Many of us at Skyland Games are big fans of technology in general, Apple technology in particular. It always struck me as odd that WotC never made an attempt to enter the massive market of iOS apps. Especially given the fact that Fourth Edition D&D is more dependent on digital tools than ever. Instead of developing applications for the tons of gamers bringing iPhones and iPads to the gaming table, they develop their tools in Microsoft Silverlight, a system that even Microsoft is abandoning. Huh? Several 3rd party developers have tried their hand at digital character sheets, dice rollers, and some impressive digital maps. Overall, I haven’t found any of them particularly useful, until now. Since my recent Pathfinder experiment, I wanted to see what else Paizo was up to. A quick search on the iPhone App Store revealed two official Paizo apps: iCrit and iFumble.
Those of you familiar with the Critical Hit and Critical Fumble decks will recognize these immediately. At $1.99 a piece, the digital versions are cheaper, include sound effects, and have the added benefit of always being where your phone is; For most of us, thats in our pocket. That makes one less thing to throw in the GM bag on your way to your game.
The first time I tried these out was with my epic Scales of War 4e group. Not all of the results make sense, but most are easily translatable, and can really add some tension to a battle. In our test run, I had a Storm Gorgon fly up to a wizard who was cruising around the battlefield on his ebony fly (Adventurer’s Vault p.181). On his initial attack, I rolled a one. Consulting iFumble, the Gorgon also falls unconcious for 1d6 rounds. The following round, our half-orc fighter executed it with a Rules As Written coup de grace: it’s bloodied value in one attack. It was the first one that any of us could recall witnessing in 4e.
It doesn’t always go in the PCs favor. Our Artificer was on the receiving end of a crit from a level-27 hydra. On top of massive damage, he suffered 4 points of dexterity damage, which reduced his AC by 2 for the rest of the encounter! Since Epic is pretty much impossible to balance anyway, adding these decks to encounters adds a lot of tension when 1s and 20s hit the table. If you’ve got an iOS device and don’t own the decks, I would recommend picking these up immediately. If you already own the decks, its still a solid buy if you think about how many times you forgot to bring the decks with you to your gaming session. If nothing else, vote with your dollars to encourage Paizo to develop digital tools on viable, vibrant platforms.