How do Crits Work in DnD 5e


Crits or Critical Hits are a combat mechanic in DnD 5e. And today we will be taking a look at how the mechanic works exactly.

We’ve mentioned them here and there in previous articles, but more along the lines of what they do for that specific mechanic that we’re looking at. Today instead we will look at cirts themselves. What they are, how they work, FAQs, etc…

Let’s get right into it, by firstly defining them.

What are Crits in DnD 5e?

The Player’s Handbook explains them as such on page 194.

“Sometimes fate blesses or curses a combatant, causing the novice to hit and the veteran to miss. If the d20 roll for an attack is 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target’s AC. In addition, the attack is a critical hit, as explained later in the chapter.
If the d20 roll for an attack is a 1, the attack misses regardless of any modifiers or the target’s AC.”

Now, to explain what was said.

The combat system in DnD 5e works as follows. Each character who wishes to make an attack must roll against their opponent’s AC. If you surpass that number, your attack hits. If you do not reach or match that number, your attack does not hit.

Crits or natural 20s as you may see them called surpass this whole part. In essence, they guarantee that you hit your target. What’s more, not only do they guarantee that you hit your target, but you also get twice the damage dice to roll later.

More on that in …

How do Crits work?

Again, the Player’s Handbook explains them on page 196 like this.

“When you score a critical hit, you get to roll extra dice for the attack’s damage against the target. Roll all of the attack’s damage twice and add them together. Then add any relevant modifiers as normal. To speed up play, you can roll all the damage dice at once.
For example, if you score a critical hit with a dagger, roll 2d4 for the damage, rather than 1d4, and then add your relevant ability modifiers. If the attack involves other damage dice, such as from a rogue’s Sneak Attack feature, you roll those dice twice as well.”

Ok, that was a mouthful. Now let’s explain what was said.

As mentioned above, crits work as such that. Not only do they guarantee a hit on your target, but they also guarantee that your target takes extra damage from your attacks. And although it does not mean that your modifiers are doubled – it does mean features like the Sneak Attack are.

Of course, this system has a counterpart as well.

What is a Critical Miss?

A critical miss is the opposite of a critical hit. Whereas crits guarantee that you hit your opponent regardless of modifiers or other bonuses. Critical misses mean that you miss regardless of those same modifiers or bonuses.

What that means for you is that. No matter how high modifiers or bonuses you have, no matter the items, no matter the spells, no matter your hopes and dreams. If you land a 1 on the d20, you miss automatically and you gain nothing.

FAQs about Crits in DnD 5e

Do Crits work on Ability Checks and Saving Throws?

No, but not necessarily. the RAW says that they do not affect these kinds of rolls, but it’s entirely possible that they do if you so wish.
Lots of DMs opt into including effects for Ability Checks and Saving Throws so as to make combat more exciting. Be it a cool modification to a spell that’s been cast, or gaining advantage/disadvantage on saving throws.

Do you still need to confirm Critical Hits?

No, this was a feature in the older versions that isn’t present anymore. In 5e, if you get a crit, that’s it; you have a crit.

Double damage works for all attack right?

Yup, it works for melee attacks just as much as it works for spells. If you land a natural 20 you get double damage to your next attack, be it with a sword or a fireball.

Are there any ways to increase Critical Hit Rate?

There are a few.
One way if you’re playing a Champion Fighter your 3rd level feature “Improved Critical” allows you to crit if you hit 19s as well as 20s.
Another class that has something similar is the Hexblade Warlock with its Hexblade’s Curse feature.
Attacking paralyzed and unconscious creatures also lands you free crits.

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