Dungeon Master Assistance

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Tag Archives: Reference

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 – Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel

Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel

Available now on AMAZON.

What it is: D&D Adventure Anthology
Adventures Included: 13 Adventures
Theme: Adventures inspired by world folklore
Starting Location: The Radiant Citadel—a magical city in the Ethereal Plane
Contents: 13 adventures for characters levels 1–14, 11 monsters, and introduction of the Radiant Citadel
Best for: Dungeon Masters

I have just ordered my copy. Let me know what you think about this.

D&D 5E – Monsters of the Multiverse

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.

D&D 5E – Line of Effect

Line of Effect Definition for Fifth Edition

The Player’s Handbook says:

“To target something [with a spell], you must have a clear path to it, so it can’t be behind total cover. If you place an area of effect at a point that you can’t see and an obstruction, such as a wall, is between you and that point, the point of origin comes into being on the near side of that obstruction.”


This isn’t especially clear and and leads to many questions.
A clear definition of “line of effect” would clear up much of the confusion. However, neither the Player’s Handbook nor the Dungeons Master’s Guide use this term at all. Because fifth edition doesn’t define a line of effect, below is my unofficial definition. I went back to the definition in third edition and modified it to account for the differences in 3rd and 5th edition. Because the following is not official, you should consider it a house rule.

Line of Effect [for Spells]

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to the point of origin for any spell’s area of effect. A spell’s area of effect affects only an area, creature, or object to which it has line of effect from its origin.
Line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.
A line of effect is also blocked by a solid barrier that doesn’t block sight, such as clear glass.
An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect.
Line of effect is required for spells unless the spell description specifically states otherwise. Any spell that says that you need to see the target still requires a line of effect. If the spell description says that an effect spreads around corners that effect doesn’t require a line of effect.

Concentration Spells

If a spell must be maintained with concentration, you must have a line of effect to cast the spell, but you do not need to maintain a line of effect to maintain concentration. However, if the concentration spell allows you to use an action, bonus action or reaction to effect a creature or object then any round that you perform that action you must have line of effect to the target.

Line of Effect [for Auras]

The line of effect for an Aura is different than for spells. To be effected by (or to detect) an Aura there must be a straight path to the source of the aura that isn’t blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.

D&D 5E – Encounter Size Tables (revised)

Tables for Determining Encounter Size

These tables more closely conform to the guidelines in the Dungeon Master’s Guide than the ones I published in 2020. Many thanks to Andrea Mosconi for pointing out my mistakes and taking the time to create these revised tables. [For my followers that are Italian speakers, you might find the site he used to help manage a useful resource www.dragonslair.it ]

There are separate tables for groups of 3, 4, 5, or 6 PCs. Just use the PDF file for the number of PCs in your party. Then go to the Easy, Medium, Hard, or Deadly encounter table. Find their average character level on the left side of the table and go across to the column that corresponds to the CR of the monster you want to use to see how many monsters you should use for the encounter (according to the DMG).

This works even if the encounter has different types of monsters as long as they each have the same CR. But what if you want the encounter to have monsters with different CRs?
Just see how many of each CR monster you need for an Easy, Medium and Hard encounter. Then you can put them together in a single encounter using these formulas:
1D=4E=2M=2E+1M=1E+1H, 1H=3E=1E+1M, 1M=2E
Where D is Deadly, H is Hard, M is Medium and E is Easy.

Or, if you aren’t a math geek:
For a Deadly encounter you can use four Easy, or two Medium, or two Easy and one Medium, or one Easy and one Hard encounter.
For a Hard encounter you can use three Easy, or one Easy and one Medium encounter.
For a Medium encounter you can use two Easy encounters.

Here are the files:
Encounter for 3 PCs
Encounter for 4 PCs
Encounter for 5 PCs
Encounter for 6 PCs

D&D – Torch & Lantern Cards

This blog just reached 500 followers. I was looking around for a way to thank you! I haven’t done anything that is ready for posting lately (I have been working on something), but I ran across this. These are from “Dyson’s Dodecahedron” 2017. Both cards are copyright 2017 by Dyson Logos, based on a design by Kirin Robinson, and you can download them to print on 2″ x 3.5″ cards. HERE:

Or you can use this version to print on a letter sized sheet – HERE.

D&D 5E – Armor & Weapon AC/HP

Broken-Sword

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.

Armor

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

ArmorACHPResistanceVulnerable
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
Shield
Shield1410 bludgeoning, slashing, piercing fire (wood shields only)

Weapons

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

WeaponACHP ResistanceVulnerable
Simple Melee Weapons
Club1510 fire
Dagger1918firebludgeoning
Greatclub1513 fire
Handaxe1918firebludgeoning
javelin1918fire 
Light hammer1915bludgeoning, fire 
Mace1918bludgeoning, fire 
Quarterstaff1510fire
Sickle1913fire 
Spear1913fire 
Simple Ranged Weapons
Crossbow, light1710fire
Dart194firebludgeoning
Shortbow155fire
Sling116bludgeoningfire
Martial Melee Weapons
Battleaxe1918fire 
Flail1110bludgeoningfire
Glaive1918fire 
Greataxe1918fire 
Greatsword1918fire 
Halberd1918fire 
Lance1918 fire, bludgeoning
Longsword1918fire 
Maul1918bludgeoning, fire 
Morningstar1918fire 
Pike1918fire 
Rapier1915firebludgeoning
Scimitar1915fire 
Shortsword1915fire 
Trident1918fire 
War pick1918fire 
Warhammer1918fire 
Whip118bludgeoningfire
Martial Ranged Weapons
Blowgun156fire
Crossbow, hand176fire
Crossbow, heavy1713fire
Longbow1510fire
Net155bludgeoningfire

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 – 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 – 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 – 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)