Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Critical Failure's Part 1

 The idea that something truly awesome might happen when you roll multiple natural 20s in a row, or something equally heinous would happen when rolling multiple natural 1s in a row is not something new to roll playing. 

When 4th edition rolled around, my group made the jump and found we liked it. There was something lost in not rolling to confirm the crit, but we never house ruled a change. We did however insists that a natural 1 was always a success, even a level 1 attacking a god, and a natural 1 was always failure. That was just the epic nature of the game. Its always possible to fail or succeed, at least for a moment. Its one of things that makes DnD feel Epic to me. 

Another carryover, was the idea that when you rolled a natural 1, you had to roll that d20 again to see how bad it really was. Roll any number but 1, and it was just a regular, run of the mill, thats too bad, failure. Roll a 1 on that second roll, and things get critical. Out comes the critical Failure Chart. Roll a 1d6 to see what happens.

My old chart looked like this: 

  1. Fall Prone
  2. Drop Weapon
  3. Throw Weapon
  4. Hit Self
  5. Break Weapon
  6. Nothing
You have a 1 in 400 chance of getting to that point and still on a six your in the clear. There is, as of the moment, no positive counter to this chart. My players have never complained. There's something about this that makes failure exciting.

Due in part to the odds of reaching this chart being low, I had a habit of misplacing it. Recently, I was having difficulty working on the fly to redo it for a roll and instead of drop Prone I quickly wrote down 'Magical Mishap' instead of Fall Prone. My players seemed rather intrigued by this possibility, so of course I needed to come up with actual possibilities and modify the way I did things. More on that tomorrow. 

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