D&D 5E "Confirmed crits and fumbles," anyone tried it?

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
My gaming group two sessions ago observed I owned Pathfinder's (3rd edition) critical hit and fumble decks. They were curious as no one has played a prior edition before 5E. I explained in 3rd edition, one had to "confirm" a crit or hit by making the same attack again (if you hit, you've confirmed the crit; if you miss you've confirmed the fumble, otherwise it's just a hit or a miss).

Without sharing whether they liked it or not, is anyone doing this at their table, and if so have you run into any issues with 5E?
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Haven't done it in 5e but I've been doing this in my own game since forever: roll a 20, then roll another die (a d10 these days, it's changed a few times over the years) to confirm the crit and its effect.

I can't see why it'd be a problem in 5e, particularly if you want to expand the range of what crits and fumbles can achieve.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
I do it. But I also calculate crit damage differently. A crit is max damage, and then you confirm. If you confirm, it becomes double max damage, plus a d100 roll for an additional effect on a critical hit chart.
 

ECMO3

Hero
My gaming group two sessions ago observed I owned Pathfinder's (3rd edition) critical hit and fumble decks. They were curious as no one has played a prior edition before 5E. I explained in 3rd edition, one had to "confirm" a crit or hit by making the same attack again (if you hit, you've confirmed the crit; if you miss you've confirmed the fumble, otherwise it's just a hit or a miss).

Without sharing whether they liked it or not, is anyone doing this at their table, and if so have you run into any issues with 5E?
No I am not using confirmed crits right now but we are using fumbles in one game and in my experience both have major problems in 5E.

Confirming crits slows down play for no benifit really and it unbalances the game, making martials in general and Rogues, Hexblades, Paladins and Champions in specific weaker in combat and the game does not need to be biased any more towards casters than it already is.

Fumbles are worse, mostly because they also hurt martials far more than casters. A martial getting multiple attacks is going to be rolling more dice and therefore rolling more fumbles, which makes absolutely no sense when these guys are supposed to be the masters of weapon combat. For example a fighter with 3 attacks a turn will average a fumble once every 6-7 rounds of combat (5 if he uses TWF), where the Rogue doing SA will only average a fumble once every 20 turns (even less if he gets advantage) and a caster casting 50% attack spells and 50% save spells will roll a fumble once every 40 turns of combat. So your fighter with 3 attacks is fumbling about 6 times as often as your caster and over 3 times as often as a Rogue. Confirming fubles would soften it, but it would still suck and fumbles have made multiple lists of the worst homebrew rules in 5E.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
No I am not using confirmed crits right now but we are using fumbles in one game and in my experience both have major problems in 5E.

Confirming crits slows down play for no benifit really and it unbalances the game, making martials in general and Rogues, Hexblades, Paladins and Champions in specific weaker in combat and the game does not need to be biased any more towards casters than it already is.

Fumbles are worse, mostly because they also hurt martials far more than casters. A martial getting multiple attacks is going to be rolling more dice and therefore rolling more fumbles, which makes absolutely no sense when these guys are supposed to be the masters of weapon combat. For example a fighter with 3 attacks a turn will average a fumble once every 6-7 rounds of combat (5 if he uses TWF), where the Rogue doing SA will only average a fumble once every 20 turns (even less if he gets advantage) and a caster casting 50% attack spells and 50% save spells will roll a fumble once every 40 turns of combat. So your fighter with 3 attacks is fumbling about 6 times as often as your caster and over 3 times as often as a Rogue. Confirming fubles would soften it, but it would still suck and fumbles have made multiple lists of the worst homebrew rules in 5E.
Not a perfect fix by any means, but in my games crits and fumbles can happen on any combat related d20 roll. So as an example, if an enemy rolls a natural 1 on a saving throw against a wizard's spell, then it is considered a crit and that enemy would have to roll again to confirm. The opposite is also true with magic fumbles if an enemy rolls a natural 20. This does level the frequency of crit and fumbles between marshals and casters. Though it doesn't really address the way rogues might be affected, but then again thematically it does make sense. Rogues seem more methodical and choose their strikes more carefully.

I do agree that requiring crits to be confirmed in order to be a full critical hit is a problem. This is why a natural 20 in my games is special, regardless if its confirmed. Confirmation is just icing on an already delicious cake.
 


ninjayeti

Adventurer
I think confirming crits worked great in 3.x, where crits were likely to do significantly more damage. The extra roll slowed down the game a bit, but it was worth it because it was something players really got excited about (or nervous about when an enemy was confirming a crit). 5E crits are often non-events; having players roll an extra time to confirm the crit and then only getting an extra point or two of damage would seem like a waste to time. So if you want to houserule confirming crits, I would also beef up the results of getting a crit.

Personally I have never really liked fumbles, and if you take away the requirement to confirm the fumble they are going to happen much more often. Characters with two attacks are essentially going to get a fumble on 10% of their turns, which seems excessive.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
My gaming group two sessions ago observed I owned Pathfinder's (3rd edition) critical hit and fumble decks. They were curious as no one has played a prior edition before 5E. I explained in 3rd edition, one had to "confirm" a crit or hit by making the same attack again (if you hit, you've confirmed the crit; if you miss you've confirmed the fumble, otherwise it's just a hit or a miss).

Without sharing whether they liked it or not, is anyone doing this at their table, and if so have you run into any issues with 5E?
Not in 5e proper, but I did use it during the playtest. The thing is, the problem that crit confirmation was designed to solve doesn’t really exist in 5e thanks to bounded accuracy.

You see, because a natural 20 is always a hit, if a target’s AC is higher than 20+ your attack bonus, you end up with a situation where you can hit that target for critical damage, but not for normal damage. Crit confirms were created to prevent this situation - because if you can’t hit the target except on a crit, you can’t hit the crot confirmation roll.

Now, this is already a silly way to solve this “problem,” such as it is. You could get the same benefit by simply ruling that a crit on a target you can’t otherwise hit does normal damage. The only reason to use crit confirms instead of ruling is if you’re so averse to giving players any information at all that you’d rather make them roll twice every time they crit, potentially losing the extra damage if they don’t roll high enough the second time, then let them know a monster’s AC is too high for them to hit. But even if you would rather do that? It’s unnecessary in 5e because you’ll never encounter a monster you can’t hit on less than a natural 20 in that game.

Confirming fumbles is even more pointless. Literally the only purpose they serve is to maintain symmetry between natural 20s and natural 1s if you’re using crit confirmation.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Honestly, 5e is designed to be streamlined and blindingly fast, so any initiative to slow down the system is counterproductive for me.

Also, as explained by others, confirming critical hits have no special interest with bounding accuracy in the game, the mechanism in 3e/PF was only to avoid having an automatic critical hit when you could hit only on a 20 or similar higher number.
 


toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
Not in 5e proper, but I did use it during the playtest. The thing is, the problem that crit confirmation was designed to solve doesn’t really exist in 5e thanks to bounded accuracy....
Ah, that makes sense.

By the math, it appears it's (relatively) easier to confirm 5E hits than 3E due to bounded accuracy and armor class caps. That could be a problem.

For those who don't know the cards, here's an example. Rules: roll a Natural 20, then "confirm" the hit to draw a card. Otherwise, normal damage (or at our table, max damage on the weapon die regardless). They were meant to make Critical moments more dramatic and varied.

1633184277037.png
 

aco175

Legend
In 2e we had a crit chart and some wonky things came about and fumbles were less than sensible. I would try to get something easy to keep things moving. D&D has a loose abstract system of what HPs are and the system should be just as abstract.

I tried out a simple system of roll a 20 and you get an extra attack and roll a 1 and you skip the next attack. This was back in 2e/3e days. For 5e I might have an option of roll a 20 and you can choose for normal crit or get another attack. This gives an option for dealing with low-level monsters where a hit could kill them and you can move to another instead of wasting damage on the monster you are already killing. I would think about skipping a critical miss option.
 

Oofta

Legend
I tried it a long time ago and it wasn't worth the overhead. I did potential exploding crits and did confirmation of fumbles.

As others have said with bounded accuracy confirming critical hits is no longer needed. In addition, remember that any debilitating feature if allowed for both PCs and opponents is going to hurt the PCs a lot more than the opponents who are only there for 1 encounter.

Critical failures? Hate. Them. Casters just avoid attack rolls, fighters are simply SOL and far more penalized than any other class. Get enough attacks and you're fumbling every single combat. It's just plain dumb. I tried some alternatives - basically confirming the fumble with another D20 roll - to see if you really fumbled to balance things out. Still not worth it.

Personally? I'd hesitate joining a game that used either because it was just way too finicky, annoying and unbalancing in games I played.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I think confirming crits worked great in 3.x, where crits were likely to do significantly more damage. The extra roll slowed down the game a bit, but it was worth it because it was something players really got excited about (or nervous about when an enemy was confirming a crit). 5E crits are often non-events; having players roll an extra time to confirm the crit and then only getting an extra point or two of damage would seem like a waste to time. So if you want to houserule confirming crits, I would also beef up the results of getting a crit.

Personally I have never really liked fumbles, and if you take away the requirement to confirm the fumble they are going to happen much more often. Characters with two attacks are essentially going to get a fumble on 10% of their turns, which seems excessive.
Largely agreed.

Confirmed crits should carry some oomph, or at least have the potential to. We have it that on a confirmed crit (nat 20 then 8-9-0 on a d10) you multiply the total damage by 2, 3, or 4 respectively. That said, if you roll minimum damage on a 4x crit you can still end up a bit underwhelmed, but so be it. :)

As for fumbles, ideally they're rare but again can sometimes pack a punch if-when they occur. Our confirm system for fumbles is nat 1* then 1 on a d6, followed by a % roll on a table to see what happened.

* - or a roll brought down to 1 or less via penalties; but the fumble effects table for those is different and the effects are generally less harmful.
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
Personally? I'd hesitate joining a game that used either because it was just way too finicky, annoying and unbalancing in games I played.
My players wanted to try it, and I don't run an open table so I'm not too worried about new gamers.

But the math is concerning because it doesn't work like it used to, and with the ease of things like Advantage, too easy to confirm a crit and too difficult to confirm a fumble.
 

dave2008

Legend
My gaming group two sessions ago observed I owned Pathfinder's (3rd edition) critical hit and fumble decks. They were curious as no one has played a prior edition before 5E. I explained in 3rd edition, one had to "confirm" a crit or hit by making the same attack again (if you hit, you've confirmed the crit; if you miss you've confirmed the fumble, otherwise it's just a hit or a miss).

Without sharing whether they liked it or not, is anyone doing this at their table, and if so have you run into any issues with 5E?
We use them in 5e, but we also have homebrew wound points (bloodied hit points) that make crits potentially deadly so we added the confirmed mechanic to reduce their frequency a bit.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I loathe them - the decks.

More in general, confirming crits is ok, but the effects from the decks are a pain on the PCs, and nearly pointless on the foes who tend to die fast anyway. If we exclude the deck, is it worth it in 5e? I don't think so, because the effect of the crit is less spectacular - you add the dice, not the modifier. In pathfinder a 1d6+9 becomes 2d6+18 so the crit is a bigger deal.

I especially hate fumbles. They penalize martials more than casters, and particularly characters who attack a lot (like a monk or magus).
 

Stormonu

Legend
I use "confirmed crits" - actually the 2E version. Nat 20 always hits, but you get to roll an additional attack; if that hits it's treated as a second hit. If you get a Nat 20 on the 2nd roll, you hit again AND make another attack.

I have had a lot of PCs who had high AC's thus take a hit, but the opponent fails to sufficiently actually hit with the second hit. Also have had PCs who have rolled multiple 20's in a row. I think the current record is 4, followed with a hit. Highest record I believe was back in 2E, with eight 20's in a row, followed by a 19. Both times, by PCs.

I also use fumbles, but the PC/monster gets a "recovery" save. If the 2nd roll is a hit, nothing happens. Otherwise, the target is open to a Opportunity attack (which does use the enemy's reactions).

I also have "crit saves" - if a target rolls a nat 20 for the save, they not only save but if the attack would have caused damage on a miss, they take no damage OR they can choose an ally within 15 feet to reroll a failed save. Works for PCs and monsters.
 

Oofta

Legend
My players wanted to try it, and I don't run an open table so I'm not too worried about new gamers.

But the math is concerning because it doesn't work like it used to, and with the ease of things like Advantage, too easy to confirm a crit and too difficult to confirm a fumble.

There's no harm in trying of course. But for me it no matter how much I tried to balance it out it just wasn't worth the overhead.

Probably doesn't help that one of the DMs that used them used ... shall we say extreme crits and fumbles. As in if the enemy scored a crit he had a 6 sided die that had body parts. If he rolled the head your PC was decapitated. If you rolled a 1you either broke or threw away your weapon. Yay. Did I mention that he liked throw a lot of low level monsters that never seemed to roll a 1? I think he was just tired of DMing but didn't want to admit it.

When I tried a more balanced version it just added extra overhead. I don't think it is worth confirming crits in 5E because of bounded accuracy. Unless you make crits have more (or different) impact, it primarily helps monsters that have a few highly damaging attacks. Anything that relies on multiple attacks barely notices crits anyway.

YMMV of course, good luck.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I loathe them - the decks.

More in general, confirming crits is ok, but the effects from the decks are a pain on the PCs, and nearly pointless on the foes who tend to die fast anyway. If we exclude the deck, is it worth it in 5e? I don't think so, because the effect of the crit is less spectacular - you add the dice, not the modifier. In pathfinder a 1d6+9 becomes 2d6+18 so the crit is a bigger deal.

I especially hate fumbles. They penalize martials more than casters, and particularly characters who attack a lot (like a monk or magus).
There's no reason why fumbles can't apply to casters as well, particularly if you houserule that they have to roll to aim their a-of-e spells.
 

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