Tag Archives: spells

Spells that ruin mystery and treachery

In my last post, I explained how Dungeons & Dragons includes a variety of spells that can ruin adventures. Confined to the original megadungeons, spells like Know alignment and Commune caused no trouble. But as D&D grew to embrace more … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game design, Role-playing game history | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Spells that ruin adventures, revisited

Have you ever had an adventure spoiled by a spell? Through the history of Dungeons & Dragons, a variety of spells carried the potential to short circuit or spoil whole categories of adventures—at least without significant planning to avoid the … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged | 4 Comments

A dungeon master’s guide to Glyph of Warding

From the beginning, Dungeons & Dragons has included a few spells for dungeon masters. In my last post, I cited Magic Jar as inspiration for adventure. Player characters won’t cast it, but villains might. In today’s game, Glyph of Warding … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, D&D fifth edition | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The evil wizard’s guide to defense against murderous treasure hunters

Every evil wizard occasional faces the threat of treasure hunters, do-gooders, and other barbarians. In order to exterminate such vermin, you must learn to defend yourself from their attacks. Preparation Alarm [1st-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 minute) (duration: 8 … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, D&D fifth edition | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

The obvious innovation in fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons that no designer saw before

Stirrups. Zero. Shipping containers. Luggage with wheels. All these innovations seem obvious in hindsight. But they went undiscovered for millennia, until someone’s bright idea changed the world—or at least put airport porters out of work. Even those hotel shower rods … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game design, Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

How fifth edition keeps familiar spells and a Vancian feel without breaking D&D

In my last post, I described the how Dungeons & Dragons tended to break once players gathered too many magic items or certain combinations of items. Earlier editions included several rules that worked to prevent the problem, but fifth edition’s … Continue reading

Posted in D&D fifth edition, Role-playing game design, Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Five new or different rules in the fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons game

With the launch of the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the designers hosted panels at Gen Con 2014 introducing the game to new and returning players. You can listen to designers Rodney Thompson and Greg Bilsland at one of … Continue reading

Posted in D&D fifth edition, Rules | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons spell, special ability, and rules reference sheets

When I run fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons games, I find myself constantly turning to the Player’s Handbook to see if some spell requires an attack roll or a save. Then I close the book and realize that I forgot to … Continue reading

Posted in Dungeon master's tools | Tagged , | 8 Comments

My recommendations for fifth-edition D&D spellcasters and components

In my last post, I looked for an official way to make the fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons rules for for spell components and free hands match the way players operated at the table—with little attention to what characters have in … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, D&D fifth edition | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lawful DM and Chaotic DM answer questions about spellcasting and free hands

When I saw the fifth-edition basic Dungeons & Dragons rules, I concluded that the designers wanted to make the rules match the way players obviously want to play—with little concern for time spent swapping weapons and spell components. For example, … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, D&D fifth edition, Rules | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment