Major Successes & Failures (Criticals & Fumbles) in Combat

A Terminology Update

In a previous post, we discussed “Criticals” and “Fumbles“. A successful roll that is also a double (e.g. 11, 22) was said to be a “Critical”, leading to additional benefits. Conversely, a failed roll that is also a double (e.g. 99, 00) was designated a “Fumble” and something had gone badly wrong. 

Whilst drafting the Hack100 rules, I’ve attempted to keep the terminology as simple, clear and jargon-free as possible. Therefore, with this in mind, I’ve decided to rename Criticals as “Major Successes” and Fumbles as “Major Failures“. I’ll use these terms moving forward, and update the compiled rules for the next release. 

Major Successes and Failures in Combat 

In Hack100, there are no pre-defined benefits or penalties attached to Major Successes and Failures. The Referee, with input from the players, is free to decide, on a case-by-case basis, the additional consequences of Major Successes and Failures as befitting the narrative of a game. However, because combat is likely to be a relatively frequent source of Major Successes and Failures, I thought it would be helpful to offer some suggestions. 

In general, the intention is that whilst Major Successes and Failures should tip the balance of a fight in the favour of one combatant or the other, they shouldn’t necessarily be decisive in the eventual outcome of an encounter. 

Example Major Successes as an Attacker 

  • Mighty blow! In close-quarters combat, the attacker adds their Strength Bonus to the calculated Damage.
  • Precise shot! A missile attack adds the shooter’s/thrower’s Ranged Bonus to the calculated Damage.
  • Finds the gap! The defender’s armour is ignored when calculating Damage.
  • Knocked down! The defender is pushed to the ground.
  • Disarmed! The defender’s weapon or shield is dislodged from their hand. 

Example Major Successes as the Defender (Close Combat Only) 

  • Disarmed! The attacker’s weapon is parried from their hand.
  • Driven back! The attacker is pushed back, disengaging them from combat.
  • Counterattack! The defender’s parry inflicts Damage upon their attacker, calculated in the normal way.
  • Sidestep! The dodging defender wrongfoots the attacker creating an opening. The defender’s next attack has an Easy (+20% ) Difficulty Modifier. 

Example Major Failures as an Attacker 

  • Dropped! The attacker drops their weapon.
  • Breaks! The attacker’s weapon breaks.
  • Lost! The attacker’s thrown weapon misses and is permanently lost.
  • Ouch! The attacker inadvertently injures themselves, with Damage calculated in the normal way. 

Example Major Failures as a Defender

  • Dropped! The defender drops their weapon or shield.
  • Breaks! The defender’s weapon or shield breaks.
  • Trips! The defender trips and falls whilst attempting to dodge. 

All of the above are just examples. There are many more possibilities depending upon the exact situation within a game. For example, if a character is standing on a table whilst fighting and rolls a Major Failure, then perhaps the table collapses from underneath them.

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