Can I succeed at a check without meeting the DC?


Rules Discussion


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

If I rolled a natural 20 on a check, can I get a success if the sum doesn't beat the DC?

Take an orc brute with a +7 attack modifier, for example. If he attacks a high level adventurer with AC 28, and rolls a natural 20, what happens?

Does he miss because he didn't make the DC in the first place? Or does the natural 20 bump it up one step (to a success) whether or not he meets the DC?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As far as I have read, a natural 20 always increases your final success level by one "step". So if you crit fail, but rolled a natural 20, then you fail instead.

And same for fail -> success.


In another thread (maybe the one about wizards at war?) somebody quoted how attack rules are more specific and award a critical success on a 20, not just a step bump (which as MaxAstro pointed out, is the default).

Whether that's an intentional difference or a lingering discrepancy that needs an errata, who knows. It seems pretty important when desperate enemies (perhaps w/ picks) are taking their 3rd swings!


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I suspect it's a discrepancy that needs fixing.

So to be 100% immune to the level 0 orc brute, I'd need an AC of 38?


Ravingdork wrote:
So to be 100% immune to the level 0 orc brute, I'd need an AC of 38?

AC37 I guess, but yes.


Ravingdork wrote:

I suspect it's a discrepancy that needs fixing.

So to be 100% immune to the level 0 orc brute, I'd need an AC of 38?

There's also flanking, aid another, and shenanigans, but as for in principle, yes. If the errata's needed, then crit failures bump only to a failure. Actually 37 AC, since the Orc is +7, so on a 20 still is -10 to your AC.

So that guy on the war thread talking about the naked, spell-less, level 13 Wizard vs. 2000 Orc Brutes (who would need leaders simply to coalesce!) was quite wrong.
With Mage Armor 6th or 8th (+2), 20 Dex (+5), Expert Proficiency (+4), one could manage at 16th level (18th w/ no spells, 19th if they also started w/ 14 Dex).
So yes, a wizard who thwarts the plots of deities might finally be able to, naked & spell-less, fight an army of barely competent goons who use no tactics whatsoever.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The devs chimed in on the attack roll thing and clarified that it's written poorly. Attack rolls are supposed to follow the same rules as every other test - a natural 20 increases degree of success by one step.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:
The devs chimed in on the attack roll thing and clarified that it's written poorly. Attack rolls are supposed to follow the same rules as every other test - a natural 20 increases degree of success by one step.

Don't suppose you can remember where? It would be really useful for our organised play group.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh crap what thread was that... Let me see if I can find it.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

HellCrab's post in this thread links to one of the dev's games where it is resolved that way.

Not the most useful reference, I know, but I can't find the other place I saw it right now...

Link to thread.


Here's one from the playtest.
'Helpful' dev comment: "the RAI is clear enough".


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I believe I saw a Tweet from Logan confirming that attack rolls follow the normal rules for nat 20s.


Here's the tweet

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Second Edition / Rules Discussion / Can I succeed at a check without meeting the DC? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.