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#735017 16/11/20 10:37 AM
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I have seen a lot of threads, where people repeat a common misconception about natural 20 and 1 rolls in D&D 5e. Although in those threads the misconception was pointed out, I wanted to clarify here when a natural 20 or 1 on a d20 has a special meaning. And the number of rolls those numbers effect are quite low.

# Attack Roll
- 20: Critical Hit. Automatic hit. Double damage dice, targets at 0 hit points loose two death saving throws.
- 1: Critical Miss.

# Death Saving Throws
- 20: Regain 1 hit point.
- 1: Fail two death saving throws.

These are the only instances where natural 20s or 1s have special effects in D&D 5e, as far as I know. They do not affect ability checks or saving throws, unless you house rule it otherwise.

Last edited by TyPinOwly; 16/11/20 10:39 AM.
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Can confirm.

I'll note that in BG3, crits on downed PCs only result in 1 failed death saving throw instead of 2. This is a good change from 5e RAW, given BG3 AI's preference for hitting us while we're down.

I'm not sure if a nat20/1 have special effects for Death STs in BG3...

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Can confirm.

...given BG3 AI's preference for hitting us while we're down.



Apparently my DM is actually a BG3 AI.

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Originally Posted by TyPinOwly
I have seen a lot of threads, where people repeat a common misconception about natural 20 and 1 rolls in D&D 5e. Although in those threads the misconception was pointed out, I wanted to clarify here when a natural 20 or 1 on a d20 has a special meaning. And the number of rolls those numbers effect are quite low.

# Attack Roll
- 20: Critical Hit. Automatic hit. Double damage dice, targets at 0 hit points loose two death saving throws.
- 1: Critical Miss.

# Death Saving Throws
- 20: Regain 1 hit point.
- 1: Fail two death saving throws.

These are the only instances where natural 20s or 1s have special effects in D&D 5e, as far as I know. They do not affect ability checks or saving throws, unless you house rule it otherwise.


And a "Critical Miss" means nothing. Just pointing out you rolled a 1. I can't imagine the tears if a critical miss table was added.

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Originally Posted by RumRunner151
And a "Critical Miss" means nothing. Just pointing out you rolled a 1. I can't imagine the tears if a critical miss table was added.

Yeah, smth like: Critical Miss: Roll weapon damage and deal it to yourself^^

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Originally Posted by RumRunner151
Originally Posted by TyPinOwly
I have seen a lot of threads, where people repeat a common misconception about natural 20 and 1 rolls in D&D 5e. Although in those threads the misconception was pointed out, I wanted to clarify here when a natural 20 or 1 on a d20 has a special meaning. And the number of rolls those numbers effect are quite low.

# Attack Roll
- 20: Critical Hit. Automatic hit. Double damage dice, targets at 0 hit points loose two death saving throws.
- 1: Critical Miss.

# Death Saving Throws
- 20: Regain 1 hit point.
- 1: Fail two death saving throws.

These are the only instances where natural 20s or 1s have special effects in D&D 5e, as far as I know. They do not affect ability checks or saving throws, unless you house rule it otherwise.


And a "Critical Miss" means nothing. Just pointing out you rolled a 1. I can't imagine the tears if a critical miss table was added.


No, this is wrong. A critical hit always hits and a critical miss always misses, regardless of modifiers and target numbers.


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@Dexai I think you're in agreement with RumRunner. He's just saying that the effect of a critical miss is no different than a regular miss.

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A critical miss is ALMOST no different than a regular miss. Sure there are no special fireworks that happen, but a critical miss is distinct in that you still miss regardless of any modifiers that may get piled on there. Again, that is only for attack rolls though. Skill checks can still modify a 1 to be a success.

Oh, and yeah, the crit miss (and crit hit) tables with lasting adverse effects and such are TERRIBLE for players. The odds are stacked against them with the number of enemies they encounter and the fact that any given enemy will only suffer adverse effects till they die, while the players have to deal with the penalties till they are taken care of. Not to say they can't be fun in a P&P game, but they ramp up the difficulty more than you might imagine.

Last edited by SFPuck; 18/11/20 12:12 AM.
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Yes, what Puck said. As an exaggerated example, if you are fighting something with an AC of 0, you will still miss on an attack roll of 1. That's a critical miss.


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Does anyone else feel like critical misses occur WAY more often than critical hits; for both PC's and enemies? I don't have any hard data, of course, put after 2 1/2 playthroughs, it really feels like I see critical miss way more often.

I'd also swear the cleric class is bugged, both Shadowheart and my own cleric seem to miss a ridiculous amount of the time. To the point I'm actually surprised when they hit. I get Shadowheart's attack stats are poor (DEX and STR) but I have a dwarf cleric with high strength, proficiency, and a +1 weapon, and he still seems to miss way to often.


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