CRITICAL HIT AND CRITICAL FUMBLE TABLES
Some Dungeon Masters like to include critical hit and critical fumbles in their combats systems. Others simply believe the randomness of the weapon's given dice range for damage is already enough, with a roll of a 1 being a light hit and a maximum roll being a critical hit. But if one wished to include more complexity into the game, then one might wish to use some form of critical hit and critical fumble tables.
Some Dungeon Masters have gone so far as to say a natural 20 is not only always a hit, but also it is a critical hit as well. Similarly, a natural 1 is not only a miss, but also a staggering fumble. Personally, I feel this is too often an occurrence to do criticals that way.
One method I have used and like is to consider any roll, which is 10 higher than the required roll needed to hit, to be a critical hit. Also, missing by more than 10 points is a critical miss. But this can take an extra degree of time and calculations and may slow things down.
Another method uses a natural 20 followed by a subsequent roll, getting at least 5 or 10 higher than the required roll in order to achieve a critical hit. But this also takes time.
A quick method (the one I usually use) is to have every PC and NPC reroll any natural 20 or natural 1 they may roll during the course of combat. Of course, a 20 is always a hit and a 1 is always a miss, but if they roll a second 20 or a second 1, then this is a critical as well. A critical hit or critical fumble will happen, then, about one out of 400 times (1 out of 200 for both critical hits and fumbles). When a critical hit does occur, I use the following tables.
First, I determine where the hit actually landed. This may be done several ways (and may need to be if the creature hit is not humanoid), but generally I use the table below.
After determining where one was hit, and depending if the weapon used was a smashing/bludgeoning weapon or a slashing/piercing weapon, I consult the appropriate table below.
First, a few notes are in order: Most of these are additions to the normal damage, so simply add them.
Max is maximum damage that could be obtained if one rolled as high as possible. Reg is the regular damage one will still roll.
FSS is "Fail System Shock." One must roll their system shock survival roll. Failing their roll, use the damage given, but if they succeed in making their SS roll, follow the "else" instructions, like else #5 means use line number 5 in the same table. This may mean rolling a FSS roll again, but eventually you will find a result. Sometimes a modifier is given to the FSS roll, like FSS-20. This means you add 20 to the 1D100 roll (or subtract 20 from your character's SS roll score). It is a penalty and harder to make it.
Useless means the limb or limbs no longer function. You cannot use them to fight or run, or walk, or crawl, as they are useless. This is not a permanent condition, but it will remain until magical healing or even normal healing has time to correct the problem.
Internal means a certain amount of internal damage has occurred. (When indicated, use the internal damage table to see how bad the internal injury is). One is bleeding internally and it is not possible to "bind" these wounds normally. Only magic may heal these wounds (or time), and only after all other wounds are first healed. If normal healing through the passing of time is used, all internal wounds will heal last. That is, first all exterior wounds must heal or be healed before any internal wounds are healed. And before they heal, the character will continue to lose 1 hit point for each time increment given in the table below. It may be possible to survive an internal wound without the aid of magical healing if one's healing rate is better than the damage rate for the internal wound. If this is not the case, and if magical healing is unavailable, then they will eventually die from internal injuries. This is good and sort of realistic, so I like it. However, when magical healing is available (even a single cure light wounds) most internal wound considerations usually amount to nothing. It is only when such healing is not available. However, I also have healing skills on my world that surpass "healing and herbalism" and resemble surgery (healing 3). This skill may also correct internal injuries if the "doctor" is properly equipped to operate.
The Critical Tables
Finally, when rolling two ones, a fumble may occur. The DM may add other results as they see fit, or simply use the table below.
Whether you use critical hit or fumble tables or not, they do add another level of complexity to the game, and many players do like them (mostly when they are dealing them out and not so much when they are on the receiving end, but one must take the good with the bad). I hope you find these tables useful in your game.
© September of 1999