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RDP: Critical Feats
 
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RDP: Critical Feats
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RDP: Critical Feats
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/25/2006 00:00:00

Critical Feats

Feats are a powerful and flexible part of the d20 game. I like to see new feats as they can when done right really add to the game without changing the game. But a book of boring feats just weighs down on one?s psyche. Luckily Critical Feats takes feats to a new and interesting place. Critical Feats is a PDF by Reality Deviant Publications. It is written by David Jarvis and Mark Gedak. It is also interesting to see that it looks like their wives did the proofreading as Tammy Gedak and Suzette Jarvis are credited with that. The PDF is only eighteen pages long. The art and layout are pretty good though there are no book marks. The meat of the book is the feats. The theme here is that with the right feat a player who scores a critical hit can choose to not do extra damage and instead do a certain effect. This effect is usually in the name of the feat like Arm Breaker critical feat can allow someone to break an opponents arm. Feats like this are a way to bring in called shots without fully bringing in called shots. The feats can be seen as powerful but they do usually have quite a few requirements. Brutal Upper Cut which can allow a person to break an opponents jaw has five feats, base attack bonus of +10, and a strength score of 17 to get it. Because of the number of feats needed to take most of these fighters will obviously get the most use out these feats. It is interesting to note that these are not fighter feats and I think they should be. It would really help a high level fighter out by having these on that bonus fighter feat list. The requirements for the most part look good. There are some that use odd stats and others that use even stats. I prefer the all feats that require a certain attribute be of an odd number. Even numbers get the bonus increase and then odd numbers allow certain feats to be taken. Some of the feats can really be seen as powerful. Multiple Strike Master while it does require two high ability scores and eight feats can allow a coup de grace as a swift action. A Critical hit still has to be gotten and it can only be done on creatures with the same type as the character. But in certain campaigns this can really be seen as powerful so the DM will have to be on the look out for things like that. Most of the feats have a save incorporated in with them. This is based nicely on hit die or level and an attribute bonus. It can also matter on the critical of the weapon. A x3 grants +2 and a x4 weapon grants +4 to the DC of the save. I like that they still have the critical multiplier matter. The book also has a new spell to help heal broken bones and new types of weapons mundane and magical. It is always nice to see a little bit of extras in these type of books. The book brings in a nice way to make critical hits different and matter a bit more. They are easily a lot more exciting then just more hit point damage. Making them feats allows for characters to choose which they want and not completely abuse a system. DMs can then allow which ever ones they feel are right for their campaign. The critical feats here cover all the weapons and give a nice additional worry to combats.

<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: A good way to do alternate critical effects<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: A little rough here and there<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
RDP: Critical Feats
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/16/2006 00:00:00

RDP: Critical Feats is a new book from Reality Deviant Publications (the RDP in the title), published through Ronin Arts. The zipped file is slightly over one megabyte in size, and contains two PDF files, one color and one printer-friendly. The color file is just under one meg in size, while the printer-friendly one is just over half a meg.

The color file is 18 pages long, and the printer-friendly file is 17. The extra page in the color version is due to advertisements (which aren?t present in the other file). The printer-friendly file is black and white, save for sections headers in red. Only the color file has bookmarks.

Both files have the same cover, depicting what appears to be three gladiators fighting in an arena. The image is set on a backdrop of smudged and bloodstained paper. The color file has its pages bored in red along the top, bottom, and outsides. The insides of the pages have the same bloody paper borders. Beyond the images of products in the ads at the end of the book, there is no other artwork.

Critical Feats isn?t the first book to try and offer an alternative system for critical hits in the d20 system, but it uses an innovative way of doing so. Instead of offering a completely alternative, more complex way of replacing crits, it instead offers ?[critical]? feats. A critical feat is a feat that lets you, when you score a critical hit, forgo doing additional damage to instead deal some special damaging effect.

After the (non-hyperlinked) table of contents and opening information (how to use the book, requirements for use, and designation of OGC), the book introduces the idea of critical feats, noting what kinds of creatures are immune to them, and that Fighters can take them as bonus feats. It also is wise enough to point out that some weapons normally have greater critical damage modifiers than others, and that these should have increased DCs on the Fortitude save a creature makes when it?s hit with a special effect from a critical feat.

After this, a new class of actions (in the vein of standard actions, move actions, free actions, etc.) is introduced: the abort action. Abort actions are defensive actions you may make when it is not your turn. The single new abort action specifically described here is the block action. A block action gives you the option of, when you?re attacked, making an opposed attack roll to block instead of using AC. Several options are given for when and how this works, making it a very nice rule that can be used in conjunction with the existing AC rules.

Forty-three new feats are introduced next. While most of them are critical feats, not all of them are. Several general feats are given, along with two divine feats and one epic feat. Critical feats themselves usually focus on doing damage to a specific body part, such as the Arm Breaker or Puncture Lung feats. Most of these feats allow a saving throw, and many of them can only be used with a specific type of weapon (often one that?s the focus of prerequisite feats). Most of these feats are designed quite well, and note how their conditions can have effects on specific actions. A few errors creep in though, such as the Arm Breaker feat noting that spellcasting characters with a broken arm can?t cast spells with somatic components (they can, since using somatic components only requires one arm). A sidebar mid-way through describes a new condition characters can be subject to: coma. One new spell (knit bones) and two new specific magic weapons are given after the feats.

The last section of the book introduces a dozen new weapons (some of which are OGC from other sources). A few of these weapons, such as the bola, are included because they have a critical feat about them. Most, however, seem to be included just because they?re cool. The one major flaw with this section, however, is the lack of pictures for the weapon. While their appearances are described, it really helps to have a picture when you?re discussing something like a wind and fire wheel, or a yuen yang razor.

Altogether, RDP: Critical Feats is the perfect choice for a GM who wants more colorful criticals in their game without being bogged down by large replacement tables. It gives new critical hit options while working with the existing system, instead of trying to replace it. While the book has some minor flaws, it?s by and large a critical hit itself.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: This product offered a great new system for critical hits that didn't conflict with the existing system, allowing for great flexibility. Supplementary information such as the block action superbly rounds out the new material presented here.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The new weapons presented really should have had pictures to show us what they looked like.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RDP: Critical Feats
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/16/2006 00:00:00

As there is no ?official? Dungeons & Dragons Critical Hit Table, many companies and publishers have created their own extended critical hit rules. Usually, this manifests itself as a critical hit table with increased damage or other negative effects. ?Critical Feats? takes this a step further by, as the title implies, adding extended critical hit effects to feats. ?Critical Feats? also presents a few other game options that players and DMs might find interesting if they want to take their game to a potentially more ?brutal? level.

Before presenting the feats, however, ?Critical Feats? presents a new action type ? the abort action. Abort actions are actions a character can perform when it is not their turn, like blocking or wielding a shield. In essence, a character can chose to forego their Armor Class when being attacked. Instead, the character can block as an abort action. The character and the attacker would then make opposing attack roles, and if the character/defender rolls higher than the attacker, then the attack is blocked and the character takes no damage. If the character/defender rolls lower than the attacker, then the attack is successful. There are bonuses and penalties for two-handed weapons and light weapons respectively. This is an interesting game mechanic, but one that could be easily abused, I?d think, in that it could allow players to focus almost solely on their character?s offensive capabilities instead of buying armor and the like. Additionally, I would question the name choice (abort) of the action itself. It doesn?t necessarily invoke the ?defensive-ness? that the action seems to deserve. Also, there is no mention of how many abort actions a character can make. The rules state that a character may only block a particular attack once, but how many attacks can the character attempt to block overall?

Then we?re into the feats. Most of these feats are critical feats, and in the introductory material of this supplement, writers David Jarvis and Mark Gedak explain that a critical feat is a feat any character can take (making ?Critical Feats? a fairly flexible product) as long as they meet the feat requirements. A character with a critical feat can chose to give up the extra damage a confirmed critical hit would grant and replace it with the effect of the particular feat.

There is a nice variety of feats here. Most of them are fighter-friendly, but there are some that are built for clerics and magic users, and even the monk is represented in ?Critical Feats.? Back Breaker allows a character to crush or severe his or her opponent?s spinal cord. Brutal Uppercut is an unarmed strike that breaks the opponent?s jaw. Conduit Spellstrike is a feat that penalizes the recipient with a ?4 to future saving throws and makes him or her more vulnerable to future spell or spell-like attacks by reducing spell resistance, while Channelling (sic) Strike allows a turn undead attempt to be used as extra damage in the form of channeled positive energy. And these are from just the first few pages!

The damage inflicted by these critical feats can only be healed through use of the Heal skill or through magical means, and a new spell ? ?knit bones? ? is presented near the end of the supplement. Additionally, there are a few new magic items (enhancements that are increased when wielded by one with a specific critical feat) and weapons (most of which can be used to take advantage of the Rend Armor feat).

Overall, I liked the idea of ?Critical Feats.? I?ve always had a personal preference toward more ?intense? results coming from successful critical hits as combat should always be dangerous, regardless of character level, and ?Critical Feats? allows for this without adding any more rolling on potentially-clunky critical hit tables and the like.

However, I did find myself wishing for a bit more work here on the part of the creators. As mentioned before, one of the ways to heal damage from a critical feat is to use magic. Specifically, a number of these feats mention using any ?heal? spell. It?s hard to believe that a ?cure minor wounds? spell would be enough to undo the damage caused by the ?Puncture Lung? feat. (Some of the feats ? like Throat Ripper ? do indicate that a ?cure critical wounds? spell most be used.)

(?Critical Feats? also introduces coma as a new condition. While an interesting game mechanic ? a character falls unconscious and loses one point of Constitution every hour ? it, too, seems to only require the use of any ?heal? spell. Since clerics can cast ?cure minor wounds? spontaneously, this condition loses some of its impact.)

Also, the number of formatting errors were distracting. Spells should always be italicized, and not once are any of the spells formatted in this correct fashion through this supplement. Some of the feats require a certain attack bonus as a prerequisite, and ?Critical Feats? presents these base attack bonuses incorrectly at times (by placing the ?+? after the number instead of before). There were a few spacing errors, as well.

In the end, ?Critical Feats? is a great idea and adds a lot of flavor to the game, and with some work DMs and players can add these rules to their game to give it that edge that standard d20 combat can sometimes lack. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: There are some great ideas here. The cover art shows gladiators battling each other, and these 'Critical Feats' invoke that feeling of brutality and viciousness of combat.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Minor nitpicks include formatting errors and a failure to indicate how powerful of a ?heal? spell would be required to heal the damage caused by these feats.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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