Archive for the ‘Board Games’ Category.

D&D: Is Sneak Attack damage maximized on critical hits?

Is Sneak Attack damage maximized on critical hits? Short answer: yes.

For the long answer, first read what the Players Handbook says about critical hits on pg. 278:

Maximum Damage: Rather than roll damage, determine the maximum damage you can roll with your attack. This is your critical damage. (Attacks that don’t deal damage still don’t deal damage on a critical hit.)

Extra Damage: Magic weapons and implements, as well as high crit weapons, can increase the damage you deal when you score a critical hit. If this extra damage is a die roll, it’s not automatically maximum damage; you add the result of the roll.

Furthermore, according to this FAQ:

10. Which dice do I maximize when scoring a critical hit?

Only the dice you would normally roll to calculate damage are maximized. If another bonus (like from a weapon or feat) causes you to roll extra damage dice when scoring a critical hit, those dice are rolled as normal.

Given all this, I think that Sneak Attack damage is maximized on critical hits. The main point being that the definition of “Extra Damage” in this context refers to damage that occurs as a result of the critical; Sneak Attack occurs whether the attack is critical or not, therefore it is maximized.

The rules are clear, but I decided to write up this explicit answer given the confusion I’ve seen in various forums about this question.

D&D Character Builder crashes under Parallels

I had the D&D Character Builder running fine under a Parallels 5 Windows XP Pro virtual machine. But then a few weeks ago I ran a bunch of updates – both Windows and Parallels updates. Following the updates, the Character Builder would crash after trying to perform an update or launching the program. All of the following failed to fix the problem:

I didn’t have any useful snapshots of the virtual machine, so going back in time was not an option. At last I got fed up and installed a completely new Windows XP virtual machine, ran all the Windows updates, installed the Parallels Tools, then installed the Character Builder. SUCCESS!

When the Character Builder installs, it first automatically downloads and installs the .NET Framework. My guess is that the updates I ran somehow introduced an incompatibility between the .NET Framework and Parallels or the Character Builder. If I had it to do over again I would have tried this:

  1. uninstall Character Builder
  2. uninstall .NET Framework
  3. install Character Builder, allowing it to install .NET Framework itself

I’ll bet that would have worked, but I’ve already spent way too much time on this and don’t feel like testing my theory. Hopefully this blog post will help out anyone who finds themselves faced with this same irritating problem.