Critical Success or Failure

If a player rolls a natural (unmodified) 20 on a check, allow him or her to make another check. If the second check is successful, the character has achieved a critical success with the use of that skull or ability, and something particularly good happens. Likewise, if a player rolls a natural 1, he rolls again. If the second check is a failure, the character has achieved a critical failure (made a critical blunder), and something really bad happens.

Itʼs up to the DM to determine the specific result of a critical success or failure. Some examples follow.

  • Critical Successes
    • On a Climb check or Swim check, the character moves twice as far as she would on a normal success.
    • When using Diplomacy, the character makes a good, trusted friend for long-term play.
    • When using a Knowledge skill, the character comes to an important conclusion related to the task at hand.
    • When using Search, the character discovers something that she otherwise could not have found (if anything is present to be found).
    • When using Survival to track, the character determines some amazing minutiae about her prey. For instance, she realizes that the three subjects sheʼs tracking arenʼt happy with one another because they occasionally stop and apparently argue, based on where they stand in relation to one another.
    • When using Heal to give first aid, the character heals 1 point of damage dealt to the subject.
  • Critical Failures
    • When using a Perform skill, the character displeases his audience so greatly that they wish to do him harm.
    • On a Climb check, the character falls so badly that he takes an additional 1d6 points of damage, or he falls and tears away a few good handholds, making it more difficult to climb (+5 to the DC) on the next try.
    • When using Disguise, the character not only doesnʼt look like the intended target, but actually looks like something/someone offensive or hateful to the viewer(s).
    • When using Escape Artist, the character actually gets himself more entangled or pinned, adding +5 to the DC on the next try.
    • On a Use Rope check, the character breaks the rope.
    • When using Open Lock, the character breaks off his pick in the lock, making it impossible to open.
    • When using and kind of tool, the character destroys the tool.

Sometimes thereʼs nothing more that can be achieved with a critical success, or thereʼs nothing worse than a normal failure. In such a case, do not attempt to make the result better or worse.

Back to Gameplay

Critical Success or Failure

The House That Peace Built macleus