Dungeons & Dragons: Critical Hit & Critical Failure

Dungeons Masters…

…are you using critical hits or failures in the game?

We have talked about how using the dice to build tension during encounters can lead to some interesting moments in the game- monster is down to a few hits points, and so are you, you NEED to connect with that D20 NOW.

Certain editions of D&D reward critical damage on a 19/20 or a natural 20, representing that weak spot or berserk hit on the monster, but what about adding in critical failures- rolling a 1 means a miss so bad the weapon breaks or gets stuck.

Isn’t that fair?

Is it fair to play with either using a D20 system?

The D20 certainly gives a good spread of probability, even with positive and negative modifiers due to classes, potions, character talents, etc.

But is that enough of a spread to use critical failures as it has the chance in a given adventure to have your players dropping and breaking weapons or spells an awful lot.

Your thoughts?

I know most Dungeon Masters use the critical hit and leave out the failure part.

I prefer leaving them both out and using the D20 as a pass/fail roll.