As the title asks. The two tags, and , are both highly similar. It makes sense for them to be marked as synonyms.


2 Answers 2


A quick glance at the questions using these tags suggests that instead of synonyms, perhaps the first step in straightening this out is just re-tagging to use the accurate mechanical terms for the system each question is asking about. I don't yet see any question about the generic concept of a fumble or natural 1 fail; just questions about specific mechanics in specific systems. So how about we tag for the games' own terms?

Tagging for specific mechanics should also increase the likelihood people Googling for help with a particular game will find our site! That's part of what tags are for.

Look at the suggested synonyms here: few if any are mechanical terms, and for good reason. Synonyms are "alternate spellings or phrasings," not replacing one mechanical term for another. I don't think we'd want to force Fate questions to use the tag instead of , for example.

So when we need a generic tag for the concept (and we don't yet), lets find a way to do it which lets questions about specific game systems also use those systems' designated terms.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Challenge accepted. I opted to simply use both tags. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    May 24, 2017 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are there specific games that use "Fumble" as a name for their game mechanic? I could see that being an exception to the critical-failure. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    May 27, 2017 at 23:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich I know Call of Cthulhu 6th Ed, and a quick Google suggests Riddle of Steel, Insight, Battleaxe, Dragon Emblem... \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    May 27, 2017 at 23:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Couldn't that justify having both tags instead of using just one or the other? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    May 28, 2017 at 0:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich Isn't that exactly what I'm suggesting? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    May 28, 2017 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. Just clarifying. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    May 31, 2017 at 21:12

The concept of 'An abysmal failure that leaves you worse off than if you had not attempted the thing in the first place' (critical failure), and 'things have gone horribly wrong' (fumble) are distinct concepts in some games.

FFG's Star Wars (for example) allows actions that result in Success, Success and a Fumble, Fumbles, and Critical Failure without a Fumble (translating similar concepts to the tags in question).

I would be hesitant to jump on merging the two.

  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Threat without any Advantage (or threat outnumbering advantage) results in what I would term a fumble and has no effect on the Success or Failure of the roll. Despair without any Triumph results in what amounts to a critical failure as Despair actually affects the success outcome of a roll. Not to mention the magnitude differences between the two situations. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    May 23, 2017 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right, they're called Threats, not Disadvantage. Why do you choose to use the word "fumble" for results where you have Threats and no Success? Why not "Complication" or "Setback"? Does it have to be "Fumble"? And is "Fumble" widely understood this way? For instance, this Q is equating Fumbles to Crit Fails, and so is this one. Popular use seems to suggest they're the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    May 23, 2017 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Because reducing similar concepts to the smallest number of acceptable tags makes the tagging system on the site not a nightmare, which is the point of the question. I am pointing out that the concepts are dissimilar enough not to be merged, even if they are a single concept in D&D \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    May 23, 2017 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ You answered none of the Q's I raised in my comments... \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    May 23, 2017 at 23:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @markovchain Then write a better answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    May 24, 2017 at 3:37

You must log in to answer this question.