From the days of yore (when Iron Crown Enterprises introduced their Law series), we’ve had a collective fascination with elaborate random charts for dealing with the extremes of combat. Critical Hit Publishing – aptly named, to be certain – brings you a deck of 75 cards to enhance your 5th Edition game with the insane potential found in a natural 20. Of course, for those who want insanity at the Natural 1 end of the scale, there’s a whole deck for you, too.
It’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye, then it’s a critical hit!
There are many players and GMs out there who feel most role playing games are already quite lethal enough without adding insult to injury. This is obviously not the way we feel at Critical Hit Publishing. In fact, adding an additional layer of risk and lethality to combat can not only enhance the overall excitement of the game, but it can encourage role play in several ways. Firstly, role playing is enhanced by compelling players to consider alternatives to combat. After all, when there is a chance that a lowly orc could slice off a character’s hand in combat, they might want to think twice before simply slaughtering their enemy. Secondly, critical hits can often leave scars or even permanent maimings. It is much more interesting to have a character with an eye patch if you know exactly where and how the eye was lost. Such maimings can offer opportunities for characters to develop prejudices, fears, vendettas, and other personality traits that can become pivotal to the story. And thirdly, critical hits can inspire players to create meaningful descriptions of their actions in combat. So rather than simply saying: “I attack with my sword for 6 points of damage,” they might describe the swing, the look on their face or the face of their opponent, and the result. When the players really start to enjoy describing their scenes, even a massive fumble becomes a fun part of the story, and I guarantee that it will be discussed long after the game is over. “Hey, do you remember that time Borek broke his sword fighting that orc chieftain and he ended up killing him with just the pommel!”
This deck contains 75 unique critical hits that range in severity from simply losing a turn while juggling your weapon to an obliterated head. These large, tarot-sized cards come with instructions, definitions, healing options for critical hits, and a rule variant that allows players to use Inspiration to reduce the effects of the crit. These cards can be used for any weapon, as well as ranged attack spells.
Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
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