D&D (2024) DM's no longer getting crits on PC's

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
So, as GMs, we are basically relying on the chance of a crit to carry the fear of death for us? Shouldn't we own that possibility instead?

With adversaries less swingy, it means that character death will be less by chance, and more by design. I think that may be a good thing. It effectively gives the GM more control over how deadly their encounters will be.
Yeah, relying on pure chance to "scare" players seems like wasted opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I like the uncertainty that swingy rolls bring, but if I want to scare the players I put near certain death in front of them.
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
My take on crits on weapon attacks (melee/ranged/unarmed) is they hit the tender spots like the eye, bridge of the nose, exposed side by the spleen, etc. Magic damage doesn't really target a specific spot as I consider it "all over the person" damage so it doesn't magically double in impact like a sling stone to the forehead example. I am all for changing what attacks are valid for the crit doubling as it makes the folks with improved crit ratings shine a little bit more. I champion fighter that crits gets 2d10+str where a 5th cantrip wielding wizard gets 3d10 on a firebolt.
The problem with this view is how hit points work in 5e. There is no such thing as a serious hit unless it reduces the victim to 0 AND kills that victim. Anything short of that is minor and heals to full with a night's rest. Crits are just general double damage for some reason. Under the 5e view of hit points, there's no reason why a firebolt shouldn't be able to crit like a sword.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
So, as GMs, we are basically relying on the chance of a crit to carry the fear of death for us? Shouldn't we own that possibility instead?

With adversaries less swingy, it means that character death will be less by chance, and more by design. I think that may be a good thing. It effectively gives the GM more control over how deadly their encounters will be.
I think thats always been the case, although, with no crits it takes away more room for error and surprise. I can see a value in that if you are worried about it.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I can see a value in that if you are worried about it.

It isn't about being "worried about it", to my mind.

A notable problem with playtest feedback like this is that it doesn't demonstrate synergies in the whole design very well. We are forced to think about how a given change would work all else being the same. But, the rest does not have to be the same.

Consider something we always complain about - encounter design. Many of us gripe about how the current encounter design is often a bit soft, for lack of a better term. It seems to me that the chance of crit goes hand-in-hand with encounter design. The swingier the mechanics, the more one is likely to softball the overall encounter design to accommodate that.

Removing the chance of crits from encounter design means that they can more reliably build tougher encounters that won't randomly paste the party outright!

Isn't that something many GMs want?
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
A notable problem with playtest feedback like this is that it doesn't demonstrate synergies in the whole design very well. We are forced to think about how a given change would work all else being the same. But, the rest does not have to be the same.

Consider something we always complain about - encounter design. Many of us gripe about how the current encounter design is often a bit soft, for lack of a better term. It seems to me that the chance of crit goes hand-in-hand with encounter design. The swingier the encounter, the more one is likely to softball the overall encounter design to accommodate that.

Removing the chance of crits from encounter design means that they can more reliably build tougher encounters that won't paste the party outright.

Isn't that something many GMs want?
Maybe, I just know that PF2 tightened the math up on encounter design. Its not a perfect comparison because that system has crits, but that tight math and expected encounter design becomes predictable, and thus not terribly exciting. It's true, many GMs do want that level of control, but I'm not one of them. Im not saying I want everything chucked into the wind, but I like it looser and little less controlled when it comes to combat. It is a taste thing.

I am willing to wait and see how these recharge abilities work. That is really the key to this discussion. Its not simply doing away with criticals, its a new system that doesn't seem to work with them.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
A notable problem with playtest feedback like this is that it doesn't demonstrate synergies in the whole design very well. We are forced to think about how a given change would work all else being the same. But, the rest does not have to be the same.
This is a good point. The no monster crits is intended to be coupled with special recharge abilities for monsters that do something similar or at least numerically equivalent. Without that, can we properly test and judge the crit rules?

One possibility for the interim: give monsters a recharge 6 crit ability.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yeah, relying on pure chance to "scare" players seems like wasted opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I like the uncertainty that swingy rolls bring, but if I want to scare the players I put near certain death in front of them.
Yeah. It's not that as DMs we rely on the chance of a crit to scare players. It's just one tool in that tool chest. And one that I don't intend to remove from the box.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
So, as GMs, we are basically relying on the chance of a crit to carry the fear of death for us? Shouldn't we own that possibility instead?

With adversaries less swingy, it means that character death will be less by chance, and more by design. I think that may be a good thing. It effectively gives the GM more control over how deadly their encounters will be.
At the potential cost of making combat less surprising, and thus less fun, for the DM (and the players).
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
This is a good point. The no monster crits is intended to be coupled with special recharge abilities for monsters that do something similar or at least numerically equivalent. Without that, can we properly test and judge the crit rules?

One possibility for the interim: give monsters a recharge 6 crit ability.
But how much do crits really impact any given fight? I doubt I roll 20 attacks in most fights, so on average I'm doing less than 1 crit a fight. Do some fights occasionally have more than one? Sure, but those are few and far between. The increase in damage to any given fight from crits is pretty minimal when you average it out. If they are accounting for that by softening encounters, then they really shouldn't be softening them up very much, which means that encounters won't get all that much harder if they remove crits.
 

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