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Using This Book
The Player’s Handbook is divided into three parts.
Part 1 is about creating a character, and providing the rules and guidance you need to make the character you’ll play in the game. It includes information on the various races, classes, backgrounds, equipment, and other customization options that you can choose from.
Many of the rules in part 1 rely on material in parts 2 and 3. If you come across a game concept in part 1 that you don’t understand, consult the book’s index.
Part 2 details the rules of how to play the game, beyond the basics described in this introduction. That part covers the kinds of die rolls you make to determine success or failure at the tasks your character attempts and describes the three broad categories of activity in the game; exploration, interaction, and combat.
Part 3 is all about magic. It covers the nature of magic in the worlds of D&D, the rules for spellcasting, and the huge variety of spells available to magic-using characters (and monsters) in the game.
How To Play
The play of the Dungeons & Dragons 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 room, 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 room 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.
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.
three eight-sided dice, add them together and add 5 to the total.
The same d notation appears in the expressions “ld3” and “ld2.” To simulate the roll of ld3, roll a d6 and divide the number rolled by 2 (round up).
To simulate the roll of ld2, roll any die and assign a 1 or 2 to the roll depending on whether it was odd or even. (Alternatively, if the number rolled is more than half the number of sides on the die, it’s a 2.)
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 & 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 scored 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 particular skill. (See Chapter 1 for details on each ability and how to determine an ability’s modifier.)
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 D&D play. Chapter 7 provides more detailed rules for using the d20 in the game.
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 an advantage or a disadvantage, you roll a second d20 when you make the roll. Use the higher of the two rolls if you have an advantage, and use the lower roll if you have a disadvantage.
For example, if you have a disadvantage and roll a 17 and a 5, you use the 5. If you instead have an advantage and roll those numbers, you use the 17.
More detailed rules for advantages and disadvantages are presented in Chapter 7.
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D&D Player’s Handbook 5th Edition PDF Free Download