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How do Critical Hits work in DnD 5E?

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DnD will often use the terms ‘critical hit’ and ‘crit’. If you are new to the game, it is possible that you don’t understand what these words mean and how they affect your results. It is quite simple, but if you are unsure how it works, this article will explain it.

What is a Critical Hit?

A critical hit occurs when you roll the die to make an attack. If you get a 20 on your die, this is known as a natural 20 and is considered a critical hit (or critical crit). This is a ‘dirty 20’, which means you have rolled twenty times and added your modifier. A crit will always be hit regardless of the AC of your target.

Critical hits are when you strike a particularly powerful blow. This is represented by more damage to your target. The damage modifier is not doubled, but all dice that are involved in the attack’s damage will be doubled by a critical hit. A Fighter would get a critical hit with a short blade and a +3 Str. The critical hit is 2d6+3. It includes all the dice used in the attack. This will double abilities like a Paladin’s Divine Smash, a Battlemaster’s Superiority Dice (if that maneuver adds damage), or a Ranger’s Hunter’s Mark. Extra critical damage would not be granted to abilities that use words such as “immediately after hitting an attack with an attack”, for example, the Psi Warrior Fighter’s Psionic Strike.

To crit, do you have to roll a 20? No! You can crit on any number of abilities, including a 19 or 18. You are treated as if your roll was a 20, and you will automatically hit, doubling your damage dice. You can use this to your advantage with the Champion Fighter’s Improved Crit and the Hexblade patron ‘s Hexblade Curse.

What is a Critical Miss?

A critical miss is the opposite of a crucial hit. If you roll a 20 or more, this means you have a critical miss. However, if the target lands on a 1, it is a missed attack. If you had +9 on your attack rolls and rolled an natural 1, a target with armor classes of 8 would still not be hit because you rolled critical miss.

Note! Critical successes and failures can only be determined by attack rolls. Rolling a 20- or 1-card means nothing for ability checks or saving throws.

This article should clarify the critical hits in the 5th edition. It’s always a good idea for you to discuss with your DM the rules they adhere to, as some may alter them. That’s it! I wish you lots of natural 20s!

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