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What critical system do you use?


islan

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Though I like the standard system, I was thinking about using something else for various reasons, including just speeding up play. Right now I'm thinking about having all successes that are doubles (11, 22, etc) are criticals, which I think gives a 9% chance of success for a skill at 100 (1-10 can't get any doubles; maybe I should let 01 be a critical). One loss from this would be the special success results, unfortunately.

I've also heard other people mentioning their own methods; what system do you use, and why do you use it?

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Though I like the standard system, I was thinking about using something else for various reasons, including just speeding up play. Right now I'm thinking about having all successes that are doubles (11, 22, etc) are criticals, which I think gives a 9% chance of success for a skill at 100 (1-10 can't get any doubles; maybe I should let 01 be a critical). One loss from this would be the special success results, unfortunately.

I've also heard other people mentioning their own methods; what system do you use, and why do you use it?

Not by choice but coz its the first one what I learned and so what my poor addled brain falls back on. The Old Stormbringer version of 10% of skill.

I used to flit between lots of alternatives when running a (too) long campaign some years back, but any BRP games which I run now are at a club where we have lots of different systems so players and I all find 1/10th easiest to remember and use.

Al

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The standard one. Because then it's not me who kills someone's character, it's the rules.

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My advice is to stay with the RAW for criticals/specials. In any case, you have two viable and tested alternatives.

a) 1/10 of skill (used in SB and MRQ) is easy but not so compatible with using also specials.

B) doubles are crits is even easier, but it is useless if you allow skills above 100%. In general, avoid it for high-powered campaigns.

Both alternate systems halve the chance of a special success, because you are supposed to just not use specials when crits are 10% of the successful rolls. As victory in a combat against strong foes is heavily dependent on specials, using these variant rules might even slow down combat in some cases. So the advice is: get ready for some more math and use the standard rules.

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For the same reason as Al, I am stuck with the standard 5% critical, 20% special. I learnt the BRP ropes on RQII, and even when I switched to RQIII the old tables stayed in my head.

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My advice is to stay with the RAW for criticals/specials. In any case, you have two viable and tested alternatives.

a) 1/10 of skill (used in SB and MRQ) is easy but not so compatible with using also specials.

B) doubles are crits is even easier, but it is useless if you allow skills above 100%. In general, avoid it for high-powered campaigns.

Both alternate systems halve the chance of a special success, because you are supposed to just not use specials when crits are 10% of the successful rolls. As victory in a combat against strong foes is heavily dependent on specials, using these variant rules might even slow down combat in some cases. So the advice is: get ready for some more math and use the standard rules.

Um sortof

SBIII flavoured Criticals are double damage and ignore armour which makes them more powerful than RQIII/newBRP Specials and potentially more powerful than Crits in the same systems.

Certainly having a more granular system for crits (having more 'levels of success') CAN add to the game (I've used 5 different levels in the past). Both making resolution of the combat (as opposed to resolution of the roll) quicker and the game more funnerer. And once internalised by everyone at the table they are just as quick as having 1/10th equals critical.

However if 1/5 and 1/20 are not internalised then (unless you are the sort of super-organised GM who has slots for Special and Critical for all skills on the character sheet and you do not use any kind of modifier) the (fairly simple) functional Maths and explanations thereof does interrupt narrative flow.

It is very tempting to say that dividing by 5 or 20 is easy 'you just divide by ten and then double or halve' and that is true as far as it goes. However it does add an extra step. Not a difficult step for sure but a step nonetheless.

Summary

Campaign games and other games where people have invested time in internalising the rules Rosen's advice for using the Specials and Crits is spot on.

One-off or very infrequent games 'tis less clear cut.

Al

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I use the system as written. It's quick and easy. My experience is that after one session everyone is up to speed on doing this calculation, or we just give them a copy of the handy-dandy critical/special chart. (I'd just print this in one margin of a character sheet if you're concerned about your players calculating it.) I'd seriously recommend just going with it as written and trying it for a while before trying something else.

If you can get to 10%, just halve it for criticals and double it for specials. The only thing I've done at times is round the 10% before halving or doubling. (This increases the chances of some specials, but not by much...and it's in the players favor.)

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B) doubles are crits is even easier, but it is useless if you allow skills above 100%. In general, avoid it for high-powered campaigns.

What you can do is use doubles and give them a 10% (01-10) crtical chance for each 100% of skill. SO a character with Sword at 162% would critical on die rolls of 01-10, 11, 22, 33, 44, and 55. This gives the same percentages as the doubles method and can handle skill scores up to 1000%, more than high enough to handle anything you will ever see in game play.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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The reason I'm thinking about using this method for criticals is because of modifiers: with the RAW method, you have to calculate your special and critical successes based on your skill, which is fine. But what happens when you get modifiers to your skill? You'd end up having to recalculate your success levels every time.

I still may use the RAW method for some games, but for my current tinkering I'm liking the look of the doubles method because it allows players to roll and INSTANTLY see if they got a crit or not.

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What you can do is use doubles and give them a 10% (01-10) crtical chance for each 100% of skill. SO a character with Sword at 162% would critical on die rolls of 01-10, 11, 22, 33, 44, and 55. This gives the same percentages as the doubles method and can handle skill scores up to 1000%, more than high enough to handle anything you will ever see in game play.

A better statistic for this would probably be "for every 10% over 100%, increase the lowest crit range by 1"

So, at 100%, the crit ranges are 01, 11, 22, 33, etc

At 110%, the crit ranges are 01-02, 11, 22, 33, etc

At 120%, the crit ranges are 01-03, 11, 22, 33, etc

I think that stays in tune with the idea of crits being 10% of your total skill.

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What you can do is use doubles and give them a 10% (01-10) crtical chance for each 100% of skill. SO a character with Sword at 162% would critical on die rolls of 01-10, 11, 22, 33, 44, and 55. This gives the same percentages as the doubles method and can handle skill scores up to 1000%, more than high enough to handle anything you will ever see in game play.

Which is doable, but I do not see it as being easier or more intuitive than the RAW. For crits and fumbles, you only need to remember five magic numbers (10-30-50-70-90, i.e. the odd tens) and you know whether you criticalled/fumbled or not. It is a bit more complex with specials, but you usually do not need to make calculations in 95% of the cases. If you roll above 20, no problem. If you roll very low, no problem. If you roll in the "twilight zone" and you had modifiers, you need an on-the-fly computation, but this is usually an acceptable trade-off for a more detailed combat.

I still have to see a player who is happy to give up half of his chances of an impale (often the only opportunity he has to bring down a really powerful opponent) just for the sake of using doubles and avoiding a division of his adjusted skill by five.

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A better statistic for this would probably be "for every 10% over 100%, increase the lowest crit range by 1"

So, at 100%, the crit ranges are 01, 11, 22, 33, etc

At 110%, the crit ranges are 01-02, 11, 22, 33, etc

At 120%, the crit ranges are 01-03, 11, 22, 33, etc

I think that stays in tune with the idea of crits being 10% of your total skill.

Okay, now re-read what you and Atxtg have written. Do you really define this method simpler than the official rules (or the SB variant of 10%)?

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The reason I'm thinking about using this method for criticals is because of modifiers... You'd end up having to recalculate your success levels every time.

I just use the Easy (x2) or Difficult (/2) modifers for the same reason (ok, and some non-standard x10 & /10 ones too, sometimes). Oh, and I have electronic character sheets that calculate/print the crit/spec/fumble chances automatically...

...(unless you are the sort of super-organised GM who has slots for Special and Critical for all skills on the character sheet and you do not use any kind of modifier)...

So, do I qualify? :)

Britain has been infiltrated by soviet agents to the highest levels. They control the BBC, the main political party leaderships, NHS & local council executives, much of the police, most newspapers and the utility companies. Of course the EU is theirs, through-and-through. And they are among us - a pervasive evil, like Stasi.

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Which is doable, but I do not see it as being easier or more intuitive than the RAW. For crits and fumbles, you only need to remember five magic numbers (10-30-50-70-90, i.e. the odd tens) and you know whether you criticalled/fumbled or not. It is a bit more complex with specials, but you usually do not need to make calculations in 95% of the cases. If you roll above 20, no problem. If you roll very low, no problem. If you roll in the "twilight zone" and you had modifiers, you need an on-the-fly computation, but this is usually an acceptable trade-off for a more detailed combat.

I still have to see a player who is happy to give up half of his chances of an impale (often the only opportunity he has to bring down a really powerful opponent) just for the sake of using doubles and avoiding a division of his adjusted skill by five.

I agree, I don't find it easier, or more intuitive, for skills over 100% just doable. I still prefer the old RQ method of 5%/20%. I f9ind that just give the plays a copy of the old RQ crticall/sepcial/fumble chart on an index card or somehere on the character or note sheet works out the fastest, and allows for adjustments due to modifers easily. IN fact, I think it is probably as fast and easy as any of the supposedly "faster" methods.

But then, my core RQ players knew how to divide by 5 and could remember the 30/50/70/90 breakpoints fr the 5% critical chart. In most cases we could tell something wa a crit or special before doing the math.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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The reason I'm thinking about using this method for criticals is because of modifiers: with the RAW method, you have to calculate your special and critical successes based on your skill, which is fine. But what happens when you get modifiers to your skill? You'd end up having to recalculate your success levels every time.

You just recalculate on the fly. I really don't see what the big deal is. It's harder to calculate 15% for a tip at a restaurant and yet we do that every day. Why would it be so hard to just quickly calculate 5% or 20% of a number. Like I said before, if your players have some issues with the math just put the handing column for crits/specials/fumbles in the margin of the character sheet. (I'm pretty sure this is on some character sheets available on the net somewhere.) Then they can just look and see if their adjusted skill of 73 is a special, critical, or not. They'll pretty much have this memorized a couple of sessions in.

I still may use the RAW method for some games, but for my current tinkering I'm liking the look of the doubles method because it allows players to roll and INSTANTLY see if they got a crit or not.

This actually seems more complicated, and far less intuitive, than just using the method as written. I really do recommend trying it RAW first. It actually adds a bit of suspense when someone rolls right on the edge and everyone quickly figures up whether it's a critical or not.

Remember that you don't even need to bother most of the time. Unless a skill is over 100, only rolls of 20 or less even need to be bothered with. You can get there pretty quickly by quartering or halving for the appropriate skill. With skills in the 75 range, then only rolls under 15 are worth thinking about, for skills ~50, rolls under 10, etc. In a real game, there are only a couple of rolls in a typical session where anyone has to stop and calculate anything. Most of the time it's obvious that it's a failure, success, critical, or some sort of special. The border for calculating always seems to fall at the critical/special level.

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Okay, now re-read what you and Atxtg have written. Do you really define this method simpler than the official rules (or the SB variant of 10%)?

As I said at the the beginning of this thread, I was thinking about using this method for a variety of reasons, and was more interested in other people's methods than defending my own. But since people seem to keep on having a problem with it, here is another reason: I'm thinking that this method would bring the system more in line with one of the optional contested rolls mechanic, which I dub the "roll under but high" method, which the RAW method doesn't seem to work with so well because you end up with "the lower I roll the worse I am, UNTIL I hit this one minimum point, in which case I auto win".

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to use this method, I'm just tinkering around and want to know what other tinkerings people have done in the same vein.

PS: I would also like to point out that I have never claimed this method to be "simpler," just that it would be faster. I'm just the kind of guy who likes to see exactly what a result is right when I roll it.

Edited by islan
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One method, used in Harn, but easily adaptable to BRP is the "fives and zeroes" method. In Harn, any roll than ends in a 5 or a 0 (10, 15, 20, 80, 95, etc). is a critical. Either a cortical success or a critical failure depending of if the roll is under the skill % or not.

Now with BRP we could do somthing like this for crticals and specials. We could even change to make crticals any rolls than end with a 1, and specials any roll that ends with a 2. We could even adapt it so that only ever other digit (01, 21, 41) counts as a crtical and the others (11, 31, 51) count as specials.

This would eliminate the math but still give the same crit and special percentages as the standard system. If we split up the range from crits and specials a bit we could expand the result for skills over 100%.

For opposed tests, I'd be more inclined to use a D20 and go with the Pendragon method. That or the old ICE method off adding the skill to the die roll and rolling high. D100 and rolling low is probably the worse set up for opposed resolution.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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One of the main reasons I have never liked doubles as crits is

if you have a 98% skill, your only two failures are 99 and 00,

both of which are now fumbles.

Hm, I never thought about how fumbles would work in this system, but I wouldn't want it to be generated the same way criticals are: I can't even figure out what the common chance of that would be, but it seems like it would be too high of a chance. I would probably just keep the normal rules for how fumbles work, or maybe not even use them at all. I also would not count 00 as a double, since it really stands for 100.

PS: Even in RAW I think with 90+ you still will get a fumble on a 00. I think I decided on a houserule that once you hit 90 then you have 0% of a fumble, but I can't remember right now.

Edited by islan
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I use:

Specials: Skill / 5 rounded down.

Criticals: Skill / 20 rounded down.

It's quick to calculate.

:beetle:

Even quicker, using the above formulas as a base,

Specials are approximately the Skill's hundreds and

tens digits multiplied by two (i.e. 87% is 8 * 2 or 16%

though if you divided it out correctly it's 17%) and

crits are approximately the Skill's hundreds and

tens digit divided by two (i.e 87% is 8 / 2 or 4%,

which is the same as 87 / 20 rounded down). This

works perfectly well above 100% as well, with say a

skill of 163%, specials are 16 * 2 or 32% and crits

are 16 / 2 or 8%.

-V

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As I said at the the beginning of this thread, I was thinking about using this method for a variety of reasons, and was more interested in other people's methods than defending my own. But since people seem to keep on having a problem with it, here is another reason: I'm thinking that this method would bring the system more in line with one of the optional contested rolls mechanic, which I dub the "roll under but high" method, which the RAW method doesn't seem to work with so well because you end up with "the lower I roll the worse I am, UNTIL I hit this one minimum point, in which case I auto win".

I can see the argument for the change in this case. One of the things that's disconcerting to me about the blackjack method in MRQ is that high rolls are better, so long as they're under the skill, but criticals (no specials there) are still on the low end.

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