When you roll a 1 on an attack, it has the potential to be a critical miss. You will roll 1d20 a second time, and if that roll is higher than your current level, only then will you incur a critical failure.
Pretty simple. Critical misses suck. They can be fun, funny, but should be less frequent for experienced characters. So, as you rise in level, your chance of incurring a critical failure goes down.
What a critical failure is, remains loosely defined by me, the DM. Sometimes nothing, often something that affects the combat (your weapon slips from your grasp, or you shoot a companion, or your spell blows up in your face). I am more a fan of ad libbing a failure than relying on charts and dice.
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