Dungeon Master Assistance

A place to share thoughts and ideas about Dungeons and Dragons

Category Archives: Reference Material

D&D 5E – Armor & Weapon AC/HP


Armor & Weapons AC and HP

There may come a time when a character needs to destroy some armor or a weapon. By RAW (rules as written), in D&D 5E you can’t attack armor or a weapon during combat while some creature has it in its possession. Nevertheless, this need sometimes arises and that is the reason I created the following tables to use in my games. The AC (armor class) listed for the various types of armor is the AC for the armor itself and not the AC that the armor provided to its wearer. Damage types that any armor or weapon is resistant to only does half damage to the item, and any that they are vulnerable to does double damage.


All armor types are immune to cold, force, necrotic, poison, psychic, radiant, and thunder damage.

Light Armor
Padded1010bludgeoningacid, fire, slashing
Leather1112 bludgeoning acid, fire, slashing
Studded leather1214bludgeoningacid, fire
Medium Armor
Hide1214bludgeoningacid, fire, slashing
Chain shirt1215bludgeoning, slashingpiercing
Scale mail1416bludgeoning, slashingpiercing
Breastplate1417bludgeoning, slashing, piercing
Half plate1518bludgeoning, slashing, piercing
Heavy Armor
Ring mail1417bludgeoning, slashingpiercing
Chain mail1618bludgeoning, slashing piercing
Splint1719bludgeoning, slashing
Plate1820 bludgeoning, slashing, piercing
Shield1410 bludgeoning, slashing, piercing fire (wood shields only)


  All weapon types are immune to poison, cold, radiant, necrotic, thunder, force, and psychic damage.

WeaponACHP ResistanceVulnerable
Simple Melee Weapons
Club1510 fire
Greatclub1513 fire
Light hammer1915bludgeoning, fire 
Mace1918bludgeoning, fire 
Simple Ranged Weapons
Crossbow, light1710fire
Martial Melee Weapons
Lance1918 fire, bludgeoning
Maul1918bludgeoning, fire 
War pick1918fire 
Martial Ranged Weapons
Crossbow, hand176fire
Crossbow, heavy1713fire

Weapons with wooden shafts.

The Staff has these traits which are different from its metal head:

AC 15, HP 10, no resistances, vulnerable to fire.

Magical armor and weapons.

Other than potions and scrolls, most magic items have resistance to all damage.

D&D 5E – Spirits and Souls


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)

How many D&D editions are there?

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) is a game where players sit around a table and roll dice. They create characters and go on adventures led by a dungeon master (DM), who controls non-player characters (NPCs), monsters and events in the world.

DnD Editions

How many D&D editions are there?

I have listed here the major editions. For any edition there may be multiple printings and different covers. There are also many variations and supplements. For most editions there were three core books; a Player’s Handbook, a Dungeon Master’s Guide and a Monster Manuel.

D&D 0.0

0.0 – Original Dungeons and Dragons (OD&D) 1974
A small box set of three booklets. The original game had only three classes (Cleric, Fighter, Magic User). Cleric spells up to 5th level, Magic user spells up to 6th level. Every attack except for certain monster abilities did 1d6 damage if it hit.

D&D 0.5

0.5 – Basic Dungeons & Dragons (BD&D) 1977
Playing a Race meant playing a class. For example a Dwarf used only the Dwarf Class. The first Basic Set was available as a 48-page stand-alone rulebook, or as part of a boxed set, which was packaged in a larger box that included a set of polyhedral dice and supplemental materials.

D&D 1.0

1.0 – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) 1978
The most popular version of older edition D&D. Bonuses for characteristics roughly go up to +4 and are capped at 18 except for exceptional strength. Characters select a race and a class. Non-human race can multi class which involves splitting experience between multiple classes. Non-humans were generally limited to a max level (often low).

D&D 2.0

2.0 – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition (AD&D 2 or 2nd Ed) 1989
Still basically AD&D 1st Edition but the rules have been reorganized and rewritten for clarity. Introduced THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class 0). Some content like half-orc, demons, and assassins were removed or changed due to media pressure. Character customization was expanded by using non-weapon proficiencies as a skill system and by allowing characters to take kits that confer various benefits. Combat has been redesigned.

D&D 3.0

3.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition (D&D 3 or 3E) 2000
The first edition created by Wizards of the Coast, 3rd Edition took the idea of Skill and Powers and developed a cleaner system for customizing characters by designing the classes so a level of one class can stack on top of another class. A single level chart was introduced and at each level a character could take a new class or add another level of a class they already had.
In addition feats were added to allow characters to further customize their abilities. A true skill system was introduced and integrated into the game. The underlying d20 system worked by rolling equal to or higher than a target number and adding various bonus.

D&D 3.5

3.5 – Dungeons & Dragons v.3.5 (Revised 3rd Edition or D&D 3.5) 2003
This edition featured only small changes to the core game (and was mostly-but-not-entirely compatible with books written for 3rd Edition), but had its own extensive line of supplements which magnified the role of feats, prestige classes, and multiclassing in character customization.

D&D 4.0

4.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition (D&D 4E) 2008
This edition is a completely new game with only a few game mechanics carried over from the 3rd Edition. It has a simple set of core rules and defines all character and monster abilities as exceptions which are described in standard terms. Higher level combat has been simplified, and class has been designed to have specific roles in combat. Every classes has a diverse set of combat options to use.

D&D 5.0

5.0 – Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition (D&D 5E) 2014 The current edition of D&D.
Skills, weapons, items, saving throws, and other things that characters are trained in now all use a single proficiency bonus that increases as character level increases. Multiple defense values have been removed, returning to a single defense value of armor class and using more traditional saving throws. Saving throws are reworked to be situational checks based on the six core abilities instead of generic d20 rolls. Feats are now optional features that can be taken instead of ability score increases
The “advantage/disadvantage” mechanic was introduced, streamlining conditional and situational modifiers to a simpler mechanic: rolling two d20s for a situation and taking the higher of the two for “advantage” and the lower of the two for “disadvantage” and canceling each other out when more than one apply.

D&D 5E – Printer’s Key

How do I know if I have the first printing on the Monster Manual or a later printing?

If I go to my local game store to buy a new copy of the Monster Manual (or the Player’s Hand book or …) because my copy is worn out, I want to make sure that I get the latest printing so it will contain all of the latest updates and reversions. But when I get there how do I know which printing of the book is on the shelf?

One way that usually works on D&D books, and most others, is to look for the printer’s key, also known as the number line. You can typically find it on the second or third page just under the ISBN number.

The example shown above on the left is a first edition. The printer’s key is:
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Numbers are removed with subsequent printings, so if “1” is seen then the book is the first printing of that edition. If it is the second printing then the “1” is removed, meaning that the lowest number seen will be “2”.

In the example images above the one on the right is the 11th printing.

D&D 5E – Encounter Size Tables

Tables for Determining Encounter Size

This is for Dungeon Masters. I created it a few months ago and have found it very useful when creating encounters for my 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons games. Using guidelines found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide I worked on the math to come up with simple tables that I could reference to make the encounter neither too hard nor too easy for my Player Characters.

There are separate tables for 3, 4, 5, or 6 characters of any level (1 through 20). Just find the table for the number of PCs – their average character level – and if you want it to be an easy, medium, hard or deadly encounter. There is also an “Any Level” encounter table if you want to use that. Then read across the table to find how many monsters you will need based on the monsters challenge rating (CR).

This makes for a lot of tables. Each of these single page PDF files has a separate table for Any Level encounters, Easy encounters, Medium encounters, Hard encounters, and Deadly encounters.

PC Levels 1-5 for 3 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 1-5 for 4 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 1-5 for 5 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 1-5 for 6 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 6-10 for 3 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 6-10 for 4 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 6-10 for 5 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 6-10 for 6 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 11-15 for 3 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 11-15 for 4 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 11-15 for 5 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 11-15 for 6 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 16-20 for 3 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 16-20 for 4 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 16-20 for 5 characters: Download HERE
PC Levels 16-20 for 6 characters: Download HERE

There is also a single PDF file that contains all of the above: Download HERE

If you find these useful let me know.

D&D 5E – Character Sheet with Dice Rolling

5E – Dice Rolling Character Sheets

The pandemic has made a change to the way I am running D&D games. Running a virtual game of Dungeons and Dragons made me realize how useful it would be if your Player’s Character Sheet would roll your the dice for you. So I took my Character Sheets (you can find then HERE) and figured a way to to add dice rolling. These are my results..

Download a sheet by clicking on the underlined word.

DICE ROLLING Character Sheets: For each class there is a 4 page character sheet: Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Class Feature Sheets: These are the same feature sheets that are available on my previous Character Sheets post, repeated here for your convenience. Artificer, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Simple DICE ROLLING Character Sheet:This is a 2 page character sheet if you don’t need the class information: download it  HERE
Multi-class DICE ROLLING Character Sheet:This has 4 general pages plus an additional 12 pages – one for each class in the Player’s Handbook: download it HERE

Magic Item Record Sheet: The character sheets may not provide enough space to track all of your character’s magic items. If your character requires more space than available on this one page simply copy the file under a different name for each page required. You can scroll the text if the magic item description is too long to fit in the box. If you intend to print the page you should abbreviate long descriptions to fit in a single box, or split the description across two or more boxes. download it HERE

Using the Dice Rollers

I tried several free PDF viewers, and the one that works best with these is Adobe Reader. I recommend you download your Character Sheet and use Adobe Reader to fill it out.

Box by box instructions for filling in the Character Sheets can be found HERE. The only difference is that on these sheets clicking on any red text will generate and display a dice roll.

On the upper right corner of each page there is spot that looks like this  #____   Previously, this is where you could put a version number if you had multiple versions of the same sheet. This has been re-purposed to display the results of any dice roll you may indicate just below that line. For example if you enter 4d12+6 and then click on the red = sign it will roll four 12 sided dice, add them together and add 6 to the total. Above the line it will display the results of that roll. Above that it will show the result of each die rolled. This same space on page 1 is also used to display the results of an ability check, a saving throw, a skill check, or an initiative check. The results of an initiative check will also be displayed in the initiative box. You can override the number in the initiative box by typing in a different number if need be.

The attack bonus box for each weapon will now roll 1d20 and add the attack bonus to the roll. It displays the result of the roll in the same box. There is also an ADV (advantage) and a DIS (disadvantage) box that you can check to roll 2d20 and pick the highest (for advantage) or lowest (for disadvantage) of the two before adding the attack bonus. If a natural 1 is rolled (for advantage two natural 1s must be rolled) it will display MISS in red letters. If a natural 20 is rolled (for disadvantage two natural 20s must rolled) it will display HIT in green letters and will check the CRIT box.

The damage box for each weapon will now roll the indicated number of dice of the indicated size and add the indicated bonus. It displays the result of the roll in the same box. It also shows the results of each individual die roll. If the CRIT (critiacl hit) box is checked the number of dice rolled will be doubled.

For spellcasting characters, clicking on the spell attack modifier (on page 4) will make a spell attack roll and display the results of that roll on the #____ line at the top of that page.

D&D 5E – Magic Item Record Sheet

I have come to realise that my character record sheets (HERE) do not provide enough space to track all of the magic items your character may acquire during your campaign. Rather than adding this sheet to those character record sheets, I am providing this sheet as a separate download. If your character requires more space than available on this page simply copy the file under a different name for each page required.

This is a form-fallible Magic Item Record Sheet for keeping a list with descriptions of your Dungeons and Dragons player character’s magic items.

This was created for use on your monitor during play; you can scroll the text if the magic item description is too long to fit in the box. If you intend to print the page you should abbreviate long descriptions to fit in a single box, or split the description across two or more boxes.


D&D 5E – Starting Equipment

What equipment do I start with?

Many that are new to this game find equipping their character to be difficult. Even using an on-line tool such as “D&D Beyond” can be confusing.

It’s really fairly simple. First you must choose a class and a background for your character. Here is an example using the 5E version of the Player’s Hand Book to equip a Cleric with an Acolyte background:

If you want to simply use the standard equipment do this:
1) Go to the “Class Features” section for your chosen class (“Cleric” in this example is on page 57). Look under “Equipment” in this section to find your list of starting equipment.
2) Then go to the section for the background that you have chosen (“Acolyte” in this example is on page 127). Look under “Equipment” in this section to find a list of the rest of your equipment and starting gold pieces.

If you would rather select all of your own equipment you can do this:
1) Go to the “STARTING WEALTH BY CLASS” table (on page 143) to determine your starting gold. For a cleric it reads 5d4 x 10gp. You simply roll five 4 sided dice, add the result together and multiply by 10.
2) Go shopping! Using the tables for “Armor”(p. 145), “Weapons”(p. 149), “Adventuring Gear”(p. 150) and “Tools”(p. 154). You can equip your character using your starting gold to purchase what you like. You will not likely want to buy a mount or other animal, tack, harness, drawn vehicle, or any trade goods – but if you do there are tables with prices listed for those as well.

If if you want me to do it for you:
1) Go to my post HERE
2) Download a Ready-To-Play first level character sheet for whichever race and class you want to play. If you don’t want to use my sheet, you can just reference the equipment on page 2 to use on your preferred character sheet.

Now your character is equipped to start his first adventure!

D&D 5E – 3D Distances Table

How to easily determine the distance between points in 3D space.

“My character is 50 feet away from the base of a 60 foot cliff and firing my shortbow (range 80/320). How far away is the target standing on top of the cliff? Do I have to roll at disadvantage or is it still short range?”
“I have a fly speed of 60 feet. My opponent is flying 45 feet away (as measured on the battlemat) and is also 25 feet higher than me. Can I fly to within 5 foot of him on my turn?”

I have been using a simple technique to quickly determine the distance at my table. First I determine the horizontal distance and the vertical distance. Take 1/2 the shorter of the two (rounded down) and add it to the longer. When all of these distances are in 5 foot increments and the distances are less than 50 feet it works fairly well, but it obviously has its limitations.

Another option is to use the Pythagorean theorem, but my math isn’t all that good.

You could have a calculator at the table. One with trig functions would be useful.

Some people keep a link to a Pythagorean Theorem Calculator website on their device. Here is a good one:

I decided that the easiest way for me would be to have a simple look-up table printed out and available at the table when we played, so I created this one.

Download your free copy HERE

D&D 5E – Races

To the best of my knowledge, the list below contains all the official races for fifth edition dungeons and dragons (as of June 3, 2020). There are several Plane Shift and Unearthed Acana (UA) Player Races, buy I have not included these because they are not considered official fifth edition content.

These are the books where the races can be found:

Acquisitions Incorporated (AI),  Dungeon Master’s Guide  (DMG), Eberron: Rising from the Last War (ERftLW), Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (EEPC), Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica (GGtR), Locathah Rising (LR), Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (MToF), Mythic Odesseys of Theros (MOoT), One Grung Above (OGA), Player’s Handbook (PHB), Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA), Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide (SCAG), The Tortle Package (TP), Volo’s Guide to Monsters (VGtM), Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron (WGtE)

  • Aarakocra (EEPC)
  • Aasimar: Basic (DMG)
  • Aasimar: Protector, Scourge, Fallen (VGtM)
  • Bugbear (VGtM) , (ERftLW)
  • Centaur (GGtR),  (MOoT)
  • Changeling (ERftLW), (WGtE)
  • Deep Gnome/Svirfneblin  (EEPC), (SCAG), (MToF)
  • Dragonborn (PHB)
  • Dwarf: Duergar (SCAG), (MToF)
  • Dwarf: Mountain or Hill (PHB)
  • Elf: Eladrin, Sea Elf, or Shadar-kai (MToF)
  • Elf: High, Wood, or Drow (PHB)
  • Firbolg (VGtM)
  • Genasi (PotA), (EEPC)
  • Gith: Githyanki or Githzerai (MToF)
  • Gnome (PHB)
  • Goblin (VGtM), (GGtR), (ERftLW)
  • Goliath (VGtM), (EEPC)
  • Grung (OGA)
  • Half-Elf (PHB)
  • Half-Elf: Variant (SCAG)
  • Halfling: Ghostwise (SCAG)
  • Halfling: Lightfoot or Stout (PHB)
  • Half-Orc (PHB)
  • Hobgoblin (VGtM), (ERftLW)
  • Human: standard or variant (PHB)
  • Kalashtar (ERftLW), (WGtE)
  • Kenku (VGtM)
  • Kobold (VGtM)
  • Leonin (MOoT)
  • Lizardfolk (VGtM)
  • Locathah (LR)
  • Loxodon (GGtR)
  • Minotaur (GGtR), (MOoT)
  • Orc (VGtM)
  • Orc: Eberron (ERftLW)
  • Satyr (MOoT)
  • Shifter (ERftLW), (WGtE)
  • Simic Hybrid (GGtR)
  • Tabaxi (VGtM)
  • Tiefling (PHB)
  • Tiefling: Bloodline Variants (MToF)
  • Tiefling: Winged Variant (SCAG)
  • Tortle (TP)
  • Triton (VGtM)
  • Verdan (AI)
  • Warforged (ERftLW), (WGtE)
  • Yuan-Ti: Pureblood (VGtM)