Critical Hits & Fails in Anvil | World Anvil

Critical Hits & Fails

The house rules below were designed to work for Pathfinder 1e but can be used as inspiration any DnD 3.5 or 5e game as well. The point behind these rules is to add drama to the game by making both sides of rolling low and high more impactful to the story.

Critical hits

If you roll a natural 20 on an attack roll, roll again. if that attack is above the attacker's AC then the attack is considered to be a critical damage roll.

  • Calculate the maximum damage your attack can do
  • Roll the damage roll as you'd normally do
  • Add your maximum damage to your damage roll.
  • Mythic Criticals

    If you have any level of any mythic tier you can spend mythic points to multiply the damage of your attack up to your mythic tier's level. For example a 1st tier mythic character can spend 1 mythic poiwer to multiply the attack by 2, while a 2nd tier mythic character can multiply this by 3 and so on.

    Critical Fails

    If at any point during an attack roll a player rolls a natural 1 on the dice the roll is automatically considered a failure. In addition to that, the player needs to roll a 1d10 and check the table below for the effect the failure had.

    1The attack fails, nothing else happens
    2Disarmed, the weapon slips and it is thrown 10 feet away
    3Broken, the weapon gains the broken condition
    4Stuck, the weapon lodges it self to a nearby surface, requires STR check to dislodge
    5Falling Prone
    6Property Damage, 1d4+1 of your items are destroyed
    7Own goal! You deal the damage of the attack to yourself
    8Friendly Fire! The attack damages a nearby ally
    9Concussed, you gain the Unconscious condition
    10Ultimate failure, Roll thrice, all effects occur

    Mythic Luck

    If you possess any mythic tier you can use mythic power points up to the level of your tier to negate from the 1d10 roll result. For example a roll of 6 (Property Damage) can become a roll of 4 (Stuck) if you spend 2 mythic power points


    Please Login in order to comment!
    May 18, 2023 11:03 by sointex

    The rules sound intense! I like them, especially the secondary effect table for natural 1. They seem to make crits more impactful, which sounds like what you want. As a personal preference, I would flip the d10 table so ultimate failure is rolling 1 instead of 10.   If you are concerned about balance, in any d20 system natural crits have a 10% chance of happening on any roll, 5% for a natural 1 or 20. So that means there's a 10% chance on all combat rolls that that roll could dramatically swing the direction of the fight.

    May 18, 2023 11:03 by Chris L

    I like the thought of critical rolls stacking like that, but I don't like confirming the critical hit. I follow standard 5E crit rules (roll dice twice). I had been using max+roll for all crit damage, but it got too deadly! I like your crit fail table a lot. I've definitely been running "confirm your crit fail", roll d20 again and something catastrophic happens on a double 1. It's very suspenseful. But I like your "increasing peril" crit fail table.

    Learn about the World of Wizard's Peak and check out my award winning article about the Ghost Boy of Kirinal!

    May 18, 2023 11:09 by K.S. Bishoff

    These sound very fun! Do they also pertain to siege weapons such as those aboard a ship?

    Come vist my worlds
    May 18, 2023 13:49 by Darren McHaffie

    I like the idea, especially the Critical Fail chart. I think as well you could use this in any number of situations modified to fit the task at hand. Or even modify the outcome depending on any number of factors you see fit.

    May 19, 2023 03:05

    I'm not familiar w 5E or Pathfinder rules as I haven't played D&D proper since AD&D. The game systems I play have more robust wounding and crit failure options where wounds cause lameness, main or off hand injury, mental or physical stunning. These seem fairly straightforward and functional.

    May 19, 2023 12:24

    Copied from Discord   Critical While not a fan of PF2e there are some core mechanics I really like.   The rolling of a 20 or rolling 10 above an opponents AC is a really solid mechanic (1 step process instead of 2). Because 5e math and modifiers is smaller I would use a smaller number like 5 above AC is a critical instead of 10.   Yours is similiar and the second roll to confirm is easy at a physical table but I am against the addition step for online gaming and VTTs. It also feels like when you fail the "confirm roll" a let down of the nat 20 which is the iconic awesome of a d20 game.   I have seen a similiar system use 2d10 and crits and failures would be 1,1 or 10,10.

    Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
    not Ruleplaying
    not Rollplaying
    May 23, 2023 11:15 by Han

    Critical fail rules are needlessly punishing to martials, and poorly balanced in general. The more attacks you do, the more frequently you will roll a Nat 1, and so these are.. far more likely to happen especially as you level up. It's a punishment for not playing a caster.   Especially with these. Say I'm an archer. I have like, 6 attacks per round with haste and feats. Or I'm a TWF rogue, with 7 attacks per round. A caster throws a fireball, no attack rolls, they're doing 10d6 damage AoE. I'm attacking one target with my arrows or my weapons, and thus I'm having 6 or 7 chances at rolling a 1. If I do? I might then become irrelevant for one round at minimum, or permanently at maximum (if my weapon breaks, I can no longer participate in combat - if I'm unconscious, I can be coup de grace'd.)   Does your critical hit ruling thus overrule PF1's base critical rules? A number of the weapons are balanced/differentiated by their different crit ranges and crit multipliers, so it's a curious decision to remove those.

    welcome to my signature! check out istralar!