Do we still need nat 20s / 1s to be special?


Playing the Game


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Consider the following alternate rules for crits:
If you exceed the DC by 10 or more, you have a critical success.
If you miss the DC by 10 or more, you have a critical failure.

Obviously this is a lot simpler w/o the stuff about a natural 20 is a crit success, unless it wouldn't be a success at all, in which case it's a normal success, and similarly for a natural 1. And simplicity per se is a good thing. OTOH we are departing from tradition, which is at least a bit of a shame.

Now, this does change the possible spectrum of outcomes; you can be so good at a task that you auto-succeed, or even auto-crit-succeed, against a particular DC, and similarly for being so bad you auto-fail or auto-crit-fail. Personally I think this is OK, and possibly even a good thing in its own right.

Thoughts?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Totally agree here but for slightly different reasons. I'd agree the simplicity is a nice add, but for me, if a task is DC 30 and my players, at most, have a +5, then I expect that task to be impossible for them. Conversely if the DC is a 5 and my players have a minimum of +10.

In these situations, I don't want to have my players bother to roll any dice, I want to simply tell them "you easily do that" or "you can't possibly do that right now". Having players effectivley have a 5% chance to be 50% (or more, really) better at a task really breaks narrative possibilities for a GM.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I very much agree on both these points.
A 20 is going to be a crit success for 99% of rolls, unless you're trying something out of your league, anyway. Similarly with a 1 for a crit failure, unless you're trying something far beneath you.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd rather lose the special effects on nat 1/nat 20 for attacks and saves than have them on skills.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This edition is all about the dice. They made 1/20 even more special than it was in PF1.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Natural 20 being a crit is iconic to D&D... having to confirm that crit spoiled that special thing in a frequent and disappointing way, but served the purpose of making it not always just a 5% chance. They solved the "not just a 5% chance" with the DC + 10 rules, while keeping the nat 20 celebration-inducing roll.

And a nat 20 if you can't otherwise hit is just a hit, not a crit, right?

I do think skill checks still should not have an auto succeed. As some things just can't be done.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
RyanH wrote:
Natural 20 being a crit is iconic to D&D...

That's really the only reason I see for keeping it. (And I do consider it a decent reason, just not overwhelming.)

RyanH wrote:
And a nat 20 if you can't otherwise hit is just a hit, not a crit, right?

Yes---which is a problem in that it makes for a more complicated rule that even the rulebook tends to misstate (e.g., on page 8, Die Rolls).


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Thinking more on this, and looking more into the maths: nat 20 being a crit (or, at least one stage up) needs to stay, otherwise you're unable to crit when you'd need to roll an 11 to succeed normally (11+10=21)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

RyanH wrote:

Natural 20 being a crit is iconic to D&D... having to confirm that crit spoiled that special thing in a frequent and disappointing way, but served the purpose of making it not always just a 5% chance. They solved the "not just a 5% chance" with the DC + 10 rules, while keeping the nat 20 celebration-inducing roll.

And a nat 20 if you can't otherwise hit is just a hit, not a crit, right?

I do think skill checks still should not have an auto succeed. As some things just can't be done.

Natural 20 being a crit was added to D&D at the exact same time as confirmation rolls - AD&D1e and 2e didn't have crits at all, at least not officially. (Combat and Tactics added crits to 2e, but they worked very differently - they required an 18+ and hitting by at least 5).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

If you look at page 292:

If you are trained, a roll of 20 is not a critical if it doesn't equal or exceed the DC. But in that case, it is is a hit.

Ex. roll 20 + 10 against a DC of 31 is a hit but not a critical hit if you are trained.

'If your enemy is far more powerful than you or a task
beyond your abilities, you might roll a natural 20 and
still get a result lower than the DC. In this case, you
succeed instead of critically succeed or fail. If you lack the
proficiency for a task in the first place, or it’s impossible,
you might still fail on a natural 20.'

Also if you are not trained, a 20 can be a MISS according to the last part of that paragraph.

Ex. roll 20 + 10 against a DC of 31 is a miss if you are not trained.


CommanderCoyler wrote:
Thinking more on this, and looking more into the maths: nat 20 being a crit (or, at least one stage up) needs to stay, otherwise you're unable to crit when you'd need to roll an 11 to succeed normally (11+10=21)

I have no problems with critical success being out of your reach sometimes. (And as lud pointed out it already is under some circumstances.)


ryric wrote:
RyanH wrote:

Natural 20 being a crit is iconic to D&D... having to confirm that crit spoiled that special thing in a frequent and disappointing way, but served the purpose of making it not always just a 5% chance. They solved the "not just a 5% chance" with the DC + 10 rules, while keeping the nat 20 celebration-inducing roll.

And a nat 20 if you can't otherwise hit is just a hit, not a crit, right?

I do think skill checks still should not have an auto succeed. As some things just can't be done.

Natural 20 being a crit was added to D&D at the exact same time as confirmation rolls - AD&D1e and 2e didn't have crits at all, at least not officially. (Combat and Tactics added crits to 2e, but they worked very differently - they required an 18+ and hitting by at least 5).

It may not have been called a crit, but natural 20 was special by AD&D2e.

AD&D 2e Player's Handbook, pages 90-91 wrote:
No matter what number a character needs to hit, a roll of 20 is always considered a hit and a roll of 1 is always a miss, unless the DM rules otherwise.

I feel certain that my group used that rule even in AD&D 1e, but I can't figure out where we got it from, it doesn't seem to be in the PHB or DMG. (I think we also doubled damage on a nat 20, and I know we treated nat 1s as fumbles, but I can't tell where we got those from either.)


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
Thoughts?

I want auto-fail for nat 1s for skill checks to go away. In all 4 of my playtests so far, they come up too often. Sure, I don't mind the PC failing, but to crit fail that often makes the game feel like the Three Stooges, always bumping into things, tripping, falling, and doing the opposite of what they were trying to do.

It just doesn't feel high fantasy or heroic at all, hell, it doesn't even feel realistic.

Having said that, I have no problem with them crit failing when they get less than 10 when attempting something that is actually hard to do.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:


It may not have been called a crit, but natural 20 was special by AD&D2e.
AD&D 2e Player's Handbook, pages 90-91 wrote:
No matter what number a character needs to hit, a roll of 20 is always considered a hit and a roll of 1 is always a miss, unless the DM rules otherwise.
I feel certain that my group used that rule even in AD&D 1e, but I can't figure out where we got it from, it doesn't seem to be in the PHB or DMG. (I think we also doubled damage on a nat 20, and I know we treated nat 1s as fumbles, but I can't tell where we got those from either.)

It was an auto-hit in 2e, but no different than any other hit. In AD&D1e, it was a bit more complicated - there were these "to-hit" tables, and they mostly worked along the lines of THACO, but the number 20 was on the table 5 or 6 times. The first 20 meant that any roll of 20+, including bonuses, hit that AC. The other ones required a natural 20 to hit. After that the numbers started counting up again to 21, 22, etc., and those required a nat 20 plus enough bonuses to meet the target number. It was really oddball but almost never came up unless your PCs were punching well above their level.

There were many homebrew fumbles/crit systems out there, some published in Dragon magazine. They were generally pretty terrible.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I feel like I'd just like them to codify a bit more 20s/1s shifting the outcome up or down by one.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
ryric wrote:
RyanH wrote:

Natural 20 being a crit is iconic to D&D... having to confirm that crit spoiled that special thing in a frequent and disappointing way, but served the purpose of making it not always just a 5% chance. They solved the "not just a 5% chance" with the DC + 10 rules, while keeping the nat 20 celebration-inducing roll.

And a nat 20 if you can't otherwise hit is just a hit, not a crit, right?

I do think skill checks still should not have an auto succeed. As some things just can't be done.

Natural 20 being a crit was added to D&D at the exact same time as confirmation rolls - AD&D1e and 2e didn't have crits at all, at least not officially. (Combat and Tactics added crits to 2e, but they worked very differently - they required an 18+ and hitting by at least 5).

In the rules or not, I think it was pretty common practice and AD&D with nat 20's being double damage is how I remember it.

Dark Archive

The MATH of 2e makes it such that the only possible way for most PCs to crit is on a 20 against level equivalent CR monsters. Thus, you are condemning everyone, but the fighter, to no crits in combat. Conversely, it would be impossible for level equivalent CR monsters to critically fail a DC against a spell because their saves make failure rates 20-40% (55% is required here) for spells on average across various saves.

If you made your change you'd have to give everyone a +3-4 boost to attack stat/casting DC to ever crit/crit fail.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Player Rules / Playing the Game / Do we still need nat 20s / 1s to be special? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Playing the Game