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In GURPS Campaigns p381, it states that a critical success on defense causes the attacker to suffer a "critical miss."

Does a critical hit on defense count as a roll of 3 or 4? If my parry is 15, does a roll of 5 count as a critical (a la attack rolls)?

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By the way, this rule is really unfair to the attacker: he's got a doubled chance of critical failure. – Zan Lynx Sep 2 '11 at 23:17
@Zan: But the defender also has a chance to be critically hit on the attack, as well as critically fail their dodge roll. I don't see how it doesn't even out. – user1637 Sep 3 '11 at 4:07
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Yes. Critical successes are a general mechanic in GURPS and not limited just to weapon skills.

Just like critical hits, they always occur on rolls of 3 and 4, and on 5 and 6 for effective skill 15+ and 16+ (respectively). See "Degree of Success or Failure" (Basic Set: Campaigns, p. 347) for the general mechanic.

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Yes and no. Respectively. Yes, 3 or 4 counts as a critical success on defence. But you are rolling against Defense, which is 1/2 your Parry plus other PD, so 15 Parry won't, on its own, mean 5 is a critical. (If your Defense were 15, then 5 would be a critical: but that's nearly impossible with a decent GM).

Edit: Thanks to @Yolgie, whose research means I can explain what I meant. A defence roll of 5 is a critical miss if and only if your effective skill is 15. At (3+ 1/2 skill), this means you need a weapon skill of 24, which is way beyond a normal human being; if you are playing Conan the Barbarian at the height of his powers, I imagine the GM will already have some special rules for combat.

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Are you referring to GURPS 3e rules? If you are referring to 4e, please clarify your answer, as I do not understand. – user1637 Sep 10 '11 at 17:31
Yes, I referred specifically to 3e. I thought 4e was the same in this respect, but can't get at my rules. – TimLymington Sep 10 '11 at 17:41
In 4th Edition: "Your Parry active defense with a given weapon is 3 + half your skill with that weapon, dropping all fractions" (GURPS Basic Set - Campaigns p.376) – Yolgie Mar 27 '12 at 13:26
Since this is calculated against Effective Skill, it's very possible to have a 15+ parry. Enhanced Parry, any Defense Bonus, magic, retreating and/or using a Quarterstaff or fencing's relatively easy. A regular mage could use the "Block" spell to get +3 DB and have a Quarterstaff skill of 14 and parry with a Quarterstaff (+2) - easy, realistic 15. – Ian Pugsley May 2 '12 at 18:15

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