Does a 20 from a cyclops helm actually qualify as an automatic hit?

Cyclops Helm:

Once per day as an immediate action, the wearer can choose the result of the die roll instead of rolling her next attack roll, saving throw, skill check, or ability check.

Attack Rolls:

When you make an attack roll, you roll a d20 and add your attack bonus.

Automatic Misses and Hits

A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on an attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a hit. A natural 20 is also a threat—a possible critical hit (see the attack action).

It seems that the number chosen from the cyclops helm actually doesn't qualify since it's not a roll. Would this be correct?

Edit: I just noticed that the title was incorrect and inconsistent with my real question, it was supposed to be whether the helm qualifies for automatic hits and failures.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You're asking two different questions, which do you want to know? "Does it qualify for a critical hit/failure?" or "Does it qualify for an automatic hit?" Automatic hits are distinct from critical hits. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 3 '18 at 18:10


The Helm lets you

choose the result of the die roll

You get to choose the results of the die roll. You choose, and the result of your choice is a die roll result.

Crits and automatic hits care about the result of your die roll, so this counts. (This isn’t an “unnatural” 20 just because it was chosen. Natural result vs. not is about what the result is from just the die vs. after all modifiers. A chosen 20 die result is a natural 20.)

If it makes you feel better about the literal reading of the rule, you can follow the literal rule by physically rolling your d20 and then turning the 20 face up, according to the Helm’s rule that says you choose the result of the die roll.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I just realized I phrased my title differently from my actual question. I agree that a 20 would be a critical threat just as a 19 would on a 19-20 weapon if I used the helm to make it a result of 20. The real question lies in would that actually be an automatic hit since it's not a "natural 20". \$\endgroup\$ – willuwontu Aug 5 '18 at 3:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @williamporter A “natural 20” is when it’s a 20 just from the die result, as opposed to a 20 after modifiers. So yes. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 5 '18 at 15:34


The helmet just lets you "choose the result" of a roll "instead of rolling" (quoting the helmet's description).

To score a critical hit, you need d20 to show a 20:

When you make an attack roll and get a natural 20 (the d20 shows 20), you hit regardless of your target’s Armor Class, and you have scored a “threat,” meaning the hit might be a critical hit (or “crit”).

Technically, you don't really roll anything and there is no d20 showing anything because you choose the result instead of rolling. The helmet doesn't allow you to turn the die, contrasting the "Loaded Die" card from the Munchkin tabletop game.

Balance-wise, the ability to score an almost guaranteed critical hit on any given attack roll is a huge advantage. Not as much for a melee warrior wielding a crit x4 weapon as for a Sorcerer or Wizard using an attack spell.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Novel line or reasoning. \$\endgroup\$ – Wyrmwood Aug 3 '18 at 15:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is clearly what prompted the question... but you'll need to cite something for this to be correct. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Aug 3 '18 at 18:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ The cyclops helm is absurd, no doubt (though I don’t know what spells you’re particularly worried about critting), but this is just how you wish things worked, rather than what the rules actually say. An “attack roll” is a defined thing, and while it usually involves actually rolling a die, making an attack roll and choosing to get a 20 is still an “attack roll” (and if it wasn’t, it would be completely nonsensical because you need to make an attack roll to actually attack and deal damage). \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 4 '18 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan My point was just that "d20 showing 20" needs an actual roll of d20, and if there is no real die roll, there is also no natural 20 possible. However, I think that the literal reading of the rule maybe lets you actually get a guaranteed crit if you literally take your d20 and turn 20 face up instead of rolling. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Aug 4 '18 at 15:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ You have the right line of reasoning, my title was inconsistent with my real question. \$\endgroup\$ – willuwontu Aug 5 '18 at 3:07

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