Crits and Misses

Critical hits and misses are an often house ruled thing. Most of the time I’ve simply allowed the player (and npc) to roll twice for damage if they scored a critical hit (rolling a 20).

It’s simple and it works, and it is boring. Players love to have something special happen when they roll a 20 and I agree. The funny thing is that the players often get hurt by criticals. Regardless, it adds an element of suspense and unpredictability to the game. So here goes my attempt at another critical hit and miss table! Please feel free to try it out and let me know your thoughts. Any suggestions or comments are always welcome!

Note–this works best with White Box rules.

Critical Hit and Miss Tables

A natural 20 is a critical hit. When this happens the target takes maximum damage by weapon and one of the following happens.

Critical Hit

1. Weapon hand injured! (-1 to hit for rest of battle)

2. Leg is injured! (-1 to hit and 1/2 move rate for rest of battle)

3. Head is grazed! (lose next action if wearing a helmet, otherwise save to avoid being knocked out for 1d6 rounds)

4. Knocked down! (opponent gets one free attack)

5. Armor, shield, or weapon damaged! (randomly choose, loses one level of quality, see Quality of Items)

6. Extra damage! (roll damage by weapon)

A natural 1 is a critical miss. This means one of the following happens.

Critical Miss

1. Dropped weapon! (roll d12 for direction, d12 for distance in feet)

2. Weapon damaged! (loses one level of quality, see Quality of Items)

3. Fall to one knee! (-1 to AC until next turn)

4. Fall down! (opponent gets one free attack)

5. Hit an ally! (make an attack roll on a random ally close by)

6. Hit yourself! (make an attack roll on yourself)

Breaking Rules

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Not breaking the rules of the game, but rules on breaking things in the game!

Back in the old days, when I was a little DM, most often we would play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1st edition). One of the house rules we tinkered with was equipment damage. When one of the PCs was hit with a 20 (critical), their armor suffered severed damage and needed to be repaired. In the meantime, their damaged armor’s AC worsened by 1 point. It was a houserule that made treks into the dungeons a little more dangerous without major housekeeping of the inventory.

A lot of dice have been thrown under the fridge since then. I came across an excellent posting of item damage here.

Here’s my take on equiptment damage.

Note–this is geared towards White Box rules but should work for any system with little or no modifications. This is an easy switch to Pits and Perils. I will post the notes on this sometime.

Quality of Items

Weapons, armor, and tools all have some degree of quality. They can be categorized into four groups–fine, standard, poor, and broken.


Fine quality items will cost at least 20 times the normal price. They are exceptionally well made.

Fine weapons will give the wielder +1 to hit (non magical). Fine armor will increase movement rate by 10′ per round. Fine tools will give the user a +1 bonus when using them. (I usually roll a d6 to determine if a task is successful. Depending on the circumstances, I come up with an X-in-6 chance of success.)


Standard weapons, armor, and tools are just that. They provide no extra benefits. They are just serviceable items.


Poor weapons cause the wielder -1 to hit and are so bad that a roll of 1 or 2 will indicate it has broken. Poor armor -1 to AC. Poor tools will take twice as long to get the job done.


Broken weapons, armor, and tools does no one any good. They need to be repaired.


Shields can either be fine, standard, or broken. A fine shield can absorb two blows (Shields Shall be Splintered rule) before breaking. The first blow reduces it to a standard shield and the second blow will shatter it. A standard shield can only absorb one blow (Shields Shall be Splintered rule) before breaking.

Loss of Quality

Each time a weapon is damaged, it will lose a level of quality. For example, a fighter swings his fine sword but rolls a 1. A roll of 1 in my game indicates a critical miss and then I need to consult the critical miss table. If the critical miss table indicates the weapon is damaged, the fine sword becomes a standard sword (and loses the +1 to hit benefit that fine weapons are given.) If the sword is damaged again, it will become a poor sword. Any roll of 1 or 2 for a poor weapon indicates it has broken.


Repairing the item can be done if it is taken to someone with smithing skills. Magical spells of mending will also work. Repair of an item will be 10% of original cost for each level of quality that was lost. Example, if a fine sword was damaged twice and is now considered poor condition, it would cost 20% of the original price to restore it to fine quality. No item can be improved to a quality greater than its original quality.

Call for Players!

I am starting a new play-by-post over on the Smoldering Wizard Forums. It will be based on the campaign world I’ve written for the Perils on the Borderlands solo game posted on this blog. The rules will be Whitebox:Fantastical Medieval Adventure Game. Whitebox is a rule system based on the Original Dungeons and Dragons game.

I have three players already and would gladly accept more. Click on the link below and look it over. Maybe you’d like to give it a try.

Day 80 ~ The Temple Falls

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Thane paused to catch his breath. Blood trickled down his arms, some of it his own but much of it his enemies. “Look at the gems! They are the size of quail eggs! It wouldn’t hurt to take just a few, no?”

“Help yourself,” replied Martin, “but there’s a good chance that eternal damnation accompanies anything of value in this hole.”

The dwarf pulled his calloused hand back a bit. He had witnessed too much damnation for one dwarf’s lifetime today. The evil priest of the temple had been captured but more trouble loomed on the horizon. Two score of undead were at this moment shambling back to the temple. Their leader, the evil priest lay in the corner, battered and tied with rope. No one could say what control he might still have over his undead minions.

Arden and Company were battered themselves. The taking of the temple was a brilliant tactical move. They had raced down the Trade Road, pushing their mounts to near exhaustion, arriving at the Caves of Chaos just hours before the evil priest and his men who had taken a route through the forest.

Arden had bet that the evil priest’s legions of undead would move even slower, and this was exactly how it went.


The Company snuck into the temple and found little resistance, two adepts and a handful of undead guardians. One adept was killed but the other fled into the crypt area. Fortunately, Nicodemus, Corwin’s black cat familiar, spied the adept and they trailed him.

The adept met his end but not before freeing a medusa who was chained in a cell. Arden and Thane bravely battled the creature and killed it. Arden was poisoned by a viper’s bite. The medusa attempted to turn them to stone, but both men averted their eyes just in time. [Both saved vs her gaze!]. There was more to explore in the crypt but that also would have to wait. The Company killed a gelatinous cube that blocked one hallway. Fire, arrows, and a well placed sword cut ended that problem.

Nicodemus had been sent to watch from a tree near the entrance. He alerted the Company when the evil priest and his men approached. Thane covered a hallway with caltrops and laid oil in a great pool near the spot where the Company waited.

In a short time, the tunnel erupted in flame and arrow fire. The evil men-at-arms pushed forward, but the Company was ready on both sides of an intersection. As some of the evil priest’s men fell, he moved up to use his snake staff on Arden. Corwin cast fear and many of the men fled, including the evil priest! Arden, Catamont, and Meklin all reached for the priest and grappled with him, pulling him back to them. Corwin used the robe of climbing to magically bind the priest. One adept and a handful of men-at-arms fled out of the temple, but the priest was captured!


Corwin scratched Nicodemus under the chin, “You’ve earned a week of fish dinners when we get back to the inn!”

Sir Michel stood nearby, his bravado gone and his armor filthy with gore. “Master Corwin, how long do you think it will take Sir Kent and the soldiers to get here?”

“We left in quite a hurry, young knight. I don’t believe they will be here before the horde returns.”

Arden pulled the evil priest to his feet, “That is why we are leaving too. Martin is exhausted, you are also drained, Corwin. If we are attacked in force now, we wouldn’t win. Let’s move out of here and gather our horses. They are tired as well. We will walk a little way towards the Overlook with our prisoner. With good fortune we’ll meet Sir Kent before that damned army of dead.”

“I just hope that he isn’t a magnet for that army,” Corwin whispered to no one in particular.

Game Notes ~ My goodness! The battle in the temple was a narrow victory. Corwin’s last spell, fear, helped rout the evil priest’s men-at-arms. They were well armored, the priest and the adepts had cause light wound spells, but nothing put the good guys down…close…but not down. There is still much more to explore in the temple, but the Company will need to rest awhile. I was thinking the evil priest would be fleeing, but the dice said he was going back to the temple once more. I imagined his adepts would be packing his bags for an escape when he returned. It was a surprise for him to see Arden and Company waiting for him in his temple!

More to come…

Sir Michel’s Terrible Night ~ Day 79 Continued

The young knight turned in his bed. The straw was too full in one place and too sparse in others. He made mental calculations about how long the church would take to build and laughed. If the carpenter didn’t come back, the knight will need to carpenter himself.

His man-at-arms, Gerard, lay snoring in another bed. The carpenter had an unused room that he normally let out to travelling workers, but they were the only two now.

This all came about from Sir Michel’s challenge to the templar. The religious knight bested him in single combat and as a result Sir Michel would help build the church. The young knight was brash and cocksure. He’d never been beaten since he had earned his arms. He felt the lump on his head and the pain in his shoulders. The templar could certainly swing a deadly morning star.

The knight lay in the cool darkness, thinking of the combat, and then he jumped out of bed. Even before the alarm bell pealed, he knew by the rider’s pace that trouble was looming.

Sir Michel threw open the door of the cabin and saw dozens of shambling shapes in the moonlight. “Gerard! Up! Sword and shield! The enemy comes!”

Grabbing his arming sword and heavy shield, the knight knew he had no time for armor. He yelled to the carpenter an alarm and then heard the bell in the village ringing wildly. Gerard was ready in an instance and Sir Michel kicked the door open to meet their foe.

The village was in chaos. Flames lept up from the buildings to the east. Four creatures spied the knight and man-at-arms and walked with jerking motions towards them. They spoke no word but moved forward slashing with rusted sword and axe.

Sir Michel positioned himself beside a wooden fence to keep them from surrounding him. Gerard readied himself behind the knight.

Two against four. The knight and his man held their ground with shield and sword. Two skeletons arrived first, moving faster than the slower zombies. Eyeless sockets stared at Sir Michel as the creature stabbed at him with short sword. Sir Michel’s shield held, but the knight could not land a telling blow on the creature. Gerard was having better luck and was able to cut the head from a skeleton’s body.

The slower zombies joined the melee. Sir Michel and Gerard were able to best them but not before being cut. [Gerard was down to 1 hit point! Sir Michel faired better, but lost a few hit points.]

As the two stood back to back, swords covered in rotting gore, they saw many of the other undead turn back as if heeding their master’s call. In the distance he could see perhaps a dozen black clad men spurring their horses northeast towards the forest.

A few moments later, mounted soldiers from the Keep thundered into the village. Some of the slower moving zombies were engaged and destroyed before the knight could get to them.

He raced for the stables to find his warhorse. The knight pulled open the doors and many horses raced out of the burning stable, his own as well.

Martin, the templar, found Sir Michel shortly after. He said to him, “the church is burned to the ground. I have nothing for you to work on now.”

Sir Michel stood tall and said, “my sword and shield are at your disposal. Let us cut the head off of the snake.”

“Aye,” said Martin, “let us do just that.”

Game Notes~I had forgotten that the knight was still at Coot’s Mill. Instead of having him flee to safety, I had him risk combat with some of the undead horde. He and his man-at-arms did well. They took a few lumps, but it helped thicken the plot.

Day 79 The Undead Horde

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Day 79 Arden and Company arrive back at the Keep

Arden, Martin, Thane, Corwin, and Sgt. Tenning immediately report to Sir Kent. The Curate and the Advisor sit in on meeting. Sir Kent agrees that action must be taken against the evil temple.

Martin suggests guards be posted on the road in case of attack. Meklin guards the road that night.

During the night, Meklin spots movement in the fields to the north. The moon is waning, but he sees figures moving through the wheat fields. The enemy has moved through the forest instead of the road!

He rides to Coot’s Mill and rings the alarm bell to awake the villagers and signal the Keep.

[In 6 rounds the undead horde will arrive at Coot’s Mill. Mounted troops will arrive from the Keep in 12 rounds. That means 6 rounds of action by the undead horde!]

Mecklin is able to get most of the villagers moving and fearing that they may run into undead by moving to the Keep, he directs them to run for the mill near the river. There is a ford in the river that they can cross and hide in the woods.

About a dozen villagers remain behind, either too scared or drunk to move quickly.

The zombies and skeletons flood into the small village. Behind them the evil cleric, his adepts, and the evil men-at-arms have lit torches. They systematically put the buildings to fire while the horde attacks the villagers.

Meklin is no fool. He tries his best to get the other villagers moving but is attacked by two skeletons. They both hit. Meklin rides off to follow the other villagers to the mill.

In the smoke of burning buildings, the undead seek out humans. They tear at doors and windows using their weapons and filthy claws.

Some villagers that were hiding in their homes make a break for freedom. A few succeed, but many are cut down by the horde.

Before the soldiers can arrive, the evil cleric and his minion make their escape. The evil cleric calls his horde to follow and they do his bidding.

The mounted soldiers gallop onto the scene and are able to destroy eight zombies and three skeletons. The others have shambled into the darkness.

In all, nine villagers are killed and 11 buildings burnt, including the church that Martin has been building.

Arden and Company were not among the first defenders to get to the village, but they arrived as quickly as possible. Arden will need think about the company’s best response to this. Needless to say, no one will be going back to bed tonight!

Game notes~this was the evil cleric’s shining moment. I tried to think what the evil cleric would do after his temple was attacked. I figured that he wouldn’t just wait until the company returned with more forces. Instead, he took the battle to them. He knows that the temple is not safe anymore and I suspect he will be looking to move to a new location for now.

I thought the scene played out really well using the Pits & Perils rules. I had no rules for burning the buildings, but when in doubt, I threw two dice and made a ruling. It was simple but effective and I really enjoyed the game.

More to come…

Day 77 ~ Assault on the Temple of Evil

Arden and Company ride out of the Keep on the Borderlands on Day 77 in the 3rd week of Late Fall.

Corwin rides quietly along. The night before he imbibed the potion of prophecy given to him by Aster of the fairies. His dreams are a mix of dark dungeon scenes and walking dead. Corwin sees black armored men and dark robed adepts. An evil looking priest in red robes is waving his arms in ritual. This and more does the magician see and Arden and Company are caught up in the thick of it. Zinnea, the missing fairie is nowhere to be seen. It is all quite puzzling for Corwin and has taken a toll on him. He rides quietly, trying to put all of it into words.

Encounters during travel on Day 77? No.

The company takes rest once again at the Overlook. Egg makes a hearty meal of fried bread and sausages. The company is quieter than usual, each man thinking about what the next day may bring. Arden, Thane, Martin, and Corwin discuss the visions that the magician had last night.

Encounters during the night? No.

They break camp early in the morning and ride to a spot near the caves where the horses are quartered. Egg provides bread, meat, and cheese for them all to eat during the ride. Arden is surprised when Egg declares that he will accompany them this time. “You may need a good cook!” he grins. They tie the horses to a picket line and feed them well.

Sgt. Tenning and 11 archers accompany them to the Caves of Chaos.

Day 78 At the entrance to the Shrine of Evil

An overwhelming feeling of evil emanates from the cave. A stone corridor 20’ wide runs north and south. Dim lamps hang in sconces. Thane listens carefully and decides to head south. The others follow carefully behind. Their footsteps echol off the highly polished floors even though they step lightly.

Thane listens at a door to the north. Another door is to his left. The dwarf hears nothing. Arden kicks the door open…it doesn’t budge. He tries a couple more times and finally gets it open. Inside are four evil acolytes. Arden, Thane, and Meklin rush in to fight them.

The acolytes fight with maces and wear chainmail under their robes. Battle ensues and Thane takes a couple hits, The noise f battle attracts 8 zombies from the south. Corwin casts a web spell across the corridor trying to block them. Two of the zombies are able to tear their way through the webs but the others are stuck. Egg, Catamont, and Meklin face the two zombies.

Corwin moves back to aid Arden.

Arden, Thane, and Martin are having a time trying to defeat the acolytes. Corwin casts another web spell catching three of the acolytes. Arden kills the other acolyte.

The battle alerts more cultists farther into the temple.The evil cleric begins gathering his undead horde to confront the attackers. 7 of the men-at-arms and 2 adepts run into the corridor to spot the company. Two crossbow men try to shoot Goat and Corwin. Corwin spends a luck point to keep from being hit. Corwin casts a fear spell and the 9 cultists flee.

The evil cleric, his 3 zombie bodyguards, 2 adepts, and 4 men-at-arms gather together. The cleric commands his undead horde to move ahead of them towards the PCs. 40 undead (20 zomies and 20 skeletons) shamble towards the PCs!

Thane throws down a line of caltrops and Egg pours oil on the floor near the entrance.

Martin confronts the undead horde as they turn the corner. He makes his save and causes them all to flee! [Pits & Perils rules state that if a cleric makes his save, all undead of the clerics level or lower are turned. ]

The evil cleric and his men-at-arms move cautiously around the corner, unnerved by all of the undead being turned. As they reach the line of caltrops, several of the company fire on them with longbows. One man-at-arms steps on a caltrop! And another is hit with an arrow.

Corwin races out of the caves to alert Sgt Tenning and the archers. Arden and the others flee the cave while Thane remains behind to light the oil.

Four of the men-at-arms jump the flames and take no damage (they all make their save). They run out of the caves and are met by a line of archers and Arden and Company all launching missiles at them. Two of them die and the other two retreat back into the cave, severely wounded.

Arden and Company make a hasty retreat back to the horses. They will need more help to defeat the cultists.

Game Notes~that was quite an adventure! There were a lot of things going on at the same time and it was uncertain how it would end. The PCs were outnumbered by far and Martin saved the day by turning the horde of undead.

In all, the company killed 4 acolytes, 2 zombies, and 2 men at arms. Many more await them next time.

More to come…