Critical Hits


Combat in DW is fairly brutal, with most beginning PCs succumbing to three or even two successful strikes from typical weapons. It can also be frustrating for a PC against an evenly-matched foe who takes a long time to wear down one opponent.

The house-rules on this page may be used judiciously by a GM for attacks by PCs to give them a slight additional edge. It helps if the PCs describe their actions as dramatically as possible!

Critical Hits

The basic DW rule (rather hidden away in the rulebook) is that any roll of 1 is a critical hit which means that it bypasses any armour. The house-rule extends this rule in two ways:
  • If the target to-hit roll (ATTACK - DEFENCE, with modifiers) is 10 or more, then a critical hit is obtained on a 1 OR 2
  • When a critical hit is obtained, the attacker should still roll ABR but with an additional +1 modifier. Success means that an additional point of damage is dealt to the foe

Critical Misses

DW only states that an attack roll of 20 is always a failure. The house-rule extends this as follows:
  • If a 20 is rolled, the PC should roll 2d10. If the result is above (REFLEXES + RANK) then they have dropped their weapon or got it stuck somewhere.
Rank is involved in the roll to reflect the benefits of years of training and experience.

Alternate Critical Hits


Another thought for how to increase critical hits is inspired by the Pendragon system.
  • If the target to-hit roll (ATTACK - DEFENCE) is 20 or more (nearly auto hit), then every point above 20 is added to the ABR eg. Att:24 vs Def:2 = +2 to the ABR.
This does make flanking, position and manoeuvre more important, as only Barbarians can reach those sort of ATTACK values 1v1. Other Professions will need to split the targets Defence or overwhelm the foe with numbers. Best used with miniatures instead of abstracted combat due to the extra detail required.

More pages