Does the loser of an Opposed Melee Test make Critical Hits against the winner?

On p. 159-60 of the Rulebook:

Criticals

Any successful Melee or Ranged Test that also rolls a double causes a Critical. This means you have dealt a significant blow, and it even happens when you are the defender in an opposed Test.

If you score a Critical, your opponent receives an immediate Critical Wound as your weapon strikes true. See page 172 for more on what this means. Beyond that, SL is calculated as normal, as is who wins any Opposed Tests.

My understanding of this is that, RAW, even if a combatant loses their Opposed Melee Test, but rolls a critical, the “opponent receives an immediate Critical Wound as your weapon strikes true.” So, for example:

Alice, human soldier with Melee (Basic) 45, is being attacked by a goblin, WS 25. The goblin rolls 11, and so has SL +1 and a Critical. Alice uses her Shield (2) with Melee (Basic) to oppose the attack and rolls 15, and so with SL +3, wins the Opposed Melee Test and successfully defends. However, because of his Critical, the goblin proceeds to roll on the Critical Table for a Critical Hit, doing not just wounds but potentially permanent damage or death to Alice regardless.

This resolution to the combat seems counter-intuitive to me. Of course, I understand that combat and wounds are intentionally perilous in WFRP. However, this example just doesn’t make narrative sense to me, and I feel like I’m missing something.

Does the loser of an Opposed Melee Test make Critical Hits against the winner?

Does the loser of an Opposed Melee Test make Critical Hits against the winner?

On p. 159-60 of the Rulebook:

Criticals

Any successful Melee or Ranged Test that also rolls a double causes a Critical. This means you have dealt a significant blow, and it even happens when you are the defender in an opposed Test.

If you score a Critical, your opponent receives an immediate Critical Wound as your weapon strikes true. See page 172 for more on what this means. Beyond that, SL is calculated as normal, as is who wins any Opposed Tests.

My understanding of this is that, RAW, even if a combatant loses their Opposed Melee Test, but rolls a critical, the “opponent receives an immediate Critical Wound as your weapon strikes true.” So, for example:

Alice, human soldier with Melee (Basic) 45, is being attacked by a goblin, WS 25. The goblin rolls 11, and so has SL +1 and a Critical. Alice uses her Shield (2) with Melee (Basic) to oppose the attack and rolls 15, and so with SL +3, wins the Opposed Melee Test and successfully defends. However, because of his Critical, the goblin proceeds to roll on the Critical Table for a Critical Hit, doing not just wounds but potentially permanent damage or death to Alice regardless.

This resolution to the combat seems counter-intuitive to me. Of course, I understand that combat and wounds are intentionally perilous in WFRP. However, this example just doesn’t make narrative sense to me, and I feel like I’m missing something.

Does the loser of an Opposed Melee Test make Critical Hits against the winner?

Do defenders who win an Opposed Melee Test in combat do weapon damage to the attacker?

In WFRP 4e, the rules aren’t clear if a defender who wins an opposed Melee (any) test in combat will do damage to the attacker.

A first reading of the combat rules on p. 158:

1: Roll to Hit

Melee: To attack, perform an Opposed Melee Test with your Opponent (both you and your opponent Test your Melee Skill — see page 126). Whoever scores the highest SL wins. If you win the Test, you hit your opponent and gain +1 Advantage. If you lose the Opposed Test, your opponent gains +1 Advantage and your Action is finished.

The last sentence (“If you lose…”) does not include the key phrase from the previous: “you hit your opponent”. This would clearly seem that the defender doesn’t get to make a hit and do damage, and your attacking Action is finished.

However, when you read the Opposing a Melee Attack box on the following page (p. 159):

You can Oppose an incoming melee attack with more than just your Melee Skill. The most obvious choice is Dodge, which allows you to avoid incoming blows, but Chapter 4: Skills and Talents lists many other Skills that just might be useful in combat, including Intimidate, Charm, Leadership, and more. If your GM thinks it’s appropriate for the situation, and you’re happy missing out on the opportunity to score a Critical Hit against your opponent, then why not give it a go.

This clearly indicates that the defender in an opposed melee test in combat can score a critical hit — so the defender winning the opposed roll does make critical hits. This is further confirmed below, under Criticals and Fumbles:

Criticals

Any successful Melee or Ranged Test that also rolls a double causes a Critical. This means you have dealt a significant blow, and it even happens when you are the defender in an opposed Test.

So, obviously, when the defender wins an opposed test, the attacker’s Action doesn’t simply end, despite the wording in the rules for making a melee attack. At the very least, critical damage is resolved first.

Does winning an Opposed Melee Test as a defender also do normal weapon damage, just as if you were the attacker, or is a critical hit the only damage the defender can do?

Is there a canonical choice for multiclassing with the aim of optimizing an Arcane Trickster for melee?

First of all, let me say that I am new to this region of stackexchange and I am not yet completely familiar with the standards here. In particular, I hope this question is not viewed as too vague or too opinion-based. If it is, I apologize.


The general setting

  1. I want to play a rogue.
  2. My party needs me in melee.
  3. I want to choose the Arcane Trickster archetype.
  4. XGtE or SCAG are allowed.

I am aware that these basic assumptions conflict with the common consensus about strict optimization of a rogue, so we are talking about optimization under constraints, of course.

The main objective is to build this character in a such a way that its most important mechanic, the sneak attack, can be exploited as efficiently as possible: Maximize the opportunities to sneak and the likelihood to actually hit.

The main advantage a melee rogue has over a ranged rogue is that the former is more likely to trigger off-turn sneak attacks via opportunity attacks. This is why my character will be a Human (variant) and take Sentinel as his starting feat. I will also use dual-wielding so that in case of a miss, I can sacrifice my bonus action for a second chance to hit.


The general question

In view of my main objective, are there obvious ways to go from there in terms of multiclassing that are demonstrably optimal or at least superior to a singleclass character?


Doing three to five levels of Fighter Battlemaster or two to six of Wizard Bladesinger (my DM is okay with relaxing the elf requirement) seem like a good place to look for me. But maybe someone has already done the math and can give a more or less definite answer?

Thanks for reading this far and thanks even more for any helpful comment or answer.

Which melee weapons have the Two-Handed and Reach property, but lack Heavy and Special?

For my Kensei monk I’m exploring potential additional kensei weapons.

Kensei Weapons. Choose two types of weapons to be your kensei weapons: one melee weapon and one ranged weapon. Each of these weapons can be any simple or martial weapon that lacks the heavy and special properties. The longbow is also a valid choice. You gain proficiency with these weapons if you don’t already have it. Weapons of the chosen types are monk weapons for you. Many of this tradition’s features work only with your kensei weapons. When you reach 6th, 11th, and 17th level in this class, you can choose another type of weapon – either melee or ranged – to be a kensei weapon for you, following the criteria above.

At level 3 I picked the longsword and longbow. At level 6 I’d like to pick a two-handed non-heavy non-special melee weapon, preferably with reach. Conceptually, a polearm would be sweet. Mechanically, a damage die of 1d8 or higher would be awesome.

Going through the list of equipment a couple times now, I seem to have only three options that come close:

  • a greatclub has two-handed but lacks reach.
  • a whip has reach but lacks two-handed.
  • a lance has reach and “kind of two-handed”, but also has the special property (so can’t be a kensei weapon unfortunately).

Are there actually such weapons, by RAW, that fulfill my wishes? In other words, is my source for equipment up-to-date with all the released books, including the playtest material of Unearthed Arcana?


In case it matters: I like the idea of wielding a two-handed reach weapon as an unarmored old man, because I think it’s cool. It’s inspired by dextrous martial artists IRL that wield relatively light polearms.

What is the result of a Readied Action to move the target triggered by a melee attack attempt?

Situation:

Fred the Fighter wants to survive another round in the ring with Bob the Barbarian. He’s a skilled fighter, and has taken Combat Maneuver feats. Bob moves in to attack, but Fred readied to perform a Combat Maneuver. He specifically says “when the Barbarian attempts to melee attack me, I Bull Rush him”. Bob is pushed outside of his reach from Fred.

What does Bob’s turn look like? He’s already moved, and was in the middle of attempting a melee attack (which no longer has a valid target).


Would any of these situations change the situation enough to justify another question?

  • Bob’s was already within reach, and it was his first attack in a Full Attack action
  • Fred’s Bull Rush leaves Bob near a different valid target (ally or not)
  • Fred ready-Grapples Bob instead

Do the prone or restrained conditions grant other creatures advantage on special melee attacks like grapples?

The description of the prone condition says:

  • A prone creature’s only movement option is to crawl, unless it stands up and thereby ends the condition.
  • The creature has disadvantage on attack rolls.
  • An attack roll against the creature has advantage if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature. Otherwise, the attack roll has disadvantage.

The description of the restrained condition says:

  • A restrained creature’s speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to its speed.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.
  • The creature has disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws.

A grapple is described as a replacement for an Attack action:

When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them.

…but it doesn’t say a grapple is an “attack roll”.

Should we be interpreting attack rolls and Attack actions as separate things? Does that effectively mean that grapples (and other special melee attacks) get no advantage when trying to attack restrained or prone opponents?

Is this version of a melee weapon attack cantrip balanced?

I posted this question, Is a life-stealing melee cantrip unbalanced?

I got kinda inspired by some of the answers and here comes take two:

Necromancy cantrip
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: 5 feet
Components: V, M (a weapon)
Duration: 1 Round

As part of the Action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon against one creature within the spells range, otherwise the spell fails. On a hit, the target suffers the attack’s normal effects, and the creature gets marked with necrotic energy until the start of your next turn. If the target dies before then, you immediately gain 1d4 temporary hit points, that last for 1 minute.
This spell’s damage increases when you reach higher levels. At 5th level the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target, and you gain an additional 1d4 temporary hit points. Both increase by 1d8 and 1d4 respectively at 11th level and 17th level.

I think this could work, especially for Hexblades and Eldritch Knights, because of low number of spell slots, and it is something that doesn’t exist in this form. It does not violate the no heal cantrip rule (DMG p. 284) and it is bound by the, only one set of temporary hit points at a time rule (PHB p. 198).

The scenarios where it would shine would be bigger groups of easier mobs (Goblins and the like) or Bosses that spawn minions.

I post this to get your opinion and to see if I’m missing something.

Is a lifestealing melee cantrip, in the form of booming blade, unbalanced?

I started thinking about other variants of melee attack cantrips like booming blade. The thing I came up with is as following:

1 action

Make a melee weapon attack, on a hit you do the weapons damage plus 1d4 necrotic damage and the target makes a constitution saving throw against your spell save DC, on a failure you heal for an amount equal to the necrotic damage.

The necrotic damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

The issue with this cantrip is that the DMG (p. 284) clearly says that a cantrip shouldn’t offer healing.

So the question is if

  • a low extra damage/healing output,
  • a Constitution saving throw
  • and the possible addendum of resolving the weapon attack damage first, as to prevent the Player from abusing it on wildlife and easy targets

is enough to make it balanced?