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Gentlemen, You Can't Fight in Here! This is the War Room!

We're busy assembling video for the presentation of the Technology Demo to our Kickstarter backers. Last week we had a whole crew of Goblinworks staffers playing adventurers and goblins as Art Director Mike Hines gave everyone directions on where to go, how to fight and when to die. If only life were as simple. :)

It's Just a Flesh Wound!

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, like many RPGs, includes the concept of critical hits, where each attack has a small chance of doing dramatically more damage than average, allowing for the sudden reverses and underdog victories that are so often parts of the fiction that inspired RPGs. With a Game Master and a mostly PvE environment, wild swings in damage output are pretty easily dealt with; no one really feels bad at the gaming table when a player one-shots a powerful villain due to a lucky critical. (Well, okay, maybe the Game Master feels bad if he spent all week prepping that fight...)

Video games and MMOs have adopted the critical hit idea without really changing the core concept much, despite the many problems it can cause. Having unpredictable and large spikes in damage output in PvP situations can be extremely annoying, since players can be killed off by crits with little warning or ability to do anything about it. Building characters for crits becomes a viable if not favored combat plan, relying on abnormal spikes of damage to suddenly eliminate opponents. Given the PvP focus of Pathfinder Online, we didn't feel that was an ideal, but we do want to keep critical hits, so we came up with a new plan.

Characters have a chance to score a critical hit based on their attack bonus, the defenses and armor of the target, the ability and weapon used to attack, and other such factors. If a critical hit is scored, the character suffers an Injury. An Injury is a long-term debuff that continues to affect the character until the character receives a certain amount of healing, with the amount depending on the severity of the critical. The specific Injury is determined by a random number modified by the weapon, ability used, etc and compared to a table based on the damage type used to inflict the critical. This means that bludgeoning weapons will tend to inflict different criticals than slashing weapons or fire attacks. It actually works a lot like Paizo's Critical Hit Deck accessory for the Pathfinder RPG.

This means instead of critical hits causing random damage spikes, they'll inflict long-term debuffs, making combat more about attrition than wild damage swings. Injuries can be healed with any healing spell that heals enough damage, so the weaker debuffs are pretty easy to get rid of, but more powerful Injuries can be far more difficult to get rid of. Injuries can be removed through other means, such as hanging out at taverns or other safe locations, but they never really stop someone from pushing on if they want to—even when pushing on is perhaps unwise.

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