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Rules Answers: January 2016

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Thu, 02/25/2016 - 08:00
Type: FeaturesAuthor: Jeremy CrawfordSubtitle: Sage AdviceBanner: Thumbnail (869x490): Text: 

If you have questions for a future installment of Sage Advice, please send them to sageadvice@wizards.com, or reach me on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), where I answer questions between installments of this column.

Character Creation

How do you calculate a creature’s Armor Class (AC)? Chapter 1 of the Player’s Handbook (p. 14) describes how to determine AC, yet AC calculations generate questions frequently. That fact isn’t too surprising, given the number of ways the game gives you to change your AC!
    Here are some ways to calculate your base AC:

  • Unarmored: 10 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Armored: Use the AC entry for the armor you’re wearing (see PH, 145). For example, in leather armor, you calculate your AC as 11 + your Dexterity modifier, and in chain mail, your AC is simply 16.
  • Unarmored Defense (Barbarian): 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier.
  • Unarmored Defense (Monk): 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.
  • Draconic Resilience (Sorcerer): 13 + your Dexterity modifier.
  • Natural Armor: 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your natural armor bonus. This is a calculation method typically used only by monsters and NPCs, although it is also relevant to a druid or another character who assumes a form that has natural armor.

These methods—along with any others that give you a formula for calculating your AC—are mutually exclusive; you can benefit from only one at a time. If you have access to more than one, you pick which one to use. For example, if you’re a sorcerer/monk, you can use either Unarmored Defense or Draconic Resilience, not both. Similarly, a druid/barbarian who transforms into a beast form that has natural armor can use either the beast’s natural armor or Unarmored Defense (you aren’t considered to be wearing armor with natural armor).

What about a shield? A shield increases your AC by 2 while you use it. For example, if you’re unarmored and use a shield, your AC is 12 + your Dexterity modifier. Keep in mind that some AC calculations, such as a monk’s Unarmored Defense, prohibit the use of a shield.

Once you have your base AC, it can be temporarily modified by situational bonuses and penalties. For instance, having half cover gives you a +2 bonus to your AC, and three-quarters cover gives a +5 bonus. Spells sometimes modify AC as well. Shield of faith, for example, grants a target a +2 bonus to AC until the spell ends.

Magic items can also enhance your AC. Here are a few examples: +1 chain mail gives you an AC of 17, a ring of protection gives you a +1 bonus to AC no matter what you’re wearing, and bracers of defense grant you a +2 bonus to AC if you’re not wearing armor or using a shield.

Spells

Does Unarmored Defense work with a spell like mage armor? Unarmored Defense doesn’t work with mage armor. You might be asking yourself, “Why don’t they work together? Mage armor specifies that it works on a creature who isn’t wearing armor.” It’s true that the target of mage armor must be unarmored, but mage armor gives you a new way to calculate your AC (13 + your Dexterity modifier) and is therefore incompatible with Unarmored Defense or any other feature that provides an AC calculation.

How does barkskin work with shields, cover, and other modifiers to AC? Barkskin specifies that your AC can’t be lower than 16 while you are affected by the spell. This means you effectively ignore any modifiers to your AC—including your Dexterity modifier, your armor, a shield, and cover—unless your AC is higher than 16. For example, if your AC is normally 14, it’s 16 while barkskin is on you. If your AC is 15 and you have half cover, your AC is 17; barkskin isn’t relevant in this case, because your AC is now higher than 16.

Can you extend the duration of armor of Agathys by gaining more temporary hit points? The spell is meant to work only as long as you have the temporary hit points that the spell grants. When those temporary hit points are gone, the spell is done.

Keep in mind that temporary hit points aren’t cumulative (see PH, 198). If you have temporary hit points and receive more of them, you don’t add them together, unless a game feature says you can. You decide which temporary hit points to keep. As an example, let’s say you’re a warlock with the Dark One’s Blessing feature, which gives you temporary hit points when you reduce a creature to 0 hit points. You currently have 2 temporary hit points from armor of Agathys, you just slew a monster, and your Dark One’s Blessing can now give you 4 temporary hit points. If you take those temporary hit points, they replace the ones from armor of Agathys and end that spell, so you might not want to take them and keep the spell going.

Do the temporary hit points from heroism accumulate each round? These temporary hit points aren’t cumulative. The spell would tell you if you were meant to add them together. At the start of each of your turns, the spell, effectively, refreshes the number of temporary hit points you have from it; if you lost some or all of the temporary hit points, the spell gives them back to you.

Taking a Second Look at a Ruling

I’m constantly revisiting the rules of the game. As a DM, I use them in the games I run. As a designer and editor, I refer to them every week to ensure that future D&D books are on course. As the Sage, I consider them from different angles when new questions arrive in my inbox and on Twitter. This sometimes leads me to reconsider a ruling I’ve made.

In this installment of Sage Advice, there’s an example of me revisiting a ruling. On Twitter, I recently gave a different explanation for how barkskin works and, by extension, how shields work. What I said was based on the game’s text, but the text is sometimes inconsistent on how shields are treated. In my official ruling here in Sage Advice, I’ve decided to counter what I said on Twitter about barkskin and shields to go with a simpler explanation—one that is also supported by the text and that more closely aligns with our design intent.

In the Sage Advice Compendium below, I’ve also changed my ruling on the Savage Attacker feat, which I originally addressed in November 2015. The original ruling was simply off-base—I read the feat too fast—so I’ve fixed it.

Sage Advice Compendium

The Sage Advice Compendium gathers every installment of Sage Advice in one PDF. It’s been updated to include this month’s questions and answers.

Monster Manual Errata

We’ve updated the Monster Manual Errata file to more closely match the latest printing of the book. The PDF now includes an entry for the water elemental, and the kraken entry now reflects what’s in the book.

Other Resources

Here are other D&D reference documents we’ve posted on this website.

Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons

D&D Spell List (version 1.01)

Monsters by Challenge Rating (version 1.0)

D&D Monsters by Type (version 1.0)

Magic Items by Rarity (version 1.0)

Conversions to 5th Edition D&D (version 1.0)

Character Sheets

About the Author

Jeremy Crawford is the co-lead designer of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. He was the lead designer of the fifth edition Player’s Handbook and one of the leads on the Dungeon Master’s Guide. He has worked on many other D&D books since coming to Wizards of the Coast in 2007. You can reach him on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford).

Publication date: 01/25/2016Introduction: Sage Advice is a monthly column that gives official clarifications of D&D rules. It also sometimes provides reference documents to help your D&D game run smoothly. Despite its official status, Sage Advice doesn’t trump the rulings of a Dungeon Master; the answers and information provided here are meant to assist a DM in adjudicating the game.Tags: Sage Adviceexternal_urls: Texture banner: ShowBanner video: 

Feb 1 New centaur

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Feb 1 New centaur

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Feb 1 Hyenadons

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Feb 1 Hyenadons

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Feb 1 Gnoll Shaman

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Feb 1 Gnoll Shaman

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Feb 1 - Skeletons

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Feb 1 - Skeletons

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Lessons from Super Bowl 50 for D&D

dungeonmastering.com - 19 hours 46 min ago
This was the golden anniversary of the Big Game, & while we’ve written about Super Bowl connections before, this year’s event was different enough to do its own follow-up. And...

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Zilvazaraat

Flickr Dungeons and Dragons Tag Feed - Sun, 02/07/2016 - 05:06

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Zilvazaraat

Zilvazaraat is a Mercane, an extradimensional race of merchants. He sells only quality wares.

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Bugbear Tyrant

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Bugbear Tyrant

All Bugbears are vicious, but soe especially excel.

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Gildings, gildings and more gildings..

Flickr Dungeons and Dragons Tag Feed - Sat, 02/06/2016 - 03:42

! / dino olivieri / www.onyrix.com has added a photo to the pool:

Gildings, gildings and more gildings..

making gildings on my book Di Undici Foglie
synopsis and presentation at:
www.onyrix.com/2015/11/22/di-undici-foglie-libro-acquisto...

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2016 February Survey

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 08:00
Type: FeaturesAuthor: Mike MearlsBanner: Thumbnail (869x490): Text: 

Rune magic and our inaugural prestige class, the rune scribe, met with mostly positive results. We have some room to improve the runic magic items and how they interact with the prestige class. However, the really interesting piece comes down to the overall reaction to prestige classes.

We’re definitely seeing mixed responses to the concept. Of those of you who played third edition D&D, nearly 90% of you used prestige classes. However, overall support for them fell short of those marks. Just short of 60% of players want to use them in fifth edition. It’s interesting to see that while prestige classes saw a lot of use, many players didn’t particularly like the concept. It’s definitely something for us to consider as we examine the concept for fifth edition.

We also asked for feedback on a variety of Underdark-themed subclasses we released as part of UA. Everything from that article was highly rated, especially the shadow sorcerous origin. The roleplay elements added to that option and the Undying Light patron were especially welcome features. Aside from some tweaks to specific elements of class features, it looks like they are fairly balanced, clear options for the game.

The new choices for the Fighting Style class feature, though as highly rated as the other options, tended to have a bit more negative reaction at the cost of people who were neutral to them. These options look like they need a balance pass against existing Fighting Style choices.

As for this month’s survey, it dives into the class options released in January in the Kits of Old article. It also asks for some basic information about who you are so we can better understand who’s answering these surveys. Thanks for taking the time to answer our queries!

Publication date: 02/05/2016Introduction: In our last survey, we asked you to rate material from two of the prior Unearthed Arcana articles. Here’s a quick summary of our findings.Tags: Featuresexternal_urls:  External url: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/09c1542a58fdExternal url description: Take the Survey Now Texture banner: ShowBanner video: 

The Art of Dungeons & Dragons and Curse of Strahd

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 17:58
Type: FeaturesBanner: Thumbnail (869x490): Text: 

Subscribe to the Official D&D Podcast on iTunes to get updates for new episodes. Shelly, Greg and Trevor are always talking to creative Dungeons & Dragons players like comedians and TV writers Mike Drucker (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) and Jared Logan (The Late Late Show with James Corden), as well as professional game masters Griffin McElroy (The Adventure Zone) and Matt Mercer (Critical Role) and actors like Rainn Wilson (The Office). Subscribe here!

Publication date: 02/04/2016Introduction: Creative Director Shauna Narciso and Art Director Kate Irwin share insights on the visual look of D&D and the Curse of Strahd adventure, which is available in March.Tags: Podcastexternal_urls:  External url: http://media.wizards.com/2016/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_02_04_2016.mp3External url description: The visual look of D&D and the Curse of Strahd adventure Texture banner: HideBanner video: 

Web Spell in Action on Battle Mat

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Web Spell in Action on Battle Mat

Web creates a many-layered mass of strong, sticky strands. These strands trap those caught in them. The strands are similar to spider webs but far larger and tougher. These masses must be anchored to two or more solid and diametrically opposed points or else the web collapses upon itself and disappears. Creatures caught within a web become entangled among the gluey fibers. Attacking a creature in a web won’t cause you to become entangled.

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Psionics and the Mystic – Take Two

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 11:47
Type: FeaturesAuthor: Mike Mearls with Jeremy CrawfordSubtitle: Unearthed ArcanaBanner: Thumbnail (869x490): Text: 

These unofficial game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not fully tempered by playtests and design iterations. They might be unstable; if you use them, be ready to rule on any issues that come up. They’re written in pencil, not ink. For these reasons, material in this column is not legal in D&D Adventurers League events.

This month, Unearthed Arcana returns to the mystic character class and the rules for psionics. Based on the playtest feedback you sent us, there are a number of changes you can expect:

  • The class now goes to 10th level. The core concepts had enough support that we feel confident moving forward with them.
  • Psionics is more flexible. You have a psychic focus, which allows you to pick one discipline and gain a constant, special benefit from it. Otherwise, you can expend points to use any discipline you know.
  • Psionics now includes psionic talents, the equivalent of a spellcaster’s cantrips.
  • Psionic disciplines are now available to all mystics, regardless of mystic order. However, your order grants you a benefit for using its associated disciplines.

You can expect a survey asking for feedback on these draft rules in a month or so. At this point, we’re not necessarily tied to any of these options. This effort is merely a first draft to gauge where we should start and what kind of approach to psionics in fifth edition will work best. Read on and enjoy.

Publication date: 02/01/2016Introduction: The material presented in Unearthed Arcana ranges from game mechanics that we might publish someday to house rules from our D&D campaigns that we want to share with you. Tags: Featuresexternal_urls:  External url: http://media.wizards.com/2016/downloads/Psionics_and_Mystic_V2.pdfExternal url description: UNEARTHED ARCANA: PSIONICS AND THE MYSTIC V2 Texture banner: ShowBanner video: 

Red Dragon

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Red Dragon

Banks ought to include this option along with savings, checking, and mutual funds.

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Mimic

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Mimic

Can you guess which one of these isn't really a treasure chest?

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Lessons for D&D from Return of the Jedi

dungeonmastering.com - Mon, 02/01/2016 - 01:41
We’ve been working our way through all the Star Wars movies & how they can help D&D games. But after suffering through the infamous Holiday Special, we needed a break. Yet the show must...

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Frost Giant Ice Mage

Flickr Dungeons and Dragons Tag Feed - Sun, 01/31/2016 - 02:03

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Frost Giant Ice Mage

As advisors to the Jarls, the Ice Mages hold more power in Frost Giant society than they might seem.

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Mike Drucker on Playing D&D with Comedians

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:28
Release date: 01/28/2016Authors: Shelly Mazzanoble, Greg TitoDescription: RECORDED NOV. 2015. Gamer, Comedian and Writer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Mike Drucker has a pretty impressive resume. Hosts Trevor Kidd, Shelly Mazzanoble, and Greg Tito talk to Mike about his experience with Dungeons & Dragons, dealing with that one jerk in the party, and why he plays the most devout of clerics.Thumbnail: Category: D&D podcastsBanner: Introduction: RECORDED NOV. 2015. Gamer, Comedian and Writer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Mike Drucker has a pretty impressive resume. Hosts Trevor Kidd, Shelly Mazzanoble, and Greg Tito talk to Mike about his experience with Dungeons & Dragons, dealing with that one jerk in the party, and why he plays the most devout of clerics.Text: 

Subscribe to the Official D&D Podcast on iTunes to get updates for new episodes. Shelly, Greg and Trevor are always talking to creative Dungeons & Dragons players like comedians and TV writers Mike Drucker (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) and Jared Logan (The Late Late Show with James Corden), as well as professional game masters Griffin McElroy (The Adventure Zone) and Matt Mercer (Critical Role) and actors like Rainn Wilson (The Office). Subscribe here!

Podcast link: http://media.wizards.com/2016/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_01_28_2016.mp3Suscribe link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-dungeons-dragons-podcast/id189053885Banner video: 

Mike Drucker on Playing D&D with Comedians

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:28
Type: FeaturesBanner: Thumbnail (869x490): Text: 

Subscribe to the Official D&D Podcast on iTunes to get updates for new episodes. Shelly, Greg and Trevor are always talking to creative Dungeons & Dragons players like comedians and TV writers Mike Drucker (The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon) and Jared Logan (The Late Late Show with James Corden), as well as professional game masters Griffin McElroy (The Adventure Zone) and Matt Mercer (Critical Role) and actors like Rainn Wilson (The Office). Subscribe here!

Publication date: 01/28/2016Introduction: RECORDED NOV. 2015. Gamer, Comedian and Writer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Mike Drucker has a pretty impressive resume. Hosts Trevor Kidd, Shelly Mazzanoble, and Greg Tito talk to Mike about his experience with Dungeons & Dragons, dealing with that one jerk in the party, and why he plays the most devout of clerics.Tags: Podcastexternal_urls:  External url: http://media.wizards.com/2016/podcasts/dnd/DnDPodcast_01_28_2016.mp3External url description: Mike Drucker on Playing D&D with Comedians Texture banner: ShowBanner video: 

Tarokka Deck

Wizards of the Coast D&D - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 10:21
Related products: Curse of StrahdPlayer's HandbookD&D Starter SetDungeon Master's GuideSubtitle: Dungeons & Dragons Accessory Author: Gale Force NineSynopsis: 

Learn what fortunes await you with this gaming accessory for Ravenloft.

If you’re playing Curse of Strahd, you’ll want to get your hands on the tarokka deck, a 54-card adventure supplement produced by Gale Force Nine. By using the tarokka deck to randomize locations within the adventure, Dungeon Masters can customize each party’s exploration of Barovia, allowing Curse of Strahd to be replayed for years to come. The deck also includes rules for Prophet’s Gambit, a card game for 3-5 players.

Talk to your local game store now about ordering a Tarokka Deck for your game.

Download #1 label: Learn More Image thumbnail: Image left: Banner: Game type: RPG ProductsPrice ($): USD10.00External Download #1 file: http://www.gf9-dnd.com/Home/tabid/56/entryid/253/return-to-ravenloft.aspxBanner video: Date Announced Soon: Spring 2016
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