D&D (DnD), Overview, Spells, and Guides Hack

DnD

Since 1974, several editions of Dungeons and Dragons (DnD), the fantasy roleplaying game, have been made. Wizards of the Coast is the current publisher of D&D. They only produce new materials for the most recent Edition of the game. Many D&D enthusiasts continue to play older editions of the game, and third-party companies continue publishing materials compatible with those older editions.

The original D&D edition was published in 1974. In 1977, the game was divided into the simpler rules-heavy Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) system. In the middle of the 1980s, the standard game was expanded to five boxes sets before being compiled and revised in 1991 into the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia.

In 1989, AD&D published its 2nd Edition. The two branches split was finally over when the third Edition of AD&D was published in 2000. It dropped the prefix “Advanced” and was renamed simply Dungeons and Dragons. In 2008, the 4th Edition was released. In 2008, the 4th Edition was published. Wiley released the 5th Edition in 2014.

Timeline

History of Dungeons and Dragons

1974 Dungeons & Dragons – Original Edition

1977 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – 1st Edition

1981 Dungeons & Dragons–BX version / Moldvay Basic

1983 Dungeons & Dragons–BECMI version / Mentzer Basic

1989 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition

1991 Dungeons & Dragons–Rules Cyclopedia version

1995 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition–Revised

2000 Dungeons & Dragons–3rd Edition

2003 Dungeons and Dragons– 3rd Edition Revised, (v.3.5).

2008 Dungeons & Dragons–4th Edition

2010 Dungeons and Dragons Essentials (compatible avec the 4th Ed.

2014 Dungeons & Dragons–5th Edition

Original Dungeons & Dragons

In 1974, the original D&D was published in a boxed set. It contains only a few of the elements that are still popular today. There are only three classes (fighting-man and magic-user), four races (humans, dwarfs, elf and cleric), a few monsters, and only three alignments (lawful and neutral). The result was described as amateurish, given the $2000 production budget to print 1,000 copies. : 26

TSR co-founder Gary Gygax was limited to $100 for artwork. He pressed anyone who would help into service, including Cookie Corey, Greg Bell, Jeff Perren’s gaming group, Dave Arneson, D&D co-creator Dave Arneson, Gygax’s half-sister Keenan, and Don Kaye, fellow TSR co-founder. 20-26 Artists were paid $2 each for small pieces and $3 for larger pieces. A royalty was paid for every additional thousand copies that were printed. : 20-26

These rules assume that the players have and will play Chainmail, a miniatures wargame. They also assume that they can use its combat systems and measurements. The rules include an optional combat system that was later made the only combat system in later versions. The rules also assume ownership of Outdoor Survival (a board game made by Avalon Hill at the time) for outdoor exploration and adventure. D&D was an entirely new concept in gaming at the time. It was hard for novice players to understand the rules.

Greyhawk’s supplement eliminated the game’s dependence on Chainmail rules and made it easier for non-wargaming players, to understand the basics of play. Inadvertently, it helped the growth of other game publishers. Anyone who understood the concepts behind D&D could create smoother and more user-friendly rules systems and sell them on to the growing D&D fanbase.

Over the next two decades, supplements such as Greyhawk and Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, and Gods Demi-Gods & Heroes were published. They greatly expanded the rules, character classes and monsters. The original Greyhawk supplement introduced the Thief class and weapon damage that differs by weapon (instead of character classes). Many other options and additions were also published in The Strategic Review and its successor The Dragon.

Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Between 1977 and 1979, a revised version of D&D was published as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Gygax compiled three hardcover rulebooks that incorporated the original D&D rules as well as many revisions and additions made from magazines and supplements. The Monster Manual (1977), Player’s Handbook (1978), as well as the Dungeon Master’s Guide (79) are the three core rulebooks.

Major changes include adding classes from supplements such as assassins, druids, monks, paladins, and thieves. In contrast, bards, illusionists, and rangers, which were previously only available in magazine articles, were included to the core rulebooks. Instead of the three alignment system used in the original D&D rules, a nine-alignment alignment system is used.

Later supplements to AD&D include Deities & Demigods (80), Fiend Folio (1981), Monster Manual II (1983), Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana(85), which mainly compiles material previously published by Dragon magazine, among others.

Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set, and Revisions

TSR was still working on AD&D, but John Eric Holmes, an outside writer and D&D enthusiast, approached TSR to re-edit the original rules and make an introductory version. This was a way for new players to anticipate the AD&D game’s release. The Basic Set was published July 1977. It organized the rules from the original D&D boxed and Greyhawk supplements into one booklet.

This covers character levels 1 to 3. The blue cover features artwork by David C. Sutherland III. The “blue book” describes the game’s principles and play method in terms that new players who are not familiar with tabletop miniatures wargaming are easily understood. This version has five alignments instead of three to nine of the other versions.

The D&D Basic Set was very popular. It allowed many people to experience D&D for the first time. The Basic Set may not be compatible with AD&D. However, some rules have been simplified to make it easier for new players. Players were expected to continue playing beyond the third level and move on to the AD&D version.

After AD&D was released in 1981, the Basic Set underwent a major revision by Tom Moldvay. This was followed immediately by the publication of the Expert Set by David Cook. It extended the Basic Set to levels 4-14 for those who prefer the simpler introductory ruleset. This revision made the Basic rules their own game.

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Wizards of the Coast revealed in January 2012 that they were developing a new edition of the game. At the time, it was called D&D Next. D&D Next, in direct contrast to previous editions, was partly developed via an open playtest. A prototype of the new Edition was presented to 500 people at the 2012 Dungeons & Dragons Experience. The public playtesting started on May 24, 2012. The final playtest packet was released September 20, 2013.

On July 3, 2014, the 5th Edition of the Basic Rules was released as a PDF. It contains complete rules for play, and a subset DM and player content from the core rulebooks. On July 15, the Starter Set was available. It includes pre-generated characters and basic instructions, as well as Lost Mine of Phandelver, an adventure module, and instructions for basic play.

The Player’s Handbook was published on August 19, 2014. On September 30, 2014, the fifth Edition of Monster Manual was published. On December 9, 2014, the Dungeon Master’s Guide came out. This Edition has three core rule books. The Player’s Handbook contains most major races and classes. More than twenty 5th edition Dungeon & Dragons books have been released since 2014.

These include new rulebooks and campaign guides, as well as adventure modules. The Expansion Gift Set, which included reissued editions of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (2017), and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (2020), were released in January 2022. It also includes a new sourcebook Mordenkainen Presents : Monsters of the Multiverse (2022). The sourcebook contains “over 250 monster stat block and 30 playable races” pulled from many sources, such as Volo’s Guide to Monsters (2016) or Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes (2018).

The 5th Edition mechanically draws heavily from previous editions while adding new mechanics to simplify and streamline play. All skills, weapons, items and saving throws that characters learn now use one proficiency bonus, which increases with character level. Multiple defense values were eliminated.

This means that there is now only one defense value for armor classes and more traditional saving throws. Reworked saving throws now use situational checks and are based on six core abilities, not generic d20 rolls. Feats can now be used instead of increasing ability scores and are now considered optional features.

The “advantage/disadvantage” mechanic was introduced, streamlining conditional and situational modifiers to a simpler mechanic: rolling two d20s for a situation and taking the higher of the two for “advantage” and the lower of the two for “disadvantage” and canceling each other out when more than one apply.

The power system in 4th Edition was replaced by more traditional class features, which are earned as characters level. Clerics and druids can prepare spells using a modified version of the spell preparation method from previous editions. Hit Dice have replaced Healing Surges. Characters must roll a hit dice during a brief rest to heal at a flat rate instead of at a fixed rate.

Jackson Haime wrote Screen Rant 2020. He compared the number of rulebooks for the 3rd/3.5 editions with the 5th Edition. This Edition also contains “setting guides” that provide some setting-specific rules, rather than complete supplements that can be included with any Dungeons and Dragons games.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, a backward-compatible “evolution”, 5th edition, was announced in September 2021. In January 2022, Charlie Hall of Polygon highlighted that Mordenkainen Presents, Monsters of the Multiverse (2022), was the first book to be backwards compatible. The sourcebook also shows how the “evolution” might look.

Hall stated that “it’s the ‘next evolution” bit that keeps people up at night.” Many people have speculated that it would be the fully-fledged sixth Edition without any evidence. There are downsides to severing all ties with almost a decade worth of products and beginning fresh. Look at the countless ‘edition conflicts’ that have erupted over the years as the franchise moved from 3.5 to 4.0 editions. Wizards will instead take a more incremental approach, weaving in small and large changes while keeping a strong connection to the past.

Variants of Dungeons & Dragons

Kenzer & Company was granted permission by Wizards of the Coast for a parody of 1st Edition AD&D and 2nd Edition AD&D. The Edition was published from 2001 to the time they lost their license. It was well-received and won the Origins Award as Game of the Year 2001. Hackmaster’s 2011 edition was updated to remove the AD&D mechanics. Kenzer & Company’s license had expired.

International editions

D&D has been published in many languages all over the globe.

The word “dungeon” is a difficult one. It refers to a single prison cell, or oubliette, originally under a keep. The title of the game was not translated into other languages like Spanish, Italian and Finnish. Instead, Dungeons and Dragons is kept as it is in English. The Spanish-speaking nations translated the animated series 1983 as Calabozos y Dragones in Hispanic America and Spain as Dragones y Mazmorras in Spain (calabozos and mazamorra are the same thing in all Spanish-speaking areas: a dungeon).

The same animated series was also translated into Brazil as Caverna do Dragao, (Dragon’s Cave). This confusion still exists amongst Brazilian and Spanish-speaking gamers regarding the game’s title. All Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese translations retained the original English title. A dungeon, in gaming jargon, isn’t a single cell. It’s a network of underground passages and subterranean that can be explored. Some translations conveyed this meaning, e.g. Chinese Long Yu Di Xia Cheng (Dragons, Underground Castles, or Dragons & Underground Cities).

Some translations used a false friend for “dungeon” even though it altered the title’s meaning, such as the French Donjons et dragons. The Hebrew title of the game was mbvKHym vdrkvnym (“Labyrinths and Dragons”) Some translations also adopted the English term “dungeon” for the game term. However, it was not translated in the original text.

DnD 5e Spells List

SPELL LIST

FIREBOLT DND 5E

THORN WHIP 5E

WORD OF RADIANCE 5E

VICIOUS MOCKERY

BLADE WARD 5E

MIND SLIVER 5E

GREEN FLAME BLADES 5E

FRIENDS 5E

CHILL TOUCH 5E

SWORD BURST 5E

PRIMAL SAVAGERY 5E

ELDRITCH Blast 5E

INFESTATION 5E

LIGHTNING LURE 5E

MINOR ILLUSION 5E

ABSORB ELEMENTS 5E

POISON SPRAY 5E

RAY OF FROST 5E

FROSTBITE 5E

SHOCKING GRASP 5E

THUNDERCLAP 5E

SHILLELAGH 5E

PRODUCE FLAME 5E

CREATE BONFIRE 5E

5E LIGHT

DnD 5e Guide

Artificer (UA Version):

Science! Languid_Duck: A Guide to Artificer

Artificer (Official version):

Science! Languid_Duck: A guide to Artificer

Practical Magical Gadgetry for Artificers: A Guide to Artificers by MJP1050

Barbarian:

I’ll Never Die! NeoSeraphi

Mistwell reposted The Gentleman’s Guide To Proper Barbarism by Jell_Moo

Yun: Graceful Destruction: A Guide for the Dex Based Barbarian

D&D 5e Character Optimization – Barbarian by Michael Long (apparently compiled using NeoSeraphi’s & Jell_Moo’s guides).

The Age of Barbarians: Potato’s Guide to Post-Mordenkainen Barbarians

Bard:

Zardnar’s Basic College of Lore Bard Guide

EvilAnagram Will Allow Players to Play

Mellor says a party without music is boring

Starstuff’s College of Legendary Steeds

Cleric:

Yorrin’s Guide to clerics, The Devout and the Deaf.

For God and Party: A Guide for Clerics by Danmathman, republished by Mistwell

Celestial link Evoking Radiance in Creation by Mellor

Jumbowheat01: Divine Tomfoolery – A guide to Trickery Clerics

Druid:

Mercado: Unleash Your Inner Beast

Nhym’s Shepherd Druid guide; Nature Always Wins

5e Druid Handbook – Land & Moon By Hymer

Thy Fearful Symmetry by RCanine

Yunru’s Lunar Wilds: The Moon Druids Animal Guide

By Your Powers Combined by Chameleon X: A Land Druid Handbook

Irhtos Sauriv’s Guide for front-line druidism

The 5e Druid Handbook: Dreams, Land, Moon, and Shepherd By Hymer

Fighter:

The Everyman’s Guide To Taking up Arms: A Guide for Fighters by MJP1050

The Art of War by Koga 395, republished by Mistwell

Bow Bond: An Eldritch Knight’s Guide to Archery by Mightythokk, republished by Mistwell

An Illustrated Manual for Inflicting Violation by EvilAnagram

Nightsteel – Eldritch Knight Tactica

Bellator Arcana by Specter: The Eldritch Knight’s Guide to Bellator Arcana

Monk:

EnderDwarf’s The Good, the Bad and the Monk: A 5e Monk Guide

Meditation, Meditation, and Devastation: Yunrul’s Monk’s Guide

Avatar: The 4 Element Monk Miniguide by Jordan175

Prosebeforehos: Be like Water

Mystic (UA Class):

Mind Over Matter: A Guide for the 5e Mystic by Carrdrivesyou

Paladin:

TG has created a Guide to D&D 5th Edition Paladin. It is viewed through the eyes of a 3.5 Player. Oskar

EvilAnagram: Good is not Nice, A guide for paladins

GladiusLegis: My Word Is My Sword: The Paladin Guide

The Wall of Fear: Legimus’ Complete Guide to the Oath of conquest

Ranger:

EvilAnagram’s A Ranger’s Guide to EvilAnagram demonstrates that not all wanderers are lost.

Mistwell reposted Animal Buddy: A Guide for the Ranger’s Beast Companion by Lord_Ventnor

Mistwell reposted The Outdoorsman’s Guide to Natural Ranging, by dwgautier

Mistwell reposted Into the Woods We Go: The Ranger Guide by GladiusLegis

Rogue:

Person_Man’s 5E Rogue Guide

Starstuff’s Thief Guide

Cuddlebot5000: A Thousand lies and a Good Disguise

The Rogue’s Handbook: A Knife in Darkness by Clutchbone

Dealing with Death: Handbook of the True Assassin, Gladius Legis, republished by Mistwell

I Fought the Law, Won: The Rogue Guide from Gladius Legis

Wyrm’s Boxing With Shadows: The Rogue’s Handbook

Rooney’s Skill and Steel is a rogues guide.

Magique Filou: The Arcane Trickster’s Guide by Specter

Sorcerer:

Power Overwhelming: A Sorcerer’s Guide by RhaegarT, republished by Mistwell

Sorcery Guide Part 2 by Qwertyazerty

Guru Caster Unleashed

Mistwell reposted Guide for the Optimized Sorcerer, by Sorxores

Playing Dice with The Universe: A Slant Guide To Wild-Magic SorcererbyCognomen’s Cassowary

EvilAnagram: How to Immolate and Rend Fiends

Warlock:

Pact-making 101: A guide for the 5th edition Warlock by Oncoming storm

Mistwell reposted Blade, Book, And Chain: A Warlock Guide by Mephi1234,

Selling Your Soul at a Premium: The Warlock’s Guide to Power by EvilAnagram

The (un-)complete Warlock Guide for multiclassing by Asmotherion

Wizard:

Rfkannen: The master of the Arcane

Part 1 Being a God. Part 2 Being a God. A two-part guide for Wizards by Treantmonk. This one is something all players should read, as it includes sound ideas for party dynamics.

TheBigHouse: Arrive on Time: A General Guide To Wizardry

Wizarding 101: A blast from the past

NADRIGOL’s Melee Bladesinger Guide

Inquisitor Lim’s Bladesinger and Wizard Guide – Xanathar’s Edition by Deathtongue

Multiclass guides

Unlimited Blade Works, Paladin/Sorcerer guide by Gastronomie

Petenutbutter – General Multiclassing Guide

Walkthrough of DnD 5e

Guide for beginners to Dungeons and Dragons

Whether you watched the Stranger Things children fight a Demogorgon or listened as Taako, Merle and Magnus search for relics on The Adventure Zone or listened to “a bunch nerdy-ass voices actors” play Dungeons and Dragons on Critical Role, there’s a good chance you’ve seen D&D in some media.

The legendary fantasy roleplaying game is experiencing a revival. Syfy Wire was informed by Wizards of the Coast that 2017 was the biggest year for the publisher. This is due in large part to streaming. Celebrities like Felicia Day and Dan Harmon bring their friends and share their knowledge online. This allows their fans to experience the joys and challenges of fantasy roleplaying, without ever having to pick up a 20-sided die.

Potential players can find it both inspiring and frightening to watch live D&D campaigns. Two representatives from Wizards of the Coast spoke with me about how D&D streams can be compared to professional athletes. While you can enjoy the “sport”, it is important to recognize that mastery takes years.

This Guide will help you start whether you’ve seen many D&D streams or not. Although it can seem daunting, many resources are available for new D&D players.

Why D&D?

Dungeons and Dragons may be the most well-known tabletop roleplaying game, but it is not the only one. Many RPGs have different settings and mythologies. There are Star Wars games and games that use tarot cards. They all come with varying levels and types of rules complexity and structure.

Dungeons & Dragons falls somewhere in the middle. The rules are easy enough for beginners, but the structure is clear and manageable. The rules are flexible enough to allow players to be creative, without being restricted by too many options or weighed down by complex rules. Unless you are looking for something very specific, I recommend starting with D&D and then moving on to other roles once you feel comfortable.

D&D: Getting Started

Wizards of the Coast

D&D has a unique advantage: you only need to have a copy of its rules, some pencils, paper, and your imagination. According to Greg Tito, Wizards of the Coast made a PDF of the basic rules available online to “lower the barrier to entry” as a way to do that. This simplified version of the ruleset covers the core mechanics of the game and math and a guide for creating characters and information about monsters.

D&D is known for its bizarre-looking dice. Some players even collect them like Pokemon cards. If that’s your passion, you could find unique dice sets on Etsy. Although I have never been one of these players, I admit that I did back a Kickstarter campaign to obtain a set that looked like the bisexual pride banner. A standard set of polyhedral die from Amazon is sufficient for everyone.

The Starter Set is the best place to begin. The Starter Set includes an essential rules manual, an introductory adventure (which podcast listeners might recognize), five-character sheets and a set dice. The Stranger Things Starter Set includes an adventure based on Mike’s homebrew campaign against the Demogorgon.

Walmart

Sometimes players are disappointed that they can’t make their characters. But, trust me, the best thing about pre-made character sheets is to get some math out of your way. These sheets should be used as inspiration and not to hem you in.

If you want to make a character completely from scratch, that is possible too. D&D Beyond has a character generator tool that can be helpful.

The hardcover Player’s Handbook is a great resource to keep at your table for spells and abilities. It covers all of the Basic Rules, with beautiful artwork, and includes character customization options. The Dungeon Master may also purchase the Dungeon Master’s Guide. This covers creating memorable stories and includes stats for monsters to challenge your players.

BECOMING THE DUNGEON MASTER

The Dungeon Master (or DM) is the player who acts as the antagonist, narrator and Guide for the other players in D&D. Nathan Stewart, Wizards of the Coast’s brand director, said that rule number one is “you don’t have to be familiar with all the rules.” He also shared a quote by Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons and Dragons.

“The secret we shouldn’t tell the game masters is that they don’t need any rules.”

Moments after his experiment on the workbench went haywire, he was greeted by a tinker with a dark face.

Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, a new D&D supplement. Wizards of the Coast

DO YOU NEED TO CREATE A STORY OUT OF SCRATCH?

It’s easier to use a pre-existing adventure as a DM than create your own. Griffin McElroy (former Polygon producer, current GM of The Adventure Zone) says that it’s unnecessary. Because the rules can be easily customized to your needs, “one of my favorite starting points” is to take an item you like and find a way to D&D-ify the adventure. If you prefer to start with an already-written adventure, there are many options.

Lost Mines of Pandever is the adventure in the Starter Set. It is a great introduction to D&D’s story system, its settings, and lore. Wizards of the Coast periodically publish complete campaigns, either standalone adventures or as part of a series. These campaigns assume you have a regular group of players who play together regularly. Campaigns are meant to be played over several weeks or even months. You can also check out the anthology Tales from the Yawning Portal for shorter, one-off dungeons you can complete in one sitting.

Target

The official publication of adventures is only the beginning. D&D is an easy hobby to crowdsource. People publish their own adventures online all the time, many which are free. DriveThruRPG is similar to Steam for roleplaying games or their D&D-specific site, Dungeon Masters Guild, where you can find many free, low-cost, and premium adventures.

Chris Evan was born in Quebec and raised in Montreal, except for the time when he moved back to Quebec and attended high school there. He studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. He began writing after obsessing over books.

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