Large and Huge Criticals

Copyright Patrick Emerton © 2007

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

This rules option for HARP provides an alternative means of resolving attacks against Large and Huge creatures. Instead of using the Large and Huge creature critical tables, the standard critical table for the attack in question can be used, but with the damage cap reduced as indicated in the following table:

Attack Size Standard Damage Cap Damage Cap vs Large Foe Damage Cap vs Huge Foe
Tiny 80 60 50
Small 90 70 60
Medium 100 90 70
Large 110 100 80
Huge 120 120 120

In addition, Large and Huge opponents also enjoy critical reductions of -10 and -20 respectively (as with the modification for attack size, this reduction is applied after a hit is determined, but before the damage cap is applied). If this brings the critical result below -19, 1 hit is still inflicted, but the attacker's weapon (if any) breaks.

To see how this option works in practice, consider a Two-handed Sword attack by Sonja, who has an 80 OB with the Great Blades category, against a foe with 60 DB:

  • Sonja's player rolls a 74 on the dice. Adding Sonja's full OB (she has elected not to parry) gives a result of 154. Subtracting the foe's DB of 60 gives a Total Attack Roll of 94. Applying the +10 critical modifier for Sonja's Two-handed Sword gives an Adjusted Attack Roll of 104.
  • Now, if this attack was made against an ordinary foe, the Adjusted Attack Roll would be within the damage cap for a Large attack (which is 110). Looking up the Slash critical table on p 98 of the Core Rulebook, the critical result for an Adjusted Attack Roll of 104 is 31 hits, 5 rounds of stun, a -30 penalty and bleeding of 2 hits per round. Ouch!
  • If the foe was Huge, however, then (using the current option) an additional critical modifier of -20 would apply. This would bring the Adjusted Attack Roll down to 84. In addition, the damage cap for a Large attack against a Huge foe is 80, rather than 110. Looking up the Slash critical table again, the critical result for an Adjusted Attack Roll of 80 is 20 hits, 1 round of stun, a -15 penalty and bleeding of 1 hit per round. Being bigger certainly helps soak that damage!

Those who enjoy the "bonus to next attack roll" results that appear on the Large and Huge critical tables, and who would miss them under this system, should apply the following further rule: if an unmodified 99 or 100 attack roll against a Large or Huge creature results in an overall critical result greater than 100, then the attacker's next two attacks against that foe are resolved as standard attacks (i.e. with the standard damage cap and no critical reduction).

The effects of this optional rule on combat are three:

  • There is a greater variety of critical results against Large and Huge creatures;
  • Elemental criticals (Cold, Electricity, Heat, Impact), which are stronger than ordinary criticals, retain this advantage against Large and Huge creatures;
  • There is an increase in the complexity of attack resolution against Large and Huge creatures.

Note: The damage caps in the table above were determined by comparing the results on the Large and Huge critical tables with the result on the ordinary (Crush, Puncture, Slash) critical tables. Comparing Sonja's result against a Huge foe in the example above with the result that would be obtained under the core rules, we note that a 104 result on the Huge critical table on p 101 of the core rulebook delivers 19 hits, 1 round of stun, a -15 penalty and bleeding of 1 hit per round, plus a bonus to subsequent attacks. Not all criticals resolved in accordance with this option will be as close in result to those in the core rulebook, but the average damage output is about the same.