# How do criticals interact with degrees of success for attacks?

Let's say my character Strikes an enemy with AC 35. My attack bonus is only +10.

I roll a natural 20, making my total 30 vs his 35 AC. Is this attack treated as a regular hit, because it would have been a failure but the nat 20 improves the degree of success by one step? Or is it treated as a critical hit, because it's a nat 20?

Similarly, if I'm subjected to a spell with a saving throw I can only fail at, and I roll a nat 20, does that mean I reach a success on the saving throw or a critical success?

• It's worth noting that these examples are useful for understanding the system but very unlikely to happen in real games (barring the party fighting creatures way outside their 'weight class') because Pathfinder 2e has its own version of bounded accuracy. – Ifusaso Sep 10 '20 at 11:50
• @Ifusaso - I know, but I just wanted an exaggerated example to illustrate my point -- as you said, to understand the system. – Ben R. Sep 10 '20 at 12:00
• Thanks for accepting my answer. I just edited it in light of some new information that came out on another question. – indigochild Sep 10 '20 at 19:58

## In General

Chapter 9: Playing the Game (Core Rules) describes how criticals work. As you noted, a critical success and failures occur when your result is the DC +/- 10. You seem to misunderstanding how rolling a natural 20 works. From page 445:

If you rolled a 20 on the die (a "natural 20"), your result is one degree of success better than it would be by numbers alone. If you roll a 1 on the d20 (a "natural 1"), your result is one degree worse.

A natural 20 is not a critical hit. A natural 1 is not a critical failure. They only modify what your result would have been by one step.

In your first example (a strike against a DC 35), you have a success. Your result of 30 would normally be a failure, but since it is a natural 20 it becomes a success.

The second example works the same. If you would have failed your saving throw, that natural 20 makes it a success. If it would have been a critical failure, then it now becomes a failure instead.