Critical Hit Tables (5e Variant Rule)

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Critical Hit Tables[edit]

Often in fiction, a character will have some wound or handicap from their past that, through their response to it, helps define their personality, and through its existence, can shape their future and be an obstacle in itself.

Less often, a character suffers this injury in the present time, as we watch, and we get to experience with them the change in their character and in their story.

Critical hit tables can allow some attacks to leave a lasting effect on a character, whether player character or NPC, affecting both the game's story and future combats.

Confirming a Critical Hit[edit]

When a critical hit is scored on an attack roll against a living creature with discernible anatomy (or, optionally, such a creature rolls a 1 on the d20 on a saving throw against an effect that deals damage) and that creature takes damage, roll another d20; if the creature rolls another natural 20 (or natural 1), the victim of the attack suffers, in addition to the extra damage, a randomly chosen setback dependent on the damage type that the attack or effect deals (unless the damage type is either force or poison). If the attack deals more than one kind of damage, the DM chooses which table to roll on for the effect.

Effects of setbacks have no duration unless marked as temporary. Many temporary effects are listed as "temporary -5" on a type of d20 roll; that penalty is reduced by 1 for each long rest the creature takes, provided that creature made a roll of that type at least three times in the last 24 hours. Effects not described as temporary can be cured by strong healing magic, such as Lesser Restoration or Greater Restoration, if listed, or Regenerate, in the case of dismemberment. Some effects can also be cured by another creature's Wisdom (Medicine) checks (Wisdom (Medicine) checks made on oneself have disadvantage). An effect can require multiple such checks; if so, each one takes an hour. Only five attempts at these checks can be made per day, and if enough are made, the effect takes 2d4+2 days to go away fully.

The part of a creature's body that is affected by a confirmed critical hit is random by default, but at the DM's discretion, cover, the creature's anatomy, or another variable may limit or change the possibilities. Where an effect says "left/right," it affects that creature's left limb/appendage if the roll is odd and the right one if the roll is even; where it says "arm/hand", the order goes left arm, right arm, left hand, right hand.

Losing a Limb[edit]

If the damage dealt by the effect totals 30 or higher and one of the creature's limbs is rolled, that limb is removed; the same goes for fingers, though loss of fingers does not trigger the following effects. When a creature's limb is removed, it starts bleeding out and makes a DC 15 Constitution save. If it fails, it drops to 0 HP, and the DCs for its death saves and for Medicine checks made to stabilize it become 15. If the creature makes the Constitution save, it loses 10 HP at the start of each of its turns until it either falls to 0 HP or receives 10 or more points of magical healing (that much magical healing will seal the wound).

Tables[edit]

Piercing: 1d10[edit]

  • 1-2 Lose left/right eye. Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving sight, and temporary -5 on ranged attack rolls. Greater Restoration.
  • 3-6 Punctured left/right arm/hand. Disadvantage on all d20 rolls made using it. Lesser Restoration/three DC 13 Wisdom (Medicine) checks.
  • 7-8 Punctured left/right leg. Halved speed. Lesser Restoration/three DC 13 Wisdom (Medicine) checks.
  • 9-10 Punctured left/right lung. Dash at half speed, and temporary -5 on weapon attack rolls. Lesser Restoration/three DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) checks.

Bludgeoning: 1d10[edit]

  • 1 Concussion. Creature falls unconscious but wakes up if damaged again or if another creature uses an action to shake them awake, and has temporary -5 to all d20 rolls that apply an ability modifier other than Constitution. Lesser Restoration/DC 14 Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • 2-5 Broken left/right arm/hand. Disadvantage on all d20 rolls using it. Lesser Restoration/DC 13 Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • 6-7 Broken left/right leg. Halved speed. Lesser Restoration/DC 13 Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • 8 Broken ribs. Dash at half speed, temporary -5 on weapon attack rolls. Lesser Restoration/DC 14 Wisdom (Medicine) check.
  • 9-10 1d3 broken left/right fingers. Disadvantage on all d20 rolls using that hand. Lesser Restoration/DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

Slashing: 1d10[edit]

  • 1-2 Lose 1d3 left/right fingers. Temporary -5 on all d20 rolls using that hand.
  • 3-6 Lacerated left/right arm/hand. Disadvantage on all d20 rolls using it. Lesser Restoration/two DC 12 Wisdom (Medicine) checks.
  • 7-8 Lacerated left/right leg. Halved speed. Lesser Restoration/two DC 12 Wisdom (Medicine) checks.
  • 9 Deep wound on torso. Creature starts bleeding out as if a limb had been removed.
  • 10 Wound on torso. Lose 5 HP at start of turn until either drop to 0 HP (DC to stabilize is 13) or receive 5 points of magical healing in one turn.

Fire/Lightning: 1d6[edit]

  • 1-2 Blind in left/right eye. Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving sight, temporary -5 on ranged attack rolls. Lesser Restoration.
  • 3-5 Hair on fire (if applicable), take 2 fire damage at start of turn for 3 turns or until use action to extinguish. End of 3 turns, if not extinguished, lose hair.
  • 6 Stunned until start of next turn.

Psychic: 1d6[edit]

  • 1 Bad amnesia. Forget events of past 2d20 days. Lesser Restoration.
  • 2 Amnesia. Forget events of past 1d20 hours. Lesser Restoration.
  • 3-4 Temporary -5 on all d20 rolls that add the creature's Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier. Lesser Restoration.
  • 5 Creature falls unconscious but wakes up if damaged again or if another creature uses an action to shake them awake.
  • 6 Stunned until start of next turn.

Cold: 1d6[edit]

  • 1-2 Blind in left/right eye. Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving sight, temporary -5 on ranged attack rolls. Lesser Restoration.
  • 3-4 Frostbite. Left/right hand is useless. Unless the creature either receives 5 or more points of magical healing or gradually warms its hand in cold water within the next hour, it loses 1d3 fingers and gets temporary -5 on all d20 rolls using that hand.
  • 5-6 Stunned until start of next turn.

Thunder: 1d6[edit]

  • 1 Deafened, and stunned until start of next turn.
  • 2 Deafened.
  • 3-4 Deafened for 3d20 minutes.
  • 5 Deafened for 1d6 minutes.
  • 6 Stunned until start of next turn.

Radiant: 1d6[edit]

  • 1 Blind.
  • 2-4 Disadvantage on all attack rolls for the next 3d4 hours.
  • 5-6 Maximize all radiant damage on this attack.

Acid: 1d6[edit]

  • 1-2 Lose left/right eye. Disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks involving sight, and temporary -5 on ranged attack rolls. Greater Restoration.
  • 3-4 Losing left/right fingers. Disadvantage on all d20 rolls using that hand until the creature receives 5 or more points of magical healing; unless the creature receives it within next minute, it loses 1d3 fingers and gets temporary -5 on all d20 rolls using that hand.
  • 5-6 Maximize all acid damage on this attack.

Necrotic: 1d6[edit]

  • 1 Can't regain HP and disadvantage on all saving throws until

next long rest.

  • 2-3 Can't regain HP until next long rest.
  • 4 Disadvantage on all saves for next minute.
  • 5-6 Maximize all necrotic damage on this attack.

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