Game Rules.   Posted by DM.Group: public
 GM, 8 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2016
at 16:19
General Rules
Unless otherwise noted below, rules are as specified in the latest version of the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master's Guide. I'll add rules clarifications below as we go to ensure we remain consistent.

Many combat situations will use maps, but optional rules like flanking, diagonals, facing, etc. won't be used.

Please don't look up specific things from the adventure in the Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, published adventure references, or relevant websites while playing. This is for the enjoyment of yourself as well as the larger group. If I suspect players are immediately consulting the Monster Manual when you encounter a new monster I may need to change some of their characteristics...

Please use the dice roller for all rolls, including for character creation.

DM has final say on any rules adjudication.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:28, Sun 15 Apr 2018.

 GM, 10 posts
Wed 10 Aug 2016
at 22:17
For Clerics and those who choose available spells daily
I will ask you to create a default list of known/memorized spells. This list will be assumed to be the list you have prepared that morning unless you post accordingly, before anything happens in the story to influence your decision. No retconning of the spells you memorized that day will be allowed.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:32, Sun 02 Oct 2016.

 GM, 12 posts
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 20:04
Creating Characters
When creating new characters - roll 4d6 6 times and drop the lowest each time to determine ability scores in the dice roller.

Multiclassing is not allowed.

Feats from the Player's Handbook are ok.

Only the 3 core rulebooks (Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, DM Guide) will be allowed, plus any other officially published options from WOTC (not including Unearthed Arcana). Custom character trait/bond/flaw/etc. are fine.

You can optionally choose to be aligned to one of the Five Factions of the Forgotten Realms. If you do, explain how this came about in your character backstory.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:54, Sat 30 Nov 2019.

 GM, 18 posts
Thu 29 Sep 2016
at 20:44
Leveling Characters
Characters with sufficient XP gain levels after successfully completing a long rest.

You are obliged to roll for new hit points after level 1. If you roll a 1 while doing this, you may roll again but you have to subtract 1 from the roll. E.g., if you roll a 1, then reroll and get a 4, you treat the roll as a 3 before applying any relevant Con modifiers.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:40, Sat 14 Apr 2018.

 GM, 27 posts
Sun 2 Oct 2016
at 20:39
RTJ Guidance
3. Green M&M's are the best. Make sure you format this properly in the RTJ.

This message was last updated by the GM at 22:04, Sun 15 Apr 2018.

 GM, 36 posts
Thu 6 Oct 2016
at 14:20
Characters can earn Inspiration at certain points. Inspiration follows the general rules laid out in PHB 125, with the following exceptions and guidelines:

- You cannot transfer inspiration to another player. If you want to reward a fellow player for good roleplaying, please point that out to the DM and they can award it independently.
- Inspiration can be earned by achieving certain milestones or goals.
- Inspiration, advantage, or auto-success may be earned through taking creative, unique, unorthodox, etc. actions. These could include attacks that don't appear on your character sheet, using the environment in interesting ways, interacting with NPCs creatively, etc.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:21, Thu 06 Oct 2016.

 GM, 130 posts
Thu 3 Nov 2016
at 20:53
Perception vs. Investigation
Perception is used to spot, hear or detect something.  It pertains to the 5 senses.

- Example 1: A character actively looking for a trap can attempt a Perception check to find it.
- Example 2: A character actively looking for a secret door can attempt a Perception check to see if there's a secret door in the area they're searching.
- Example 3: A character not looking for hidden goblins would spot one if their Passive Perception is higher than the goblin's Stealth check.

Investigation is used when you have a clue about something you can base your deductions on.

- Example 1: A character can make an Investigation check to see if they can disarm a trap they found.
- Example 2: A character can make an Investigation check to see if they can figure out how to open a secret door they found.
- Example 3: There's a dead body in the middle of the floor and you want to make an Investigation check to figure out what weapon was used to kill them.

In both cases, the more specific you are the easier it would be to find something.

For instance, you might need a 15 perception to notice a giant spider on the ceiling if you're just looking in the room generally, but if you specifically say "PC looks at the ceiling for something" then you might only need a 5 or automatically succeed.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:31, Thu 03 Nov 2016.

 GM, 184 posts
Fri 25 Nov 2016
at 14:02
Drawing & Sheathing
You can sheath one weapon and draw another as part of the attack action. You can't draw two weapons as part of the same attack action (unless you have an ability that specifically allows this).
 GM, 475 posts
Mon 17 Apr 2017
at 00:05
Readied Actions
If you want to post a readied action, go ahead and roll it & post the readied action results as normal. E.g.: "Readied action: if a bad guy comes through the door, shoot it with my shortbow: hits AC 11 for 4 damage."

Usually, rolling for initiative is the game's way of determining who goes 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. in combat. But it's often convenient shorthand to say "I ready an action to ..." before initiative starts, to 'get the jump' on someone. When you take a readied action before initiative, you're basically trying to circumvent the initiative system - you're trying to gain an advantage so you can go first before your opponents. Which is perfectly understandable - someone sitting hidden in a tree with arrow knocked shouldn't have to attack after someone just wandering under the tree who happens to have high dexterity.

The problem is, all the PHB rules about readied actions are in relation to being in initiative combat. You ready an action, specify a trigger for when your action occurs, and if that trigger doesn't occur you never take an action that round. What happens if you take a readied action outside of initiative?

My take on this is that readying an action outside of initiative is essentially the same as trying to gain surprise. The sniper in the tree who has an arrow knocked is hoping to get a shot off before the target even notices her, and maybe even attack twice in a row if they roll well on initiative.

So feel free to post a readied action outside of initiative, but understand 1) if the trigger doesn't happen within 6 seconds (the usual length of a round) the readied action won't be triggered (you can always keep the arrow knocked for multiple rounds of course...), and 2) it's essentially the same thing as saying 'I'm trying to surprise my target'.
 GM, 1586 posts
Sun 3 May 2020
at 14:17
Wild Shape Stats
The following is my interpretation of how Wild Shape statistics work per the PHB, based on a number of discussion sites I've found (links below) as well as how the Wild Shape Creatures tab works on D&D Beyond.

The PHB says of Wild Shape: "Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, and Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature's bonus instead of yours."

Note 1: the description above is careful not to refer to the beast's proficiency bonus, since that's not a stat that's published in any beast (or monster's) stat block. It does exist, since it's baked into many of its other stats, but it's not called out explicitly in the monster entry. It seems like the designers did this intentionally so that players and DMs don't have to worry about it in play - the only time you really need to refer to it is when you're creating a monster from scratch.

Note 2: the description above does NOT say you gain any of the weapon/armor/tools proficiencies of the beast (if any) while Wild Shaped - the druid only gains the beast's skill and saving throw proficiencies.

To illustrate, let's take a Level 20 Moon Druid (with some odd stats to illustrate edge cases) who has proficiency in Animal Handling, Athletics, Nature, Perception, and Survival. If they Wild Shape into a Polar Bear, their stats would look like this:

Str 20 (+5) Dex 10 Con 16 (+3) (all from polar bear's stat block)

Int 10 Wis 3 (-4) Cha 11 (all from druid's character sheet)

Saving Throws: Str +5 Dex +0 Con +3 Int* +6, Wis* +2, Cha +0 (*Int and Wis get the druid's +6 proficiency bonus for level 20, since the druid is proficient in these saves)

Skills: Animal Handling +2, Nature +8, Survival +7 (from the druid's character sheet, since these skills are based on the mental traits retained in Wild Shape form)

Athletics +11 (this is different from the druid's character sheet, since we have to replace the druid's strength with the beast's, then add the druid's proficiency bonus)

Perception +3, Passive Perception 13 (the druid normally gets a +2 to perception, but since the bear's bonus to this skill is +3 this invokes the last sentence of the quote above and we use the bonus from the bear's stat block. If the druid didn't already have proficiency in Perception they would gain it via Wild Shape, but the bonus would then only be +2 since this rule would not have been invoked.)

Attacks: Bite +7 to hit, 1d8+5 piercing; Claws +7 to hit, 2d6+5 slashing (these are taken directly from the bear's stat block - druid does NOT gain proficiency in Bite or Claw attacks since they are not skills or saving throws, so the druid's proficiency bonus is not used & we default to using the beast's stats here).

References: (click on Extras, then select the Polar Bear), first question in the Ability Checks section points out attack rolls, saving throws, and attacks are all different things

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:36, Sun 03 May 2020.