Dungeon Master Assistance

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Category Archives: House Rules

D&D 5E – Are Dead Creatures Objects?

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?

Dead creature

Yes

Creature

Yes

Creature or Object

Yes

Corps

Yes

Willing Creature

No

Object

No

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.

D&D 5E – Astral Adventuring Revisited

An unofficial suppliant to the 5th edition D&D book Astral Adventurer’s Guide with ship-to-ship combat rules and other enhancements. Download your free copy HERE.

Last month (August 2022) Wizards of the Coast brought Spelljammer into the fifth edition when they published Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. This, for the most part, is very good. However I was disappointed in the lack of information and rules needed for actually conducting a spelljamming campaign. Specifically I was expecting clear descriptions regarding how the spelljamming helm functions and better rules for conducting ship-to-ship combat. The “Ship-to-Ship Combat” section includes boxed text with 3 sentences on “Shipboard Weapons”. Other than that, the entire section on ship-to-ship combat consists of 4 sections; “Starting Distance” (1 paragraph and a table), “Initiative” (1 sentence), “Moving and Steering a Ship” (2 paragraphs), and “Boarding” (2 paragraphs).

This document has two purposes:
1. This is an attempt to make sense out of the Astral Adventurer’s Guide for D&D players that are new to Spelljamming. Some of the terminology and many of the descriptions have been reworded to make it easier for players new to the topic to understand. It also includes a few alternative rules you may want to use in your Spelljamming adventures.
2. To make Spelljamming combat more fun this supplement provides a complete set of spelljamming ship-to-ship combat rules along with new ship statblocks, ship outlines at 1″=20′ scale, and rules that make each of the players active participants in ship-to-ship combat.

D&D 5E – Antimagic Field

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.

Monsters

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.

Monster features

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.

PC features

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.

Spells

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.

Other features

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).

D&D 5E – House Rules for Lava

Lava Should NOT be Realistic.

My first inclination was to make the rules regarding lava as realistic as possible but eventually gave up. I have decided to not even try to make lava in D&D realistic. Here is why.

As I see it, you have two different options when coming up with house rules for lava in your D&D games. You can try to make interactions as realistic as possible or you can give it more of a fantasy feel. As an example, here are two different ways I might come up with house rules for falling into lava.

Falling into Lava (2 options)

Option 1 – Reality

  1. In the first second falling towards the lava, the air temperature rises to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point any exposed skin will immediately blister. It feels as though every inch of your skin is touching a hot stove.
  2. You fall for another second toward the lava, and now the air temperature has doubled to 410 degrees. At this point your hair and any clothes you were wearing ignite into flames.
  3. A second or two later you approach the surface of the pool of lava which is between 1200 – 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. You lose consciousness from the immense pain as your flesh is charring, your blood and fluids are boiling.
  4. You begin to asphyxiate as your lings are charring due to the hot gases above the surface.
  5. The superheated air is burning your lungs filling them with fluid much like a blister from a burn fills with fluid.
  6. You are have a cardiac arrest before you ever touch the lava. Your brain isn’t registering much if anything at all at this point.
  7. As you get closer to the lava the water in your body rapidly turns into steam, causing your cells to burst and rapidly swell your body. The pressure from the created steam passes the amount of pressure that your skin and muscles can tolerate, and they begin to tear apart – either in an explosion, or by creating large openings for said steam to escape.
  8. As your skull gets closer to the lava, the water inside your brain behaves similarly, causing your head to explode as the pressure from your brain boiling alive goes above the threshold of what amount of pressure pushing outward your skull can contain.
  9. When hitting this super dense substance at a high speed you may break your neck or crack your skull open.
  10. Then, resting on a bed of molten rock four times hotter than the broiler in an oven, you quickly burst into flames.
  11. In the blink of an eye, it is just your bones and ashes on top of the lava.
  12. Your bones are all burned to ash a few seconds later.

D&D reality house rule: If you fall into lava you die. No saves.

Option 2 – Fantasy

  1. You can sink into the lava like Gollum does in the movie “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.”
  2. Lava should be scary and potentially lethal but possibly survivable, like falling form impossible heights. Some examples where D&D rules aren’t very realistic:
    1. Fireball damage: The fireball spell does 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Objects that are worn or carried are not affected.
    2. Falling damage: A creature takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it falls, to a maximum of 20d6.
    3. Power Word Kill: This spell has no effect on creatures with more than 100 hit points.
  3. Also, lava would not make a good backdrop for an encounter if it was strictly realistic.

D&D fantasy house rule: Any creature that falls into lava or starts its turn there takes 55 (10d10) fire damage.

Here are the rest of my house rules regarding lava (these apply to magma as well). Whether it is because lava is different or for some other reason it is just more “fun” if works like this.

How lava behaves (in my fictional D&D world)

  1. You can think of lava as being similar to thick oatmeal that is extremely hot.
  2. Crust: It doesn’t normally form a “crust”.
    1. As long as it is in motion the surface stays liquid, hot, red, and glowing but there may be exceptions.
    2. When it stops moving and pools up it will form a crust after cooling for 24 hours. (It cools twice as fast if underwater.)
    3. The crust is 1 foot thick and does 1d6 fire damage per round to any creature that walks on it.
    4. After 10 days the crust will be 2 feet thick and no longer does fire damage when you walk on it.
    5. The crust continues to thicken one additional foot every 10 days until the lava all becomes solid stone.
  3. Lava rate of flow: It flows slowly enough that you can normally avoid it. Lava flows at 5 ft. per round (50 ft. per minute, 1/2 mph). This is the same at any angle or over any terrain, even straight down without any support.
  4. Swimming in Lava: Swimming speed in lava is 1/4 your walking speed, or 1/2 your swim speed.
  5. Walking on Lava: Even if you are immune to fire, you can’t walk on the surface without magic, such as the “Walk on Water” spell.
  6. Wading through Lava: If the depth of the lava is not above your shoulders you can wade through it. When wading through it, if its depth is no higher than your knees it is treated as difficult terrain, otherwise your speed is reduced to 1/4 of your walking speed..
  7. Immunity to Lava: An immunity or resistance to fire serves as an immunity or resistance to lava. However, a creature immune to fire might still drown if completely immersed in lava.
  8. Gasses: Lava doesn’t normally also have toxic or dangerous gasses emanating from it.
  9. How it spreads: When it reaches a relatively flat surface it will spread. As an example, in one round a 5 foot cube of lava will spread to fill 5 random adjacent 5 ft. spaces to a depth of 1 foot. Lava that is only 1 foot deep no longer spreads unless more lava is added.
  10. Damage:
    1. Being Close: When a creature enters to within 10 feet of the lava, or starts its turn there, it takes 1d6 fire damage due to the heat radiating off the lava. It takes this same damage if it is using the “Water Walk” spell to walk on the surface of the lava.
    2. Wading: A creature takes 5d10 fire damage each round when wading through a lava stream
    3. Falling In: Any creature that falls into the lava or starts its turn there takes 55 (10d10) fire damage.
    4. Objects: Any object that isn’t being worn or carried takes fire damage as a creature does. An object that is reduced to 0 hit points from taking fire damage from lava is completely destroyed.
    5. Dying: A creature that is reduced to 0 hit points from taking fire damage from lava is disintegrated and everything it is wearing or carrying is completely destroyed (no saving throw, no death saves).

Note: the damage is less than indicated in the DMG but I have added the no death saves and destroying all objects rules.

D&D 5E – Armor Grades

There has been a lot of talk about how Armor Class (AC) is calculated in D&D and how armor could be be handled differently. This post is not about that. Without changing any of the basic D&D rules, the house rule I am proposing here simply adds to (or subtracts from) your armor class depending on the quality of the armor.

This system is simple and easy to remember. This works with all armor. Use the armor in the PHB but change the price and Armor Class (AC) based on the grade of the armor as indicated below. Shields are not available in Excellent or Poor condition.

EXCELLENT
These are created by the best armor smiths in the land. Armor of this grade isn’t always available.
Cost: 4 times the PHB price
Armor Class: +2 bonus to the AC

FINE
This is a the best armor most people will ever see. It is highly prized and often passed down from father to son.
Cost: 2 times the PHB price
Armor Class: +1 bonus to the AC

GOOD
This is the grade of the armor in the PHB.
Cost: PHB price
Armor Class: Use the AC in the PHB

FAIR
A peasant or low CR monster might have such armor. No fighter would use such low grade armor if he could passably get something better.
Cost: 1/2 the PHB price
Armor Class: −1 penalty to the AC

POOR
These may be found discarded or abandoned on a battlefield. They are often rusted, chipped, broken or have pieces missing. They would typically only be used when there is no other option.
Cost: 1/4 the PHB price (or found)
Armor Class: −2 (or greater) penalty to the AC.

DAMAGING ARMOR [Optional Rule]
When you take Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning, Acid, Lightning, or Force damage from a critical hit your armor takes a permanent and cumulative −1 penalty to its AC. The damage is applied to your shield unless your opponent had advantage on the attack. In that case, or if you aren’t using a shield, the damage is applied to your other armor. If this penalty drops the armor’s AC to 0, it is destroyed.

The DM might apply the penalty in other situations where the armor might be damaged.

 

 

D&D 5E – Weapon Grades

Wanting to add more weapon options to your Dungeons and Dragons 5E game? The weapons available in the Player’s Handbook (PHB) are simple and easy to play, but there is no variety based on the quality of the weapon. All short swords do the same damage. The house rules I am presenting here will allow allow your characters to spend more gold for a higher quality weapon that does more damage, or if they can’t afford the best they can get a lower quality weapon that does less damage.

This system is simple and easy to remember. This works with all weapons. Use the weapons in the PHB but change the price and damage dice based on the grade of the weapon as indicated below.

EXCELLENT
These are created by the best weapon smiths in the land. Weapons of this grade aren’t always available.
Cost: 4 times the PHB price
Damage Dice: Roll two additional dice and drop the lowest 2.

VERY GOOD
These are a the best weapons most people will ever see. They are highly prized and often passed down from father to son.
Cost: 2 times the PHB price
Damage Dice: Roll one additional die and drop the lowest one.

GOOD
This is the grade of the weapons in the PHB.
Cost: PHB price
Damage Dice: PHB damage

FAIR
A peasant or low CR monster might have such a weapon. No fighter would use such a low grade weapon if he could passably get a better one.
Cost: 1/2 the PHB price
Damage Dice: Roll one additional die and drop the highest one.

POOR
These may be found discarded or abandoned on a battlefield. They are often rusted, chipped, or broken. They would typically only be used when there is no other option.
Cost: 1/4 the PHB price (or found)
Damage Dice: After rolling the standard damage dice, roll one additional die and subtract that from the total of the others. If this total is zero or less, your weapon damage will only be the ability modifier you are using for this weapon (STR or DEX).

CRITICAL HIT
If your attack roll is a natural 20 (a 20 on the dice before any modifiers), roll double the standard damage dice before making an adjustment for weapon quality.

CRITICAL MISS [Optional Rule]
If your attack roll is a natural 1 (a 1 on the dice before any modifiers), the weapon attack misses. There is also a chance your weapon is damaged. Immediately make another attack roll applying all of the same modifiers against the same AC but this isn’t an attack, it is a roll to see if you damaged your weapon. If this second roll is a miss your weapon drops to the next lower grade. If your weapon is already poor quality, it is destroyed.

D&D 5E – The Complete Guide to Lycanthropy

The official rules for Lycanthropy in D&D 5E don’t make it clear on how a DM should run the game should a player’s character become effected by the curse. I was looking to come up with some house rules when I ran across this post by Halfling Hobbies. I didn’t think I could improve on it much so I thought I would share.

Source: The Complete Guide to Lycanthropy in D&D 5e | Halfling Hobbies & Trinkets

D&D 5E – How to Publish D&D Content

habitation cover

How to publish your own D&D 5E adventure (or any other D&D related content such as alternate rules or home-brew monsters).

If you just want to share your stuff.

If you are just a fan and only want to share your stuff for free with other fans (like I do on this blog) you could simply abide by the WotC’s (Wizards of the Coast) fan content policy.

What is WotC’s fan content policy?

WotC claims the IP (intellectual property) rights to everything they publish. I am a fan, and everything I share here is free and unofficial. To the best of my understanding, everything I make available here complies with their fan content policy. WotC’s fan content policy explains what you, as a fan, can and can’t do with their IP. Most of it is pretty simple. Don’t claim any of their stuff is yours and don’t try to sell it.
There is a little more to it than that. You should read their official fan content policy (HERE).

If you want to sell your stuff.

Then it gets a little more complicated. WotC does a good job explaining most of this (HERE). Below are my thoughts on the subject. (You should check with a lawyer. I am not a lawyer and nothing contained here should be taken as legal advice.)

Probably the safest way to avoid any legal hassles is to use the WotC’s OGL (Open Game License), OGC (Open Game Content), and SRD (System Reference Document). Abiding by these rules you can publish anything you want, any where you want. WotC also provides an easy way to publish your stuff on-line with the Dungeon Masters Guild.

What is the OGL (Open Game License)?

The OGL is a short contract Wizards of the Coast created. It contains provisions that explain the rules surrounding what D&D material you can use in your published work.

What is OGC (Open Game Content)?

OGC is a “body of work” that many creators have contributed to over time. It’s the open-source world of D&D material. Anything in the OGC is free to use as long as you properly credit and cite the original publisher and abide by the OGL’s rules.

What is the SRD (System Reference Document)?

The SRD is an example of OGC you can use in your writing if you use the OGL. The SRD contains most of the basic D&D 5E rules and guidelines for publishing content under the OGL.

What is the Dungeon Masters Guild?

The Dungeon Masters Guild is an officially supported website that allows you to create content using Wizards of the Coast intellectual property (IP) and sell it on their site. You can charge whatever you want, you get 50% of your sales. The other 50% goes to Wizards of the Coast and OneBookShelf, which runs the DMs Guild marketplace. They have their own set of somewhat more flexible rules (HERE).

Another, riskier, option

You could ignore all of the above and use your own common sense (and a good copyright lawyer wouldn’t hurt).

Why some people choose NOT to use the “Open Gaming License”.

If you agree to the terms and conditions in the OGL, you are bound by it. That means that WotC doesn’t need specific legal backing to go after things – they can leverage their license itself to enforce things.

Many things that WotC wants to protect by the OGL are already covered by existing copyright and trademark laws. The primary things in 5e that you are not allowed to use in your work because they are protected under these laws are:

  1. Product identity – terms like Dungeons and Dragons, 5e, Dungeon Master, etc.
  2. Lore, settings, adventures, and characters. This includes places like the Faerun, the Underdark, specific monsters like Beholders and races like Githyanki. This also includes the proper names referenced by spells and items. Spell names like Bigby’s Hand are protected, though spell names like Fireball are not (too generic).
  3. Actual wording and expression of the rules. This includes the specific text that describes spells, items, and features.

If you agree to the OGL, it does allow you to use a bunch of their stuff exactly as they worded it. But the OGL gives you very few other rights you do not already have, and by agreeing to it you are giving up the right to do a lot of stuff you could have done otherwise.

  • For one thing, no one can copyright, trademark, or patent the rules of a game.
  • For another, take the phrase “world’s greatest role-playing game”. That’s required by the OGL, but under normal conditions, having never signed on to the OGL, you could just say “Compatible with D&D 5e rules” as much as you like. The only thing stopping you from doing that is the OGL.
  • No one can claim mythical creatures, literary archetypes, or that kind of thing as their intellectual property. That includes the overwhelming majority of the names of all D&D classes, races, and monsters. You can already use those names. The stuff you can’t use are names like beholder or Illithid that were invented by WotC. But they are not available in the OGL anyway. As long as you never agreed to the OGL, you can create generic versions with different names and you’re okay. For any creature, pact, effect, etc., as long as you don’t copy the WotC descriptions word for word you should still be okay. Any one of these names in and of itself can’t be copyrighted, but the paragraph of description can. So, just be careful. Or, better still, just create your own stuff from scratch.

I hope this helps. Good luck writing your own D&D 5E Adventure.

P.S. If you are interested, you can purchase and download a copy of the adventure whose cover I show above (HERE).

D&D 5E – Combining Different Speeds

Speed

“Using different Speeds” on page 190 of the Player’s Handbook says:

“If you have more than one speed, such as your walking speed and a flying speed, you can switch back and forth between your speeds during your move. Whenever you switch, subtract the distance you’ve already moved from the new speed. The result determines how much farther you can move.
For example, if you have a speed of 30 and a flying speed of 60 because a wizard cast the fly spell on you, you could fly 20 feet, then walk 10 feet, and then leap into the air to fly 30 feet more.

This rule is simple and makes for fast game play, but it bothers me because of all the ways it can be used that make no logical sense. Foe instance, you can not do their example in reverse. You cannot first fly 30 feet and then walk 10 feet. That would not be allowed because if you subtract the distance you’ve already moved (30 feet) from the new speed (30 feet) you get zero – no move remaining.

I do it this way:

A combat round is only 6 seconds. When you switch from one move rate to another you see how much time you have used and then see how much time you have left. Use this to see how much farther you can move.

Because one round is 6 seconds, to convert “speed” to “feet per second” divide the speed by 6.

  • Walk speed of 30 ft. = 5 ft per second
  • Fly speed of 60 ft. = 10 ft per second

If you fly 30 feet (taking 3 seconds) you could then walk 10 feet (taking 2 seconds) and then you could take the rest of your time (1 second) to fly an another 10 feet. And your trip back will work the same way.

Lets say you only walked 20 feet, and then flew as far as you could. It took you 4 seconds to walk that 20 feet so you only have 2 seconds left. You can fly another 20 feet.

If you walk 30 feet you can’t move any farther because it took all 6 seconds to move that 30 feet.

This also applies if you get up from prone. This takes half you move, therefore it takes 3 seconds to stand up, leaving only 3 more seconds regardless of your move rate.

D&D 5E – Spirits and Souls

Soul_Magic

In Dungeons and Dragons, according to the Great Wheel cosmology, all souls in the multiverse originate from fonts on the Positive Energy Plain, sometimes called the Plane of Life. When a sentient being is born his soul enters his body with his first breath. How long that soul existed before it occupied the newborn and how the choice of host is made is not known. A PC’s soul then continues throughout his life and beyond. A PC’s soul isn’t typically destroyed when he dies and if he is brought back to life, his soul re-joins his body. It is possible for his soul to be moved into an object or another body or travel to other planes and other timestreams. In a very real sense, a player’s character’s soul is that character.

What is a “soul” in D&D? Is that different than a “spirit”?

In 1st-edition D&D; humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and half-elves had souls. Elves, orcs, and half-orcs had spirits. Those with souls could be resurrected and the others could not. This was changed in later editions.

In D&D 5E, a “spirit” is a creature’s bodiless life force. As mentioned in the “Speak with Dead” spell, an animating spirit is the part of your life force that makes your body move to your soul’s wishes and has some semblance of awareness. A “soul” is a creatures spirit that also includes it’s memories, personality, and alignment. All souls have a spirit but a spirit can exist without a soul.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) seams to imply that all living creatures have souls:
“When a creature dies, its soul departs its body, leaves the Material Plane, travels through the Astral Plane, and goes to abide on the plane where the creature’s deity resides. If the creature didn’t worship a deity, its soul departs to the plane corresponding to its alignment.” (DMG p.24)

In D&D 5E what creatures have, or don’t have, souls?

There is nothing official that I can find in any of the published books, so here are my thoughts on this subject.

As a house rule, I propose that most creatures have souls. Creatures that don’t have souls are: beasts, constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, unaligned creatures, and most undead.

The following are the undead in the Monster Manuel (MM) that specifically DO have souls.

A ghost has a soul:
“A ghost is the soul of a once-living creature, bound to haunt a specific location, creature, or object that held significance to it in its life.” (MM p.147)

A rvenant has a soul:
“A revenant forms from the soul of a mortal who met a cruel and undeserving fate.” (MM p.259)

A will-o’-wisp has a soul:
“Will-o’-wisps are the souls of evil beings that perished in anguish or misery as they wandered forsaken lands permeated with powerful magic.” (MM p.301)