Critical Cards

losehandAs Galaxy Master, I like to run a very face-paced game of Star Wars. I don’t sit down. I treat my GM Screen as a clipboard and little more than a hard surface to help jot down notes on paper. I drink coffee and energy drinks at 6:00 PM just to get amp’ed up for a game. I don’t stop the game to discuss or analyze rules in a book. I listen to thrash metal and hard-beat industrial.

I cannot be bogged down by rolling on a critical injury table.

This function of FFG Star Wars has long been a speed bump in my GM’ing style. To get around it and keep the game pounding at my preferred breakneck speed, I devised a clever little system of Critical Cards (click to download) to replace the drudgery of rolling d100 and looking up the results in a chart. I implemented this first in FANE of the SITH LORDS and it worked amazingly well. Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve made them. Jeez, why didn’t I post these sooner?

Galaxy Masters wishing to use these instead of the traditional system should print out several copies, two at the least, and shuffle them up. Create one deck for Critical Injuries, those affecting an individual Crew Member, and Critical Hits, those affecting vehicles and starships. Whenever something or someone would suffer a critical, roll just a d10. Previous criticals held by the target, the Vicious weapon quality, and Wounds or Hull Trauma suffered above the target’s threshold all add a +1 to the roll, similar to the rules-as-written critical mechanics.

  • If the total of the roll is 8 or lower, use the end of the Critical Card that has a white background; a Minor Critical.
  • If the total of the roll is 9 or higher, use the end of the Critical Card that has a dark gray background, a Major Critical. Disruptor weapons always use the Major Critical end of the card.
  • If the total of the roll is 15 or higher, the subject is completely destroyed or instantly killed.

This system is intuitive to use, quick to deploy, and gives the players physical reminders of their debilitating conditions. It also opens up an avenue for customization for the Galaxy Master, tweaking the composition of the Critical Cards deck to suit his or her desired level of lethality. For example, during my CRUSH the REBELLION campaign it was made well known that the Critical Cards deck would be stacked with an overabundance (about three times as much as normal) of Maimed critical injuries. What can I say, I like my games of Star Wars to have a lot of lightsaber amputations.

ldvyields2The Critical Cards as presented do not fit the percentages and ratios presented in the rules-as-written charts exactly. I do not care and neither should you. This system overall is a little more swingy, risky, and dangerous; an injury of Dead can theoretically be applied on just the first critical injury delivered. If you’re uncomfortable with that, tweak the die roll thresholds (9 and 15) to be a little higher, or remove those offending cards from your deck.

About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

12 responses to “Critical Cards

  • mdl780

    That’s a pretty handy idea. Similar in some respects to Paizo’s Condition/Crit Hit/Miss cards. If anything, it serves as a handy reminder tool. I’ll have to print them up and give them a try. My Crew doesn’t mind rolling the dice. Everyone leans in to see how high the dice roll (although looking up a chart does take a few moments) and tension builds as everyone wants to know how bad it is…

  • Brandon

    Love this. As the GM (and the only person in my group, really) trying to make the game more fast and furious and less crunchy, stat, or roll based, this is a breath of fresh air.

  • Mikolaj “Nico” L

    Great idea. When I introduced EotE to my old SW d6 group, they liked it very much, but were surprised to see a critical table on which they have to roll 100%. They asked me – you need all those new dice and yet you need a 100% die to for critics, WTF?
    Personally I discarded d10 and use only EotE dice (I changed also probabilities):
    “Whenever something or someone would suffer a critical, roll a red die. Previous criticals held by the target, the Vicious weapon quality, and Wounds or Hull Trauma suffered above the target’s threshold all add one additional red die to roll, similar to the rules-as-written critical mechanics. Disruptor weapons add also one red die to roll. Durable subtract one red die from the pool, and if there is only one red die to roll, a character automatically suffers Minor Critical.
    If no despair result is rolled, it is as a Minor Critical.
    If a despair result is rolled, it is a Major Critical.
    If three or more despairs are rolled, the subject is completely destroyed or instantly killed.”

  • mrnevada117

    Nice use of the Critical Injury system. I am so going to use this! Although, I would print them up if I had some card paper….but I don’t…so notecards here we come!

    • C. Steven Ross

      Thanks! For our games, I just used standard weight paper for the cards and they worked out fine. A neat trick to do, though, if you’ve got a few bucks is to buy plastic card sleeves and put your paper printout cards in those.

      • mrnevada117

        Yea, I am going to be starting up an EotE game sometime this winter (hopefully, I play with two 37 year veteran’s who are alternating between two games). I was looking for a decent review to help for some buy-in. I think your Post Crush the Rebellion interview will work great, so I am going to use it, thanks BTW! All I need to do now is get the book…haha

  • BMFS

    Loving the idea of cards. We’ve been running an AotR campaign for sometime and crit system is too damn forgiving (one guy has been crit and brought to 0 HP about 5 times) but due to rolls, bacta etc. never died and I think feels invulnerable.

    Just one question though, the diamonds do they relate to the number of disadvantages? You say shuffle them up but I was curious about if you use specific tiers as well?

    • C. Steven Ross

      The diamonds show the Difficulty dice needed to overcome the Critical Injury.

      I don’t really mess around with the tiers too much, at best I have a die roll (modified by normal things that modify the critical injury roll) to determine if someone gets the easy light colored side or the much more punishing dark colored side. Overall, the odds in that method are less forgiving to PCs, but of course the idea here is to stack the deck to built the lethality that you prefer in your games.

      • BMFS

        Yeah I like the d10 idea, less crunchy. I guess I am not following the overcoming crit thing. Or is that referring to when they try to ‘heal’ the crit via bacta tank etc? So you let them hold on to the cards till that point arrives? Thanks for the quick reply btw. I may or may not be going through your entire blog at work right now…

      • C. Steven Ross

        Glad to help! Yes, exactly, the diamonds are for the difficulty for healing a critical injury via bacta, etc. The card is a physical prop that you hand out, so it’s much more in the player’s face, they have a harder time forgetting about it, and when they clear it out it’s a palpable sense of accomplishment.

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