9
\$\begingroup\$

If D&D Beyond is considered an official source, how do you figure which part is official when parts of the site contradict other parts?

Example: the monster page for the gelatinous cube says:

Senses Blindsight 60 ft., Passive Perception 8

While the gelatinous cube's entry under Monster Stat Blocks in the Basic Rules says:

Senses blindsight 60 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 8

(All monsters have mundane vision, without any range limit, by default, unless that parenthetical note is there, so one version of the cube can see someone 65 feet away with normal sight, while the other is naturally blind and can't.)

If a monster is naturally blind, it has a parenthetical note to this effect, indicating that the radius of its blindsight defines the maximum range of its perception.

Another example: the monster page for shadow says:

Skills Stealth +4

But its entry in the Basic Rules says:

Skills Stealth +4 (+6 in dim light or darkness)

(One DDB user did point out this discrepancy in the shadow's Stealth skill on the site already, in a comment on July 7, 2019; although that comment is wrong about Undead Nature, which is correctly omitted since it isn't part of the statblock.)

\$\endgroup\$
  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ These are not contradictory. One simply has more information than the next. \$\endgroup\$ – goryh Nov 17 '19 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @goryh You're right about the gelatinous cube, but not the shadow. \$\endgroup\$ – Ryan C. Thompson Nov 17 '19 at 1:37
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @goryh If a statblock is supposed to be an exhaustive list of the monster's stats, one version having 'missing information' means it's contradicting the other one. One version of the cube is blind, the other isn't: dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/monsters#Senses "If a monster is naturally blind, it has a parenthetical note to this effect, indicating that the radius of its blindsight defines the maximum range of its perception." \$\endgroup\$ – user10063 Nov 17 '19 at 4:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have asked on the DDB Discord server about these discrepancies (there may be others of this sort as well). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 17 '19 at 5:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm: Not to my knowledge; neither monster has ever been errataed/changed, and DDB's compendium versions match their listings elsewhere. As indicated in my comment on Carcer's answer, it's likely just an error in the standalone monster listing (gelatinous cube's listing is already fixed). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 18 '19 at 9:33
18
\$\begingroup\$

There is no official order of precedence, but you should probably trust the "book" pages over the generic listings

D&D Beyond is meant to be an accurate representation of all official 5e material, and almost all of the time it is, but as with any large project there are sometimes errors that sneak in - much as the physical books sometimes have printing errors or other problems and need to be updated by errata.

Given the way the site is put together, the content which is included as a direct representation of a specific physical book is most likely the correct transcription, and errors are more likely to have crept in in the generic aggregated databases of content. As @V2Blast points out, one factor is that the statblocks in the compendium versions are basically just text formatted to look like a statblock, and so they don't have any of the technical limitations that the generic monster database does - for instance, at the time of posting, the inability to attach ad-hoc text to the skills listing to indicate conditional modifiers like the Shadow's.

Therefore, I would trust the entries as they are given in the Monster Manual, Basic Rules, or whatever other "book" representation (essentially, URLs starting with /sources/ or /compendium/) over the generic entries. However, there's no "official" order of precedence for the site's content, as these disparate pages are all meant to agree! The standalone listings are meant to match the compendium versions, except when a newer version of the same thing (e.g. a monster statblock) is published in a newer book.

If you have an account on the site, you can report issues with the site content in the support forum. The site devs seem to be pretty good about correcting errors like this when notified.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ It does make sense that URLs that start with /sources/ (the digital books) are more likely to be accurate than URLs that start with /monsters/. \$\endgroup\$ – user10063 Nov 17 '19 at 4:38
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I've reported these two particular issues on the DDB Discord. The Gelatinous Cube's blindsight limitation has been fixed, but the Shadow's conditionally different modifier for the Stealth skill has not yet - per a mod there: "I've fixed up the Gelatinous Cube and submitted a dev ticket for the Shadow skill (we don't have the ability to attach ad-hoc text to a skill)." \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 17 '19 at 16:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast has such a statblock update actually been published or is that a hypothetical? (good points, though, I have updated my answer) \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Nov 18 '19 at 9:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer: Gelatinous Cube monster listing is fixed, Shadow is not (yet). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 18 '19 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast sorry, I meant: has there actually been a book that published an updated statblock for an existing thing such that various sources might disagree? \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Nov 18 '19 at 9:43
5
\$\begingroup\$

I would assume that those are transcription errors on the part of DNDBeyond. The official sourcebooks should always be your primary guide for information. Stat blocks in official modules would be the only thing I'd consider that could overrule them.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ So you'd consider dndbeyond not an official rules source on equal footing with the print books? \$\endgroup\$ – user10063 Nov 16 '19 at 22:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @user10063 it is best considered a citation-link reference, in the same vein as Wikipedia, while the books are the rules reference. This means it is not official, but to steer toward official. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Nov 16 '19 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user10063 Although the site has some kind of deal established with WotC, it is still run independently and might not have the same QC as the official publications. They are supposed to be presenting the exact same information as that which is in the books so it could never supersede it. \$\endgroup\$ – Allan Mills Nov 17 '19 at 4:36
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, this question isn't about when dndbeyond contradicts the print books, which not everyone has access to for comparison. The question is about when dndbeyond contradicts itself. \$\endgroup\$ – user10063 Nov 17 '19 at 4:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.