Several classes have access to features that improve the likelihood of rolling a Critical Hit, such as the Improved Critical feature of the Champion Fighter. All of these abilities, however, are distinctly non-stacking.

Here, I've proposed a magic item that would expand the dice roll range for a Critical Hit for any user, including those that already have access to some manner of Improved Critical.

Helm of Mystic Sight: Requires Attunement. While wearing this helm, you can add 1 to the value of a die for the purpose of determining a Critical Hit.

What should be the rarity of this item?

My gut feeling is that this item should be Legendary, as Critical Hits can be extremely powerful on classes like the Paladin and Rogue, but I'm wondering if I may be overestimating its power.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are you hoping to get out of learning a rarity value? This question is probably worth reading: "Is item rarity really tied to how powerful it is?" also this one: "How is the power of a magic item measured according to the rules?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 mostly trying to get a measure of its power. Seeing as it's a magic item I didn't feel that it would be appropriate to ask about its balance, as I can just adjust its rarity according to its power. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ And also to make sure, this increases the critical hit range of the champion, right? 18-20 at level 3 and 17-20 at level 15? \$\endgroup\$
    – goodguy5
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ As written, the item doesn’t turn a miss into a (critical) hit. Is that intentional? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @goodguy5 correct. DaleM, Medix2, if an attack normally would miss but lands in the expanded critical hit range, then the attack follows normal critical hit rules and hits automatically. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrendire
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


Not as bad as you think.

You're overestimating its power. By default, a point of crit chance is actually a little bit less valuable than a point of to-hit. +1 to-hit means that 1/20th of the time, you have a moment where you would have missed (doing no damage) and instead hit, doing full damage, plus any secondary effects that may apply. +1 to crit means that 1/20th of the time, you do a bit less than twice the damage (dice are doubled, but things like the damage bonus from stats is not), instead of doing full damage, and you get unchanged secondary effects. Also, there are things out there (like, say, humans wearing adamantine armor) that do not take additional effects from critical hits.

Of course, that's overly simplistic. Things like secondary effects on miss, or the paladin's ability to add dice (doubled by crit) after the crit has been determined, or even the rogue's sneak attack, which adds significant dice, but isn't expended on a miss, can all increase the value of crit range as compared to to-hit. Further, if the enemy's AC is so high that it overwhelms the PC's ability to hit on anything other than a 20, having an extra point of crit range means that instead of going from hit to crit, you go from miss to crit, and the bonus to hit wouldn't have helped you at all. Finally, it's likely that the person who winds up with the item will be the one who can use it most effectively. There's a good chance, as such, that it'll be worth a bit more than +1 to hit, rather than a bit less... but it's still in the same ballpark. As such, I'd look for things that give a bonus to hit that aren't magical weapons (as they'll stack).

Answer: there aren't any. 5e has this whole "bounded accuracy" thing that's really very opposed to letting you rack up to-hit bonuses off of your random gear. The closest thing you could get to it... probably a Manual of Gainful Exercise? It's a very rare item that increases strength by 2, which (for a significant number of character types) would effectively give +1 untyped bonus to hit. Of course, it would also give a +1 untyped bonus to damage, it wouldn't take the helm slot or the attunement, and it would give a bonus to strength-based skill checks, ability checks, carry capacity, and so forth. As such, it's clearly stronger, by a fair margin.

Given all that, I'd say your helm is one step down from a Manual, and call it rare. That's a judgement purely from a power/utility standpoint. If you feel that crit is special enough that it shouldn't be handed out at Rare, then that's reasonable to conclude, but you should seriously consider adding something more to it to bring it to the appropriate power level for a higher rarity. For example, if you let the +1 apply to both hit and crit (making it the rough equivalent of +2), that could certainly serve as very rare. If you then added on some useful side powers (say, advantage on Perception checks, and at-will detect magic) it would do fine as a legendary item. If one of your players is expecting a legendary item, though, and what you give them is a helm that gives +1 crit rating and requires an attunement slot... well, it's no Robe of the Archmagi.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch the slippers of spider climbing are better than the Thief Rogue's Second-Story Work feature (or at least the climbing portion of it). They are uncommon. \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ It very may be, but that's highly relevant to someone developing this for their table. Rarity rating is much less important than table usability/usefulness. So yeah, it may be 'rare', but at their table it may functionally be much greater. Having said that, I think we can clean up those comments ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Mar 5, 2020 at 20:33

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