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D&D 4E Critical Hits and Wounds in 4e

This is a rules add-on to let you cause conditions and actual long-lasting wounds. Conditions here have different levels. If someone uses a power that slows you enough times in a row, for instance, it can actually break your leg.

Usually it will just let PCs finish off enemies in a dramatic fashion. Monsters can do it back to PCs, but I designed it so that the first steps of each condition go away if you spend a healing surge, something that PCs do much more often than NPCs and monsters.

Let me know what you think.


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I originally intended it for a variant 4e where players don't have pre-built powers, but instead have basic attacks which are modified based on whatever fighting styles they know. So the 'afflict' rules would be the only way to cause conditions, rather than adding an extra layer to the rules.


I'd say that the main problem is that under the default rules, characters tend to have a limited range of conditions that they can inflict, and they tend to only be able to inflict them once per combat.

Monsters on the other hand tend to come in groups where multiple monsters in the combat will have identical powers.

This means that it's quite easy for a DM to target a single PC with the same power over and over again, and make it very likely that they will inflict a stage 3+ condition.

Meanwhile even if the PCs coordinate and inflict a stage 3 condition on a foe, chances are that foe will die before the end of the combat, so the condition will only have a minor effect. For a monster, there is almost no difference between an enduring and a permanent condition.

Additionally it's not at all uncommon for PCs to spend a long period of time bloodied during a fight, so they'll suffer from the escalation of crippling conditions, while NPCs tend to die fairly quickly after being bloodied.

I think it would work well for a custom campaign, where your build-it-yourself powers are used, and the opponents are primarily human AND there is some reason to leave foes alive.

Outside of that, anyone with any sense will abuse the hell out of psychic powers. Stage 1 is powerful, and stage 5 ludicrously so.

PCs do spend a lot of time bloodied, but the rules let you knock off any stage 1 or 2 condition affecting you whenever you spend a healing surge. So a monster might daze a PC, but his buddy could yell at him to snap out of it, and the PC would heal a bit and break the daze.

Like in 4e already, the trick to fun combat design is to use an appropriate mix of foes, and not have multiple enemies that stun or daze.

And you're probably right that the compel option needs to be toned down a bit.


Like in 4e already, the trick to fun combat design is to use an appropriate mix of foes, and not have multiple enemies that stun or daze.
Yeah, but it's fairly common to have, say, 4 footsoldiers who all have a recharging slowing power. That first round they can cripple someone permanently by ganging up on them, and they don't lose anything to do so. The player will have to deal with it via a risky ritual IF he even has access to said ritual.

For players, having 4 characters with slow is giving up the ability to have something else, so they pay a price to permanently cripple a foe, who probably promptly dies because he was ganged up on anyway, and almost certainly dies before the end of the fight. They paid more to get the ability, and having it doesn't really help them much.

I would not use this system with core 4e monsters without tweaks. I'm still figuring that out, but I'd either just turn any attack that automatically causes a condition into something that requires a follow-up attack (like PCs do with Afflict), or I'd design my own basic set of monsters, and tweak their flavor to my preference.

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