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2- Playing the Game


Taking Action

Six abilities provide a quick description of a creature – These are always referenced when someone takes an action requiring a resolution with game mechanics:

  • Strength (Str) – Physical power
  • Dexterity (Dex) – Agility and speed
  • Constitution (Con) – Endurance &health
  • Intelligence (Int) – Reasoning and memory
  • Wisdom (Wis) – Perception and insight
  • Charisma (Cha) – Force of personality

The three main rolls of the game—the ability check, saving throw, and attack roll — all rely on these. In all three, you roll a d20, add an ability modifier and compare the total to a target number.

Ability Scores

Each ability has a score, reflecting innate capability, as well as training and competence, related to that ability. 10-11 is the human average. 18 is the highest a person usually reaches. Adventurers can have scores as high as 20, and monsters and divine beings as high as 30.

Each ability also has an ability modifier, derived from the score, ranging from 5 to +10.

To determine an ability’s modifier, subtract 10 and divide by 2 (round down).


At times, you can gain advantage or disadvantage on an ability check, saving throw, or attack roll. When that happens, roll a second d20.

Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage, and the lower if disadvantage.

For example: if you have disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17.

If multiple situations grants advantage or imposes disadvantage, you don’t roll more than one extra d20. If a roll has both advantage and disadvantage, you have neither, even if multiple circumstances impose disadvantage and only one grants advantage etc.

When you have advantage or disadvantage and something in the game, such as the Halfling’s Lucky trait, lets you reroll the d20, you reroll only one of the dice ( your choice).

Ability Checks

An ability check tests innate talent and training when overcoming a challenge.

The GM calls for an ability check when a character tries an action (other than attack) with a chance of failure. The GM decides which ability is relevant to the task and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class (DC). The more difficult a task, the higher its DC.

To make an ability check, roll 1d20, add the relevant ability modifier, proficiency bonus (if applicable) and any modifiers set by the GM. Compare the total to the DC. If it equals or exceeds it, the check is a success.

Typical DC Task Difficulty DC Trivial 4 Simple 7 Moderate 10 Hard 15 Formidable 20

Everyone Can Try Anything

When determining if your character can do a given task, the golden rule is as follows:

Everyone can, more or less, try anything.

Think of the baseline for a 1st level adventurer to be a young Indiana Jones, minus the archaeology bit, adjusted for attributes, background and class. In other words, never assume that you can’t do something because it is not on your sheet. Assume that you can because you’re an adventurer!

When Not To Roll

Checks should be used when there is some risk or, where failure would have a meaningful outcome – or if the degree of success is relevant. Unimportant tasks can often succeed without a roll.

If a player can credibly explain how they solve a situation, the GM may also permit them to just succeed. In such cases, the GM may opt to roll only to determine degree of success.

For example, a character gives a rock-solid pitch to an Npc to improve his initial reaction. The GM decides a bad roll shouldn’t be able to ruin that, and doesn’t roll any dice.

Optional Rule: Success at a Cost

Sometimes a failed roll does little to advance play. Or the player ought to automatically succeed, but a roll is still made to see how successful it was. In such situations, the GM may decide to let a failed roll be successful at a cost, relative to how badly the dice rolled,

If trying to pick a lock, perhaps the picks break as it opens, or perhaps the guard is persuaded to open the gate, but reports it to his superior.

Passive Checks

A passive check is an ability check without rolls, and thus also considered a score. It can be used for average results or if the GM wants to determine an outcome without rolling dice, such as noticing hidden monsters.

The total for a passive score is determined like this: 10 + all modifiers that normally apply. If the character has advantage on the check, add 5.

For disadvantage, subtract 5.


When one character’s or monster’s efforts are directly opposed to another’s, the outcome is determined by a special ability check – A contest.

Both participants make appropriate ability checks and compare their totals. The participant with the higher total wins. If the contest is a tie, the situation remains the same as it was before the contest.

Working Together

Sometimes two or more characters team up to attempt a task. The character who’s leading the effort—or the one with the highest ability modifier—can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other characters.

In combat, this requires the Help action. A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could meaningfully attempt alone or offer qualified assistance to.

A character can help only when two or more working together would actually be productive. Some tasks, such as threading a needle, are no easier with help.

Group Checks

When a group are is trying something collectively, the GM may ask for a group ability check. In such situations, the characters who are skilled at a given task help cover those who aren’t. To make a group ability check, everyone in the group makes the ability check.

If at least half the group succeeds, the whole group succeeds. Otherwise, the group fails.

For Contests involving group checks, the median result of everyone’s totals is used to compare against.

Using Ability Scores

Any task someone might attempt in the game is covered by one of the six abilities.

Strength (Str)

Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and exerting raw physical force.

Strength Checks

A Str check can model any attempt to lift, push, pull, or break something and difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include the following activities:

  • Attempting to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, cling to a surface when someone tries to knock you off
  • Trying to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt mid-jump
  • Struggling to swim in stormy waves or a creature trying to pull you underwater
  • Forcing open a stuck, locked, or barred door
  • Keeping a boulder from rolling

Attack Rolls And Damage

You add your Str modifier to your attack and damage roll when attacking with melee weapons and thrown ranged weapons.

Lifting And Carrying

Carrying Capacity. Your max capacity at which you can still move= # stones (15 lb) equal to your Str score.

Carrying more than 1/3 of that number of stones (round down) counts as Encumbered and 2/3 (round down) as Heavily Encumbered.

When Encumbered, lower your combat speed by 5 feet and your travel pace by one.

When Heavily Encumbered,lower combat speed by 10 feet and travel pace by two..

You can Push, Drag, or Lift. up to twice your carrying capacity in pounds. Your speed drops to 5 feet.

Size and Strength. For each size category above Medium, double carrying capacity and the amount one can push, drag, or lift. For a Tiny creature, halve these weights.

Constitution (Con)

Constitution measures health, stamina, vital force.

Constitution Checks

Con checks are rare as the endurance it represents is more passive than a specific effort. A Con check can model attempts to push beyond normal limits.

The GM might ask for a Con check for the following

  • Hold your breath
  • March or labor for hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Quaff an entire stein of ale in one go

Hit Points

You add your Con modifier to each Hit Die rolled for hp. If your Con modifier changes, your hp maximum also does, as though you had it from 1st level.

Dexterity (Dex)

Dexterity measures agility, reflexes, and balance.

Dexterity Checks

A Dex check can model any attempt to move nimbly, quickly, or quietly, or to keep from falling. The GM might call for a Dex check when trying to:

  • Stay on your feet when walking a tightrope
  • Acts of legerdemain
  • Perform acrobatic stunts, dives and flips.
  • Craft a small or detailed object
  • Lift a coin purse off another person
  • Disable a trap
  • Attempt to conceal yourself from enemies
  • Play a stringed instrument

Attack Rolls And Damage

Dex modifier adds to attack and damage rolls when attacking with a ranged weapon or a melee weapon with the finesse property.

Armor Class (AC)

You might add some or all your Dex modifier to AC.


You roll initiative with a Dex check.


When you try to hide, make a Dex (Stealth) check. Until you are discovered or stop hiding, that check’s total is contested by Wis (Perception) checks of any creatures actively searching for your presence, else their Passive Perception.

Passive Perception. The GM compares your Dex (Stealth) check with a creature’s Passive Perception to see if it notices you without trying: (10 + Wis modifier + any bonuses/penalties). If the creature has advantage, add 5. If disadvantage, subtract 5.

You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly.

You reveal yourself if you make noise, like shouting or knocking over a vase.

An invisible creature can always try to hide, though it does have to stay quiet.

In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you.

In certain circumstances, the GM might let you to stay hidden as you approach a distracted creature, granting you advantage on an attack roll before you’re seen.

What Can You See? One of the main factors in whether you can spot a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be obscured (see “Adventuring”).

Intelligence (Int)

Intelligence measures mental acuity, accuracy of recall, and the ability to reason.

Intelligence Checks

An Int check may be used when drawing on logic, education, memory or deduction.

The GM might call for an Int check for…

  • Recalling lore about things such as:
    • Spells, magic items or other planes
    • Historical events, ancient kingdoms
    • Terrain, plants and animals
    • Deities, rites and religious hierarchies, –A craft or trade

Looking around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, such as:

  • Deducing locations of hidden objects
  • Discerning what kind of weapon dealt a wouns
  • Determining the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse
  • Communicate with a creature without words
  • Estimate the value of a precious item
  • Pull together a disguise to pass as a city guard
  • Win a game of skill

Spellcasting Ability

Wizards use Int as their spellcasting ability to determine the saving throw DCs of spells.

Wisdom (Wis)

Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to yourself and the world around you; your intuition and perceptiveness; awareness of your surroundings and keenness of your senses.

Wisdom Checks

A Wis check might reflect reading body language, understanding someone’s feelings, noticing things about the environment, or caring for the injured.

The GM might call for a Wis check when you try to accomplish tasks like the following:

  • Spot, hear, or detect the presence of something.
  • Calming down a domesticated animal
  • Intuiting an animal’s intentions
  • Controlling a mount during a risky maneuver
  • Determining someone’s true intentions, detect a lie or predicting someone’s next move, by gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms
  • Trying to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness
  • Following tracks and hunting wild game
  • Guiding your group through frozen wastelands
  • Identifying signs that owlbears live nearby
  • Predicting the weather
  • Avoiding quicksand and other natural hazards
  • A gut feeling on what course of action to follow
  • Discerning whether a seemingly dead or living creature is undead

Spellcasting Ability

Druids and Clerics use Wisdom as their spellcasting ability, which helps determine the saving throw DCs of spells they cast.


Perception is the ability to instinctively spot, hear or perceive the presence of something.

Being an adventurer and living a life of danger simply hones the keenness of the senses and raises general awareness of your surroundings to a degree that any character with a class and level always has proficiency in this area.

Charisma (Cha)

Charisma measures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes confidence and eloquence, and can represent force of personality.

Charisma Checks

A Cha check might arise when you try to influence or entertain others, make an impression, tell a convincing lie, or when you are navigating a tricky social situation.

The GM might call for a Cha check for:

  • Hiding the truth; from misleading others through ambiguity to telling outright lies.
  • Attempting to influence someone through overt threats, hostile actions, and physical violence.
  • Delighting an audience with music, dance, acting, storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.
  • Attempting to influence someone or a group of people with tact, social graces, or good nature in good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette.
  • Find the best person to talk to for news, rumors, and gossip
  • Blend into a crowd to get the sense of key topics of conversation

Spellcasting Ability

Elves and sorcerers use Cha as their spellcasting ability to determine the DCs of spells.


You always add your Proficiency Bonus when rolling to succeed in a task you are proficient with. Depending on circumstance, you may also receive Proficiency Advantage or Disadvantage on such rolls.

Proficiency Bonus

Your proficiency bonus can be added to a single die roll or other number only once. Occasionally, your proficiency bonus might be multiplied or divided (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it (For example: the rogue’s Mastery feature).

If a circumstance suggests your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once.

If a feature or effect multiplies proficiency bonus for an ability check you wouldn’t normally add your proficiency bonus to, you still don’t add it to the check.

In general, you don’t multiply your proficiency bonus for attack rolls or saving throws. If a feature or effect allows you to do so, the same rules apply.

Proficiency Areas Characters have Proficiency Areas, determined by their class and background, that give proficiency to tasks the GM determines to fall under these areas.

Proficiency Advantage

In situations where the GM determines that you are not in a highly stressful situation (such as combat or similar high stakes scenes) and you have adequate time and means to perform a task you are proficient in, you always roll with advantage in addition to adding your proficiency bonus to the roll.

For example: sitting in a tavern and rolling to recall that trolls regenerate quickly could grant proficiency advantage–but not when recalling that fire is helpful against trolls in the heat of fighting a troll! Split second or passive checks such as rolling to hear a sound also would not give proficiency advantage.

Proficiency Disadvantage

Although as a rule anyone can try anything, a few tasks, such as playing an instrument, are exceptionally difficult without training. Attempting these without proficiency is always done with disadvantage.

Proficiently Reliable

If you attempt a task you have proficiency with and are neither threatened nor distracted, you automatically succeed, without a roll, if the DC is 10 or less.

Adjudicating Proficiency Areas

Since proficiency areas are rather broad, some GMs may find it hard to determine when to give proficiency or not – It may even devolve into hard negotiating sessions where players constantly argue for why their background should make them proficient in just about anything tangentially related to it.

In the end, the GM is the final arbiter; but a rule of thumb to use is this: If a proficiency area could grant proficiency, it probably doesn’t. If you feel it should, it does. In other words, the defining aspects of an area give proficiency, not periphery tasks that one could imagine might have seen use under that area.

Nonetheless, it will not be terribly unbalancing either if the GM errs on the side of granting proficiency. The Bounded Accuracy of the game means that bonuses from being proficient are roughly in the same ballpark as being naturally talented (high ability score). Some GMs may even encourage players‘ to argue for proficiency as a way of developing their character.

At any rate, remember: Not having proficiency has no bearing on your ability to try it anyway!

Saving Throws

A saving throw—also called a save—represents an attempt to resist a spell, a poison or similar threat.

To make a saving throw, roll a d20 add proficiency bonus and the appropriate ability modifier (plus any situational bonuses or penalties determined by the GM)

The Difficulty Class (DC) for a saving throw is determined by the effect causing it.

The result of a successful or failed save is also detailed in the effect that allows the save.

Phases of Play

The GM determines the time a task takes and uses a different time scale depending on which phase of play is in use, each covered in the following sections:

Combat Rounds

In combat and other fast-paced situations, the game relies on rounds, a 6-second span of time.

Exploration Segment

In the dungeon or during exploration, action is resolved at a scale of segments, typically 10 minutes.

A segment is the time it takes to sneak down a long hallway; to check for traps on the door at the end of the hall; to take a short rest; or to search the chamber.


A scale of Watches (4 hours) or Hours is used to track overland Journeys.


Downtime, such as researching, social canvassing or carousing for XP, uses a scale of weeks.

Combat Movement

Movement at the scale of rounds is measured in feet. Your speed equals the feet one can cover in 1 round, assuming short bursts of energetic movement. It can also be seen as your “quick march” or scuttling speed.


When Encumbered, lower your combat speed by 5 feet. When Heavily Encumbered, lower it by 10 feet.

Difficult Terrain

Adventurers often fight in dense forests, deep swamps, and icy ground—all considered difficult terrain.

You move at half speed in difficult terrain in combat — 1 foot in difficult terrain costs 2 feet of speed.


Strength determines how far you can jump. Long Jump. When making a long jump, you cover a number of feet up to your Str score if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump.

From a standing long jump, you can leap half that. Either way, each foot jumped costs a foot of movement.

This assumes the jump’s height doesn’t matter, such as across a chasm. Your GM’s may require a DC 10 Str check to clear a low obstacle (no taller than a quarter of the jump), such as a hedge.

When you land in difficult terrain, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dex check to land on your feet or fall prone.

High Jump. When making a high jump, you leap a number of feet equal to 3 + Str modifier if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump.

You can jump half that from a standing high jump. Either way, each foot jumped costs a foot of movement.

In some circumstances, your GM might allow you to make a Str check to jump higher than normal.

Climbing and Swimming

Each foot of climbing or swimming movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain), unless you have a climbing or swimming speed. The GM may require a Str check for a difficult climb or waters.


A creature can hold its breath for 1 + Con modifier minutes (minimum 30 seconds).

When out of breath or choking, it can survive for rounds equal to its Con modifier (minimum 1 round). At the start of its next turn, it drops to 0 hit points and is dying. It can’t regain hit points or be stabilized until it can breathe again.


Falls of 10 feet or more cause 1d6 damage for every 10 feet fallen (max 20d6). The faller also lands prone.

Travel Pace

Outside of combat, both during Exploration Segments and Journeys, characters use a Travel Pace rather than Combat Speed. Baseline Travel Pace is Normal. Consult the Pacing Modifiers table for adjustments, then determine Travel Pace on the table below.

Travel Pace [Hex-Crawls] [Point-Crawls] Pace Feet/segment1-mile hex6-mile hex Miles/Watch Miles/Hour Fast 3000 15 min ?Watch154~ Normal240020 min½ Watch123 Moderate180030 min¾ Watch92.25 Slow120040 min1 Watch61.5 Very Slow9001 hour1.5 Watch4.51~ Slowest6001 hour, 20 min2 Watches30.75

PCs with a move of 25 feet travel at same pace as those with 30 feet move, but their maximum pace is Normal.

Pacing Modifiers

Condition Description Pace Modifier Scuttling -5 on Passive (Wis) Perception checks.

One pace faster

Scouting Active Perception One pace slower Skulking Able to use stealth One pace slower Bad Weather Storm, heavy rain One pace slower Encumbered Carrying more than 1/3 of Str in stone One pace slower Heavily Encumbered Carrying more than 2/3 of Str in stone Two paces slower Special Movement Climbing, crawling, swimming Two paces slower Difficult Terrain Crossing swamp, jungle, mountains Two paces slower

Pace modifiers are cumulative. A Scuttling Encumbered character in Difficult Terrain travels at Very Slow pace. Modifiers can wary between the group. An unencumbered character may travel cautiously and meticulously, quietly skulking and scouting ahead, but traveling at the same slow pace as its heavily encumbered companions further back.

If conditions say to move slower when using the Slowest track, use the Slowest track.


If you get (or get away from) somewhere in a hurry. Scuttling is incompatible with skulking and scouting.


In cases where passive Wis (perception) is too low to spot something, Scouting lets you make an active roll for Wis (perception) to spot details or hiding creatures. Multiple people Scouting can Work Together on it.


Skulking lets you move quietly without attracting undue attention and allowing for surprise attacks. Multiple people Skulking can opt to make a group check.

Bad Weather

Storms, heavy rains and similar will slow down overland journeys. Usually doesn’t apply to Segments.

Encumbered and Heavily Encumbered

See Lifting and Carrying as well as Measuring Encumbrance [B1, p.40] for more detail on how encumbrance and heavy encumbrance work.

Special Movement

See previous page on Climbing and Swimming for more detail. Usually not applicable to Journeys.

Difficult Terrain

See previous page on Difficult Terrain for more detail.

Exploration Segment

A Segment isn’t an exact time measure, but a fluid unit defined as the time for a PC to perform one significant action. The actual time of a segment can vary from 5 to 15 minutes (GM’s call) but averages 10 minutes.

Exploration Pace

The standard pace in dungeons, Exploration Pace, is Slow (1200 ft/segment) – this entails walking carefully, quietly and attentively; basically scouting and skulking.

This allows for mapping, or passive perception checks to spot signs of traps and secret doors, as well as opposed perception vs stealth groups rolls to see who discovers who first in case of encounters. Common dungeon actions lasting a segment include:

Searching For Traps and Secret Doors

If a PC wants to make an ability check for a more thorough search than the signs given while scouting, this takes a full segment.

Picking or Forcing Open a Locked Door

Picking a lock or similar, such as disabling a trap, as well as forcing open such a door, takes a segment.

Taking a Short Rest

See page 12 for more on lengths and use of short rests.


Regardless of how long a fight takes, the intensity of a combat encounter means it always takes one segment.

Searching a Room

Doing a full sweep of a room to search for valuables, hidden sections etc. takes 1 segment.

Vision and Light

Seeing conditions are most common during the exploration phase, but can occasionally also be relevant in combat or during overland journeys.


In lightly obscured areas, like dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wis (Perception) checks relying on sight.

A heavily obscured area—such as darkness, or dense fog or foliage—blocks vision fully. Effectively causing the blinded condition (see “Conditions”) when trying to see.


Bright light lets most creatures see normally. Even gloomy days provide bright light, as do torches and fires to a range.

Dim light, or shadows, creates a lightly obscured area, usually a boundary between a source of bright light, such as a torch, and surrounding darkness.

Twilight and dawn also counts as dim light. A bright full moon might also bathe the land in dim light.

Darkness creates a heavily obscured area. Darkness happens at night (even most moonlit nights), within an unlit dungeon, or in areas of magical darkness.


A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without sight, within a specific radius. Creatures without eyes, such as oozes, and creatures with echolocation or heightened senses, such as bats and true dragons, have this sense.


Many creatures in fantasy gaming worlds, especially those that dwell underground, have darkvision. Within a specified range, darkvision let’s one see in darkness as if it were dim light. However, the creature can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.


Out to a specific range, Truesight can see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions and succeed on saves against them, perceive the original form of a shapechanger or magically transformed creature, and see into the Ethereal Plane.


Travel is perilous. The wilderlands are lawless and full of monsters and most common people never travel more than a few miles from the confines of their village.

Knowledge of the world beyond the local community usually only comes from traders who can afford protection, rootless wayfarers and soldiers of fortune.

Undertaking a Journey means moving from a scale of minutes and feet to a scale of hours, miles and days. The GM may decide to use Hex- or Point-crawling, though the former is the assumed default mode.

Exploring On Journeys

The Scouting action allows one of the following actions instead of making active Wis (perception) rolls:

  • Hunting/Foraging for food and water
  • Finding a specific site or a secure shelter
  • Tracking a creature through the hex
  • Exploring a hex for encounters or sites

Managing Food and Water

Depending on rations, PCs may wish to go foraging for food and water. See also “Food and Water”.

Managing Time

Besides food and water, time is the primary resource to manage on overland journeys.

A traveling day is tracked by 6 watches of 4 hours each. Normally, deciding actions for each watch is granular enough, though sometimes managing hours applies.

The normal amount of travel time in a day is 2 watches (8 hours), as is the nightly rest time, with 1 ‘miscellaneous’ watch used for meals, breaks, making and breaking camp and so forth. The final ‘free’ watch, usually after dusk, can be spent as the party likes.

Forced March Characters can force march the ‘free‘ watch, but will suffer one level of exhaustion and must make a DC 13 Con save or suffer another level.

If tracking hours instead of watches, these respectively happen during the 1st and 3rd hours of forced march.


Hex-crawling is a way to change players’ relation with the wilderness from “scenes along a line from point A to B”, to an open-ended game of exploration, where you pass through discrete “areas of interest”, hexes, to explore along the way. It’s a tool to help make the journey as interesting as the destination. A hex is always entered through a side and treated atomically; ie. it doesn’t matter where exactly the party is in the hex, nor are partial moves used. If you don’t have time to cover the next hex, you can’t enter it.

Likewise, the terrain given for a hex only reflects its primary terrain. A mountain hex may well have forest valleys as well. Nonetheless, for the purposes of pace, encounters, etc. it is treated as mountainous terrain.

The 6-mile Hex

The 6-mile hex is the standard for overland travel. At sea level, the horizon is 3 miles away. Meaning in clear terrain, a person can see the edge of a hex from its center. This gives the 6-mile hex a good intuitive marker for a character’s maximum sphere of impressions.

The 1-mile Hex

Sometimes, the 1-mile hex is used for shorter distances where the journey is still meant to be full and engaging. For example, traveling from the local village to find a lost temple in the nearby wilds. At this scale, time is tracked in hours instead of watches.


Point-crawling overland, in contrast to the 360-degree ‘zone-of-interest’ exploration style of hexcrawling, is about charting your journey from one point to another.

This isn’t limited to the start- and endpoint of the journey. Often, there will be many points along the way, and decisions to make on which points to pass through on towards a final destination; with the routes between points defining the length and nature of the journey.

The Fellowship of the Ring’s decision between passing over the pass of Caradhras or under the mountains into Moria is a good example of a point-crawl journey, whilst the hobbits and Aragorn’s journey through the wild lands of Eriador reflects a hexcrawl.


Downtime is significant part of this system where longterm goals can be actualized, and gold retrieved from adventures can be spent to earn XP.

Gold For XP

Gold can be spent to gain XP at a rate of 1 gp = 1 XP.

Only valuables considered “treasure”, such as gold or jewels, that could be offered as payment, brought back from adventuring is eligible (NOT statues, or monster armor.

In order to gain the XP, it must be spent before the next adventure. Expenditure requiring a new quest to spend it, is exempt from this rule) and spent in certain ways.

The rule for how to spend it is: Frivolously.

This means anything that does not directly improve your PC other than socially or similar. Gold spent on new armor, or a spell scroll, can’t be converted. But gold spent on ale, partying, charity, or ordering rare spices from across the sea can.

Below are some suggestions for expenditures to earn XP. Adventurers who come into great wealth may have to leave the borderlands for a quest to the city to be able to spend all their loot!

The GM has full rules and costs for how to go about all these as well as the outcomes.

Lifestyle Expenses

You can “pre-pay” up to a year of lifestyle expenses, though it will only apply for the settlement paid in. Not all lifestyles are available in all settlements. In villages, Comfortable is typically the highest, in towns Wealthy. Cities tend to have no limit.


The cost of carousing depends on the social class you carouse with. You must be already paying the lifestyle costs (or higher) of the class you are carousing with. Minimum cost of carousing is lifestyle cost x 5/day. The maximum is limited by the highest lifestyle available and number of days the settlement has suitable resources on hand to sustain your carousing.

Sowing a Tenor

The socially savvy can also spend downtime to spread rumors, tales, ideas or opinions among the masses.

The number of days depends on the size of the community (Village 2d6, Town 4d6, City 6d6). The time must be continuous, else the tenor fades without benefit. You must spend at least 1gp/day to cover drinks, etc. and can spend up to the cost of carousing.

Philanthropy and Religious Sacrifice

You may spend as much as you like on philanthropy. The poor and their sympathizers will likely respond well to you. You may also attract unwanted attention.

Religious Sacrifice is similar, but improves reactions from those devoted to your religion. People of rival or hostile religions may resent you for your pious display.

Social Canvassing

Social canvassing involves making appearances and suitable donations in exchange for favors or influence within a specific circle, network or organization.

After 2d20 days, make a DC 13 Cha check, applying relevant proficiency bonus for savoir-faire or trade talk, depending on the type of faction canvassed.


Research can be anything from determining the location of a legendary magic item, discovering which wizard has the spell you are dying to add to your spellbook and what he might want in exchange for it, to finding out how to burgle the tower of a noble or what makes the local mayor tick.

The GM determines if the information is available, how many days it will take to find it, and whether there are any restrictions or costs on your research.

Rest and Recovery

Adventurers need rest—time to sleep, eat, tend their wounds. Adventurers can take short rests in the midst of a day and a long rest to end the day.

Short Rest

During a short rest a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending wounds. One third of a daily ration of food and water must be consumed during the rest to gain any benefits.

A PC can expend 1 Hit Die at the end of a short rest to recover hit points. The player rolls the die, adds its Con modifier and regain hit points equal to the total.

Using a healing kit during a short rest allows an extra Hit Die to be expended in this way

Any hit dice left can be spent during other Short Rests. A character regains spent Hit Dice through long rest, as explained below.

Long Rest

A long rest is an extended downtime period during which a character sleeps or performs light activity: reading, talking, eating, or standing watch for no more than 2 hours. If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity—fighting, 1 hour of walking, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity—the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it.

At the end of a long rest, a character regains one spent Hit Die, up to the character’s maximum number of Hit Dice (= character’s level).

A character may also elect to as many spend hit dice as he wishes at the end of a long rest, as per the rules for short rest above. Hit dice spent like this are rolled with advantage.

A character can’t benefit from more than one long rest in a 24-hour period, and must have at least 1 hit point at the start of the rest to gain its benefits. Going a full 24 hours without performing the requirements for a long rest causes a level exhaustion, which can’t be removed until the character gains the benefits of a successful long rest.

Food and Water

Characters who don’t eat or drink risk exhaustion. Exhaustion from lack of food or water can’t be removed until the character eats and drinks the full required amount.


A character needs one pound of food per day. Eating half a pound of food in a day counts as half a day without food.

A character going without food for a day can not benefit from short rests.

A character going without food for a number of days equal to 3 + Con modifier (minimum 1) automatically suffers one level of exhaustion at the end of each day beyond that limit and can not benefit from long rests. A normal day of eating resets the count of days to zero.


A character needs one gallon of water a day (two gallons per day if the weather is hot).

A character who drinks only half that much can’t benefit from short rests and must succeed on a DC 15 Con save or suffer a level of exhaustion at the end of the day.

A character who drinks even less automatically suffers one level of exhaustion at the end of the day and can not benefit from long rests.

If a character already has levels of exhaustion, it takes two levels in either case.


Conditions alter a creature’s capabilities in a variety of ways and can arise as a result of a spell, a class feature, a monster’s attack, or other effect.

A condition lasts either until it is countered (being prone is countered by standing up, for example) or for a duration specified by the imposing effect.

If multiple effects impose the same condition on a creature, each instance of the condition has its own duration, but the condition’s effects don’t get worse.


  • You can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage, and your attack rolls have disadvantage.


  • You can’t attack the charmer or target the charmer with harmful abilities.
  • The charmer has advantage on any ability check to interact socially with you.


  • You can’t hear and automatically fail any ability check that requires hearing.


Exhaustion is measured in six levels. An effect can give one or more levels.

If an exhausted creature suffers another effect causing exhaustion, its current level of exhaustion increases by that amount.

You suffer the effect of its current level of exhaustion as well as all lower levels.

An effect that removes exhaustion reduces its level as specified in the effect’s description, with all exhaustion effects ending if a creature’s exhaustion level is reduced below 1.

Finishing a long rest reduces a creature’s exhaustion level by 1, provided that the creature has also ingested food and drink.


  • You have disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of fear is within line of sight.
  • You can’t willingly move closer to the source of fear.


  • Your speed becomes 0, and can’t benefit from any bonus to your speed.
  • The condition ends if the grappler is incapacitated (see the condition).
  • The condition also ends if an effect removes the grappled creature from the reach of the grappler or grappling effect.


  • You can’t take actions or reactions.

Exhaustion lvl Effect1 Disadvantage on ability checks2 Speed halved3 Disadvantage on attack rolls and saves4 Hit point maximum halved5 Speed reduced to 06 Death


  • You can’t be seen without the aid of magic or a special sense. For the purpose of hiding, it is heavily obscured. Your location can be detected by any noise it makes or any tracks it leaves.
  • Attack rolls against you have disadvantage, and your attack rolls have advantage.


  • You’re incapacitated (see the condition) and can’t move or speak.
  • You automatically fail Str and Dex saves.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage.
  • Any attack that hits you is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of you.


  • You’re transformed, along with any nonmagical object you’re wearing or carrying, into a solid in-animate substance (usually stone). Your weight increases by a factor of 10 and you cease aging.
  • You’re incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and are unaware of your surroundings.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage.
  • You automatically fails Str and Dex saves.
  • You have resistance to all damage.
  • You’re immune to poison and disease, although a poison or disease already in its system is suspended, not neutralized.


  • You have disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.


  • Your only movement option is to crawl, unless you stand up and thereby ends the condition.
  • You have disadvantage on attack rolls.
  • An attack roll against you has advantage if the attacker is within 5 feet of you. Else, the attack roll has disadvantage.


  • You speed becomes 0, and it can’t benefit from any bonus to your speed.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage, and your rolls have disadvantage.
  • You have disadvantage on Dex saving throws.


  • You’re incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move, and can speak only falteringly.
  • You automatically fail Str and Dex saves.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage.


  • You’re incapacitated (see the condition), can’t move or speak, and are unaware of your surroundings
  • You whatever you’re holding and fall prone.
  • You automatically fail Str and Dex saves.
  • Attack rolls against you have advantage.
  • Any attack that hits you is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of you.



The Combat Round

A typical combat encounter is a clash between two sides, a flurry of weapon swings, feints, parries, footwork, and spellcasting. The game organizes the chaos of combat into a cycle of rounds and turns.

A round represents 6 seconds in the game world.

During a round, each participant takes a turn.

The order of turns is determined at the beginning of a combat encounter, when everyone rolls initiative.

Once everyone has taken a turn, the fight continues to the next round if neither side is defeated.

Combat Step by Step

  • Distance and Position The GM determines distance and where everyone are located.
  • Surprise The GM determines whether anyone involved is surprised. Each side acts and react to one another. If either side attacks, proceed to step 3.
  • Initiative Everyone rolls initiative to determine the order of turns for each participant.
  • Turns Each participant in the battle takes a turn in initiative order.
  • New Round When everyone has had a turn, the round ends and a new one can commence.


Repeat step 4 and 5 until the fighting stops.


The GM determines who are surprised. Any side that isn’t Skulking is noticed by the other by default.

Else, the GM compares the Dex (Stealth) of the skulker (Use a group check if a group is skulking) with the passive Wis (Perception) score of each opponent.

Those that don’t notice a threat are surprised. You can be surprised even if the rest of your allies aren’t.

Anyone working together on Scouting uses the Wis (Perception) score of the one leading the effort. If you’re surprised, you can’t move or take an action on your first turn of the encounter, and you can’t take a reaction until after your first turn ends.


At the start of an encounter, each participant makes a Dex check to find their place in the initiative order.

The GM makes one roll for groups of identical creatures so each member of the group acts at the same time.

The GM ranks the combatants in order from highest Dex check total to the lowest. This is the initiative order in which they act during each round.

If a tie occurs, the players decide the order among their tied characters. The GM always decides the order where GM-controlled creatures are involved.

Optionally, the GM can have tied combatants each roll a d20, highest roll going first.

The order remains the same from round to round; unless a combatant, on his turn, decides to delay his initiative to later in the round to go after someone else.

He will then take his turn on the new initiative. The new order then remains the same in the following rounds.

Note: This is different from Readying an action for later in the round depending on a trigger – A Ready action does not affect your order of initiative and allows you to act before something specific happens.

Your Turn

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed and take one action. You decide whether to move first or take your action first.

See the “Actions in Combat” section for the most common actions taken in combat. Some class features provide additional options for your action.

The “Movement and Position” section gives rules for your move.

You can forgo moving, taking an action, or doing anything at all on your turn.

Bonus Actions

You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action.

The Cunning Action feature, For example: allows a rogue to take a bonus action.

You otherwise don’t have a bonus action to take.

You can take only one bonus action on your turn, so you must choose which bonus action to use when you have more than one available.

You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless its timing is specified.

Anything that deprives you of your ability to take an action also prevents you from taking bonus actions.

Other Activity On Your Turn

Your turn can include a variety of flourishes that require neither your action nor your move.

You can communicate however you are able, through brief utterances and gestures, on your turn.

You can interact with an object for free, during either your move or action (See “Interacting with Objects”)

If you want to interact with a second object, you need to use an action. Some magic items and other special objects always require an action to use.

The GM may call for an action if it needs special care or presents a special obstacle.

For instance, the GM require use of an action to open a stuck door or turn a crank to lower a drawbridge.


Certain special abilities, spells, and situations, or taking a Ready action, let you take a reaction, an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else’s. Opportunity attacks, is the most common reaction.

When you take a reaction, you can’t take another one until the start of your next turn. If the reaction interrupts another creature’s turn, that creature can continue its turn right after the reaction.

Action Summary

On his turn, a character can:

  • Move his speed and take one Action and interact with an object or speak briefly
  • possibly take a Bonus Action
  • possibly take a Reaction.

Common Actions

  • Attack
  • Cast a spell
  • Dash
  • Disengage
  • Dodge
  • Help
  • Hide
  • Ready
  • Search
  • Use an Object

Uncommon Actions

  • A special action gained from a class or special feature
  • An improvised action

Actions in Combat

You can take one of the actions here, an action from a class or special feature, or an Improvised Action.


The Attack action lets you make a melee or ranged attack. See the “Making an Attack” section later. Some features, such as the fighter’s Extra Attack, let you to make more than one attack with this action.

Cast a Spell

Most spells have a casting time of 1 action. Those that do not specify whether the caster must use a bonus action, reaction, minutes, or hours to cast the spell.


The Dash action grants extra movement equal to your speed, after applying modifiers, for this turn. Any increase or decrease to your speed changes this additional movement by the same amount. If your speed of 30 feet is reduced to 15 feet, for instance, you can move up to 30 feet this turn if you dash.


Your movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks for the rest of the turn.


Until the start of your next turn, any attack roll against you has disadvantage if you can see the attacker, and you make Dex saves with advantage.

You lose this benefit if you are incapacitated (see “Conditions”, p.15) or if your speed drops to 0.


When taking the Help action, the creature aided gains advantage on the next ability check it makes to perform the task you are helping with, provided it makes the check before the start of your next turn.

Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage.


Make a Dex (Stealth) check, following the rules for hiding. If you succeed, you gain the benefits described in the “Unseen Attackers and Targets” section below.


A Ready action on your turn lets you use your reaction before the start of your next turn.

First, you decide what perceivable circumstance will trigger your reaction. Then, you choose the action you will take in response to that trigger, or you choose to move up to your speed in response to it.

Example: “If the ogre steps next to me, I move away.”

When the trigger occurs, you can take your reaction right after the trigger finishes or ignore the trigger.

Remember you can only take one reaction pr round.

When you ready a spell, you cast it as normal, but release it with your reaction when the trigger occurs.

To ready a spell it must have a casting time of 1 action. Holding a spell’s magic requires concentration. If it is broken, the spell dissipates without taking effect.


When you take the Search action, you devote your attention to finding something. Depending on the nature of the search, the GM might call for a Wis (Perception) check or an Int check.

Use An Object

You normally interact with an object while doing something else, such as drawing a sword as part of an attack. When an object requires your action for its use, such as drinking a magic potion, you take the Use an Object action. This action is also useful when you want to interact with more than one object on your turn.

Interacting with Objects

Here are a few examples of what you can do in tandem with your move and action:

  • draw or sheathe a sword
  • open or close a door
  • withdraw a potion from your backpack
  • take a bauble from a table
  • remove a ring from your finger
  • plant a banner in the ground
  • drink all the ale in a flagon
  • throw a lever or a switch
  • pull a torch from a sconce
  • extinguish a small flame
  • don a mask
  • put your ear to a door
  • turn a key in a lock
  • hand an item to another character

Improvised Actions In Combat

Far from all actions possible in combat are covered by the above. Players should feel free to be inventive and try new stunts or stratagems in combat. There may be no pre-defined rules for breaking swords or dirty tricks, but that doesn’t mean you can not try to do it! When you improvise an action, the GM decides possible outcomes and what roll to make.

Remember – Fighters are proficient in all aspects of combat – They add their proficiency bonus to improvised stunts as well!

Making AN Attack

An attack has a simple structure.

  • Choose a target within your attack’s range: a creature, an object, or a location.
  • Determine modifiers. Cover, advantage or disadvantage, special effects and other conditions as determined by the GM.
  • Make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the attack has rules that specify otherwise.


Attack Rolls

To make an attack roll, roll a d20 and add the appropriate modifiers. If the total plus modifiers equals or exceeds the target’s Armor Class (AC), the attack hits.

Modifiers To The Roll

The two most common modifiers to an attack roll roll are an ability modifier and proficiency bonus. A monster makes an attack roll, using whatever modifier is provided in its stat block.

Ability Modifier. The ability modifier used for a melee weapon attack is Strength, and the one used for a ranged weapon attack is Dexterity. Weapons that have the finesse or thrown property break this rule.

The ability modifier used for a spell attack depends on the spellcasting ability of the spellcaster.

Proficiency Bonus. You add your proficiency bonus to your attack roll when you attack using a weapon with which you have proficiency, as well as when you attack with a spell.

Rolling 1 Or 20

Sometimes fate blesses or curses a combatant, causing the novice to hit and the veteran to miss. If the attack roll is a natural 20, the attack always hits. This is called a critical hit (explained later). If the attack roll is a natural 1, it always misses.

Melee Attacks

A melee attack allows you to attack a foe within your reach.

Most creatures have a 5-foot reach and can thus attack targets within 5 feet of them when making a melee attack. Certain creatures (typically those larger than Medium).

Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an unarmed strike: a punch, kick or similar forceful blow (which don’t count as weapons). On a hit, an unarmed strike deals bludgeoning damage equal to 1 + Str modifier. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes.

Opportunity Attacks

When a hostile creature that you can see moves out of your reach, you can use your reaction to make one melee attack against the provoking creature. This opportunity attack occurs right before the creature leaves your reach.

You can avoid provoking an opportunity attack by taking the Disengage action. You also don’t provoke an opportunity attack when teleporting or when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction.

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon held in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon held in the other hand.

You don’t add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon instead of making a melee attack.

Contests in Combat

Battle often means pitting your prowess against your foe’s. Such a challenge is represented by a contest. This section includes the most common contests in combat: grappling and shoving a creature. The GM can use these contests as models for improvising others.

Grappling and Shoving

When you want to grapple or shove a foe, you can use an Attack action to make a special melee attack. If you have extra attacks, this replaces one of them. The target must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within reach.

Instead of making an attack roll, you make a Str check contested by the target’s Str or Dex check (the target chooses which).

Grappling a Foe

You must have at least one free hand.

If you succeed, you subject the target to the grappled condition (see “Conditions”). You can release the target whenever you like (no action required).

Escaping a Grapple

A grappled creature can use an action to escape by making a Str or Dex check contested by your Str check.

Moving a Grappled Creature. When you move, you can drag or carry a grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.

Shoving a Creature

If you win the contest, you knock the target prone or push it 5 feet away from you.

Ranged Attacks

When you make a ranged attack, you fire a bow or a crossbow, hurl a handaxe, or otherwise send projectiles to strike a foe at a distance. A monster might shoot spines from its tail. Many spells also involve making a ranged attack.


You can make ranged attacks only against targets within a specified range. If a ranged attack, such as one made with a spell, has a single range, you can’t attack a target beyond this range.

Some ranged attacks, such as those made with bows, have two ranges. The smaller number is the normal range, and the larger number is the long range. Your attack roll has disadvantage when your target is beyond normal range, and you can’t attack a target beyond the long range.

Ranged Attacks In Close Combat

Aiming a ranged attack is more difficult when a foe is next to you. When you make a ranged attack with a weapon, a spell, or some other means, you have disadvantage on the attack roll if you are within 5 feet of a foe who can see you and isn’t incapacitated.

Optional Rule: Firing into Melee

The GM may wish to add an element of unpredictability when ranged attackers fire into melee with their own allies.

When a ranged attack misses a target engaged with in melee with your allies, roll another d20, without any modifiers (proficiency, abilities or otherwise), and take the highest result between the missed and this second roll.

Use this number as an attack roll to attack other creatures within 5 feet of the original target (roll a suitable die to determine order randomly), until it either hits a target or there are no more targets left within 5 feet of the original target.

Keep in mind that the new target could also be another enemy.

Special Combat Situations


A target can benefit from cover only when an attack or effect originates on the opposite side of the cover. There are three degrees of cover. If behind multiple covers, only the most protective degree applies.

½ Cover Gives +2 to ac and dex saves. Examples include low wall, a narrow tree trunk, or a creature, whether friend or foe.

¾ Cover gives a +5 bonus to ac and dex saves. Examples include a portcullis, an arrow slit, or a thick tree trunk.

A target with total cover can’t be targeted directly by an attack or a spell, although some spells can reach it by including it in an area of effect.

A target that’s completely concealed by an obstacle has full cover.

Unseen Attackers And Targets

When you attack a target that you can’t see, you have disadvantage on the attack roll, whether you’re guessing the target’s location or you’re targeting a creature you can hear but not see. If the target isn’t in the location you targeted, you automatically miss (the GM typically just says the attack missed, not whether you guessed correctly).

You have advantage on attack rolls against a foe that can’t see you. If you are hidden (both unseen and unheard) when you make an attack, you give away your location when the attack hits or misses.

Mounted Combat

A willing creature at least one size larger than you with an appropriate anatomy can serve as a mount.

Mounting and Dismounting

Once during your move, you can mount a creature that is within 5 feet of you or dismount. Doing so costs movement equal to half your speed.

If an effect moves your mount against its will while you’re on it, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dex save or fall off the mount, landing prone in a space within 5 feet of it. If you’re knocked prone while mounted, you must make the same saving throw.

If your mount is knocked prone, you can use your reaction to dismount it as it falls and land on your feet. Otherwise, you are dismounted and fall prone in a space within 5 feet it.

Controlling a Mount

While mounted, you have two options.

Control the mount or let it act independently. Intelligent creatures act independently. Only mounts trained to accept a rider can be controlled.

The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It can move and act even on the turn that you mount it.

It moves as you direct it, and has only three action options: Dash, Disengage and Dodge.

An independent mount retains its place in the initiative order. It moves and acts as it wishes. It might flee from combat, rush to attack and devour an injured foe, or otherwise act against your wishes. If the mount provokes an opportunity attack while you’re on it, the attacker can target either of you.

Underwater Combat

When making a melee weapon attack, a creature that doesn’t have a swimming speed (either natural or granted by magic) has disadvantage on the attack roll unless the weapon is a piercing weapon.

A ranged weapon attack automatically misses beyond the weapon’s normal range. Even within normal range, the attack roll has disadvantage unless the weapon is a crossbow, a net, or a thrown weapon like a javelin.

Creatures and objects that are fully immersed in water have resistance to fire damage.

Movement And Position

On your turn, you can move a distance up to your speed.

Your movement can include jumping, climbing, and swimming. These can be combined with walking, or constitute your entire move. However you move, you deduct the distance of each part of your move from your speed until used up or until you are done moving.

Breaking Up Your Move

You can break up your move on your turn, using some of your speed before and after your action. For example: if your speed is 30 feet, you can move 10 feet, take an action, then move 20 feet.

Moving Between Attacks

If you take an action that includes more than one weapon attack, you can break up your movement even further by moving between those attacks.

Using Different Speeds

If you have more than one speed, such as walking and flying, you can switch back and forth between them during your move.

When you switch, subtract the distance you’ve already moved from the new speed. The result is how much farther you can move. If the result is 0 or less, you can’t use the new speed during the current move.

Difficult Terrain

Every foot of movement in difficult terrain costs 1 extra foot. This rule is true even if multiple things in a space count as difficult terrain. Low furniture, undergrowth, steep stairs and snow are examples of difficult terrain. The space of another creature, whether hostile or not, also counts as difficult terrain.

Being Prone

Combatants may find themselves lying on the ground, either because they are knocked down or because they throw themselves down. In the game, they are prone (see “Conditions”). You can drop prone without using any speed.

Standing up costs an amount of movement equal to half your speed. You can’t stand up if you don’t have enough movement left or if your speed is 0.

To move while prone, you must crawl or use magic. Every foot of crawling costs 1 extra foot. So, crawling 1 foot in difficult terrain, costs 3 feet of movement.

Moving Around Other Creatures

You can move through a friendly’s space.

You can move through a foe’s space only if it’s at least two sizes larger or smaller than you. Another creature’s space is difficult terrain for you.

Whether a creature is a friend or foe, you can’t willingly end your move in its space.

If you leave a foe’s reach during your move, you provoke an opportunity attack.

Flying Movement

If a flier is knocked prone, has its speed reduced to 0, or is otherwise deprived of the ability to move, the creature falls, unless it has the ability to hover or it’s being held aloft by magic (such as the Fly spell).

Creature Size

The table below shows how much space a creature of a particular size controls in combat.


A creature’s space is the area in feet that it effectively controls in combat, not its physical dimensions.

It also reflects the area it needs to fight effectively, putting a limit on how many creatures can surround another creature in combat.

Size Categories Size Space Tiny2-1/2 by 2-1/2 ft.Small5 by 5 ft.Medium5 by 5 ft.Large10 by 10 ft.Huge15 by 15 ft.

Gargantuan20 by 20 ft. or larger

8 Medium creatures can fit in a 5-foot radius around another Medium one.

5 Large creatures can surround a Medium one. In contrast, up to 20 Medium creatures can surround a Gargantuan one.


Squeezing Into a Smaller Space

A creature can squeeze through a space large enough for a creature one size smaller than it. Squeezing costs 1 extra foot for every foot it moves, and gives disadvantage on attack rolls and Dex saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.


Hit Points and Damage

Hit Points

Hit points represent both physical and mental durability, the will to live, and luck.

One’s current hit points can be any number from one’s hit point maximum down to 0.

Whenever a creature takes damage, that damage is subtracted from its hit points.

The loss of hit points has no effect on capabilities until one drops to 0 hit points.


When a creature receives healing of any kind, hit points regained are added to current hit points.

A creature’s hit points can’t exceed its maximum. Any hit points regained in excess of this are lost.

Damage Rolls

Roll the damage die or dice, add any modifiers, and apply the damage to your target. With a penalty, it is possible to deal 0 damage, but not negative damage.

When attacking with a weapon, you add your ability modifier—the same modifier used for the attack roll—to the damage. A spell tells you which dice to roll for damage and whether to add any modifiers.

If a spell or effect deals damage to more than one target, roll damage once for all of them.

Critical Hits

When you score a critical hit, you get to roll extra dice for the attack’s damage.

Roll all of the attack’s damage dice twice and add them together. Then add any relevant modifiers. If the attack involves other damage dice, such as Sneak Attacks, you roll those dice twice too.

Damage Resistance And Vulnerability

If a creature or object has resistance to a damage type, damage of that type is halved against it.

If a creature or object has vulnerability to a damage type, damage of that type is doubled against it.

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage.

For example: a creature has resistance to cold damage and is hit by an attack that deals 25 cold damage. The creature is also in a magical aura that reduces all damage by 5. The 25 damage is reduced by 5 and halved, so the creature takes 10 damage.

Multiple instances of resistance or vulnerability for the same damage type count as only one instance.

Damage Types

Damage type has no special rules, but other rules, like damage resistance, rely on it.

Acid. The spray of a black dragon’s breath or the enzymes from a black pudding.

Bludgeoning. Blunt force attacks—hammers, falling, constriction, and such.

Cold. The infernal chill from an ice devil’s spear and the frigid blast of a white dragon’s breath.

Fire. Red dragon breath and fire spells.

Force. Force is pure magical energy. Most force damage effects are spells.

Lightning. lightning bolts or blue dragon’s breath.

Necrotic. Necrotic damage, dealt by certain undead and spells such as chill touch, withers matter and even the soul.

Piercing. Puncturing and impaling attacks.

Physical. Any attack that is either bludgeoning, piercing or slashing. If not otherwise specified, regular damage is always assumed to be physical.

Poison. Venomous stings and the toxic gas of a green dragon’s breath.

Psychic. Mental abilities like psi-blasts.

Radiant. Radiant damage, from a cleric’s flame strike spell or an angel’s smiting weapon, sears the flesh and overloads the spirit with power.

Slashing. Swords, axes, and claws.

Thunder. A concussive burst of sound, such as the effect of the thunderwave spell.

Dropping To O Hit Points

When you drop to 0 hit points, you either die outright or fall unconscious.

Instant Death

When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum.

Falling Unconscious

If you are reduced to 0 hit points and still alive, you fall unconscious and gain a level of exhaustion. You become conscious, if you regain any hit points.

Death Saving Throws

Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a special save, called a death save.

Unlike other saving throws, this one isn’t tied to any ability score. You are in the hands of fate now, aided only by any spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a saving throw.

Roll a d20. If the roll is 10 or higher, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail.

A success or failure has no effect by itself. On your third success, you become stable.

On your third failure, you die.

The successes and failures don’t need to be consecutive; keep track of both until you collect three of a kind. The number of both is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable.

Rolling 1 or 20. When you make a death save and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1 hit point.

Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death save failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

Stabilizing a Creature

You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it with a successful DC 10 Wis check. A stable creature doesn’t make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious.

The creature stops being stable, and must make death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. A stable creature that isn’t healed regains 1 hp after 1d4 hours.

Monsters And Death

Most GMs have a monster die the instant it drops to 0 hit points, rather than having it fall unconscious and make death save.

The GM might have mighty villains and special NPCs follow the same rules as PCs.

Knocking a Creature Out

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out.

The attacker can decide the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

Temporary Hit Points

Some spells and special abilities confer temporary hit points to a creature. Temporary hit points aren’t actual hit points; they are a buffer against damage, a pool of hit points that protect you from injury.

When you take damage and have temporary hit points, these are lost first. Any leftover damage then carries over to your normal hit points.

Because temporary hit points are separate from your actual hit points, they can exceed your hit point maximum. A character can, therefore, be at full hit points and receive temporary hit points.

Healing can’t restore temporary hit points, and they can’t be added together. If you have temporary hit points and receive more of them, decide whether to keep the ones you have or to gain the new ones.

If you have 0 hit points, receiving temporary hit points doesn’t restore consciousness or stabilize you, though they can still absorb damage taken while in that state.

Unless the feature granting you temporary hp has a duration, they last till depleted or you finish a long rest.