In my opinion, 5e gets critical hits almost right. It’s streamlined from what some past editions had (confirm to hit? barf!) but it can also feel pretty underwhelming to roll double your normal dice and still get fairly low. My personal preference would be for critical hits to result in something like “maximum result of your damage dice + roll your damage dice again and add the result” but I understand that every rule that complicates the game even a little bit adds up.
Today’s update is not about making critical hits better in 5e. Today’s update is about making critical hits completely different.
When I was a kid playing RPGs in the 1990s I was introduced to a group of guys playing a game (way over my head) called Rolemaster. Rolemaster is kind of a relic of a system where every single thing calls for a roll and there’s not only a skill but a chart for any possible thing you could think of (and lots of things you can’t think of). While today I would never come within 100 feet of a game like that, one part of that game that always stuck with me was the critical hit charts – it felt great to roll on those charts. It added even more complexity to a game that was already drowning in complexity but man did it feel good to roll a natural 100 on a critical hit and drop an enemy just in the knick of time. The charts were pithy, irreverent, needlessly complicated, and a crapload of fun.
So in honor of all the RPGers who grew up in a time where books full of charts was en vogue, I present the first part of the Critical Hits Revisited system.
EDITED TO LINK TO FINAL VERSION: