Critical Fumbles and Weapon Quality

Critical Fumbles and Weapon Quality

There was a short discussion about fumbles and losing/breaking weapons on a discord recently, so I thought I would share the rules we use in the Low Fantasy Gaming/Homebrew Campaign.

  • Special “19:” Effects – some weapons have a special effect, such as disarming or pinning an opponent if the roll is a Natural 19. See the LFG rulebook for details.
  • Critical Hits (nat 20) reduce your opponents’ AC by one until their armor can be repaired. HP damage is maximum. Repair costs 10% of the armor’s value. A character may sacrifice a shield to avoid a Critical Hit. Doing so adds +2 to their next Initiative roll in this combat.
  • Critical Fumbles (Natural or Modified d20 roll of 1) cause a weapon to become notched. A notched weapon causes -1 HP damage. Repair costs 10% of the weapon’s value, per notch.
    • A Nat 1 Critical Fumble is a notch and a drop. A PC who drops their weapon must take a melee round to pick it up again, or draw another to use to attack.


Weapon/Armor Quality Ratings


Weapon Quality Number of Notches before breaking Cost Multiplier
Cheap 1 X .5-.6
Basic 2 X .9 – 1.2
Fine Quality (+1 to hit & damage


3 X5 – 10
High Quality (+2 to hit, +1 Damage) 4 X 40
Master-Crafted (+2 to hit, +2 Damage)) 6 X 100


Example: A Cheap longsword will become notched on a roll of 1 or 2. Make a note on your Character Sheet, because if there is another Critical Fumble, the longsword will break, becoming useless.


  • Attacking with Knife or Dagger: if a PC is in melee combat, using a knife or dagger (or similar, small weapon) and they score a hit with a Natural or Modified 20, they are able to get in close to their opponent, grip them, and make two attacks per following round, that hit automatically for maximum damage. An enemy (or PC) that is thus gripped may attempt to break free in lieu of an attack by making a STR check vs the opponents STR. A character in the grip of another in this manner may only attack with one-handed weapons, at -2 to hit.
  • Mounted Combat: all characters fight at -2 to hit while mounted, except those with the Mounted Combat Task. A character may spend X GP and 8 weeks (- DEX bonus in weeks) training to fight while mounted. Mounts are categorized in four ranks, similar to weapons:


Mount Quality Combat Modifier Cost Multiplier
Poor 0 X .75
Average 0 X .8-1.5
Average +Trained or Excellent +1 AC X 10
Excellent + Trained +1 AC / (+2 damage with Mounted Combat proficiency) X 25


One thought on “Critical Fumbles and Weapon Quality

  1. I never liked drop rules. A noticeable per attack chance to go full Jar-jar is far too punishing. Notches sound good though, maybe after some calibrlation.

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