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Questions tagged [dungeons-and-dragons]

For questions relating to Dungeons & Dragons as a whole, or to multiple versions of Dungeons & Dragons. If your question is about a specific version of D&D, you probably should tag it with the corresponding tag instead (see the full tag info for this tag if you're unsure which tag is appropriate).

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39
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6answers
9k views

At what point did polyhedral dice become part of D&D?

I was reading some articles the other day about Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson and the history of Dungeons and Dragons. I started to wonder: Where did these guys from Wisconsin get the now iconic polyhedral ...
39
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3answers
8k views

What inspired the D&D version of the Rakshasa?

Rakshasa have been part of D&D for more than 35 years, appearing in every edition. These evil magic cat-people are clearly inspired by the rakshas from Hindu and Buddhist mythologies, but they ...
39
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3answers
4k views

Are Drow Cities Illuminated?

I am delving into DM'ing a Drow campaign. Despite having read numerous novels and publications spanning from TSR to WotC to Paizo, I am now having trouble wrapping my head around the idea of their ...
38
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11answers
17k views

Is a GM hiding rolls standard? [closed]

I haven't been playing D&D for too long, maybe a year, but the DM of the main campaign I'm in always hides his dice rolls. I don't have an issue with it, but when I play with another group the DM ...
38
votes
10answers
11k views

How can a GM justify changing a player's alignment?

Lately, in one of my campaigns, I've been having problems with a character who everyone agrees is acting out of alignment. Everyone, that is, but him. The problem, of course, is that he's playing a ...
38
votes
5answers
28k views

What do MAD and SAD mean?

Straight-forward question. I've seen the terms used a lot, mostly in optimization questions and guides, but they aren't usually explained. From googling, it's easy to find that they are abbreviations ...
38
votes
11answers
5k views

Is it practical to run a weekly lunch-hour game of D&D with my coworkers?

I'm looking to get some of my coworkers together and start a lunch time, casual, D&D game. Has anyone done this - is there a practical way to do this? Our lunch breaks run for about 1 hour, but I ...
37
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5answers
6k views

How many editions of Dungeons & Dragons are there?

How many editions of Dungeons & Dragons are there?
37
votes
5answers
8k views

Do dragons smell of lilacs?

I had an interesting thing happen in my last session of Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. My players' characters are in a dragon-heavy adventure. A player tried to do a Perception check to detect ...
37
votes
6answers
7k views

What were the driving factors in the falling out between Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax?

Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson created the hobby together when they wrote D&D. But later on they had a falling out - what caused that? (We don't need minutiae, just the biggest factors)
37
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6answers
4k views

In an even fight, how many rounds does a typical monster need to drop a PC?

Inspired by the closed question: DnD Next Hitpoint Inflation, There have been claims of HP inflation in dnd-next, and there certainly were increased in the absolute value of HP in 4e. In order to ...
37
votes
2answers
7k views

Do owlbears lay eggs?

Well, do they? And has this changed across editions? I'm interested in "canonical" answers. While not something a typical Monster Manual entry would cover (am I wrong?), there may well be an article ...
37
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the origin of the expression/trope “Rocks fall, everyone dies”

I think most people are familiar with this scenario (either first hand or via media). The PCs are going off the rails, the GM gets fed up, and then suddenly, Rocks fall, everyone dies This is more ...
36
votes
2answers
4k views

Was there ever an official “win condition” in early D&D editions?

Just saw a post in a D&D group saying: Challenge for those not playing for decades. What was the only official way to beat the game? (That quote is the whole message of the post, for those who ...
36
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is the soft level-cap set at level 20, specifically?

I've been wondering lately if there is any sort of precedence or context for the soft level-cap of level 20 in various D20 style tabletop games. I say soft cap because I'd like to, for the purposes of ...
36
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1answer
2k views

Evolution of the Rogue in D&D

How and why has the concept of the "rogue" evolved over D&D's history? It seems that what the general perception of what people think of with a "rogue" or "thief" has changed drastically over the ...
35
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the history and significance of the “dire” prefix to creatures?

Some animals in Pathfinder bestiaries are prefixed with "dire". Does this come from the wolf species Canis dirus, an early edition monster/template or something else? Where does this come from and ...
35
votes
1answer
7k views

Why aren't Halflings Hobbits?

Just curious, given how heavily from Tolkien D&D drew, and the fact that games like Wizardry used Hobbits, is there a good design reason why Gygax and company used Halflings (a term that also ...
35
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3answers
7k views

When did rolling a natural 20 on the d20 become a “critical success” in the history of Dungeons & Dragons?

I've only played Dungeon @ Dragons in its 5th edition, and I have only limited exposure to earlier editions from PC games, but never understood the rules behind them (or knew the calculations), so I'...
35
votes
2answers
7k 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, serpents,...
34
votes
9answers
5k views

How can I more effectively use darkness in a dungeon?

In more than one of my D&D campaigns, I've found myself feeling disappointed at my inability to make the darkness of the dungeon matter. Everyone has enough torches, and I'm not likely to be able ...
34
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
34
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the origin of D&D 1-9 spell levels?

D&D spells in all editions (except for 4e powers) are categorized according to "spell levels". This is something that I haven't seen in other games. When did these spell levels first appear and ...
33
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5answers
11k views

Why did D&D Paladins originally have a requirement to be Lawful Good? [closed]

In every edition of D&D before 4e, Paladins are required to be Lawful Good. If they stray from that, they are completely stripped of their powers. This means that evil deities can't grant powers ...
33
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3answers
5k views

What is the world record for the longest D&D marathon?

I have been looking for a while to find the world record for the longest Dungeons and Dragons marathon because me and my friends had a plan to try and attempt to beat it and give the money from the ...
33
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I know which edition of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) the books I'm looking at are for?

I know there are quite a few editions of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), each of which has loads of rules, source, and splat books. But how do I know which edition the books I'm looking at are for? ...
32
votes
9answers
8k views

How can I find out about the game world without meta-influencing it?

I'm a fairly new D&D player and as you can see from one of my other questions I'm attempting to play as spoiler free a game as possible. With this in mind I try and keep my reading about D&D ...
32
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the origin of the term fizzled?

When a spell like raise dead fails due to something such as a soul not being willing to return to its body, it will cause the spell to fizzle. It's a term I'm used to and not surprised to see describe ...
32
votes
3answers
8k views

Why are elves immune to a ghoul's paralyzing touch?

I was reading Are Half-Elves immune to the paralyzing property of a Ghoul's Claw action? and it struck me that I have no idea as to why elves would be immune to the paralyzing touch of a ghoul, ...
32
votes
4answers
2k views

If undead exist, why do cemeteries exist & cremation not a standard?

I have less fingers than the nr of cemeteries I cleared in campaigns of various scenarios and game mechanics. I find time and time again cemeteries crawling with undead. Either graves or crypts. I ...
32
votes
7answers
6k views

As a new GM how do I figure out rules quickly?

I tried my hand at GMing for the first time recently and my biggest challenge was figuring out rules on the fly. I frequently found players wanted to do things that I didn't know the rules for, ...
32
votes
4answers
15k views

Why can't clerics use sharp weapons?

In many versions of D&D, clerics can't use bladed/edged/pointy weapons, and are instead restricted to things like staves, clubs, maces, etc. Why is this? Is there some historical reason? Is ...
32
votes
3answers
7k views

What's the Head of Vecna and why is it important?

I'm vaguely familiar with the RPG anecdote the Head of Vecna. Is there more to this tale? Why is this story important to RPG culture? Note: In Comments on this question (now deleted but available on ...
32
votes
3answers
7k views

Were Illithids inspired by Cthulhu?

Mind Flayers seem to look a whole lot like Cthulhu. Is there any relationship/inspiration between the two?
31
votes
4answers
2k views

How much to bend “the rules” about populating a world?

All right, I have a question about creating a world and populating it with appropriate monsters, etc. I created a world a little while back, loosely based off of the world found in Michael Stackpole'...
31
votes
3answers
5k views

What's the earliest instance of a “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” reference to beholders?

Is there any recorded use of the phrase, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" being used in a commercially available D&D campaign or any rulebook of any edition, specifically to reference (...
30
votes
10answers
5k views

What defines the “old school renaissance”?

I'm aware that the old school renaissance (OSR) is all about hearkening back to old versions of D&D and the play styles of the 70's and 80's, but what characteristics really define this movement? ...
30
votes
2answers
8k views

Is there an iconic monster or creature for each alignment?

In my D&D 5e game, I have a custom cosmology, and I'm currently working on a concept for an afterlife plane where any sentient creature who enters is sorted by alignment and guided to the ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

How accurate is the depiction of RPGs in “Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons”?

In Gravity Falls, a Disney cartoon, there's an episode “Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons” where characters Dipper and Ford play a fictional RPG called Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons (a ...
30
votes
2answers
8k views

Why are the Faithless condemned 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 ...
30
votes
1answer
14k views

Since when were demiliches weaker than regular liches?

In the D&D 5e Monster Manual, demiliches are explained as being liches who neglected to feed and were weakened. There is a more powerful variant that deliberately become demiliches in their ...
30
votes
1answer
4k views

What happens when a metallic dragon and a chromatic dragon mate?

Is it possible, and if so, what happens when a metallic and chromatic dragon mate? I'm most interested in blue and bronze dragons. I'm interested in lore from all editions except the fourth edition. ...
30
votes
1answer
4k views

Which creature is depicted in this Xanathar's Guide illustration of a war mage?

In Xanathar's Guide to Everything on page 59, there is an image of a war mage with some kind of creature on his shoulders. The creature looks vaguely like a Ki-Rin to me, but since Ki-Rins are ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

What D&D manual describes this game dragons play?

In a D&D manual, I once read about a game that dragons play against each other. They use kingdoms as pawns and the games can last decades or centuries. What book is the game in or what is the ...
30
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2answers
2k views

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

Outside of D&D, whenever anyone thinks of a gnome, they are more likely to think of a "garden gnome" or (something along the lines of "David the Gnome"), not how they are presented in D&D. ...
29
votes
17answers
7k 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 ...
29
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the origin and meaning of D&D Beyond's spell school symbols?

Browsing the D&D Beyond spell list it is clear that each spell has an associated symbol related to the spell's school: $$\require{HTML} \newcommand{\schsym}[2][]{ \style{ display: inline-...
29
votes
3answers
4k views

Can I use a salad fork to get into the Prime Material Plane?

In several editions of Dungeons and Dragons, the Plane Shift spell requires a forked metal rod, the design and material of which varies depending on the destination plane. Is there any canonical list ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

What inspired the Ioun Stone?

While looking over the rules for Ioun Stones a question came to mind. What inspired the Ioun Stone? It is present in nearly all editions of D&D, and also made it into Pathfinder. This ...
28
votes
12answers
2k views

Do any newer D&D versions grant experience for exceptional role-playing?

Do any of the newer D&D editions' books (most likely the DM Guide) have guidelines for granting experience for exceptional role-playing? I once played with a professional DM (there's a job I want)...