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

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16
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7answers
1k views

Are PCs supposed to start a game knowing each other, and if not, how should they meet?

I'm currently putting together a D&D game and I have most of it worked out. The only part about it that I'm still a little unclear on is whether or not the player characters should know each other ...
16
votes
4answers
788 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
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3answers
2k views

Where does the distinction between “Mind Flayer” and “Illithid” come from?

I know that a Mind Flayer is an Illithid, and vice versa. And I know in some of the D&D fiction, like Forgotten Realms and the like, that Mind Flayers refer to themselves or their race as ...
16
votes
6answers
980 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
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3answers
1k views

Why do druids use scimitars?

I know this question has been asked on other forums, and I have heard some explanations, but I wondered if there was a source that could be cited (not the rule itself, rather an outside source that ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

What did Gygax and Arneson base the Bag of Holding on?

The Bag of Holding has been a staple of D&D since the game started. The idea of a bag that can hold more than it's physical capacity (and weight less than the it holds) can also be seen in other ...
16
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3answers
1k views

How should one-word “commands” work in languages other than English?

In various versions of D&D, there's a cleric spell called "Command" where the cleric compels an enemy to obey a one-word command. Typical commands might be "sleep", "flee", "surrender", ...
16
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2answers
685 views

Can you “backstab” with a siege weapon?

The 2002 movie The Gamers has a famous scene where the party's thief backstabs someone with a ballista.* The movie uses a vaguely Dungeons-and-Dragons-ish system. Would any of the versions of ...
16
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6answers
5k 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
15answers
3k 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
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11answers
3k views

How can I allow one character to sneak off and assassinate an NPC without boring the other players?

Setup In my campaign, one of the PCs is an assassin. Before the game started, I gave the player a list of assassination targets. One of the targets happens to be friends with the party's warlord. ...
15
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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
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2answers
3k views

Why is the Deck of Many Things called the Eater of Campaigns?

I hear this term tossed around a lot. Where does it come from and what does it mean?
15
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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
4answers
2k views

What kind of rulings predated ability or skill checks in old school D&D?

As I grow more weary of 4E and more nostalgic for my days playing 2E, I'm spending more and more time reading the old rules and the retroclones. I'm having a great time. One of the things that I ...
15
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5answers
2k views

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

What did you do for a Tarrasque 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
932 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
741 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
1answer
917 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 ...
15
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3answers
3k views

Limits and rules for Silent/Minor/Major Image spells

What are the limits of Image spells? An example in the 'All about Illusions' articles on wizards.com (1, 2, 3, 4) is an illusionary guard: Can I make the guard (keeping concentration) dissolve into ...
15
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4answers
10k views

Is there a good searchable database of D&D adventures?

I have shelves and shelves of RPG books, and a lot of it's D&D. I have every Dungeon magazine from #1 on. But for some reason I can never find the right adventure for what I need. What I'm ...
15
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3answers
846 views

How worldly is a polymorphic elf?

In the 3.5e campaign I'm running, a very real concern has arisen that the player characters might actually fail to save the world from the horrific fate that the villian has planned for it. If this ...
14
votes
5answers
599 views

If you are chained to a boulder and the boulder falls off a cliff, are you pulled with it?

I'm trying to resolve a situation of characters being connected to things that are moving. If I am at the end of a 20ft chain connected to a boulder, and someone drops that boulder off a 50ft cliff, ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the reason for introducing the rule for Attacks of Opportunity in D&D?

The Attacks of Opportunity are an important part in D&D and spinoffs of the game like Pathfinder. What does this rule for the game-system? How does it affect the fun of the players? Why was this ...
14
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3answers
1k views

Is there any precedent for time distortion when traveling to other planes?

I'm currently the DM for a group playing a 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign in the Neverwinter Campaign Setting. In a recent adventure, my players asked me some unexpected questions, I said ...
14
votes
3answers
976 views

Do different monsters cooperate? Do I need to justify it when they do?

I'm new to GMing, and am having difficulty with understanding how often different types of monsters interact cooperatively (so to speak). In keeping with trying to give my PC's variety, and to also ...
14
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3answers
2k views

What are the “Dark Powers”?

What are the dark powers in Ravenloft? I'm not asking for a list, but rather a description of these entities.
14
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4answers
10k views

What exactly is a saving throw?

Dungeons and Dragons has had the concept of a "saving throw" for a long time. What exactly is it supposed to represent in the real world? And why is it called a "saving throw"?
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votes
7answers
1k views

What qualifies exploration gaming?

In the run up to DnD Next the designers seem to have categorised gamers and/or classes that focus on Combat, Roleplay and Exploration. See this quote from Mike Mearls: "Setting aside mechanics, I ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

Why are Solars so powerful compared to other Outsiders in D&D?

Going through a number of D&D books that feature the Solar I noted that it is amongst the most powerful monsters in the book, frequently only matched in level and power by the likes of the ...
14
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3answers
384 views

What happens when a grabbed target of Avalanche Stomp is teleported

Avalanche Stomp is a power of the Stone Titan (all quotes are from the DDI Compendium): Close burst 3; +21 vs Fortitude; 3d10+7 damage, and the target is grabbed by earth and stone. The stone ...
14
votes
6answers
406 views

Clocking the round. Tools?

Chess players use a special clock to keep timings of each move within a reasonable amount, or they lose. During fighting session, I'd like to introduce a similar technique to prevent excessive ...
14
votes
2answers
558 views

Why did the designers make it so chromatic dragons can't shapechange?

In 5e, the Monster Manual states that each kind of Metallic Dragon gains the Change Shape ability by the time it is Ancient or Adult. However, no such ability is ever mentioned for Chromatic Dragons. ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the history of the Darkness spell?

In D&D 3.0, the darkness spell was a sphere of blackness, impenetrable even to darkvision, which was terrifyingly powerful (except against demons and devils). In D&D 3.5, it's a zone of 20% ...
13
votes
9answers
1k views

Out-Of-Control Characters [closed]

As I review the suggestions in the D&D 4E DMG (pg32), I wonder what other suggestions that are realistic. I know that if a player is out of control (ie: killing masses for no reason) a DM would ...
13
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4answers
4k views

What is a Wyrm in D&D?

So I keep seeing things like "The Great Wyrm", "Forest of the Wyrm", "Wyrm aged" and they seem to be all related to Dragons. Is Wyrm just another name for Dragons? Is this a general thing or does it ...
13
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4answers
3k views

Do I reset XP to zero on a new level?

In the D&D group I play with one of the players insists that when you reach a new level you have to zero your experience. However when I checked the PHB1 there is no reference to this. PHB1 uses ...
13
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7answers
2k views

D&D: How to find out if someone is a spellcaster?

I know that one can use the spell "Detect magic" to find out whether any spells are being cast or active. But is it also possible, using some spell, feat or whatever, to find out whether a person is ...
13
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7answers
6k views

What does a perception check really signify? Can they be repeated?

When a character makes a perception check, does fail indicate whether they permanently fail to see what is hidden, or just that they need to try again? So far our DM has let us repeat perception ...
13
votes
6answers
618 views

How should a neutral character focused on balance be presented?

In many RPGs (or at least the ones I've heard of) the alignment system tends to have two definitions of a true-neutral character. Generally, they are something to the effect of what follows. ...
13
votes
3answers
570 views

Character development suggestions for a low Dexterity character?

I read in some book (forget which) that players should use a low ability score as an opportunity for character development; for example, a low Con character could have insecurities and be very ...
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3answers
2k views

Guide to convert a 3.5e DM to a 4e DM

I have never played fourth ed, I have read most of the new books, but it is so different as to be quite foreign to my play style. Is there a primer or guide out to help 3.5 DMs switch to 4th smoothly? ...
13
votes
2answers
966 views

Why can't a Cleric use a sling?

So by the book 1st Edition AD&D, clerics can't use a sling. Other than game balance (it essentially means that other than the odd thrown hammer clerics have no ranged weapon ability which further ...
13
votes
1answer
862 views

How did Robilar plunder the Tomb of Horrors?

I was reminded last time on how evil the Tomb of Horrors dungeon is (instant death traps, an absolute necessity in one room is gruesomely fatal in another room). Sure, Gary Gygax constructed it to ...
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3answers
17k views

How do I upgrade older D&D adventures to 5th edition?

Before I get into the details I just want to mention that I'm working in a remote area right now and don't have access to the 5e Starter Set, just the downloadable PDFs. I'm looking for advice on how ...
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8answers
1k views

Inter-planar Merchants of D&D

What race best fills this role? I'm mostly looking for someone who does this in a Planescape-style setting. Neogi kinda do this, but they're a little too specialized for what I'm looking for. Ditto ...
12
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10answers
702 views

Balancing character levels

It makes sense that if you are in a group from the beginning that everyone in the group would be roughly the same level. Yes some classes level up faster than other but in general there is a balance ...
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2answers
2k views

Have classes and levels ever been recognized officially in-game?

Has there ever been an official (A)D&D product in which character levels (as per the rules governing the game) were recognized and utilized to some degree in-game, within the game world, by the ...
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4answers
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of oldschool D&D combat initiative?

Old D&D and D&D3E/4E treat initiative and combat order differently like so: D&D 3.5 / 4E: All participants roll individual initiative, once only at the start of combat. Each player takes ...