Natural 20s and Natural 1s [Delver's Diary]


Pathfinder Society

Grand Lodge

In today's blog post, I sum up the situations in which natural 20s and natural 1s result in automatic successes and failures (respetively), and the cases in which they don't. This is a simple area where misconceptions still do occur:

Delver's Diary

If you see any errors, please post on the site and I'll adjust the post!

Plus, if it's been a while since you've seen the relevant scene in Dorkness Rising, there's a link to that as well. :)

Sovereign Court

Does a natural 20 confirm a critical hit?

Silver Crusade

Todd Lower wrote:
Does a natural 20 confirm a critical hit?

A crit confirmation roll IS an attack roll, so yes, it does.

Sovereign Court

I would have thought so too, but have been told on several occasions that it doesn't.

Silver Crusade

From the Combat chapter of the Core Rulebook:

Quote:
Automatic Misses and Hits: A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit (see the attack action).

And later in the same chapter (bolding mine):

Quote:
Critical Hits: When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 (the d20 shows 20), you hit regardless of your target's Armor Class, and you have scored a “threat,” meaning the hit might be a critical hit (or “crit”). To find out if it's a critical hit, you immediately make an attempt to “confirm” the critical hit—another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the confirmation roll also results in a hit against the target's AC, your original hit is a critical hit. (The critical roll just needs to hit to give you a crit, it doesn't need to come up 20 again.) If the confirmation roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular hit.

So a natural 20 on an attack roll always hits, and a crit confirmation roll is specifically described as an attack roll. The RAW seems pretty clear that a 20 on a crit confirm always crits.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Andrew Christian wrote:
Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.

Wait, what? Where? I'm not seeing any such note in the FAQ or PRD (the PRD always being updated with the latest errata each time there's a new printing). Where are you seeing this?

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Nice post!

I find that for me, I slowly lock rules into place one item at a time. I'd just recently found out that escaping bonds using CMB does not automatically succeed on a 20. I'd just assumed that, like other combat maneuvers, a 20 always does the trick.

So, it's great to see posts focused on one concept. It really does help one integrate the rules.

Silver Crusade

Jiggy wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.
Wait, what? Where? I'm not seeing any such note in the FAQ or PRD (the PRD always being updated with the latest errata each time there's a new printing). Where are you seeing this?

Umm... I'm not seeing it either. Andrew, what are you talking about?

Silver Crusade

Pfft, at least you guys can find the FAQs. I'm trying to find the Halflings of Golarion FAQ and I can't find it anywhere.

Silver Crusade

Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Pfft, at least you guys can find the FAQs. I'm trying to find the Halflings of Golarion FAQ and I can't find it anywhere.

Most of the smaller books don't have FAQs. There's really just FAQs for the big hardback books, and one for PFS.

Shadow Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:
Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.

Having just reviewed the PRD (which is listed as having been updated for the sixth printing), and reviewing the errata document for the fifth printing (updating it to the sixth), I have seen no such change.

In fact, the errata document for the fifth printing shows NO changes at all to the Combat chapter, which falls on pages 178-201; if any such change were made, that's were it would be, as that is where both the automatic miss/hit and the critical hit rules are found.

I think you may be misremembering something.

Silver Crusade

Fromper wrote:
Bigdaddyjug wrote:
Pfft, at least you guys can find the FAQs. I'm trying to find the Halflings of Golarion FAQ and I can't find it anywhere.
Most of the smaller books don't have FAQs. There's really just FAQs for the big hardback books, and one for PFS.

Hmmm...that's interesting. There was a rules thread that said "answered in FAQ" and it was about something that, AFAIK, only appears in HoG.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

SCPRedMage wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.

Having just reviewed the PRD (which is listed as having been updated for the sixth printing), and reviewing the errata document for the fifth printing (updating it to the sixth), I have seen no such change.

In fact, the errata document for the fifth printing shows NO changes at all to the Combat chapter, which falls on pages 178-201; if any such change were made, that's were it would be, as that is where both the automatic miss/hit and the critical hit rules are found.

I think you may be misremembering something.

Yeah, I tried to go back and find it myself. I couldn't. I coulda swore I saw something...

Maybe I dreamt it. I mean afterall being a 4-star GM, I eat, breath, sleep, and piss PFS, so...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've also had dreams where the design team clarified something I've been wanting resolved.

I think that should be a red flag of some sort, but I choose to ignore it.

Shadow Lodge

Andrew Christian wrote:

Yeah, I tried to go back and find it myself. I couldn't. I coulda swore I saw something...

Maybe I dreamt it. I mean afterall being a 4-star GM, I eat, breath, sleep, and piss PFS, so...

Eh, we've all done that at some point... :P

2/5 ⦵⦵

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:
SCPRedMage wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
Except that the newest FAQ and errata from the Core Rule Book, specifically indicates that a Natural 1 on a crit confirmation roll is not an automatic fail on the confirmation.

Having just reviewed the PRD (which is listed as having been updated for the sixth printing), and reviewing the errata document for the fifth printing (updating it to the sixth), I have seen no such change.

In fact, the errata document for the fifth printing shows NO changes at all to the Combat chapter, which falls on pages 178-201; if any such change were made, that's were it would be, as that is where both the automatic miss/hit and the critical hit rules are found.

I think you may be misremembering something.

Yeah, I tried to go back and find it myself. I couldn't. I coulda swore I saw something...

Maybe I dreamt it. I mean afterall being a 4-star GM, I eat, breath, sleep, and piss PFS, so...

Maybe you're thinking of the FAQ saying you can't misfire on a crit confirmation roll with a firearm?

Liberty's Edge 5/5

That is very possibly it!

4/5

Cross-posting, since it's something I often see overlooked:

Regarding Natural 1s and Saving Throws:

Saving Throws wrote:

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

Scarab Sages

redward wrote:

Cross-posting, since it's something I often see overlooked:

Regarding Natural 1s and Saving Throws:

Saving Throws wrote:

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

Oh now that is just mean and your players will think you are out to get them. =(

4/5

Cao Phen wrote:
redward wrote:

Cross-posting, since it's something I often see overlooked:

Regarding Natural 1s and Saving Throws:

Saving Throws wrote:

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

Oh now that is just mean and your players will think you are out to get them. =(

I've never actually seen it enforced. Players don't necessarily call out natural 1s on saving throws, and even if GMs are aware of the rule, I don't think anyone wants to take the time to

  • find the table
  • figure out the four items
  • figure out the saving throw for the item selected (need to find the CL for the item, or the highest if more than one apply)
  • and figure out the HP for the item to determine whether it is damaged or destroyed

That's a whole lot of work for something that will probably make one player resent you and the rest fear you. But it is the RAW.

The Exchange 5/5

redward wrote:
Cao Phen wrote:
redward wrote:

Cross-posting, since it's something I often see overlooked:

Regarding Natural 1s and Saving Throws:

Saving Throws wrote:

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

Oh now that is just mean and your players will think you are out to get them. =(

I've never actually seen it enforced. Players don't necessarily call out natural 1s on saving throws, and even if GMs are aware of the rule, I don't think anyone wants to take the time to

  • find the table
  • figure out the four items
  • figure out the saving throw for the item selected (need to find the CL for the item, or the highest if more than one apply)
  • and figure out the HP for the item to determine whether it is damaged or destroyed

That's a whole lot of work for something that will probably make one player resent you and the rest fear you. But it is the RAW.

It would be almost as bad if the judge did that for the monsters equipment, and then adjusted the Chronicle to reflect it.

Judge: "Wow! looks like that fireball took out the BBGs partly charged Wand of Really Cool Spell... Let just cross it off the chronicle and reduce the gold gained by 150 gp each..."

Yeah... that'd be fun...

Liberty's Edge 5/5

items destroyed during a scenario, still show up on a chronicle sheet.

So sunder badguy stuff away.

Silver Crusade

Andrew Christian wrote:

items destroyed during a scenario, still show up on a chronicle sheet.

So sunder badguy stuff away.

I know of at least one specific exception to this. The scenario mentions a specific way that particular items might be destroyed in battle against their owner, and tells the GM to make a point of marking them off the chronicle if they are destroyed, though the gold doesn't get reduced.

Liberty's Edge 5/5

obviously if the scenario specifically says otherwise... follow what the scenario says.

But in general, you get the stuff even if its destroyed.

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