Questions relating to Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, or to multiple versions of Dungeons & Dragons.

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21
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10answers
1k views

How do you adjudicate a chase?

Generally if PCs run from a fight, I would give the monsters a free attack, and then let the PCs escape automatically (playing 1e/0e D&D). Of course if they linger around, the monsters may come ...
21
votes
3answers
463 views

Athas: A terrifying vision of the future?

Athas, the desolated world of deserts, obsidian and ecological ruin that is the focus of the Dark Sun campaign setting, is generally portrayed as a prime world nearing the end of its life expectancy. ...
20
votes
16answers
1k views

Why aren't magocracies and theocracies dominant in D&D settings?

Anyone has (or has links to) well thought-out, logical explanations for why magocracies and theocracies are not the dominant forms of government of D&D worlds? I'd also be really interested in ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

Is Coup de Grace on sleeping and bound opponents an evil act?

So I was recently participating in a Pathfinder Society game. Our ship was attacked and boarded by pirates. First thing that happened was one of our party cast sleep, and succeeded in putting four of ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Are old versions of D&D compatible with new ones?

Some 30 years ago I used to play Dungeons and Dragons: red 'Basic', blue 'Expert', black 'Master' edition box sets, etc. I still have them and was recently playing with my son, who loved them. I want ...
20
votes
8answers
1k views

Would the alignment of a character with multiple personality disorder change? [closed]

A character has a certain alignment that in general defines how he acts. With multiple personality disorder or other similar disorders (maybe bipolar disorder with severe depression/severe mania), ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

How does Charm Person affect a PC?

It's quite clear how the DM should play any NPCs that get Charmed by a PC -- the NPC should behave as the caster's best friend, and do things that he'd do for his best friend. But how do you play ...
20
votes
4answers
8k views

I'm a quarter Draconian, a quarter Dragonborn and half Half-Dragon?

What are the differences between "Dragonborn", "Half-Dragon", and "Draconian" races in D&D? In the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, for example there is a Half-Dragon npc. I had assumed that ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Were Illithids inspired by Cthulhu?

Mind Flayers seem to look a whole lot like Cthulhu. Is there any relationship/inspiration between the two?
20
votes
3answers
462 views

Do dead creatures take up space?

If a large creature dies, does its corpse still occupy a 10x10 area? How does this affect movement and combat, specifically charging?
20
votes
1answer
680 views

Where does the elven “trance” come from?

In various editions of Dungeons and Dragons, elves have the ability to "trance" rather than sleeping normally. Does this elven trance have a source from fiction? I know that almost everything in ...
20
votes
2answers
894 views

Where did the Chromatic/Metallic Dragons come from?

In the AD&D Monster Manual, the Chromatic (evil) and Metallic (good) dragons are introduced. Each color of dragon has a different habitat, personality and breath weapon. (Or two breath weapons, in ...
19
votes
12answers
3k views

What to model the behavior of D&D's chaotic evil Orcs on?

Instinctively, I find myself modeling a tribe of Dungeons & Dragons Orcs as similar to Klingons from Star Trek, or Vikings, or even a gang of bikers or skinheads. But none of these models truly ...
19
votes
10answers
1k views

Should I call for an INT check for clever ideas?

Let's say someone is playing a character that has really low intelligence, but then the player comes up with a clever idea for a way for his dumb character to overcome some obstacle. Should I make him ...
19
votes
9answers
1k views

What are the core tropes or assumptions of D&D?

After an interesting discussion with my local GM, I was left wondering What are the core tropes and assumptions that players bring to a game of D&D? Specifically the ones that are different from ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

How much greed is too much for a Chaotic Neutral character?

I have recently started GM-ing a new group of players, most of them are unexperienced. One of the players is a Chaotic Neutral Rogue. This description of Chaotic Neutral mentions that such character ...
19
votes
2answers
359 views

Is Dungeons & Dragons the origin of “Bahamut” as a dragon?

Bahamut, the platinum dragon god of good, metallic dragons, takes his name from the Bahamut of Arabian mythology, the great fish upon which the earth rests. The similarities between dragons, ...
18
votes
9answers
5k views

What is a good way to get regular people interested in D&D? [closed]

How do I get regular people, non-gamers, into playing D&D? Anybody have any useful ideas?
18
votes
8answers
17k views

Homebrew D&D with only 2 players (plus DM)

I DM'ed for my buddies this semester and it was really fun. I got my roommate hooked and now he's asking for me to make another campaign (I've got a great idea). The problem lies in the fact that I'll ...
18
votes
11answers
1k views

Encouraging out-of-the-box thinking in combat encounters

I'm a GM currently running D&D 3.5. I try to think of situations that present the players with a number of possible solutions. The players, however, always resort to the same pattern of killing ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from?

Where does the modern D&D of a dwarf come from? I've noticed it's fairly far from the old Germanic concept of a dwarf. Where did Gary Gygax and company get the idea for the current long bearded, ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

How to reduce minis dependence in d20-based games?

In Pathfinder and similar versions of D&D, there is a lot more miniatures/tactical map dependence than in earlier versions (and in most other RPGs). I am interested in reducing the dependence on ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Where did exceptional (“percentile”) strength come from?

I run a B/X game for a few guys, most of whom have only played 3E before. It leads to a lot of talk about the change in power level between basic and 3E. One of the things that came up was the ...
18
votes
2answers
314 views

Handling different, bordering cultural levels in Ravenloft

How do you as a DM handle the transition/interaction between differing cultural level domains that live alongside (practically bordering, thanks to the Mists) one another in Ravenloft (any edition)? ...
17
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the literary influences of the D&D Bard?

Can anyone tell me what sources, in literature, film, etc. inspired the Bard class for Dungeons & Dragons? I'm familiar with the Celtic Bards of history and legend, but the modern D&D Bard ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you pronounce 'svirfneblin'?

In a campaign I'm writing, an aged sage sends my party to the underdark to aid Deep Gnomes against a Drow takeover. The group that will be playing this has read R.A Salvador's books and knows both ...
17
votes
1answer
533 views

History of the Wish Spell

A friend of mine was wondering about the history of the wish spell in Dungeons and Dragons. It is his suspicion that the spell “only” exists because they needed something for genies to cast to work in ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Does anyone know of specific types of room lists for different kinds of (fantasy) buildings?

Here's a problem I encounter when creating buildings for D&D: I quickly run out of specific room types. For instance, when I create a temple, I can think of the main worship area, chambers for the ...
17
votes
3answers
10k views

Where can I get ready-to-play characters for D&D 3.5?

The last time I played D&D was about 10 years ago. Now I've decided to show it to my university friends, who have never played it before but are pretty excited. For that first game, nobody would ...
17
votes
4answers
361 views

What furniture does a beholder have in its personal quarters?

A beholder's lair is made up of several chambers and... The farthest chamber from the entrance is the beholder’s personal quarters, where the creature sleeps and studies any magic treasure it has ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there an effect on player's reaction to treasure when raising the value of gold relative to other coins?

In fantasy games related to D&D the currency usually follows the 10 cp = 1sp, 10sp = 1gp pattern. This is convenient and fairly logical, but in my play throughs gold just didn't have much weight ...
16
votes
5answers
917 views

Memory After Death

A recent campaign started with the death of the party and reincarnation of the party with the premise of "we brought you back to find those who killed you". One player was concerned that these people ...
16
votes
6answers
990 views

Can you use a Spelljammer ship to get to Ravenloft?

This is an insane question, I know. But it's one that's been bugging me for at least half my 33-year life. :) I love both the Spelljammer and Ravenloft settings of AD&D 2nd Edition. One of the ...
16
votes
4answers
669 views

What's the origin of the term “gold piece”?

What is the literary or historical origin of the term "gold piece" to mean a gold coin? Was it used before D&D, or did D&D coin the term?
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Are DCs supposed to be secret?

Are players not supposed to ask what is the DC for a roll? If you're the DM and someone asks, would you tell them you can't say? Would you instead tell them the difficulty in relative terms like, ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Solo player: best way to mitigate tiny party size? [duplicate]

I'm looking to start a solo DnD adventure with my wife as the only player. She's a total novice. Which is generally the most successful way to handle the single-PC issue in your experience: NPC ...
16
votes
6answers
810 views

What is a Mega Dungeon?

I've come across the expression "mega dungeon" quite a few times on the net. It seems like it's not just about the size of a den of monsters but it might imply a play style or something. What are the ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What happened in the Forgotten Realms between 3.5 and 4e?

I don't remember where I heard or read this, but I seem to recall there being some sort of cataclysmic event between 3.5 and 4e. A few (related) questions - What exactly happened between 3.5 and ...
15
votes
15answers
2k views

What are some interesting ways to structure a random encounter table? [closed]

The standard tables I've seen have been basic 'Wandering Monster' tables where you roll some dice in order to generate a random encounter. I'm sure many have taken this concept further, but I haven't ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is it common for D&D characters be moved to or reused in different DMs' campaigns?

When you've played a character for a while and have invested a lot of time building this character up, seeing the campaign end, losing your group by moving to a different city, or otherwise leaving ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How attached should players be to the characters they make?

I'm new to RPGs and I'm not sure how attached I should be to any characters I make. On one hand I don't think it would be pleasant to spend hours making an in depth character only to have them die ...
15
votes
2answers
546 views

Why are the Faithless condemed to the Wall of the Faithless after death?

If you live in the Forgotten Realms and die without worshipping a deity you are sentenced to the Wall of the Faithless by Kelemvor to serve as another proverbial brick in the Wall. But why does this ...
15
votes
5answers
917 views

What is the full list of official D&D settings?

What are the official Wizards of the Coast/TSR D&D campaign settings? The ones I know of off hand are the following, also would be good to know what rule edition they initially started in and if ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

The Giants modules in BRP Classic Fantasy

I'm interested in playing some of the classic early AD&D adventures, like the Giants modules, with Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying using their Classic Fantasy module. My big issue is power doesn't ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

What did you do for a Tarasque adventure? [closed]

What did you do for a Tarasque adventure? When you ran it, did you wait for the players to be epic level? Did having such an overpowered enemy detract from anything? Or did your players - on the ...
15
votes
1answer
781 views

Which cultural trope(s) does the D&D cleric refer to?

On the level of game mechanics, the classic D&D cleric melds the healer, the crusader and the witch/vampire hunter in one person. Is this a genuine D&D mish-mash or is there any ...
15
votes
1answer
688 views

Who actually is Tucker?

Tucker's Kobolds, from an article in Dragon Magazine, is an example of challenging higher-level player characters with lower-level monsters. Who actually is 'Tucker', in (modern-day) real life, and ...
15
votes
6answers
4k views

Relationship Mechanics for D&D/Pathfinder?

My Pathfinder/D&D games tend to involve relationships - romantic, friendly, etc. - between PCs and NPCs alike. 3.x only has the Diplomacy mechanic for any kind of relationship mechanic. I'm ...
15
votes
1answer
839 views

Dungeons & Dragons starring Dragons: Which edition would work best for dragon PCs?

Next year's theme for our local gaming 'Con is "Year of the Dragon", and I've had inspiration to prepare and run a "Dungeons & Dragons starring the Dragons" scenario. While I have a fairly varied ...