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Blood in the Water (Tome of Battle, p. 86) states:

While you are in this stance, you whip yourself into a terrible rage. When you score a critical hit against an opponent, you enter a near frenzied state from the sight and smell of blood. You gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls. Because this is an untyped bonus, it stacks with each successful critical hit you score.

If you go more than 1 minute without achieving a critical hit, you no longer gain the benefit of the stance.

Does this work if I score a critical hit on something immune to critical hits?

The description doesn't state that I have to damage the creature with a critical hit. This isn't precision damage that can only be done to something that is deigned their Dex bonus.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Mar 31 at 7:30
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I did some additional digging. Magic Items and Critical Hits (Dungeon Masters Guide Pg. 222)

Magic Weapons and Critical Hits: Some weapon qualities and some specific weapons have an extra effect on a critical hit. A flaming burst weapon, for example, does extra fire damage on a critical hit. This special effect functions against creatures not subject to critical hits, such as undead, elementals, and constructs. When fighting against such creatures, roll for critical hits as you would against humanoids or any other creature subject to critical hits. On a successful critical roll, apply the special effect, but do not multiply the weapon’s regular damage.

Also, many things in the book that work on critical hits specify they do not work on things that are unaffected by critical hits (i.e., Feral Death Blow & Flesh Ripper); this one does not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In other words, when an attacker scores a threat against a creature that's "immune to critical hits," a critical roll is still made to see if the threat is actually a critical hit. If that critical roll is successful, things can still happen to the target because of the successful critical roll. (I think that creatures that say that they are immune to critical hits should often actually say instead that such creatures are immune to the extra damage from critical hits.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 31 at 7:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaximeCuillerier It's common to extrapolate from existing rules when the rules are otherwise silent. That is, so far as I'm aware, in the core rules there are no nonmagical effects like those that quoted section mentions that can occur on a potential critical hit. With that in mind, it seems reasonable to extend the quoted rule to cover similar effects the game presents later, even if that means extending them to nonmagical effects. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 2 at 23:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I could not have said it better myself. \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 3 at 0:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MaximeCuillerier Please state the book and page in the Rules or a similar instance that backs up your theory that there is a difference between Scoring and Rolling/Confirming. \$\endgroup\$ – CrimRei Apr 3 at 8:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CrimRei you made me see reason with that comment, thanks a lot! \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Apr 3 at 10:05
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Since confirming a critical hit is basically the same thing as scoring a critical hit and because of the critical effect that can occur on magical items even if the creature is immune to critical hits Blood in the water does indeed work in this situation.

I first thought it did not work but I'm still leaving all the first explanation here so all points of view can be observed, see the last bullet point in the ''However'' section for the main reason of the change in opinion.

Rolling a ''critical'' (threat) is not the same as a critical ''hit'', creatures immune to critical means you would normally do a critical against such a creature (example: a human vampire) but you don't.

Furthermore a part of what you shared makes it clear to me:

When you score a critical hit against an opponent, you enter a near frenzied state from the sight and smell of blood.

You need to do the critical hit and not just the threat.

On Critical hits:

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. The hit might be a critical hit (or "crit"). To find out if it's a critical hit, you immediately make a critical roll—another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the attack roll you just made. If the critical roll also results in a hit against the target's AC, your original hit is a critical hit. (The critical roll just needs to hit to give you a crit. It doesn't need to come up 20 again.) If the critical roll is a miss, then your hit is just a regular hit.

Rolling a crit means you just scored a threat, you haven't critically ''hit'' yet you need to confirm it and for creatures immune to it you simply don't roll for the confirmation. So you just hit them without scoring a critical on them (or not if the threat range is higher than 20 and you don't have enough to hit).

Undeads have some traits such as:

  • Not subject to critical hits or flanking .

However

  • With the new info @CrimRei provided, I think it might be the DM's call after all, unless some additional info can be found...
  • If I was to interpret this with my DM experience/opinion I would still rule that it does not work because the way I see this is:

    you enter a near frenzied state from the sight and smell of blood

    A sentence such as: You enter a near frenzied state from the sight of the extra damage you've done via the critical hit (or felt if you are blind etc.) would probably be more accurate, and that's what I meant by ''my interpretation'' (thanks @Hey ICan Chan)

    Since a critical hit is supposed to occur for it to work, I believe the PC gets a bonus from making the extra critical damage (more blood) and this buffs the character each time he does so, an undead wich is immune will not be more damaged than a regular hit, so even though it might bleed, it will not be more damaged so it would not trigger in my game.

  • But since spellcasters are so powerful and melee builds need some love, I guess I would probably still allow it, even though I interpret it as it's not supposed to work as my first interpretation.

  • @MichaelDorf added a comment that is worth mentionning:

    Key words here under Magic Weapons and Critical Hits '...On a successful critical roll...' whereas Blood in the Water states 'When you score a critical hit...' Further, Blood in the Water is a stance not a magical weapon, ergo a character in the Blood in the Water stance does not gain +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls on a successful critical roll against an opponent immune to critical hits as it is not possible to score a critical hit.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm concerned that this might be taking things too literally. I mean, what if the defender can suffer critical hits but doesn't bleed… or even spews something other than blood when poked with a sword? Should the DM really nerf a dude's ability by ruling arbitrarily that the defender's spilled bodily fluid just isn't bloodlike enough to trigger the stance's effect? (You can totally go that far if you want—I mean, that is, after all, what the ability actually says. However, I suspect that position'll be met with some resistance.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 31 at 8:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well they could rephrase it as : you enter a near frenzied state from the sight of the extra damage you've done (or felt if you are blind etc.) that's what I meant. but as I said I would probably allow it since melee builds need some love. \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Mar 31 at 8:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Key words here under Magic Weapons and Critical Hits '...On a successful critical roll...' whereas Blood in the Water states 'When you score a critical hit...' Further, Blood in the Water is a stance not a magical weapon, ergo a character in the Blood in the Water stance does not gain +1 bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls on a successful critical roll against an opponent immune to critical hits as it is not possible to score a critical hit. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelDorf Mar 31 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, undead do not have anything about flanking, at least not in the srd \$\endgroup\$ – Drejzer May 8 at 17:31

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