Ahh, the crit chart. I should explain that before I get to the story. See, in my early days, unbeknownst to my players, I used a chart for critical hits. Not to tell what the hits did, but where they hit. It was never to complicated. It was normally roll a d6 and then what ever I rolled would correspond with a section of body. This particular story led to that being fazed out.
When I first started running games, I relied heavily on premade modules. It wasn’t for lack of imagination, but because I was new at being on that side of the DM’s screen. The particular module involved in this story is Grasp of the Emerald Claw. The party had just come up to a small contingent of Emerald Claw soldiers. If you have no clue what an Emerald Claw soldier looks like, well this is one:
Except normally the have flails, not swords. Anyway that’s here nor there. The party knew that there were more near by, so Shawn, the monk of the party, decided that they should take on the group they found, and then go and find the others. The party surprised the small group, and managed to take out all but one of them. That on attempted to run to warn the others. Shawn’s monk did the only logical thing he could think of. He took on of the shields off of one of the dead bodies, and threw it at him… Wait did I say logical? I meant insane. Anyway it was what he wanted to do, so I made him roll an attack roll. I sat behind my screen thinking “Well this is going to be interesting.” Then I heard the word that I was not expecting to hear at all. Shawn jumped up, triumphantly shouting “CRIT!!” So I rolled the d6 and it came up left leg. Shawn rolled for damage and wouldn’t you guess it, max damage. So about 20 points of damage to the guy’s leg… Shawn cut the guy’s leg off by throwing a shield that looked very much like the one above. The party decided not to let the situation go to waste. The interrogated the now one legged man to learn where the others were. Shawn even was nice enough to tourniquet the man’s leg for him, rolling a natural 20 on the heal check to do so (many emerald claw soldiers are literally just fallowing orders, and Shawn felt bad for the guy.) After getting the information from the guy, it was decided that they would knock him out, tie him up, and bring him back for proper treatment. Shawn decided he would do it. So he again makes his attack roll. He then starts laughing. Not in that funny ha ha kind of way, but in that the only response I have right now is to laugh kind of way. He looks at me and just says “crit” The only response I could muster was “Really?” I look at the d20 and sure enough it was in fact a 20. I make him roll damage and again he manages to roll for maximum damage. I roll on the crit chart and wound up with head. So first he cut off this guys leg, and then he caved the man’s head in. From that point on his character was jokingly called Captain America, and I haven’t used the crit chart sense.
Next Time: I tell the story of how some bad choice of words, and some really bad timing almost left my DnD group without the DM (that DM being me)