We used to use critical fumble tables in our D&D game, but we don’t anymore.
For us, an automatic miss feels bad enough! Accidentally flinging your sword at another character afterwards just adds insult to injury.
Do you use special crit success/fumble tables? This felt like the default choice when I got started, because my first DM used a book he called the Critinomicon.
It looked something like this:
(Apologies, I don't remember where I pulled this table set from!) pic.twitter.com/aUKHuhOuz7
— Justice Arman (@justicearman) June 2, 2021
I did back in the day, and tried to reincorporate some elements towards the start of Campaign 2, but found it sometimes less fun to expand the punishment. Instead, just the occasionally silly description of the fumble and minor narrative implications can be enough. Every GM loves a big roll table!!! Though I think players tend to enjoy the narrative implications more than they do the mechanics. Even epic level characters can fumble in cool ways!
Congrats on another campaign, by the way! Last session was 🔥🔥🔥 .
— Justice Arman (@justicearman) June 3, 2021
I’ve used critical hit tables in 3e, and honestly I loved them. They did add complexity/slowdown, so definitely not for everyone, and I’m not sure I’d use them again, certainly not in the form previously implemented (they relied on feats to qualify for better crit tables). I strongly dislike using fumbles beyond automatic miss at the table. They are far more punishing and feel worse than crits feel good. Plus, a 20th level fighter has about a 30% chance to roll a 1 in round where they go all-out. Best warrior in the world, more likely to stab self.
— Dan Dillon (@Dan_Dillon_1) June 3, 2021
Critical hits don’t need to be “balanced” within a given character, so adding fumbles is not an equitable situation. It just feels bad and sucks away fun, in my experience.
Description of why you missed on a 1 is best for me. In my experience, sometimes a player going wild describing why their character missed leads to a small mechanical impact, but that's usually something organic just for fun.
— Hannah Rose 🌿💻🤫 (@wildrosemage) June 3, 2021
Never used critical success tables, and haven’t done critical fumbles for many years. Fumbles end up being an unbalanced tax on characters who roll attacks more often than other characters (i.e., fighters).
— Scott Fitzgerald Gray (@scottfgray) June 2, 2021