Table of Contents
In any new campaign there will always be different specific rules that are important for all the players to know and understand. This document will cover any changes to standard rules, what optional rules will be used, and any homebrew content that has been created for this campaign.
This is a fluid and changing document and will change frequently in the beginning of the Campaign. As the players learn different details that are important, these too will be added here.
This Campaign is called “The Cataclysm of the Primordial Orders”. It is based off one specific Wizards of the Coast module, but heavily modified to address the much larger player pool as well as adding in individual hooks for each of the created characters.
Certain sections from the Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide have been reproduced here to ensure everyone is on the same page about a few of the basic rules and concepts.
How to Play
The play of the Dungeons and Dragon game unfolds according to this basic pattern.
 The DM describes the environment. The DM tells the players where their adventurers are and what’s around them, presenting the basic scope of options that present themselves (how many doors lead out of a roam, what’s on a table, who’s in the tavern, and so on).
 The players describe what they want to do. Sometimes one player speaks for the whole party, saying, “We’ll take the east door,” for example. Other times, different adventurers do different things: one adventurer might search a treasure chest while a second examines an esoteric symbol engraved on a wall and a third keeps watch for monsters. The players don’t need to take turns, but the DM listens to every player and decides how to resolve those actions.
Sometimes, resolving a task is easy. If an adventurer wants to walk across a roam and open a door, the DM might just say that the door opens and describe what lies beyond. But the door might be locked, the floor might hide a deadly trap, or some other circumstance might make it challenging for an adventurer to complete a task. In those cases, the DM decides what happens, often relying on the roll of a die to determine the results of an action.
In any of these cases, the Player will describe what their actions are, and the DM will determine what the roll will be if any. In some cases, it might be Passive Perception, it might be an Investigation roll, or anything else that the DM feels is applicable. Every situation depends on the environment as well as what specific action the Player takes. Both influence what the result might be. But in the end, the DM will determine if a roll occurs, what type of roll that will be, and will requires the Player to make that roll if appropriate.
 The DM narrates the results of the adventurers’ actions. Describing the results often leads to another decision point, which brings the flow of the game right back to step 1.
This pattern holds whether the adventurers are cautiously exploring a ruin, talking to a devious prince, or locked in mortal combat against a mighty dragon. In certain situations, particularly combat, the action is more structured, and the players (and DM) do take turns choosing and resolving actions. But most of the time, play is fluid and flexible, adapting to the circumstances of the adventure.
Often the action of an adventure takes place in the imagination of the players and DM, relying on the DM’s verbal descriptions to set the scene. Some DMs like to use music, art, are recorded sound effects to help set the mood, and many players and DMs alike adopt different voices for the various adventurers, monsters, and other characters they play in the game. Sometimes, a DM might lay out a map and use tokens or miniature figures to represent each creature involved in a scene to help the players keep track of where everyone is.
Does an adventurer’s sword swing hurt a dragon or just bounce off its iron-hard scales? Will the ogre believe an outrageous bluff? Can a character swim across a raging river? Can a character avoid the main blast of a fireball, or does he or she take full damage from the blaze? In cases where the outcome of an action is uncertain, the Dungeons and Dragons game relies on rolls of a 20-sided die, a d20, to determine success or failure.
Every character and monster in the game has capabilities defined by six ability scores. The abilities are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, and they typically range from 3 to 18 for most adventurers. (Monsters might have scores as low as 1 or as high as 30.) These ability scores, and the ability modifiers derived from them, are the basis for almost every d20 roll that a player makes on a character’s or monster’s behalf.
Ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws are the three main kinds of d20 rolls, forming the core of the rules of the game. All three follow these simple steps.
 Roll the die and add a modifier. Roll a d20 and add the relevant modifier. This is typically the modifier derived from one of the six ability scores, and it sometimes includes a proficiency bonus to reflect a character’s skill.
 Apply circumstantial bonuses and penalties. A class feature, a spell, a particular circumstance, or some other effect might give a bonus or penalty to the check.
 Compare the total to a target number. If the total equals or exceeds the target number, the ability check, attack roll, or saving throw is a success. Otherwise, it’s a failure. The DM is usually the one who determines target numbers and tells players whether their ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws succeed or fail.
The target number for an ability check or a saving throw is called a Difficulty Class (DC). The target number for an attack roll is called an Armor Class (AC).
This simple rule governs the resolution of most tasks in Dungeons and Dragon play.
Advantage and Disadvantage
Sometimes an ability check, attack roll, or saving throw is modified by special situations called advantage and disadvantage. Advantage reflects the positive circumstances surrounding a d20 roll, while disadvantage reflects the opposite. When you have either advantage or disadvantage, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have advantage and use the lower roll if you have disadvantage.
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.
Specific Beats General
The Player’s Handbook contains rules, especially in parts 2 and 3, that govern how the game plays. That said, many racial traits, class features, spells, magic items, monster abilities, and other game elements break the general rules in some way, creating an exception to how the rest of the game works. Remember this: If a specific rule contradicts a general rule, the specific rule wins.
Exceptions to the rules are often minor. For instance, many adventurers don’t have proficiency with longbows, but every wood elf does because of a racial trait. That trait creates a minor exception in the game. Other examples of rule-breaking are more conspicuous. For instance, an adventurer can’t normally pass-through walls, but some spells make that possible. Magic accounts for most of the major exceptions to the rules.
There’s one more general rule you need to know at the outset. Whenever you divide a number in the game, round down if you end up with a fraction, even if the fraction is one-half or greater.
The Three Pillars of Adventure
Adventurers can try to do anything their players can imagine, but it can be helpful to talk about their activities in three broad categories: exploration, social interaction, and combat.
Exploration includes both the adventurers’ movement through the world and their interaction with objects and situations that require their attention. Exploration is the give-and-take of the players describing what they want their characters to do, and the Dungeon Master telling the players what happens as a result. On a large scale, that might involve the characters spending a day crossing a rolling plain or an hour making their way through caverns underground. On the smallest scale, it could mean one character pulling a lever in a dungeon room lo see what happens.
Social interaction features the adventurers talking to someone (or something) else. It might mean demanding that a captured scout reveal the secret entrance to the goblin lair, getting information from a rescued prisoner, pleading for mercy from an ore chieftain, or persuading a talkative magic mirror to show a distant location to the adventurers.
The rules in chapters 7 and 8 of the Player’s Handbook support exploration and social interaction, as do many class features in chapter 3 and personality traits in chapter 4 from the Player’s Handbook.
Combat, the focus of chapter 9 of the Player’s Handbook, involves characters and other creatures swinging weapons, casting spells, maneuvering for position, and so to defeat their opponents, whether that means killing every enemy, taking captives, or forcing a rout. Combat is the most structured element of a D&D session, with creatures taking turns to make sure that everyone gets a chance to act. Even in the context of a pitched battle, there’s still plenty of opportunity for adventurers to attempt wacky stunts like surfing down a flight of stairs on a shield, to examine the environment (perhaps by pulling a mysterious lever), and to interact with other creatures, including allies, enemies, and neutral parties.