Critical Hits & Grievous Wounds


Using a resource many of the excellent ideas about critical hits I've seen on this board, I've created a new system. It makes combat significantly more dangerous, but them's the breaks.

Sorry for the formatting errors, as I'm cutting and pasting.

Let me know what you think

- DMW -



The system below replaces the standard procedure for resolving critical threats and critical hits. Every successful hit has a chance of causing critical or grievous damage, regardless of whether the attack roll falls within the attack’s critical threat range. To determine if a successful hit is standard, critical or grievous, roll a d20 and consult the Wound Severity Chart. This roll is modified by the attack’s critical threat range as per the table below.

Critical Threat Range Wound Severity Table Modifier
------------------------ -------------------------------------
20 + 0
19 - 20 + 1
18 - 20 + 2
17 - 20 + 3
16 - 20 + 4
15 - 20 + 5


D20 Roll Severity of Hit Effect
--------- ----------------- ---------
01 – 10 Standard Standard damage only
11 – 15 Critical Damage x critical multiplier
16 – 20 Grievous Damage x critical multiplier;
Roll on the Grievous Wound


D20 Roll Hit Location Wound Effects
----------- ------------- ------------------
01 – 04 Leg Loss of Dexterity bonus to DV;
Base movement –10’; Bleeding
05 – 08 Arm Attack rolls –2; Skills that suffer an
armor check penalty –5; Bleeding
09 – 18 Torso Bleeding
19 – 20 Head Blinded (see the Blinded Condition
below); Bleeding

The victim of a Grievous Wound rolls a Fortitude save (DC 10 + Damage/2). Success means the Wound Effects last 1d3 + 1 rounds and bloodloss is purely cosmetic. Failure means bloodloss is severe, and the Wound Effects persist until the victim receives the benefit of long-term care (see the Heal skill). Failing the save with a roll of 1 means the Wound Effects are permanent. Similarly, the Wound Effects become permanent if attempts to provide the victim long-term care with the Heal skill fail more than once, or if the victim fails to receive long-term care (successful or not) within 24 hours of suffering the Grievous Wound.
A victim suffering severe bloodloss as a result of a Grievous Wound suffers 1 point of Constitution damage every other round (see Ability Score Loss and Healing). Severe bloodloss can be treated with a Heal check (DC 15) as a standard action. Bloodloss need not always be interpreted literally, and can represent internal injuries or other server trauma.
Grievous Wounds from bludgeoning attacks knock the victim back 5’ and leave him prone.
Grievous Wounds from slashing attacks bleed at twice the normal rate.
Grievous Wounds from piercing attacks leave the attacker’s weapon impaled in the victim’s body. The victim suffers the weapon’s base damage each round until the weapon is removed with a Strength check (DC 10).
To expedite combat, the Games Master may rule that any insignificant NPC suffering a Grievous Wound is too badly wounded to continue fighting. The character that inflicted the wound may choose whether the NPC is crippled, incapacitated, unconscious or dead.
A character may spend 1 Fate Point to cancel or end any Wound Effects caused by one or more Grievous Wounds.
A character with the Disabling Strike feat (see Road of Kings) need not roll on the Grievous Wound table. He may choose the Hit Location of his attack.
Optionally, reroll results of 01 – 04 on the Grievous Wound table if the attack comes from above.
Optionally, reroll results of 17 – 20 on the Grievous Wound table if the attack comes from below.
When a random limb is struck, an odd roll indicates the left limb, while an even roll indicates the right limb.

The character cannot see. He takes a –2 penalty to DV, loses his Dexterity bonus to DV (if any), moves at half speed, and takes a –4 penalty on Search checks and on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks. All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Spot checks) automatically fail. All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) to the blinded character. Characters who remain blinded for a long time may learn to compensate for their handicap.
Okay, the formatting makes my post unreadable.

You can look at a legible copy here.

- DMW -
Only significantly more difficult? :shock:

Are you planning on combining this system with the massive damage rules for Conan? Ouch!!

Seriously though I'm thinking that criticals at 11+ might be a little too frequent. Thats 50% of successful attacks with a *3 weapon and 55% with a *2 weapon.

It will also have a huge effect for those who use power attack. If you have a 50% or better chance of any of your hits doing multiple damage are you going to want to decrease your chance to hit by any amount? If there was a reverse version of power attack, add 1 to your chance to hit and subtract 1 from damage I think everyone would use it :p

I certainly like the idea though!

OGL Ancients has a really neat wounds/Grievious wounds system, that I have incorporated into all of my D20 games.

You might wanna check it out.

Razuur said:
OGL Ancients has a really neat wounds/Grievious wounds system, that I have incorporated into all of my D20 games.

You might wanna check it out.


That makes me extremely happy. :)

How's it working out for you in practice? Players enjoying it well enough?
I liked both Grievous Wounds and Medicine enough that I yoinked them for my Conan game. I'm liking it thus far, but we've yet to see a Grievous Wound fail to heal up properly...

So far there have been three PCs afflicted with Grievous Wounds; one from exceeding his Threshold in a single blow and the other two from being nickel-dimed past zero. I think it's gonna work out fine overall, but I fear the tough guys (the high STR & CON dudes a.k.a. the lucky stat rollers) are feeling a bit more safe insofar as they have much higher Grievous Wound Thresholds ( the party ranges from 8 to 18 ). I tried to mix it up a bit with the successfully healed GWs...

The Stygian Noble/Scholar will bear a slight limp to his dying days.
The Zingaran Thief/Pirate finds it somewhat difficult to breathe deeply.
The Cimmerian Barbarian now manifests a facial tick when agitated.
zero skill LPB said:
The Cimmerian Barbarian now manifests a facial tick when agitated.

oh, the potential in that...

'Did you just WINK at me, barbarian?!'