absolution (part two: critical hits) | sermon
(Absolutes in d20)
Part Two: Critical Hits
Immunity to critical hits is something I have toyed with changing for a few months now. The benefits of this change, aside from the removal of an absolute, are:
Delivering Critical Hits
There are two aspects to delivering critical hits; the threat range and the critical multiplier. While not every weapon is balanced against every other, we can balance the progression of threat range and critical multiplier against themselves. We do this by inverting the increases to each weapons critical multiplier with its threat range so that the sum total of both is a net result of 4.
Therefore, if the threat range is 18-20 (spans +3), a feat would increase the critical multiplier by +1. If the threat range is 19-20 (span of +2), a feat would increase the critical multiplier by +2. If the threat range is 20 (span of +1), a feat would increase the critical multiplier by +3.
Each increase to threat range, can be paralleled by an increase to the critical multiplier.
Improved Critical (increased threat range), parallels Overwhelming Critical (increased critical multiplier).
It should be noted that Overwhelming Critical is an epic feat, while Improved Critical is a non-epic feat. To me this is indicative of the somewhat supernatural 'feel' of Overwhelming Critical. Though mechanically there is probably no reason why Overwhelming Critical could not be a non-epic feat.
Revised Epic Feat
Keen/Impact (increased threat range), parallels Rending (increased critical multiplier). A special mention should also be made about the Vorpal/Brutal special abilities.
New Weapon Special Ability
Rending: This property increases
a weapons critical hit multiplier. If the weapon threatens a critical
hit on a 20 then increase the weapons critical multiplier by 3. If the
threat range of the weapon is between 19-20 then increase the multiplier
by 2. If the threat range is between 18-20 then increase the critical
multiplier by 1.
Revised Weapon Special Ability
Vorpal/Brutal: This property
can only be applied to melee weapons. Upon a roll of a natural 20 (followed
by a successful roll to confirm the critical hit) the weapons critical
multiplier is increased by 5. If the damage dealt by the blow is sufficient
to slay the opponent then its head is either severed (vorpal) or pulped
(brutal). This ability stacks with the Overwhelming Critical epic feat,
but only overlaps with the Rending weapon special ability.
At each strata of power (mortal, divine, cosmic etc.) you can benefit from an internal (feat/ability) and external (magic item) increase to both your threat range and your critical multiplier. However threat range can never be increased beyond 2-20.
New Divine Abilities
Epic Magic Items
New Epic Weapon Special Abilities
Opening/Striking: This property
triples the threat range of a weapon. If the weapon normally threatens
a critical hit on a 20 then it now threatens on an 18-20. If the threat
range of the weapon is between 19-20 then it becomes 15-20. If the threat
range is between 18-20 then it is now 12-20. This ability stacks with
the Improved Critical Feat and the Superior Critical divine ability, but
it only overlaps with the Keen/Impact weapon special abilities.
Shredding: This property
increases a weapons critical hit multiplier. If the weapon threatens a
critical hit on a 20 then increase the weapons critical multiplier by
6. If the threat range of the weapon is between 19-20 then increase the
multiplier by 4. If the threat range is between 18-20 then increase the
critical multiplier by 2. This ability stacks with the (revised) Overwhelming
Critical feat and the Obliterating Critical divine ability, but it only
overlaps with either the Rending weapon special ability or the Vorpal/Brutal
weapon special abilities.
Defending Against Critical Hits
Instead of the black and white situation whereby creatures or objects are immune to critical hits, I propose a method that removes the immunity altogether and introduces new creature (or object) sub-types based on the various states of matter.
eg. A stone golem (solid sub-type) hit by a pick-axe (20/x4) would suffer x2 damage (4 - 2 = 2) upon a critical hit.
eg. A zombie (solid sub-type) hit by a vorpal longsword (19/x2, 20/x7) would suffer x5 damage (7 - 2 = 5) upon being decapitated.
eg. A wraith (incandescent/incorporeal sub-type) hit by an opening, shredding scythe wielded by a deity with both the obliterating critical divine ability and the superior critical divine ability (16/x16) would suffer x8 damage (16 - 8) upon a critical hit.
Revised Armour/Shield Special Ability
Fortification: This property
produces a magical force that protects vital areas of the wearer more
effectively, decreasing a weapons critical hit multiplier.
Sneak Attack versus Critical Hit Sub-types
A successful sneak attack should have its effect reduced (or increased in the case of fragile creatures) by 2 dice for every point the targets critical multiplier would be reduced.
eg. A 20th-level Rogue would only deal 6d6 damage (instead of 10d6) upon scoring a sneak attack upon a ghoul (solid sub-type).
Death Attack versus Critical Hit Sub-types
Creatures with the critical hit sub-types gain a bonus (or a penalty for fragile creatures) against death attacks of +6 for every point their critical multiplier would be reduced. Creatures with no Constitution score can add their Charisma bonus to their Fortitude save to survive this effect.
eg. A vampire (solid sub-type) would
gain a +12 bonus to its Fortitude save against a death attack.
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