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Category Archives: Reference Material
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).
May 21, 2022Posted by on
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse
is now available. Click HERE
Wizards of the Coast web site calls it:
“A bestiary of wondrous friends and foes for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
Sparkling with the musings of the wizard Mordenkainen, this tome features a host of creatures for use in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Hailing from every corner of the multiverse, these creatures represent some of the most benevolent and malevolent forces that D&D heroes might face.
The book also gathers together fantastical peoples from many different worlds. Each of these peoples represents a race option when you create your D&D character, expanding on the choices in the Player’s Handbook.
Compiling and updating monsters that originally appeared in Volo’s Guide to Monsters and Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, this book presents friends and foes for any D&D campaign, many of them accompanied by the comments of Mordenkainen. The wizard has faced many of these monsters and peoples on numerous wondrous adventures. Now it’s time for you to venture forth and face these creatures yourself!”
I have been looking forward to this one.
April 22, 2022Posted by on
Wizards of the Coast has just announced several new products.
You can follow the links to their pages on Amazon.
Spelljammer: Adventures in Space Release Date: August 16, 2022
Dungeons & Dragons Accessories Set 1 Release Date: (Summer TBA)
Dungeons & Dragons Accessories Set 2 Release Date: (Summer TBA)
Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel Release Date: June 21, 2022.
Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse Release Date: May 17, 2022
July 25, 2021Posted by on
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.
|Padded||10||10||bludgeoning||acid, fire, slashing|
|Leather||11||12||bludgeoning||acid, fire, slashing|
|Studded leather||12||14||bludgeoning||acid, fire|
|Hide||12||14||bludgeoning||acid, fire, slashing|
|Chain shirt||12||15||bludgeoning, slashing||piercing|
|Scale mail||14||16||bludgeoning, slashing||piercing|
|Breastplate||14||17||bludgeoning, slashing, piercing|
|Half plate||15||18||bludgeoning, slashing, piercing|
|Ring mail||14||17||bludgeoning, slashing||piercing|
|Chain mail||16||18||bludgeoning, slashing||piercing|
|Plate||18||20||bludgeoning, slashing, piercing|
|Shield||14||10||bludgeoning, slashing, piercing||fire (wood shields only)|
All weapon types are immune to poison, cold, radiant, necrotic, thunder, force, and psychic damage.
|Simple Melee Weapons|
|Light hammer||19||15||bludgeoning, fire|
|Simple Ranged Weapons|
|Martial Melee Weapons|
|Martial Ranged Weapons|
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.
July 5, 2021Posted by on
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)
June 26, 2021Posted by on
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 17, 2020Posted by on
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.
October 18, 2020Posted by on
Tables for Determining Encounter Size
These tables have been updated. Get the revised files HERE.
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.
October 7, 2020Posted by on
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.
October 5, 2020Posted by on
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.