Jeremy Crawford's published statements about the rules are considered Rules Canon for D&D 5e (except Adventurer's League, where they are not).

During his stint as GM on Acquisitions Incorporated, he is sure to make rulings from time to time. These will be considered 'published' per copyright law by dint of being on the show. Will those rulings be considered 'The Rules' as far as everybody's D&D 5e games are concerned?


2 Answers 2


No, RAW are the rules as written in books and the errata only

Crawford makes rulings, not rules1

Jeremy Crawford makes rulings in the Sage Advice Compendium. He does not make rules there.

Official rulings on how to interpret rules are made here in the Sage Advice Compendium by the game’s lead rules designer, Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford on Twitter).

The "rules" here are RAW and rulings are interpretations of those rules. Crawford is not at any point (or at least shouldn't be) creating a new RAW. Instead he is giving us his ruling (his interpretation) of the rules (as written in the books). By definition a ruling is not a rule, so Crawford's rulings cannot be a Rule as Written. So, whether via Twitter or Sage Advice, or Acquisitions, Inc., his rulings are not considered to be RAW.

Crawford has even agreed with this view on the matter (albeit indirectly) in this Tweet:

Q: Does something become RAW simply because you say it on Twitter, or is RAW only what's actually in the books?

JC: Official rules are in rulebooks. On Twitter and in Sage Advice, I give rulings and clarifications. The DM decides what to do with them.

In other words, he is saying that, no, his Tweets and other rulings are not Rules as Written -- they are rulings. The rules you find in the book and the ruling he is making is interpreting those rules.

His rulings are often a good yardstick for judging how the designers intended the rules to work though ("Rules as Intended" or RAI). From the Adventurers League FAQ:

Sage Advice is a great barometer for ‘rules-as-intended’

In fact, anything he does on Acquisitions Inc. is probably not even considered Sage Advice since "official" rulings now only appear in the published Sage Advice Compendium.

Since Acquisitions Inc. is not the Sage Advice Compendium, his rulings on the show probably aren't even considered to be rulings in the way other Sage Advice rulings are.2

So, nothing outside of the books and errata is considered to be RAW and Jeremy Crawford's rulings are not "Rules Canon" (RAW) for anything.

His DMing is going to focus on intent and fun, not RAW

In an interview about him taking over Acquisitions, Inc. Jeremy Crawford says much the same thing:

One of the things in our early discussions with Penny Arcade that we talked about, that would be fun about me taking the DM’s seat, is that it would be a chance for me as lead rules designer to actually show how many of these rules can be used, and honestly how they’re intended to be used. Now ultimately my intent doesn’t matter; what really matters is what each DM wants, but it is a chance for me to show off some of the tools we’ve provided so that DMs can see there are all sorts of ways [in the rules] for people to have a fun time and not worry about minutiae. Because we put some of these things in the game precisely to make people’s life more easy and more fun.

Jeremy Crawford will be taking this opportunity to show off the rules and how they can be used to enhance fun at the table, but he makes it clear that he wants to show off the intent of the rules. Additionally, I don't think from his above statements that sticking to or making RAW rulings is going to be a priority at his table. It will certainly be interesting to see how he rules, but it is nothing that any other DM has to worry about.

1 - Outside of him writing rules in the books in his capacity of Lead Rules Developer for D&D 5e of course.

2 - Thanks @NautArch

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    \$\begingroup\$ @rpgstar official =/= RAW. JC rulings are never RAW. You may be thinking of this question: Why do Crawford's tweets seem to be treated on par with the actual rules? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose no i was thinking of this Q: Where do I find the “official” rules for D&D 5e? \$\endgroup\$
    – rpgstar
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 0:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose That other question is highly relevant, imo. It's easy to say the answer is "rulings aren't rules", but that doesn't seem to actually be the question. I think it's asking more "are JC rulings made on the show equivalent to other 'official' JC rulings made in other contexts?", which makes the 'rules vs. rulings' thing superfluous. \$\endgroup\$
    – aroth
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 6:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @aroth that is not the way I understand the question: "Will those rulings be considered 'The Rules' as far as everybody's D&D 5e games are concerned?" This seems to me to be explicitly asking about rules and rulings. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 14:06

Probably not

According to the description given in the rules-as-written tag, rules as written refers to the rules as they appear in the text.

Crawford's rulings are, firstly, only rulings. They're official rulings, and are official interpretations of the rules, but are not themselves rules. As per Why do Crawford's tweets seem to be treated on par with the actual rules?:

Whether or not any given Dungeon Master chooses to utilize Sage Advice as a resource for rules adjudication in D&D Adventurers League play is up to that individual DM. Sage Advice is a great barometer for ‘rules-as-intended’, in any case. As always however, the DM remains the final arbiter of how a rule is to be implemented in their game.

Should he make a ruling at the table, that would be spoken, not even written down, and it would be difficult to interpret that as "rules as written". Even so, it would be unreasonable that table rulings made in the heat of the moment would set precedent for all D&D games, although it may influence individual DMs and inform their decisions.

Crawford can even ignore or change rules at his table if he wishes. He may even make mistakes, although of course this is Jeremy Crawford we're talking about, so this is highly unlikely.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The 2017 Sage Advice Compendium also states "One exception: the game’s lead rules developer, Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford on Twitter), can make official rulings and does so in this document and on Twitter". AI is neither. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 20:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note for future readers - the SAC now says, as of January 2019: "Official rulings on how to interpret rules are made here in the Sage Advice Compendium by the game’s lead rules de-signer, Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford on Twitter). The public statements of the D&D team, or anyone else at Wizards of the Coast, are not official rulings; they are advice. Jeremy Crawford’s tweets are often a preview of rulings that will appear here." (This is mostly just following on from the mention in NautArch's comment.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 22:51

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