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You are here: Home --> DragonBlog --> A Year of Living Critically

A Year of Living Critically

I’m at FanExpo in Toronto and talking to a young artist about the T-shirt I am wearing (Trust Me, I’m a DM – available online, go buy a dozen now) and he is telling me how he loves the shirt because he has been a Dm since he was 7 years old. I replied that I started my DM life in 1983. His response was a quiet “…Dude! That was the year I was born”.
Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Roger (Alacrity on the Inn) and I am an old school gamer – I still have my 1st edition rules and I play a 2e/house rules hybrid. I figure that I will have to read the 4th edition rules one day because you can’t communicate with the global D&D world if you don’t stay current. So as much as I can be an old codger about things (in my day we had THAC0, and we like it!), the world marches on whether you want it to take a break or not.
So this brings me to my critical tables. I have a series of critical tables that I stole from Rolemaster when it first came out. Back in those days, with larceny in our hearts, John and I bought the rulebooks, then he’d photocopy them at his dad’s work, and then we’d sell them to our friends to make back the money for the books (we were non-profit – really.). And to think that I now work in printing and the mere mention of copyright infringement will send me into a speech about piracy and plundering copy. Oh well, the beatniks of the 60’s sold out too, so I’m no different. These tables are based on a percentage die system but I modified them on the fly to the joy of those who game with me. They revel in the chance to here in the description of how there critical has disabled an opponent, and cower at the possibility of the fumble going very wrong. In many ways, the tables make the game because instead of the simple 2x, 3x number, the charts allow for some detail, often gory, that made the game seem real. I guess everyone needs a little Tarantino in the D&D once in awhile. (Shot strikes foe in chest, sending him back ten feet to a spot suitable for dying)
Where was I? Oh yeah. My critical tables are over 20 years old. Considering they are copies on 20# bond, I am not sure how long they will last. So I would like to start a grand project of redoing my critical tables and making them “game generic” as possible. The hard part of this task will be the balance between keeping the charts as useable as possible in most D&D systems without losing the original flavour of the tables. More detail will follow as I start working on the charts. The real Grand Grand Scheme would be to recreate the table and them work with Olan to make them into a random generator on the inn. But I have a list of projects as long as my arm (and I’m a big guy) that I have started and stopped. How to make sure I complete this? Real Life has a way of taking time away from you and you can spend months without working on a project. This bothers me because I would like to finish something this year and get back into writing.
So, taking inspiration from the Julie & Julia Project, I present – A Year of Living Critically - My attempt to complete a major project in a year put into words via a blog. No doubt it will meander all over the place, sometimes off topic and sometimes on, but so do I so at least it will be real. If I finish early, great, then I will move on to other D&D articles I have on my list, like my mana based magic system and dragons in Audalis.

How will it turn out ... Stay tuned Readers.

posted by Alacrity on 7/14/2020 at 04:04:42 AM Digg Technorati Blinklist Furlreddit


New gaming content from the big guy himself... I can't wait!

posted by t_catt11 on 9/08/2009 at 01:18:30 PM

Whaaaa? Alacrity blogging? So the hell froze over and nobody told me?

posted by Raven on 9/08/2009 at 03:13:16 PM

Go Dad!

posted by MMV on 9/08/2009 at 03:39:17 PM

Critical descriptions made easy and descriptive? Sounds sublime.

posted by Sibelius Eos Owm on 9/08/2009 at 05:07:04 PM

One thing I really do enjoy are critical/fumble tables. My friend once told me about a table he used, and I think that on one of them an entry read "You step on a turtle, lose your balance, fall and break your neck." For those wondering, I think it was the fumble table :P

posted by Skari-dono on 9/09/2009 at 07:20:03 AM

Actually - My fumble table has "you slip on an imaginary turtle and fall without grace. Lose two rounds to recover", so it may be the same chart.

posted by Alacrity on 9/09/2009 at 08:52:00 AM

Yes. we know Rolemaster, the chart system, we still have our books.

In that vein we also use a hit table even in our D&D games. Jeanne AKA Brianna and I AKA Dragon Mistress (Joanne) made it up for our own homegrown system. It is not RM Critical hit table, but it is great to embellish the D&D "you hit" reply for DM's.

A player role his D20 to hit and then a D100. On the table is a list for General shots, (uncalled shots). basically the human body in broken up into square inches and assigned part of the 100 percent of the total body. One can hit from the crown of the skull to the toes. So when a player hits their foe they also roll where they hit. We also have critical areas which do double damage, like in an certain areas of the head including the eyes, or heart, or kidneys and then is the dreaded shot for males :) 69 is in the......manhood area.

It gives a far better feeling in combat when one takes out a sword arm, a leg, or blinds a person. There are also lists using 100 for called shots, for half body, torso, limbs, neck, or the head, of course there are to hit deductions for calling a shot and they depend of the area and then there is a speed factor, is the target moving faster that the attacker, this is usually for ranged weapons.

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