Critical Hits and Critical Misses: A Brief History
Even in the earliest days of D&D, players and DMs alike have cheered whenever they've rolled that magical natural 20 or groaned when they've fumbled with that dreaded natural 1. Double damage was the original reward for rolling that wonderful 20...dropping a weapon was standard for the natural 1. But over time, different methods were developed for handling these rolls.
In 1980, Carl Parlagreco published tables in Dragon Magazine #39 which exploded the concept of different damages and locations for various weapons (slashing, piercing, blunt) and even a table for what happens when you crit an animal. While these tables were great, they quickly became cumbersome, and many of the results ended up doing less damage than rolling for normal damage.
Since then, many more ideas have been published, sometimes favoring simplicity, sometimes favoring complexity.
Hrothgar's Hoard's Decks of Critical Hits and Misses aims to walk that fine line between simple and complex by keeping the options simple, but offering results which range from doing maximum normal damage to monster crippling special effects and even instant death.
The Critical Hit deck will have a minimum of 54 cards (more if stretch goals are reached). On the back of these cards is all the vital information needed to handle the Critical Hit. At the top is the card title with hit location, followed by a brief description of what happened. This is followed by four sections which spell out how to handle the effect: Damage, Saving Throw, Effect, and Healing.
Some cards, like above, are very straightforward. The damage is the maximum normally allowed for the attack. The target receives no saving throw to avoid the damage. There is no special condition or effect, and the damage can be healed normally.
However, as the cards get nastier, the mechanics to handle them becomes a little more complicated, but is still spelled out in the card.
With the above card, the hit location is given and the mechanics to handle this are spelled out on the card to prevent the need to go looking through the rule book for specifics. The damage roll is tripled and then bonuses are added. The target does not receive a saving throw in order to avoid the effect. The target is immobilized and prone and those rules from the Player's Handbook are spelled out. Finally, magical healing is needed in order for the effect to end.
There should be no need to consult a book or a table for more information. All the needed rules are spelled out quickly and clearly on the card.
The Critical Miss deck will also have a minimum of 54 cards and will follow the same formatting so that everything in consistent between the decks.
Critical Misses can range from dropping weapons, to slipping and falling, becoming stunned, or even hitting yourself or a friend in range for damage (maybe even for a critical!)
1st edition flavor
Make no mistake about it, though. This isn't a deck for the weak of heart; especially if your DM imposes crits against PCs when the monster rolls a natural 20! Some of the cards have ongoing side effects that can only be healed in specific ways....
Some cards can permanently cripple you...
And some cards...well, some cards make you sweat a whole lot longer....
So, If you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth...
About the Cards
The cards are standard poker sized cards, 3.5" x 2.5". We want these cards to last, so we are not using the least expensive grade of cardstock. They are professional quality 300gsm cardstock with a smooth finish. They come with a card box which will help protect them between sessions.
About the Design
The fronts and backs of these cards were designed by an award-winning book designer who has a deep knowledge of how to make print matter beautiful to look at and easy to read. With decks, a frequent problem is that the text is so small and the fonts are so complex that it becomes nearly impossible to read. The design of our cards does not strain the eye even with the small text. Descriptions and instructions are worded so that they take up minimal space (thus allowing larger text). The design is done with the end user in mind, not just to see how illustrative we can make the cards.
Stretch goals will be added throughout the project, but the specific reward will not be released until the previous stretch goal has been met. In this way, we can respond to backer desires and tailor the rewards to your wishes.
$0,000 - Free Custom Tuck Box. You Start the project off with a free tuck box.
$0,000 - 300 gsm stock cards. The cards will NOT be printed on the cheap quality 270 gsm cardstock. You get high quality cards from the beginning of this project!
*FUNDED* $2,500 - Condition Coins: At $2,500 each backer will receive one set of "Condition Coins". Pass these coins out to players who suffer from a D&D condition (see Appendix A in the PHB). Please note that this free stretch goal is limited to ONE set per backer, not per deck of cards purchased. Extra sets of these coins will be available for purchase separately.
$5,000 - Wood card box: I will design a card box made of wood that you can add on to the order. Designs are forthcoming.
$10,000 - ????
$15,000 - ????
$25,000 - ???
About Hrothgar's Hoard
Hrothgar's Hoard is an established business that has successfully launched and delivered 4 Kickstarter campaigns. Previous campaigns have focused on solid hardwood accessories for tabletop games and all four projects have been delivered either on time or shortly after the projected ship date.
While this is the first project we have done that ventures away from wood accessories, we are not new to the publishing industry, having one member with nearly twenty years in book design and academic publishing. We have various contacts on both the design and production end of publishing and are very confident that this project will be delivered in a professional and timely manner.
Critical Decks at Conventions
We made a short production run of the Critical Hits deck and took them to GaryCon VIII and Cleveland ConCoction in early 2016, where they were received with great approval. Several customers remarked on the flavor of the decks (first edition feel where injuries can actually HURT), the attractiveness of the cards, and even the high quality of the cards. Since we are using the 300gsm stock, they are much stiffer and more durable than you are probably accustomed to with normal decks. We could probably save a little money by going with the cheapest card stock, but we really would prefer to put out a quality product that lasts longer.
Risks and challenges
While this is the first set of cards Hrothgar's Hoard has made for gaming, it is our 6th project overall (see below for links to all the projects). The card design is finished, and by the time this launches, prototype decks will have been displayed at GaryCon and Cleveland Concoction for feedback.
The owner of Hrothgar's Hoard has a background in publishing and is fully prepared for any difficulties that may result from the publishing end. Since the design is finished, there is no reason why there would be any delay in getting the final rewards out by the ship date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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