Some of which can be game-breaking at a low level or simply incredibly useful no matter what level of play is involved. The following is a list of magic items that are either useful but commonly overlooked by adventurers or game-breaking considering their rarity. The weapon itself is so useful at low levels for damage it outclasses some higher-level items that the player may find later on. Though a great fortification, it makes a better one-shot per encounter grenade.

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What Comes Next? It shares elements with childhood games of make-believe. Dungeon Master DM : After passing through the craggy peaks, the road takes a sudden turn to the east and Castle Ravenloft towers before you. Crumbling towers of stone keep a silent watch over the approach.

They look like abandoned guardhouses. Beyond these, a wide chasm gapes, disappearing into the deep fog below. A lowered drawbridge spans the chasm, leading to an arched entrance to the castle courtyard.

The chains of the drawbridge creak in the wind, their rust-eaten iron straining with the weight. From atop the high strong walls, stone gargoyles stare at you from hollow sockets and grin hideously. A rotting wooden portcullis, green with growth, hangs in the entry tunnel. Beyond this, the main doors of Castle Ravenloft stand open, a rich warm light spilling into the courtyard.

Phillip playing Gareth : I want to look at the gargoyles. Amy playing Riva : The drawbridge looks precarious? I want to see how sturdy it is. Do I think we can cross it, or is it going to collapse under our weight? Players roll dice to resolve whether their attacks hit or miss or whether their adventurers can scale a cliff, roll away from the strike of a magical lightning bolt, or pull off some other dangerous task.

Anything is possible, but the dice make some outcomes more probable than others. Phillip: Yeah. Is there any hint they might be creatures and not decorations? DM: Make an Intelligence check. Phillip: Does my Investigation skill apply? DM: Sure! Phillip rolling a d20 : Ugh. DM: They look like decorations to you. And Amy, Riva is checking out the drawbridge?

Working together, the group might explore a dark dungeon, a ruined city, a haunted castle, a lost temple deep in a jungle, or a lava-filled cavern beneath a mysterious mountain. The adventurers can solve puzzles, talk with other characters, battle fantastic monsters, and discover fabulous magic items and other treasure. The DM creates adventures for the characters, who navigate its hazards and decide which paths to explore. The DM might describe the entrance to Castle Ravenloft, and the players decide what they want their adventurers to do.

Will they walk across the dangerously weathered drawbridge? Tie themselves together with rope to minimize the chance that someone will fall if the drawbridge gives way?

Or cast a spell to carry them over the chasm? The game has no real end; when one story or quest wraps up, another one can begin, creating an ongoing story called a campaign. Many people who play the game keep their campaigns going for months or years, meeting with their friends every week or so to pick up the story where they left off.

The adventurers grow in might as the campaign continues. Each monster defeated, each adventure completed, and each treasure recovered not only adds to the continuing story, but also earns the adventurers new capabilities.

Together, the DM and the players create an exciting story of bold adventurers who confront deadly perils. Sometimes an adventurer might come to a grisly end, torn apart by ferocious monsters or done in by a nefarious villain. Even so, the other adventurers can search for powerful magic to revive their fallen comrade, or the player might choose to create a new character to carry on.

The group might fail to complete an adventure successfully, but if everyone had a good time and created a memorable story, they all win. They begin with a foundation of medieval fantasy and then add the creatures, places, and magic that make these worlds unique. Within this multiverse are an endless variety of worlds. The legends of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Dark Sun, Mystara, and Eberron settings are woven together in the fabric of the multiverse.

And amid all the richness of the multiverse, you might create a world of your own. All these worlds share characteristics, but each world is set apart by its own history and cultures, distinctive monsters and races, fantastic geography, ancient dungeons, and scheming villains.

Some races have unusual traits in different worlds. The halflings of the Dark Sun setting, for example, are jungle-dwelling cannibals, and the elves are desert nomads. Some worlds are dominated by one great story, like the War of the Lance that plays a central role in the Dragonlance setting. Your DM might set the campaign on one of these worlds or on one that he or she created. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world.

It includes information on the various races, classes, backgrounds, equipment, and other customization options that you can choose from. Many of the rules in part 1 rely on material in parts 2 and 3. Part 2 details the rules of how to play the game, beyond the basics described in this introduction. That part covers the kinds of die rolls you make to determine success or failure at the tasks your character attempts, and describes the three broad categories of activity in the game: exploration, interaction, and combat.

Part 3 is all about magic. The DM describes the environment. The players describe what they want to do. Other times, different adventurers do different things: one adventurer might search a treasure chest while a second examines an esoteric symbol engraved on a wall and a third keeps watch for monsters.

Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a room and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task.

In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results of an action. Describing the results often leads to another decision point, which brings the flow of the game right back to step 1.

This pattern holds whether the adventurers are cautiously exploring a ruin, talking to a devious prince, or locked in mortal combat against a mighty dragon. In certain situations, particularly combat, the action is more structured and the players and DM do take turns choosing and resolving actions.

But most of the time, play is fluid and flexible, adapting to the circumstances of the adventure. Some DMs like to use music, art, or recorded sound effects to help set the mood, and many players and DMs alike adopt different voices for the various adventurers, monsters, and other characters they play in the game. Sometimes, a DM might lay out a map and use tokens or miniature figures to represent each creature involved in a scene to help the players keep track of where everyone is.

Game Dice The game uses polyhedral dice with different numbers of sides. You can find dice like these in game stores and in many bookstores. In these rules, the different dice are referred to by the letter d followed by the number of sides: d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, and d For instance, a d6 is a six-sided die the typical cube that many games use. Percentile dice, or d, work a little differently. You generate a number between 1 and by rolling two different ten-sided dice numbered from 0 to 9.

One die designated before you roll gives the tens digit, and the other gives the ones digit. If you roll a 7 and a 1, for example, the number rolled is Two 0s represent Some ten-sided dice are numbered in tens 00, 10, 20, and so on , making it easier to distinguish the tens digit from the ones digit. In this case, a roll of 70 and 1 is 71, and 00 and 0 is When you need to roll dice, the rules tell you how many dice to roll of a certain type, as well as what modifiers to add.

To simulate the roll of 1d2, roll any die and assign a 1 or 2 to the roll depending on whether it was odd or even. Will the ogre believe an outrageous bluff? Can a character swim across a raging river?

Can a character avoid the main blast of a fireball, or does he or she take full damage from the blaze? Every character and monster in the game has capabilities defined by six ability scores.

The abilities are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, and they typically range from 3 to 18 for most adventurers. Monsters might have scores as low as 1 or as high as Ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws are the three main kinds of d20 rolls, forming the core of the rules of the game.

All three follow these simple steps. Roll the die and add a modifier. Roll a d20 and add the relevant modifier.

Apply circumstantial bonuses and penalties. A class feature, a spell, a particular circumstance, or some other effect might give a bonus or penalty to the check. Compare the total to a target number.

If the total equals or exceeds the target number, the ability check, attack roll, or saving throw is a success. The DM is usually the one who determines target numbers and tells players whether their ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws succeed or fail. The target number for an ability check or a saving throw is called a Difficulty Class DC. The target number for an attack roll is called an Armor Class AC.

Chapter 7 provides more detailed rules for using the d20 in the game.


A beginner’s guide to playing Dungeons and Dragons

Nevertheless, it grew rapidly in popularity, first among wargamers and then expanding to a more general audience of college and high school students. Roughly 1, copies of the game were sold in the first year followed by 3, in , and many more in the following years. TSR marketed them as an introductory game for new players and a more complex game for experienced ones; the Basic Set directed players who exhausted the possibilities of that game to switch to the advanced rules. John Eric Holmes , the editor of the basic game, preferred a lighter tone with more room for personal improvisation.



Wizards of the Coast Do you have to create a story from scratch? Wizards of the Coast also periodically publishes full campaigns that are either stand-alone adventures or part of a series. These assume that you have a regular group playing together frequently, because campaigns are meant to be played out over several weeks or months. For shorter one-off dungeons that can be finished in one sitting, you can check out the anthology Tales from the Yawning Portal. Do you want to run a serious, by-the-book campaign, or is there room to get silly and loose with the rules? No one expects you to have every spell and monster memorized.

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