Crimson Escalation

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Venger Satanis

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It started with me vlogging about an all-out attack in order to end combat abruptly. Then a guy who follows my YouTube channel and Twitter account, Rob Couture, suggested something that kind of reminded a few of us of 13th Age's escalation die in combat. I did some thinking and laid out my version of that idea, and then finally playtested it earlier today.

Basically, it's this... every round the critical-hit range widens by one. So, on the first round everyone crits on a natural 20. On the second round, everyone crits on a 19 or 20. Third round, 18-20 are crits, and so on.

From the start, I knew it had promise, and today's trial confirmed my suspicious. It's awesome!

If you want more info, here's my blog post about it: https://vengersatanis.blogspot.com/2021/08/crimson-escalation.html

But I'd love to get more feedback, so if you want to playtest it, that's great. Do that and let me know what you think.

Thanks,

VS
 

E-Rocker

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They system I run doesn't use crits, but it sounds like a neat idea.
 

Venger Satanis

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Actually, it makes it even better. If everyone crits on a 18-20, you'll crit on 17+ or whatever that character's crit range bonus would be.
 

Fenris-77

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Actually, it makes it even better. If everyone crits on a 18-20, you'll crit on 17+ or whatever that character's crit range bonus would be.
Actually no, it doesn't. Extended crit range as-is is very limited. In the revised rules everyone gets it, but a couple of classes get to be a little bit better. The availability is widened considerably, which makes it less of a 'thing'. When everyone gets it 5% of the time, and I get it 10% of the time I'm twice as good. When they get 10% and I get it 15% it''s worse, and worse yet at 15% and 20%. You see my point now? It's not better at all.
 

Winterblight

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Setting aside D&D and who's got what, It sounds like an interesting idea that is new to me. Its nice to have these sorts of ideas at hand when creating games.
 

Venger Satanis

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Actually no, it doesn't. Extended crit range as-is is very limited. In the revised rules everyone gets it, but a couple of classes get to be a little bit better. The availability is widened considerably, which makes it less of a 'thing'. When everyone gets it 5% of the time, and I get it 10% of the time I'm twice as good. When they get 10% and I get it 15% it''s worse, and worse yet at 15% and 20%. You see my point now? It's not better at all.

I see what you're saying, and you do have a point. Let's break it down...

  • On round 1, essentially nothing changes. It's like normal D&D. You're still the best, by 100%. Every combat will have a first round, and is most prevalent stage.
  • On round 2, you'd get 15% while everyone else gets a 10% chance. At this stage, you're 50% better at getting crits than everyone else. That's still pretty good. Most combats will have a second round, but not all.
  • On round 3, you'd get 20% while everyone else got 15%. I'm no math wizard, but I think you'd be 25% better at critting than everyone else. Sure, your superiority is lessening at this point. However, the battle is usually done by now or winding down.
  • On round 4, you'd get 25% while everyone else is at 20%. This is where you start seeing little difference between PCs, but it's also rare that combat extends beyond this point - unless it's a big boss battle or battlefield full of monsters or something.

I've used Crimson Escalation a half-dozen times so far and I've never had a battle go longer than four rounds.

If I had a player who, after trying it, was still really bitter about everyone else being slightly behind his special ability as combat went on, then I'd suggest he either swap out that special ability for another one or sweeten the pot with something additional, like he can re-roll ones (either to-hit or damage, his choice).

Thanks for the comment,

VS
 

Venger Satanis

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Hey guys,

I went ahead and Kickstarted a standalone PDF to officially codify Crimson Escalation throughout the d20 universe. Only $1.

Link:
 

Fenris-77

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I see what you're saying, and you do have a point. Let's break it down...

  • On round 1, essentially nothing changes. It's like normal D&D. You're still the best, by 100%. Every combat will have a first round, and is most prevalent stage.
  • On round 2, you'd get 15% while everyone else gets a 10% chance. At this stage, you're 50% better at getting crits than everyone else. That's still pretty good. Most combats will have a second round, but not all.
  • On round 3, you'd get 20% while everyone else got 15%. I'm no math wizard, but I think you'd be 25% better at critting than everyone else. Sure, your superiority is lessening at this point. However, the battle is usually done by now or winding down.
  • On round 4, you'd get 25% while everyone else is at 20%. This is where you start seeing little difference between PCs, but it's also rare that combat extends beyond this point - unless it's a big boss battle or battlefield full of monsters or something.

I've used Crimson Escalation a half-dozen times so far and I've never had a battle go longer than four rounds.

If I had a player who, after trying it, was still really bitter about everyone else being slightly behind his special ability as combat went on, then I'd suggest he either swap out that special ability for another one or sweeten the pot with something additional, like he can re-roll ones (either to-hit or damage, his choice).

Thanks for the comment,

VS
It really isn't a big deal, I agree, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Crit fishing builds arent that common anyway in my experience and you can always warn your players off them.
 

Venger Satanis

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It really isn't a big deal, I agree, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Crit fishing builds arent that common anyway in my experience and you can always warn your players off them.

Well, I'm glad you mentioned it because certainly some gamers will have questions.
 

Venger Satanis

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I just posted a Crimson Escalation KS update showing the visual aid I had in mind. Check out my rough draft...

 

CRKrueger

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If a player is worried more about his Widgets cementing his superior niche over the rest of his party than the fact that he crits even better, I doubt the player would last long with my group.

The Escalation Die isn't a meta-gimmick I'd put in my game anyway, but if you're gonna do it, I like the Crimson one better.
 

Venger Satanis

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Thanks, hoss!

Now that the text is done and I've seen a rough draft of the visual tracker for Crimson Escalation, it's all coming together. I'm very excited to show it to everyone. Thanks for backing the KS!!!

 

Coplen

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Have you considered making crit charts, or does that veer off track?
 

Venger Satanis

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The "visual aid" tracker can be seen in this KS update:
Lots of opinions on this one, and I'm not surprised. Visually, it's not really like anything else I've commissioned...
 

Coplen

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I received the proof read this pdf and that cleared up my question.

I was meaning crit charts like, say, from Against the Darkmaster. I'm interested in something like that, so I'll work on my own and see how it goes. :smile:
 

Necrozius

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I think what makes the tracker harder to read is the background image: it has high contrast and so does the text on top of it. Honestly I'd recommend adding a variant where the background is just one very light shade of color (or one very dark shade of color). Just a recommendation! It would also be more friendly to printers, heh.
 

Venger Satanis

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I think what makes the tracker harder to read is the background image: it has high contrast and so does the text on top of it. Honestly I'd recommend adding a variant where the background is just one very light shade of color (or one very dark shade of color). Just a recommendation! It would also be more friendly to printers, heh.

You're in luck! There will be 3 versions of the tracker... black-outlined, yellowish-orange outlined, and a printer-friendly B/W version, as well. Of course, the tracker is just a visual aid. You don't really need it.
 

Venger Satanis

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I received the proof read this pdf and that cleared up my question.

I was meaning crit charts like, say, from Against the Darkmaster. I'm interested in something like that, so I'll work on my own and see how it goes. :smile:

Hate to say it, but since I've never read Against the Darkmaster, I still don't know what "crit charts" you're talking about. Do you mean a random table of different damage for crits? I created a d12 critical-hit chart in The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence.
 

Venger Satanis

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It really isn't a big deal, I agree, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Crit fishing builds arent that common anyway in my experience and you can always warn your players off them.

Because of your comments in this thread I decided to give those with a better than average crit range a slight bonus. So, thanks for that! If you want the PDF once it comes out, just ask.
 

Fenris-77

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Because of your comments in this thread I decided to give those with a better than average crit range a slight bonus. So, thanks for that! If you want the PDF once it comes out, just ask.
I will always accept gaming resources. I'm a bit of a hoarder that way. :grin:
 
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