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D&D 5E Fumble Chart (Homebrew List)

5E Fumble Chart

Here’s a situation: imagine rolling a 1 for a D&D attack roll. What then? If you go by the 5th edition of DnD, nothing much. You automatically miss, regardless of what your attack modifier is or however much easier your target is to dominate. Nothing bad will happen to reflect the powerful effects of a critical hit scored upon rolling a 20.

This is where fumbles come in. In this article, we shall talk more about fumbles. Read on for a detailed D&D fumble chart. But, first, let’s understand critical fail well.

What is a DnD Crit Fail? 

DnD crit fail is the incident of rolling a one, though a side note here: the process of how it is treated differs from one house to another. Here’s what the Player’s Handbook mentions: 

“If the d20 roll for an attack is a 1, the attack misses regardless of any modifiers or the target’s AC.” 

It’s important to note here that the 20s are essentially critical hits. Using RAW simply means that you fail to hit your targets. You might deem this itself as a critical failure; DMs will usually throw in some more forgiving measures in between. Usually, the 1st 1 shown on a d20 is considered an automatic failure, following which the player or NPC needs to make yet another roll to gauge if it’s critical. 

The most considerate method is to demand two 1s in a row for it to be a critical failure. Conversely, a more insidious rule is that if the 2nd roll does not beat the AC before modifiers, it transcends from an automatic to a critical failure.

The problem arises when you take into consideration that higher-level characters are more prone to rolling 1s. They are capable of making up to 4 attacks in one attack action. Moreover, they can also use an action surge to obtain another attack action in a single round of combat. So, that amounts to as many as 8 attacks, out of which some can just as easily be a natural 1.

DnD Fumble Chart 

Dice RollRanged AttacksMelee AttacksSpell Attacks
1SNAP: Roll your weapons’ damage die. Your weapon breaks if you roll full damage. How this looks for various ranged weapons depends on your DM. Your weapon will merely be damaged and take a 1d4 damage penalty if you do not roll full damage. Your weapon will be broken if the damage penalties stack to 0 before repair.Broken Weapon: Roll your weapons’ damage die. Your weapon breaks in half if you roll full damage. For daggers or smaller weapons, it shatters. Your weapon will merely be damaged and take a 1d4 damage penalty if you do not roll full damage. Your weapon will be broken if the damage penalties stack to 0 before repair.Burning Slots: Barring the spell slot used for this spell, you will burn your lowest available spell slot. (Considering 1st-level slots are spent, you may expend a 2nd-level slot, and so on).
2 to 4Roulette: Assign eight creatures within your range a specific value, and if there are < 8 creatures, add random spaces at the edge of the range. Your weapon does minimum damage if you roll a d8. The ammo will be lost if it hits unoccupied space.Flying Swords: Your weapon will go flying at a distance equal to/  twice your strength score (in feet) in any random direction. If a creature falls in that space, in its path, the weapon will deal its minimum damage before falling to the ground.Spell it Out: Until you complete a long rest, you will forget this spell.
5 to 6Eyes on the Prize: You ended up being too focused and hence, lost your footing. You then stumble forward 10 feet, exposing yourself to an opportunity attack from your enemy’s end.Swing and a Miss: Your swing will be off,  and you will stumble forward 10 feet, in turn exposing yourself to an opportunity attack from your enemy’s end.Wild Magic: Roll on the ‘wild magic’ surge table as mentioned on pg. 104 of the Player’s Handbook.
7Misfire: Here, a piece of your weapon will go awry- a chamber of your gun jamming up, a string snapping, or a throwing ax head coming out of its handle. Make an intelligence check (as an action) with a DC same as your weapon’s maximum damage to repair your weapon. Sword in the Stone: Your weapon gets stuck in the ground, the floor, the opponent’s armor, or an object within 5feet. The DC (Strength Check) required to pull it out is the weapon’s maximum damage, excluding magical damage. You need to do so as an action.Stupid! Stupid!: Until the end of your next turn, you take a penalty of 1d6 to your spellcasting ability.
8 to 10What Goes Up…: Your ammunition will launch up in the air, coming back down to a random location within a 20 feet radius at the start of your next turn.Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up: You will be knocked prone.Wait, How Did This One Go?: You will accidentally cast ‘Cure Wounds’ at the same level you cast this spell, and that too on the same target.
11 to 12Amo Ammo: Your weapon will fall to the ground if they need ammo. If it happens to be a thrown weapon, drop it. Take an action to pick up ammo worth 2d8, or pick up 1 round using a bonus action.Did I Do That?: You will be stunned till the end of your next turn.Counterspell: Your enemy will gain access to free use of a counterspell at the level at which this spell was cast (or the 3rd level if cast at a lower level). Access lasts for 1d4 rounds.
13Is This Thing on?: Since nothing happens, you point the ‘business end’ of your weapon towards yourself. It fires or slips (if it is a thrown weapon). You then take half of the max damage.It’s Just a Flesh Wound!: You’ve hurt yourself by accident. Roll normal damage against yourself.Self Awareness: You happen to be the target of the spell now.
14 to 16Confused?: Go ahead as if you are under the impact of the ‘Confusion’ spell. It will end after 1 minute if you fail to make a successful save by then.Confused?: Go ahead as if you are under the impact of the ‘Confusion’ spell. It will end after 1 minute if you fail to make a successful save by then.Confused?: You happen to cast ‘Confusion’ on yourself accidentally.
17 to 18I Don’t Want to Fight You: You make a wisdom saving throw, same as your opponent’s AC + Charisma modifier. If it’s a failed save, you are scared of them until another attack hits them.I Don’t Want to Fight You: You make a wisdom saving throw, same as your opponent’s AC + Charisma modifier. If it’s a failed save, you are scared of them until another attack hits them.I Don’t Want to Fight You: You make a wisdom saving throw, same as your opponent’s AC + Charisma modifier. If it’s a failed save, you are scared of them until another attack hits them.
19Oof: You take 1 level of exhaustion. Such exhaustion cannot go past 5 levels.Oof: You take 1 level of exhaustion. Such exhaustion cannot go past 5 levels.Oof: You take 1 level of exhaustion. Such exhaustion cannot go past 5 levels.
20Critical Critical!: Roll twice and take both effects. Note that it can only stack once.Critical Critical!: Roll twice and take both effects. Note that it can only stack once.Critical Critical!: Roll twice and take both effects. Note that it can only stack once.

Conclusion

Though we hope you get a chance to use this chart as is, we suggest getting in touch with your party to discuss whether they are in on it. DnD enthusiasts usually stand divided when it comes to using fumble charts. Either way, this may very well serve as inspiration.

Happy questing!

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