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As the title says, what rules are there that make any attack that hits a given target deal damage as if it were a critical hit? I thought I remembered hearing something about that and the prone condition but after double checking it, it doesn't seem to.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you looking for a list of all effects that do this, or are you asking if there is one at all? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jul 23 '19 at 17:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ If there are any rules that do it I would like a list of effects that do it, otherwise then just saying that there aren't any that do it works. \$\endgroup\$ – Himitsu_no_Yami Jul 23 '19 at 17:59
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Paralyzed and Unconscious both produce automatic crits

With the caveat that you have to be within short range, however.

From the Players Handbook -

Page 291

Paralyzed

A paralyzed creature is incapacitated (see the condition) and can’t move or speak.
• The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws.
• Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.

Page 292

Unconscious

• An unconscious creature is incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.
• The creature drops whatever it’s holding and falls prone.
• The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws.
• Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.

Additionally as noted by @Allan Mills (Thank you!), an assassin archetype rogue will also gain the automatic critical with hits on surprised opponents, starting at 3rd level.

Assassinate

Starting at 3rd level, you are at your deadliest when you get the drop on your enemies. You have advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn't taken a turn in the combat yet. In addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Stunned condition? \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Jul 24 '19 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @tuskiomi no, stunned only gives advantage on attack rolls. The condition doesn't say anything about automatic crits. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Jul 24 '19 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JohnP I thought it stuff that a stunned creature is paralyzed \$\endgroup\$ – tuskiomi Jul 24 '19 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @tuskiomi - Not as I understand it, no. A stunned creature still has power of speech, for example. The condition description does not state the auto crit, where it is specifically spelled out for paralyzed/unconscious. \$\endgroup\$ – JohnP Jul 24 '19 at 19:23
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Paralyzed and Unconscious Conditions do this

Any creature that suffers the effects of the Paralyzed or Unconscious condition converts any attack successfully delivered within 5' to a critical hit:

Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.

There are many ways in which you can get that condition, but it is the condition itself that mechanically changes a regular hit to a critical hit.

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Rogue Assassin Archetype Assassinate Feature grants critical hits to surprised enemies

From the Assassinate feature from the Assassin Rogue archetype:

In addition, any hit you score against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.

This isn't every attack however it does grant criticals without having to roll a 20 (or 18/19 if multiclassed into Champion)

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