Basics of 5E D&D Rules

  • Terminology
    • 5E means fifth edition.
    • D&D means Dungeons and Dragons.
    • DM means Dungeon Master (the storyteller).
    • PC means player character.
    • NPC means non-player character.
    • AC means armor class (how well you are protected from attacks).
    • “Cocked” means when a die isn’t laying flat on one side and therefore must be rolled again.
  • Basic Game Play
    • DM describes the scene.
    • The players describe their characters’ actions.
    • The DM tells the players the result.
    • Repeat the process.
  • The Three Pillars of Adventuring
    • Exploration.
    • Social Interaction.
    • Combat.
  • Characters
    • Races.
      • Human, dwarf, elf, etc.
    • Classes (a character’s job).
      • Fighter, rogue, cleric, wizard, etc.
    • Experience Points
      • One method used for characters to reach higher levels in their class.
      • Character levels are 1st level to 20th level.
  • Roll the d20 and Add a Number (called a modifier)
    • …to attack rolls.
    • …to saving throws.
    • …to skill checks.
  • Ability Scores (generate the modifiers)
    • Strength.
    • Dexterity.
    • Constitution.
    • Intelligence.
    • Wisdom.
    • Charisma.
  • Combat
    • Takes place over several rounds.
      • Each round is 6 seconds in game time.
    • Movement.
      • Move up to your speed.
    • Action.
      • Attack, cast a spell, use a class or racial feature.
    • Bonus action.
      • …only if you have a feature that requires a bonus action to use.
    • Attack rolls.
      • Try to hit a creature’s armor class (AC).
    • Hit Points.
      • The amount of damage a creature can take before going unconscious.
      • Generated from hit dice.
        • A number of hit dice equal to a character’s level (1-20).
    • Damage.
      • Reduces a character’s hit points.
      • Temporary hit points are an additional buffer.
    • Death saving throws.
      • At the end of a dying character’s turn.
  • Magic
    • Cantrips.
      • Spells that can be used each round of combat. They do not consume spell slots.
    • Spell slots.
      • A consumable resource used to cast spells of 1st level or higher.
    • Concentration.
      • Required by some spells with a longer duration.
      • Damage can disrupt concentration on a spell.
  • Resting
    • Short rest.
      • At the end of which you spend hit dice to heal.
    • Long rest.
      • Recover all hit points and half of a character’s total number of hit dice.