This study presents a new cleavage fracture model emphasizing the effects of plastic strain and the stress state, especially the Lode angle. The model extends the classical Orowan criterion by introducing a general strain-based description of microcrack initiation with stress-state dependency. In addition to the proportional loading case, the model is also formulated in a non-proportional scheme to account for the loading history. The model is fully calibrated with a hybrid experimental–numerical approach and verified by quasi-static Charpy tests. The good agreement between the experimental and numerical results illustrates the importance of considering the Lode angle and loading history.