October 8, 2012

Awfully Unforgettable Fumbles

I was looking for a great fumble chart to pair with the Arduin Criticals.  If you haven't seen it yet, then you should go take a look.  Jeff posted the whole thing a while back, here it is.  That's a thing of beauty,  that is.  Critical hits deserve to be deadly serious, and that chart delivers.

I think you have to go the other way with fumbles though.  Fumbles need to be weird, and silly, and stupid.  I like the contrast I guess.  Just like how in my games the surface world is all politics, scheming, and control; while the underworld is full of chaos, horror, and the bizarre.

The Arduin Fumbles don't impress me as much, and I know I'm not alone in that.  I suspect that they are too serious for me.  Is it strange that the same reason that I love the crits makes me feel "meh" about the fumbles?

Anyway, I went looking through every fumble chart I could find on my budget of $0.00 to see what struck my fancy.  None of them made me scream "This is perfect!", so I stole a bunch of bits I liked from different charts and mashed them all together.  Then I just kept thinking of crazy stuff that would be fun and make my friends laugh when it happened at the gaming table.  Some of the results below are embarrassing and meant to wound a character's pride a bit, but nothing too insulting.  Insults aren't much fun.

Here it is, totally untested.  I'm excited to try it out.  Let me know what you all think.  Does anyone out there see room for improvement?


Awfully Unforgettable Fumbles
Roll d100, add 10 when outdoors

01-02  Xenomorph bursts out of your chest!  You will die next round without magical aid.  With magical healing, you will stabilize but remain unconscious for 24 hours.  (Xenomorph: 6hp, AC3, bite d4, acid blood - it will grow to full size if it can manage to escape)
03  Three is the magic number.  You loose your balance, stumble, mumble, drop your weapons, grasp at thin air, and just happen to cast a random M-U spell. (Roll randomly for both spell level, and individual spell.  Your melee opponent is the target if applicable.  If you aren't wearing the proper mage type garments, the feedback loop knocks you unconscious for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell.  When you wake, your memory for details is kinda hazy until you can sleep it off.)
04-05  Your weapon tears a hole in reality!  Before it can sew itself shut, out steps a (1 Alien, 2-3 Shoggoth, 4-5 Demon, 6 Dead President)
06  No one saw it coming.  The Invisible Stalker following you chooses this moment to strike.
07  Lucky you!  You find a shortcut to the lower level when the floor gives way under your feet. (falling damage, and whatever else is down there)
08-10  Wait... what?  It turns out you are not holding your weapon, but rather, an angry (1-3 crab, 4-5 lobster, 6 giant isopod) 


11  Spontaneous Combustion!  (Any nearby monsters/NPCs immediately roll morale, while you must Save or Die!  Loose half your remaining hp and Cha/Com if successful.  You can regain the hp.) 
12  Faux Pas. You shriek, spasm and either urinate in fear or orgasm in excitement (player chooses secretly) 
13  Your own worst enemy.  Critical hit... yourself.
14-15  It's a trap!  A 10'X10'X10' pit trap.  You and anyone standing too close need to roll a Dex check.  Succeed by 5+ to jump clear and be fine.  Succeed by less than 5 to catch hold of the floor at the edge of the pit and you can pull yourself up at the end of next round.  Failure = falling damage.  The pit trap is (1-3 empty, 4-5 spiked, 6 infested) 
16-18  Stop hitting yourself! (normal damage)
19-20  Choke!  You've managed to smash your own larynx.  Your voice is strained and raspy, maybe permanently.  For the rest of the session it is a real struggle to speak each sentance.  (Roll a Save vs Poison each time.  Failure indicates a loud, choking, coughing fit.)
21-23  Pass it on.  Jostle random nearby combatant (they roll a fumble now)
24-26  Sorry, my bad.  Hit an ally
27-29  Arrow to the Knee!  It's origin is a mystery.  That leg will not hold weight until healed. (hop around at 1/4 movement, or half movement with a crutch, AC penalty of 3)
30-31  Wakey Wakey.  Your stumbling reveals a fist-sized hole,and disturbs the nest of d6 1HD venomous (1 snakes, 2 frogbats 3 spiders, 4 centipedes, 5 scorpions, 6 fishcats).  Half will roll initiative next round, the others enter combat the round after.
32-35  Get a grip.  Your weapon slips from your fat, greasy, butter fingers. It ends up stuck somewhere that makes it difficult or impossible to retrieve.
36-38  The taste of fail.  You give your tongue an epic bite!  You think part of it might be missing now. (1 damage, and until it is healed you are slurring speech, drooling blood, and your spellcasting times are doubled as you slowly enunciate each sound)
39-41  An innocent mistake.  Hit a random innocent bystander.  If necessary, one appears as if by magic.
42  I pity the fool.  One of the mad jesters who teleport innocent people into harms way has somehow offended his brethren.  He appears just in time to receive a Critical Hit from you.
43-44  Rent Asunder!  Your weapon takes a crushing blow!  It breaks if normal, permanent -1 if magical.
45-47  Collateral Damage. Your weapon goes flying and damages the most valuable breakable object in the area.
48-49  That's Fowl.  d6 putrid zombie chickens surprise attack this round. The first one goes for you, the rest choose living opponents at random. (1HD, d4 damage, AC 8)
50  Sad.  You accidentally slash your own wrists.  At least, that's your story. (1 damage/round until bandaged)
51-53  RABIES!  A rabid creature bursts unto the scene.  (Random encounter + rabies) 
54-55  Friends Forever.  You fall into a pile of refuse/puddle/snow drift/sand dune, and it's full of weird leeches (no attack next round as you pick yourself back up.  The leeches are harmless really, but release a bunch of phero-hormones into your blood.  You quickly grow very, very fond of them.  You'll probably take a Charisma hit once you start naming and petting the ones who live on your face.)
56-58  Look, no hands!  You fall on your face... Hard! (d4 damage, Cha/Com moves 1 toward 7, no attack next round as you pick yourself up)
59  Et tu, Dumbass?  Critical Hit... an ally
60-63  Smooth Move.  You fall onto your backpack (player rolls for each breakable: even=fine, odd=ruined; stop if 3 break)
64-66  I attack the darkness!  Your head gear slips and covers your eyes (blinded until it is adjusted)
67-68  Ants in your Pants!  They're biters. (-2 to hit until you take off your pants and knock them all away)
69  Wardrobe Malfunction.  Your sexy bits flop out!  Fix it or risk it. (attacks that miss you by 1 will now strike sexy bits)
70-73  Classic.  You stumble over an unseen imaginary deceased turtle.  You are very confused.  (loose next action)
74-76  Trying too hard. You are overextended and off-balance. (Melee enemy gets an extra attack)
77  Dumb Luck.  You slip and Critical Hit a random enemy.
78-80  Watch your Step.  You accidentally step on a small venomous snake and it takes a bite at your leg before slithering away.
81-83  Moth to a flame.  You fall into a nearby light source.  (Choose the worst case scenario within the given variables... torches go out, lanterns break, oil lamps spill, flames spread, ect.  FYI, lava sucks.)
84-87  You're doing it wrong.  Twisted Ankle for 24 hours. (AC penalty of 2, and 1/2 movement until healed)
88  A happy mistake.  Hit an random enemy. (normal damage)
89-91 WristStrong!  You sprained/fractured your wrist. (your weapon is dropped, and dominant hand cannot hold any weight until after 24 hours)
92-95 Pop & Lock  You bent your elbow backwards somehow (only 1 damage to you, but until it is healed -2 to hit rolls and damage)
96-97  You got Knocked the F*** Out! (unconscious for d6 rounds)
98-99  You've got the funk!  It's the bad kind.  Sorry, Patient Zero.  Did some enemy blood spray into your mouth, water drip into your eye, or slime get on your finger?  I hope it's not a highly contagious airborne virus. (DM determines illness/infection)
100  Deja Vu!  You were distracted because you've seen this before and think you know the enemy's next move. (for any one melee attack next round you can yell out advice, giving the attacker a 2d20 for their to-hit roll.  20+ is a crit, but any 1s rolled require a fumble roll in addition to the combined result.  Double fumble is possible.)

101-102 Shpadoinkle!  It's like a bear trap, only stronger.  You found it the hard way. (d8 damage. You'll probably need some extra hands to help remove it.  Without help, a willingness to hack off your own foot, or a lucky bend bars/lift gates roll; you are stuck here as monster bait.)
103-104  It gets worse.  The ground crumbles under your feet and you drop into some kind of lair. (roll random encounter to see what lives there)
105-106  You've really stirred up a hornet's nest this time!  No, really. (d100X6 hornets unless winter.  Frozen Lands=Ice Hornets unless summer)
107-109  Bree Yark! - Something pooped and/or pissed on your head, probably a bird.  If in a dense urban area it might be someone emptying a chamber pot out the window.
110  Chick Magnet  d12 fuzzy baby birds decide that you are their Mommy and start to follow you everywhere.  You and anyone fighting next to you will need to make all melee attacks with a -2 penalty, unless they are willing to risk stepping on one of the cute little things. (5% chance per chick, heartless bastards)  The chicks don't like bags, and are terrified of the dark unless they can snuggle right up next to you.


Mr. Giant Isopod knew that he had nailed the audition

2 comments:

  1. If they were called 'Critical Failures' you'd appreciate the serious charts. But they are called 'Fumbles' which rhymes with bumbles and makes you think they should have an element of silly to them.

    You owe me 5¢.
    -Lucy Van Pelt

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  2. I want seriousness of combat to be accentuated by the criticals, but punctuated with some levity and weirdness with the fumbles. Most of them are still serious in consequence, just not in tone.

    It's fun. People laugh. That's what I'm going for.

    I submit that experiencing the interaction of the two improves the whole.

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