Critical Hits


Playing the Game


So the rules for critical hits are as follows:

CRITICAL HIT DAMAGE
When you double the damage on a critical success with a
Strike, or with any other action or activity that multiplies
damage, use the following rules to determine which values
you multiply.
• Roll double the usual number of damage dice for your
weapon or unarmed attack.
• Add double your ability modifier to damage, if one applies.
• Add double any circumstance and conditional bonuses and
penalties to damage.
• Don’t double extra damage that occurs only on a critical hit,
such as the damage from the deadly weapon trait.

I... did these rules have to be so complicated/I'm not even sure how to parse them. Does precision damage double? That adds to weapon damage on a hit, so I assume so. Are there any bonuses to damage that *don't* double, outside of things like deadly that tack on to critical hits.

Also, there are no rules on what happens when you double a double that I can find (alchemist bombs have the potential to do this I believe).

These rules are worse than 1e rules, as they're obtuse and not easy to follow, which is saying a lot (in a negative way). Can someone parse this clearly?


Precision Damage does seem to double on Criticals, it's just a keyword for Resistances and Immunities. Or at least, that's what I get from page 293:

"Precision damage increases an attack’s damage rather than being a separate pool of damage. For example, a dagger Strike that deals 1d6 precision damage from sneak attack increases the piercing damage by 1d6. A creature that was immune to precision damage would ignore the 1d6 but take the rest of the damage from the Strike."

So lets imagine you're a Rogue with a +2 composite shortbow and you Sneak Attack a dude. You have Strength 14.

Your damage would be:

3d6 (+2 composite shortbow) + 1d6 (Sneak attack) + 1 (Half Strength from Propulsive).

If you crit, it would be:

6d6 (+2 composite shortbow; doubled) + 2d6 (Sneak Attack; doubled) + 2 (Half Strength, from Propulsive; doubled) + 1d10 (Deadly; not doubled)

You basically double everything except stuff that triggers on Criticals only.

As for doubling a double....in the case of the alchemist it's just quadrupling. If you're a 3rd level Alchemist witn Empower Bomb, your Alchemist Fire does 2d6 Damage, 2 Splash, 1 Persistent.

If you crit, you do 4d6, 2 Splash (Splash isn't multiplied on a Crit), 1 Persistent (persistent also doesn't double, AFAIK)


But consider that some attacks add a flat +1 precision damage, and the critical rules state, you double the damage dice (from weapon), bonus from ability score, and circumstance and conditional bonuses to damage. Not precision... not item damage. It's confusing, and not clear as written.

As for doubling the double, perhaps this is a departure from 1e, but you never did this previously. I don't mind if that's the case currently, but it should probably be called out.

EDIT: If what you say is true, this could have been written much more simply by saying:
Critical Hit:
* Add twice your normal damage dice for the attack.
* Add twice your normal bonuses and penalties to damage for the attack.
* Don't double extra damage that occurs only on critical hits.

There'd be no reason to call out "circumstance and conditional" and no need to say "weapon damage dice". That just potentially obfuscates the matter.


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It looks like we're supposed to double all damage that would have been part of the normal attack before adding bonus dice added due to the critical effect. So it could be something like:

"On a critical strike, double your total damage before applying any additional damage that occurs only on a critical strike."

or

"The bonus damage from a critical strike is equal to your total damage dealt plus any additional damage from critical effects."


It does look as if it could be written much simpler. I like ErichAD’s take on it.


Unfortunately I don't think that works, as extra dice damage isn't doubled, it's rolled again, and you need something that indicates as much. Still, agreed that it could be written much more simply. I'm still not convinced we're supposed to double all damage... clarification from a developer would be nice.


i Don’t envy the designers when they get back from Gencon - there are a lot of rules clarifications to go through, and a few example scenarios would help immensely, such as everything from a simple “crit with a non magic longbow” to “crit with a +5 light pick with a sneak attack from a 7th level Rogue” :-)


This is still super unclear to me.

Precision says it "increases an attack's damage rather than being a separate pool". However, Criticals state "Roll double the usual number of damage dice for your
weapon or unarmed attack", note, not "double the usual number of damage dice for your attack".

In addition, the flat damage mentions three types: ability, circumstance, and conditional, that at doubled, but makes no mention of either doubling or not doubling precision...


tivadar27 wrote:

Precision says it "increases an attack's damage rather than being a separate pool". However, Criticals state "Roll double the usual number of damage dice for your

weapon or unarmed attack", note, not "double the usual number of damage dice for your attack".

So, would the 1d6 precision be rolled, then doubled? (Rather than rolling twice as many dice)


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The way these rules are written, technically a -1 STR gets doubled to -2. Clearly not intentional?


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Draco18s wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

Precision says it "increases an attack's damage rather than being a separate pool". However, Criticals state "Roll double the usual number of damage dice for your

weapon or unarmed attack", note, not "double the usual number of damage dice for your attack".
So, would the 1d6 precision be rolled, then doubled? (Rather than rolling twice as many dice)

A close as I can tell, it's one of two things:

1. Precision dice add to weapon damage dice, and are included in the doubling.
2. Precision dice add to the damage, but are not considered weapon damage, and are not doubled.
Either way, flat precision damage is not, as it is not a competence or circumstance bonus. I can't read *that* part any other way.

Honestly... just double everything. I don't think it's overly game-breaking, and it simplifies things a ton. Though, obviously the exception for things that are tacked on with a critical hit (that should be fairly intuitive.

EDIT: Also, yes, strength penalties get doubled on a crit. That's always been a thing, even in PF1e. Other penalties do as well (circumstance, competence).


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
tivadar27 wrote:
Draco18s wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:

Precision says it "increases an attack's damage rather than being a separate pool". However, Criticals state "Roll double the usual number of damage dice for your

weapon or unarmed attack", note, not "double the usual number of damage dice for your attack".
So, would the 1d6 precision be rolled, then doubled? (Rather than rolling twice as many dice)

A close as I can tell, it's one of two things:

1. Precision dice add to weapon damage dice, and are included in the doubling.
2. Precision dice add to the damage, but are not considered weapon damage, and are not doubled.
Either way, flat precision damage is not, as it is not a competence or circumstance bonus. I can't read *that* part any other way.

Honestly... just double everything. I don't think it's overly game-breaking, and it simplifies things a ton. Though, obviously the exception for things that are tacked on with a critical hit (that should be fairly intuitive.

EDIT: Also, yes, strength penalties get doubled on a crit. That's always been a thing, even in PF1e. Other penalties do as well (circumstance, competence).

Wasn't aware of this in 1e, took some time to find.

That said, it makes NO sense. A crit is a harder hit. Assuming a total roll of 5 for both a crit and normal hit, you'd actually do LESS damage?


Another problem, is at high levels the PCs can only be hit on a natural 20 by a great many monsters, and when they do, it's a critical, talk about all or nothing.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
tivadar27 wrote:

Honestly... just double everything. I don't think it's overly game-breaking, and it simplifies things a ton. Though, obviously the exception for things that are tacked on with a critical hit (that should be fairly intuitive.

I think that's a pretty good table variant (one I'll probably adopt in fact), but a lot of people like rolling dice. Tracking the penalties and bonuses...not so much, although I think Pathfinder is to a certain extent written with the players that like that in mind.

Quote:
Result of a roll = number on the die + ability modifier + proficiency modifier + circumstance bonus + conditional bonus + item bonus + circumstance penalty + conditional penalty + item penalty + untyped penalties

Honestly, I think that right there should be the litmus test for new players. You're either going to run screaming or see so many variables to game. And if you are the type to want to line as many marginal factors in your favor as possible, have we got the game for you...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Another problem, is at high levels the PCs can only be hit on a natural 20 by a great many monsters, and when they do, it's a critical, talk about all or nothing.

Stephen cleared this up, if you get a nat 20 it's a hit (Success), but if you don't have the bonuses to be 10+ the AC it's just a normal hit.


Rysky wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Another problem, is at high levels the PCs can only be hit on a natural 20 by a great many monsters, and when they do, it's a critical, talk about all or nothing.
Stephen cleared this up, if you get a nat 20 it's a hit (Success), but if you don't have the bonuses to be 10+ the AC it's just a normal hit.

That is also how it is written in the book (most of the time).


vestris wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Another problem, is at high levels the PCs can only be hit on a natural 20 by a great many monsters, and when they do, it's a critical, talk about all or nothing.
Stephen cleared this up, if you get a nat 20 it's a hit (Success), but if you don't have the bonuses to be 10+ the AC it's just a normal hit.
That is also how it is written in the book (most of the time).

Ah, thanks, but still, I am surprised they have doubled down on critical hits, as they are generally not considered the best in design, as they favour monsters so much more. They are stupid in 5th Ed (Smite, Sneak Attack, extra radiant damage from monsters such as planetars can go so wrong when used against the PCs).


Hey, devs, can we get some feedback on how critical hits actually work... I feel like this is pretty important, as I'm running a table fairly soon and having clarification on this would help...

Grand Lodge

Perhaps it’s time to simplify critical hits even further?

The ambiguity of the critical hit sidebar has become less important since the Play-test introduced critical successes for most abilities, spells and actions.

So, instead of saying...

CRITICAL HITS 177 wrote:
If you critically succeed at a Strike, your attack deals double damage (see page 293).

we say...

Suggested Change wrote:
If you critically succeed at a Strike, double the value of the weapons dice rolls only"

the question of whether you double strength modifiers and the like are no longer a concern because the answer is simply no.

Then for things like sneak attack, specify that ”on a critical success you double the number of precision dice rolled”, This would also simplify the Doubling and Halving Damage entry.

It's not hard for players to colour code their dice. Roll blue dice for weapon damage and red for precision. many players I have already do this. You then simply double the blue, roll additional red, and add your modifiers.

Yes, this may seem like it dumbs down critical hits a little, but with no more critical multipliers on weapons, instead replaced by traits like deadly, fatal, and two-hand. You don't even add 1-1/2 str modifier to two handed weapons anymore so the impact should be minimal and make combat calculations simpler and quicker.

With all the changes coming in and with the extra critical effects throughout the rulebook, perhaps it needs reducing a little. From the few posts I have read regarding actual play-testing, many GMs are finding the critical hits far too common, resulting in TPKs.


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Rysky wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
Another problem, is at high levels the PCs can only be hit on a natural 20 by a great many monsters, and when they do, it's a critical, talk about all or nothing.
Stephen cleared this up, if you get a nat 20 it's a hit (Success), but if you don't have the bonuses to be 10+ the AC it's just a normal hit.

You muddied the water again.

If you roll a 20 and would not normally succeed, its a success. If you do normally succeed, then its a crit. You don't need to exceed by 10 when you roll a 20!


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Stephen's actual comment:

Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:


That is a good point. Your third or subsequent hits will crit less due to the multiple attack penalty. If you roll a 20 and that would not normally hit due to those (and other) penalties, it would be a normal hit and not a critical hit.

Example a creature takes a third attack at -4. It could not crit enemies with an AC of 17 or higher since it cannot get a result higher than 16 (20-4).


Still waiting for clarification on this... Would really like to know how critical hits work.


Also note, there seem to be two sets of critical rules:
General one: page 293
Detailed one: page 308

It would be good to condense these and say which is correct/if one is supposed to be a simplified version.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

The fact that a 20 is automatically a crit if the roll was enough to hit still leaves the problem that if you can hit on a 20, all of your hits are crits (and even if you can hit on a 19-20 then half of your hits are crits.) The general rule about needing to hit by 10 for a crit handles this well, but obviously PCs will rarely use it against equal or tougher enemies.

I'd propose instead that a 20 crits if you beat the target AC by 5, rather than the normal 10, and if you don't, it's still an automatic hit.

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