D&D 5E Advantage, Criticals, and Fumbles

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Small bonuses have almost no effect on a d20 roll, and it turned the game into the dreaded bonus hunt.
IME it's truly surprising just how often that +1 or -1 makes all the difference.
And that would be another type of bonus hunt. 5e, in particular with unchanging bonuses and adv/dis has divided the length of time needed to run a combat by a factor of 2 to 10 depending on the circumstances, while still keeping exciting, actually making way more exciting because it's so blindingly fast, there is no way I'm going to go back on these principles.

Criticals are quick and fun, and fumbles worse than an automatic miss would just slow down the game again.
I don't mind slowing things down a bit if it adds more variability and-or fun to things; but then again I don't have feats, reactions, etc. which can also slow things down so I've perhaps got more headroom to work with.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
I really like Advantage / Disadvantage as it not only improve or penalize a roll, but it do sin a tangible way by rolling 2 d20 and using the higher or lower. It's significant.

I'm fine with Critical Hit, Fumble or automatic hit or miss only applying to attack roll and not to ability check or saving throw.

I also like that extra damage on a crit is extra dice, it always grant something extra, without necessarily always be disproportionate as the damage can still be less than maximum instead of always be more devastating than max damage.

Critical Hit and (Dis)Advantage are all about potential.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
So again, whether you are operating from a purely mechanical perspective or a narrative one, I'm struggling to imagine a situation in which the design would call for a creature or enemy that could only be hit with a natural 20.
You're missing the scenario. It isn't that the PCs need 20's to hit, it is the mooks/minions trying to hit the PCs that this happens. It also happens on a round-by-round basis with spells like shield.

For example, the party is high level and fighting an adult black dragon (CR 14) in its lair. In the final battle, the party's tank (plate +1, shield +1, defense style, ring +1) is AC 24, and the kobold minions are swarming the tank to keep it from approaching their dragon "god". The kobolds will need a natural 20 to hit with their +4 attack bonus. So, if I get lucky and DO hit, it is automatically a critical hit for double damage. The kobolds can't, RAW, hit in this case for normal damage.

That just irks me.

Another scenario would be an EK in plate and shield with defense style who uses the shield spell and (for the round anyway) has an AC 26, making even orcs, gnolls, and many other humanoids up to an Ogre, need a 20 to hit. And such a PC is possible by level 3. 🤷‍♂️
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
This is why, when I start to think about consequences for Nat 1s on attack rolls, I throw all my ideas away.
Like everything except crit fumbles. Unfairly punishes players that get multiple attacks. But I do like @Bacon Bits idea of having critical fumbles for ability checks for skills you are not proficient is. It will make proficiency mean more without having to say "no, you can't try this because you are not proficient in the skill."

If you use confirmation rolls, even a high level fighter with multiple attacks will fumble less than a lower level fighter with a single attack. You just have to use the right system for it.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
If you use confirmation rolls, even a high level fighter with multiple attacks will fumble less than a lower level fighter with a single attack. You just have to use the right system for it.

But they will still fumble more than other classes with fewer attacks - just because they are rolling more. Critical fumbles penalize high attack martials. Depending on severity of the fumble rules, they're supposed big strength can become a weakness - and that sits very poorly with me.

On the other note - I really like advantage/disadvantage it's simple and effective.

I'm ok with critical hits - but tend to prefer softer criticals not massive ones. At the end of the day, the DM rolls A LOT more dice than the players, harsher crit rules tend to punish the players more in the long run.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
You're missing the scenario. It isn't that the PCs need 20's to hit, it is the mooks/minions trying to hit the PCs that this happens. It also happens on a round-by-round basis with spells like shield.

For example, the party is high level and fighting an adult black dragon (CR 14) in its lair. In the final battle, the party's tank (plate +1, shield +1, defense style, ring +1) is AC 24, and the kobold minions are swarming the tank to keep it from approaching their dragon "god". The kobolds will need a natural 20 to hit with their +4 attack bonus. So, if I get lucky and DO hit, it is automatically a critical hit for double damage. The kobolds can't, RAW, hit in this case for normal damage.

That just irks me.

Another scenario would be an EK in plate and shield with defense style who uses the shield spell and (for the round anyway) has an AC 26, making even orcs, gnolls, and many other humanoids up to an Ogre, need a 20 to hit. And such a PC is possible by level 3. 🤷‍♂️

One thing that such analysis forget is that these high AC guys tend to make lousy tanks!

The true point of a tank character is to draw attacks/hits from squishier targets with less HP. If enemies realize early that the tank is nigh unhittable, they won't bother going for him and will instead target the wizards, rogues etc. This is, particularly, a problem in 5e because few martials have abilities that force/incentivize enemies to target them instead of their allies (they exist, for ex: protection style, the paladin spell compelled duel, but are pretty limited).

The AC 16 raging barbarian tends to be a better tank than the 20+ AC fighter, for this reason.
 

Ixal

Hero
Advantage is a horrible mechanic to translate what happens in the game to rules. Its not granular enough, esoecially when multiple (dis)advantageous things come together.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
But they will still fumble more than other classes with fewer attacks - just because they are rolling more. Critical fumbles penalize high attack martials. Depending on severity of the fumble rules, they're supposed big strength can become a weakness - and that sits very poorly with me.
But if you are attacking more often, you have more chances to fumble, so of course it might happen more because you are risking more. Every time someone swings a weapon, there is always a chance it might get stuck in something on a miss, or slip from their grip, etc.

No where does it say a Fighter with 3+ attacks must take all the attacks. If they want to be "cautious", they certainly can, and risk less fumbles. Also, unless you have a TWF, this isn't happening until tier 3 and higher, with the rare exception of Action Surge being used.

If you are really concerned about it, you can always say Fighters have advantage on checks to avoid fumbles. Problem solved (again, using a confirmation roll system).
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
One thing that such analysis forget is that these high AC guys tend to make lousy tanks!
I disagree (see below) but in the scenario I outlined the reason the kobolds are swarming the tank is because they are the one trying to approach their "god". It is no different from them swarming the raging barbarian.

The AC 16 raging barbarian tends to be a better tank than the 20+ AC fighter, for this reason.
Not really. By the same logic, why would someone bother attacking a creature they can hit, but never goes down? Especially a raging barbarian, who will likely hit harder than a sword and board tank, so is more dangerous to the attackers?

How is that really any different from a someone you can't hit easily?

Both serve the same role. To serve as a target, whether they are nigh unhittable or a damage sponge.
 

Shiroiken

Legend
FUMBLES
I have no problem with critical hits, but I wish they did more with critical misses. Having the result of a nat-1 be practically identical to a nat-anything-five-or-lower is anticlimactic. It could be a lot more interesting if there were class mechanics that utilized critical fumbles more. Like, sure: your monk's attack missed, that's obvious. But maybe she also recovers a ki point. Or something. Anything.
I agree, and the trick is balance. "Fumble" always brings up bad memories, because almost universally critical fumbles are disastrous, albeit sometimes hilarious. The punishment is usually harsher than the benefit of the equal chance critical, which is why they always feel so bad. It's got to be just as equally balanced against the benefit.

Since we have critical hits, I'm okay with a critical miss (or fumble) that has a minimal impact. Since critical hits deal extra damage, the logical solution is to affect your damage after a critical miss. The simple method would be that your next hit rolls minimal damage (except if a crit, which would cancel out instead). It's entirely gamist, with no in-world logic as to why this is the case, but damage an HP are themselves gamist in the same way.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top