Critting a minion

Yesterday’s post talked about what happens when a minion scores a critical hit on a PC. When I shared this on EN World, one of the commenters, Quickleaf, mentioned that the title of the EN World thread made him think I was going to be talking about what happens when a PC scores a critical hit on a minion.

What a fine idea!

As with minions scoring critical hits, there’s nothing in the rules to say that anything special happens when a player scores a critical hit on a minion. If you crit a minion, well, that’s a wasted crit (unless your character gets some kind of special benefit every time you score a crit, which some do). That’s kind of a disappointing feeling, and I think that scoring a critical hit shouldn’t lead to disappointment.

Another poster on EN World, FireLance, posted some cool critical hit table ideas that could apply any time a PC rolls a crit, not just when it’s against a minion. The ideas I came up with specifically for critting a minion are below.

Proposal 1: Crit a minion, gain an extra standard action

I like the idea of this house rule because it lets you “get back” the attack that you “wasted” on the minion. Sure, you wasted your rare crit on a creature that would have died if you had dealt minimum damage, but now you get to attack something else.

If I were to use this house rule, I would only have it apply to critical hits on minions where the minion was the only target of the attack. If you drop an area of effect on a bunch of minions and crit one of them, I’m not going to grant another standard action just because one of your five rolls came up as a 20. However…

Proposal 2: Crit a minion, kill another minion

I like this idea a lot, frankly. If your attack has enough oomph to kill one minion with extra oomph to spare, why not take out another one? Obviously, this is only plausible if you’re doing an area of effect attack where some minions were missed, or if it’s a melee attack with another minion nearby. I suppose you could argue that a critical hit with a ranged attack could go straight through one minion and hit another

Proposal 3: Crit a minion, get a future benefit

Here, I’m thinking that you feel so good about yourself from utterly destroying that minion that you get a +2 confidence bonus to your next attack roll, or maybe 3 temporary hit points or something like that.

Proposal 4: Crit a minion, turn your next hit into a crit

This one attempts to balance out the universe for you. You wasted your crit on that minion, so we’ll call the next hit you get on a non-minion a critical hit. Seems a little overpowered to me, but I can follow the logic.

Proposal 5: Crit a minion, recharge something

Here, you either get back an action point or an encounter power (certainly not a daily). From a balance perspective it’s probably okay, but the flavor doesn’t really work for me.


If I were to adopt a “crit a minion” bonus rule, I’d go with a combination of proposals 1 and 2. The theme should be that critting one minion counts as knocking off two of them, but if there’s no other minion available to go after, I’d still like there to be some benefit.

In the end, I like the idea of players getting to feel awesome when that 5% chance of a crit comes to fruition. Wasting the critical hit on a minion takes some of the fun out of it, so I’m going to try to make it worthwhile somehow. What do you think makes the most sense, if anything?

4 thoughts on “Critting a minion

  1. Whenever one of my players crits a minions, I tend to describe the blow in an extra spectacular way, and occasionally give them a minor bonus that doesn’t require any bookkeeping (like shifting, pushing an enemy, changing some terrain, etc.). This is quick, simple, and my players really enjoy it without always realizing that they justed critted a minion.

    For example, a PC dwarf scored a crit against a guy with his axe, so I said “Your axe slices him clean in half and then cleaves through to the table, destroying it in an explosion of wood.”
    (then removed the table from the battle map)

    It’s amazing how big of a reward destroying a piece of furniture can be.

    • This is a very cool way to handle it – make the player feel awesome without having to track any mechanical stuff. It wouldn’t work in every case (there’s not always a nearby piece of furniture to smash), but when it does I think this is a good idea. Thanks!

  2. I like proposal 2, especially if it was a melee attack and there is another minion adjacent. I can visually see that.

    If not, getting another standard is a nice bump.

    I’d also recommend giving one of your +1 tokens for use on another roll. That doubles the chance for a future critical hit.

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