Carelessness isn’t something many adventures tolerate. It does, unfortunately, plague many parties as they travel, and nothing is quite as underplayed as gear failure. There is always the opportunity for a “1” on the die, so why bother mentioning it in game?
What if a loose strap could help you dodge an arrow? What if a torn fletching could make you miss if there was a shot you’d decided in advance was only to warn? Sometimes a “called fumble” might be in order. The ironic opposite of carelessness, this is taking in small details for later use. Breaking an arrow or damaging a weapon may reduce damage but before it is repaired it might still have a use.
Dramatic fumbles can add to gameplay by adding critical thinking and character. Maybe an undiscarded boot could barter fairy passage? Maybe an empty canteen could be filled with air for watery dungeon?
Consider your game and the combat you’ll face. Would calling a fumble be right for you?
Article by Lissa Goins PhD