Random fumble thoughts

Just had a couple thoughts about critical fumbles and wanted to share on the off-chance they hadn’t been thought of a thousand times before on roleplaying forums all over the world.

Confirming a fumble – If you roll a natural 1 but the total result would still have been enough to hit, consider it a “fumble threat”. To confirm the fumble, roll a d20 vs DC20, adding only the amount by which you exceeded the original check. For example, if you rolled a 1 against AC 12 but had a +16 to hit, you would have a result of 17 and beat the AC by 5. You’d roll a d20 and add 5 to it, thus you’d need to roll a 15 or better to avoid the fumble and have it just be a regular miss. You won’t encounter too many situations where rolling a 1 would still be enough to hit but it’s always bugged me that even the most hardened figher has a 5% chance of poking their eye out whenever they swing a sword.

As a trade-off, a change that might work well with the previous suggestion would be:

Expanded fumble range – In addition to taking a penalty to attack when using a weapon you’re unfamiliar with, you also have an increased likelihood of stabbing yourself in the foot. The amount of the range increase could be dependent on the class of weapon (1-2 for simple, 1-3 for martial, 1-4 for exotic) or the class (or size) of character you’re playing. The range could also be expanded for characters with the confused or frightened conditions.

One Comment on “Random fumble thoughts

  1. Interesting ideas. I like the idea of unfamiliar weapons being more dangerous to use. I think I’d apply that to improvised weapons.

    To clarify though, a fighter only has a 5% chance of fumbling if they “take risks” when fighting, reflected in the increased critical choices – something they can choose to forgo or can more safely replicate by taking critical-enhancing feats.