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January 9, 2023Posted by on
This Is Important!
In a post I made in 2021 “D&D 5E – How to Publish D&D Content” I gave an overview on the Open Gaming License (OGL) and the System Reference Document (SRD). It looks like recent developments by Wizards of the Coast will be changing all of this.
If you haven’t heard about the upcoming changes, I refer you to these excellent posts.
here is a good overview by Noah “MyLawyerFriend” Downs
And here is An open letter to WotC
October 2, 2022Posted by on
In the second Unearthed Arcana playtest document for the upcoming new rulebooks scheduled for 2024 they re-defined the Inspiration rules. I have some issues with the new version.
These are my thoughts on the latest play test version of INSPIRATION.
Currently the Player’s Handbook says “you can give up your inspiration to give [another] character inspiration.” (PHB p.125) They left this out of the new proposed rules. Perhaps they think it is no longer needed because the players will be getting it much more often. I think it should be included.
The first playtest document was called “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Character Origins”. This new one is called “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Expert Classes”. Here are the differences in the versions in regard to Inspiration.
1) They renamed it, now calling it “Heroic Inspiration”. Evidently they are calling it “Heroic Inspiration” to differentiate it from “Bardic Inspiration” or “Cunning Inspiration”, both also defined in this new document. This is consistent with many other minor wording changes to make the rules more consistent. This is good.
2) You can roll your d20 before deciding whether or not to use your Inspiration. I think this is a good change. It is how I have been doing inspiration for years.
3) They previously had you loosing inspiration at the start of a long rest. They have removed that. I have no problem with that change.
4) They previously had you getting inspiration when you rolled a 20 for a d20 Test. I liked that. They changed it to rolling a 1 instead. This is the one I have a problem with. Here’s why I disagree with the way it is currently presented:
Let’s say I don’t have inspiration and I roll a 1 on my d20 Test. I receive inspiration. I use it re-roll my d20. If I do this every time, I will always just re-roll any time I roll a 1. This would be the same as making it a rule that you get to re-roll whenever you roll a 1. I don’t like it.
Let’s say I do have inspiration. I roll a 1 on my d20 Test. I would receive inspiration, but I already have it, so I give it to another player. I then use the one I have to re-roll my d20. If 2 the players agree to do this every time, they will always just re-roll any time they roll a 1.
They need to be careful if they intend to fix this. If they try to fix it by adding “You don’t receive Heroic Inspiration until the end of your turn.” Or “You can’t use Heroic Inspiration on the same turn that you receive it.” Or something similar. That might fix it.
But, what if they add back the ability for one player to give another their inspiration? I like it when someone rolls a 1 and another player gives them their inspiration so they can re-roll. If you can’t use your inspiration on the same turn you receive it that could never happen.
I think the best way to fix this is to change it back to receiving inspiration on a roll of 20 instead of a roll of 1. Then allow players to give their inspiration to another player. I understand trying to make a critical fail not sting so bad, but not at the expense of removing the player’s ability to give their inspiration to someone when they need it.
What do you think?
October 1, 2022Posted by on
This question comes up quite often. There is no official clarification in either the Player’s Handbook or the Dungeon Master’s Guide. Jeremy Crawford said “A non-undead corpse isn’t considered a creature. It’s effectively an object.” But, dead creatures are not simply objects. If they were not still creatures they would not be valid targets for Revivify.
Time for another house rule.
House Rule: A dead creature (non-undead corpse) can be either a creature or an object, depending on the situation. It is immune to poison and psychic damage, but otherwise can be affected by physical and magical attacks.
As a creature:
- The creature has 0 hit points.
- The creature is unconscious.
- The creature can’t move, hear, see or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings.
- The creature can’t take actions or reactions.
- The creature is not affected by magical or mundane healing.
- The creature is an “unwilling target” for spells that target creatures.
- For any spell that requires an “unwilling target” to fail saving throw to be effected, the creature automatically succeeds on its save.
- The creature automatically fails all other saving throws.
- Attack rolls against the creature automatically hit.
- Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit.
As an object:
- The DM determines its Armor Class and hit points. For example: if the object is a dead unarmored human it might have 3d6 Hit Points and an Armor Class of 15.
- The DM might decide that certain dead creature objects have resistance or immunity to certain kinds of attacks.
- A dead creature object always fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws, and is immune to effects that require other saves.
As a weapon, it is an object.
“An improvised weapon includes any object you can wield in one or two hands, such as broken glass, a table leg, a frying pan, a wagon wheel, or a dead goblin.” (PHB p. 147)
As a target for a spell, it depends.
If a spell specifically says it works on creatures, it works on dead creatures.
What the target of the spell can be, as defined in the spell description, determines whether or not a dead creature can be a target for any specific spell.
If the spell describes the target as a
Does that include a dead creature?
Creature or Object
Some specific spell examples:
Animate Object cannot be used on a dead creature.
Revivify, Raise Dead, Resurrection and True Resurrection all work on dead creatures.
Fabricate “You can fabricate a Large or smaller object …” In this case a creature would not be an object you could fabricate.
True Polymorph has no effect on a dead creature. For this spell, a dead creature is considered a creature with 0 hit points.
Telekinesis has separate descriptions for the target being a creature or an object. For this spell, a dead creature is considered an object.
August 23, 2022Posted by on
I am sure you have seen the announcement by now. If you missed it, here is a link:
This is all in preparation for the new version of D&D that is scheduled to be released in 2024. They are calling it “ONE D&D” for now. They are getting away from release or edition numbers. If you are familiar with the software AutoCAD, they did the same thing some years back. After release 14 of AutoCAD came AutoCAD 2000, then AutoCAD 2002, etc. It looks like this is what they will be doing with Dungeons and Dragons. They may also change the official name from “Dungeons and Dragons” to “D&D”. I noticed that they are now referring to the fifth edition Player’s Handbook as the 2014 Player’s Handbook.
Note regarding Editions: Not referring to different releases of D&D as editions is not a new idea for D&D. The current 2014 version of the Player’s Handbook has no mention at all of any edition. We players are the ones that have christened it 5E. Looking at the covers of earlier editions I can only find two that have any mention of an edition or version: the “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Second Edition, Players Handbook” (1989), and the “Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, Core Rulebook 1, v.3.5” (2003). The others simply refer to it as “Dungeons & Dragons” or “Advanced D&D”.
They seem to be bending over backwards to insist that the new rules will be comparable with the current edition of D&D. There are some very good marketing reasons for this and I hope they make using existing books with the new release as painless as possible, but the new release is looking to me a lot like it should be thought of as D&D 6E. Not that that is a bad thing. I prefer the majority of the proposed new rules to the existing ones – so far.
They have started play testing the new rules, a few rules at a time. If you would like to participate in the play testing, or simply see what the new rules may look like, The first set of rules that have been released is called “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Character Origins”. It is in the form of a PDF file you can download a copy by logging into D&D Beyond. If you aren’t a member of D&D Beyond you can access it HERE.
This 21 page PDF contains new rules for Character Races, Character Backgrounds, Starting Languages, Feats, and in what they call a “Rules Glossary” where they list rules and terms that are new or changed.
Here is a quick overview:
It takes special note of the fact that each of these races have a “Creature Type” of Humanoid. Obviously, this anticipates the future inclusion of other creature types.
It looks like they will be listing Human first, which makes sense for new players. The new list of available races are Human, Ardling (a new race), Dragonborn, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, Orc (another new race), and Tiefling. Notice that Half-Elf and Half-Orc have been removed, but your two parents can be any available huminoid race. You get the size, speed, and special traits of one parent and mix and match visual characteristics you want from your two parents.
Your character’s race no longer gives you any ability score increases.
They are no longer divided into “common” and “uncommon” races.
There are no alignment suggestions for your race.
Subraces are being replaced by Lineages.
The speed for each race is now the same, 30 feet (exception: the wood elf speed is 35 feet).
All races get the Common language. Dragonborn also get Draconic. All other races get a language provided by their background and can choose one additional language. You don’t automatically get Dwarvish, Elvish, Goblin, Halfling, or Orc just because you happen to be that race.
Here is a list of what I see as the biggest change for each race. There are other changes as well.
Humans can be Small or Medium. There is no longer a variant human option. Feats are no longer an optional rule. Everyone gets a 1st-level feat based on his background. Humans also get one additional 1st-level feat.
Ardling (A new Player Race)
Ardlings can be Small or Medium. An Adling is kinda like the opposite of a Tefling. Rather than their heritage tied to the Lower Planes, an Adlings heritage is tied to the Upper Planes. Their head resembles an animal, has some innate spell casting ability, resistance to radiant damage, and can sprout spectral wings and fly a number of times equal to your Proficiency Bonus per long rest [ I will be referring to this as (PB/LR). It looks like this is replacing things that were renewing after a short rest.]
They now get Darkvision. Their breath weapons have changed a little.
You don’t get any weapon or armor proficiencies. They are moving all of those to your background. The Stonecutting feature has been improved to give you Tremorsense out to 60 ft. for 10 minutes (PB/LR).
You get a cantrip at first level and a spell at 3rd and 5th level. You can cast each of these once per long rest for free, or you can use any spell slots you may have to cast them.
You now have Advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws (not just against magic). They replaced the Speak with Small Beasts trait with the Speak with Animals Spell and replaced the Tinker trait with the ability to create a Tiny clockwork device that can produce an effect from the Prestidigitation cantrip.
No more Lightfoot or Stout. No more hiding behind other creatures – you get Naturally Stealthy but it only gives you Proficiency in the Stealth Skill.
Orc (A new Player Race)
Orcs have darkvision, can Dash as a bonus action (which gives then temporary hit points PB/LR, count as large carrying capacity and push, pull, drag or lift, and drop to 1 point instead of 0 once per long rest.
Tieflings can now be Small or Medium. You get the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Like the Elf, you also get a cantrip at first level and a spell at 3rd and 5th level. You can cast each of these once per long rest for free, or you can use any spell slots you have to cast them.
This says nothing regarding Alignmant, Ideals, Bonds, or Flaws. It would be okay with me if they dropped Ideals, Bonds, and Flaws but they may show up in a future Unearthed Arcana.
Although the current Player’s Handbook has rules for customizing your background, not many players do that. These new rules makes building your own background the preferred method but also provides some pre-made backgrounds that you can use, or modify using the provided rules.
The rules to create your background are simple.
Abilities: You get 3 points to add to your ability scores, add one to 3 abilities or 2 to one and 1 to another.
Skills: You get proficiency with 2 skills.
Tools: You get proficiency with 1 tool.
Language: You get one language from your background.
Feat: you get 1 first level feat.
Equipment: You buy whatever you want. You get 50 gp to buy it with. You keep any coins that you don’t spend.
After creating your characters background you can add one aditional language. Common Sign Language has been added as a standard language and Thieve’s Cant has been added as a rare language.
The document defines several first level feats. Each feat has a level, some have prerequisites, and some can be taken more than once (repeatable).
None of the first level feats add to your ability scores.
I may give my thoughts on the new and revised rules and game terms in a future post.
One last comment:
Don’t forget that everything in “Unearthed Arcana 2022 Character Origins” is for playtesting. These are proposed new rules that they are requesting we users try out and report back to them. Based on your feedback any or all of these may change before the new Player’s Handbook, Dungeon MAster’s Guide and Monster Manual are published in 2024. There will be many more of these, possibly several different versions.
Tell me (or, more importantly, tell Wizards of the Cost) what you like or don’t like about any of this and why.
August 19, 2022Posted by on
Thoughts on the Antimagic Field spell
(and, therefore, the Beholder’s Antimagic Eye Cone)
I recently ran a D&D 5E game where the PCs fought a beholder and a lot of questions popped up regarding what is and isn’t affected in its antimagic field. I made rulings at the table to not slow down play, but promised to look into it further to find what the official rules are and to come up with house rules for anything that might come up that haven’t been covered by any official rulings that I could find. This represents the results of my research and my current thoughts on this matter.
The description of the antimagic field spell is long and detailed. Please read it carefully. It tells you most of what you need to know. The core feature of the spell could be simply stated as “nothing magical works inside the area of effect of the spell”. The wording of the spell description goes on to explicitly define what that means. The problem is that it only “suppresses” magic in the area, and it doesn’t affect especially strong magic such as that “created by an artifact or a deity”.
Hopefully what I have come up with will help with your rulings at your gaming table.
Very few monsters are creatures or items created by magic. As a general rule, if the monster’s description does not specifically refer to the monster as “summoned or created by magic”, it remains but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Here are a few specific examples.
Animated Armor, Flying Sword, Rug of Smothering: These are magically created items and as such “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field.
Beholer: Beholer’s eye rays are suppressed in the area of an antimagic field.
Dragon: The Monster Manual does state that “Dragons are also magical creatures” (MM p. 86). However, they are not “created by magic” so they do not “wink out of existence” in an antimagic field. (The same is true of Fey creatures). Dragons in an antimagic field can’t use magic or magical abilities. A dragon’s breath weapon is not considered magical; it does work in an antimagic field.
Celestial, Elemental, Fiend (Fiends include demons, devils, hell hounds, rakshasas, and yugoloths.): While in an antimagic field they can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Undead (skeletons, zombies, vampires and the like): If they were summoned or created to only last for the duration of the spell that created them, they will “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field. Otherwise they remain but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Constructs (like golems, modrons, and such): If their description says that they were magically created, they will “wink out of existence” while in an antimagic field. Otherwise they remain but can’t use magic or magical abilities.
Magical Weapon Attacks: Some monsters (such as the deva) have magical weapon attacks. These attacks do not get any of the extra magical damage inside an antimagic field.
Magical features: Any feature that a monster possesses with the word “magic” or “magical” in it’s description, is suppressed in an antimagic field.
Other, possibly magical features: If a feature is not described as magical but the DM decides that, in his D&D world, that feature is magical, it is suppressed. Examples might include a fly speed without wings (such as death tyrant, for example), or a demilich’s Life Drain ability (This ability isn’t specifically described as being magical, but its description is very similar to a spell description). I would advise the DM to carefully considering the ramifications of any such rulings.
Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Rangers: Treat their divine magic spells the same as any other spells.
Clarification: Deities directly grant their worshipers the ability to cast divine spells; these spells are not directly created by the deity so are suppressed in an antimagic field like any other spell.
Divine Intervention: A Cleric’s Divine Intervention feature does function in an antimagic field.
Clarification: The Deity is directly doing the effect. If a deity personally creates an effect it overrides the antimagic field spell.
Monks: A monk’s ki is not considered magical, it works in an antimagic field. The Ki-Empowered Strikes feature says a monk’s unarmed strikes count as magical. That magic is suppressed in an antimagic field.
Creatures and objects summoned or created by magic
The antimagic field spell says: “A creature or object summoned or created by magic temporarily winks out of existence in the sphere.”
For any specific creature, you need to know what spell created it. Typically, if it was created by a spell with an Instantaneous Duration it will not be affected.
Concentration: An antimagic field does not end a concentration spell. The castor can maintain concentration while inside the antimagic field but the effect of the spell he is concentrating on is suppressed while he is in it.
You can’t cast any of the following spells while in an antimagic field, but here is what happens to these creatures or objects after they are created, once in an antimagic field.
Prismatic Wall: The spell description says: “Antimagic field has no effect on the wall.”
Polymorph: Polymorphed creatures are suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: If created with the polymorph spell, you maintain it by maintaining Concentration, so it is suppressed in an antimagic field. If created with the true polymorph spell, it reads in part “If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the spell lasts until it is dispelled.” It can be dispelled, so it will be suppressed in an antimagic field.
Animate dead, raise dead, stone shape: Creatures created with these spells are not affected by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: Any non-magical creatures or objects that were created by a spell with an Instantaneous Duration, such as these, are not affected.
Familiar: Your Familiar doesn’t disappear, but you can’t dismiss it or recall it while in an antimagic field. The same is true for your steed created with the find steed spell. They are a celestial, fey, or fiend that was brought to you by magic, but are not magically created creatures.
Goodberry: The magic potency of goodberries are suppressed. The same is true for the special effects granted by the food and drink created with the Heroes’ Feast spell.
Leomund’s secret chest: You can’t recall the chest while in an antimagic field.
Melf’s acid arrow: The arrow created with this spell is not magical, so you could cast the spell while outside the antimagic field and shoot it a creature that is inside.
Meteor swarm: The blazing orbs of fire created with this spell are magical, so they would disappear when they entered the antimagic field. The same is true for the globe of cold energy created by the Otiluke’s freezing sphere spell and the whip created by the thorn whip cantrip.
Planar ally: The celestial, elemental, or fiend that was summoned with this spell does not disappear.
Plant growth: Plants that have been affected by this spell are not affected by an antimagic field.
Blessings (DMG p. 227, 228): Blessings aren’t suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Clarification: A blessing that a character receives from deity is a “magical effect created by a deity” so it can’t be suppressed by an antimagic field spell.
Charms (DMG p. 228): A charm can’t be used in the area of an antimagic field.
Telepathic communication: “A creature within the area of an antimagic field … can’t send or receive telepathic messages”. (MM p. 9)
This is far from an exhaustive list but perhaps, if you can follow my reasoning, this will help with other questions that may pop up. Please leave your suggestions, questions, and comments below (positive or negative).