Adventuring

Delving into the ancient tomb of horrors. slipping through the back alleys of Waterdeep, hacking a fresh trail through the thick jungles on the Isle of Dread-these are the things that Dungeons and Dragons adventures are made of. Your character in the game might explore forgotten ruins and uncharted lands, uncover dark secrets and sinister plots, and slay foul monsters. And if all goes well, your character will survive to claim rich rewards before embarking on a new adventure.

This chapter covers the basics of the adventuring life, from the mechanics of movement to the complexities of social interaction. The rules for resting are also in this chapter, along with a discussion of the activities your character might pursue between adventures.

Whether adventurers are exploring a dusty dungeon or the complex relationships of a royal court, the game follows a natural rhythm, as outlined in the book’s introduction:

  • The DM describes the environment.
  • The players describe what they want to do.
  • The DM narrates the results of their actions.

Typically, the DM uses a map as an outline of the adventure, tracking the characters’ progress as they explore dungeon corridors or wilderness regions.

The DM’s notes, including a key to the map, describe what the adventurers find as they enter each new area. Sometimes, the passage of time and the adventurers’ actions determine what happens, so the DM might use a timeline or a flowchart to track their progress instead of a map.

Details on Time, speed, and movement can all be found in Chapter 8 of the Player’s Handbook as well as different activities that are important for the players and characters.

Death and Resurrection

Death comes to all characters, most of the time violently with blood, guts, and body parts flying in the wind.  A character death can be traumatic to the player and the group they adventure with.  Luckily with magic most things can be fixed, but death is still death.  It is not as easy as everyone hopes it will be.

Any death is difficult, especially for the recovery.  Any character that is brought back after death will possibly develop issues, mental or otherwise.  Side effects after being on the other side should be considered the norm and those issues will have to be dealt with and possibly resolved.

Resurrection Spells

Revivify

This is the cheapest of the resurrection spells in terms of both money and spell level cost. It is a level 3 spell and costs only 300 gold worth of precious gems, however its scope is very limited, as it must be used upon a creature within a minute of its death. Creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell can’t return life to a creature that died of old age, and it can’t restore missing body parts.

The chance of success is a DC10 for the caster to overcome, only their spell casting modifier is allowed as a modifier to the casting roll, spells such as Guidance will not work.

Raise Dead

This is more expensive than revivify, costing a gemstone worth at least 500 gold and a 5th level spell slot, however the time frame for use is much larger. Touch a creature dead for no longer than 10 days. A resurrection ritual is required and, if its soul is both willing and at liberty to rejoin the body, the creature returns to life with 1 hit point. This spell has no effect on undead. This spell neutralizes poisons and cures nonmagical diseases. This spell doesn’t remove magical effects. If they aren’t removed prior to casting, they return when the creature comes back to life. This spell closes all mortal wounds but doesn’t restore missing body parts. If the creature doesn’t have body parts or organs necessary for survival, the spell fails.

Coming back from the dead is an ordeal. The target takes a -4 penalty to all attacks, saves, and ability checks. Every time it finishes a long rest, the penalty is reduced by 1 until it disappears.

The chance of success is controlled by the Resurrection Ritual.

Resurrection

The resurrection spell requires an hour of preparation and a gem worth at least 1000 gold. You touch a creature that has been dead for no more than a century, didn’t die of old age, and isn’t undead. A resurrection ritual is required and, if its soul is willing, the target returns to life with all its hit points. This spell neutralizes any poisons and cures normal diseases. It doesn’t, however, remove magical diseases, curses, and the like. This spell closes all mortal wounds and restores any missing body parts.

Coming back from the dead is an ordeal. The target takes a -4 penalty to all attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks. Every time the target finishes a long rest, the penalty is reduced by 1 until it disappears.

If you use this spell on a creature that has been dead for one year or longer, you can’t cast spells, and have disadvantage on all attacks, ability checks, and saves until you finish a long rest.

The chance of success is controlled by the Resurrection Ritual.

Forced Resurrection

The resurrect spell above, but more forceful in that this version of the ritual forces a spirit to return to its body. For this to be successful, a blood sacrifice is required, as is an object that the deceased greatly favored in life. The object must be bathed in the blood of the sacrificed individual before the resurrection ritual is performed.

The chance of success is controlled by the Resurrection Ritual.

True Resurrect and Wish

The resurrection spell requires an hour of preparation and a gem worth at least 25,000 gold. You touch a creature that has been dead for no longer than 200 years and that died for any reason except old age. A resurrection ritual is required and, if the creature’s soul is free and willing, it’s restored to life with all its hit points.

This spell closes all wounds, neutralizes any poison, cures all diseases, and lifts any curses. The spell replaces damaged or missing organs and limbs. If the creature was undead, it is restored to its non-undead form.

The spell can provide a new body if the original no longer exists, in which case you must speak the creature’s name. The creature appears in an unoccupied space you choose within 10 feet of you.

The chance of success is controlled by the Resurrection Ritual.

Reincarnation

If no material matter remains of the individual that one wishes to bring back from the dead, or an individual with a regular resurrection spell is not available, the Reincarnate spell may be used. Requires 1000 gold worth of oils. Touch a dead humanoid, or a piece of one, that’s died in the last 10 days. The spell makes a new adult body for its soul. A resurrection ritual is required and, if the target’s soul isn’t free or willing to come back to life, the spell fails.

The game master picks the new body by rolling 1d100 that determines the character’s new race and gender. The number rolled determines the new body for the soul, which may not be the same race as the old body. The creature remembers its old life and retains its capabilities save for its racial traits, which must be changed if it’s given a new race. See the Reincarnation page for a list of races that your character could become if brought back to life from the Reincarnation spell.

The chance of success is controlled by the Resurrection Ritual.

Death Penalties

Any death of a character cannot be considered natural and will have some sort of lasting fundamental impact to the character.  This is especially the case when any death lasts more than just a moment, specifically any death that is outside the capability of a Revivify spell.

Besides the normal penalties that are applied when using the different spells, there is also a physical and mental change that the magic causes.  A direct change of attribute points, which increases for each death. 

To summarize, every time a character dies and is brought back to life via some magic that is not Revivify, they will have their attributes changed by some amount.  That amount is controlled by how many deaths they have already suffered, and the type of magic that is used to bring them back.

The table below gives the possible number of attribute changes by coming back to life. The result is how many attributes dice (n) are rolled. The overall change is determined to by rolling two sets of (n)d6, the first set for net positive attribute changes, and the second set for net negative changes. Each d6 in each set represents the position of the attribute changed by that specific d6. Each d6 adds either +1 or -1 to that attribute depending on which set it belongs to. Each d6 in the net positive set and the net negative set may overlap and either offset each other, or magnify the resultant change to the attribute, this is on purpose.

Example:

Roll two d6, one for adding, and one for subtracting from an attribute, the result would look like:

1 = Strength

2 = Dexterity

3 = Constitution

4 = Intelligence

5 = Wisdom

6 = Charisma

With these attribute changes, the character’s attribute can never go lower than ten minus the number of deaths, or higher than 20. But overall, the final bottom number cannot be lower than a six and cannot be greater than a 24.

Death Attribute Alteration Table

DeathMinimum AttributeMaximum AttributeRaise Dead/ResurrectionTrue/Resurrection/WishReincarnation
19211d41d8
28221d61d41d10
37231d81d61d12
46241d101d82d8
56242d62d42d10
66242d82d62d12
76242d102d83d8
86243d63d43d10
96243d83d63d12
106243d103d84d8

Example:

Avery has already died twice before and is on his third time being resurrected.  Hist party almost out of money goes cheap and just uses a Raise Dead spell.  This translates out to that Avery will suffer through a 1d8 of attribute changes as well as losing one point of Constitution permanently.

On the 1d8 he rolls a 6, meaning he needs to roll 6d6 to determine which attributes go down, and 6d6 determining which go up.  The d6 simply represents which attribute was changed. Now rolling his d6 he gets:

Subtract from Attribute:

1 (STR), 1 (STR), 2 (DEX), 3 (CON), 4 (INT), 5 (WIS)

Adds to attribute:

1 (STR), 2 (DEX), 2 (DEX), 3 (CON), 4 (INT), 6 (CHA)

Which summarizes to:

Strength: -1, -1, +2 = -1

Dexterity: -1 +1 +1 = +1

Constitution: -1 +1 = +0

Intelligence: -1 +1 = +0

Wisdom: -1 = -1

Charisma: +1 = +1

Once Avery has been raised from the dead, his attributes are immediately modified by these results and permanent.

The Resurrection Ritual

Resurrection Challenge

If a character is dead, and a resurrection is attempted by a spell or spell effect with longer than a 1 action casting time, a Resurrection Challenge is initiated. Up to 3 individuals who knew the deceased can offer to contribute to the ritual via a Contribution Skill Check. The DM asks them each to make a skill check based on their form of contribution, with the DC of the check adjusting to how helpful/impactful the DM feels the contribution would be.

For example, praying to the god of the devout, fallen character may require an Intelligence (Religion) check at an easy to medium difficulty, where loudly demanding the soul of the fallen to return from the aether may require a Charisma (Intimidation) check at a very hard or nearly impossible difficulty. Advantage and disadvantage can apply here based on how perfect, or off base, the contribution offered is which is, again, decided by the game master it is an NPC. If the ritual is being used to restore a character, the game master will confer with the player of the dead character to gauge whether the contributions are effective.

After all contributions are completed, the game master then rolls a single, final resurrection success check with no modifier. The base DC for the final resurrection check is 10, increasing by 1 for each previous successful resurrection the character has undergone (signifying the slow erosion of the soul’s connection to this world). For each successful contribution skill check, this DC is decreased by 3, whereas each failed contribution skill check increases the DC by 1.

Upon a successful resurrection check, the character’s soul (should it be willing) will be returned to the body, and the ritual succeeded. On a failed check, the soul does not return, and the character is lost.

Only the strongest of magical incantations can bypass this resurrection challenge, in the form of the True Resurrection or Wish spells. These spells can also restore a character to life who was lost due to a failed resurrection ritual.

Examples of Contributions

When a resurrection ritual has begun and the other characters and/or available NPCs are seeking to return the deceased to their body (or new body via reincarnation), the contributions they provide are to have emotional or sentimental meaning and usually involves the contributor’s relationship with the deceased. Other than telling the deceased what they meant to the living, some examples of contributions to serve as inspiration are…

  • Barbarian: Trophies of their conquests, their weapon, tales of their victories, music featuring war drums, firm and to the point speeches, personal belongings.
  • Bard: Inspiring poems or songs about them, performances befitting of their personality, stories of their adventures, their musical instrument(s), personal belongings.
  • Cleric: A prayer to the cleric’s deity, cleric’s holy symbol, candles and incense, an expression of what they meant to everyone, personal belongings.
  • Druid: A beloved animal companion, beseeching you goddess for assistance, soil of the earth, personal belongings.
  • Fighter: Their armor or weapons, trophies, firm and to the point speeches, personal belongings.
  • Knight: Their sword or shield, pieces of their riding gear, or any signets or other objects showing their status.
  • Monk: Display of their martial arts, meditation in deceased’s memory, candles and incense, personal belongings.
  • Paladin: Reminding the deceased of their oath, paladin’s holy symbol, stories of how they have changed the world, their weapon, personal belongings.
  • Ranger: Their animal companion, their bow and/or quiver, a preferred type of arrow, trophy from their preferred foe, personal belongings.
  • Rogue: Expensive jewelry or gold coins, preferred weapons, tales of their exploits, personal belongings.
  • Sorcerer: Magic items of significance, sign of their ancestry, their familiar, personal belongings.
  • Warlock: The warlock’s weapon, beseeching their patron for assistance, their familiar, personal belongings.
  • Wizard: The wizard’s quarterstaff or spell book, their familiar, magic scrolls and tomes, personal belongings.

Movement

Swimming across a rushing river, sneaking down a dungeon corridor, scaling a treacherous mountain slope — all sorts of movement play a key role in fantasy gaming adventures.

The game master can summarize the adventurers’ movement without calculating exact distances or travel times:

For example:

“You travel through the forest and find the dungeon entrance late in the evening of the third day.” Even in a dungeon, particularly a large dungeon or a cave network, the DM can summarize movement between encounters: “After killing the guardian at the entrance to the ancient dwarven stronghold, you consult your map, which leads you through miles of echoing corridors to a chasm bridged by a narrow stone arch.”

Sometimes it’s important, though, to know how long it takes to get from one spot to another, whether the answer is in days, hours, or minutes. The rules for determining travel time depend on two factors: the speed and travel pace of the creatures moving and the terrain they’re moving over.

Speed

Every character and monster have a speed, which is the distance in feet that the character or monster can walk in 1 round. This number assumes short bursts of energetic movement during a life-threatening situation.

The following rules determine how far a character or monster can move in a minute, an hour, or a day.

Travel Pace

While traveling, a group of adventurers can move at a normal, fast, or slow pace, as shown on the Travel Pace table. The table states how far the party can move in a period and whether the pace has any effect. A fast pace makes characters less perceptive, while a slow pace makes it possible to sneak around and to search an area more carefully (see the “Activity While Traveling” section later in the Player’s Handbook for more information).

Forced March. The Travel Pace table assumes that character’s travel for eight hours in day. They can push on beyond that limit, at the risk of exhaustion.

For each additional hour of travel beyond eight hours, the characters cover the distance shown in the Hour column for their pace, and each character must make a constitution saving throw at the end of the hour. The DC is 10 + 1 for each hour past the first eight hours of travel. On a failed saving throw, a character suffers one level of exhaustion (see Appendix A).

Mounts and Vehicles. For short spans of time (up to an hour), many animals move much faster than humanoids. A mounted character can ride at a gallop for about an hour, covering twice the usual distance for a fast pace. If fresh mounts are available every 8 to 10 miles, characters can cover larger distances at this pace, but this is very rare except in densely populated areas.

Characters in wagons, carriages, or other land vehicles choose a pace as normal. Characters in a waterborne vessel are limited to the speed of the vessel (see chapter 5, “Equipment” in the Player’s Handbook), and they don’t suffer penalties for a fast pace or gain benefits from a slow pace. Depending on the vessel and the size of the crew, ships might be able to travel for up to 24 hours per day.

Certain special mounts, such as a pegasus or griffon, or special vehicles, such as a carpet of flying, allow you to travel more swiftly. The Dungeon Master’s Guide contains more information on special methods of travel.

Overland Movement Table (One Hour of Travel)

 Character SpeedNotes
One Hour (Overland)15 feet20 feet30 feet40 feet
Slow½ mile1 mile2 miles3 miles 
Walk1½ miles2 miles3 miles4 miles 
Fast2 miles3 miles4 miles6 miles-5 penalty to Wisdom (Perception) scores

Overland Movement Table (Eight Hours of Travel)

 Character SpeedNotes
One Day (Overland)15 feet20 feet30 feet40 feet
Slow4 miles8 miles16 miles24 miles 
Walk12 miles16 miles24 miles32 miles 
Fast16 miles20 miles30 miles40 miles-5 penalty to Wisdom (Perception) scores

Difficult Terrain

The travel speeds given in the Travel Pace table assume relatively simple terrain: roads, open plains, or clear dungeon corridors. But adventurers often face dense forests, deep swamps, rubble-filled ruins, steep mountains, and ice-covered ground — all considered difficult terrain. You move at half speed or slower in difficult terrain.

As an example:

Moving 1 foot in difficult terrain costs 2 feet of speed — so you can cover only half the normal distance in a minute, an hour, or a day.

Hampered Movement Table

ConditionAdditional Movement Cost
Difficult terrain×2
Obstacle×2
Poor visibility×2
Impassable

Different terrains will cause different movement speeds.  This is true for Combat movement or Overland travel.

Terrain and Overland Movement Table

TerrainHighwayRoad or TrailTrackless
Desert, sandy×1×½×½
Forest×1×1×½
Hills×1×¾×½
Jungle×1×¾×¼
Moor×1×1×¾
Mountains×¾×¾×½
Plains×1×1×¾
Swamp×1×¾×½
Tundra, frozen×1×¾×¾

Quadrupeds, such as horses, can carry heavier loads than characters can.

Mounts Movement Table

Mounts (carrying load)Per HourPer Day
Light horse or light warhorse6 miles48 miles
Light horse (151-450 lb.)4 miles32 miles
Light warhorse (231-690 lb.)4 miles32 miles
Heavy horse or heavy warhorse5 miles40 miles
Heavy horse (201-600 lb.)3½ miles28 miles
Heavy warhorse (301-900 lb.)3½ miles28 miles
Pony or war pony4 miles32 miles
Pony (76-225 lb.)3 miles24 miles
War pony (101-300 lb.)3 miles24 miles
Donkey or mule3 miles24 miles
Donkey (51-150 lb.)2 miles16 miles
Mule (231-690 lb.)2 miles16 miles
Dog, riding4 miles32 miles
Dog, riding (101-300 lb.)3 miles24 miles

Rafts, barges, keelboats, and rowboats are used on lakes and rivers.

If going downstream, add the speed of the current (typically 3 miles per hour) to the speed of the vehicle. In addition to 10 hours of being rowed, the vehicle can also float an additional 14 hours, if someone can guide it, so add an additional 42 miles to the daily distance traveled. These vehicles can’t be rowed against any significant current, but they can be pulled upstream by draft animals on the shores.

Vehicle Movement Table

VehiclesPer HourPer Day
Cart or wagon2 miles16 miles
Raft or barge (poled or towed)½ mile5 miles
Keelboat (rowed)1 mile10 miles
Rowboat (rowed)1½ miles15 miles
Sailing ship (sailed)2 miles48 miles
Warship (sailed and rowed)2½ miles60 miles
Longship (sailed and rowed)3 miles72 miles
Galley (rowed and sailed)4 miles96 miles

Special Types of Movement

Movement through dangerous dungeons or wilderness areas often involves more than simply walking. Adventurers might have to climb, crawl, swim, or jump to get where they need to go.

Climbing, Swimming, and Crawling

Each foot of movement costs 1 extra foot (2 extra feet in difficult terrain) when you’re climbing, swimming, or crawling. You ignore this extra cost if you have a climbing speed and use it to climb, or a swimming speed and use it to swim. At the DM’s option, climbing a slippery vertical surface or one with few handholds requires a successful Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, gaining any distance in rough water might require a successful Strength (Athletics) check.

Jumping

Your Strength determines how far you can jump.

Long Jump. When you make a long jump, you cover several feet up to your Strength score if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump. When you make a standing long jump, you can leap only half that distance. Either way, each foot you clear on the jump costs a foot of movement.

This rule assumes that the height of your jump doesn’t matter, such as a jump across a stream or chasm. At your DM’s option, you must succeed on a DC 10 Strength (Athletics) check to clear a low obstacle (no taller than a quarter of the jump’s distance), such as a hedge or low wall. Otherwise, you hit it.

When you land in difficult terrain, you must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check to land on your feet. Otherwise, you land prone.

High Jump. When you make a high jump, you leap into the air several feet equal to 3 + your Strength modifier (minimum of 0 feet) if you move at least 10 feet on foot immediately before the jump. When you make a standing high jump, you can jump only half that distance. Either way, each foot you clear on the jump costs a foot of movement. In some circumstances, your DM might allow you to make a Strength (Athletics) check to jump higher than you normally can.

You can extend your arms half your height above yourself during the jump. Thus, you can reach above you a distance equal to the height of the jump plus 1 1/2 times your height.

Traveling in Darkness

Unless you can see where you are going, getting anywhere will be difficult.  There are several different types of sight that will allow you to move at normal speed, but unless you can see your movement will be impacted.

Blindsight: You will be able to move up to the distance of your Blindsight and not incur any penalties.  Any attempt to move at full speed, you must make an Acrobatics or Dexterity save that has a DC of 10 + 2 for every five feet moved.

Darkvision: While total darkness is still dim light, moving around is not that difficult and you are able to move at your full speed without any difficulties.

Normal Vision: You speed is limited to ten feet per round and any attempt to move faster requires an Acrobatics or Dexterity check with a DC of 15 + 2 for every five feet moved.

Tremorsense: Much like Blindsense, this ability allows you to see where you cannot see.  You can move up to the distance of your Tremorsense senses without a problem.

Truesight: There is no darkness that can stop you.  You can move normally without any issues.

The Environment

By its nature, adventuring involves delving into places that are dark, dangerous, and full of mysteries to be explored. The rules in this section cover some of the most important ways in which adventurers interact with the environment in such places. The Dungeon Master’s Guide has rules covering more unusual situations.  There are also a lot more details in Chapter 8 of the Player’s Handbook.

Vision and Light

The most fundamental tasks of adventuring-noticing danger, finding hidden objects, hitting an enemy in combat, and targeting a spell, to name just a few- rely heavily on a character’s ability to see. Darkness and other effects that obscure vision can prove a significant hinderance.

A given area might be lightly or heavily obscured. In a lightly obscured area, such as dim light, patchy fog, or moderate foliage, creatures have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

A heavily obscured area – such as darkness, opaque fog, or dense foliage – blocks vision entirely. A creature in a heavily obscured area effectively suffers from the blinded condition.

The presence or absence of light in an environment creates three categories of illumination: bright light, dim light, and darkness.

Bright light: lets most creatures see normally. Even gloomy days provide bright light, as do torches, lanterns, fires, and other sources of illumination within a specific radius.

Dim light: also called shadows, creates a lightly obscured area. An area of dim light is usually a boundary between a source of bright light such as a torch, and surrounding darkness. The soft light of twilight and dawn also counts as dim light. A particularly brilliant full moon might bathe the land in dim light.

Darkness: creates a heavily obscured area. Characters face darkness outdoors at night (even most moonlit nights). within the confines of an unlit dungeon or a subterranean vault, or in an area of magical darkness.

Blindsight: A creature with blindsight can perceive its surroundings without relying on sight, within a specific radius. Creatures without eyes, sue h as oozes, and creatures with echolocation or heightened senses, such as bats and true dragons, have this sense. Note that the range of blindsight is measured from the creature that has that vision as the origin point. There are not any special environmental situations that extend this range.

Darkvision: Many creatures in the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons, especially those that dwell underground. have darkvision. Within a specified range, a creature with darkvision can see in darkness as if the darkness were dim light, so areas of darkness are only lightly obscured as far as that creature is concerned. However, the creature can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. Note that the range of darkvision is measured from the creature that has that vision as the origin point. There are not any special environmental situations that extend this range.

Truesight: A creature with truesight can, out to a specific range, see in normal and magical darkness, see invisible creatures and objects, automatically detect visual illusions, and succeed on saving throws against them, and perceives the original form of a shape changer or a creature that is transformed by magic. Furthermore, the creature can see into the Ethereal Plane. Note that the range of truesight is measured from the creature that has that vision as the origin point. There are not any special environmental situations that extend this range.

Additional Vision Clarification

One of the common traits of the titular dungeons in Dungeons & Dragons is that they tend to be dark. In Fifth Edition, many races and classes give features that allow players to see such conditions, such as Darkvision, but this trait is not infallible. It has drawbacks and limitations that many players and Dungeon Master’s are not aware of.

When it comes to exploration in various types of lighting, many things need to be considered, including the nature of darkness, distances, and obscurement. Bearing these in mind is important for any player or DM to preserve D&D’s mood and balance. It should be noted that the rules of vision are based upon obscurement. While there are three kinds of lighting, including bright, dim and darkness, it is obscurement that governs them. This is where having or lacking Darkvision comes into play.

For characters without Darkvision, darkness is considered heavily obscured, meaning they cannot see in it at all. Perception checks that rely on sight automatically fail. Dim light, including candles and starlight, is lightly obscured. Creatures without Darkvision can see in it, but it is difficult. This means Perception checks that rely on sight have disadvantage. This applies to Passive Perception as well, which grants a -5 to the value when the player would have disadvantage. Lastly, bright light grants full vision. It does not count as having any obscurement at all. However, if the light is from direct sunlight, characters with Sunlight Sensitivity are penalized.

As for characters with Darkvision, the obscurement is moved down a stage based on their distance of vision. For example, a character with a Darkvision of 60 feet treats darkness within that range as dim light, and dim light is treated as bright light. However, outside of that range, darkness is still heavily obscured. In it, the character is still unable to see. What’s more, a creature with Darkvision still has disadvantage on Perception checks in darkness.

It should also be noted that this only pertains to obscurement from sources of light. Darkvision does nothing to protect from other effects of obscurement. For example, the Fog Cloud spell creates an area that is heavily obscured; creatures cannot see inside of it or through it at all. Because Fog Cloud is not a spell that solely affects lighting, Darkvision provides no benefits to sight inside of the area.

Another important distinction to make is the difference between magical darkness and non-magical darkness. The Darkness spell inhibits Darkvision within its area. This spell is notoriously dangerous because even the caster is unable to see within its range. What’s more, it consumes forms of non-magical light, so lighting a torch does nothing to help.

The only way a character can see within the Darkness spell is by using a spell that is third level or higher to create light or the Warlock Invocation Devil’s Sight. This Invocation is very different from Darkvision. Primarily, Devil’s Sight allows the user to see in darkness (including magic darkness) normally, as if it were bright light. What’s more, Darkvision removes a player’s ability to see things in color while in darkness; Devil’s Sight has no such caveat.

Vision, however, interacts differently with invisibility. Creatures with the Invisible condition can hide anywhere, as they are considered heavily obscured for that purpose. However, they still must use the Hide action to benefit from this ability. Note that this doesn’t help against creatures with vision that doesn’t rely on sight, such as Blindvision. Otherwise, they must use their sense of hearing or watch for any traces left by the creature, like footprints in the snow or ripples in shallow water.

If an Invisible creature is not hiding, however, they can be detected. Creatures who try to attack them have disadvantage, and an Invisible creature has advantage on their attacks. However, the best use of invisibility is to Hide to prevent from being targeted. While D&D’s vision system is a little complex, using it properly can really elevate the immersion the game. After all, the only thing scarier than a dungeon is a dungeon cloaked in darkness’ embrace.

Note that in all cases the range of any special vision type is measured from the creature that has that vision as the origin point. There are not any special environmental situations that extend this range.

Summary

Normal Vision Table

SightConditionPerception EffectAttack Effect
NormalBright LightNoneNone
NormalDim LightDisadvantagedNone
NormalDarknessAutomatic FailureDisadvantage

Darkvision within Range Table

SightConditionPerception EffectAttack Effect
DarkvisionBright LightNoneNone
DarkvisionDim LightNoneNone
DarkvisionDarknessDisadvantagedNone

Darkvision Outside of Range Table

SightConditionPerception EffectAttack Effect
DarkvisionBright LightNoneNone
DarkvisionDim LightDisadvantageNone
DarkvisionDarknessAutomatic FailureDisadvantage

Conditions

Darkness – Darkness creates a heavily obscured area. Night, even most moonlit nights, are considered to cast full darkness as do any areas with a lack of bright light sources.

Dim Light – Dim light creates a lightly obscured area. This is often used to describe the hazy area between bright light (as caused by a torch or other light source) and darkness. Twilight, dawn, and even the light of a full moon are all considered dim light.

Bright Light – Most creatures can see normally in bright light. This is a well-lit room, a sunny day, the area closest to a light source, etc.

Heavily Obscured – Darkness, as well as things such as thick fog or dense foliage, cause an area to be heavily obscured. In these areas, creatures suffer from the blinded condition.

Lightly Obscured – Areas that are lightly obscured cause a creature to have disadvantage on perception checks that require sight.

Blinded – A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s Attack rolls.

Passive Perception – If a creature has disadvantage on perception checks, that creature takes a -5 penalty to their passive perception score. (We’ll discuss passive perception and how it relates to darkness but check out our full article for more info.)

Magical Darkness – Magical darkness is any darkness created by a spell or other magical effect.

Social Interaction

Exploring dungeons, overcoming obstacles, and slaying monsters are key parts of D&D adventures. No less important, though, are the social interactions that adventurers have with other inhabitants of the world.

Interaction takes on many forms. You might need to convince an unscrupulous thief to confess to some malfeasance, or you might try to flatter a dragon so that it will spare your life. The DM assumes the roles of any characters who are participating in the interaction that don’t belong to another player at the table. Any such character is called a nonplayer character (NPC).

In general terms, an NPC’s altitude toward you is described as friendly, indifferent, or hostile. Friendly NPCs are predisposed to help you, and hostile ones are inclined to get in your way. It’s easier to get what you want from a friendly NPC, of course.

Social interactions have two primary aspects: roleplaying and ability checks.

Roleplaying

Roleplaying is literally the act of playing out a role. In this case, it’s you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

Roleplaying is a part of every aspect of the game, and it comes to the fore during social interactions. Your character’s quirks, mannerisms, and personality influence how interactions resolve.

There are two styles you can use when roleplaying your character: the descriptive approach and the active approach. Most players use a combination of the two styles. Use whichever mix of the two works best for you.

Descriptive Approach to Roleplaying

With this approach, you describe your character’s words and actions to the DM and the other players. Drawing on your mental image of your character, you tell everyone what your character does and how he or she does it.

For instance:

 Chris plays Tordek the dwarf. Tordek has a quick temper and blames the elves of the Cloakwood for his family’s misfortune. At a tavern. an obnoxious elf minstrel sits at Tordek’s table and tries to strike up a conversation with the dwarf.

Chris says, “Tordek spits on the floor, growls an insult at the bard, and stomps over to the bar. He sits on a stool and glares at the minstrel before ordering another drink.”

In this example, Chris has conveyed Tordek’s mood and given the DM a clear idea of his character’s altitude and actions.

When using descriptive roleplaying, keep the following things in mind:

  • Describe your character’s emotions and altitude. Focus on your character’s intent and how others might perceive it.
  • Provide as much embellishment as you feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t worry about getting things exactly right. Just focus on thinking about what your character would do and describing what you see in your mind.

Active Approach to Roleplaying

If descriptive roleplaying tells your DM and your fellow players what your character thinks and does, active roleplaying shows them.

When you use active roleplaying, you speak with your character’s voice, like an actor taking on a role. You might even echo your character’s movements and body language. This approach is more immersive than descriptive roleplaying, though you still need to describe things that can’t be reasonably acted out.

Going back to the example of Chris roleplaying Tordek above, here’s how the scene might play out if Chris used active roleplaying:

For example:

Speaking as Tordek, Chris says in a gruff, deep voice, “I was wondering why it suddenly smelled awful in here. If I wanted to hear anything out of you, I’d snap your arm and enjoy your screams.” In his normal voice, Chris then adds, “I get up, glare at the elf, and head to the bar.”

Results of Roleplaying

The DM uses your character’s actions and attitudes to determine how an NPC reacts. A cowardly NPC buckles under threats of violence. A stubborn dwarf refuses to let anyone badger her. A vain dragon laps up flattery.

When interacting with an NPC, pay close attention to the DM’s portrayal of the NPC’s mood, dialogue, and personality. Vou might be able to determine an NPC’s personality traits, ideals, flaws, and bonds, then play on them to influence the NPC’s attitude.

Interactions in Dungeons and Dragons are much like interactions in real life. If you can offer NPCs something they want, threaten them with something they fear, or play on their sympathies and goals, you can use words to get almost anything you want. On the other hand, if you insult a proud warrior or speak ill of a noble’s allies, your efforts to convince or deceive will fall short.

Monster Harvesting

The act of removing useful body parts from a creature is referred to as harvesting.

Anything that can be harvested from a creature is referred to as a harvesting material or simply material. In general, only creatures that have died may be harvested, but there may be some exceptions based on context.

Appraising

Before a player begins hacking and butchering their hunt, they may instead choose to take a moment first and appraise the creature to be harvested. To do this, they must spend 1 minute examining the creature to be harvested and then roll an Intelligence check, adding their proficiency bonus if they are proficient in the skill corresponding to that creature (see table below).

For example:

Appraising a Beholder (which is an aberrant), the check would be an Intelligence (Arcana) check, while appraising an Ogre (which is a giant) would require an Intelligence (Medicine) check.

The DC of the check is equal to 8 + the Harvested Creature’s CR (treating any CR less than 1 as 0). Success on this check grants the player full knowledge of any useful harvesting materials on the creature, the DC requirement to harvest those materials, any special requirements to harvest them, and any potential risks in doing so. In addition, any harvesting check made on that creature by that player is rolled at advantage. A character may only attempt one appraisal check per creature.

Monster Type / Skill Check Table

Creature TypeSkill Check
AberrationArcana
BeastNature or Survival
CelestialArcana
ConstructInvestigation
DragonArcana or Nature
ElementalArcana
FeyArcana
FiendArcana or Religion
GiantMedicine
HumanoidMedicine
MonstrosityNature
OozeInvestigation
PlantNature
UndeadArcana or Religion

Splitting Up the Responsibilities

Some party members may prefer to let one character handle the appraisal of materials, while another more dexterous character handles the actual harvesting. In this scenario, all benefits of appraising a creature are conferred to the player doing the harvesting, so long as the player that performed the appraising assists the harvesting player through the whole duration of the harvest.

This section details the steps associated with performing a harvest, and any factors that may influence it.

Harvesting

To harvest a creature, a character must make a Dexterity ability check using the same skill proficiency as listed in the above appraising table.

For example:

A character attempting a harvest check on an Aberrant would receive a bonus equal to their Dexterity modifier and their proficiency in Arcana (if they have any).

This check reflects a character’s ability to not only properly remove the intended item without damaging it, but it also involves any ancillary requirements of the harvest such as proper preservation and storage techniques.

Using other proficiencies:

If a player is harvesting a certain creature or harvesting a creature of a certain type of material, the DM may allow them to use a relevant tool proficiency rather than a skill proficiency.

For example, the DM may allow a player to add their proficiency with Tinker’s Tools to their attempt to harvest a mechanical golem or use their proficiency with leatherworking tools when attempting to harvest a creature for its hide. Alternatively, all creature type proficiencies may be replaced by proficiency with the harvesting kit.

Each individual item in a creature’s harvesting table is listed with a DC next to it. Any roll that a player makes that equals or exceeds this DC grants that player that item. Rewards are cumulative, and a player receives every item with a DC equal to or below their ability check result.

For example:

Rolling a total of 15 on a check to harvest an azer will reward the player with both “azer ash’, and “azer bronze skin”, but not a “spark of creation”. If they so wish, players may opt to not harvest a material even if they have met the DC threshold to harvest it.

Only one harvesting attempt may be made on a creature. Failure to meet a certain item’s DC threshold assumes that the item was made unsalvageable due to the harvester’s incompetence.

For most creatures, the time it takes to harvest a material is counted in minutes and is equal to the DC of that material divided by 5. For huge creatures however, it is equal in DC of that material, while for gargantuan creatures, it is equal to the DC of that material multiplied by 2.

Violent Deaths

This guide assumes that most creatures you attempt to harvest died in direct combat and thus already accounts for the idea that you are harvesting creatures that are not in pristine condition. However, some deaths are more violent than others and can make harvesting useful materials either extremely difficult or downright impossible. Such examples include burning by fire, dissolving from acid, or being completely crushed under a pillar of stone. In these cases, raise the DC for harvesting any of that creature’s materials by 5. Alternatively, the DM may decide that well- orchestrated hunts result in a carcass that is prime for harvesting, such as creatures killed mostly through psychic damage, or those killed in one clean attack. In these cases, the DM should lower the DC for harvesting any of that creature’s materials by 5.

Furthermore, the DM may adjudicate whether some of a creature’s individual materials have been made useless due to effects imposed by them during their death. Examples may include blood being tainted from poisoning, or their pelt being worthless due to excessive slashing/piercing damage.

Expiration

Many harvested goods will start to rot and decay. Below is a quick overview of how we determined expiration dates.

Item TypeDaysExplanation
Body Part2Flesh rots and decays quickly.
Body Part, Undead7Undead body parts are already rotting, so their usefulness can last a little longer than regular flesh (which becomes useless when it rots).
BonesBones take a very long time to decay.
FeathersFeathers take a very long time to decay.
Ears14Ears are predominantly tough cartilage (soft bone). The skin around the ear’s rots quickly, but the ear remains intact for some time after.
HairHair takes a very long time to decay.
Head3Like other flesh, it rots and decays quickly, but lasts slightly longer
Hides/Pelts10Hides/Pelts must be treated and soaks to retain its usefulness.
Liquid, Vial (i.e., Blood)7If contained in a stoppered vial, most fluids have a longer shelf life. However, if exposed to air, it gets ruined VERY quickly.
Liquid, Vial (i.e., Slime)14Slimes and gels tend to have a longer shelf-life than other fluids. However, if exposed to air, it gets ruined VERY quickly.
Poisons14Most poisons are viable for about 2 weeks. However, each poison is different. In additions, proficiency with a poisoner’s kit may allow assassins the ability to extend the shelf-life every few weeks (adding other ingredients to extend the poison’s usefulness)
Tattoos/Marks5Usually a strip of skin, which can be preserved with some oil to last a little longer than other flesh.
Wings7While wings contain flesh, which rots quickly, the bones and leather/feather last much longer, making the wings usefulness last longer.

Meat

It is possible to harvest the meat of many creatures, although uncooked meat spoils quickly and often attract other predators. Some creature types have meat that is inedible (i.e., undead), while others carry some sort of stigma (cannibalism, distasteful, unholy). For example, eating a celestial may be considered a vile, unholy act; while eating a monstrosity may be considered disgusting and distasteful; and giants are too like most medium-sized humanoids and is often considered in line with cannibalism. Of course, while buying stigma associated meats is forbidden and possibly illegal in most places, there are always people willing to buy illegal goods (although they may be hard to find).

Creature TypeEdiblePossible StigmaSellable
AberrationN Inedible
BeastYNY
CelestialYCannibalism, Holy CreatureN
ConstructN Inedible
DragonYNY
ElementalN Inedible
FeyYCannibalism, WorshipedSome are inedible
FiendN Inedible
GiantYCannibalism, Disgusting CreatureN
HumanoidYCannibalismN
Monstrosity*Disgusting CreatureN
OozeN Inedible
PlantN No meat
UndeadN Inedible

      * Some monstrosities have meat that is edible (DM Discretion)

The amount of meat is dependent on the beast’s size. The weight of a raw piece of meat is one pound heavier than a ration (one slab of meat, 3 lb. is needed to produce 1 dried ration, 2 lb.).

Beast SizeDCMeatWeightExpire
Tiny512 lb.1 day
Small51d43-12 lb.1 day
Medium51d63-18 lb.1 day
Large52d66-36 lb.1 day
Huge54d612-72 lb.1 day

Eating Meat: Cooked meat can be eaten safely. Cooking meat requires a campfire or oven. Eating raw meat requires a DC 10 Constitution Check. A successful check results in a filling meal. A failure results in debilitating stomach cramps, causing 1 level of exhaustion (disadvantage on ability checks).

Drying Meat: The meat can be dried using salt, spices, heat, and time.

Drying MethodTimeDCNotes
Oven6 hours5 
Smoke Hut2 days7Smoking must be maintained (can’t be left alone for days)
Sun16 hours15Must be in direct sunlight, in over 85°F. Set on a hot stone or hanging from a rack. Higher chance of spoiling.

Drunkenness

A pint of ale is never very far away in the world of Faerun. A drink to accompany a fine meal a bit of liquid courage to head into battle, or a celebration after long and arduous journey. A great way for anyone to enjoy themselves, but alcohol itself is a double-edged sword It can make you feel invincible, but it can also make you think you’re seeing double, be careful when consuming for dangerous effects are never tar behind.

Intoxication

For many, alcohol can affect you differently that is where intoxication levels come into effect. Your characters intoxication level is equal to your constitution modifier plus your proficiency bonus and there are different stages to being drunk.

Tipsy

when the alcohol is flowing, and good times are being had by all you start to feel a tingle in your fingers. You gain the sense that you could do just about anything, you are tipsy.

“Tipsy” is when you are 1/4 of the way to being intoxicated rounded down. Therefore, at this stage you have advantage on a charisma-based skill checks and wisdom saves for being frightened At this stage you also gain disadvantage on ranged attacks

Drunk

As the night continues so does your drinking. You’re having a fun night, why stop? Once you’ve reached 1/2 of your intoxication level you reached the point where you are drunk.

At this stage your speech is slurred, you’re seeing double, and your limbs are a little numb. If you are drunk, you gain five temporary hit points and maintain your advantage against fright. You lose your charisma-based advantage and gain disadvantage on ALL attack rolls and intelligence checks.

Wasted

At this point in the night. you are one of the last people in the bar. You’ve ignored that voice in the back of your head saying you should stop and now you’re wasted.

When you are 3/4 of the way to full intoxication you are wasted. You gain another five temporary hit points and cannot be rightened or charmed, but you have disadvantage on all attack rolls and ability checks.

Blackout

Now you have drank too much. You have past the point of no return. You may not be able to form coherent thoughts or even be able to say your own name. You have reached the Blackout stage.

This is the point where you have reached your intoxication level You are at disadvantage for any attack rolls, ability checks and saves aside from Constitution. At this point you must make a constitution save (D.C. equals 10 + 1/2 the number of drinks consumed) every hour or be rendered unconscious.

A Simple Drink

There are many types of drinks that one could imbibe, and those drinks have different levels of intoxication.

Drink Strength Table

StrengthDrink
½Watered Down
1Average
2Strong
3Inhuman

Racial Bonus

Dwarves, Half-Ores, and Goliaths have stronger constitutions than most. Therefore, their intoxication level is twice their Constitution modifier plus their proficiency bonus.

Lockpicking

Insert cool intro here. I mean. it’s just a homebrew on lockpicking, what kind of intro does it need? It anything, I’ll just say I think it’s cooler than your usual Dexterity (thieves’ tools) single roll. but that’s just my opinion.

Study the Lock

When faced with some kind of mechanical lock, you can use your Action to Study the Lock. You handle, analyze, and test the lock looking for weak spots and trying to figure out the best plan of attack. Make an Intelligence (thieves’ tools) check against the DC of the lock. If you succeed, you find the mechanism’s weak spots and how to exploit them giving your future attempts at picking the lock advantage.

Additionally, if you take a subtle approach when unlocking the lock, the jam the lock result becomes minor setback and the break the lock result becomes jam the lock. It you fail, you don’t gain any additional information on the lock. Future attempts at studying the lock can only be made after a short rest.

Pick the Lock

You use your Action to try to, you know, pick the lock. You must choose a subtle or a non-subtle approach and then make a Dexterity (thieves’ tools) against the lock’s DC. Creatures without proficiency in thieves’ tools can’t opt for a subtle attempt and creatures using improvised tools make the check with disadvantage.

If you succeed on the check, the lock is picked and opens. If you fail by less than 5, the lock isn’t picked but nothing else happens. If you fail 5 or more, but less than 10, you jam the lock. If you fail by 10 or more, you break the lock on the spot. Hard to visualize? Here’s a handy-dandy table.

DC15 Lock Example Table

CheckResults
5 or lessBreak the lock
6 to 10Jam the lock
11-14Nothing happens
15 or moreLock opens

Break the Lock

The lock is broken and can’t be picked or used. Sorry, dude.

Jam the Lock

Your attempt at picking the lock caused something to break, catch, jam, or otherwise damage the mechanism momentarily. Future attempts at picking the lock have the DC cumulatively increased by five until the lock is successful picked or properly opened by its designed opening method of the lock’s DC is increased by 15, you break the lock.

Minor Setback

Same as jamming the lock except the DC is only increased by two.

Subtle Approach

You focus on decreasing your chances of leaving visible marks of you forced entry by using subtler, gentler, and less aggressive methods. Your attempts at picking the lock are hard to see to most people. If someone tries to analyze the lock looking for marks, they must make an Intelligence (Investigation) check against a DC equal to 10 plus your Dexterity (thieves’ tools) bonus. seeing nothing out of the ordinary on a failure and signs of your picking on a success.

Non-Subtle Approach

You just want to get the job done, no fuss, no subtlety. You use more aggressive methods and whatever tools your nave in your arsenal to open the lock, like using a piece of metal for leverage. creating dents on specific places to weaken the mechanism, etc., which leaves clearly perceivable marks on the lock or on the area it was placed. Any creature that looks at the lock can see that it was the target of a breaking and entering attempt.

Changing the DC

Some locks can be more susceptible to a specific type of approach. A rusty lock is considerably harder to pick using delicate tools and trying not to leave marks than it is to simply grab a hammer or plyers and try to make the mechanism unlock by force. At the same time, some locks might be too heavy or reinforced to be reasonably made to open without the use of small tools and delicate technique. For that reason, the DM might assign different DCs for the same lock based on what approach is taken. A successful study the lock check tells the character whether one of the approaches is easier than the other or it both have the

Magical Locks

If the lock has a magical component to it. the DM might allow the study the lock check to be an Intelligence (Arcana) check instead of the usual Intelligence (Thieves Tools) check.