Critical Hit in DnD 5e – Rules, Table and Popular Homebrew Settings (2023) (2023)

Last updated on January 22, 2023

It can be exciting to take criticism in DnD, wreak havoc, and potentially change the game single-handedly. It can also be scary when you're the victim of a critical hit yourself.

Either way, players often find it difficult to understand exactly how critical hits work.

Don't worry if you are new to DnD or just got used to 3.5/Pathfinder and are new to DnD 5e. You will find all the answers in this guide.

Table of contents

Critical hits in DnD 5e

Vonground rulesfrom the Wizards of the Coast website describes critical hits as follows:

Sometimes fate blesses or curses a warrior so that the novice strikes and the veteran misses. If the D20 roll for an attack is 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target's AC.

This is called a critical hit, which is explained later in this chapter. If the d20 roll for an attack is 1, the attack fails, regardless of any modifiers or the target's AC.

When you score a critical hit, you can roll additional dice for the attack's damage on the target.

Roll all of the attack's damage dice twice and add them together.

Then add relevant modifiers as usual. To speed up the game, you can roll all the damage dice at once.

As you can see, critical hits are maximum rolls on a d20 and are offset by critical misses. Here the rules state that critical hits occur when a d20 is rolled for an attack.

Remember that spells also count as attack rolls, meaning the information in this guide applies to them too.

(Video) Why Critical Hits Are Pretty Bad (And How To Make Them AWESOME)

Critical hits are most common with weapon attacks because weapon attacks are more common than spell attacks, but critical spells still happen.

On a critical hit, not only do you automatically hit your target, but you can also deal double damage. However, you are only allowed to double the number of dice rolled, no additional blanket modifiers.

You can of course double the number of dice you roll for spells with an attack roll (butnota saving throw).

(Video) BILL ALLAN DAMAGE ALTERNATIVE SCORING SYSTEM - best way to do critical hit damage

The rules explain this in a bit more detail:

For example, when you score a critical hit with adagger, roll 2d4 for damage instead of 1d4, then add the appropriate ability modifier. IfThe attack includes other damage dice, such as those from the villain's sneak attack functionyou also roll twice.

Critical hits are special in other ways, too. When you drop to 0 hit points in DnD 5e, you must make 3 special saves. If you succeed on all three saves, you stabilize and do not die.

If you fail all three, you die.Death Saving Throware perhaps some of the most important roles you will take on in your DnD career.

Critical hits are one of the few mechanics that affect these saving throws.

According to the basic rules:

If you take damage while you have 0 hit points, you get a miss to save death. If the damage is dealt by a critical hit, you have two flaws instead. If the damage is equal to or greater than your maximum hit point, you will be killed instantly.

That means if your character suffers a critical hit after being reduced to 0 hit points, he's already two-thirds dead. After that, you can just hope someone knows a few resurrection spells.

Another important point to remember about critical hits: they only apply to attacks. In DnD 5e there is no "critical success" on a skill check.

While many people choose to create homebrew rules that allow critical successes and critical failures on skill checks, it's important to remember that these are homebrew rules.

Relationships and critical hits

There are two conditions that change how critical hits are determined in DnD 5e. When an enemy (or yourself!) is paralyzedvonUnconscious, any attack within five feet of the enemy automatically deals critical hits.

(Video) D&D Rules I Don't Like (And How To Fix Them)

That means if you attack with a ranged weapon from 10ft away, or use a ranged weapon from more than 5ft away, the attack isn't an auto critical hit (although you can still get a critical hit the old fashioned way) . !) .

This also means that against a dying character, every 1.5m attack that hits will automatically result in two failed death saves. So if you're going down in battle, make sure your friends are guarding you!

Critical hit homebrew options

While double damage dice are fun, sometimes you want to add additional effects to a critical hit.

Below is a table of recommended effects for each of the three attack types.

After you score a critical hit, simply roll a set of percentile dice to determine what additional effect, if any, to apply.

(Video) My 16 (new) Homebrew Rules for D&D 5e

Frequently asked questions about critical hits

How to get critical hits in 5e?

In DnD 3.5 and Pathfinder, critical hits work very differently than critical hits in DnD 5e. In these games, a series of dice rolls that depended entirely on the weapon could trigger a critical hit, and some magic items changed that.

Critical hits also had to be confirmed; After you roll high enough, you must roll again and see if the second roll was enough to hit the target's AC. If that were the only thing, your attack would count as a critical hit.

In DnD 5e, the rules are a bit simpler. It's harder to get a critical hit, but the critical hit range isn't weapon-specific and you no longer have to confirm a hit. If you roll high enough, it just works.

The basic rules state that critical hits are only scored by rolling a natural 20(where the die shows a 20 instead of reaching 20 through a combination of dice and modifiers) on a die or a crippled or hitunconsciouslyenemy with an attack. However, DnD 5e has several alternative ways to get critical camouflage for different class features.

The champion subclass for fighters has two abilities:Improved and Superior Critical Hit, allowing a critical hit on a roll of 19-20 and 18-20.Improved Critical Strike increases your critical strike chance from 5% to 10%, and Superior Critical Strike increases your critical strike chance to 15%!

The Hexblade subclass for Warlock allows you to score a 19-20 critical hit against any target currently cursed by the Hexblade's Curse feature.

InAssassin subclass for the rogueThis allows Rogue to critically attack any attack he lands on a surprised enemy (which works particularly well with Rogue's Sneak Attack feature).

What is a critical miss 5e?

DnD 5e is all about balance. For every critical hit, there must be a critical miss.A critical miss only happens if you roll a natural on a d20(rolled with no modifiers). The probability of a critical failure is always 5%.

Critical misses are different from critical hits. There are a few ways to increase the percentage of rolls that are critical hits, but nothing in DnD 5e increases the chance of a critical miss unless you roll with a disadvantage. On a natural 2, you can never roll a critical miss.

Another difference between critical misses and critical hits is that they carry no penalties other than failing your attack. Critical hits increase your damage, critical misses just miss. In any case, according to the regulations, nothing happens.

As in the table above, some people like to add a homebrew rule that adds an extra effect to a critical miss. These effects sometimes include damaging yourself or your allies with your weapon, dropping your weapon, or falling.

(Video) Homebrewing rule ideas for D&D 5e

However, including these types of effects on critical misses tends to have the somewhat ridiculous effect of giving characters who appear to be masters of their weapons a 5% chance of being incompetent.

This gets worse when you consider that the more attacks a character has, the more likely they are to take a critical miss.

Because of this, I recommend adding some extra roles to increase the chances of this happeningfumlermuch less than 5% if counted at all.

Do critical hits always get 5th place?

According to the above ground rules, a critical hit occurs if you roll a natural 20. Such a throw hits its target automatically, regardless of AC.

You could have a negative attack modifier and attack a high-level monk or fighter with full armor, but you still have exactly a 5% chance of hitting them.

This begs the question: if you can land a critical hit on a 19, like in Champion Fighter's Enhanced Critical Strikes feature, does that mean that a roll of 19 or 20 is automatically a success?


There is a subtle difference between the auto hit function of a natural 20 on an attack roll and the double damage function of a critical hit. Although these characteristics usually coincide, this is not always the case.

(Video) Top 5 D&D House Rules You Should Try | House DM

No roll other than a natural 20 is guaranteed to hit your target. This is because the designers of DnD wanted to keep the auto-success chance at exactly 5%.

There is only one way in the entire game to change this chance, and that is by gaining an advantage. Exploiting your attack allows you to roll 2d20 and choose the better option. With Advantage, your odds of rolling a natural 20 increase from 5% to 9.8%.

But according to the official rules, you can't have "dual advantage". That means if you have more than one source of advantage (e.g. if you are invisible and the target is on the ground) you are still only allowed to roll 2d20 and not 3d20.

Personally, I think it might be nice to add a homebrew that allows for stacking benefits. With enough resources, you can increase the odds of a natural 20 well above the base 5%, especially if you can addInspirationAlso.

Does a critical hit deal double sneak damage?

A common question about critical hits is which damage dice are doubled. This can come from new players, but often comes from those familiar with the 3.5/Pathfinder system as well.

In this system, critical hits double the dice for base weapon damage and any modifiers (which can be huge!), but no other dice are involved in the damage roll.

However, DnD 5e is different. Modifiers are never doubled, instead all damage dice are tied directly to the roll. Sneak Attack damage dice are always doubled, as are Smite damage dice and any additional damage dice inflicted by spells such as Spells. BBooming knife.

Extra dice come out of your weapon,such as fire damageof a flame knife is also doubled.

However, there are some sources of non-doubling dice that you should keep an eye on.

(Video) Five custom abilities for boss monsters in D&D 5e

Sometimes an effect or weapon ability won't activate until a critical hit is scored, adding a few damage dice to your pool.

If a skill says something like "When this weapon scores a critical hit, it deals an additional 1d4 power damage", it means that the added 1d4 is not doubled with a critical value.

This is because the damage isn't part of the attack, it's just dealt by a quality of the attack.

The other case where damage dice are not doubled is when a separate factor deals attack damage. The most common is when you add poison to your knife.

A poison that deals only 1d6 damage never doubles on a critical hit. It is logical; A critical hit is like a successful attack on a vital area.

Poison is indeed poison, whether it comes in through a scratch or a stab.


DnD 5e reviews can be a bit confusing at first, especially if you're used to playing other versions of DnD like 3.5 or Pathfinder. It is not always clear which dice are doubled and when. Additionally, it can be difficult to break the habit of having to confirm critical hits.

Still, understanding critical hits can help you stack the damage through additional damage bonuses like punches or certain spells. And it's important to know how critics can force you to fail additional life-saving rolls, otherwise you could end up in a "sudden death" situation!

With this guide, you'll become an expert at using critical elements to your advantage!

  • About from the author
  • Latest news
(Video) Handbooker Helper: Multiclassing

Critical Hit in DnD 5e – Rules, Table and Popular Homebrew Settings (2023) (1)

Ervin(Professional employee)

When I was growing up, I spent most of my time reading. So when I started roleplaying in high school and was given a copy of the DnD 3.5 rules, I loved their collaborative stories. These days I also like to use role-playing games to develop my creative problem-solving skills.

(Video) Check out the 9 1/2 TOP homebrew rules for D&D

1. Five Simple House Rules for Better Battles in Dungeons and Dragons 5e

2. Three House Rules for Solving D&D (The Big Things, At Least)

3. Top 10 Homebrewing Rules [D&D 5e]

4th chap. 4 – The Paintings (Sin & Deception by GM Raffe)

5. My 16 (new) homebrew rules for D&D 5e

6. Resistance is NOT in vain | Homebrew damage resistance rules for D&D 5e

Information about the author

Name: Roderick Koning

Birthday: 09.10.1997

Address: 3782 Madge Knoll, East Dudley, MA 63913

Telephone: +2521695290067

function: Customer Sales Coordinator

Hobby: gunsmithing, embroidery, parkour, kite surfing, climbing, sand art, beekeeping

(Video) Call of the Wild | Critical Role | Campaign 3, Episode 41

introduction: My name is Roderick King, I am a sweet, wonderful, enthusiastic, perfect, gentle, funny, lively person who loves to write and would like to share my knowledge and understanding with you.


What are the rules for critical hits 5e? ›

Critical Hits

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 dice 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.

What is the new crit rule in D&D? ›

Critical hits in Dungeons and Dragons occur when you roll a natural 20 on a d20 die. They only happen on attack rolls. After you have rolled a natural 20, you get to double the dice you then roll for damage.

How do you maximize critical hits in 5e? ›

There are three ways I can think of to increase your critical hit rate:
  1. Increasing the range beyond a Nat20. ...
  2. Advantage on your attack rolls via things like Flanking, Greater Invisibility, Reckless Attack, etc. ...
  3. Making attacks from 5' against Paralyzed targets.
Dec 21, 2021

What determines a critical hit in DND? ›

In the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, when a player character attacks an opponent the player typically rolls a 20-sided die; a roll of 20 (a 5% chance) results in a critical hit.

Is a dirty 20 a crit? ›

"If the d20 roll for an attack is a 20, the attack hits regardless of any modifiers or the target's AC. This is called a critical hit, which is explained later in this section.

What moves guarantee a critical hit? ›

The moves Storm Throw, Frost Breath, Zippy Zap, Surging Strikes, Wicked Blow, and Flower Trick, along with any move used by a Pokémon that is under the effect of Laser Focus, will always result in a critical hit (unless prevented by one of the above effects).


1. 3 BEST Rules from DC20 RPG Playtest | Gary Con 2023
(The Dungeon Coach)
2. The Threat Between the Walls | Critical Role | Campaign 3, Episode 5
(Critical Role)
3. Should Your Setting Have Spellcasting Services in Town?
4. How to Get Started as a Game Master
(Icarus Games)
5. My Pathfinder Homebrew Rules
(Kris Wheeler)
6. Easy Custom Tables for Your D&D Game | Home-brew Everything with ChatGPT as an assistant
(Table Ready)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated: 09/23/2023

Views: 6384

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.