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Here's the situation. In the campaign that I am DMing, I have ruled that if a blessed creature (via the Bless spell) gets a total of 20 (or more) on the sum of the d20 and the d4 on an attack roll, that counts as a critical hit. My question is essentially, does this house-rule allow bless to remain balanced against other spells of a similar level?

I did the math and this increases your odds of critting from 5% to 17.5% and from 9.75% to 31.625%(!) with 5e's advantage. This rule would also mean that a blessed creature cannot crit fail.

Things to consider: (note, none of these have come up yet in the campaign but I would rule this way if/when they do)

  • Bardic Inspiration: Bardic inspiration would also increase your chance of critting

  • Bane: Bane would make it impossible to crit (unless also blessed, or inspired)

  • Any other ability that lets you add dice to an attack roll that I am forgetting.

Is this balanced? Are their any consequences of this that I am not seeing?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you explain more what you mean by "balanced"? This rule pretty clearly increases the power of some spells, so I'm not really sure what you're balancing this against. Are you asking what kind of issues this rule change will cause in your game? \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jul 3 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Balanced against other spells of a similar level. For example, on a first turn in combat should the cleric cast guiding bolt (4d6 radiant + advantage to next attacker), inflict wounds (3d10 necrotic), spiritual weapon(1d8+wis on this and successive turns as a bonus action) or this homebrewed version of bless. \$\endgroup\$ – Haninbal Jul 3 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ That still doesn't make it clear to me where the balance point is. Are you claiming that Bless as it stands is too weak of a spell? If the goal here is to increase the power of Bless because you think it's too weak, then that's an important detail to include in your question. Likewise with the other abilities you list. This ruling is a clear power buff, and it's confusing to me that you are asking if this buff is balanced with other similar abilities without saying why you think these other abilities are too weak. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jul 3 at 22:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. You start out asking about bless, but your house-rule seems to cover much more than just that spell. In addition, it's not clear whether you perceive bless to currently be underpowered; are you simply asking "does this make bless too strong for a 1st-level spell?" \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jul 4 at 1:26
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This is far, far too strong for a first-level spell, and arguably too strong for the entire game.

You've already done the math on how much it increases the probability of a crit, and that math demonstrates that this first-level spell would make crits more likely than any other mechanic in the game (with one exception, discussed below). In general, a mechanic isn't balanced if you'd always want to take it over any other options. If you have a cleric and at least one party member of a class that values frequent crits, like barbarians and rogues, you would basically always want to cast this. (Additionally, this seems like a very player-biased mechanic: if you have a cleric at all, they should always be casting this, but most monsters won't have access to anything that could help them compete.)

A plausible comparison might be to the Champion Fighter's Superior Critical feature, where at 15th level they crit on an 18, 19, or 20. +1d4 averages to +2.5, so that's about comparable. So for the cost of a single first-level spell and concentration, you're giving up to three party members the equivalent of a 15th level class feature on top of their own normal class features, and higher-level castings just spread it around more people. That's just way overpowered.

I'm not sure what other spells to compare it to to rebalance it, just because it's so very strong. If I were a cleric player, I might seriously consider casting this before combat as a first-level spell instead of the ninth level spell foresight.

I don't think anything like this is plausibly balanced, honestly. The balance of crits is carefully designed as it is; I wouldn't mess with it at all.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bless is already one of the strongest 1st level spells in the game (depending on party size and composition). \$\endgroup\$ – András Jul 4 at 8:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Bless is so strong in many situations that I cast it even if I am the only target, this buff would be crazy! \$\endgroup\$ – SeriousBri Jul 4 at 11:52

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