I just got a free copy of the old game Neverwinter Nights Diamond Edition so I decided to give it a shot. For a person who's not played old RPGs, this was a head hurting experience, because i was unable to understand stuff. But I slowly learned bit by bit. Still one basic thing I'm unable to figure out is weapon system. I somehow found what is 1d4 and similar stuff. But what about attack speed? How do I know that? And second what is Base Critical Threat and does the damage type and size of the weapon affect attacking in anyway, because it all felt the same to me, or maybe I'm wrong. Nevertheless, if someone can explain this or even put up a link which would help me out, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


The basics that you need to understand are Dungeons & Dragons concepts, as that is what NWN is based off of. Specifically, D&D 3rd Edition.

First off, combat happens in what is called "rounds". In 3rd edition, each round represent six seconds of time, so ten rounds would be a minute. At first, each class only gets one attack per round, and it's represented by their base attack bonus. So every class has the same attack speed at level 1. For instance, take a look at the Monk:

Level   Base Attack Bonus
1st     +0 
2nd     +1 
3rd     +2 
4th     +3 
5th     +3 
6th     +4 
7th     +5 
8th     +6/+1
9th     +6/+1
10th    +7/+2
11th    +8/+3
12th    +9/+4
13th    +9/+4
14th    +10/+5
15th    +11/+6/+1
16th    +12/+7/+2
17th    +12/+7/+2
18th    +13/+8/+3
19th    +14/+9/+4
20th    +15/+10/+5

At 8th level, you see +6/+1. That means they get two regular attacks, one at +6 to hit, the second at +1. At 15th level, they get another one.

This can be altered by some attacks, and notably, dual wielding means you get an extra attack per round, with a to hit penalty for both attacks. This penalty is reduced if the off-hand weapon is classified as a light weapon, or is balanced. To prevent confusion, dual wielding doesn't give you an extra attack per regular attack; it's just one extra attack. At 8th level, you would have three attacks, not four.

There are some other skills that give you an extra attack for that round, such as Flurry of Blows, but that is your entire attack for the round; you can't use it twice, once for each attack.

Base Critical Threat is based on the weapon you're using. Normally, the way critical hits work is that you first roll a twenty sided dice to see if you hit or not. If you roll a number within the Critical Threat Range, you have the potential for doing a critical hit. You roll another to hit roll, and see if that attack would hit the monster. If so, congratulations! You've done a critical hit! Your damage dice are multiplied by the critical damage on the weapon. One thing to note is that if your second roll wouldn't actually hit the monster, then it's not a critical hit, but you still hit the monster. Roll normal damage dice.

Here are some examples:

A sword has a Base Critical Threat of 19-20/x2. This means if you first roll a 19-20, you have the potential of critting. Roll again. If this roll with your to-hit bonuses would hit, you crit, and you roll your damage dice. Some people roll the regular weapon damage and just double it, some people roll twice as many dice. Either way works.

An axe has a Base Critical Threat of 20/x3. For this to crit, you have to roll a 20, and then roll again to hit the monster, but if you do, the damage is tripled.

There's a bare bones intro to combat in D&D. That should allow you to make some more sense out of the numbers you're seeing on weaponry.

  • I've never played NWN1, did it not include the later Two-Weapon fighting feats in D&D that let you make an extra off-hand attack per iterative? Jan 26, 2015 at 18:56
  • One minor clarifying note: If you manage a critical threat (i.e. rolling that 19 or 20 with a sword), but don't confirm it (i.e. hit when you roll the second time), your attack still hits for normal damage. Increasing critical threat range (i.e. going from 20 to 19-20 to 18-20 and so on) is one of the best ways to increase damage for melee characters in NWN's particular implementation of D&D rules. Jan 26, 2015 at 18:56
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    @Namfuak Indeed it does, and as Frank notes, there are a variety of other ways to add extra attacks beyond what BAB grants you. That's one of them. Jan 26, 2015 at 18:56
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz Right before the examples: "One thing to note is that if your second roll wouldn't actually hit the monster, then it's not a critical hit, but you still hit the monster. Roll normal damage dice."
    – Frank
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:04
  • One thing to clarify here: While the critical threat system seems complex it's really just a 5% chance of a critical hit for every number within the threat range. It's just the system in the book involves less die rolling than simply rolling the percentage would--meaningless on the computer, important when you're playing pencil and paper. Jan 27, 2015 at 5:31

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