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There are three ways to play Dungeons & Dragons. With ‘Rules as Written’ (RAW), ‘Rules as Interpreted’ (RAI) or ‘Rules as Fun’ (RAF). Playing RAW means you sticking to the rules as they are written in the core books without any grey area for creativity or flexibility. RAI means playing with the rules as they are most likely meant by the designers. This might lead to discussions but does give more freedom of possibilities. RAF mean using the D&D rules, but allowing cool shit. RAF is also known as ‘The rule of cool’ which allows actions because it would make for an amazing scene.

Crits during combat and Death Saves

Everyone I know uses 1’s and 20’s the same during combat and Death Saves. Rolling a 1 to hit a target automatically misses the target, despite any modifiers. Rolling a 20 to hit automatically hits the target, despite any modifiers and allows you to double the number of dice you can roll for damage. A 1 during Death Saves counts as 2 failures. Rolling a 20 counts as 3 successes and gives back 1 HP.

Crits outside of combat

RAW says a 1 or 20 don’t do anything special when making a intimidation, stealth or insight check. During these types of checks you need to beat a certain number to succeed or else you fail. I deal with crits a little different in these scenario’s. At my table a crit gives the player either the best or worst outcome. That does not mean the king will give you his crown when you ask for it and you roll a 20. With the DC of 15 a failure would get you kicked out of the castle and ruin your reputation, and a success might get you send out of the room without any other repercussions. A 1 doubles down and get your whole party send to prison and a 20 gives the king a good chuckle and lets the conversation continue.

How do you handle the rules at your table? Do you deal with crits RAW, like my best/worst case scenario or in you own way? Let me know below!

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