Critical Successes

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Actions that succeed due to random luck, and have special effects that would otherwise would not occur.

Succeeding with actions players perform in some games depend on randomness and the skill of the diegetic agent that performs the actions. When games designate some outcome as being successful but having additional beneficial effects that would not occur with "ordinary" successes, these games have Critical Success rules.


Most versions of Dungeons & Dragons lets players that roll 20 have automatic successes. This typically results in giving maximum damage in attacks but since it may also allow successes when otherwise they would be impossible, 20's provide different types of results that other rolls. Other Tabletop Roleplaying Game, e.g. GURPS, Hârnmaster, Mutant, and Rolemaster, also have Critical Successes but the chances for these are based on how skillful the diegetic person perform the action is or have random table to determine the effect on these successes.

Using the pattern

Critical Successes are designed as parts of games by choosing which actions can have them, what the effects are, and what determines the chances of getting such a success. Combat actions is a typically example of actions that can cause Critical Successes through the more specific pattern Critical Hits. Skills are typically modified by having Critical Successes as one possible outcome of using them (i.e. using them is an action which can cause a Critical Successes), but since Skill levels in turn typically affect the chance of the Critical Successes the relation often goes both ways. While Skills can affect the chance of getting Critical Successes, the use of Randomness is need to make them chance-based. Having the right Tools may directly or indirectly (by increasing Skill levels) after the chances of Critical Successes.


Critical Successes are one form of Critical Results, the other being its opposite namely Critical Failures. They can be Exceptional Events and make Predictable Consequences less likely in games. Further, they work against Performance Uncertainty by typically introducing more Randomness to the process of determining the outcome of actions.


Can Instantiate

Critical Results, Exceptional Events

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Critical Hits, Randomness,

Can Be Modulated By

Skills, Tools

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Critical Failures, Predictable Consequences, Performance Uncertainty


New pattern created in this wiki.