In all the games I remember playing, critical failures have always, in every case triggered an event. This critical failure is due to exceptionally bad rolls on dice, either a ‘natural one’ in DnD or a ‘tI’d Failure’ in nWoD. This is committing a failure so catastrophic it makes something bad happen (some special enemy appearing, or some item breaking), sometimes so bad it’s borderline nonsensical.
Does this necessarily have to be like this in every system or game? When we are playing, everyone assumes something is going to happen if they roll a 1 (or the equivalent in other systems), but I have been thinking about it and it doesn’t make much sense. While I agree it’s the worst possible roll and therefore it indicates the least successful or desirable outcome, I’ve never agreed on critical failures necessarily having to generate a special event.
Opinions aside, I’ve only been playing for a few years and I want to know: have roleplaying games always been like this? When did this critical failure trend start? I have casually asked some of the people I play with but no one has given it any thought and I’m really curious about it.