D&D 4th Edition 4E Criticals - explain to me why they're less swingy - Page 2


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  1. #11
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    I'll admit 4e crits gain in swinginess as item levels increase.

    That said, I'm willing to trade a slightly shorter combat for the cheers I see at my table wherever someone rolls a 20.
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    If critical hits were not dangerous, then they wouldn't be very exciting or scary.

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    A few things of note:

    1) Relatively few monsters get any extra damage on a crit - most just maximize it, and minions don't even do that. Thus, it is less swingy in that you rarely have an enemy make an attack that, on a normal hit, would drop a PC unconscious - but on a crit, just kills them outright. You do have some PCs do this with monsters - but since they 'die' at 0 anyway (for all intents and purposes), it isn't as big a deal.

    2) Crits giving flat amounts of damage bonuses (+1d6, 2d6, 6d6, etc) doesn't have the explosive potential that multiplying damage does. It also means that critical hits are important for everyone- whereas I've seen times when a rogue crits with a dagger is meaningless, but the full power-attacking fighter's crit will blow any enemy out of their shoes.

    3) You can still design for some high damage crits, but the total limit is still reasonable. A level 15 character with a +4 Vicious Greataxe will crit for maybe 75 damage, as opposed to the 30 or so he might do on a normal swing. That's double damage from something tricked out to be good on a crit - whereas, previously, double damage on a crit was the norm. Someone tricked out to crit with a scythe would suddenly going from a 50 damage swing to a 200 damage swing. The only attack in 4E that really gets up there is Assassin's Point - a level 29 rogue daily power designed to be absurd on a crit. And even that at its worst isn't one-shotting elites or solos. It will only one-shot a regular guy, and only then if the character is really designed to take advantage for crits.

    4) The frequency of crits is pretty strict. You crit on 20s. At epic levels, and rarely at the paragon tier, you crit on 19s. And in a few specific cases, characters can crit on 18s. In 3.0, you could be critting on 2+. And even in 3.5, which mostly fixed that, you could easily have falchion wieldings critting 1/4 of the time, starting at relatively low levels.

    Crits are certainly still significant. They are still great to see happen. But I definitely think they have much less potential for abuse (from the player's side of things), and they are much less likely to spontaneously explode a healthy PC randomly (from the monster side of things.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlesatan View Post
    However, the caveat here is that it's one-sided. Players have awesome criticals. Majority of the monsters don't (the scimitar-wielding monsters are the exception but even then, they only have the high crit property, not all those extra damage from having magic weapons).
    Yup. Criticals tend to be less swingy for the PCs. Crit-focused PCs can still pull off pretty impressive criticals against the monsters.

    However, on the monster side, this is further mitigated by elites and solos, which tend to have higher hit points, or larger numbers of monsters, so that even if a critical one-shots a standard monster, there still are four (or more) left.

    In addition, dropping a PC tends to be a bigger deal than dropping a monster since, even in 4e, it reduces a player's participation in the game. So, even if the effect of criticals is only mitigated for the PCs, the game still seems less swingy.

  • #15
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    PCs are enduring enough to take a crit even at low levels. AT high levels, monsters have such large hitpoints that even if a PC has a crazy crit bonus thing going on, he's not going to rip a monster in two.
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    I just discovered on Wednesday that crits from brutes are absolutely insane. At 3rd level a 30 damage crit in the first round of combat instantly switched our party from offense to defense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blargney the second View Post
    I just discovered on Wednesday that crits from brutes are absolutely insane. At 3rd level a 30 damage crit in the first round of combat instantly switched our party from offense to defense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blargney the second View Post
    I just discovered on Wednesday that crits from brutes are absolutely insane. At 3rd level a 30 damage crit in the first round of combat instantly switched our party from offense to defense.
    -blarg
    Ow!!

    Yeah, imagine a critical on a brute monster's big one-use power...
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    The difference is, crits in 3e were super deadly because of mutiplying bonus damage and, at higher levels, Power Attack. And because most PCs are glass cannons. 4e crits look pretty random, but aren't going to one-shot the mage.

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    Way swingy.

    Like watching the stock market the last week.

    I'm wondering how it'll play at higher levels but even with the greater amount of hit points, if a non-minion critis, it hurts and throws the whole idea of... balance out so to speak.

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