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So, the UA Fighter subclass Brute has an ability that lets him add a d6 to any saving throw, and if the total adds to 20, it counts as a natural 20. If this happens on a Death saving throw, it means he will come back to 1 hit point.

Does this apply to natural 1's as well? That means he would be immune to natural 1's on death saves, which seems strange to me.

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Natural 1s on death saves count as 2 failures

The ability Brutish Durability simply mentions:

Whenever you make a saving throw, roll 1d6 and add the die to your saving throw total. If applying this bonus to a death saving throw increases the total to 20 or higher, you gain the benefits of rolling a 20 on the d20

Since nothing is mentioned for rolling a 1 on the d20, the normal rules for rolling a 1 on a death saving throw apply as usual:

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures.

If the feature was meant to override this general rule, it would have to be explicitly stated in the description, but there is nothing that indicates this so a 1 on the d20 counts as 2 failures as usual.

Note that the general rule calls specifically for "rolling a 1 on the d20". This means rolling a 1 before any modifiers, such as the bonus from Brutish Durability. This is a similar reasoning as can be seen in this related Q/A

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    \$\begingroup\$ but how can you roll a 1 if you're adding a extra d6 to the total rolled? \$\endgroup\$ – Bruno Souza Dec 13 '19 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrunoSouza you roll a 1 on the d20, the d6 extra is a modifier to the roll \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Dec 13 '19 at 17:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ The ability doesn't identify it as a modifier tho, it even go as far as saying that if the total reaches 20 it counts as a natural 20. \$\endgroup\$ – Bruno Souza Dec 13 '19 at 17:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ the 1d6 is a bonus like any other, except that it has the extra rule "if this increases the total to 20 or higher, it counts as a natural 20". It doesn't have an extra rule for natural 1s, so it's still a natural 1. \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage Dec 13 '19 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ The exact phrase is, "roll a 1 on the d20". Regardless of modifiers and extra dice, if you roll a 1, you've rolled a 1. \$\endgroup\$ – MivaScott Dec 13 '19 at 17:48
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Rolling a 1 on the d20 still counts as two failures.

according to the death saving throw text:

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures.

Since Brutish Durability doesn't mention anything on rolling 1, the rule stays the same.

Do have in mind that this is playtest material, published in Unearthed Arcana. It may not be completely balanced.

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It does also apply to Natural 1s, because of the exact text and specific overrides general.

The Brute Martial Archetype's 7th level feature, Brutish Durability, reads:

Whenever you make a saving throw, roll 1d6 and add the die to your saving throw total. If applying this bonus to a death saving throw increases the total to 20 or higher, you gain the benefits of rolling a 20 on the d20.

The wording here leads me to believe that this is the specific that overrides the general rule of rolling a 1 on a death saving throw.

However, it's not as good as you might think with a natural 1. Adding a d6 to the roll will rarely ever increase the total to 20 or higher, the only case I can think of (Barring Monk's 14th level Diamond Soul because this feature is 7th level) is being attuned to a Cloak of Protection for +1 to saving throws, Ring of Protection for +1 to saving throws, and Stone of Good Luck for +1 to saving throws and rolling a 6 on the Brutish Durability die while being in the Aura of Protection from a Paladin with 30 Charisma, for a grand total of exactly 20.

Because the wording of the feature only has an affect if the total reaches 20, it wouldn't automatically prevent you from taking two failures a natural 1 would normally bring.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ it is actually pretty good. with this alone the fighter has a higher chance of coming back with 1 hp then being stabilized or dying. \$\endgroup\$ – Bruno Souza Dec 13 '19 at 19:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ I acknowledge it's a good feature, I was speaking in regards to it affecting natural 1s. I'll edit the wording there to clarify. \$\endgroup\$ – RallozarX Dec 13 '19 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ So the follow up question is: with the crazy situation described above, and one previously-failed saving throw, what happens when you roll a natural 1? Simultaneously 2nd and 3rd failures along with coming back to life with 1 hp? I guess per XgtE you choose the order of events on your turn \$\endgroup\$ – Cireo Dec 14 '19 at 6:34

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