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Confidential information of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Do not distribute. D&D Playtest: How to Play The adventures that unfold in DUNGEONS & Making a Check DRAGONS take place in your imagination. The To make a check, first refer to the ability on your Dungeon Master describes environments and character sheet. The ability has both a score and a circumstances, and you and your fellow players, modifier. using your ima
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  Confidential information of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Do not distribute. D&D Next Playtest: How To Play — May 24, 2012 ©2012 Wizards of the Coast LLC 1 D&D Playtest : How to Play   The adventures that unfold in D UNGEONS &   D RAGONS   take place in your imagination. The Dungeon Master describes environments and circumstances, and you and your fellow players, using your imaginations, respond by asking questions, describing your characters’ actions, and testing your characters’ abilities to overcome obstacles and foes. This shared imaginary environment hosts the chambers you explore, the battles you fight, and the encounters you experience. If you’re a player, these rules assume that you have a set of polyhedral dice, a character sheet, and something to take notes with. If you’re the DM, you should have dice, a way to take notes, and an adventure, either a published adventure or one of  your own creation. Feel free to use whatever visual aids enhance your enjoyment of the game—miniatures, gridded surfaces such as  Dungeon Tiles , and the like—or use none at all. Most of this material is directed at a player, but the rules are for players and DMs alike. Basic Rules  At the core of the D&D rules, you do things in the game by first describing the thing you wish to do.  The DM then responds to your action, and might ask you to use one of your ability scores to help determine success. You use your ability scores and their modifiers to interact with the game world in three basic ways: checks, attacks, and saving throws. See the “Ability Scores” section for details on each ability and for how an ability’s modifier is determined. Checks  A check is a test to see if your innate talent and training are enough to overcome a challenge. Most of the time, you must make a check because the DM has determined that an action you want to attempt has a chance of failure. The outcome is uncertain, and your DM turns to the dice to determine your fate.  When you need to make a check, your DM asks  you to make the check using an ability of his or her choice. The DM chooses the ability that applies best to the task at hand. Making a Check  To make a check, first refer to the ability on your character sheet. The ability has both a score and a modifier. Roll the Die:  To make a check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability’s modifier.  Apply Bonuses and Penalties:  If a class feature, a skill, a spell, or some other effect gives you a bonus or a penalty to this check, apply it to your current total. Some bonuses and penalties apply to all checks made with a particular ability. Others apply only under certain circumstances.  Announce the Total:  Tell the DM the result of  your check. Determining Success  When you make a check, your DM picks a Difficulty Class (DC) for the check. Your DM has details on how to determine DCs. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. If your check result is equal to or greater than the DC, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. When you succeed, your action works as intended. When you fail, you either make no progress or perhaps suffer a setback as determined by the DM. Contests  A contest pits two characters or creatures against each other, with success determined by each contender’s luck and talent. Contests function like checks, with one major exception: instead of matching your roll against a DC, both you and the person you are opposing make a roll. You then compare the two results to see who succeeds. When to Have a Contest:  Contests arise when two creatures attempt to do the same thing and only one can succeed, such as if both you and a bandit attempt to grab a magic ring that has fallen on the floor. In other cases, you might attempt an action that another creature actively opposes. If you attempt to push open a door that an orc holds shut from the other side, you make a check to open the door, and the orc makes a check to keep it shut. Resolving a Contest:  A contest uses the same rules as a check, except that two creatures each make a check. Any bonuses and penalties you apply  when making a check with an ability also apply to contests involving that ability.  Confidential information of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Do not distribute. D&D Next Playtest: How To Play — May 24, 2012 ©2012 Wizards of the Coast LLC 2  The creature with the higher check result wins the contest. The creature either succeeds at its action or prevents its opponent from succeeding. If there is a tie, neither creature succeeds. The situation remains the same as it was before the contest. This might allow one creature to win the contest by default. If you and a bandit tie in a contest to grab a ring, neither of you grab hold of it. If you tie in a check to push open the door held shut by on orc, the door does not open. In this case, the orc prevents you from opening the door even though it did not win the contest.  Attacks  When you meet a ferocious monster, you likely will need to attack it to defeat it. An attack roll is similar to a check, except that the die roll is not against a normal DC. Instead, you compare the result of your attack roll to your target’s Armor Class (AC). To hit the target, your result must be equal to or greater than the AC. If you hit, you deal damage with your attack, reducing your target’s hit points. When a creature drops to 0 hit points or fewer, the creature typically falls to the ground, dying.  Additional rules for attacks and taking damage are provided in the “Combat” section. Saving Throws  A saving throw represents a desperate attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, and similar threats. You make checks and attacks when you decide to take an action. You make saving throws in reaction to events that happen to you. Making a Saving Throw  When your DM asks you to make a saving throw, he or she will tell you what ability to use to make the saving throw. Roll the Die:  To make a saving throw, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability’s modifier.  Apply Bonuses and Penalties:  If a class feature, a spell, or some other effect gives you a bonus or a penalty to this saving throw, apply it to your current total. Some bonuses and penalties apply to all saves made with an ability. Others apply only under certain circumstances.  Announce the Total:  Tell the DM the result of  your check. Saving Throw Outcomes  When you make a saving throw, the effect you attempt to resist has a DC. Powerful effects have higher DCs, while weaker ones have low DCs. If you fail the saving throw, you suffer the full force of the effect you attempted to resist. A spell might inflict its damage against you, you might fall into a pit that opens beneath you, or a poison might sap your vitality. If you succeed on the saving throw, you either avoid the effect or suffer a diminished version of it.  You might take cover and suffer only partial damage from a spell. As a pit opens, you might leap to solid ground. A poison might cause you to feel ill, but you are durable enough to shrug off some of its effects.  Advantage and Disadvantage Sometimes, you have an edge in a situation. A magic item might grant you a burst of strength for a check, an enemy might be unaware of your attack, or your cloak of fire resistance  might absorb much of a fire’s heat. In such situations, you have advantage. Other times, circumstances conspire against you.  An evil cleric’s vile curse might interfere with your attack. Some magical effect might attack your mind, thwarting your concentration, or you might try to attack while hanging onto a cliff face. These are all situations where the odds are against you. In such situations, you have disadvantage.  You usually gain advantage or disadvantage through the use of special abilities and spells. Your DM might also determine that circumstances are in  your favor and grant you advantage, or that they are not in your favor and impose disadvantage. If you have advantage or disadvantage on a check, an attack roll, or a saving throw, you roll a second d20 when making that roll. You use the highest roll between the dice to determine your result if you have advantage and the lowest roll if you have disadvantage. No matter how many times you gain advantage or disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw, you roll only one additional d20. If you have advantage and disadvantage on the same check, attack roll, or saving throw, the advantage and the disadvantage cancel each other out for that roll.  Confidential information of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Do not distribute. D&D Next Playtest: How To Play — May 24, 2012 ©2012 Wizards of the Coast LLC 3  Ability Scores Characters in D&D have six abilities: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. A character also has a score attached to each ability. Your ability score describes in broad terms your talent, training, and competence when doing things related to that ability. The higher the score, the better your character is with that ability.  Your abilities, in many ways, act as your character’s foundation and set the stage for your adventuring career.  A typical monster has the same six abilities and follows the same rules as a character for the abilities’ use, although a monster relies on its abilities far less than an adventurer does.  A score of 10 or 11 is average for a human adult.  A score of 18 is the highest that a normal person usually reaches. Adventurers can have scores as high as 20, and monsters and divine beings can have scores as high as 30.  Ability Modifiers  Ability scores determine the many things your character can do. You use abilities to make attacks, to deal damage, to explore your environment, to overcome obstacles and hazards, and to interact  with other creatures.  Your score determines the modifier for that ability. When you attempt to do things with an ability and the DM asks you to roll a die, you almost always use your ability modifier—a bonus or a penalty based on your ability score—to help determine your chance of success. Attacks, checks, and saving throws all involve ability modifiers.  Your ability modifier is your ability score minus 10 and divided by 2 (round down). So, if you have a Strength of 15, your Strength modifier is +2.  Ability Ability Score Modifier 1 –5 2–3 –4 4–5 –3 6–7 –2 8–9 –1 10–11 +0 12–13 +1 14–15 +2 16–17 +3 18–19 +4 20–21 +5 And so on . . . Strength (Str.) Strength measures bodily power, athletic training, and the extent to which you can exert raw physical force. You typically use Strength to climb, jump, swim, strike a foe with a melee weapon, break down doors, lift gates, and burst restraints.  Any character who fights in hand-to-hand combat can benefit from a high Strength score. Fighters and other warriors, therefore, prefer high Strength scores. Checks  The DM commonly asks you to use Strength when  you make a check to climb a sheer wall, jump over a wide chasm, swim through rough water, bend bars, lift a gate, push a boulder, lift a tree trunk, or smash through a door. Saving Throws  The DM commonly asks you to use Strength when  you make a saving throw to escape a grapple or bindings, resist being pushed against your will, knock aside a boulder that is rolling toward you, catch a collapsing ceiling, or grab onto a ledge to keep from falling.  Attacks  You add your Strength modifier to attack rolls and damage rolls when using a variety of Strength-based weapons, such as the longsword and the battleaxe. Carrying Capacity  Your Strength score determines the amount of  weight you can bear. To determine how many pounds you can carry unencumbered, multiply  your Strength score by 10. If you carry more than this weight, you are encumbered, which means your speed drops by 10 feet, and you have disadvantage on checks, attack rolls, and saving throws. The maximum weight you can carry encumbered equals twice your unencumbered carrying capacity. Lift and Drag Weight:  Your Strength score tells  you how much weight you can push, drag, or dead lift. To determine this weight, multiply your unencumbered carrying capacity by 5. While pushing or dragging weight in excess of your maximum weight, you can move no more than 5 feet on your turn.  Confidential information of Wizards of the Coast LLC. Do not distribute. D&D Next Playtest: How To Play — May 24, 2012 ©2012 Wizards of the Coast LLC 4 Size and Strength:  Larger creatures can carry more weight while smaller creatures can’t carry as much. For each size category above Medium, double the carrying; maximum; and lift, drag, and push weights. For each size category below Small, halve these weights. The DM has more information on creature size. Dexterity (Dex.) Dexterity measures your character’s physical agility, reflexes, balance, and poise. You typically use Dexterity to perform an acrobatic action, such as maintaining balance while moving across a precarious surface, contorting your body to wriggle through a tight space, striking a distant foe using a projectile, or slipping free from bindings. Rogues and other characters who wear light armor prefer high Dexterity scores, since it helps them avoid enemy attacks. A character might also use Dexterity when making attacks with certain  weapons: bows, slings, and the like. Any character  who wants to react to danger quickly can benefit from a high Dexterity score. Checks  The DM commonly asks you to use Dexterity when  you make a check to balance on a narrow ledge, sneak up on someone, tie a rope, wriggle free from bonds, or perform an acrobatic stunt. Saving Throws  The DM commonly asks you to use Dexterity when  you make a saving throw to wriggle free of a grapple, avoid spells such as lightning bolt   and  fireball , dodge a falling pillar, or dive out of the way of a charging horse.    Attacks  You add your Dexterity modifier to your attack rolls and damage rolls for finesse weapons and missile  weapons.  Armor Class Depending on the armor you wear, you may add some or all of your Dexterity modifier to your  Armor Class. Initiative  At the beginning of every battle, you roll initiative,  which involves rolling a d20 and adding your Dexterity modifier. Constitution (Con.) Constitution measures your health and durability.  You typically use Constitution to hold your breath, do a forced march, run a long distance, and perform a strenuous activity for a long period.  All characters benefit from having a high Constitution score. Checks  The DM commonly asks you to use Constitution  when you make a check to hold your breath, march for hours without rest, go without sleep, survive  without food or water, or accomplish a similar task. Saving Throws  The DM commonly asks you to use Constitution  when you make a saving throw to resist disease, poison, or fatigue; withstand a medusa’s petrifying gaze; endure the debilitating effects of a deep  wound; or ignore excruciating pain. Hit Points  You use your Constitution score and modifier to determine your hit points. At 1st level, you begin  with a number of hit points equal to your Constitution score plus a die roll determined by  your class. The die you roll is called your Hit Die.  Whenever you gain a level, you roll your Hit Die again and add the result to your maximum hit points. However, if your Constitution modifier is higher than the result, add it instead. Intelligence (Int.) Intelligence describes your mental acuity, your education, and your ability to reason, recall information, and employ logic to overcome challenges and complications. You typically use Intelligence to remember an important fact, find clues to a puzzle, or cast an arcane spell.  Arcane magic, such as that used by wizards, often requires a keen mind for mastery and thus Intelligence is most important to such characters. Checks  The DM commonly asks you to use Intelligence  when you make a check to recall a piece of lore, determine the properties of an object or trap, or decipher an ancient map.
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