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[[quoteright:319:[[Webcomic/DMOfTheRings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/critical-failure_3368.jpg]]]]

->''"You see, Fighter, any time you do '''any'''thing, there is [[RandomNumberGod a one in twenty chance that you will critically fail]]. The results of such catastrophic events [[GameMaster are up to the gods.]] Sadly for us, [[KillerGameMaster they are vindictive, and filled with bad ideas.]]"''
-->--'''Red Mage''', ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', "[[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/06/17/episode-430-very-long-range/ Very Long Range]]"

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab. %%

Just as a CriticalHit gives a character a random chance of doing noticeably increased damage with an attack, a Critical Failure is the precise opposite: A finite, if sometimes [[EverythingTryingToKillYou suspiciously]] [[KillerGameMaster large]], possibility that the attack will fail, be resisted, miss (or even backfire and hurt the attacker), regardless of any stat bonuses, upgrades, tweaks, or special equipment involved.

If being used on everything from swordplay to rock climbing, it may be a game mechanic meant to show the inherent danger in messing about with such dangerous things. Perhaps it's described as the unseen weak chink in the armour or the sudden gust of wind or [[JerkassGods the gods just being dicks]] that day. When used only on particular items or actions, it could be used to show how they are the riskier choice or contain some particular special power that must be paid off for with a special risk (see AwesomeButImpractical.)

The weapon of choice for the KillerGameMaster, the bane of the {{Munchkin}} and the source of mirth for TheLoonie, ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''' unofficial utilization of it as the roll of a 1 on a D20 is the [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] and [[TropeMakers Trope Maker]] for many tabletop and video games based on role-playing. However, it has often been a factor in games of luck for much of time. The attempts of Game Masters to explain ''how'' a particular RandomNumberGod-decreed critical failure 'happened' regularly stretch plausibility to make it an EpicFail for the character responsible.

Critical failures will almost inevitably hit the ''[[PlayerCharacter player]]'' [[PlayerCharacter characters]] harder than they will the {{NPC}}s. After all, the [=PCs=] are the characters for whom the dice get rolled by far the most often -- and as the main protagonists, anything bad that happens to ''them'' will also likely impact the game itself and the associated experience far more than just random anonymous orc #7 fumbling and dropping his sword. Some D20 systems avert this by having 1 always be treated as a normal miss, then a second roll is immediately made and if a second 1 comes up it's a critical failure.

MagicMisfire is one possible consequence or subtype. See also LuckStat. Can sometimes result in a CriticalExistenceFailure but the tropes are not directly related.

Also known as a "Fumble".

"Critical Miss" redirects here. Click here for the webcomic ''Webcomic/CriticalMiss''.



[[folder:Anime And Manga]]
* In the last pre-Duelist Kingdom arc of the ''Manga/YuGiOh'' manga, Bakura plays a tabletop game with Yugi and his friends, wherein they use percentile dice (two 10-sided die -- one for the tens and one for the ones) -- for every roll. When Yami Bakura takes over, rolling a 99 (a fumble, low numbers are good, so 00 is the opposite--a CriticalHit) carries the penalty of having your soul trapped in your figurine.

* In the second "TheGamers" film, Leo, who is playing as a bard, tries to demonstrate his lackluster combat skills by sneak-attacking a ''book''. After arguing to his reluctant DM that the book's spine makes it eligible for backstabbing, Leo rolls and gets a 1. The critical failure involves [[YetAnotherStupidDeath stabbing himself instead and killing himself in the process]].
-->Leo: [in shock] [[QuirkyBard Bards suck]].
-->Lodge: That... was unprecedented, Leo.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Despite the strong possibility that ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' is the TropeMaker, critical failures have ''never'' been more than an optional rule... but thousands of tables have added them to their HouseRules. The ''official'' rule for rolling a 1 on d20 varies by edition and the type of roll, but generally a 1 is either calculated normally, or at worst the natural 1 is just an automatic miss with no additional effects. There have been extensive flame wars, all the way back to the days when they had to be conducted by letter column, debating whether critical failures deserve a place in the game.
** The Critical Failure rule has been included in the Dungeon Master's Guide since 3rd edition as an example of what a house rule is. In 4th Edition, the suggested House rule format is that a player who rolls a 1 on an attack roll loses all subsequent actions this round. Rather tame and less deadly than the more classic versions.
** The 3.5 Dragon Compendium includes expanded rules for what happens when rolling a 1 or a 20 on an attack roll. The critical failures are rather amusing.
** And that quote from Red Mage at the top of the page is a very good reason to never enforce these rules. Especially the Dragon Compendium version.
** In 2nd edition there were semi-official optional rules for critical hits and misses published by Dragon magazine, where you would roll a percent and in general, the higher the number the more potent the effect. The funny thing is, both critical hits and critical failures used the same table - so it was entirely possible to decapitate yourself on a critical failure if you rolled exceptionally high on the table.
** In the third edition (and variants), automatic failure on a roll of 1 apply only to attack rolls. Skill checks ''do not'' result in an automatic failure when rolling a 1, nor an automatic success when rolling a 20 - making it impossible for most people to (say) balance on a single cobweb, but also preventing them from garroting themselves while tying their shoes.
* ''TabletopGame/InNomine'', which is based on the War between Heaven and Hell, has a special take on critical failures (and critical successes) the game uses a system of rolling 3 six sided dice, a natural roll of 3 ones (representing the Holy Trinity) is a "Divine Intervention" which is good for angels and those allied with them, and bad for demons and their allies, a natural roll of 3 sixes (representing... [[NumberOfTheBeast well, you know]]) is an "Infernal Intervention" which is good for those on Hell's side and bad for those fighting for Heaven. Depending on the nature and circumstances of the roll, these Interventions can be anything from [[InMysteriousWays a(n) (un)lucky coincidence]] to a [[DeusExMachina blatant spectacular manifestation of divine or infernal power]].
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' has Glitches -- rolling a one on half or more of all dice in a roll -- and critical Glitches -- a glitch that also has no successes. The former is just annoying side effects like a burst of suppressive fire hitting a steam pipe, but the latter tends to invoke the ChunkySalsaRule.
* ''TabletopGame/UnknownArmies'' has fumble rolls at 00. Since they're vastly less common than typical Critical Failures, they also tend to be vastly more dangerous or entertaining. The only real rule is that they won't ''kill'' a player, but that not very reassuring in [[SickSadWorld the setting.]]
** The technical term for these is "BOHICA": FunWithAcronyms for "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again".
* Due to a quirk of the system (the use of 3d6 rather than a d20, and success made by rolling ''under'' a target number) ''{{GURPS}}'' reverses the normal expectations and has critical failures on an 18 and critical success on a 3. This may be due to {{Champions}}'s influence on Steve Jackson; Hero System runs the same way.
* [[http://www.funnydndstories.com/apps/blog/show/3432504-sameo/ Sameo]]: proof that even a critical failure can be a CrowningMomentOfAwesome.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has its own version, which tends to be very, very bad for you. To fail you have to have half ones and NO successes. The more dice that come up one, the worse the problem. You screw up less often as you get more skilled but when you do it is more catastrophic. That's the Exalted for you - even their screw-ups are epic.
* Speaking of White Wolf, [[TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness both]] [[TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness versions]] of ''The World of Darkness'' come with rules to this effect. In the Old version, should you roll no successes and one or more dice come up 1, you get a "botch" (also the term ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' uses) -- which is usually a horrific mishap of the amusing-but-grievous variety. In the New World of Darkness, when your dice pool is reduced by penalties to nothing, you get a "chance die" -- it only succeeds on a 10 and gives you a Dramatic Failure on 1.
** Due to the fact that [[WritersCannotDoMath Game Designers Have No Sense of Statistics]], the [[TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness OWOD]] system made you ''more'' likely to botch on very difficult rolls if you had a large number of dice to roll, as illustrated [[http://wiki.white-wolf.com/worldofdarkness/index.php?title=Probability_Math#Botching.2C_Second_Edition here]] and [[http://millercommamatt.com/journal/index.php/2008/11/16/probabilities-in-the-white-wolf-role-pla#more175 here]]. Thankfully Revised Edition reduced this problem, as a botch required no successes at all, even if they were cancelled by 1's.
** ''TabletopGame/DemonTheFallen'' is notable for encouraging Storytellers not to rely on just "you fail in a horrible manner" for botches. Their example was jumping across rooftops: on a failure, you fall; on a botch, you barely make it across... [[OhCrap and interrupt a Mafia execution.]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Scion}}'', which uses a readjusted variant of the ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'' system, carries over the Botch rule. However, there is one form of relief -- if you have Epic Attributes (which add automatic successes to rolls involving them), you ''can't'' botch rolls of that attribute. Divinity means that even if you fail, you fail ''well.''
* Magic in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' is portrayed as an always risky affair, manipulating the spillage of raw Chaos into the material world that invites the attention of deities [[EldritchAbomination who are far too ugly for a mother to comprehend never mind love]]. So not only does it have the Miscast rule that automatically fails the players' attempts to cast a spell but the player must then roll again to see what happens to their mage; it ranges from a bad headache to a legion of daemons invading its brain and dragging the world around him into hell.
** And don't think worshipping one of the [[strike:good]] [[BlackAndGreyMorality okay]] deities in ''WarhammerFantasyRoleplay'' exempts you from this rule. The same botch rules apply, only the gods get angry with you for abusing their gifts. It's generally not as bad as the Curse of Tzeentch, however -- the gods may get angry and stun you for a round, but they won't summon hordes of demons, inflict insanity points on you or render your entire family sterile(!).
** The eighth edition magic rules changed most magic critical failures into "bad critical successes": The spell succeeds and can't be [[AntiMagic dispelled by the enemy]], but something bad happens to the caster.
** In the offshoot board game ''BloodBowl'', you can make a "Go for it" roll to move up to two extra spaces in a turn. You have a 1 out of 6 chance to fail, but failure is treated the same way as if the player was attacked by an opponent, which means they have to roll against their armour. If they fail their armour roll, they make a roll on the injury table, which has consequences ranging from being briefly stunned up to a permanent disability or death. If the player is equipped with a chainsaw, they have a significant penalty to their armour roll which makes them very likely to be injured every time they fall down.
** There is also a 1-in-6 critical failure chance in non-magic affairs, such as combat. If you roll a 1, no matter how skilled your warriors are, you miss.
*** The new Skaven army book has misfire charts for virtually every weapon more complex than a pointy stick (and even some of those). With the amount of 1-in-6 failures inherent in the army, you are practically guaranteed never to end a game without one of your wonder weapons shooting your own troops / exploding / gassing itself / blowing up / imploding / causing daemonic burns / catching fire / sucking the user into the Realm of Chaos.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' has its rules reflect the fact that the game takes place in a [[CrapsackWorld crapsack universe]] where EverythingIsTryingToKillYou - like your own weapons, for example. Guns with the Gets Hot! special rule, such as Imperial plasma weapons or some of the more dangerous [[OurOrcsAreDifferent Ork]] "kustom shootas," will overheat and wound their wielder if you roll a 1 to hit. They're [[http://www.motifake.com/image/demotivational-poster/0807/plasma-weapons-demotivational-poster-1216259150.jpg totally worth the risk]], though.
** Previous editions were even more fun. The second edition, with its detailed skirmish-level rules, included obscure failure modes for the most experimental or cobbled-together weaponry available. As a particularly memorable example, shoulder-mounted missile packs could misfire in a manner which required the player to roll for direction and range over and over again as the wielder's remaining arsenal launched itself around at random and the poor soul spun around comically. Chaos Space Marines got the worst of it, with plasma weapons which could fail in fashions ranging from "weapons jam" to "smouldering crater", and Juggernaut war-machines that would randomly go on an auto-pilot rampage across the board and never be seen again.
** Chaos Dreadnoughts, being psychotic super-soldiers entombed in a walking tank, have a special Crazed table you have to roll on each turn, giving you a one-in-six chance that your mobile weapons platform will unleash a salvo of missiles and plasma fire on its own side.
** Rolling nothing but ones to hit with a Space Marine's [[GatlingGood assault cannon]] used to jam the gun, making it unusable for the rest of the match, which may have contributed to its rarity in 3rd Edition armies. More recent rules updates have [[GameBreaker reversed the trend]], however.
** The Orks' Shokk Attack Gun, the infamous weapon that fires [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent Snotlings]] through [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace the Warp]] into ([[TeleFrag literally]]) enemies, has a long and complex misfire table, which includes results such as the gun spinning out of control and hitting a friendly squad, the gun firing its ''wielder'' instead of its ammunition, or the gun exploding into a [[SphereOfDestruction crackling hole in reality]] that removes any nearby models from play. But that's just part of the randomness that makes playing Orks so fun.
*** Orks basically run on this trope, with nearly everything spectacular and devastating in their arsenal having a small chance (correlating positively with their power) of some sort of absurd Critical Failure.
*** There remains one subversion within the Orks themselves; certain vehicles that suffer an explosion damage result simply fall apart. This is in contrast to everything else the orks have (and indeed every other race in a similar situation) where you'd actually expect the vehicle to explode (even if it is made from piece of wood, scrap metal, and little else).
** A critical failure on a psychic test (double one or double six, around a 5.5% chance of occurring) causes the Warp to fry the Psyker's brain. Curiously, if you roll a double one on your psychic test (which is a critical success as it's based on morale/command), the power still works even if the Psyker actually dies from backlash.
** Due to the nature of Ordnance weapons, you can totally miss your target, and completely obliterate your own troops due to a misfire. Not exactly Critical Failure, but just as hilarious (to your opponent, if not you).
** Teleportation, also known as Deep Strike, has the possibility of the Deep Striking troops landing in terrain, fusing them (and by extension killing them) to the terrain and utterly obliterate the squad.
*** The Daemons are especially prone to this: your entire army has to enter battle this way, meaning you could lose parts your army due to bad rolls.
** Speaking of Daemons, they will suffer a combination of Critical Failure and CriticalExistenceFailure if they suffer too many wounds. If they fail the resulting leadership test, they will completely evaporate back into the warp, which in-game destroys the unit.
** Apocalypse games allow fielding the Land Raider Terminus Ultra, which can suffer a Critical Failure if all 5 of its Las-cannons overheat, effectively turning it into a mini-nuke.
** The various Warhammer 40k role-playing games (''DarkHeresy'', ''RogueTrader'', ''BlackCrusade'', and ''OnlyWar'') have expanded rules for fumbles related to psychic powers. The exact mechanic varies, but the standard is that any roll of a 9 (on a number of 10-sided dice that increases with the caster's level) causes a Psychic Phenomenon, which calls for a further 1d100 roll. Most of these rolls are amusing, or only mildly dangerous (the caster disappears into another time for 1d10 rounds, or statues and paintings begin weeping blood) -- but a roll of 75 or higher on this chart sends the unfortunate soul to the second chart, [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Perils of the Warp]], which is much more deadly. This chart ranges from merely dangerous ("take a few wounds from psychic feedback", "the caster [[GoMadFromTheRevelation Goes Mad From The Revelation]]") to the outright lethal ("the caster [[DemonicPossession becomes a daemonhost]]", "the caster is sucked into the Warp and dies"). Needless to say, psychic powers are best used sparingly in the 41st millennium...
* Older versions of RuneQuest had a notoriously unforgiving fumble chart. Some player did the math and determined that of a squad of 200 trained swordsmen, after 2 minutes of battle, '''10''' of them would be dead from self-decapitation.
* RoleMaster. Its critical hit and critical fumble charts have some legendary results, including one that involves "tripping over an imaginary deceased turtle". (This is of course humour indicating that the character just blundered big time with zero style.)
** Of course, this was counterbalanced by its critical success tables, with such legendary entries as "Target's bones are vaporized, target is reduced to a liquid paste. Try a ladle.". In a later ''Companion'', both aspects combined led to Fatigue criticals, which if you played the rules straight meant you could kill yourself by what amounted to explosive decompression through exhaustion. Or hunger.
** When rolling for one weapon category's fumble's effect, if you get a high enough roll (99 or 100 if memory serves) there's a 50% chance that the enemy bursts to laughter and is helpless for an amount of rounds, (the other 50% consists of you spraining your groin) giving you a free attack for the next round, turning a major gaffe into an advantage.
** M.E.R.P (Middle Earth Role Playing) game was a variation of RoleMaster, and has some interesting ones for critical failures covering everything from simply inconvenient, to embarrassing, to down right deadly, depending on actions taken and roll made on fumble chart. These can include dropping or breaking your weapon or failing to move, causing a critical strike to yourself, biting off your own tongue and swallowing it, tripping up and landing in an embarrassing position, shooting yourself in the foot or falling and crushing your own skull and dying and my personal favourite for those fighting from a mount: “you drive the point of your weapon into the ground, pole volt 30 feet and take a 'C' crush critical to yourself”.
* In the infamous ''TabletopGame/{{FATAL}}'' roleplaying game, "crucial fumbles" (1 or 2 on a d100) have surprisingly reasonable effects. Except the 1% chance that a god decides to kill the offending character, possibly by [[RocksFallEveryoneDies making the whole building collapse]].
** The magical mishap rules, however, are ''awful''. There are pages and pages of possible side-effects, ranging from repetitive ("caster worships and entire body is branded with the symbol of god X" for every possible god, spanning 8 pages) to childish humour ("caster grows a piece of fruit from their dickhole/cuntpipe every ten days") to game-breaking stupidity ("nearest two nations declare war on each other", [[MercyKilling DEATH OF EVERY LIVING THING]]) - and of course "roll for 1d20 other effects".
* While the [[AllThereInTheManual rulebook]] encourages creativity with these things, the punishment for "botches" in ''TabletopGame/{{Ironclaw}}'' (the same as a Critical Failure) is usually less severe than most (for instance, botching a spell usually only results in the spell backfiring and dealing damage to you). However, if you play as a Necromancer, and you roll at least [[NumberOfTheBeast three 6's]] when dealing with a Black Magic spell, expect the heavens to open up, hell to let out a loud roar, and Cthulhu to wince in pain at the mighty backlash of chaos magic you just wrought upon the world.
* Using a set of 0s in LegendsOfTheWulin will allow the DM to offer you Interesting Times. If you accept, you receive what is essentially the Power of Plot, but there will be trouble: any success off that roll will be a complicated affair, and any failure will be devastating.
* Rolling a 20 in ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}''. Your gun can explode, your mutant power backfires horribly, and so on.
** Some [=GMs=] also invert this with a [[HouseRules house rule]] that rolling a 1 may mean you succeeded ''[[GoneHorriblyRight too]]'' [[GoneHorriblyRight well]]. Shooting a Commie mutant traitor sends their shattered remains flying backward through a wall, causing pipes to burst and release toxic chemicals... that sort of thing.
* ''{{Deadlands}}'' uses them too, and [[TheWestern we call 'em "busts" 'round these parts]], ''[[GratuitousSpanish hombre]]''. Going bust becomes worse if a character has the "Bad Luck" Hindrance. Of note is the fact that the only sort of [[MagicAIsMagicA magic]] that doesn't tend to do horrible things on a Critical Failure is that of [[WhiteMagic the Blessed]]. Turns out {{God}} (or [[AllMythsAreTrue whoever]] [[ReligionIsMagic else]]) isn't too hard on His most devout followers.
** This is mainly because it's the only magic not fueled by [[OurDemonsAreDifferent manitous]]. Failing other forms of magic results in the manitou powering it jumping into your skull and playing tommyknockers, which can't end well.
* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' D6 system has the interesting expansion of allowing a critical failure that is also a success. The classic example is a successful dodge which leaves the player standing close to ExplodingBarrels, or a successful attack resulting in the victim falling onto an alarm button.
** West End Games old Star Wars RPG had a very similar effect, but rolling a 1 on the Wild Die (the die selected before the roll which would indicate either great success or great failure) was only really bad for a character that lacked the skill relevant to the action. While it is technically possible to have a critical failure that also is high enough to succeed, this is rather unlikely. Depending on what was attempted (and the actual numerical result of the roll), the result could be as grim as hitting your thumb with a hammer or as humorous as lopping off your own head with a lightsabre.
** ''Star Wars: Edge of the Empire'' has critical failure appear through "Challenge" dice, and a lesser form appear as a threat counter. They only appear if a difficulty of a task is upgraded (reserved for special circumstances, or if the DM spends a resource to upgrade said die.) Said critical failures and threats are independent of whether or not the main task is successful - you can kill the enemy, but a critical failure causes said enemy to land on the self-destruct button.
* ''TabletopGame/CartoonActionHour'' call these a "Flub". A "Flub" is a roll of 1 on a D12.
* In ''EclipsePhase'', all rolls are on a percent die (from 00 to 99). Doubles (ie. 00, 11, etc.) are critical. Whether they're critical failures or successes is up to the parameters of the roll (so if you needed a 40 or lower to succeed a roll, 44 is a critical failure). 00 is always a critical success, and 99 is always a critical failure. Probably the most interesting critical failures in ''EclipsePhase'' are those involving [[PsychicPowers Psi Sleights]]. The consequences there can include [[PsychicNosebleed nosebleed]], GrandTheftMe, or YourHeadAsplode.
* ''Spycraft'' has a rule where a bad roll triggers an "error", only slightly worse than a normal failure, and a true Critical Failure requires the [[GameMaster Game Control]] to spend one or more action dice, theoretically ensuring that critical failures don't disrupt the flow of the game and occur when most dramatically appropriate. A similar rule has players spend their own action dice to activate a critical success when they roll a "threat". The game also plays around with the ranges of d20 rolls that constitute an error or a threat depending on the circumstances, producing some interesting risk/reward mechanics.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Toon}}'' is similar to GURPS above, but with one less die. A natural 12 is a critical failure. Keep in mind this is a cartoon roleplaying game, and you can imagine how much fun a critical failure can be.
* ArsMagica. Currently, you might botch if you roll a ten on an ability check while under stress. Previous editions had a critical failure table with increasingly-horrific results -- the worst results kill you instantly, with helpful descriptive text such as:
-->"Rising after yet another resounding exchange of blows, you look to your weapon and realize it's broken short, the lethal end impaling you from abdomen to spine. For a moment you feel the sinews of your back slide from their moorings before you fall lifeless to the ground."
** This is not even the absolute worst result. The worst result has you die instantly, as above, and ''attack one of your allies by mistake as you die''.
* NewHorizon uses two twenty-sided dice as its success determiner. They are referred to as the White Die and the Black Die in the rules. And if you get a twenty on the black die, you not only automatically fail, but you have to use the white die to see how much you failed. Fun.
* While no "general-purpose" critical failure rules exist for ''TabletopGame/{{BattleTech}}'', specific pieces of equipment have their own individual failure chances if used to full effect or sometimes even at all. The classic examples are ultra and rotary autocannons fired more than once in a turn, which can cause them to jam and become useless for the rest of the fight on a natural 2 on the attack roll, and MASC ("myomer accelerator signal circuitry"), which adds to running speed, but with a chance of causing critical hits to the legs that goes up if used on multiple turns in a row. [[GoombaStomp Death From Above]] attacks have a very large chance of dumping the attacking mech on its ass, missing the target entirely, or landing on the target and ''then'' face-planting into the ground, taking heavy damage. It's possible to get a critical failure on ''movement'' as well; turning on roads and crossing roads (which speed up movement for some vehicle types) require a roll for Battlemechs - failing the roll causes the battlemech to slip and fall onto its face or its back, which can lead to an entire squad of battlemechs slipping over a road like it's made of ice.
* In ''Blood Bowl'' has many amusing total failure states. For example, if you roll a skull when your attacking an enemy (even if you attacking with something huge like an ogre to attack a halfling) the attacker is injured instead, which can just be anything from being knocked over, [[GroinAttack to groin strain]], to ''death''. This can even happen if you trip from running to far.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Illuminati}}'', if you roll an 11 or 12, you fail-- no matter who you are, who your target is, how much money was spent on the attack, or even if it was a privileged attack (one other players can't interfere with). This can become downright silly with certain combinations. Roll a 12, and suddenly the Mafia can't kill Furries.
* The rules for black powder firearms in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' have them misfire on a poor die roll, wasting the shot and fouling the barrel. If you keep shooting without clearing the barrel, not only does your chance of further misfires increase, but such a misfire will caused a fouled gun to explode, damaging everyone nearby and destroying the gun. And guns are rare and expensive outside a single small country in the ''Pathfinder'' setting.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The whole rationale behind Accuracy stats is to mix things up by imposing upon you the mathematical certainty that some of your attacks are simply going to miss (unless you maximize that stat somehow).
* SuperSmashBros Brawl had the tripping mechanic. Some attacks and the Banana Peel item would cause characters to trip. However there was also a random chance of tripping every time you started walking. It quickly became the ScrappyMechanic and was one of the first mechanics confirmed to not be returning in Super Smash Bros for Wii U and [=3DS=].
* The first two ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' games are interesting examples in that they have an optional character trait that causes ''everyone'' to suffer more critical failures in combat. This can be a very bad thing if your Luck stat is low, considering that the game's critical failures tend to do things like make energy weapons explode in your hands. Critical failures with non-combat skills will do things like jam locks or set off traps.
** Strangely, the trait is a very ''good'' thing if you have an epic LuckStat, considering that at 10 luck you won't be getting many critical failures even ''with'' the Jinxed trait, but everyone else in the world will be suffering explosive weapons failure every other shot.
*** Compound that with using weapons who do not have too bad side effects for critically failing, like melee or unarmed combat, and it's [[LethalJokeCharacter a rather deadly character build]].
** The Dream Crusher perk in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' increases the chance of this for enemies.
** The Mysterious Stranger, who randomly delivers a OneHitKill to a target in VATS once you have the perk, occasionally misses the target, or you accidentally hit him instead.
*** VATS itself (and the TurnBasedCombat system from older ''Fallout'' titles) has a form of CriticalMiss in that accuracy using it is capped at 95%, so you will have at least a 5% chance of missing any attack with VATS even ''[[ImperialStormtrooperMarksmanshipAcademy at point blank range.]]''. Probably not a coincidence that 5% is also the same chance you have of rolling a 1 on a 20-sided die.
* The KnightsOfTheOldRepublic do model critical failures -- for example, if you're disarming a mine then a 'failure' just means failure to disarm the mine (i.e: nothing happens), but a ''critical'' failure means the mine blows up on you at point-blank range.
** The chances of a critical failure are often tied to the character's skill level in the respective task -- if you're too unskilled to reliably disarm a mine, you're likely to accidentally set if off in the process, whereas if you have better than even odds for disarming it, you likely won't ever have a mine blow up on you.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' from a rare JRPG example; a critical hit will cause the target of the attack to be knocked down, but a critical failure (i.e. the enemy dodging the critical hit) will cause the attacker to knock ''themselves'' down. Of particular note is the animation for [[spoiler:Shinjiro Aragaki]]'s critical failure: rather than tripping or pratfalling like the others, he falls to his knees in a [[IncurableCoughOfDeath coughing fit]], which is one of the clues that [[spoiler:he is SecretlyDying]].
** Also, no matter how high of a level you are, some enemies retain the small chance of reflecting physical damage. Since the reflected damage is equal to what you would have dealt to the opponent otherwise, it is quite possible to have a level 99 protagonist kill himself in one shot against a level 10 opponent. This causes an instant game over, since WeCannotGoOnWithoutYou.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', Setzer's special command, Slot, can roll the combination of 7-7-bar. When that happens, everyone in your party dies. Game over, man (unless you had Reraise).
** This feature carries over to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', in Cait Sith's Slot Limit Break, with the 7s being replaced by sections of Cait Sith's face.
* A few ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' games have the Devil Axe, a weapon that is rather powerful but can potentially damage the user instead of the target when used. It has spawned a number of videos where characters kill themselves by attacking a wall or a tree with it[[note]]as such obstacles have a large amount of HP but no defense, maximizing the damage they take[[/note]].
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', engineer-made gadgets have a slim chance of critically malfunctioning whenever they are used. This ranges from not working, to doing the opposite result expected, to outright [[MadeOfExplodium exploding on the spot]]. Anything with the words 'Safe' or (worse) [[BlatantLies 'Ultrasafe']] in its name is all the more likely to do so.
** The Ultrasafe Transporters are the epitome of this, having a high probability of critical failures, including (but not limited to) transporting you [[NotTheFallThatKillsYou a hundred yards in the air]] over your expected arrival point, [[{{Animorphism}} turning you into a chicken or a gnoll]], [[GenderBender changing your sex]] or race, summoning your EvilTwin or setting you on fire. Many engineers use these for the specific thrill of seeing those failures happen. Parodied by [[http://www.darklegacycomics.com/47.html this]] ''DarkLegacyComics'' strip.
* Every weapon has a chance of critical failure in KingdomOfLoathing, which it calls a Fumble. Fumbles cause the character to drop their weapon on (insert body part here) and hurt themselves. Some weapons, such as the AwesomeButImpractical [[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/Ridiculously_overelaborate_ninja_weapon Ridiculously overelaborate ninja weapon]] have a 3x chance of CriticalHit but a 3x chance of fumble. If you assemble the Cyborg Armor, made of ''InspectorGadget'''s coat, pants, and fedora, fumbles become positive side effects. Fumbles are especially bad for moxie-based classes; these classes tend to spend many turns chipping away at the enemy's health while avoiding all damage. This means that fumbles will happen a lot simply because of the large number of attack rolls being made, and moxie-classes usually can't take a lot of damage.
* ''{{Arcanum}}'' has a wide range of critical failures, such as breaking your own weapon, breaking your own armour, knocking yourself out, dropping your weapon, dealing heavy damage to yourself, semi-permanent disfigurement and injury... and it's not unusual for several effects to happen at once, which is hilarious when it happens to an enemy and incredibly frustrating when it happens to you. (And it will happen to you A LOT when starting out. Expect the words "Are you blind? What in the gods-er, better luck next time!" to be burned into your mind.) There's also a trait that makes critical hits and misses less common, but more spectacular. Oh, and the critical failure chance of technological weapons [[MagicVersusScience is increased in the hands of a magic user]].
* In the PS3 version of ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', many of Patty Fleur's arts have a chance of backfiring instead of causing good effects. The results include hitting herself with her own attack, [=KOing=] herself instantly, completely emptying the Overlimit gauge, or cutting the entire party's HP and TP in half while also applying an array of bad status effects to them.
* Elly from ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' has a 1 in 5 chance of having her ether spells fail. She is the only character whose ether attacks have such a property, making her a bit of a {{Scrappy}}.
* The map-based operation-level war game ''The Ardennes Offensive'' incorporated the element of chance into its battles by listing six possible outcomes, ranging from worst to best, and rolling a die. Basically, the greater your numerical and tactical superiority, the better the six possible outcomes would be - but no matter how [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown completely]] you dominated the battlefield, rolling a 1 would always mean losing more than you gained. Yes, even when chasing stragglers with [[NoKillLikeOverkill entire armoured divisions.]]
* Similarly to ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights'' makes traps go off in your face if you fail badly enough at disarming them. However, since you are allowed to 'take 20' when out of combat (in other words, being able to devote your full attention to it rather than to avoiding a severe stabbing), this only applies if someone gives you a nasty shock or otherwise tries to beat on you while you're distracted.
* In ''[=PangYa=]'', there are two versions of the Lucky Pangya and Control Pill items. One version requires currency that is bought with real money, and is guaranteed to work. The other version, which costs Pang (a currency that can be obtained through playing the game), has a 30% chance of failing. And no, you can't simply use another of the same item; you can only use one item per shot.
** Missing Pangya while using super shot (Tomahawk, Cobra, Spike) used to make the super shot fail to activate, now it causes the shot to arc wildly (and randomly). With a Tomahawk or Cobra, the shot generally lands close to the target anyhow, with a spike however, expect 30-70 yards of deviation, usually OB and in All cases there's a good chance that any PPICed power shot will hit a tree trunk or other impassable obstacle on the way to the target.
* In Franchise/{{Pokemon}}, while many basic attack moves (Scratch, etc.) have 100% accuracy, many high-powered moves have accuracies in the 80-90% range, making them occasionally fail to inflict damage. The "Jump Kick" family of moves in particular will backfire and damage the user if the attack misses (for any reason).
** Players often find that those 90% accuracy moves are just inaccurate enough to [[RandomNumberGod only miss when it would screw you over the most]].
** Funnily enough, the Jump Kick family was changed to specifically reflect this change. Although it has gotten better, most pokemon that use it will often end up killing themselves because they are JUST THAT STRONG.
** This ended up being a possibility [[GameBreakingBug by accident]] in the first generation of games: because of a programming error ''all'' RNG rolls were at best a 254/255, so even attacks that were supposed to be guaranteed to hit would in extremely rare cases miss.
* Just try to do anything in ''NetHack'' with your luck negative, your alignment negative, and your god furious at you.
* Enemies with high speed/agility stats in the ''DragonQuest'' series can dodge critical attacks. "Excellent move... It is dodging!" Or even block them. "Thy attack failed and there was no loss of hit points!"
* In ''VideoGame/EYEDivineCybermancy'' every now and again in combat, you get the message, "Bullshit! Ultra-failed attack!" though these can still kill enemies. However, when you fail a hack, there is always a slim possibility that your brain will be fried by the firewall, resulting in instant death regardless of how many resurrectors you had. Using [[DangerousForbiddenTechnique dangerous psychic abilities]] has a chance to [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity drive you insane]], kill you or give you [[ScarsAreForever permanent trauma]]. Excessive use of the [[HealThyself medkit]] before it has time to regenerate can give you tainted medicine (though you get an achievement for [[UnfriendlyFire killing an ally with this]])
* One of the sidequests in the D&D-styled fourth DLC of ''Videogame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' has the players repeatedly get bad rolls on ''picking up a gun''. The first time has the gun flying off into the distance. The second time sends you into Fight for Your Life mode and the third time turns the gun into a miniboss. Afterwards, Tina just decides to let you take the gun without needing to roll. The gun that you gain in the sidequest is a unique and rather high powered SMG which has a roughly 1 in 10 chance of rolling a critical failure when reloaded, causing it to slip out of the character's hands and go sliding across the ground (a critical fumble, presumably).

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In [[WebOriginal/AcquisitionsIncorporated Penny Arcade's D&D Podcast]], Jerry has quite a reputation of rolling horrible. He even rolled critical failures back-to-back at the climax of season 2.
* One of the main points of RollToDodge is that everything is determined by the RandomNumberGod - rolling a [[InstantWinCondition 6 or a 12 makes the Universe bend to your will]], whereas a [[EpicFail 1]] can result in EpicFail or [[CriticalExistenceFailure worse]].
* The CounterMonkey episode ''Botchmania'' has [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment The Spoony One]] relating the tale of the worst series of rolls he had ever seen.
* Syrg, the DM of LetsPlay/SomethingAwfulDungeonsAndDragons podcast, plays by the "roll a 1 and terrible things happen" rule. For example, a failed arcana check turns apparently magical jewels into sugar. The results of bad rolls in combat tend to be even more disastrous for the party. That's not to say it's never worked in their favor though. Several enemies have hurt themselves or their allies after Syrg rolled a 1.

* Rolling a 1 is how [[StarWars Qui-Gon]] bites it in ''DarthsAndDroids''. Then when Jim tries to heal himself, and [[{{Munchkin}} Pete]] gives him a die [[RandomNumberGod with the 1's]] [[YouFailStatisticsForever "pre-rolled out"]], Jim rolls a 1 from that.
** Earlier, in [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0099.html the episode]] that introduces the concept of pre-rolled dice to [[DefiedTrope minimize the chances of another miss]], Annie rolls to see how quickly her Podracer accelerates off the starting line. A 1 causes a stall, and she has to make another roll to see if the engines explode.
** Later, during the Coruscant battle from ''Revenge of the Sith'', Pete is told that "[[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0414.html the sky is so full of ships that you don't need to worry about finding targets.]]" [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0415.html When he fires]], he rolls a 1 and ''[[EpicFail misses everything in the entire battle.]]''
** During the climactic battle of Episode 3, [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0616.html a 1 causes Obi-Wan to slice up the magmashield regulator panel]], resulting in the entire facility falling into the lava. Pete, being Pete, appreciates the resulting mayhem.
** While fleeing Imperials in Episode 5, [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0991.html Jim rolls a 1 on a dexterity check while trying to win a coin toss]]. He fumbles the coin which ends up shorting out some of the cockpit's wiring.
* Gimli in ''DMOfTheRings'' rolls a 1 on his diplomacy roll when meeting Éomer and his riders. As the only [[TheRoleplayer real roleplayer]] in the group, his [[http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=850 interpretation of this]] is legendary.
** In another comic, Aragorn rolls a 1 when the DM makes him roll for dismounting a Warg, which the DM interprets as a failure to dismount, sending the Warg flying off a cliff with Aragorn firmly on its back (although the DM had been plotting to arrange this for the entire battle).
* In ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'', Black Mage makes an attempt (well, one of many) to kill his allies by [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/06/15/episode-429-several-birds-one-hadoken/ blowing up a volcano they're standing next to]]. Too bad [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/06/17/episode-430-very-long-range/ he misses completely]]. Yes, he misses [[EpicFail a friggin']] ''[[EpicFail mountain]]''. Lampshaded by the GenreSavvy Red Mage in the latter comic.
* In ''Loaded Dice'', Steve rolls a one on behalf of one of the barbarians during what would otherwise be an easy "player kill" moment. His [[http://www.rdinn.com/comic.php?comicid=58 reaction]] is epic.
* [[BigBad HamaEstra]] in ''FuzzyThings'' rolls one of these [[spoiler:while in-game as the GameMaster against Ben. Unfortunately for him (thus fortunate for our heroes), he completely forgot that Critical Failures are always failures, regardless of +infinity modifiers. [=HamaEstra=] then shortly goes into VillainousBreakdown.]]
* [[http://biggercheese.com/index.php?comic=605 The cops find]] Thanatos in ''BiggerThanCheeses'' with a red smear of chunky slops all over his face and hands, elbow deep in a used tampon dispenser. "Critical" fumble indeed.
* ''Webcomic/KnightsOfBuenaVista'' is a CampaignComic covering ''{{Disney/Frozen}}'', and the EndlessWinter is due to Adriana rolling a 1 when she tries to melt the ice bridge she made to cross the fjord.
* In ''Webcomic/OnePieceGrandLine3Point5'', [[IdiotHero Luffy's]] player has a special die he uses for when he has to make diplomacy checks. It's covered entirely in ones.
** Later, in the Baratie arc, a fight starts with navy officer Fullbody. Because Fullbody gets the first attack, he goes for the waiter NPC (who just so happens to be [[ChefOfIron Sanji]]). Not only does the GM roll a one for Fullbody's attack, it gives Sanji an Attack of Opportunity, at which point the GM rolls ''three'' natural twenties in a row, an InstantWinCondition.