The other day I posted a brief combat overview for Swords Against the Outer Dark: Sword & Sanity Roleplaying. I am glad to report that I received a lot of feedback on this post. Overwhelmingly, there were many positive things said about the way I have decided to handle Initiative. There were also some concerns with the Critical Damage rules I presented, which has had me brainstorming about a different approach these past couple of days, and this morning I woke up with what I feel is an elegant solution. Here is what I have in mind...
First, I should mention that Hit Points (HP) are calculated a bit differently than standard Dungeons & Dragons. All characters, not matter which Class, begin the game with a number of HP equal to their Constitution (CON), which would between 8 and 18 since Ability Scores are generated by rolling 2d6+6. This value is not adjusted by CON at 1st level. Beyond 1st level, HP are rolled as per standard D&D Hit Dice and CON adjustments are added. Beyond 9th level, HP are not calculated by rolling Hit Dice, but receive a set number of HP per level and CON adjustments do not apply. Warriors use 1d8+2 Hit Dice, and gain 3 HP per level after 9th, so a Warrior with an 18 CON (+3 HP adjustment) has the potential to have 99 to 232 HP by 20th level (if my hasty math is correct).
Keeping all this in mind, this is what I have come up with for potential weapon damage and Critical Damage:
- Damage dice are set at a standard d4, and the number of dice rolled depends on the size of the weapon.
- Damage dice do not vary due to Class (as per the previous rules I presented), but each Class has a Base Damage Bonus (BDB) they receive as they gain levels.
- Small weapons = 1d4
- Medium weapons = 2d4
- Large weapons = 3d4
- Roll Xd4 for potential damage. When 4 is the result on any of the dice, Critical Damage has been dealt, allowing those dice to be rolled again and added to the damage total.
- These additional damage rolls are not open ended, and offer only one additional roll of the dice, even if another 4 is rolled. If, for instance, damage is being rolled for a large weapon and three of the dice have a result of 4, then all three dice can be rolled one additional time each, and their results added to the damage total.
- Critical Damage dealt from a small sized weapon would potentially range from 5 to 8 points of damage.
- Critical Damage dealt from a medium sized weapon would potentially range from 6 to 16 points of damage.
- Critical Damage dealt from a large sized weapon would potentially range from 7 to 24 points of damage.
- Damage is adjusted by Strength and BDB once all dice have been rolled.
- Optional Rule: Treat Critical Damage dice rolls as open ended, so anytime a 4 is rolled, that dice is rolled again and added to the total damage.
I believe handling Critical Damage in this fashion eliminates much of the unwieldiness found in the rules presented before. It also addresses the higher potential for 1d4 damage weapons to land Critical Damage rolls, since all damage is now based on an Xd4 standard. And finally, it allows me to assign the d4 a specific "something special" in the rules, which is a goal I have for each dice used in the game.
Now I put this out there for you guys to look over, and tell me what you think. I have not playtested these rules as of yet, but I believe they are going to work just fine once in play.