
8 – No defense and Double Damage
9 – No defense and Triple Damage

Anyway, combination of margin of success and limited result classifications pretty much duplicates the potential outcomes, increases the probability of some of them, and limits the value of rolling only a max-value crit when is all you can do is crit.

You can also, certainly, keep the basics: even if your margin of success is zero, you get the “no defense only” result 1 time in 3, but other cool stuff more often.

1 – No defense
2 – No defense
3 – No defense and Half DR
4 – No defense and Extra Shock penalty
5 – No defense and Drop what he’s holding
6 – No defense and Max normal damage
7 – No defense and Major Wound no matter the damage
8 – No defense and Double Damage
9 – No defense and Triple Damage

5 thoughts on “More critical hit goodness (courtesy of Peter Dell’Orto)

  1. Interesting.

    One thing you need to ensure, no matter how you fall on the "still defend" and "can't defend" issue, is that all special results should be a roll 4+ on the chart. Otherwise, on a 3, you can't roll #3, so you don't want anything good there.

    For example, this
    "1 – No defense
    2 – No defense
    3 – No defense and Half DR"
    means that on a 3, you never hit an armor weak point, because 1d+3 makes 3 an impossible result.

  2. How about "roll 1d6, add your MOS, and pick options from this table a la carte?"

    The table is then a list of costs and effects.

    This solves the of raised "My crit effect was worthless" issue and makes crits cooler, at the cost of occasionally inducing dithering.

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