We are slowly getting through them – I may even get caught up by the time the end of the weekend rolls around. It is not a critical endeavour though – I will get there when I do. Critical is an interesting one and is probably going to head where I am about to take it in most peoples responses. Of course, that is the good old critical table!
Critical tables were a staple of games in the 1980s that were different from Dungeons and Dragons. Warhammer, Middle Earth and Rolemaster are a few I can mention off the top of my head and I am sure that they did not end there. Critical tables were a way to make things descriptive with an excellent attack or spell. They were also a thing that would inspire fear in players. In most critical tables, with a bad roll, there was the possibility of instant death. Of course, on the flip side, it was a desirable thing to get critical against your opponent for the same reason.
It is probably the instant death that saw the decline of the critical table beyond that point. Most games did not want to offer up the chance of that because players would become too attached to characters. Many people felt it was unfair to lose a character in that way. Life has taught me that fairness is not a constant though. The chance that you are here today and maybe gone tomorrow is not inconsiderable. So I am a big fan of the critical table and am glad to welcome it back in some recent games – Warhammer Fourth edition among them! If you have not played a game with this mechanic see if you can find a game that does and give it a go – it makes the good old critical hit a thing of beauty. Keep rolling…