[RPG] How would changing critical hits like this affect the game


Everyone gets excited when they see that dice roll turning up a 20. A 20 on a test means that you succeeded on what you were trying to do in the best way possible — it's a rewarding situation that makes up for all those critical failures.

But, sometimes in combat, it doesn't quite feel like that. You see that 20, you roll one more weapon dice and… you roll so bad that the damage doesn't feel critical at all, doing less or as much damage as a normal attack.

I know that there are feats for re-rolling that 1 or 2, but I wanted crits to feel more deadly either way.

I was thinking about instead of rolling the weapon dice twice on a critical, give the player/monster a maximized weapon dice and then rolling one weapon dice+mods as normal.

I'm just worried about 2 things that comes to my head:

  • First, that I might be making weapons with higher damage dices like the greataxe (1d12) too strong, but again, these kind of weapons always had a higher crit modifier on 3.5e and pathfinder.

  • Second, classes and skills that work with advantage (Rogue especially) could end up with a high damage boost.

I suck at math so I don't know how this will turn out, also, I might be missing some other skills/mechanics that could take too much advantage of this change. So, would applying this rule unbalance my game in some way?

Best Answer

Having played with this exact houserule for over a year, I can say with some confidence: This houserule does not make much of a difference to the game, except that it does indeed prevent the feeling of disappointment that crits can sometimes cause.

Mathematically, the strongest case for this is indeed the d12, which, on a crit, will deal an average of 13 damage (normally), or 18.5 damage (with this houserule in play). That's an average increase of 5.5 damage, which, honestly, is not a lot.

One caveat to the above: It assumes that your houserule will only work once, i.e. a high-level Half-Orc Barbarian will only get to maximize 1 of the 6d12s he rolls when he crits.

The second thing to consider is that crits are just not common enough for houserules like this one to have a big impact on the game. High-level Champion Fighters get them on 3/20 attacks instead of 1/20, and Assassin Rogues get a guaranteed crit every time they manage to surprise an enemy, but even those classes don't get crits in any way reliably.