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#1 Yepesnopes

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:03 AM

 Hello,

Short ago I was house ruling that my characters, when they inflicted a critical wound, could choose between applying its effect, or inflicting a number of normal wounds equal to the severity rating of the critical wound.

With the arrival of Heros Call and specially the card "Weaponmaster Strike" I decided to withdraw the house rule, for being may be too powerful.

But then on the last session, critical hits just felt too…boring, flat or just irrelevant. Up to the point that PC do not want to spend comets or boons in activating critical hits.

Which are your thoughts /house rules (if any) regarding this subject?


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#2 Ralzar

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:23 AM

I haven't implemented any houserules but I absolyutely agree. The critical rules seem to be designed to hurt players, but not NPCs. The critical effects can be a real pain for players, but most of them are next to irrelevant for NPCs, becasue they have littel effect during the fight. I don't think I've ever played an RPG where criticals have been so lacking in "oomph". The best effect that comes out of it is that if one of us kills an NPC with an attack that causes a Critical, the GM will usually give a description of the kill that matches the Critical. So you're basically just drawing a Critical card as a storytelling aid, not as a mechanic for doing impressive damage.



#3 Nishra

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:04 AM

Compared to the 2.ed, a critical hit has lost its horror for NPC´s but somehow got stronger vs PC´s esp. the Omens of War wounds can bring you down fast and hurt you permanently. We played the "s.rating for wounds" house rule and even with those rarely a player chooses to deal critical dmg since most action cards have a comet on them, which will result in stronger benefits. The 3. ed in my opinion isn’t meant to have that "crits" anymore since players have access to so many powerful actions compared to the NPC´s (who have some but aren’t that specialized). So rather then going for "full attacks" and do critical dmg we now try to get that "reckless cleave" or the "mighty swing" to connect and have the powerful influence of a "crit" build in the overall dmg and performance of those cards.
If you are looking for "new ideas" how about  this "If the critical rating of the overall critical wounds exceed the TO of an NPC he is k.o/dead" ? It would buff the PC´s but that seems to be what you are looking for ?
 

 



#4 k7e9

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 05:54 AM

my players love to apply Criticals, and allways try to apply as many as possible. Two out of three PC's have Vicious weapons at this point. I've found that the effects often are useful to the players, decreased soak, decreased strength, suffering fatigue/stress etc. are all very useful effects.

Furthermore, when the players inflict a severe injury, I apply the permanent effect instantly. Making cards like head shot, gammy leg, severed sword/shield arm very powerful indeed (they essentially take the enemy out instantly in one way or another).

I added damage for the critical rating initially, and felt that it was a bit flat and flavourless. The criticals have more narrative impact than some normal wounds. But I guess it's different from every group.



#5 BigKahuna

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:59 PM

Ya Im going of with the above poster.  This game has a lot of abstraction anyway which really should be used as examples of the flexibility that can be applied to the rules.  In as a whole any time you make up a rule on the fly that benefits the group you won't get any complaints, even if in the future you are completetly inconsist with it.  The only time you really have to be careful is with negative effects.

I generally just try to keep the game in a narrative and as such critical hits on the players I let them narrate and draw cards according to the rules, but when they critical hit henchmen for example I will often just make up a cool scene or even let them do it and this is really where I promote the idea that you describe what and how you are going to do something, so that when you succeed we have a kind of natural "this is the result" narration afterwards.

Here is kind of an example of how I do it.

 

Lets say Bob the archer is at medium range and several beastmen are barring down on him.  He decides he wants get a little closer and than shoot double pistols at the enemy.  He narrates the scene "I'm going to run up, get to one knee pull out my dual pistols and aim both guns at the head of the charging beastmen, secretly hoping I blow his head off and demoralize the rest of the charging beastmen".

So right there are have what the player is doing and what he is hoping the result is.  He if critical hits the beastman, his head will most certainly get blown off and I might take 2 morale points off the moral track for the beastman as a result to show that he managed to acomplish what he hoped he would.

In this case I might not even bother drawing a critical damage card or calculating soak or anything, effectively using the power of YES to let the scene be as cool as the player hoped it would.  Had he failed however, or gotten some negative effects I might change things up and put him at a disadvantage, but I would probobly stick closer to the rules since its a negative effect on the player.



#6 Yepesnopes

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:36 PM

Thanks for the ideas!

I would like to add a self-criticism here. The idea of narrating the critics or even "ignoring" as in the example of BK are very good indeed. When we jumped to the 3rd edition of WFRPG I realized that we are a heavily "mechanistic" group of players (myself included).

It leaves me a dual feeling, from one side we have been having fun like this for many years, so why change the ways now? but from the other side I cannot avoid but feeling that 3rd edition gives you much more if you play more from a narrative approach.

I am trying to change my ways and that of my players, but it goes slowly (and I am not sure it will work). So, thanks for the tips, I think I will try to incorporate a bit more the power of narrative description into critical wounds, lets see. Nonetheless, I will have some house rule for back up in case the narrative dos not please my players :)


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#7 BigKahuna

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:17 PM

Well if its any consolation I find that the hardest part of converting to more abstract and rules lighter games starts and ends with the GM.  The players generally  will jump at the chance to do anything narrative given the oppertunity.  Most groups have power gamers and crunch based players, but I find in as a whole the GM's tend to be the biggest arbitrators of that style of play and sort of lead by example and setting a presidence to "we stick to the rules".

Warhammer I think if analyzed as a mechanical system wouldn't hold up very well and is full of holes.  Things like Action Card and profession traits for example are part of a very losely fitting quasi mechanic that is intentionally vague and often left to GM discretion.  Things like Corruption rules and social encounters all hint a the fact that if your looking for tight fitting rules you will be disapointed.

That said though its not without rules either and its important to note that while there is plenty of abstraction, the intent of the abstraction is not to go back and break rules or live outside of them.  There are rules for example for what happens when you critical hit a henchmen (they take damage equal to the critical hit strength), and so you usually do have rules to fall back on.  But the golden rule every good GM and role-playing system should follow is that the narrative always takes presedence over the rules and even in 4th edition which is about as crunchy a system you can get, in particular as it applies to combat, this is, in fact described in the openning chapter of the DM guide.

Role-playing games make for poor board games and as we discovered with 4th edition D&D rules even the most honest attempt at balance, structure and rules definition leaves the game full of unabalances and holes, but the mere attempt to cover everything closes many opertunities for narrative storytelling as players are less likely to accept the GM whim if they are accustomed to a game that has strict rules. 

If I were you I wouldn't announce to the group "hey we are going to try something different, or Im going to infuse more of this kind of thing".  Just suprise them and do it sporadically.  I personally found that if I sat my players down and explain to them "hey Im going to do this", than suddenly the "rules lawyering" comes out.  But if I just implement something on the fly, aka, they see it more in practice rather than a concept, than the resistance just vanishes and I think its because in the end the most fun thing to do is to encourage some of the more interesting narrated actions players perform because it has a more natural sense of basis in reality even if it is abstracted to a degree.  I don't know if that makes sense but as an example, if I say "from now on a critical hit is a kill".. suddenly its a rule.. If I just mentally decide to do it and implement that into the game, no one seems to notice that I have created a new rule.. in particular when in certain circumstances I might decide (hey this fight is going to be too boring if these beastman just get their heads blown off) so I might instead narrate that half the beastmens head gets blown off and they are still charging!!.. Suddenly the scene is even more intense and freightning full of imagry yet the player still get satisfaction that his narrated effort was reward… but because I didnt announce it as a rule… no one is rules lawerying it and just playing off it.

Hope that makes sense but the simple way to look at it, try to make every scene awsome and encourage the players to participate in that by rewarding them.. but just dont make rules too defined and overt so that players arent trying to exploit your effort to create interesting scenes to make their results better than the rules could normally make them.  In particualr when it comes to combat.



#8 BigKahuna

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:34 PM

Just wanted to add as well, since my post above was so focused.  Its good to add some crunch for players that like crunch and so thats not to be discouraged at all, in fact I think you do amazing crunch.  But suffice to say it comes down to GM focus.  There is only so much time we have in our lives to dedicate to our campaigns, so the question is do you spend time preparing an amazing story, with great encounters and characters.. or do you spend it making house rules for every possible scenario that could creep up.  To me, its fun to create crunchy house rules and I do enjoy doing it, but for the benefit of the game I know that the more I work with the story the better the game is as a whole.



#9 LoveSkylark

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:06 PM

 I don’t think the rule of YES and being a better GM applies to the original topic here, though they are relevant.

Yepesnopes point out  very valid issue with the critical system, it is designed to one sided, crits cause the player long term grief but have little impact on the (short living) creatures.  The problem in 3rd Ed is that the two are just too different, look at fatigue and stress impacts the differently.

I do believe we need a house rule for this, not something that impacts the game balance or fight sequence too much, just something that gives it a little more flair. 

As soon as players learn how the system work they start ignoring crit effect cards and start focusing on damage only.

One idea would be to assign weapons a crit effect (Blunt, Edge, Pierce, Fire etc.), then let the severity of the crit determine some minor effect on a table, Blunt2 = knock back, Blunt3 = Knock down, etc



#10 BigKahuna

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 11:34 PM

I would be weary of introducing new mechanical concepts into the game that aren't inline with other concepts.  There really are no knock back or knock down rules, so your inventing them.  I would try to instead mimic existing mechanics if I where to do something like this.  We already have established that there is a critical hit deck from which you draw when you make a critical hit.  So why not create a new type of deck called "Henchmen Critical Hits" and design cards for that deck around mechanical functionality that already exists.

An example of such card might be

"A crushing blow to the head of your opponent startles his allies, all allies of this creature/Npc suffer 1 misfortune dice for the remainder of the round".

Or

"You bash the leader of this group knocking him to the floor, for the remainder of this fight this group of henchmen gets -1 fortune dice for attacks."

EON is a good tool for creating such cards. 

The nice thing about a system like this is that its in line with already exsting mechanical functions of the game, so all your really doing is drawing critical hits from a different deck for monsters and using existing mechanics.  Simple, effective and doesn't require complex rules that try to mimic a tactical mini that WFRP is not, keeping it abstract in the same way the game already functions in.
 



#11 Nishra

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:15 AM

Hey there ;)
So first of all I want to address a statement from bigkahuha - >yes there are rules for knocking an enemy "down" or prone, that’s how its stated at some AC´s in the game. You have to use a movement to stand up again and attackers get an advantage of 1 fortune dice.
Second there is absolutely no need for critical cards for henchmen since you apply the sev. rating which will make them die right and left and that’s how it should be for cinematic effects. The question here is "how to handle normal NPC´s and critical wounds?" Because they get them like the PC´s do but sometimes won’t make it through a fight to appear again and those crits come in rather useless?
Well I though about some new ideas but I believe the crits on NPC´s shouldn’t affect them any harder then the PC´s so it’s not that easy to deduce a system that works and won’t give a huge advantage to the Players and is also giving them a reason to apply crits…
So I’m putting out this idea: “If an enemy gets hit by a critical attack he must succeed a resilience check against the total number of critical wounds he suffers or he will die/fall unconscious”. That would take the TO of stronger opponents into regard as well as making the first critical count.
Example:
If Yorn hits a BM with 9dmg+1 crit the BM soaks 5 and would get 4 wounds and 1 critical. The GM would now roll a resilience check against 1 challenge die to see if he can take this hit or if he’s gone for good. If he withstands and would suffer another critical wound in this encounter, he would have to make another check against a challenge of 2.

 



#12 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:26 AM

What I have done is when a PC scores a critical wound, it applies the critical effect and does additional wounds equal to its severity. I also add 2-3 wounds to every enemy to compensate.

It has worked out fine at my table.


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#13 Thug

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:50 PM

Nishra said:

 “If an enemy gets hit by a critical attack he must succeed a resilience check against the total number of critical wounds he suffers or he will die/fall unconscious”. That would take the TO of stronger opponents into regard as well as making the first critical count.
Example:
If Yorn hits a BM with 9dmg+1 crit the BM soaks 5 and would get 4 wounds and 1 critical. The GM would now roll a resilience check against 1 challenge die to see if he can take this hit or if he’s gone for good. If he withstands and would suffer another critical wound in this encounter, he would have to make another check against a challenge of 2.

 

This is quite good solution. If you want to avoid additional dice rolls I propose a rule: "If a NPC suffers a number of criticals above its threat rating, it will die/fall unconscious”.

I will playtest this rule in my next play session and tell how it goes.



#14 Thug

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:54 PM

…or more grittier version of the above rule:

"If a NPC suffers a number of criticals equal to its threat rating, it will die/fall unconscious”.



#15 Yepesnopes

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:07 PM

Thug said:

…or more grittier version of the above rule:

"If a NPC suffers a number of criticals equal to its threat rating, it will die/fall unconscious”.

I like the version without the dice roll. I liked the original idea but I didn't like to introduce yet another dicre roll. Please let me know how it goes in your session regarding the rule


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#16 Yepesnopes

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:10 PM

Doc, the Weasel said:

What I have done is when a PC scores a critical wound, it applies the critical effect and does additional wounds equal to its severity. I also add 2-3 wounds to every enemy to compensate.

It has worked out fine at my table.

I was using this with an OR instead of an AND, and I quit it due to the card in Hero's Call. But may be you are right, may be just giving a few extra wounds to enemies (equal to the threat raiting may be?) and just modifying the card, so it does not loose sense will be enough.


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#17 Thug

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:19 PM

In our last session yesterday we were using the rule

"If a NPC suffers a number of criticals equal to its threat rating, it will die/fall unconscious”.

It worked out fine. The battles were vs. low level enemies (skavens and ruffians) that had threat ratings of 1 and 2. Our characters were rank one and only one of them is combat oriented character who is wielding great weapon. He killed several enemies and I think that one of the kills was a result of the above rule (his single Thunderous Blow caused two criticals on a ruffian which was enough to kill that weakling). Some of his blows vs rats also caused enough criticals but they also caused enough wounds to kill them, so the rule didn't come into play. The rule adds excitement to the combat because it is more fun to see if the attack causes enough criticals than just calculate the same old wound score.

 

 

 



#18 LoveSkylark

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:46 AM

I just when over the critical wound stack and just removed alot of the no combat penalty cards and it looks alot better.



#19 Ralzar

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:22 AM

LoveSkylark said:

I just when over the critical wound stack and just removed alot of the no combat penalty cards and it looks alot better.

Yeah, I recently did much the same. I just removed a bunch that I thought were boring and weak. When someone gets a critical, it should have a noticable effect.






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