Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Narrative criticals

First off, let me just say I like criticals. The thrill of seeing the dice indicating that something wonderful/awful is going to happen is like no other. The drawback of course is to have to find those critical tables, rolling another die and all that which slow down the game. Maybe there is another way?

This fine post is one solution, where the damage is rolled off one small table and the game effects are narrated. Well, if you don't like those newfangled big words, made up on the spot.

Let's take that one step further in the player empower direction. If you do sand boxing, player initiative rules, right?

Let's assume you roll d20 to attack, and that low is good. Then, on a roll of 1, turn to the player that just rolled a critical success and ask them. "You just did something awesome. Let's hear what it was?" Likewise, when someone rolls a 20, ask them. "Now you have messed up. Let's hear how it went wrong." Players agency, right? As experience have shown that nobody is as brutal when describing a fumble as someone who inflict it on themselves.


  1. Just curious why you switched so that 1 is good is 20 is bad? Trying to screw with our heads, I presume =)

    Great idea, yours and the original, by the way.

    1. Because not every game is D&D, perhaps?

      In Flashing Blades, frex, 1 is a critical success and 20 is a fumble.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, both of you!

    Let's say I picked 1 being good just to keep everyone on their toes. ;)

  3. Just noticed that you had linked to my blog post :)

    I like your idea of the player basically narrating what happened. Take things a step further and get everyone involved


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